Posts Tagged ‘Balls’

Sunday News Review

11/07/2010, 08:39:01 AM

Miliband: amassing an army of supporters

The Leadership

“The Labour Party can only win power again if we win the battle locally. We need an army of activists, trained and ready to take on the coalition. The Con-Dem cuts don’t just threaten the recovery, they threaten the livelihood of every community”. – David Miliband,  The Mirror.

“It would be all too easy for Labour leadership candidates to please their natural supporters by accusing the Lib Dems of being collaborators – a word John Prescott used to describe his former colleague John Hutton, advising the Government on pensions – as if we were now living under Nazi occupation. But that risks driving the Lib Dems further into the arms of the Tories.” – The Independent.

“[David] Miliband’s ideas can only become reality if he is elected leader and if Labour wins the next Election. Clegg, in his statement on political and constitutional reform last week, was addressing the Commons as Deputy Prime Minister. One only has to recall the difference between the aura of power of Tony Blair in 1997, and the lack of authority of successive Tory leaders of the Opposition to see how authority has passed from Labour to the Coalition.” – The Daily Mail.

“David Miliband has surpassed himself with the sorriest excuse for a “nothing to do with me, guv” speech we have heard since Gordon Brown’s departure. The shadow foreign secretary, who always strained every sinew to make it look like he supported Brown when he was in office, is now trying to oil out of his support for the doomed Labour government to help his leadership bid.”  – The Telegraph.


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Sunday News Review

04/07/2010, 09:15:18 AM

Electoral reform

“Labour needs a thorough debate about voting reform now that the referendum moment is announced. It would be a mistake for leadership candidates to nail themselves to an alternative vote (AV) or a first-past-the-post (FPTP) mast. AV was spatchcocked into Labour’s manifesto in a desperate last-minute bid to paint some radical hues on to the good ship Gordon Brown. But voters, not unreasonably, asked why it took 13 years for Labour to discover the most timid of all voting reform systems.” – Denis MacShane, The Guardian

“But regardless of what happens on 5 May 2011, it’s clear that one group is already benefitting from the prospect of a referendum: the Labour leadership contenders.  Until now, they’ve been distinguished by their indistinguishability on policy grounds.  But, now, their different positions on AV have gifted the Labour faithful something, however small, to choose between.  David and Ed Miliband have said that they would campaign for a yes vote; Diane Abbot says she would like to see it implemented; Andy Burnham is vigorously opposing it; and Ed Balls has pitched himself somewhere in the middle.  It’s one of the clearest, most wide-ranging distinctions we’ve seen so far.” – The Spectator

David and Iraq

“I suspect that David Miliband, who – unlike the two Eds – had a vote in 2003, still agonises over Iraq. Nor, with the Chilcot inquiry reconvened, and the war raised at every hustings and meeting, can it easily be consigned to history. “I’ve done Chilcot. I’ve said if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have [backed] it.” Is he saying the war should never have been fought? “The way I put it is that if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a war. I’ve set out that if we knew there were no WMD, there would have been no UN resolutions and no war.”” – The Telegraph


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Saturday News Review

03/07/2010, 09:11:03 AM

Electoral reform

“Labour leadership contenders David and Ed Miliband said they would campaign for a “yes” vote if they were in charge. But rival Andy Burnham yesterday dismissed voting reform as a “peripheral issue”. He said: “It is not my party’s job to prop up the Liberal Democrats by helping them win a referendum that is important to them.” The expected timing of the vote, on the same day as the Holyrood parliament elections, has caused fury in Scotland.” – Scottish Daily Record

“Mr Cameron always intended to turn the tables by pushing Labour out to the left. The coalition with the Liberal Democrats wasn’t planned, but it may make his task easier. The candidates in Labour’s leadership election could make the same mistake as the Tories after 1997, as they fish for Labour votes, apparently forgetting that they will soon need to appeal to the wider electorate.” – The Independent

“Labour has backed the introduction of AV for Westminster, but some Labour MPs still see the referendum plan as a chance to embarrass the Coalition. Ed Balls, a candidate for the Labour leadership, also criticised the suggested date. “Holding it on a day when some parts of the country have elections but others do not will lead to unfair differential turnout,” said Mr Balls. A May 5 referendum would also be in defiance of advice from constitutional experts. Earlier this year, the House of Lords Constitutional Affairs Committee concluded that there should be “a presumption against holding referendums on the same day as elections” because of the risk that voters would be confused and results distorted.” – The Telegraph


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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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Wednesday News Review

30/06/2010, 08:46:10 AM

The contest

“This should be the challenge for the Labour leadership election: not an argument about which policies of the Labour government the contenders did or did not support, or even which policies they support now, but a real attempt to identify the basis for a contemporary centre-left political project. This requires some hard thinking, not a retreat into windy rhetoric or comforting certainties.” – The Guardian

 “Sylvester is right to argue that the leadership candidates are in danger of looking inwards rather than reaching out to the voters they must win back but that has nothing to do with the voting system Labour is using. In fact, the involvement of more than 3 million people who pay to be affiliated members of the Labour Party makes the contest more open than simply having 140,000 members balloted or allowing 250 MPs to decide.” The New Statesman


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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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Monday News Review

21/06/2010, 08:16:10 AM

The Leadership Race

“Ed Balls has hailed himself as a “winner” as he set out why he is the best man to replace Gordon Brown as Labour leader. The shadow education secretary said he had successfully fought the Tories and BNP to secure his Commons seat as he insisted he was “in touch” and a “team player”.” – The Mirror

“There’s always this assumption if you’re a black person who’s done something, that someone has given you a bye. That you’re less qualified than the white equivalent. In this race I’d argue that if anything, with the exception of not having been a New Labour minister I’m more qualified.” –Diane Abbott, The Mirror

“I look at the Labour party leadership election through the eyes of an MP who won a seat against the odds. Labour had its worst result for decades and the Conservatives won. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I want Labour win the next election. But it must for a better reason than merely being back in power.” – Gisela Stewart,  Progress

“I want to learn from Labour in Scotland because the way the party have come back from a difficult result a few years ago is a model and inspiration. As leader of the Labour Party, winning back control of the Scottish parliament would be my first priority.” – Andy Burnham, The Daily Record


“Public sector workers across the country will be deeply concerned to have a review of their pensions sprung upon them on a Sunday morning – without proper consultation. They will be particularly worried given the comments by David Cameron and Nick Clegg in recent days about their desire for cuts to public sector pensions. The Government must make clear that the findings have not been pre-empted.” – The Independent

“Labour leadership contender Diane Abbott said Mr Hutton would be the Government’s ‘pensions- slasher-in- chief ‘, while Left-wing Labour MP Paul Flynn said ‘collaborator’ was ‘too nice a word’ for him.” – The Mail


“So we already know what Labour’s broad response to this week’s Budget will look like. But it got me a-wondering: what will their response to next year’s Budget be? This may sound like idle speculation” – The Spectator

“David Miliband, the shadow foreign secretary, has offered a token of support to Tony Hayward after the embattled BP chief executive came under fierce criticism for going sailing around the Isle of Wight.” – The Telegraph

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Fabian Hustings: laughometer

15/06/2010, 08:23:14 AM

This is the laughometer from last night’s Fabian society leadership hustings.

Tiny chuckles weren’t recorded.

We maintained our rule that to score you had to get a proper laugh from a significant portion of the room.

David Miliband 5
Ed Miliband 7
Ed Balls 9
Diane Abbott 7
Andy Burnham 6

These numbers are significantly higher across the board than for previous hustings. Last night was a first outing for the Uncut reporter operating the laughometer on this occasion.  We have not yet been able to establish whether the leap in laughs was due to operator error, or to the candidates loosening up and getting funny.

Views from those present at last night’s Fabian as well as more than one other hustings would be welcome.

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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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