This morning, Spencer Livermore will step across the threshold of Labour’s Brewer’s Green HQ and formally take charge of Labour’s general election preparations.
As we previously reported, Ed Miliband’s personal appointment of the former Gordon Brown protégé as campaign director effectively sidelines the party’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, the party’s chief official, who was appointed by the party’s National Executive Committee in 2011.
Ahead of Livermore’s arrival, the atmosphere at Brewer’s Green is tense, with one well-placed insider describing it as “chaos” as the fallout from the botched Falkirk selection continues to play out in the media spotlight.
“There’s a total breakdown of trust between the general secretary’s team and the leader’s office,” says the insider.
“The staff are completely paralysed. It’s like a sitcom being played out before us”.
Yet this is a sideshow compared to the potential calamity next spring as Ed Miliband seeks to drive through his landmark changes to the way affiliated trade unions fund the party.
Miliband is staking everything on getting a new opt-in arrangement where millions of ordinary trade unionists choose to support the party, rather than have union chiefs wielding their chequebooks on their members’ behalf.
Party sources claim that Miliband sleepwalked into announcing the reforms without really understanding their full implications.
“Virtually the entire staff understood you’re ending the collective link but even the most senior advisers to Ed didn’t realise” says one insider.