Archive for September, 2010

Ed must be a leader, not a prisoner, says Dan Hodges

26/09/2010, 01:32:19 PM

I was wrong. The heart ruled the head. It’s Ed, not David, whom the party sees waving from the steps of Downing Street.

There is a ritual that is enacted at moments like these. Critics become tribunes. Opponents cheerleaders. Cries of warning morphing seamlessly into honeyed words of praise.

That is as it should be. Politics is not a spectator sport. Ignore the gnashing of tabloid teeth. The party has a new leader, and he has been elected fair and square. A presumption of loyalty and support are, or should be, part of his inheritance.

But so should be honesty. Cant is no foundation for unity. Nor is suspension of disbelief. Those of us who stood against Ed Miliband’s election have an obligation to state why. (more…)

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Conference diary: the morning after, part 1

26/09/2010, 11:47:42 AM

Union chiefs toasting Ed Miliband’s success last night should be on their guard. Uncut understands that John Prescott is likely to fail in his bid to become the party’s treasurer, pipped to the post by Unite’s Diana Holland. As with the leadership, it appears that union votes were the decisive factor. Hell hath no fury like a Prescott scorned.

* * *

Changes on Team Ed? Spectators surprised at the vigour with which Neil Kinnock campaigned for our new leader will have noted Rachel Kinnock leading Ed on his tour of the victory circuit. Rachel has been a senior advisor over the past few months, and is likely to be a key player in his leadership team. More mysterious is the sudden disappearance of Polly Billington, Ed’s chief spinner. She was apparently not returning calls last night, and hungry hacks were being re-routed to other aides. Where are you Polly? Give Uncut a call.

* * *

Great excitement in the Uncut office yesterday when we received a tip from a senior Labour insider. “David’s in first”, came the message. Excitedly, we prepared to unleash our scoop to the world. Then we learned that our comrade had merely got on the train to Manchester, and seen David Miliband sitting in a first class carriage. He was in good company.

* * *

If Peter Mandelson was planning to do a turn at conference, Uncut advises him to stay away. Already identified by Team Ed as the source of much of the “bile” directed at their candidate, he has now been fingered by Team Dave as a key factor in the their defeat. Last night disappointed DM staffers were identifying Peter’s interventions at key moments as the turning point in the contest.  “It was Peter that lost it for us”, said one exasperated aide.

* * *

Touring the bars in the early hours in our bid to bring our readers the most juicy conference morsels, Uncut bumped into David Clark, Robin Cook’s former special advisor. “Much more of this and you should change your name to Labour Half-cut”, he said. It’s under consideration.

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Sunday News Review

26/09/2010, 07:00:09 AM

And the winner is…

It began with a first round showing in which the younger Miliband had done better than most expected. A murmur began which spread around the room. “He’s going to win,” whispered some. It turned into a whistled gasp when the second round of results were announced and he had almost caught up with his brother. When they realised that Ed Miliband had won, many delegates jumped to their feet and howled – but others stayed straight-faced, clearly disappointed. It seemed unfair that David – the frontrunner for so long – was in the end defeated by a margin so tiny it seemed almost insignificant. – The Guardian.

For Mrs Marion Miliband, days don’t come more bittersweet than this. Son Ed is ecstatic after pulling off a stunning victory. Son David is distraught, his political career suddenly plunged into turmoil. – The Mirror.

It was over breakfast with his older brother David at his Primrose Hill home in mid-September that Ed Miliband finally realised how close he was to becoming Labour’s new leader.
 – The Telegraph.

We lost the election and we lost it badly. My message to the country is this: I know we lost trust, I know we lost touch, I know we need to change. Today a new generation has taken charge of Labour, a new generation that understands the call of change.” – Metro.

As the odds on an Ed Miliband win fell dramatically in the course of 24 hours before he was finally declared Labour’s new leader on Saturday afternoon, one leading bookmaker was prompted launch an investigation into the sudden shift. – The Telegraph.

During the first week or two of his leadership he will be faced with the allegation – promoted by cynical Tory newspapers and garrulous Labour ancients – that he wants to take Labour back to the days of wholesale public ownership and subservience to the trade unions. – Roy Hattersley, The Guardian.

It was on a knife-edge. It looked like Labour was getting ready for power again, and going for David Miliband. But when the unions’ votes were counted, Red Ed just made it. And this could very well be Labour losing the next election. – NOTW.

We spend a lot of time criticising politicians so it behoves us to praise one when they behave with as much dignity as David Miliband has today. He has lost the Labour leadership election by the narrowest of margins and despite winning among both party members and MPs, but there has not been even a hint of bitterness or irriation in his behaviour. – The Spectator.

For Ed Miliband the initial challenges are perhaps even greater than those that would have faced his brother, because of the nature of the campaign he fought and the sections of the party from which he drew much of his support – the unions and the left. The rightwing press is loading up its heavy ammunition to rain down on “Red Ed”, whose campaign was seen as being to the left of David’s. – The Guardian.

The dramatic result, which saw Ed Miliband – dubbed ‘Red Ed’ – win with just 1.3 per cent more votes than his brother, was hailed as a ‘disaster’ by supporters of Tony Blair who had backed David. They claimed Ed, 40, a former adviser to Mr Brown, will be controlled by the trade unions, whose votes proved decisive in securing his victory. – Mail.

“We were all stood there, the five of us, with Harriet Harman and Ray Collins, and Ray said, ‘You have all done brilliantly. Ed Miliband, you have won’. In a sense it was a relief for everyone to know the final result – and David and Ed hugged straight away.” – Ed Balls, The Mirror.

The man chosen by key trade union leaders and many union members is now the leader of theLabour Party. And the one chosen by Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair isn’t. – Socialist Worker.

“If you turn on your television or open a newspaper you will not find me once, not ever, doing anything other than supporting the Labour leader” Gordon Brown, – FT.

With Coldplay’s Viva La Vida – the one with the lyrics ‘the old king is dead; long live the king’ – playing out, there was definitely a feeling of a re-birth for the party as it took to its feet. – Manchester Evening News.

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Miliband is dead. Long live Miliband.

25/09/2010, 06:03:45 PM

Labour leadership announcement, Manchester

Miliband is dead. Long live Miliband.

The party has spoken. The young pretender has triumphed over the old guard.

In a ceremony combining elements of the X-Factor, the oscars and a Cliff Richard revival concert, two men, united by blood, were irrevocably divided. David, like Ed,  will come to issue a statement of love and fraternity. Both will be sincere. Yet however close their embrace, this day will forever lie between them. Politics is a tough business. But rarely has an electorate been called upon to deliver such a cruel verdict.

Those hoping for clues in their body language were misled. Ed looked sombre, David upbeat. It told the wrong story.

Throughout the day, rumours had swirled. David by 4%, Ed by 3%.

Both camps were said to be confident. Both were lying. At moments like this, the nightmare overwhelms the dream. (more…)

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Ed Miliband is the new leader of the Labour party

25/09/2010, 04:53:28 PM

Ed Miliband is the new leader of the Labour party.

He lost the MPs and members sections to his brother, David, but won by a large margin in the union and affiliate section.

We will be publishing a report direct from the conference hall shortly.

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David Prescott on a crowdsourced “shadow communications agency” for the new age

25/09/2010, 10:30:40 AM

So we’re more than £20 million in debt. £16m in the red with a further £11m in loan repayments.

Short money of £4.5m a year will help the shadow cabinet and their spads with their transition from government to opposition, but we won’t be able to touch a penny of it for party campaigning or reducing the debt.

So Labour’s going to have to think smarter and, well, cheaper if it’s going have any impact against the Tory-Lib Dem government.

But here’s the good news – campaigning isn’t expensive as it used to be.

Take our Go Fourth campaigns against RBS, that private members bill against the minimum wage and abolishing NHS Direct. (more…)

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Saturday News Review

25/09/2010, 08:16:36 AM

Down to the wire

Speculation is increasing that Ed Miliband, who began the race as a distant second favourite, could snatch victory fromEd (left) and David Miliband. While most MPs say it is too close to call, David has lost the runaway lead he enjoyed four months ago. his older brother, David. Voting closed on Wednesday in the complicated electoral college race, where MPs and MEPs have one-third of the vote, with rank-and-file party members and up to three million trades unionists who pay a political fee to Labour sharing the rest. While the result is still unclear, it is evident that the older Miliband has lost much, if not all, of the early lead he enjoyed in the race. The race has been notoriously difficult to poll, but British bookmakers Betfair declared the younger Miliband as favourite for the first time yesterday morning, at 11-10 against 10-11 for his sibling, the shadow foreign secretary. – The Irish Times

All I can report is the state of speculation just hours before the big moment, which is that Ed has won. Apparently, David’s lead among the parliamentary third of Labour’s electoral college was not big enough to compensate for his relative weakness among the other two sections, which are ordinary party members and affiliated trades-union members. Of course, all this could be absolute guff – Westminster’s rumour mill is generally more active than accurate – so don’t place any large wagers based on these whispers. We will know one way or the other very soon. – The Economist

Harriet: Don’t Walk away

Critics over the decades have derided the MP for Peckham as Harriet Harperson because of her feminist views. But the mum-of-three has won a reputation as one of Labour’s toughest fighters. Now she has a carefully thought-out message to whichever of the two Milibands emerges defeated from the brother-versus-brother battle to succeed her: Don’t walk away. Ms Harman, who is steelier and tougher than she comes across on TV or at the Commons despatch box, says the new party leader will be handed an “unprecedented” opportunity to get back into government. – The Mirror

What next?

LABOUR needs to give its membership a greater say over policy and recognise the growing popularity of community-based politics, Shadow Wales Office Minister Wayne David said last night. The Caerphilly MP said the party was mature enough to move away from the days when the leadership imposed policy – and discipline – from the top. During the Blair and Brown era Labour was often criticised for failing to consult the party on major policy changes and for using the party’s National Executive Committee to keep a tight grip on candidate selection. – The Western Mail

The new leader will have to be brave, including on policy. Bravery will involve talking again about genuinely devolving. Not a gesture, which actually results in more of the decision-making happening in Whitehall and Westminster; but, for instance, the establishment of regional and local banks. The idea (and Iain Duncan Smith is at least willing to think about this) of devolving the welfare budget – within sensible bounds of consistency – across the UK, so that money can be applied to preventing and redeeming, and not merely ameliorating, poverty. – David Blunkett, The Yorkshire Post

LABOUR risks its reputation for economic management if it is not “straightforward” on the need to make savings in the public sector, one of David Miliband’s key allies warns today ahead of today’s leadership election. Jim Murphy, the former Scottish secretary who has run the elder Miliband’s campaign, acknowledged that today’s decision, due at 4pm, was on a knife-edge, with bookmakers now placing younger brother Ed as the odds-on favourite.But Mr Murphy said that whoever wins today, the party needed to stop “talking to itself” and also to stop “shouting at the public”. Instead, he said Labour needed to accept that voters had decided it had taken a wrong turn. – The Scotsman

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Shadow cabinet: team Lammy wants your vote

24/09/2010, 09:09:34 PM

Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010 6:21:51 PM

Dear colleagues,
As a broad group of MPs from across the party, we will all be voting for David Lammy as one of our 19 choices for the Shadow Cabinet elections. We believe that he would be an asset to our party in the Shadow Cabinet and we urge colleagues to lend David one of their votes.


Karen Buck
Gerald Kaufman
Frank Dobson
Dennis Skinner
Gisela Stuart
Natascha Engel
Chuka Umunna
Pamela Nash

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Shadow cabinet: please consider voting for Vernon

24/09/2010, 07:04:24 PM


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Shadow cabinet: vote for Yvette

24/09/2010, 05:58:53 PM


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