Wednesday News Review

Ed M woos the press

Ed Miliband impressed at press lunch

I have been listening to Labour leadership challenger Ed Miliband wooing a notoriously sceptical audience, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. And I’m wondering: Is he Labour’s David Cameron? Having observed him giving several impressive party conference speeches in recent years, I’ve noted before that his style is similar: shirt sleeves, no jacket, strolling around the podium, speaking without notes. But now, as Ed Miliband enters the crucial summer period in the Labour leadership contest against his four rivals, he appears to be adopting another Cameron tactic, dumping large parts of party policy. – Sky

Ed Miliband has just emerged from a lunch talk in front of dozens of journalists in the — for a politician — not un-intimidating surroundings of the press gallery restaurant in the House of Commons. Miliband appeared to impress most present with a speech laced with jokes in the first half. One of the most notable of these was when he said that he didn’t need to brief journalists while he was working for Gordon Brown because he “shared an office with the forces of hell”, in a reference to Alistair Darling’s comments about hard-core Brownites who briefed against him in recent years. – The New Statesman

Speaking at a Press Gallery lunch, Mr Miliband said: “I do not begrudge him at all the chance to offer his reflections, because I think he served the party extremely loyally. “What is absolutely clear is that we need to move on as a political party from the culture, methods and ways of that New Labour establishment.” Saying that Lord Mandelson’s book should “close a chapter,” he added: “I believe I am the candidate who can move Labour on.” – The Telegraph

Policy give away

Ed Miliband, one of the frontrunners for the top job, praised the scrapping of Labour’s flagship ID card scheme by the coalition Government. The shadow energy secretary also said that Labour had to be as “clear eyed” about its mistakes as David Cameron had been in 2005 when he took over as Tory leader. – The Herald

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has said further tax rises should be considered to cut the deficit, saying the party has been “too timid” on the issue in the past. He told the BBC News Channel he would make a “moral case” for tax playing a bigger part in reducing borrowing as opposed to even deeper spending cuts. While “nobody likes tax”, he said cuts could “wreck entire lives”. – The BBC

Labour did not do enough to make part-nationalised banks lend to individuals and businesses, Ed Miliband has said, turning his back on a key part of Labour’s response to the financial crisis. Mr Miliband, the second favourite in the Labour leadership election, was a member of Gordon Brown’s inner circle for more than a decade, but told reporters on Tuesday that his former leader had been too soft on making banks lend. – The FT

What next?

McFadden to warn that the electorate will tune out from Labour

The electorate will tune out from Labour if the party ends up looking as if it is in denial about the public sector deficit, Pat McFadden, the shadow industry secretary, will today warn his party. He will accuse the government of excessive faith in growth led by the private sector, but will say Labour must not head into a comfort zone of wishing away the need to cut spending. In a speech to the Fabian Society, McFadden will warn: “Fight the cuts is a tempting slogan in opposition, and there are indeed some that must be fought. But if that is all we are saying the conclusion will be drawn that we are wishing the problem away. – The Guardian

The vuvuzelas have fallen silent yet the plasticy monotone goes endlessly on, its constancy inuring you to the whine until the decibel level fractionally changes and you can’t help but be driven mad by it again. Will this apology for a Labour leadership campaign never cease? For two months it’s supplied the irritating background drone to the coalition action on the pitch, and still it has two months to run, or crawl, or limp, or waddle towards a conclusion that long ago came to feel stiflingly irrelevant. – The Independent

Pity the poor Labour leadership candidates. They will find out on Saturday, September 25, which one of them has won the election to become leader of the party and leader of the opposition. The winner will then have to deliver the leader’s speech to conference on Tuesday – the pinnacle of any of their careers so far. The problem is that writing such a crucial speech will take more than just three days. If it is to live up to the occasion the process will begin weeks, if not months, in advance.  – The FT

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