On January 13, The i reported that Sir Keir is positioning Rachel Reeves as his election running mate – a horrible American approach to politics, but go with it – and relegating Angela Rayner as his number two:
“But inevitably, the move to promote Ms Reeves more in the public eye has prompted claims from allies of Ms Rayner that the deputy Labour leader has been “sidelined”.
Relations between Sir Keir and his official deputy came under intense strain in 2021 after a botched attempt to strip Ms Rayner of part of her role in the party.”
Now analysis of who Labour is choosing to put up as their spokespeople on TV media rounds appears to prove this theory. Numbers worked out by Guido shows that out of 24 shadow ministers put forward onto TV in 2022, Rayner was the sixth lowest, with just seven morning media rounds that year.
Reeves on the other hand was easily at the top, with 22 morning round appearances followed by Lisa Nandy and Pat McFadden on 19.
Rayner only beat John Healey (6), Louise Haigh (4), Rosena Allin-Khan (3), Khalid Mahmood (2), Jim McMahon (2) and Preet Gill (1). Rosena Allin-Khan of course perceived as another disloyal shadow minister…
Guido’s glad to see Angela Rayner is now firmly on the side of taxpayers. Her incredulous reaction to Boris’s slap-up dinner in New York reveals a refreshing new attitude for the shadow deputy Prime Minister. At last, she’s promising to treat taxpayers’ money “with the respect it deserves”…
“Taxpayers have been left picking up the bill for the last two Prime Ministers’ excesses. While families are sick with worry struggling to make ends meet, this waste of public money is obscene […] Liz Truss must explain why her departmental procurement card was used to shell out for this banquet at the British people’s expense and come clean on her own involvement. Today’s Conservatives spend taxpayers’ money with reckless abandon while Labour will treat it with the respect it deserves.”
Boris’s dinner – an entourage of 24 civil servants and staff, on an official visit accompanying the Prime Minister – cost £4,445.07, or £177.80 a head. Labour claim that figure is enough to feed ten primary school children for an entire year.
£177.80 also just so happens to be £71.20 less than the £249 Angie spent on a brand new pair of AirPods Pro, courtesy of the taxpayer. Apparently they were necessary because “on average I use [them] four hours a day now on Zooms”. So necessary she then almost immediately lost them. That’s a lot of school meals…
During the collapse of the Truss government, Labour weren’t shy in attacking what they claimed was the “malign impact” of “opaquely-funded think tanks” on the agenda of the Government.
Guido’s old enough to remember Angela Rayner claiming “lobbying in Britain is a black box”, and promising “Labour will look to broaden the scope of lobbying rules, including transparency on who funds them.” Business as usual so far…
Given Labour published their hefty manifesto blueprint yesterday – with a section on “cleaning up Westminster” – Guido was interested to see how they’d go about enforcing this new era of transparency.
The word “lobbying” doesn’t appear once in the document.
Perhaps the exclusion of this urgent reform is related to the following reference:
“We also drew significantly on primary research conducted by Our Scottish Future, including Scotland in a Zoom and original polling and focus groups carried out over the summer of 2022.”
Our Scottish Future is, of course, a think tank masterminded by Gordon Brown, with an advisory board and staff made up of former politicians, SpAds, and lobbyists. Yet their funding is entirely opaque.
The recently relaunched Who Funds You campaign, run by left-wingers at OpenDemocracy, also mysteriously omits Our Scottish Future from their opacity index. A bit odd: the think tank is over two years old, and the pet project of a former PM. It is self-evidently lobbying to set the agenda for the next Government. Apparently, where thinking the unthinkable is concerned, it’s one rule for bodies sympathetic to Labour, and another for everyone else…
Another day, another shadow cabinet minister dodging the simple question: do you support the strikes? Today it was Angela Rayner’s turn, after the RMT last night voted to derail Christmas with more strikes over the next few weeks. Asked by Kay Burley if she supported the move and all the chaos it will inflict, an unusually coy Rayner trotted out Labour’s refrain:
“I think the RMT don’t want to take action. I want to see that strike action avoided… I don’t want to see industrial action because I see workers losing their pay and I see the public inconvenienced. I think there’s a way of us getting around the table and stopping it…”
“Inconvenienced” here means a £1.7 billion hit to the economy and thousands of family Christmas plans thrown out the window. Rayner also claimed, “We don’t have industrial action in Wales”. Almost true… apart from the thousands of striking nurses and ambulance workers.
The deputies faced each other. Angela of Ashton-Under-Lyne was going to have deputy Dominic for a late brunch. All of us wanted to watch. How politics degrades us.
She started responsibly, like a greedy eater longing for dessert but having to get through three soup and savoury courses first. Solidarity with Ukraine, we had to have. Serious face emoji. Multinationals and tax havens. Every pound in a tax haven, she claimed, was a pound lost to the British tax payer. This idea of 100% taxation may be why these people shelter their revenues. It’s not unreasonable. But there was no time to unpick that, we were onto our place in the world economy. She made the same claim as Rachel Reeves made yesterday (we were bottom) and she received the same response (we have record employment).
And then, at last, we were into the sugar rush sequence of sticky toffee Spotted Dick in a bed of jam, cream and custard trifle. “After days of dodging and denial, he finally acknowledged complaints about his conduct.” But, she went on, incredulously, there was no hint of admission of guilt, or even an apology. “This is Anti-bullying Week. Will he apologise?”
Would he apologise for being accused of bullying? That wasn’t very British. There was something oriental about it. By 2050 we may be more adapted to the Chinese way of doing things.
Raab obviously not taking this briefing war lying down, as much as Rayner tried making a meal of it. At one point she even parroted Trump’s “drain the swamp” line for some reason…