Sunday News Review

YouGov puts Miliband Jnr ahead

David Miliband’s smooth journey towards the Labour party leadership was dealt a blow last night as one poll suggested his brother was on course to snatch victory by a narrow margin. A survey of Labour members and trade unionists by YouGov suggested Ed Miliband had a small lead over his older sibling, who has been considered the favourite throughout the four-month leadership campaign. But the pollsters calculated that once lower-ranking candidates were eliminated and their second choice votes distributed, the younger brother would prevail. Although the YouGov poll gave David a 36 per cent to 32 per cent lead on first preferences, YouGov suggested that could be converted to a 51 per cent to 49 per cent win for his brother by the final round. – The Independent

Shadow Energy Secretary Ed expects to mop up an avalanche of support when outsiders Ed Balls and Diane Abbott drop out. He told the News of the World last night: “I’m increasingly confident that I have the momentum behind me and I am going to win. People are coming to my campaign because they believe we have to change to restore people’s trust.” But self-styled “unity candidate” David, Shadow Foreign Secretary, warned: “I’m trying to persuade the Labour Party not to lose three or four elections before it bounces back.” The Milibands insist they are still close, but relations between their camps have become strained, with David’s key allies branding rival Ed “Forrest Gump” after the less-than-bright character played by Tom Hanks in the hit film. The new Labour leader will be announced on September 25. – News of the World

The Labour leadership contest remains too close to call with one poll suggesting Ed Miliband could snatch victory by a narrow margin. A survey of Labour members and trade unionists by YouGov for the Sunday Times showed bookies’ favourite David Miliband enjoying a narrow lead on first preferences. But the pollster calculated that once lower-ranking candidates were eliminated and their second choices redistributed the younger of the two brothers would prevail. Voting is under way in the race to succeed Gordon Brown with the winner to be announced on the eve of this month’s party conference in Manchester. – Press Association

Balls growing fan base

Last month, he gave a major speech at Bloomberg, setting out his economic case, based on a Keynesian vision of investing in public works to boost growth. He has advocated using a £6bn underspend from government borrowing to build 100,000 houses, creating three quarters of a million jobs. “The public wants us to cut waste but they don’t want us to cancel their new schools. They want us to get the deficit down but not if it risks hundreds of thousands of jobs in the private construction sector.” This is the central argument to his economic pitch. He is particularly pleased to claim the support of both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson for his argument against the coalition’s draconian cuts programme. “It is an unlikely alliance. The lesson of history for Labour is that if we don’t have the confidence and the credibility to stake out a view and instead run along with the consensus, then we end up not having any distinction.” – The Independent

The interesting thing about this leadership election is the speed with which Ed Balls has moved up on those rails. When I left town at the end of July, Balls was dismissed as a rank outsider. When I returned a month later, he was the candidate who seemed to have made the biggest mark in the debate about the biggest issue, namely the economic crisis. Balls’s warning about the dangers of a double-dip recession and an “economic hurricane” have struck a chord with Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, who notes that “The consensus around drastic and immediate deficit reduction is in danger of breaking down. That is because one of the key arguments no longer looks as strong as it did… that it was necessary to avoid a Greek-style sovereign debt crisis.” – The Observer

It is a difficult decision, for either brother. Balls is the most intellectually able economist on the Labour side in the House of Commons. His recent speech on the deficit was praised not only by Martin Wolf and Samuel Brittan, two of the heaviest of the Financial Times’s weights, but by Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayor of London. True, his argument that Alistair Darling planned to cut the deficit too fast by halving it in four years, unnecessarily complicates the Labour response to George Osborne’s Budget, which plans to cut the deficit altogether in five years. But Balls has proved to be the most formidable critic of the coalition’s economic policy. – The Independent

Burnham related to royalty

For a Labour leadership contender who has made his working-class credentials the centrepiece of his campaign, it could be fatal. Andy Burnham is, in fact, related to royalty. According to Mark Hughes, a family historian, Burnham has an ancestor, Richard Hughes, who married Catherine Tudor in about 1745. She is believed to have been a distant descendant of Owen Tudor, which would make the Cambridge-educated former health secretary a relation of Henry VII. – The Telegraph

First week at school and already nasty nicknames

At least one Labour MP close to the centre of David Miliband’s campaign has been heard in the House of Commons insultingly referring to his brother, Ed Miliband, as the character with a low IQ played by Tom Hanks in the 1994 Hollywood film. Sources have said Forrest Gump is now a “fairly common” nickname used by members of the David Miliband camp for Ed Miliband. The revelations fly in the face of assurances from senior figures in Labour that the contest is “not personal” and that policy differences are the only focus of attacks by one candidate on another. – The Telegraph

David, the family man, finds time for a nap

Yesterday, the couple took their two adopted sons – Isaac, five, and Jacob, two – to David’s Westminster HQ to help his campaign team rally support among Labour voters for his leadership bid. As the two boys handed out conkers to volunteers and played football with their father, Louise revealed that while David enjoyed her orchestral concerts – she’s now with the London Symphony Orchestra – he had been known to nod off. “I said you fall asleep sometimes in my concerts,” she teases her husband. However, David insists: “No, I don’t! Might have had 40 winks once, but I don’t fall asleep.” – The Mirror

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply