Saturday News Review

More Balls papers are leaked

A confidential document presented to the Cabinet in January 2006 asks: “We’ve spent all this money, but what have we got for it?” It warns that the efficiency of the public sector needed to improve rapidly and insisted that “spending growth will slow”. The document drafted by civil servants also says that “ineffective spending” must be “closed down”. However, Gordon Brown discarded the advice and embarked on a £90 billion increase in spending when he became prime minister. The expenditure meant that the economy was left facing a record deficit as the effects of the recession were felt. The document is among 19 papers disclosed today by The Daily Telegraph that were obtained from the personal files of Mr Balls, the shadow Chancellor. They follow the divulgence yesterday of dozens of documents detailing Mr Balls’s central role in a plot to topple Tony Blair. The Coalition seized on the disclosures as evidence that Mr Brown’s “reckless” decisions over public spending left the country in a vulnerable position when the economic downturn hit Britain. A Conservative source said: “This document shows the reckless approach of Brown and Balls which left Britain dangerously exposed to the economic crisis.” – Daily Telegraph

The rivalry between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is back like a sleeping monster that awakes every few months to wreak destructive havoc on the party they led. The latest re-awakening takes the form of leaked memos that once belonged to Ed Balls and are now published in The Daily Telegraph. The monstrous activity is to do with the present and not the past. This is an exercise aimed at damaging Balls now, rather than triggering a further historic seminar on Blair and Brown, the most familiar theme in British politics. And yet the documents are not incriminating. Indeed, the context in which they were written shows why it would be more of a shock if such memos had not been composed as Labour’s long internal battle reached a dénouement. – Steve Richards, the Independent

Another leak, why now?

David Miliband planned to use his first speech as Labour leader to warn that the party’s greatest danger lay in underestimating the challenge of the deficit – and that it was imperative to regain the public’s trust on the economy. The Guardian has obtained a final draft of the speech he planned to deliver if he had won the Labour leadership election last September, instead of losing to his brother Ed. The crestfallen former foreign secretary is said to have recited the speech to his wife in the back of his car on the drive home from party conference. Its disclosure now caps a difficult week for Ed Miliband who has been battling criticism of his leadership and the embarassing leak of emails belonging to the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls. The leadership speech that wasn’t shows David Miliband intended to announce that Alistair Darling, the former chancellor, had agreed to head an all-party commission to draft a framework of rules on public spending and deficits designed to restore lost trust in Labour fiscal discipline. – the Guardian

Tonight’s Guardian scoop revealing that the speech that David Miliband would have given if he had been elected leader makes this one of the most difficult—and leaky—weeks for Labour since its election defeat. The line in the speech that will cause the most trouble for Ed Miliband is that David Miliband intended to create a commission on the deficit chaired by Alistair Darling and charged with creating a new set of fiscal rules, an admission that Labour got it wrong on the deficit which Ed Miliband has refused to give. This speech emerging just a day after Ed Ball’s private papers about the plot to force Tony Blair to stand down came into the public domain will create suspicions in Labour circles that there is a deliberate effort underway to undermine Ed Miliband. One striking detail from the piece is that David Miliband delivered the speech to his wife in the car as they drove away from the conference. – the Spectator

Cameron’s first policy success

Larry the Downing Street cat has made his first kills since being brought in to deal with rats at Number 10.Revealing the kills, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the tabby tom hasn’t got it quite right yet – a criticism some may be levelling at Mr Cameron’s coalition government – as he’s been catching mice instead of the more muscular rats he was brought in to deal with. Mr Cameron revealed that the historic London townhouse is infested with mice, and that he has even spotted one in the flat above 11 Downing Street that he occupies with wife, Samantha, and their children. ‘I’m a big Larry fan,’ the PM told ITV1’s This Morning. ‘We have got big mouse infestation in Downing Street and Larry has caught some mice. I actually took a picture of one in my flat on my mobile phone, because it was looking at me.’ Larry was recruited from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London in February to kill rats after several sightings of the vermin outside the Prime Minister’s official residence. – Daily Mail

Why we elect Labour Councils

The Labour council in Sheffield is to reverse £2m of spending cuts made by the Liberal Democrats who ran the authority until May’s elections. Labour said its revised budget would restore funding to key areas including apprenticeships, adult social care and more Police Community Support Officers. Labour said the £2m “will be met from a mix of reducing costs and making efficiencies, such as rationalising the council’s transport fleet, and savings in funding streams”. Council leader Julie Dore said: “We’ve decided that the authority had to restore funding to areas that matter to local people and give us the ability to deliver the right kind of services in the right way with the support of local people. I am pleased to say the council has now restored funding to these areas.” – BBC Sheffield & South Yorkshire

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One Response to “Saturday News Review”

  1. Robert says:

    Blue labour, Blue Tory, getting harder and harder to notice the differences between Miliband and Cameron these days both speak with a posh voice, although OK one has a nose problem, but even if he did not have that infliction I suspect Miliband voice would be posh, something to do with his up bringing.

    New labour, Newer labour, we are hearing Miliband agree with most of the Tories cuts, he agrees with the welfare cuts, he agree with most of the Tories plans, but picked out the NHS as his great battle plan, problem if the Tories do a U turn, what will be his next battle plan, coalition.

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