Ed and Dave's Sikh Chic

Sometimes it’s impossible for a politician to avoid the Hague Rule – never get photographed in a hat:

An old favourite of Ed, but there’s a touch of Berlusconi to Dave in Delhi  today.

Seldon Tells Balls: "Fall On Your Sword"

Biographer and chronicler of the Brown years, Anthony Seldon, has a damning letter to Ed Balls in tomorrow’s New Statesman:

“The time has come for you to fall on your sword.

After 20 unbroken years at the heart of politics, quitting in the next few months until, say, 2017 would undoubtedly benefit your leader, your party, your wife and even yourself. Let me explain.

Ed Miliband would be a much stronger leader without you. Forgive me, but you stop Ed breathing fresh air.

With you close to him, his breath will always be stale and smell of a toxic brand. Without a prolonged period out of the public eye, neither you nor the party will ever rid yourselves of the opportunistic, negative and bullying image of the Gordon era.

Without you, Labour could present itself as a clean party, free of the factionalism and brutalism that so tarnished it when Brown was boss and you were his consigliere.

If Labour loses in 2015, you will be blamed and your career will be damaged beyond repair. If it wins, you would return to the front bench in 2017 a redeemed and respected figure. You might even one day become leader, your long-held ambition.”

Worth noting that Balls’ version of his 10p tax debate with Gordon differs markedly from what Seldon claimed in his book. A dangerously respected critic for Balls.

Via @politicshomeuk

Guardian Abolish Job of Woman on Maternity Leave

https://twitter.com/rosamundmtaylor/status/304256162319175680

Rosamund Taylor, the now former editor of Guardian law, has been literally left holding the baby.

Quote of the Day

Prince Philip to a Filipino nurse earlier:

“The Philippines must be half empty – you’re all here running the NHS.”

Ex-LibDem Eastleigh Mayor Backs UKIP: "Left in Disgust at Lies"

Meet Glynn Davies-Dear, the weirdy-beardy former LibDem mayor of Eastleigh who has jumped ship to UKIP ahead of next-week’s by-election.

“Why did I leave the LibDems? I left in disgust at the lies and the broken promises. The Liberal Democrats no longer care about the people, they only care about themselves.”

Former LibDem councillor Andy Moore has also crossed the divide this afternoon. Ouch.

UPDATE: Amusingly he appears on a leaflet for Maria Hutchings.

BREAKING: Pryce Jury Discharged

Not only could the jury not understand the English language,  they also failed to reach a verdict.

Over to the CPS to decide if they want a retrial…

UPDATE: Vicky Pryce will face retrial next Monday. Unlikely now that Huhne will be sentenced before the by-election. Big blow for the Tories.

POLL: How Should Osborne Pay For His Billion Pound Drop?

George needs to find a billion pounds fast – what would you do…

Party Funding Figures Out

cashParty funding figures for the last quarter are out. Excluding public money, between October and December last year the Tories received £3,309,109 in donations, Labour £2,592,885 and the LibDems just £570,959. The three biggest donors were Unite, Unison and the GMB, who funnelled over £1.5 million of their gold to you know who. Things don’t change…

IDS V JOB

[gigya src=”http://boos.audioboo.fm/swf/fullsize_player.swf” flashvars=”mp3=http%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F1223720-iain-duncan-smith-s-explosive-row-with-james-o-brien.mp3%3Fsource%3Dwordpress&mp3Author=lbc973&mp3LinkURL=http%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F1223720-iain-duncan-smith-s-explosive-row-with-james-o-brien&mp3Time=11.43am+20+Feb+2013&mp3Title=Iain+Duncan-Smith%27s+Explosive+Row+With+James+O%27Brien” width=”400″ height=”160″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]

Explosive row on LBC earlier as IDS went head to head with their resident lefty James O’Brien over the workfare scheme.

Pryce Trial: Judge Will Accept Majority Verdict

14 hours of deliberations later and Mr Justice Sweeney has agreed to accept a majority verdict on which at least ten agree. He is giving answers to ten pretty extraordinary questions the jury asked him yesterday.

Getting closer…

Quote of the Day

Rachel Reeves should never be given the Education brief:

“It shows how foolish and short-termist the Chancellor was to bank this cash in the autumn statement to make his borrowing figures look less bad.”

Tory Turnout Trouble in Eastleigh

As next week’s by-election looks more and more like a LibDem hold, it seems Tory PPCs don’t much fancy making the journey south. Guido hears just 80 out of the several hundred on the candidates list have helped out in Eastleigh so far. Peeved party bosses have emailed PPCs reminding them in no uncertain terms that “campaign commitment is an important part of being a successful candidate”, demanding to know “what action you’re taking to assist with Maria’s campaign”. Factor this in with the Merlin canvassing outage and you can see why Guido is betting heavily on a yellow hold…

Another Fall in Unemployment Despite Static Growth

Unemployment fell by 14,000 last month to 2.5 million, down 0.1% on the previous quarter to 7.8%. Number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 12,500 to 1.54 million. Employment is up by half a million on the year. A nice distraction from the 4G shortfall that makes the Autumn Statement figures even more controversial.

Happy Birthday Gordon

Best wishes to the Prime Mentalist as he turns 62 today. Twelve months without speaking in Parliament, £6,000 and more on air fares at our expense, £300,000-a-month in cash that is definitely not paid to him, an attendance record to be ashamed of, landing his successor in it, not to mention the worst of omens for His Holiness.

And that’s forgetting Gordon’s Olympic nightmare and his – shall we say – awkwardness at the Leveson Inquiry. To celebrate, why not enjoy his greatest hits one more time…



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Quote of the Day

Michael Crick on Safe Seats:

“In effect, new MPs are being elected day by day now, as, amid huge secrecy, small cabals of party bigwigs pick candidates for safe seats.”

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