Briefing that you have left the country and turned off your mobile phone is a pretty weird move for any politician, let alone one purporting to be the leader of the opposition. While the odd-cat’s away, the Labour mice have come out to play. It was not a great weekend for Ed. Here’s your one stop handy Guido Guide to those who have broken cover, so far.
Most recently it was Graham Stringer on the Beeb:
“It’s not quite clear what our policies on welfare are, what our policies on housing are, what our policies on education are. I think the real worry is the sort of almost deafening silence that has been from the Shadow Cabinet at a time of the year is traditionally a ripe time for the opposition to attack the government. While the Government are on their holidays and thinking about other things, the Opposition has always used that as a way to put policies in the public’s mind and to have a go at anywhere where the Government has failed. So I think the party is genuinely worried about the lack of activity in the Shadow Cabinet. I think a huge opportunity is being missed. And I suppose the second worry is that I don’t believe that members of the Shadow Cabinet are lazy in any sense. I think it is stemming from the lack of coherence and cogence of our policies. Although I don’t expect Ed Miliband and other members of the Shadow Cabinet to write out what exactly is going to be in out manifesto in twenty months’ time, I do expect that the public should be told and the party should be able to support very clear and coherent policies.”
He also said bring back Mandy, an idea he stole off Brownite boot-boy Ian Austin:
Further up the ladder is Andy Burnham doing wonders for his campaign to not get booted out of the health brief:
“I think there’s definitely a need to shout louder, and speak in a way that captures how people are thinking and feeling. There’s definitely a need to put our cards on the table. Voters have decided the coalition is a disaster, but what they aren’t yet convinced is that we have the answers”.
Ominously, Burnham added Miliband had until the spring to fix these problems. This all followed the interventions earlier in the month from George Mudie:
“The real thing is, do you know, ‘cos I don’t, know our position on welfare, do you know our position on education, do you know our genuine position on how we’d run the health service? Now so if you’re not getting a clear enough message to me, and to some of my colleagues, what are you, what kind of message do you think you’re putting out there.”
…and Geriant Davies:
“The party’s challenge is to provide a compelling case as to why Britain would be better off with Labour. Firstly, the problem is that the electorate doesn’t yet see a clear choice between the parties on cuts vs growth. Secondly, the Tories have been relentless in asserting that Labour messed up the economy. Not rebutting this charge makes us look like a shamefaced schoolboy admitting responsibility by omission.”
And lets not forget the Mirror have been extra helpful of late:
“The truth is the Labour leader isn’t the decisive, dominant political figure he needs to become if he is to stroll into Downing Street.”