Friday News Review

Future direction

“Labour’s acting boss Harriet Harman must be tearing her posh hair out. The party leadership battle is turning into Mad Hattie’s tea party. Six hats are in the ring: David and Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, left-winger John McDonnell and Diane Abbott. This is becoming a Whitehall farce, with insufficient room on the stage for all the competing egos.” – The Mirror

“This contest has been anticipated for years. The line-up is roughly as predicted. But there is an unexpected context: in ways that many in the Labour Party are yet to appreciate, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has redefined the demands and prospects of opposition, as well as the shape of government.” – The Economist

“So we must be both a responsible Opposition and a strong and effective fighting force in Parliament. Because if we do not speak up for working people when their public services are threatened and their children’s futures are put at risk, then no
one will. So we must stand together and stand up to the Tories and the Lib Dems. I believe Labour’s secret weapon will be our ability and willingness to listen.” – Ed Balls, The Mirror

“Brothers David Miliband, 44, and Ed Miliband, 40, have shared almost everything in life, including a dark, serious appearance that often causes them to be mistaken for one another. First, they were classmates at Oxford, then Labour Party activists and writers, then fellow members of Parliament, then senior cabinet ministers in Gordon Brown’s government.Only now, as these political celebrities are running against each other to replace Mr. Brown as leader of the Labour Party, is it becoming apparent to casual observers that there are actual differences between the Miliband boys.” – Globe and Mail

Diane Abbott leadership bid

“The Labour leadership election gained a new lease of life today as parliament’s first black female MP, Diane Abbott, entered the race and the party extended the deadline for nominations, giving extra time for new candidates to emerge. Declaring her surprise decision to run, Abbott said all the other candidates “looked the same” and promised to fight to recapture the civil liberties agenda from the coalition of Tories and Liberal Democrats. “I looked at the field and said: ‘If not now, when? And if not me, who?'” she told Radio 4’s Today programme.” – The Guardian

“The first step would be to revive internal party democracy. If we had had genuine party democracy and a real voice for members, then the Labour government would have avoided some of its more obvious blunders, like raising pensions by a provocatively tiny eight pence, doing away with the 10p tax rate and (above all) the illegal war in Iraq. Furthermore, the reason we now have such a narrow choice of candidates to choose from is that the internal democratic structures of the party, which once provided a ladder for talent from all its wings, have been allowed to wither away.” – Diane Abbott, The Independent

“The field of candidates expanded to six after Andy Burnham, the former Health Secretary, and then Ms Abbott joined the race. Ms Abbott, a left-winger and Britain’s first black woman MP, is gatecrashing a leadership election that appeared to be a battle between five white men.” – The Times

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