Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Miliband’s Key Aide: Predistribution is ‘Ugly’

Ed Miliband’s most senior and trusted adviser Stewart Wood has described the Labour leader’s key policy plank as “ugly”. While interviewing the violent French number-cooker Thomas Piketty yesterday, Lord Wood asked “how can you get people who don’t have access to wealth – in the ugly word ‘predistribution’ – to get access to wealth, to get access to those assets?” Which makes you wonder why, as one of Ed’s main speech-writers, he let the Labour leader drone on with the “ugly word” so much.

Here are Wood’s words, as read out by Ed, at the ‘New Agenda’ speech, in late 2012:

“We need to care about predistribution as well as redistribution.

Predistribution is about saying: We cannot allow ourselves to be stuck with permanently being a low-wage economy. It is neither just, nor does it enable us to pay our way in the world. 

Our aim must be to transform our economy so it is a much higher skill, higher wage economy. Think about somebody working in a call centre, a supermarket, or in an old peoples’ home. 

Redistribution offers a top-up to their wages. 

Predistribution seeks to offer them more.”

Lord Wood tells Guido that it was a “self-deprecating remark about the word. Nothing more.”  While the word itself is ugly, apparently the idea behind remains important. Something lots of people were saying at the time. Onwards towards the process of redistributing wealth, formerly known as predistribution….

Balls Told Constituents He Would Fight Zero Hours Contracts
Then Employed Four Zero Hours Staff Himself Last Year

Talking to his constituents last year Ed Balls railed against so-called zero-hours contracts, launching a stinging attack in the Morley Observer & Advertiser:

Just in this area, thousands are working with this kind of contract. It puts a real strain on working families and cause huge anxiety and uncertainty. Each week they don’t know whether there will be enough work to feed their kids or pay for childcare.

I want to see this issue looked at properly and action taken so that these kinds of contracts are the exception rather than the rule. It’s no way for Britain to compete in the global economy in the 21st century. Anyone who’s affected and wants me to look into their case should get in touch by emailed ed@edballs.com or call 0113 253 9466.”

Stern words.

The Sun today reveals that Balls has employed four workers on zero-hours contracts in the last year. Indeed, out of the 62 Labour MPs who employed parliamentary staff on zero-hours contracts in 2013, the Shadow Chancellor was one of the biggest users. His spokesman Alex Belardinelli is trying to spin away the screw-up by arguing: “on advice of IPSA we use their casual contracts solely to allow us to pay living wage to interns & students on temp placements”. That doesn’t even make sense; temp contracts can of course specify hours. Nor is IPSA advice mandatory, if they told Balls to send his staffers up the chimneys would he do that too? Balls tells his constituents to give his office a ring if they have been affected by zero-hours contracts. Chances are the phone will be answered by someone who is on one too…

Fortunately, the Shadow Chancellor has a defender in the Institute of Directors:

“The fact that so many students and young people are employed by Labour MPs in this way further undermines the calls from the far left to ban such contracts all together. Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed and the Labour policy on Zero Hours Contracts is now pretty sensible. Just don’t tell Oxfam…”

A welcome change in policy…

Rouhani is a Good Sport
Iranian President Recreates Famous ‘Dave of the People’ Shot

In a further sign of diplomatic warming between Iran and the West, Hassan Rouhani has recreated the famous “David Cameron watching the sports like a real man” photograph. A far more significant move than opening any embassy.

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Labour Blocked Release of Miners’ Strike Info in Power

Another day and another call for an inquiry from Labour. As reported in this morning’s Guardian:

“Ed Miliband has called for a “proper investigation” into alleged police malpractice during and after the most notorious confrontation of the 1984-85 miners’ strike, at the Orgreave coking plant 30 years ago this week.” 

The Labour leader goes on to call the issue “a matter of truth and a matter of justice.” This latest intervention comes on the back of Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Michael Dugher’s call for Whitehall to release information about the miners’ strike in Labour’s base-shoring up ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign. Which is a change of tune from when Labour were in government…

New FoI requests seen by Guido have revealed that between 2007-2010, when Miliband was in government and Dugher was a SpAd,  Labour refused three such requests to release information about the 1984-5 miners’ strike. No need to let inconvenient facts like that get in the way of the 35% strategy though…

 

Is Dom Cummings #Winning?

The last tweet from the once prolific parody @SteveHiltonGuru account, four days ago, was a generous response to former Gove SpAd and social media connoisseur Dom Cummings:

An appointment made even more unlikely by Cummings piling into No.10 in the Times this morning, not least calling the PM’s chief of staff Ed Llewellyn “a classic third-rate suck-up-kick-down sycophant presiding over a shambolic court”. Who else has been the author of some similarly colourful criticism of Llewellyn over the years?

What a remarkable coincidence. Hashtag winning…

Friday, June 13, 2014

Labour NEC Round on Ed’s Set Piece Slogan

Labour NEC member Ann Black has published her minutes of the last meeting:

“Before the meeting I asked members if “Hardworking Britain Better Off” was an effective slogan, and circulated more than 200 replies, anonymised, to the NEC.  To summarise:  98% of you hated it, because it is divisive; it suggests that Labour only supports those in paid work and does not value the old, the young, the sick, the carers, the disabled, the jobless; it is dog-whistle code for scroungers and skivers; it sounds like a Tory slogan; it is a Tory slogan; it is ungrammatical; and it is meaningless. Parliamentary candidates avoid using it.”

Not even a comma can save it! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sham Tory Europe Bill Back

Here we go again. Having sacked him at the last reshuffle, the luck of the draw means that Dave is going to be very nice about Bob Neill now. The Bromley MP has agreed to take on the Wharton Bill mantel as the highest ranking Tory in the Private Members Bill ballot:

“One of the first votes I ever cast was on EU membership  in the 1970’s . Now as I pick up my bus pass I am getting the chance to work with colleagues to  secure a referendum for the British people. Britain needs a new deal with Europe and the Conservatives have a plan for change in Europe – renegotiate, reform and put the deal to the British people in an in-out referendum by the end of 2017. Parliament now has the chance to pass my backbench bill and guarantee that the British people have the final say.”

If Cameron had really wanted to lock a referendum into law he could have exercised his authority over the LibDems and put it in the Queen’s Speech last week, forcing the other two parties to vote against it. Nick Clegg is hardly in any position to complain after his Europe-specific drubbing at the ballot box earlier this month. Let the spin begin.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Labour MP Graham Jones’ Online XXX Blunder

Residents of Hyndburn can rest assured that their local Labour MP Graham Jones is listening to what they want him to do about immigration. Jones has even posted a blog on his website explaining how “Labour will control immigration in a fair way”, including a touching, personal anecdote about his meetings with voters:

He could have at least taken out the “XXX” from the copy sent to him and his colleagues by Labour spinners and replaced it with the name of his constituency…

Thursday, May 29, 2014

LibDem Hissy Fit at Being Dropped From Question Time

Guido isn’t sure that publicly declaring your relegation to the fourth party of British politics is a wise media strategy, but that is what the LibDem press office has decided to do this afternoon:

Turns out 7% doesn’t get you much representation on the Question Time panel. Instead tonight you can tune in to see Piers Morgan and Joey Barton. Who are still probably more popular than the LibDems…

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Knives Out for Miliband
Round Up of Pre-Results Night Infighting

The Shadow Cabinet are sharpening their knives. One Shadow minister tells the Sindy: “Miliband has got to go. He’s damaged goods, he’s not a Prime Minister,” helpfully adding that “he’s odd-looking and is a bit weird”. Andrew Rawnsley quotes a Shadow Cabinet minister’s verdict that: “the campaign made it all about Ed. That was not sensible.” Another admits in the Sunday Telegraph: “there are people in the country who quite regularly say he is a problem”. A view shared by another Labour MP: “I did not meet a single voter who said anything positive about Ed Miliband out of all the hundreds whose door I knocked on”. Then to top it all oil painting muse Diane Abbott went on the Sunday Politics to lay into her leader’s staff and note that “no-one is going to confuse Ed Miliband with George Clooney any time soon”. Which is just mean.

Tory discipline is holding more steady but that didn’t stop David Davis telling Guido in the Sun on Sunday that Tory HQ are “cheeky little sh*ts”. A Tory insider responds that DD is a “selfish” loser. Basher adds in the Sunday Times his view that “it is time for the government to press the reset button on its European policy” and bring forward the referendum to 2016. Mark Reckless is a bit jumpy in the MoS and Adam Afriyie is off on one again, though the one interesting intervention is from Jackie Doyle Price, who said on Sky News that “there’s definitely a problem with the perception [of Cameron as an out of touch old Etonion]“. That said almost all the Tory jitters are from the awkward squad backbenchers, while Miliband’s snipers are in the Shadow Cabinet…


Seen Elsewhere

The Douglas Carswell Shock | Tim Stanley
Carswell is a True Moderniser | Charles Moore
Assembling a New World Order | Henry Kissinger
India’s Modi Bypasses Mainstream Media | Index
Bercow on the Knife Edge | Quentin Letts
Welcome to Mississippi | Conservative Women
LibDems Select Hancock Replacement | Blue Guerilla
Carswell Resigning: “Moment Labour Won Election” | Labour Uncut
Why We Need Change | Douglas Carswell
The Howard Roark of Westminster | Guardian
Carswell, the Clacton Cassandra | James Ford


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Douglas Carswell…

“I stab people in the front, not the back.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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