4 More MPs Declare for Kendall

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This morning Liz Kendall has got four more public declarations from Chuka Umunna, Emma Reynolds, Jonathan Reynolds and Stephen Twigg which together with the weekend’s backing from Simon Danczuk now puts her on 20 public nominations – 3 ahead of Cooper and only 4 behind Burnham. They’re well known high profile names…

Full list of declared supporters can be found here: order-order.com/labdec send updates to team@order-order.com.

As Polls Plummet New Labour Control Freakery Returning

Michael Dugher was until recently Ed Miliband’s PPS, he wants to beEd’s Mandelson and is clearly keen on enforcing “the line”. However implausible it may be.

Yesterday’s Post-PMQs collective head-in-hands moment by the left-wing commentariat really has upset the dwindling Miliband true-believers. LabourList editor Mark Ferguson, who yesterday implicitly called for Ayesha Hazariki to be sacked (PMQs Verdict: Cut the Gags, Ed), is only reflecting what the Labour grassroots are saying in private. According to YouGov only 8% of Labour voters think Ed Miliband is a natural leader. Enforcing New Labour style discipline on propaganda isn’t going to change that fact.

Dolly and Mandy Reunited

Mandelson told a Progress faction seminar at Portcullis House last night some home truths. “People will not support further tax and spend unless they can see clear value for money. Further enlarging public sector employment is not an option in the coming decade and we need to look to the real economy, to the private business sector, to deliver sufficient numbers of decently paid skilled jobs.”*

Among the Blairite acolytes (Rentoul was in the chair) was Guido’s old friend Dolly Draper. Westminster is seeing too much of Dolly. Mandelson told the Progress crowd “If I talk about the past it is to learn from it, not to go back to it.”

We can but hope…

*A co-conspirator points out that in an oddly Orwellian piece of censorship this “money quote” is missing from the official report on the Progress website.

How Liam Byrne Could Help the "Squeezed Middle"

Liam Byrne says that the “squeezed middle” are those on between £16,000 to £50,000 and Labour’s task in reviewing policy is to help them. Guido is glad to hear it. Presumably he would therefore support those struggling on middle incomes being taken out of the higher-rate tax bracket, which kicks in at a ridiculously low £37,401? That is smack bang in the middle of the range he defines, surely it should kick in at £50,001, above the income levels of those hard squeezed middle classes. C’mon Liam, review that policy…

Red Ed The Taste of a New Generation

Red Ed’s speech is going to be, in the words of one who had seen a draft of it yesterday, “vacuous” and full of talk of a “new generation”. It will be a saccharine speech sharing not just a slogan with Pepsi, its content will also be sugary and vague, without New Labour’s ideologically bitter edge. Red Ed is the synthetic taste of New New Labour…

Miliband Disses Brown Again

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David Miliband is being less and less coded in his criticism of Brown, by New Labour’s standards of neo-Leninist loyalty these muted criticisms of the past are pretty strong. Following on from his Keir Hardie speech it looks increasingly like he and Mandelson intend to bury Brown and his allies with the historical truth.

UPDATE : The Blairite plot thickens, Tony himself is letting it be known that contrary to reports, “I specifically have said to all who have asked that I’m NOT angry!” that Mandy’s book is out. Let the bloodletting begin…

Is this Labour's Khrushchev Moment of Truth?

When Rawnsley’s The End of the Party book came out in January on the heels of Peter Watt’s Inside Out and the allegations of Prime Mentalism committed by Gordon Brown were again denied, Guido predicted that Labour Will Have a Khrushchev Moment of Truth in the End:

When Brown has gone after the election it seems inevitable that we will eventually have a Khrushchev moment, where a senior Labour figure articulates what everyone knows.  It will be devastating.  Gordon Brown is a malevolent, deeply damaged and unpleasant human being.  He is at the centre of a culture of political bullying that has been unhealthy for the Labour Party and the government.  The loyalist cabal around him are unpleasant people who have no place in a healthy political culture, they are as secretive and malicious as they are vindictive and vicious.

Gordon Brown was often compared to Stalin, but who will be Labour’s senior Krushchev figure who condemns the previous regime? Mandelson has laid to rest any continuing pretence (if there was any) about the TeeBeeGeeBees, the vicious infighting that paralysed Whitehall for a decade, yet was denied on camera in barefaced lying by Labour politician after Labour politician, including Mandelson. Mandelson is getting all the coverage for his book The Third Man highlighting the failings of Gordon Brown. Less focus is on David Miliband, Mandelson’s new protege gave a speech yesterday that comes near to that Krushchev moment

I agreed completely with Gordon Brown, when he became Prime Minister in 2007, that we needed renewal.  I supported and voted for him.  I agreed that we needed greater moral seriousness and less indifference to the excesses of a celebrity drenched culture.  I agreed with him when he said that we needed greater coherence as a government, particularly in relation to child poverty and equality.  I agreed with him on the importance of party reform and a meaningful internationalism that would be part of a unified government strategy.  I agreed that we needed a civic morality to champion civility when confronting a widespread indifference to others. But, it didn’t happen. It was not just more of the same.  Far from correcting them failings – tactics, spin, high-handedness – intensified; and we lost many of our strengths – optimism born of clear strategy, bold plans for change and reform, a compelling articulation of aspiration and hope.  We did not succeed in renewing ourselves in office; and the roots of that failure were deep not recent, about procedure and openness, or lack of it, as much as policy.  That is a political fact and now words are cheap but the stakes are high.

It was a backhanded condemnation of Brown’s failure. If David Miliband wants Labour to move on, a frank, uncoded, reflection on the period of Labour brutalism is required. Brown was a disaster for the Labour Party and the country, if Miliband wants a reborn Labour Party he first has to bury Brown in the truth.

UPDATE : Punters give David Miliband a 63% chance of being the next Labour leader.

+ + + Sky: Purnell Standing Down at GE + + +

Update 10.47:  Seems this was shock even to his own constituency office: “trying to find out what going on! i was with him last night, he was talking about the rest of campaign.. odd

+++ Source : Purnell Organising Drinks Party Monday Night +++

Target GordonIn the circumstances it will be viewed with suspicion by Brown central that he is organising a drinks party at Manchester town hall to coincide with the meeting of the PLP on Monday night. Is Purnell  expecting to have something to celebrate?

Post-Election On-Message "Lines to Take" from Labour HQ

If you have ever wondered how it is that all the broadcasters always seem to end up with on-message Labour talking-heads spouting exactly the same drivel after an election, here is why – Labour HQ emails everyone a briefing on “lines to take” before they go on air.  The degree of control demanded by New Labour means ambitious MPs can’t be allowed to think up their own answers.

Hence we end up with a series of robotic talking heads mouthing the party line.  Backbenchers and cabinet ministers alike will all parrot the same form of words regardless of the question asked.  If you were watching the news yesterday you will have heard the script.  Guido is grateful to a “real socialist” co-conspirator for providing yesterday’s “lines to take”.  If you want to see it, Guido has uploaded the dull script to here.   Hopefully the next leader of the Labour Party will be less Stalinist and permit Labour MPs to think for themselves…

UPDATE : It appears that Paul Waugh has blogged this already.

Is Labour Sincerely Sorry?Labour Fakes 'Personal' Letters of Apology

The SNP have got hold of the formulaic HQ-drafted fake apologies being sent out by Labour’s MPs, MEPs and local councillors.

The suggested letter to be sent by MPs (see full letter here) begins

Dear [Insert Name]

I thought twice about sending this letter because I know how rightly angry people are with MPs. I suspect that you are fed up to the back teeth as day after day more stories come out showing greed and, in some cases, serious wrongdoing. I would like to echo Gordon Brown’s words – that I’m sorry that the political system and some MPs have let you down.

The letter for Labour’s local councillors

Dear [Insert Name]

I know how angry people are with Westminster politicians. I suspect you are as fed up I am, as day after day more stories come out showing greed and in some cases, serious wrongdoing. I would like to echo Gordon Brown’s words – that I am sorry that the political system and some MPs have let you down.

The suggested letter to be sent by MEPs is more of the same

Dear [Insert Name]

I know how angry people are with Westminster politicians. I suspect you are as fed up as I am as day after day more stories come out showing greed and in some cases, serious wrongdoing. I would like to echo Gordon Brown’s words – that I am sorry that the political system has let you down.

They are echoing Gordon’s words alright, he finds it difficult to say sorry, they can’t even be bothered to find their own words.  Don’t they really mean “we are sorry we got caught?”

Sickened Alice Mahon Quits Labour

Alice MahonAlice Mahon, a Halifax MP for 18 years and a left-wing Labour Party member for more than half-a-century, has resigned her membership of the party saying she can no longer stomach how it operates.

In her letter to the Halifax Constituency Labour Party she criticises the Prime Minister: “This Labour Government should hang its head in shame for inflicting this on the British public just as we face the most severe recession any of us have experienced in a lifetime.”

The Smeargate revelations left her “sickened”. According to the Yorkshire Post:

“My stepdaughter Rachel said to me: ‘How could they do that to people like David Cameron and his wife Samantha when they had recently lost their son Ivan? What kind of people think it would be a good idea to smear them?’

“I was sickened by that – that is not the Labour Party that I joined all those years ago… Quite simply I have had it with New Labour.”

Decent Labour versus New Labour…

Union Boss has Bling Lifestyle

Grandad Fawkes was a Fabian in his youth (we are all allowed a few follies), he once recounted to a young Guido the day he lost his faith in the Labour Party. He was in his mid-twenties, on the lowest rung of corporate management and was delighted to be invited out with his superiors to a fantastically expensive restaurant (on expenses).

This was in the miserable seventies, industrial strife was terrible, strikes and union unrest were marking the decline of the country. Despite all this Grandad Fawkes believed in the ideals of equality and justice for all. On a neighbouring restaurant table he noticed union bosses recognisable from so many television news broadcasts, where they would without fail bemoan the plight of their members. The union bosses were enjoying themselves immensely, ordering the best wines and cigars like plutocrats. In that moment he realised his naivety.

So it is no surprise to learn, that Unite’s Derek Simpson is not satisfied with his annual £150,000 package, nor his £800,000 grace and favour union house. He stays weekdays at the Waldorf, despite living a mere half-an-hour from the office. “Nothing is too good for the workers” they say. Derek Simpson enjoys the use of a luxury suite that usually rents for £500 a night. Unite, his union, is Labour’s biggest paymaster.

Ordinary union members couldn’t dream of the bling chauffeur-driven lifestyle he leads – paid for out of their dues.

Not a Hoon Tall Story

Cambridge educated Geoff Hoon was leaving nothing to chance with his daughter’s own entrance interview. A co-conspirator was surprised to see him back in November (Sunday, 23 November 2008) at the expensive Interview Preparation Day held at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Edgbaston run by Mayfair based Oxbridge Applications. Guido would of course do the same if he thought it would give his daughter an edge, however Guido isn’t an advocate of comprehensive education and egalitarianism like Geoff Hoon. So it is a little hypocritical to see him buying his daughter a private educational advantage.

A Guido co-conspirator writes:

With my (state school educated) son trying for Oxbridge, I decided to give him a better chance against the private school competition by shelling out £295 for an interview training day, held in Birmingham.

As I waited for my son in the foyer, I was suprised to see Geoff Hoon, Minister of Transport, sitting a couple of seats away from me. Labour Minister gives offspring an unfair advantage in applying to top university? Surely not!

Mr Hoon was studiously perusing a sheaf of papers, writing notes in the margin. Perhaps some papers relating to the third runway at Heathrow? Our Transport Minister had to answer a call of nature, and left the room, leaving the pile of papers unattended on his chair. As a loyal citizen, I kept a protective watch over what may have been very important documents. I should have taken a picture too…

In due course his six foot tall daughter emerged from the lecture room and the two left in a hurry.

Miss Hoon is in fact so tall that she was identified by the UK government’s Sport’s “Sporting Giants” scheme. The scheme was launched in conjunction with the English Institute of Sport to identify those tall athletes who have the potential to excel in handball, volleyball and rowing, and at 6ft Miss Hoon was among those attending a Manchester session in the summer of 2007.

Wonder if Hoon got his money’s worth and she got an offer?

Meet the New Deputy Leader of the Commons

Another serious person for serious times. Chris Bryant is the deputy leader of the house. His main qualification for this is that he is a Brown loyalist, one of the curry house plotters who can be relied on to be alert to and determined to frustrate the ambitions of Miliband.

Presumably that is the reason for the installation of the strange Sion Simon as a minister for the crown. Tom Watson also remains close to the centre of power in the Cabinet Office where he can continue to brief against internal enemies of the the Prime Mentalist. Watson will have been pleased with himself having seen off Stephen Carter. Nick Brown as chief whip is the ultimate factional enforcer.

This government intake are the second-raters who would never have prospered during New Labour’s prime. They are distinguished only in the way that Kamikaze pilots were distinguished in their loyalty to the emperor. It is going to be a heck of a lot of fun, and a dirty fight to the death.

Brown Buggered : Latest Poll of Marginals Has Labour Losing 164 Seats

The News of the World’s post conference season poll of marginals shows that things have got worse for Brown since last year – with Labour now looking set to lose 164 marginal seats (full data set pdf).

Can Mandy save Gordon? After taking a post-conference break from politics for a day to reflect and re-charge, Guido can only see this appointment as an act of desperation. Mandelson is despised by three-quarters of his own party. He is a poisonous political operator. He repels voters and represents so much of what is wrong with politics.

The Labour loyalist pundit David Aaronovitch was asked what he made of the return of Mandelson, “I don’t think I understand anything anymore” was his reply. The only way to understand this is to put yourself inside the mind of the politically weak Prime Mentalist. He needed to buy time. Bringing back Mandelson may buy off some of the former Blairites, hugging his enemy close. (Although if there is one person Charles Clarke hates more than Gordon Brown, it is Peter Mandelson). This won’t be welcomed by the voters.

UPDATE : Have just noticed, and this must be a first, that Kevin Maguire shares Guido’s analysis: Gordon Brown’s Bonkers Moment of Mandy Madness“. Glad to see Kevin, just like Polly did, is finally coming round…

Whatever Happened to an “End to Spin”?

The return of a troika of three New Labour high priests of spin is striking. Draper is never off the airwaves, Campbell is popping up more and more often. Now the Prince of Darkness himself returns to Westminster from across the sea. New Labour lives!

UPDATE : Am beginning to think that Brown has been quite clever, with the return of Mandelson, he will no longer be the public’s most hated Labour politician. This is going to be more fun than an Irish wake.

The Labour Left Looms

The lumpen left of the Labour Party reckons the answer to voter disenchantment is to abandon the centre and turn back to the old ways. A fish rots from the head, the weakness of the party leader makes it more likely that this rot will take hold.

Paul Mason, Newsnight’s shop steward, could barely contain his excitement last night reporting the prospect of a battered Brown introducing higher taxes on high earners, windfall corporate taxes and the expected soon to be announced “equality agenda” – in other words leveling down. This will be kamikaze left-wing stuff. Britain is already sliding down the economic competitiveness league, the Irish are welcoming FTSE 100 companies making the taxodus from HMRC’s demands. Gordon will now be weighing up a shift leftwards, to shore up his position within the party, giving some red meat to the activists and pundits like Polly Toynbee. It will be a change of policy direction based entirely on self -preservation.

He could survive the party conference whatever the polls by promising a left-wing lurch…

+++ Dougie Apologises +++

Just in from the Press Association:

“I, of course, apologise for any actions or omissions on my part which contributed to the problems encountered in the Scottish elections…”

A sign of the underlying weakness of his position.

When in trouble apologise and try to move the story on. Rule 3 from the Blair/Mandelson/Campbell Media Play Book.

UPDATE : The Lobby today asked the PMS again “if the Prime Minister had full confidence in Douglas Alexander”. This is the formula the Lobby uses when they mean “is the PM going to sack ‘im”. Two days in a row, not a good sign…

Dougie Alexander is a Liability

The damning conclusion of the Scottish Election Review, commissioned by the Electoral Commission was that ‘both the Scotland Office and the Scottish Executive were frequently focused on partisan political interests in carrying out their responsibilities, overlooking voter interests and operational realities’ and that ‘characteristic of 2007 was a notable level of party self-interest evident in Ministerial decisions-making’.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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