Thursday News Review

 The candidates

Andy Burnham, a contender for the leadership of the Labour Party, has accused supporters of a rival camp of conducting “malicious briefing” in the hope of getting him to throw in the towel. His remarks are the first public sign of mutual antagonism in a leadership contest that has been marked by restrained language up to now. – The Independent

ALLIES of Ed Balls fear his Labour leadership campaign is about to be wrecked by damaging revelations in an explosive book by his political foe Lord Mandelson, it emerged last night. The Labour peer’s memoirs are set to be published next week amid growing speculation that he will lift the lid on the feuding and spite that infected the party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. – The Express

We interviewed him this afternoon to find out why he believes the gay community should back his leadership bid, if he agrees with full marriage equality and why he enthusiastically supports the Pope’s UK visit. His answer to the first question is short and direct: “I’ve got the beliefs and capabilities to lead us back into government and build a more equal country.” Pink News

Civil liberties

The really alarming development is the extent to which some senior Labour figures seem eager to wave civil liberties goodbye. This obviously started with the conviction that Labour had “failed to listen” to the voters on immigration (while, in fact, the people who were most dramatically ignored in the general election were the BNP). The theme has been addressed by leadership contenders, and taken up more robustly by the Labour commentariat. Recently, Prospect magazine’s David Goodhart insisted that too much of the party’s rhetoric had been “liberal universalist” and that “Labour must become the anti-immigration party”. – The Guardian


ROTHERHAM MP Denis MacShane has called for an internal Labour Party vote on reforms to the electoral system. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a national referendum will be held next May on a possible switch to the Alternative Vote system – in which voters list their preferred politicians in order, rather than just choosing one candidate. Mr MacShane said the referendum risked dividing his party. – Sheffield Star 


I do worry for YouGov that so much output might devalue the way their polling is seen – it could be regarded as less of a “special event” than, say, an ICM poll. I also worry whether polling should be restricted to 24 hour fieldwork periods. The election outcome affected my views on internet polling – I’m less of an enthusiast. At the election five of the top six slots in the polling accuracy table went to phone pollsters. Five of the bottom six slots were occupied by internet firms. For the record the overnight YouGov Twitter had – CON 40% (-1): LAB 36% (nc): LD 17% (+2). – Political Betting

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