Posts Tagged ‘Balls’

They won’t even give you the time of day now so what hope for the future?

14/09/2010, 11:45:02 AM

As elections go, the Labour leadership contest might go down as one of the dullest ever. If ‘none of the above’ had occupied a slot on the ballot papers, I am sure it would have romped home.

As the two front runners are both related, we have even been robbed of the fun of a bit of viciousness and proper negative campaigning.

All polls point to the Milibands being way ahead of the rest, which has castrated the battle and is making the scramble for second preferences the only lively aspect of the race.

David’s campaign are so desperate they are now relying on the ‘Tories fear him’ argument, and Ed seems to be saying anything to anyone to get a vote, which is never a good sign for a future leader. Let’s see which way he jumps when the inevitable strikes come along.

The entire list of candidates lacks the depth of the party. Call me an inverted snob, because I am, but the fact that all the leadership contenders are Oxbridge educated is a bloody tragedy for Labour.


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Tuesday News Review

14/09/2010, 07:00:51 AM

'Visibly tense'

The Final Countdown

The leadership candidates now have one last televised hustings on Question Time this Thursday to put their case to become Labour leader to members. I hope they all take this final opportunity to proudly defend our record and put forward a more positive agenda that builds on our achievements not trashes them. – Prescott blog, The Guardian.

David Miliband was visibly tense, his brother Ed seemed a bit subdued, Ed Balls was witty and relaxed (yes, really!), Andy Burnham rather tetchy and Diane Abbott… Well, she was just Diane.  – Sky Blog, Sky News.

“For many Labour people this hasn’t been an easy election to call. All of the candidates are of the centre left, they are all Labour. That isn’t the issue here. The big question is who are the Tories afraid of? Who is the best candidate to stand up against Cameron at the despatch box? Who has the best chance to beat Cameron in an election? For me the best choice is David Miliband and that is why I will be supporting him as next Labour leader.” – Lancaster Guardian.

Diane on women

“One way of illustrating this is to examine the Budget’s impact on women and families. The figures are frightening. The bulk of the impact will be felt by women. Some 72 per cent of the cuts will be met from women’s income, as opposed to 28 per cent from men.” – Diane Abbott, Morning Star.

Burnham on Blair

“Tony Blair was right to position Labour as pro-business, pro-job creation and pro-wealth creation,” [Burnham] says. But he says the party attached itself too much to big companies and sold its soul. “In wanting to appear pro-business we lost our sense of ourselves,” he says. –  FT.

Labour’s visionary leader

Labour’s challenge is to find a visionary leader who adapts the party in the light of profound socioeconomic change, to ensure social justice while maintaining Britain’s competitive advantage. In the case of all five candidates, their previous experience of government or lack of it will count for little. – Anthony Seldon, The Guardian.

From the outside…

Plenty of Lib Dems are watching the current Labour leadership race, hoping that someone congenial like David Miliband carries the day, so that they can forge a nice, progressive Lib-Lab coalition at the next election. – The Economist.


Cuba has announced radical plans to lay off huge numbers of state employees, to help revive the communist country’s struggling economy. The Cuban labour federation said more than a million workers would lose their jobs – half of them by March next year. – BBC News.

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Friday News Review

27/08/2010, 07:54:34 AM

Ed confirms family rift

“In the battle between the two Miliband brothers for the Labour leadership crown, things are getting a little bit tense. Ed admitted to the Daily Mirror that hadn’t spoken to David in two weeks – but he insisted the contest would not damage their relationship.

He accepted there was an “honest disagreement” between them about the direction of the Labour Party. Ed launched into his strongest attack so far on his brother’s tactics and his closeness to Mr Blair’s New Labour project. Banging the desk, he all but accused David of being trapped by the right-wing press into thinking only a move to the right would see Labour back in power.” – The Mirror

Other candidates round on Milibands

“From candidates who said they wanted to move beyond the new Labour / old Labour debates of the past, there is a danger of walking into caricatures. What we actually need to do here is put together a programme that is credible on the economy and on interest rates but at the same time will deliver the decent public services and the fairness that the majority of lower and middle income families want. The idea that we should either only focus on unskilled working people on the one hand or only focus on middle England on the other, I think both those things are pretty out of date. I worry that they’re rerunning the debates of the past.” – Ed Balls, Left Foot Forward


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Labour leadership top trumps

24/08/2010, 01:04:40 PM

Uncut has commissioned Dave Howells to produce that crucial leadership contest accessory: the top trumps.

Like real top trumps, it won’t keep you amused for very long unless you are a small child. But with the Milibands’ respective movements for changes each trundling on and Andy Burnham’s new 9,000 word manifesto o’ t’North just out, we’re confident that there’s a market for minor distraction.

Readers who feel that any scores have been misassessed, or that new special powers should be added, are encouraged to record them below. (The graphic may take a while to load on slower connections).

You can follow Dave Howells on Twitter.

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Trots, stitch-ups and door-knocks: the leadership candidates’ parliamentary selections

10/08/2010, 03:41:33 PM

In his wonderful Uncut interview last week, Andy Burnham set great store by the manner of his initial selection as a Parliamentary candidate in 2001.

He adduced it as evidence that he is a man of the people. A proper party person who got selected the proper way, with no help from anyone, no special treatment, no favours. Which is more than can be said, Burnham clearly implies, for the coddled and over-promoted princelings who are his leadership rivals. (more…)

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Friday News Review

30/07/2010, 07:30:11 AM

Ed: targeted?

The leadership

Both the Reading East and Reading West constituency parties voted to give Ed Miliband ‘supporting nominations’ at a meeting on Thursday, following a visit to the town by the shadow climate secretary the week before. Reading Labour Party chairwoman Sarah King said: “There is a strong field of candidates in this election, and Thursday’s was a well-attended and lively meeting, with a number of new members taking part. Over 100 new members have joined Reading Labour Party since the election, determined to fight back against the damage the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition is inflicting on our country. Ed Miliband has a sense of vision that appeals to members in Reading, but local people know that, whoever wins the leadership, Labour will be in there fighting hard on their side.” – The Reading Chronicle.

Ed Balls’s campaign, pitched at school building cuts and VAT closures, has a concrete quality that his opponents’ have lacked. He would make the case for spending and borrowing more with economic literacy. Nor can the craftsman of Bank of England independence be easily dismissed as a wild man. However, his platform plays into the Tory narrative. Is that what Labour members want? – The Guardian.

Ed Miliband is under fire from all sides. “He just tickles the tummy of the party,” say some of the Blairites backing David Miliband. “He’s far too junior to be party leader,” say some of the Brownites backing Ed Balls. “He’ll take Labour back to the 1980s,” say the conservative commentators supporting David Cameron. We are witnessing Operation Target Ed Miliband. As he sets off for his summer holiday in Cornwall, the younger Miliband brother could be forgiven for thinking that he must be doing something right to be attracting such pointed criticism from rivals and right-wingers alike. – New Statesman.


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Friday News Review

23/07/2010, 08:30:10 AM

 Leadership Contest

“I am an economic realist. The public finances need addressing. Labour’s plans would halve the budget deficit and remove the bulk of the structural deficit in four years. It is the sensible, credible middle-ground between extreme cuts and unchecked spending. But the government’s proposals, designed without an escape hatch in the event of slowing growth, reflect ideology, not realism” – David Miliband, Financial Times.

 Ed, the younger of the two Miliband brothers, has been heavily supported with Coral bookmakers in the last two days to be the next Labour Leader, and has been slashed in price to 13-8 (from 9-4). David is still the odds-on favourite at 1-2. – Live Odds and Scores.

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We’re finally starting to see who should lead the Labour Party, observes Dan Hodges

22/07/2010, 02:30:56 PM

The legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once confided to an assistant that he found analysing match replays more stimulating than sex. “Either you don’t know how to have sex”, the assistant replied,  “or I don’t know how to watch game footage”.  I was reminded of that quote when someone at Saturday’s Labour Friends of Searchlight leadership hustings gushed to me how the leadership election was “energising the movement”. Either I have unrealistic expectations of what it means to be energised, or elements of the movement  have to get out there and get some excitement into their lives.

This leadership election is dire. The candidates are exhausted. The contest is mired in tedium. There  is lots of sound, but precious little fury. We are a beaten party going through the motions, and it shows.

And yet…and yet. Despite the banality, the drudgery, the parsing, the positioning; somewhere through the gloom, the odd chinks of light are starting to seep through. Patterns, barely discernable, are beginning to form. Gradually we are unearthing the first clues  to who could, and should, be the next leader of our Party.


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Saturday News Review

17/07/2010, 09:51:43 AM
The great survivor 

Leadership candidates call on Mandelson to exit stage left

In interviews with The Times, the candidates – David Miliband, his brother Ed and Andy Burnham – suggested it is time for the peer to leave the political stage. David Miliband, former foreign secretary, said Lord Mandelson’s book The Third Man is “destructive and self-destructive” and should have come “after retirement, not before…”. Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary, said the peer is “his own worst spin doctor” and had “offended just about everyone”. He said: “I think this is sad and damaging to Peter, not just to the Labour Party”, adding: “It’s time for a new generation.” Mr Burnham, who was health secretary in the last Labour government, said: “Peter loves the spotlight but it’s time to leave the stage.” – Press Association.

Mr Campbell, victim of a coded kicking in the book, had counterstruck this very day, in this very newspaper, by calling Mandelson a liar, or manager, over an arcane point regarding the Lib-Lab coalition talks he attended. But then he’s one of so many, Mr Blair in the vanguard, to have put the boot in. Having so little experience of internecine strife, this must all be terribly painful for you. “It’s not the end of my world,” says the Gloria Gaynor of British politics laconically, as his taxi draws to its halt. “I will survive.” – The Telegraph.

Balls acknowledged that both men in their different ways are in fact tribal Labour and powerfully described a “commonality” between the two. “Putting that big issue aside, Peter was Labour and I was Labour, we wanted the government to succeed, we wanted to win the election, Peter and I were always the people who, at key moments, were willing to go out and defend the government. I was never part of any plotting and I don’t think anyone suggests Peter particularly was. We were both, as we saw it, trying to do the right thing and doing the right thing meant coming together. We were more effective than we would have been opposing each other; just not effective enough sadly.” – The New Statesman.


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Thursday News Review

15/07/2010, 07:40:50 AM

Peter in print

Labour figures from all sides of the party expressed fury that Lord Mandelson had committed private conversations to print, such as his reporting that Mr Blair believed Gordon Brown to be “mad, bad and dangerous”, and that his then chancellor was “flawed”. Neil Kinnock, the former party leader, was said by a friend to be “spitting”, and John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, “furious”. Lord Mandelson, who was lauded at Labour’s annual conference last year, was warned by some to stay away this year. Political friends and foes urged him to donate a slice of the money he was earning from the book to the party. – The Australian

She argued that Mandelson “knew perfectly well how useless Brown was”, so, by sustaining him as Labour leader, he had fatally undermined the party’s general election chances. In return for his loyalty Mandelson, who “adores pomp and ceremony” was rewarded with the bauble of an honorific title that, to most people, means little. He appeared, she wrote, “like a much-favoured Tudor courtier, stooping under the weight of his gold chains and medallions”. Sieghart concluded with a further jibe at Mandelson’s gross hypocrisy: “The man who ensured that Labour would spend five, possibly 10, years out of power now hopes to capitalise on his tales of those torrid years in government. – The Evening Standard


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