You can still get reasonable odds that Ed won’t be leading Labour at the general election…
Guido has called round a few Labour sources after that PMQs. The sentiment seems to be, particularly from those that didn’t vote for Ed Miliband, that “he is as bad as we feared”. Given that the majority of Labour Party members and the parliamentary party didn’t vote for him that is something of problem for the current leader of the Labour Party. Ed doesn’t have command of the shadow cabinet, Balls is on manoeuvres, even Yvette is being awkward. One senior apparatchik described her recent hiring of Roger Baker for her staff as “an act of war”. Roger Baker was until recently Labour’s director of press and broadcasting in Victoria Street. He walked out when David Miliband lost, openly telling all and sundry Ed would be useless. Another former Labour strategist told Guido that he thought Ed was safe because the only alternative was Ed Balls, he claimed “if there is one thing that unites the Labour and Tory front benches it is that they don’t want Ed Balls as leader of the Labour Party”. David Miliband won’t challenge Ed for the leadership.
One former member of Ed Miliband’s campaign team lamented that the government should be far more unpopular as a result of making cuts and raising taxes “we have an open goal”, adding that it was unfortunate for Ed that “people have already made up their mind”, another pointed to the establishment of the “Big Society Panel” as a strategic mistake “even if we were going to try to figure out a response to the ‘Big Society’ we should have called it something else… Ed needs to get on and make appointments; chief of staff, press, his own economics advisers”. A common theme was Ed’s procrastination and a lack of decisiveness, a shadow cabinet source said there was “no clear direction from him, and his office takes ages to turn things round”. Son of Brown indeed…
Ephraim Hardcastle draws to Guido’s attention that there is an innocent explanation for the Shami and Basher late night Tuesday over-the-candles chat. Liberty had given David Davis their “Independent Voice of the Year” Human Rights Award on Monday. So Basher would have seen Shami two nights in a row…
David Cameron said to Ed Miliband at PMQs…
‘I’d rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown.’
[orderorder-live-event altcast_code=”cd2f755dfd” height=”700″ width=”480″]
Reportedly George Osborne has had voice coaching from Valerie Savage, a Harley Street speech and language consultant. It is noticeable that his voice is now more measured and manly giving some added all-important gravitas to his performances. The US Embassy reported the problem in October 2008 as follows:
Guido can picture the scene as the Osborne aide reports the focus group results back to his boss. The shrieking “Whaddya mean I’m squeeeky?”
Do you remember the mini-furore over Andy Burnham’s scurrilous innuendo-rich suggestion of some kind of seduction of Basher Davis after “late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with” Shami Chakrabarti? In the last month they have appeared on Question Time together and Basher was coincidentally in the audience to ask Shami a question when she was on the panel at an Intelligence Squared event last week.
Last night they lingered long after everyone else at the Political Studies Association Awards at 1 Great George Street. (Clegg and Cameron jointly won politician of the year, Liberty and, errm, the Southall Black Sisters won the award for setting the political agenda. Sir David Frost got Best Political Satire – only 40 years late.)
You know how it is, you can’t bring yourself to leave the restaurant, the candles are melting low, you make small-talk about detention orders only to steal one more delicious moment of time with a soul-mate.
Basher and Shami had switched seats earlier in the night and left together only after everyone else had gone.