Archive for July, 2010

Manchester Labour leadership hustings: Laughometer

31/07/2010, 04:13:53 PM

This is the laughometer from today’s Labour Party hustings in Manchester.

As usual, tiny chuckles weren’t recorded. 

We maintained our rule that to score, you had to get a proper laugh from a significant portion of the room. 

The laughometer was close to breaking point under the strain of the hilarity today. On todays appearance Diane may be making her way to Edinburgh next week.

Diane Abbott – 6

David Miliband – 2

Ed Miliband – 4

Ed Balls – 3

Andy Burnham – 2

The results were taken by an experienced laughometer operator, who knows the difference between a titter and a roar.

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Come on candidates, let’s hear what you’ve got

31/07/2010, 03:16:45 PM

For those readers old enough to have attended a concert given by a proper ‘rock band’, you will be familiar with the role of a ‘roadie’. As well as lumping around heavy musical equipment, obtaining narcotics for the band and procuring groupies for the purposes of sexual gratification, their more mundane task is to make sure the band’s guitars are in tune.
With not long of the Labour Leadership World Tour to go, some of our prospective lead singers could do with a good roadie. Not to fulfill the more unseemly aspects of their job description you understand; but to fine-tune candidates’ rhetorical stratocasters. Because I don’t know about you, but my ears are starting to hurt a bit.  
Can I make a suggestion? Can we just take it as read that all candidates in this leadership contest are motivated by their “values.” That they all want to “reconnect”. That they are all committed to “renewal” and “fairness”. And that they all want to “listen?”


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Caption contest: Michael Gove wacky races special

31/07/2010, 02:36:17 PM


Another bad week for the Education Secretary. Captions please.

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Saturday News Review

31/07/2010, 08:45:38 AM

Home straight

The five candidates vying to suceed former prime minister Gordon Brown as the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party face their final hustings Sunday before voting gets under way. The five will face questions from an audience of hundreds of party members in Manchester, northwest England. – AFP

David’s campaign is now confident he will win but is determined not to appear complacent in public. Ed’s campaign, though, still believes he can win on the basis of second preference votes. Under party rules, after the votes have been counted, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated until one has a simple majority of more than 50 per cent of the votes cast. The other three candidates know they are some way behind in the race but all are determined not to give up. Ed Balls, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, rejected speculation that he was thinking of throwing in the towel. He said: “I’m fighting to the end and I’m fighting to win.” – Tribune


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Westminster Labour party mayoral hustings: laughometer

30/07/2010, 03:35:50 PM

This is the laughometer from last night’s Westminster Labour Party mayoral hustings, held in the Stow Centre, Harrow Road.

As usual, tiny chuckles weren’t recorded. 

We maintained our rule that to score, you had to get a proper laugh from a significant portion of the room. 

It was a particularly dry night as far as laughs were concerned, at least from the candidates. Friend of Uncut and all-round man about town John McTernan chaired the event and kept the spirits up, dispelling the myth that he’s a dour Scotsman.  

Ken Livingstone – 1

Oona King – 1

The results were taken by an experienced laughometer operator, who knows the difference between a titter and a roar.

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In the face of the BSF decision we must stand up for our schools, says Nick McDonald

30/07/2010, 02:36:11 PM

In Nottingham, we have recently started a campaign to protest against Michael Gove’s decision to cancel Labour’s Building Schools for the Future. His decision came as no surprise, but that will be of little comfort to the schools and learning centres that have fallen on the wrong side of the line.

The cancellation of BSF affects two of our schools; Top Valley School & Engineering College in the north of Nottingham and The Trinity School in the west. These two schools are special cases. They were to receive part of the £33 million funding specifically promised as an agreed fifth wave of BSF investment in Nottingham. But there are even more schools or learning centres here have had their building projects either scrapped entirely or dramatically reduced. For teachers, parents, and children of all of these schools this is clearly a devastating blow.


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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

30/07/2010, 01:59:21 PM

As reported earlier this week on Uncut, the PLP is considering the formation of a back benchers committee, along the lines of the Tories 1922 Committee.

As George Eaton argued back in May in the New Statesman, this would give a forum where MPs can discuss and debate issues without fear of ministerial interference, stating that:

The creation of a 2010 Committee would go some way to reversing the progressive centralisation of the party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

 The letter from Margaret Beckett which outlined the proposals for the shadow cabinet elections seemed to agree with Eaton’s view, stating:

 We believe the PLP standing orders should be re-drafted to recognise the Parliamentary Committee as a body that sits irrespective of whether we are in government or opposition, as a specific vehicle for the views of backbenchers to be put to the leadership on a regular and sustained basis.

In a follow up to Beckett’s letter, Tony Lloyd contacted the PLP again last night with a further proposal for change, based on an existing Tory system. This time setting out a proposal for a Labour parliamentary research unit, based on the Conservative Parliamentary Research Unit (PRU), which according to their website is:

 a non-profit making, shared service based in the Houses of Parliament, and provides briefing, research, correspondence and related support to 150 Conservative MPs and front bench peers wholly, exclusively and necessarily in support of their Parliamentary duties.

The party machine seems to be settling in, gearing up for opposition. Looking to ensure Labour MPs are ready to fight the good fight. Making sure the leadership doesn’t get carried away. Ensuring the voices of backbenchers are heard. 

All we need now is a leader to hear them.

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Is it time to worry yet Nick?

30/07/2010, 10:51:20 AM

Following on from the Bloxwich-West by-election Labour victory earlier this month, Labour gained another council seat from the Tories in the West Midlands last night.

Lynda Leach won the Bilston North by-election on a massive 13.1% swing from the Tories since May this year.

But it is Nick Clegg who should be the most concerned this morning. The Lib Dem vote collapsed, down over 90% since May. Yes that’s 90%. Simon Hughes must be rubbing his hands together today.

The victory gives Labour their 30th seat of 60 on Wolverhampton Council, and puts overall control within reach.


Lab 1292, Tory 460, BNP 131, UKIP 55, Lib Dem 52

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Richard Serunjogi says Oona’s got the passion and the pragmatism

30/07/2010, 08:35:24 AM

I managed to resist the tingling temptation to scribble my thoughts second-handed on the basis of twitter, blogs and the smokescreen of the media.  I waited until I’d seen Oona and Ken slug it out for myself. The wait was worth its while.

Ken Livingstone has seemed like such a hard candidate to beat to the Labour nomination that I have wondered why Oona King would even try. After last week’s showing it’s pretty clear why. The energy which filled London Young Labour’s (LYL) mayoral hustings could sum up our revitalising project in a phrase – the future, passion and pragmatism. (more…)

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Friday News Review

30/07/2010, 07:30:11 AM

Ed: targeted?

The leadership

Both the Reading East and Reading West constituency parties voted to give Ed Miliband ‘supporting nominations’ at a meeting on Thursday, following a visit to the town by the shadow climate secretary the week before. Reading Labour Party chairwoman Sarah King said: “There is a strong field of candidates in this election, and Thursday’s was a well-attended and lively meeting, with a number of new members taking part. Over 100 new members have joined Reading Labour Party since the election, determined to fight back against the damage the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition is inflicting on our country. Ed Miliband has a sense of vision that appeals to members in Reading, but local people know that, whoever wins the leadership, Labour will be in there fighting hard on their side.” – The Reading Chronicle.

Ed Balls’s campaign, pitched at school building cuts and VAT closures, has a concrete quality that his opponents’ have lacked. He would make the case for spending and borrowing more with economic literacy. Nor can the craftsman of Bank of England independence be easily dismissed as a wild man. However, his platform plays into the Tory narrative. Is that what Labour members want? – The Guardian.

Ed Miliband is under fire from all sides. “He just tickles the tummy of the party,” say some of the Blairites backing David Miliband. “He’s far too junior to be party leader,” say some of the Brownites backing Ed Balls. “He’ll take Labour back to the 1980s,” say the conservative commentators supporting David Cameron. We are witnessing Operation Target Ed Miliband. As he sets off for his summer holiday in Cornwall, the younger Miliband brother could be forgiven for thinking that he must be doing something right to be attracting such pointed criticism from rivals and right-wingers alike. – New Statesman.


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