Sunday News Review

Cameron & Coulson

Labour leadership contenders Ed Balls and Ed Miliband said David Cameron’s judgment was being called into question after claims the former newspaper’s editor, Andy Coulson, now No 10’s head of communications, had personally asked at least one member of staff to tap into someone’s phone. Balls called on Home Secretary Theresa May to make a statement to the House of Commons, while Ed Miliband said Downing Street should issue a “specific response” to the allegations, and warned: “Until that happens, a cloud will hang over both Andy Coulson and indeed the government, because this is the man in charge of the Downing Street media machine.” – The Herald

Today, the New York Times magazine publishes new evidence from journalists on the paper during Coulson’s editorship insisting that mobile phone-tapping was extensive, as initial Scotland Yard inquiries suggested, but which NI has consistently denied. NI argues that it was confined to former royal reporter Clive Goodman, who spent some months in prison for the offence which triggered Coulson’s own resignation. Last week, another reporter on the paper was suspended, again, we believe, for suspected telephone-tapping. Coulson has consistently said he knew nothing of more tapping beyond Goodman’s and refuses to comment further. – The Guardian

Dappy: I hate David Cameron

He and I end up loitering in an antechamber together; I grab the opportunity to ask him if he’s backing either of the Miliband brothers in the Labour leadership election battle. Who’s that then, darling?” he asks. David and Ed Miliband? “Never heard of them, darling.” Oh, but I think you all went to the same school. Not at that same time, but still… “Who again?” I google them on my iPhone and show Dappy the image results. He shakes his head. “Sorry, darling. I don’t know them.” But you’re a Labour supporter? “Very much so, darling! I liked Gordon. I could have done with more Gordon.” Not a fan of Cameron’s, then? “I hate David Cameron,” Dappy says, and tells me why in terms so libellous that they can’t be printed. – The Guardian

A journey

But it is not for his often hideous literary style that he is under attack by those who want his old job. What they disdain is his core message about how to be successful in modern politics. Andy Burnham calls Tony Blair “sad”, trying the patronising approach to the man without whom Andy Burnham would not exist as a public figure. Ed Balls has discharged his bile in interviews in which he suggests that Tony Blair, Labour’s longest-serving prime minister, was wrong on just about everything and Gordon Brown, Labour’s briefest prime minister, was right. Ed Miliband disparages Mr Blair as the grandad of a geriatric “New Labour establishment” which should shuffle off the stage because it has no advice worth listening to. It is this “establishment”, according to Miliband junior, which is trying to prevent him from winning the contest. This line seeks to appeal to Labour activists and trades unionists by casting himself as “Che” Miliband, the exciting and rebellious young insurgent. – The Guardian

Big brother, little brother

Now to the Milibands — loving brothers fighting each other for the leadership of the Labour Party. Politics being dominated in Ireland by a hereditary caste, the electorate is well-used to political siblings. But to the British voter it seemed odd when in 2007 Ed joined his older brother David, then foreign secretary, in the cabinet, as secretary of state for energy and climate change. The sons of Jewish immigrants from Belgium and Poland, they were the first cabinet brothers for almost 70 years. The media were overjoyed when MiliE, 40, announced he would run against MiliD, 45. MiliD was clearly surprised and displeased, especially when junior became his chief rival, but he assured the world that “brotherly love will survive because brotherly love is more important than politics”. The other three contenders being respectively unknown (Andy Burnham), loathed (Ed Balls, who led Brown’s thuggish inner circle) and a bit of a joke (Diane Abbott), the brothers were rapidly turned into what Balls reasonably complained of as a fraternal “soap opera”. – The (Irish) Independent

From the mail bag

Ian Bell, in his article about the Labour leadership contest (Brotherhood of bland careerists, August 29), fails to observe that in large organisations nowadays, blandness is seen as a cardinal social virtue. This appears to extend to much of “middle England”. How else to explain the electoral successes of Tony Blair, and now the “Two Toffs” Con-Lib Coalition? His article fails to make any mention of Diane Abbott, nor indeed to credit her leadership campaign. This includes two policies which may be unfashionable in the Westminster village, but which are sensible and worthy of discussion. I refer to the scrapping of Trident, and renationalisation of the railways. The revived East Coast rail route suggests that some measure of public administration has been helpful. – Letters, The Herald

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