Posts Tagged ‘Abbott’

Thursday News Review

01/07/2010, 07:52:28 AM

Ed M offers freedom and flexibility…

Ed Miliband has pledged greater freedom for the Scottish Labour Party

“Speaking on a visit to the Scottish Parliament, Ed Miliband said Labour should “lighten up” and allow Iain Gray, the party’s Holyrood chief, to draw up his own plans. The former Energy and Climate Change Secretary also gave his backing to handing Scottish ministers limited tax powers but opposed the “full fiscal autonomy” demanded by Alex Salmond.” – The Telegraph

“Labour leadership hopeful Ed Miliband has called for every worker to be allowed to work more flexible hours. The shadow cabinet minister said the state needed to do more to raise people’s quality of life outside work, urging that markets should not be left to decide “what is acceptable”. He said employees in Britain worked “harder for longer” than anywhere else in western Europe. “This is not the good society we aspire to,” he told Labour activists in London yesterday.” – The Scotsman

Nature vs. Nurture

“All of this creates a dilemma for Labour, which Jack Straw pre-emptively tackled in dismal fashion by decrying “handwringing” in the Daily Mail. Those Labour leadership candidates who talk about pushing the political centre ground in a progressive direction now face a great test. Do they revert to the populist fearmongering of the Blair years? Or do they instead engage with the more enlightened debate which Mr Clarke has boldly unlocked?” – The Guardian

“Candidates for the Labour leadership took a more nuanced view of the row. Andy Burnham said it was better to spend money helping people get their lives back on track than to fund private companies to run prisons. Ed Balls pointed out that the government was poised to cut budgets for crime prevention programmes such as youth activities and programmes for teen pregnancy and drugs misuse.” – (more…)

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Thursday News Review

24/06/2010, 10:55:45 AM

The fightback goes on…

Liberal Lines

“LABOUR leadership contender Ed Miliband launched a withering attack on the Liberal Democrats during a trip to the Senedd yesterday, accusing them of selling out their principles to prop up a right-wing Tory Government.” – Western Mail

“How can the Liberals support a Budget which puts 100,000 more people out of work while raising the only tax that the unemployed have to pay? And what about charities that help the elderly and the poor? The Charity Tax Reform Group says the Budget will cost charities in Britain at least £140million a year in higher VAT bills. That’s equal to the total money raised on the last three nights of Comic Relief.” – Ed Balls, The Mirror (more…)

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Wednesday News Review

23/06/2010, 07:53:04 AM

Labour’s fightback

“While Labour fights a leadership contest and Lib Dems wonder whether they can change the voting system as a reward for their loyalty, Osborne needs to win the argument that his measures are “unavoidable” – a word that recurred in his speech as often as “progressive”. The term is another convenient one, implying that there is no other course and therefore challenge is futile. Margaret Thatcher famously argued in the 1980s that there was no alternative to her policies. Osborne did not repeat the phrase, but “unavoidable” has precisely the same meaning and serves the same purpose.” – The Independent (more…)

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Burnham to manage England website team

21/06/2010, 04:38:22 PM

As reported previously, Andy Burnham’s website was hopeless: no-style over no-substance. So we were pleased when we heard the site had gone fully live and was now populated.

Unbelievably, the site has got worse. Honestly. Gone is the two-tone picture of him looking like Kraftwerk, and in its place his flagship leadership campaign, Save the Future Jobs Fund. A worthwhile campaign which includes a petition. A petition that publishes its signatories online. A petition that lets you choose not to join his mailing list, and publishes this online too. A petition that is signed by twenty people. Which is published online.

We’re all for transparency but come on Team Burnham, you’re making your boy look silly. The Milibands have armies of bright young things, gaggles of them, chanting and tweeting and strategising. They’ve got pictures, they’ve got videos, they’re on twitter, they’re on flickr, and they’re on facebook. Even Ed Balls, who only launched his website last week, has done a better job than Burnham, although the Coronation Street themed banner is a little dodge. Diane Abbott’s website is yet to be populated with any real content – and it’s still better than Burnham’s.


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Tuesday News Review

15/06/2010, 07:36:15 AM


“Mr Burnham stressed his ordinary working class background. Both the Milibands pointed out that they were the sons of immigrants who went to a comprehensive school and even knew people who didn’t sit exams. They didn’t mention their well connected Marxist intellectual father or the influential opinion formers who attended dinner parties at their North London home. Mr Balls revealed he once trotted along to a party conference to look after the kids while his wife did the important business of speaking.” – The Times

“There were some real stand out moments this evening. Perhaps most notable was Andy Burnham’s somewhat surprising decision to come out in support of the Iraq war. Burnham feels that we need “a framework for intervention”, but on Iraq itself he said, “I stand by the original decision.” Whilst at times Burnham appeared to inspire the crowd with his aspirational narrative about his own background, and “ordinary kids without connections”, it is hard to believe that his comments on Iraq won’t draw the most attention.” – Labour List

“According to the poll, Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary, is emerging as a compromise candidate, with the second highest number of first preferences, and the most second and third preferences. In contrast, David Miliband is a “Marmite candidate” – either liked strongly or disliked – and is struggling to pick up second and third preferences.” – The Telegraph

“Emma Burnell asked the candidates for the Labour party leadership “are you a Socialist – and what does the word mean to you?” at the hustings event co-hosted by the Fabian Society, Compass, LabourList, Left Foot Forward, Progress and the Young Fabians at the Institute of Education in London. Gaby Hinsliff challenged the candidates to give a “one line” ideology for this final question of the hustings event.” – Next Left


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Mike Forster looks at the leadership contenders: David Miliband is Brazil.

12/06/2010, 04:59:11 PM

Much has been said on this site and others about communicating with our core constituency in a language they can understand. So thought I’d have a crack at explaining the second-most interesting contest going on at the moment in terms of the first.

True, there aren’t 32 contenders in the Labour leadership contest, but there are parallels with the world cup.

Whichever team wins the football, though, it is unlikely to have much of an impact on your life or anybody you know. Even England winning will only have a fleeting impact, mainly a stinking hangover on July 12th.

Our eventual choice of leader, though, could mean the difference between 5 years of a Tory government or 10, or even more. (more…)

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Saturday News Review

12/06/2010, 07:30:04 AM
The Leadership Contenders

“It’s a delicious prospect. The man who once met a black man being pounded to oblivion at the despatch box by a black woman. The old Etonian son of a stockbroker being ejected from Downing Street by the daughter of a welder. The husband of the daughter of a baronet being given his marching orders by a single mum from Hackney. As spectator sports go, it would certainly beat the World Cup.”  – The Independent

“Until now Mr Miliband has been private about his family life, facing criticism from his opponents that he lacks warmth. But in an emotional interview, he described the personal experiences that have shaped his politics. He and Louise tried IVF. “Emotionally, it was incredibly exhausting. You don’t want to talk about it to people because you are going through this very intense personal thing and you don’t really want everyone saying, ‘Oh, how is it going?’ Or, ‘I am so sorry’. Or, ‘What is the latest news?’ he said.” – The Times

“Whether you like it or not – and why wouldn’t you? – Britain is a dizzyingly diverse place. You can find every colour of skin, style of dress, class, creed and cuisine on every high street. Which is why it’s depressing that a Martian visiting the House Of Commons would assume our ruling class was cloned in a test tube. Hundreds of bland, white public school boys rolling off a conveyor belt in the Home Counties.” – The Mirror

“The bookmakers’ favourite to win the Labour leadership, today urged Frank Field not to betray Britain’s poor after he called for the government to drop Labour’s main target for cutting child poverty. Miliband made his remarks at the first official Labour hustings in east London. Field, appointed by David Cameron to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into the causes of poverty, said the Labour target was mathematically unobtainable, had not been achieved anywhere in the free world and revealed he would look to develop better targets. He is due to report at the end of the year.” – The Guardian


“Loosening the rigid labour market is seen as vital to ensure Spain’s long-term economic recovery and to ease market fears of a Greek-style debt crisis by proving Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero’s unpopular government can act. But talks between the Socialists, business leaders and unions failed to come up with a consensus draft on Thursday after two years of on-off talks and the government has decided to present a draft labour reform unilaterally.” – Reuters


Darling: 'Safe pair of hands'

The Ex-Chancellor

“The obligatory description of the ex-chancellor is that he is a “safe pair of hands” (generally accompanied by reminders that a trucking magazine once awarded him the title of “most boring politician” two years in a row). It’s meant somewhat pejoratively, but “safe pair of hands” turns out to mean sleek, tanned, straight-talking – and yes, safe, in that one can easily imagine panicking bankers and prime ministers turning to him for answers and calm. Funny, too, though his jokes about previous Guardian interviews have a certain take-it-on-the-chin ruefulness: two years ago Darling said, bluntly, that Britain had to brace itself for the worst economic climate in 60 years.” – The Guardian

Being in Opposition

“Some Labour figures appear relieved to be in opposition. Quite a few to whom I have spoken since last month’s election seem to think their party did rather well. It didn’t: it won 29 per cent of the vote. So far, Labour’s leadership election seems to be taking place in a parallel universe. The candidates talk about reconnecting with the voters, but the crisis in the public finances (which Labour would have had to tackle if it had retained power) rarely gets a look-in. They are more interested in connecting with Labour members. Now that the general election is over, it is safe to talk about immigration, Iraq, bankers and high earners. But there’s no need to mention the c-word. The cuts can be left to the other parties and Labour can retreat to its comfort zone.” – The Independent


“David Miliband yesterday declared Labour should learn from the party’s stunning general election result in Scotland.  The Labour leadership contender, who has pledged to rebuild the party, also welcomed further powers for the Scottish parliament.  He took his campaign north of the border, where he met MSPs and party activists.Miliband also watched Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray take on Alex Salmond at First Minister’s Questions.” – The Independent

The Trial

“‘In my judgment, the conduct alleged against these defendants is not covered by Parliamentary privilege and is triable in the Crown Court. ‘Unless this decision is reversed on appeal, it clears the way for what most people accused of criminal behaviour would wish for: a fair trial before an impartial jury.” Judge – The Daily Mail

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Friday News Review

11/06/2010, 08:09:38 AM

Ed Miliband leans left

“Ed Miliband has delivered the most personal speech of the Labour leadership election, coming clean about his early life and political inspirations. The speech also marks out clear territory on the left of the party where he will base his campaign, with demands for a limit on the gap between rich and poor and rules on pay differentials in the private sector.” –

“FAT cat bosses in the private sector should have their salaries pegged back to tackle inequalities in British society, Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband has argued.

A Government plan to ban public sector bosses from getting paid more than 20 times the salary of their lowest paid employee should be extended to the private sector, he said in an interview with the Yorkshire Post.” – The Yorkshire Post

“The government must do more to reduce the pay gap between rich and poor, Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband has said. He called for the coalition’s public sector High Pay Commission to widen its scope to look at the private sector, saying wage differences were “high”.” – The BBC

“I came away from my meeting with Ed feeling inspired and excited. He has the personality, passion and drive that is needed to make an excellent Labour leader and Prime Minister. It is common for politicians to talk about “listening to the voters”, but I’m not sure we always hear what they are trying to tell us. I am confident that Ed is someone who doesn’t just listen, but really hears voters concerns. And acts on those concerns.” – Rachel Reeves MP, Yorkshire Post


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Stop speaking with forked tongues on Trident, says John McTernan

11/06/2010, 06:46:12 AM

So the 80s revival doesn’t only stretch to big hair and cheesy music. Unilateralism is back and it’s just as toxic as that other political revival, mass unemployment (coming to a community near you shortly.)

It is a real shame that the entry of Diane Abbott into the Labour leadership race has pulled the centre of gravity of the debate to the left. (Indeed it’s a real shame that Abbott has entered the race. Just what we didn’t need – another Oxbridge graduate, though this time one with a track record of voting with the Tories.) (more…)

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Thurday News Review

10/06/2010, 07:40:14 AM

And then there were five

Diane Abbott made it through nominations

“FIVE candidates will fight for the Labour leadership after backers of the favourite, David Miliband, lent their support to less-fancied rivals. Mr Miliband, his brother Ed and former Schools Secretary Ed Balls had already secured the 33 nominations needed before yesterday afternoon’s deadline. But the former Foreign Secretary allowed some of his team to nominate left-winger Diane Abbott and former Health Secretary Andy Burnham, in a bid to ensure a more diverse line-up of candidates.” – Wales Online

“Former ministers Jack Straw, Denis MacShane and Phil Woolas were among the other surprise names to deliver Abbott the 33 MP nominations she needed. Miliband and the others made their move after another leftwinger, John McDonnell, withdrew from the race.” – The Guardian

“The Labour Party now has its final five leadership candidates – and it’s a broader field than initially expected. The left, women and BME voters will now be represented in the race – but most of the diversity is thanks to one candidate only – and she still went to Cambridge.” – Labour List

“The left-wing MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington joins David and Ed Miliband, former children’s secretary Ed Balls, and former health secretary Andy Burnham on the list […]But Ms Abbott’s presence on the ballot paper was only thanks to a late flurry of support after fellow left-winger John McDonnell quit the race and called on his backers to get behind her.” – The Scotsman


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