Saturday News Review

Cash money

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

David Miliband, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, has raised at least £200,000, his campaign has revealed, as the disparity in financial backing for the five candidates emerges as a big issue. Two wealthy donors have each given him £50,000, sparking accusations within the party that the former foreign secretary is deploying far more staff than his rivals and is in danger of “buying the election” with “Blairite” support. – The Guardian


More than 2 million people have a vote in the Labour leadership election, which will trudge on through the summer to a crescendo on 25 September. But how many will avail themselves of the chance to vote must be a cause for concern. The Society of Labour Lawyers has completed a ballot of its 598 members to decide which candidates would receive the society’s formal backing. Labour lawyers, you might think, would be among the more motivated sections of the electorate, yet turn out in this ballot was a dismal eight per cent. In other word, 48 out of 598 bothered to vote. The result was Ed Miliband 18, David Miliband 17, Diane Abbott 8, Andy Burnham 9, and Ed Balls nil. If that reflects the level of enthusiasm, it is not going to be a resounding mandate. – The Independent

The contest has raised barely an eyebrow of public interest, though whoever wins may find low expectations a blessing. There is nowhere to go but up, as opinion polls offer cold comfort. Guardian readers should not be deceived by our daily reasoned critiques of profoundly misguided government policies. The coalition may be about to crash the economy, shipwreck the NHS and splinter the education system but the public does not agree, as yet. The coalition’s honeymoon may last a while. – The Guardian

The markets

After a week where Labour’s leadership betting has been driven by the number of union endorsements going to Ed Miliband and the Left Foot Forward projection the move to the younger M has stalled. At one stage yesterday the Betfair last trade was in to 2.6 on EdM with DaveM easing to 1.72. That’s changed sharply. The main factor overnight has been EdM’s grilling by Andrew Neil on the “This Week” programme when, like the other four, he was put under a lot of pressure. Neil is by far the best political interviewer at the moment and he’s superb at probing weaknesses. – Political Betting

Political observers following the Labour Party’s leadership battle may be interested to learn one bookmakers has cut the odds on Ed Miliband being elected. William Hill has slashed the price on the politician to 6/4 from 2/1, with his brother David rated as the 4/7 favourite. “Momentum is an amazing thing and with the way things are going, Ed could be favourite by the weekend,” noted the company’s spokesman Rupert Adams. Behind the Miliband brothers in the market are the likes of Ed Balls, who has odds of 12/1, 20/1 shot Andy Burnham and female candidate Diane Abbott, who is 3/1. –  

The game is the game: Oona fields a (St)ringer

Wild-eyed leftists?

Whilst the campaign is being fought without the acrimony that has characterised some Labour leadership elections, the likely very tight result between the two Milibands is causing a bit of what I can only describe as naughtiness in the David camp in terms of how they are trying to portray Ed (and indeed Ed Balls). There seems to be a concerted effort to paint Ed (and Ed) as wild-eyed leftists. This was evident in recent commentary by my friend Paul Richards and by Dan Hodges and in press articles by Phil Collins and Anne McElvoy. – Labour List

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