Archive for August, 2010

Lefty weirdos and Tory bigots: Stewart Jackson MP and sex education

31/08/2010, 01:44:42 PM

Hannah McFaull wrote a striking piece on Labour Uncut recently about the future of sex education under the Tory-Lib Dem government.  Tory MP Stewart Jackson’s recent comments on the same subject are equally remarkable.

Mr. Jackson tweeted: “Sex education memo to sad tedious sex obsessed Leftie weirdos – you’re confusing me with someone who’s interested.”  So: you may be a Peterborough constituent. You may be interested in sex education (some people think it’s important). But your MP is not. So get lost.

Jackson’s row with the ‘tedious weirdo’, which has been picked up by his local paper, began after he tweeted: “Very disappointing news on STD rates in Peterborough. No doubt our liberal friends will tell us we need more sex education – as it’s worked so well!”

This followed publication of figures by the heath protection agency (HPA) showing that Peterborough has the fourth highest number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the eastern region.

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We must regroup, rebuild and consider ourselves electable says Claire French

31/08/2010, 10:41:00 AM

Following the events of the weeks post-election, I joined the Labour party as an enthused young person ready for the fight against the Con-Lib Dem government and their lust for cuts.

The party have suffered immensely without a leader to fight the government and its austerity package. While selecting somebody on merit and without debate would have been a mistake, the subsequent infighting – both in the leadership race and between the candidates to represent Labour in the London mayoral elections – is putting us on a slippery slope.

Opposing parties see us and those who represent us in parliament as no threat at all. We appear uncoordinated; we are stale and out of ideas.

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Tuesday News Review

31/08/2010, 07:00:24 AM

Ed hits back

Ed Mil hits back

Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband has hit back at veiled criticism from Lord Mandelson, insisting the party needed to change. Mr Miliband’s comments came after Lord Mandelson said Labour could be left in an “electoral cul-de-sac” if its next leader tried to create a “pre-New Labour party”. Lord Mandelson appeared to be referring to Mr Miliband in particular, in what is being seen as a personal attack. Mr Miliband said Labour must “move on”. – BBC News.

Positive press in the back yard

More than 1,000 councillors provided the Shadow Foreign Secretary with a huge boost at a crucial moment ahead of the ballot drop next week. Support comes from all corners of Britain as the father-of-two goes head-to- head with his brother Ed, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott. – Shields Gazette.

Blair: book trouble

Blair’s book

High-profile book launches are meant to be a bit of a circus. But it is hard to find a parallel for the mixture of hype and hatred that will attend the publication of Tony Blair’s memoirs on Wednesday. – Financial Times.

Burnham takes Lib Dem pulse

“You hold the key to the future of our NHS. People who voted for you at the election did not vote for such a radical break-up plan. I urge you to listen to them and stand up for our NHS in the face of this attack, which threatens to unpick its very fabric.” – Andy Burnham to Lib Dems, The Guardian.

Cruddas

Jon’s brand of socialism is based on moral foundations – don’t forget he’s a Catholic. When asked why he was backing David he reeled off a list areas on which they agree: “responsibility, family, duty, the importance of community.” I say this with no special knowledge or insight and I stand ready for an angry phone call rebutting the suggestion but it struck me that the fact David is married and Ed Miliband isn’t could also have been a (small) contributing factor in winning the Cruddas vote. – Jason Beattie, The Mirror.

Mullin’s diaries

‘When it’s all over, the big question will be how Gordon ever got there in the first place.’ – unnamed cabinet minister in Chris Mullin’s Decline and Fall, The Independent.

Abbott: Facebook slur

Abbott slur

A tory high-flyer has been forced to quit after writing a vile, expletivefilled rant about Labour MP Diane Abbott on his Facebook page…After the Sunday Mirror contacted the Party, Hallam’s details were removed and he quit his post. Last night he apologised, saying: “It was inappropriate.” –  The Mirror.

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We must be in the game, not shouting outside the stadium argues John Woodcock

30/08/2010, 12:58:32 PM

I spent some of my holiday reading accounts of the Thatcher government’s first term post 1979 (I know, my wife Mandy thought so too).

The longest suicide note in history is all well trodden territory. But it is still striking to think how different history could have been; how much more we could have done to protect people who desperately needed us back in those days if we had been prepared to play on the same pitch as the Tories from the outset instead of declaring that they were playing a deeply sinful game and choosing to demonstrate outside the stadium instead.

The Conservative government was able to inflict great damage on many parts of the UK; not least my constituency of Barrow and Furness and home city of Sheffield, because we attacked them for everything instead of acknowledging where they had a point in their basic analysis. We could have offered a tough but progressive alternative, but because we couldn’t even recognise where the Tories were half right, we could not convince the public about where they were going disastrously wrong. And we could not even begin to offer a credible ‘better option’.

What if, back then, we had agreed with the government that many nationalised industries of the time were indeed appallingly run and uneconomic, and needed radical change rather than the attempts at reform (the likes of which  had failed through previous decades). Instead of screaming that they were evil privatisers, what if we had been hard-headed about the need to restructure industries but also insisted on a programme of real investment; giving real hope to the people the Conservatives abandoned?

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Monday News Review

30/08/2010, 08:54:20 AM

Noel and Liam, Michael and Fredo, David & Ed?

With the vote for the new Labour party leader less than a month away, the race between the Miliband brothers is hotting up – with both Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson intervening on behalf of elder brother David. Mandelson told the Times a vote for Ed Miliband, who is urging a return to pre-Blairite Labour policies, would lead Labour into an “electoral cul-de-sac”. Blair himself is expected to use an Andrew Marr interview on BBC2 this Wednesday to make it clear that a vote for Ed will be destructive. Even if he doesn’t explicitly endorse David, the message will be clear. – The First Post

Ed Miliband has declared he is ready to sack rival brother David as the pair step up their fierce battle for the Labour crown. The shadow energy secretary has ducked the question in the past but showed his ruthless streak as ballot papers are sent to activists this week. The pair have not spoken in two weeks. And Ed, 40, was asked on a radio phone-in whether he could ever bring himself to axe David if he won. The former minister said: “I would have to make the right decisions.” Pressed on whether that meant he was prepared to give his brother the bullet he added: “Of course that is the case.” – The Mirror

Opponents enjoy portraying the Milibrothers as Michael and Fredo Corleone in The Godfather. But I suspect Ed would have little trouble serving in a party headed by David. The tantalising question is whether David could work for Ed. David has been led to believe for years that he can become leader. If Ed hadn’t stood, bookies’ would’ve stopped taking bets in a coronation rather than a contest. And as elder brothers everywhere know, it’s hard to play second fiddle to the young’un. Labour needs another psychodrama after Blair-Brown like a hole in the head. – The Mirror

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The Week Uncut

29/08/2010, 09:00:01 AM

The ballot papers are in the post. The final days to the leadership vote are marked by ‘fratricide’, suspected Tory tricks and the ever narrowing idea that it’s between two brothers. There’s also another race going on, and the fight for Labour’s mayoral candidacy is just as bitter.

At Uncut, Oona King ruined series one of The Wire, Andy Burnham’s desert island discs turned into a matter of geography, the leadership contenders got the top trumps treatment from our illustrator  and Chris Kelly…the puns were all too easy to come by.

In case you missed our week at Uncut,  here are our picks.

Milena Popova on the government’s misunderstanding and misuse of information

Labour Leadership Top Trumps

Andy Burnham’s desert island discs

Blair is flipping us the finger, but thats ok, says Dan Hodges.

The Oona King Interview

Stella Creasy talks social mobility

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Sunday News Review

29/08/2010, 08:37:36 AM

“Fratricide”

Vincent: It’s a tight battle for the ­Labour leadership. If your younger brother Ed wins, will you serve under him?

David Miliband: I’ve committed myself to serve my constituents in South Shields and I have committed myself to British politics. – Sunday Mirror

“I would definitely serve under David if he wins. I would expect him to do that same because that’s what he has said. But if I win, that will be his decision.” Ed Miliband - Sunday Mirror

The former foreign secretary is said to be ‘simmering with sibling rage’ at his brother challenging him for the post. Publicly, he has repeatedly said he would serve in a Shadow Cabinet headed by Ed. However, reliable sources say he is ‘dreading’ the prospect and will either boycott his Left-wing brother’s team or accept a job briefly before finding a diplomatic way out. – Daily Mail.

So, a “well-placed*” source tells the Guardian that while David Cameron would like Ed Miliband to be the next leader of the Labour party, he thinks the party would be best-advised to select Ed’s brother David. This news, scarcely earth-shattering to anyone who isn’t already a Labour party member (and obvious even to many of those that are) has Labour types suspecting some Deep Tory Game is Afoot. – The Spectator’s Alex Massie.

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Crowdsourcing the mayoral race: Ken Livingstone

28/08/2010, 04:52:18 PM

The next victim of the chair is Ken Livingstone.

Labour Uncut’s crowdsourcing of the mayoral selection comes to Livingstone next week.

What question would you put to Ken if you could? What would it take for him to win your vote?

Get your questions in for Ken by adding them below by midday on Wednesday.

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Saturday News Review

28/08/2010, 07:34:18 AM

The Leadership Race

David Miliband poses the greatest threat to the Conservative party of all the candidates in the Labour leadership contest, David Cameron has said in private remarks that could change the dynamic of the campaign just days before millions of ballot papers are posted. To the likely delight of the older Miliband, who enters the final stages as the frontrunner, the prime minister has made it clear he believes the shadow foreign secretary stands the best chance of reaching out to middle Britain. – The Guardian.

With the Labour leadership election entering its final furlong, the faint outlines of a genuine debate are beginning to emerge. In his speech on Wednesday, David Miliband put clear blue water between him and the other candidates, tacitly admitting that the state grew too large under his New Labour predecessors and acknowledging the need to cut the deficit. – The Telegraph.

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Andy Burnham’s Desert Island Discs

27/08/2010, 02:16:24 PM

In case you missed it: Andy Burnham is a working class Roman catholic from the north of England. Not the midlands. And certainly not the south. The north.

He has no aversion to posh people. Nor to protestants. Not at all. But he is not one of them. And it is important that you know that. Weirdly, Burnham has put his ‘ordinary’ northern origins at the centre of his Labour leadership campaign.

His desert island discs are parodically reflective of this. The only tune he’ll hear in paradise which hasn’t been recorded by either a Manc or a Roman catholic or both will be “Protection”, by the Bristol “trip hop” duo, Massive Attack. (more…)

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