“Blackbusters” Calamity Kenny Set for Westminster Return

There are fewer “safe seats” in Scotland for Labour than they might like these days, but if they lose Mid-Lothian then they really have been routed.

Luckily they’ve chosen a candidate there to give them the maximum possible chance of screwing it all up: Calamity Kenny

Congratulations to Kenny Young who was selected last night.

As Guido revealed he would be in January.

Miliband ‘Blackbusters’ Gaffe Aide Set for Safe Seat

Remember Kenny Young? He was Ed’s ‘Press Manager’ who departed Team Miliband after the infamous ‘Blackbusters’ Twitter gaffe in 2012. It seems Calamity Kenny was playing the long game by going down the councillor route, and is now firm favourite to replace Scottish Labour stalwart Davie Hamilton in Mid-Lothian. Hamilton, in declaring he wasn’t sticking around to be beaten up by the SNP, left a coded signal in his resignation statement about who his successor should be :

“I believe that it is the right time for me to stand aside to allow the Labour Party in Midlothian to select a younger member, with fresh ideas and the hunger to meet the challenges of this changed landscape.”

Guido hears the Scottish Labour machine has already decided Kenny is their man. There is a combination of uproar and tears of laughter on the inside…

So Long Calamity Kenny Departing Spinner’s Greatest Hits

Guido’s favourite Labour spinner Kenny Young has departed Team Miliband. Apparently “after five years it’s time to do something different”. Calamity Kenny shot to fame when he was snapped, literally, waiting on hand and foot for Gordon. After being involved in Duffygate he joined Team Ed for the Labour leadership battle and again had some trouble with doors. When Ed won Kenny went from Head of Press to Press Office Manager, but his finest hour was still to come – his now infamous Blackbusters tweet which was written from his boss’ account:

So long Kenny, we’ll miss ya…

More Bunkum From Labour

Morning Kenny,

When recycling old attacks on Brown, it’s probably best to clear the line with everyone…

Where’s Mili?™ – Calamity Kenny Gets the Blame for Twitter Fail

Labour are having a spectacularly bad week. Ed finally surfaced today to commiserate the death of TV’s Bob Holness, star of Blockbusters:

A is at the other end of the keyboard from O. A source in Ed’s office was quick to spin that given Kenny Young, the Press Officer Manager with emphasis on the manager, is in charge of the twitter feed, “and not much else”, this is most certainly his handy-work.

We are told that a “relaunch speech” is currently being “desperately cobbled together” for Monday or Tuesday. What could possibly go wrong?

Testing the Faith

Things must be getting bad for Miliband when even the most loyal of apparatchiks are beginning to lose faith. Guido hears readers’ favorite, and Ed’s campaign press officer, Kenny Young is telling people he’s down in the dumps and disillusioned. Having been demoted to Press Office Manager, with the emphasis on the manager, apparently Kenny’s heart isn’t in it as much as it once was. With the constant failure to get on the front foot and set the agenda, even Ed’s loyal gatekeeper and former SpAd Polly Billington is said to be exasperated. Time to brush off those CVs…

Sounds like Tom Baldwin isn’t exactly top of his game either:

Guido would be crying into his pint too..

UPDATE: Jon Craig has also noticed the glum faces on the Labour press team. Do these progressives need Prozac?

 

Calamity Kenny Curses Caledonia

Regular readers will remember the adventures of Kenny Young, Ed Miliband’s “Press Office Manager”. After a series of calamities the emphasis in Labour circles is on the “office manager” part of the title. On bigotgate day, rumour has it that young Kenny’s contribution to the “how the hell are we going to spin this one chat?” was to suggest they say Gordon had said “bighearted”.

Since his promotion from Gordon’s Door-Opener in Chief , Kenny has wound up so many people in Team Miliband  that they dispatched him to Scotland a few weeks ago. Kenny is on load as pointman to Iain Gray, Scottish Labour’s dull and insipid leader, for the duration of the Scottish elections.

Sadly for Kenny though, Labour’s collapse in the polls up north began soon after his arrival, and yesterday The Sun switched its support to the SNP. Not because of Murdoch’s new-found love of William Wallace, but in order hit Miliband where it hurts – in the Labour heartland.

The Scottish Labour campaign has been as dreary and cack-handed as their leader, who is remarkably less human than Miliband. Even with the might of Kenny on board they have been unable to overcome the inexplicable charm of Salmond. It’s going to be an interesting dispatches from the front when Calamity Kenny ventures back south, if there’s even a job for him upon his return. 

The Sound of Silence

Given that this was meant to be Ed Miliband’s big relaunch day, back from nappy leave and hitting the ground running etc, he has been amazingly quiet. Invisible even.

After a no huskies interview with The Guardian this morning there has been radio silence ever since and the lunchtime top of the hour news bulletins have barely even given him a nod. Admittedly the Irish bailout news is dominating, but it’s not as if Red Ed has even managed to secure the second headline slot – that’s gone to the high-heeled Grant Shapps and his council housing reforms.

Apparently Ed is addressing the PLP tonight with his plans for reforming the Labour Party, particularly with how to stop his own farcical technical victory from happening again. Given the slaughtering that Harman got at the last meeting after the sacking of Woolas, (that was coincidently followed up nicely with some interesting facts about her appearing in the press,) it can’t get any worse for the struggling leader. However Guido has to wonder what the point of doing the interview this morning was then? Why not wait until after the meeting (which traditionally happens on a Monday) to go all guns blazing into the press? Is Miliband set to go down the Gordon path of relaunch after tired relaunch?  Another stunning success for Miliband’s Press Manager Calamity Kenny

It’s worth nothing that it was twenty years ago today that the Tories knifed Maggie. If Gordon had been a Tory leader he would have been out the door by Christmas after the election-that-never-happened. If Ed is really going to significantly modernise the Labour Party he better be careful to keep the rules that make it much harder to oust a Labour leader than a Tory or LibDem. Guido’s always happy to dispense helpful advice…

Labour Students Line Up for Oldham Selection

Aaron Marius Porter hinted on the Politics Show that the NUS, a.k.a. him, may put up a candidate at the Oldham by-election, triggered ironically by the disgrace of a former NUS President. The NUS press office is in a mess this morning, but apparently Porter is denying he would stand independently, which makes sense given he would take votes from Labour and jeopardise his chance for a safe seat in 2015. The same reason rules out former President Wes Streeting who left his lucrative job at PWC to remain a Labour councillor. He’s not going to blow his chances.

Labour are desperate to find a candidate quickly and rumours are flying of who they have approached. The very close association of Phil’s loyal old bag carrier, Shona Woodfine has damaged her chances of getting the nomination and the race is very much open…

Given that tuition fees rises have been the most emotive part of the cutting agenda, so far, it would make sense for Labour to shore up their base and steal LibDem votes by running their by-election campaign around this issue, distracting from the shame of their former Member. Porter would have to quit as NUS President to run, and although Wes told Guido he wouldn’t run, in no uncertain terms, it’s not like an aspiring candidate has never denied an interest in the past. But on the ground things are hotting up…

Sources say the NUS/Labour hacks to keep an eye on are Josh MacAlister, a former Labour Students hack who now bills himself as “a teacher from Oldham” (he’s on TeachFirst which means he does this for a year or two and then goes away to work in the city). Only problem being he supported David Miliband.

The other is Kev Peel, a gay rights campaigner, championed by Gordon Brown and a ruthlessly ambitious careerist. Both boys set up theKeep Oldham Labour” Facebook site. A friend close to Mr MacAlister says he isn’t surprised Josh is in the running and says he is “highly rated” in the local association. You heard it here first…

UPDATE: “Local teacher” MacAlister’s close friendship with his old student union ally Kenny Young might come in very handy. Depite an omnishambles of a career so far, Clamity Kenny has somehow managed to rise to the dizzy heights of Ed Miliband’s “Press Manager”.

Someone to lobby for him on the inside…

Miliband's Staffers

Polly Billington – Gatekeeper and PR. Former BBC presenter and SpAd at the Department for Enviroment and Climate Change. (1)

Sadiq Khan – Campaign Manager. Controversial expenses fiddling MP for Tooting.

Lucy Powell – Chief of Staff. Failed PPC. (2)

Katie Myler – Spokesman. Former SpAd to Jacqui Smith, and the daughter News of the Screws editor Colin Myler. (3)

Stewart Wood – Head of Comms. Former Brown Bunker Bod and very close to Ed. (4)

Kenny Young – Press Officer. “Calamity Kenny” just about says it all. (5)

Rachel Kinnock – Events. Keeping it in the family. (6)

Greg Beales – Speechwriter. Highly rated boyfriend of spokesgirl Katie Myler. (7)

Ayesha Hazarika – Speechwriter. Stand up comic and Harman SpAd. (8)

James Morris – Polling and Message. Ally of Democrat and Brown pollster Stan Greenberg.

Alex Smith – Messaging and New Media, though doing diary work too. Editor of LabourList. (9)

Anna Yearly – Bag carrier. (10)

Nirmalee Wanduragala – Researcher. Former SpAd to Rosie Winterton and Fabian. (11)

Calum O’Byrne Mulligan – Researcher. Friends accuse him of being “Stalinist”. (12)

Calamity Kenny's Latest Comedy Moment

An update on calamity Kenny hits the inbox from a Scottish co-conspirator:

You may like to know that Kenny today led Ed Milliband through the turnstiles at the Scottish Parliament. However, oor Kenny led Ed to the wrong turnstile that only allows people to enter rather than exit. Cue a good 30 seconds or so of Ed looking like a cock trying to get through an immovable door. A far cry from Kenny’s door holding days of glory with Mr Brown.

Malcolm Tucker he ain’t…

Calamity Kenny Spinning for Ed Miliband

In a quick update to the Labour Political Advisers list, Guido was most amused to hear that omnishambolic press officer Kenny Young has managed to keep his job. If you reward the slavish loyalty of greased-up party hacks who come up through the youth ranks with cosy press office jobs, you may find they don’t exactly have the talents required for such a high-pressure environment. Kenny is about as loyal as they come, a co-conspirator reports that he openly told people he styled his hair on Gordon Brown’s while chairman of Labour Students. So loyal he was assigned to be Gordon’s political press officer for the election campaign. Which went well.

First there was the infamous door opening for his hero Gordon, which the Tories quickly turned into an attack poster:

If that wasn’t bad enough in late April young Kenny was accompanying the Prime Minister on a trip to Rochdale. What could possible go wrong? Well any experienced press officer would have checked that their boss’s microphone was switched off after an event. Kenny was inside Mrs Duffy’s house as part of that hugely successful contingent of Brown staffers begging her to come outside after the apology.

Instead of firing this inept and useless spinner he’s got a new job. He’s now Ed Milband’s Head of Press… what could possibly go wrong?

UPDATE : Punters give Ed a 25% chance of becoming Labour leader versus a 62% chance for his brother David. No odds available on Kenny’s chances one day.



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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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