Monday News Review

Ed doesn’t repeat Nick’s mistake

Ed Miliband has hit upon the easiest and most obvious way to avoid what might be called the Clegg-over Trap: you do not have to answer certain questions, and any answer you give will make you look a twit, so pass. He was put to the test soon after becoming Labour leader when he was interviewed by Piers Morgan for an article in a men’s magazine. Morgan put the predictable questions – “How many women have you slept with?” and “When did you lose your virginity?” – both of which Mr Miliband brushed away, somewhat immodestly, by saying he “would not boast about his sexual prowess”. His reply contained a hidden dig at the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who once told the same magazine, GQ, that he had slept with “no more than 30” women, to the horror of his advisers who were sitting in on the interview. The reply was meant as a joke, but landed the Liberal Democrat leader with the embarrassing nickname “Clegg-over”. – the Independent

The Labour leader insisted he would not be bullied into marrying Ms Thornton, the mother of his two young sons, before quipping: “Thank God for that, probably”. Mr Miliband, who is the first leader of a major political party to live with his family out of wedlock, has been criticised for not marrying Ms Thornton, a 40-year-old Cambridge- educated barrister. Traditionalists have also attacked Mr Miliband for not putting his name on the birth certificate of his eldest son, Daniel. He claimed he was so busy he forgot. During an interview for GQ magazine, which is out on Thursday, Morgan teased the Labour leader by continually referring to Ms Thornton as his “wife”. Asked for his views on marriage during the interview, which took place on the day he returned from paternity leave last November, Mr Miliband explained his decision. “It’s a good institution and part of having stable families, but there are also people in unmarried relationships with stable families. I don’t think politicians should order people to get married,” he said. He insisted he would eventually tie the knot. “But the more people who challenge me on it from a political standpoint, the more resistant I will become,” he added. Mr Miliband said he never took drugs at university, claiming he was a “bit square” in his youth. – the Scotsman

Gloves off in battle for the NHS

The Prime Minister said the health service would be “unaffordable” unless it was overhauled. The comments, in a letter to The Times, come as MPs prepare to debate for the second time the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Bill. “Already our health outcomes lag behind the best in Europe. Without modernisation, the principle we all hold dear – that the NHS is free to all who need it, when they need it – will become unaffordable,” he wrote in the paper. Andrew Lansley’s proposals, which centre around handing GP £80bn of the NHS budget and increasing the roll of private companies in health provision, have come under fierce criticism from unions and clinicians. Unite is expected to present MPs with “new and forensic analysis” of the legislation before today’s second reading. And the Royal College of Surgeons is warning the reforms may compromise standards of patient care if doctors focus on low prices rather than quality. A survey of almost 2,000 adults for public sector union Unison showed that half were opposed to the move, including 56% of Liberal Democrat voters. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This Bill is heading for trouble. “There is very weak support from Tory voters and clear opposition from Lib Dems. “The fact is there is very little support for this Bill from anywhere.” Health workers will protest outside Parliament today during the debate. – Sky News

Only one in four people support GPs using private companies to provide NHS services, one of the key planks of the Government’s health reforms, according to a new poll. A survey of almost 2,000 adults for public sector union Unison showed that half were opposed to the move, including 56% of Liberal Democrat voters. The results have been published on the eve of the second reading of the Health and Social Care Bill, which will attract fresh criticism from unions. Unison said the YouGov poll showed that only 46% of Conservative voters supported private firms providing NHS services, with 22% registering a “don’t know” response, and half of those surveyed were against GPs employing private management groups as part of the move to hand over £80 billion of the NHS budget to GPs. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This Bill is heading for trouble. The YouGov poll shows a clear split between Lib Dem and Tory supporters. There is very weak support from Tory voters and clear opposition from Lib Dems. – Daily Mirror

Balls keeps on the attack

Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, has been “leant on” to support the Government’s policy of rapid spending cuts against his own better judgement, the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls suggested yesterday. Mr King made a highly publicised speech earlier in the week in which he said that the Government was set on the “right course” and must keep to it. His remarks contrasted with the view he took 30 years ago when Margaret Thatcher’s government was cutting public spending and he signed a letter warning against a course that would lead to high unemployment. Mr Balls, who has repeatedly warned that cutting spending too fast could plunge the UK into another recession, claimed the nation’s leading banker secretly sympathised with the Government’s critics. “I do not think that Mervyn King, in his heart of hearts, really believes that crushing the economy in this way is the right way to get the economy moving,” Mr Balls said. “It is not what other countries are doing, it is not what many economists think is the right approach, and it is not working.” Asked by his interviewer, BBC1’s Andrew Marr, whether he thought the nation’s leading banker had been “leant on” by the Government, Mr Balls said: “I think the Governor is being loyal. I think there will be part of him that is worried about the need to get the deficit down. The fact is he is under huge pressure because the economy is not growing.” – the Independent

Teacher training cuts to come

In a move certain to trigger a new confrontation with public-sector unions, the Government will announce today that the number of students training to work in secondary schools will fall by more than 2,000 from September, a decrease of 14 per cent. Ministers will also abolish bursary packages over concerns that millions of pounds are being wasted each year training students who never make it into the classroom. The decision to push ahead with politically explosive cuts came as George Osborne, the Chancellor, predicted disastrous consequences for the country if the Government backed down. Under the plans, annual £6,000 payments to allow students to teach almost all secondary school subjects, including English, history, geography and art, will be abolished. Last night the cuts caused anger among teaching unions and Opposition MPs who claimed they risked creating teaching shortages. Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, warned that cuts this year would create staff shortages in two or three years’ time. “We already have a large number of teachers aged over 55 who are going to retire in the next few years, just as we cut trainees and bursaries. This Government is setting itself up for some serious problems two or three years down the line.” Andy Burnham, the shadow education secretary, said: “As ever with Michael Gove the fine rhetoric is not matched by the reality. Just weeks after a White Paper that promised to raise the status of teaching, he does precisely the opposite. It is another embarrassment for a Secretary of State whose hollow statements are never backed up by the detail.” – Daily Telegraph

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7 Responses to “Monday News Review”

  1. It's because I'm a woman says:

    I don’t give a monkeys whether Ed Miliband marries his partner or not but I really object to any man who looks like they don’t care about their kids. I’m not saying he doesn’t but he’s going to have to find a way to deal with the birth certificate issue and fast. Today’s Daily Mail is still making a real meal of it and even if some Labour party members live in a bubble where everyone’s “progressive” and anti-marriage, anti-religion, anti-institutions, etc, that is not the prevailing view out there in the country. Also, at a time (especially in London) where we’re seeing more gang violence, etc, it’s paramount that we see men stepping up and looking like they’re interested in their kids. I’m sorry to say it but I am really impressed with Miliband D’s tweets about the time he is spending with his son. You just feel even warmer towards him after reading them. It’s not Ed’s fault if he’s not really a family person but he is the leader of the Labour party and he is going to have to find a way to deal with people’s expectations of him in this department.

  2. Leah S says:

    @It’s because I’m a woman;

    Huh? No, he’s already put his name on *both* birth certificates though – he did so way back in Novemeber – I think the Mail is twisiting their words again…

    P.S – If you look at earlier tweets and interviews, EMili seems just as devoted to his first son as his brother is to his, though it’s true the mentions of his family have tailed off since he won – who can balme him, though?

  3. It's because I'm a woman says:

    “who can balme him, though?”

    You’re clearly a man.

    Big big sigh.

    Someone needs to tell Ed to get hold of an April 1997 copy of Woman’s Own with Tony and Cherie on the front. The title was “Why I love Cherie”.

    In the 1997 election, Tony B knew EXACTLY how to get woman (voters) on his side and gushing over his wife was one part of his very successful strategy.

    Women make up 50% of voters and are prone to being more socially conservative and therefore can be persuaded to vote Tory before they think about voting Labour.

    What is Ed going to do to convince women he’s not a feckless commitment phobe? It actually matters to some people, particularly women…

  4. Leah S says:

    “You’re clearly a man.”

    Last time I checked, I was a woman, I assure you! (Psst. My username *is* Leah.)

    And by “who can balme him, though?” (*blame*) I meant that that what with the tabloids prying into his personal life, who can blame him for not wanting to push his family into the limelight as much? I certainly don’t want a leader who shamelessly parades his family for purely politcal gain..

    And no, Ed Mili is not Tony Blair, and I rather think women like myself will make up their minds based on economic policies and facts, based on how the Coalition has affected their quality of life, not emotional posturing in mags. The age of fluffy interviews is long past, and what worked for Blair did not work fo Cameron or Brown.

    “What is Ed going to do to convince women he’s not a feckless commitment phobe?”

    Really, based on the evidence (one slip) he doesn’t seem to be one. Unless you read the Mail.

    “Women make up 50% of voters and are prone to being more socially conservative ” <— Not so true anymore, for my genreation, I can assure you…

  5. It's because I'm a women says:

    Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble.

    “And no, Ed Mili is not Tony Blair” – the man who led us to 3 straight general election wins.

    “Women make up 50% of voters and are prone to being more socially conservative ” <— Not so true anymore, for my genreation, I can assure you…"

    I'm afraid your generation are the majority of women voters..

    And see the Tory press continue making a meal of it today. Ed does not have the cross over appeal needed to win a general election for Labour.

  6. It's because I'm a women says:

    I’m afraid your generation are NOT the majority of women voters..

  7. Leah S says:

    “Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble.”

    – Okay, have it your way. I rather like this less emotional bubble, let’s see where it takes us. Whether or not Ed’s less gushy, less flashy, more calm and measured approach will work will become clear in 2015.
    Is ‘Image politics’ a cynical turn-off or a much-needed feminine vote winner? We shall all find out in time. 🙂

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