Thursday News Review

Straw backs Miliband Snr

Jack Straw is backing David Miliband for the Labour leadership

Labour leadership contender David Miliband tonight received the endorsement of another party heavyweight, as the shadow justice secretary, Jack Straw, gave the elder Miliband his vote. In a letter to Blackburn Labour members, Straw pledged his support to Miliband, joining the shadow home secretary, Alan Johnson, and the shadow chancellor, Alistair Darling, in proclaiming him as their pick to take over from Gordon Brown. Explaining his decision, Straw draws drew attention to Miliband’s role running the leadership campaigns of both Brown and Tony Blair. – The Guardian

Mr Straw, who announced last week that he is to retire from the Shadow Cabinet in October, said in a letter to party members in his Blackburn constituency: “In my view there is one outstanding candidate with the qualities necessary both to be Leader of the Opposition, and then Prime Minister.”In my judgment it is David Miliband who without doubt should be our next Leader. He will get my vote.” – The Independent

All the candidates have strengths. In my view, however, there is one outstanding candidate with the qualities necessary both to be Leader of the Opposition, and then Prime Minister. And don’t forget, the post of Opposition Leader is probably the most difficult and exposed of any in British politics. The Conservatives got through three Opposition Leaders before they elected one who could achieve even half a victory. Only three Labour leaders (Attlee, Wilson, Blair) in our post-war period have won elections. – Jack Straw, Blackburn Labour

Mr Straw’s pledge of support, in a letter to his constituents, comes as the leadership candidates try to sweep up remaining endorsements before balloting begins this month. “He is an excellent communicator,” Mr Straw writes. “He knows that we won’t get anywhere if we stand on our heads and start undermining what we achieved in government. At the same time . . . David has not been afraid to learn from the mistakes which – inevitably – all governments do make.” – The FT

A Clyde-built man

Powerful tributes from the political and union worlds have been paid after the death of former trade unionist and journalist Jimmy Reid at the age of 78. The leader of the Upper Clyde Shipyard sit-in in 1971-72 died at Inverclyde Royal hospital in Greenock after falling ill at the weekend. A lifelong socialist, Mr Reid stood as a Communist Party candidate in 1974 and polled more than 6000 votes in the Dunbartonshire Central constituency. He went on to join Labour, standing for the party in Dundee in 1979, before switching to the SNP. He also worked as a journalist and broadcaster. He retired to Bute and was living in Rothesay at the time of his death. – The Herald

“We are not going to strike,” Reid declared. “We are taking over the yards because we refuse to accept that faceless men can make these decisions. We are not strikers — we are responsible people and we will conduct ourselves with dignity and discipline.” He told the workers there would be no hooliganism, no vandalism and — a phrase that reverberated round Clydeside — “nae bevvying” – The Telegraph

Con/Libs winning the PR war

As Keyser Söze might have said, the greatest PR trick the coalition ever pulled was convincing the world that Gordon Brown is responsible for the deficit. It’s not as if the financial crisis was a minor news story buried in the back pages, where only London’s chattering classes noticed it. It was a pretty big deal, all things considered. Brown did many foolish and quite vacant things, but creating the financial crisis wasn’t one of them. You might even say (rightly) that he should have imposed far more regulation on the banking sector, but the Tories were hardly biting at the bit demanding it. They’re not even doing it now. The current government now like to remind us that Labour also grew the deficit in the ‘good times’, but those were the same good times when David Cameron was signed up to Labour spending plans. –

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