First tea, then bacon, now coffee.
“Without change, Labour is choosing to lose.” That is the damning verdict of the Fabian Society in a wide-ranging intervention attacking Ed Miliband’s leadership this morning. Their analysis trailed in this week’s New Statesman is stinging in its criticism of the Labour leader. They warn: “it’s clear that Labour needs to reverse its trajectory, particularly as improvements in the economy will boost Tory polls in 2015″, that Labour is in danger of “abandoning blue-collar Britons and becoming a party of the urban middle class alone”, asking “what is the point of a social-democratic party that loses its working-class soul?” The study also find that Labour is “haemorrhaging” support to UKIP, and that the party is on course to lose six seats to Farage:
“Ukip’s results in the 2014 local and European elections demonstrate the importance of blue-collar voters for Labour. These are the voters it has been haemorrhaging for over a decade; those who once sat at home on election day and are now coming out to vote Ukip.”
The numbers say it all:
Red on red…
A few weeks ago Guido brought you the verdict of Channel Four’s GoggleBox on Ed Miliband. The Bafta winning show captures the reactions of people from all walks of society watching TV at home. It wasn’t happy viewing. Well, they’ve had their say again:
“Ain’t he got a funny mouth?”
“He looks like he’s straight out of college. He looks like he’s on an apprenticeship for Labour leader.”
“I think he looks very slimy. I think he sounds more slimy, he sounds very nasal. You can’t trust a man who’s that nasal.”
“It turns me off whenever I hear him talk. I keep thinking blow your nose mate, you’ve got some cold or something.”
“It feels like his mouth shouldn’t be moving but his nostrils should.”
“His nose is squashed, it looks like he’s been in a fight.”
Slim pickings for the Labour leader…
The Son of Brown has picked up another excellent tip from his political patriarch – having a good dig up his nose in public. Though in a sign of how much progress Labour has made since the last election, at least Ed attempted to mask his nasal mining with a tissue.
The bad news is he still went for it in front of the TV cameras. Having blown his nose, he returns for a good explore. Whatever happened to the party’s hunt for a new broadcasting expert?
As if there weren’t already enough rakes to step on for Ed Miliband in Thurrock, a local Labour councillor has been charged with benefit fraud ahead of his trip today. Clare Baldwin has represented Labour on Thurrock council since 2011, this month she appeared in court charged with making dishonest representations so as to obtain housing and council tax benefit, allegedly dishonestly claiming more than £2,640. Labour have suspended Baldwin while she contests the charge, though Guido is told she still sits in the Labour group. Let’s hope no one brings this up this afternoon…
Miliband’s spinner Patrick Hennessy only follows a handful of Ruths. Ruth Gledhill, a freelance journalist, Ruth Porter from Policy Exchange and Ruth Barnett from Swiftkey. Guido doubts he was reaching out to any of these lovely ladies. More likely the message was to Ruth Turner, Blair’s gatekeeper. The Today programme mop up is working wonders!
Ed Miliband is giving a speech in Thurrock this morning, the crucial number 2 target seat for Labour where the party have just lost overall control of the council after taking a battering from UKIP. What could possibly go wrong? Here is Guido’s memo to Ed:
If you avoid all of these, you should be fine…
The airwaves dam is beginning to crack as Labour MPs and insiders line up to slag off Ed and Labour’s strategy:
“Ed Miliband does come up on the doorstep and people feel a slight disconnect from him”
“Don’t eat a bacon butty with the world’s cameras on you, quite frankly.”
“He was not absolutely on top of the bill from the checkout… I assume Ed’s wife Justine does the shopping”
[To Michael Dugher]: “Michael knows full well that the Labour strategy was not to attack UKIP and that was an error . We chose not to attack UKIP and that was a bad error.”…
“The people with strategy at the top, ignored them instead of taking them on, and that was disastrous, what they should have done was take on Ukip.
Ed Miliband is not broadening the appeal for me and other MPs. Some of the pointy heads at the top of the party thought that Ukip doing well was what we needed, exactly the opposite. And it’s that change of strategy which is essential.
We need to address issues, people want action and clear policies.People don’t want to be heard, they wanted to be listened to. We have to see this by conference, that coalition that Labour has had before, where people like me and my views and others are part of that broad church, and those in London running the metropolitan elite are not incorporating us.”
“You can’t turn Ed Miliband into the personality of Nigel Farage and neither would we want to, but what you can do is make sure his presentation as a person is professional and simple mistakes are made like not knowing how much he spends on shopping when the cost of living is the central part of our campaign at the moment.”
“I would change and strengthen the campaign team around him . I don’t really understand what the position of Axelrod is. Whether he’s there as a bit of a comfort blanket and a bit of a PR exercise, or whether he’s really going to take charge of the campaign. But somebody should”
“I’m not going to pretend that Ed Miliband as an issue doesn’t come up on the doorstep, of course it does.”
“If you don’t equip people with good analysis and strong messages, things that are tested that they can use when they confront a challenge, then they do their own thing or indeed they do nothing.”
“The narrative around Ed Miliband, because it’s the truth, is that he looks weird, sounds weird, is weird.”
“Challenging Ukip got lost in the froth and I’m baffled at the failure to condemn what Farage was saying. There’s no firm person who is running organisation of the campaign. People thought it was lacklustre, and the biggest responsibility for this has to go to Douglas, who is doing too many jobs.”
A shadow minister:
“There have been a number of us saying that Ukip was not taken seriously enough. We were telling them that they were in their comfort zone if they thought Ukip was only taking votes off the Tories. You might argue there’s a bit of a gap between people in HQ and people out on the street.”
“The stakes are just too high to cover this up… denial is the most dangerous thing now.”
A former aide to Miliband:
Told HuffPo UK that the “scale of the nightmare for Labour is extraordinary”, adding: “What would we had was nothing less than a near death experience across the board, with the exception of London.”
And it’s barely lunchtime on the first day.
Boris Not Moving to Uxbridge | Scrapbook
Cameron Toast if Scotland Votes Yes | Isabel Oakeshott
How to Spin the Referendum Result | Rob Hutton
Anti-Immigration Party Lets Left Into Power | Mark Wallace
Tories Well Ahead on Economy | Standard
Madrid Unveils Margaret Thatcher Plaza | Breitbart
Journalists Are Not Above Criticism | Media Guido
Guido’s Column | Sun
Carney is a Feminist | Kathy Gyngell
Middle Class Moralism of Owen Jones | Spiked
Booze-Fuelled Fight at Palin Party | Times
Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:
“Sunday, May 10, 1998
Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.
After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.
I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.
They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].
I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”