Sunday News Review

Where is the Opposition?

Darling warns of the danger of slash & burn - but where are the leadership candidates on the Economy?

“Labour needs to choose whether to oppose coalition cuts because it disapproves of the targets or because it disagrees with the fundamental need for a smaller state. If the latter, it needs a plan for delivering a wide range of services at lower cost. It needs a persuasive defence of the strategic function of government in sponsoring growth and policies to match.” – The Observer

“I am proud of the Labour government’s record in returning the economy to growth. Of the action we took to prevent recession turning into depression. The Tories want us to forget that they supported every penny of our spending until the end of 2008 – only then to revert to type by opposing our support for the economy when it was needed most, in the heat of the financial crisis.Wrong on the recession, and now wrong on the recovery. I fear the Tory budget joins the new European rush for collective austerity.” – Alistair Darling, The Observer

The race to September

“But when asked to describe the position he is now in, with a likely fight to the bitter end with his elder brother, he hints at the strain it is having on their relationship, how he is having to cope with it changing – although, he hopes, not for ever […] How does Ed feel when, for example, David slaps him down in public over his opposition to Iraq or when – as happened during the live debate on Newsnight last week – he talks over him? Mr Miliband says: “It is the ‘new normal’, in the sense that I never thought I would find myself in the position of – never mind being on national television in a debate with him – but being in a hustings with him.” – The Independent

Labour leadership hustings have turned into a veritable love-in for the “I don’t know how he does it” generation, as David Miliband talked of the sacrifices both sexes are forced to make for politics while Andy Burnham admitted to missing his children. Ed Balls even complained that male MPs with young families were less likely than women to be excused late-night votes by the whips.” – The Observer

“As ComRes publishes polling that suggests Labour support is stagnant since the general election at just 30% (Con 36%, Lab 30%, LD 23%), today’s events were mostly focussed around the BAME hustings in Leicester. To coincide with that, one of the candidates made an announcement about the extent of their support from BAME elected members and activists, whilst another wants to see a “diversity fund” established.” – Labour List

“Inside Westminster, though, the strange new politics still does not mean that reality and fantasy are any more connected. Many new Labour MPs are very good. But what Labour describes as its new ‘openness’ means nothing more than that they have five leadership contenders: two brothers, another Ed, the one with the eyelashes and Diane Abbott.” – The Sunday Mail

Looking for the leadership? Turn left…

With 50 hustings and members to please will the candidates lurch left?

“The centre ground is where British elections are won and lost. That was Blair’s great genius in 1997 and that, whether all factions within the Tory party like it or not, is where the fact of the coalition is steering Cameron’s government. Even though the four men in the race were only children at the time they are all, surely, acutely aware of what Michael Foot’s leadership did to Labour in the years after the party lost power in 1979.” – Political Betting

“It is the leftward drift that is more interesting. Interesting because at some point the new Labour leader, whoever they are, will have to tell the party things it doesn’t want to hear. Mili-D’s best line on Newsnight was that Labour shouldn’t fall into the “false debate” that how much a Government spends is somehow a mark of success, rather than what it spends that money on.” – Paul Waugh Blog, The Evening Standard (From Friday but still worth a read)

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