Friday News Review

Show me the money

David Miliband has raised more in donations than any of the other candidates

Since launching his bid to replace Gordon Brown in May, accounts issued by the Electoral Commission show that the shadow foreign secretary has raised nearly £200,000 from major donors alone. He has also drawn in 94 smaller gifts of less than £1,500, which do not have to be declared. In contrast, Ed Balls, the shadow education secretary and his nearest rival, has raked in less than £30,000, and Mr Miliband’s younger brother Ed, the shadow energy secretary, has only £15,000. – The Telegraph

Black Country MP John Spellar has offered a donation of £13,000 to Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls’s campaign – but he doesn’t expect ever to pay it. Mr Spellar is listed as a donor in a new register published by the Electoral Commission which shows how much the candidates have received. Shadow Foreign Secretary David Miliband is in the lead in the cash stakes, with £185,265 in financial support from major backers. – The Birmingham Post

David Miliband brandished his political fundraising abilities today as it emerged he had attracted far more in donations to his Labour leadership bid than any of his rivals. The shadow foreign secretary has so far racked up £185,265 in financial support from major backers, according to the Electoral Commission. That is apart from 94 other donations of less than £1,500 which do not need to be declared and two cash gifts from the Usdaw and Community unions which will be listed in future months. – The Guardian

Figures released by the Electoral Commission today show that Miliband Sr raked in an impressive £185,000 in June, with Ed Balls trailing on £28,000 (he picked up £15K from the novelist Ken Follett) and Ed Miliband in third place on £15,000. Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott didn’t receive any donations over the £1,500 declaration threshold. Miliband’s war chest includes £20,000 from the top Labour donor, Lord Sainsbury (plus £11,188 for office use), £10,000 each from the film-maker David Puttnam and the IT mogul Parry Mitchell, and £6,000 from the Blur drummer, Dave Rowntree. – The New Statesman

The former Justice Secretary Jack Straw yesterday raised Labour fears that the coalition Government may follow the trail blazed by Margaret Thatcher, and use its majority in Parliament to force through contentious legislation on union funding of the Labour Party. Labour and the Tories have held discussions on whether to limit individual donations to political parties, probably to £50,000. Labour says this should not apply to union affiliation fees, claiming that they are made up of thousands of small individual contributions. – The Independent

Save our schools

"Pipsqueak" Michael Gove comes under fire

Couldn’t get much worse? Alas for Mr Gove, it could. His opponent – some might think nemesis – is Ed “Bulldozer” Balls, a pugilist clued up on what is happening in the playground, the staffroom and the union backrooms. While his outrage is genuine, the discomfiture of Mr Gove could hardly have come at a better time for him. Mr Balls is busy signing people up for his ‘Save our Schools’ campaign and urging protestors to join union marches. While the other Labour leadership candidates conduct a Twitter travelogue from British byways, Mr Balls is mustering his troops against the LibCon government. Mr Gove must be regretting that he ever decided not to fix the classroom roofs while the sun was shining on the Coalition. The clouds are gathering; the honeymoon is over. – The Telegraph

Civil liberties

Ed Miliband today warned his shadow cabinet colleagues not to try to “out-right the right” on crime, but follow the lead of the Ken Clarke who wants to reduce prison sentences. The leadership contender’s remarks differ sharply from Jack Straw, the shadow justice secretary, who said that sending more people to jail had cut crime. “I don’t think we should try to out-right the right on crime,” Miliband said. “A lot of what [Clarke] is doing is motivated by budget cuts; but he is opening up an opportunity for us to redefine part of the debate about criminal justice.” – The Guardian

It wasn’t me guv

Ed Balls MP (r), the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, and Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, play in the Journalists vs Labour Party football match on September 27, 2009 in Brighton, England. The annual match was won by the journalists with a score of 5-1.

Ed Balls has denied any involvement in briefings against Andy Burnham

In an interesting twist to this story, the shadow education secretary himself has been in touch with me to deny the claims in McSmith’s piece (and George’s blogpost). He said: “There is no truth in these allegations, in these smears about me or my supporters. It is complete nonsense. Andy and I get on very well and no one from my team was involved in these briefings.” And it seems Balls and Burnham have been in discussions about the claims in the Independent: “Andy Burnham and I spoke this morning and we both agreed that any suggestion of him pulling is out rubbish. We both agreed that no one surrounding me has made this allegation. And both of us think there is mischief being made — but it’s not coming from my team or his team. It’s coming from a third party.” – The New Statesman

The future needs to be bright

Labour’s leadership contenders are fighting the last war. In truth, no one cares whether they are for or against the Coalition. Every government has a honeymoon period and, while obviously Labour must pursue its role as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, there is a real danger here. What politicians say after a defeat is mainly ignored by the public, but it still registers. The impression of opposing everything hangs around – you become seen, in the American journalist William Safire’s deathless phrase, as nattering nabobs of negativism. – The Telegraph

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One Response to “Friday News Review”

  1. Jonathan Todd says:

    The Gove picture so clearly says “pipsqueak” that it made me laugh. Good choice.

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