Posts Tagged ‘Brown’

Sunday News Review

18/07/2010, 07:56:14 AM

Have you seen this man?

Where’s Gordon?

Some ex-prime ministers take years to get over being ejected; some never come to terms with the withdrawal of power. I don’t blame him for holing up in Kirkaldy and trying to bury his anguish by sitting at his keyboard thumping out a tome on the financial crisis. But I do criticise his colleagues for continuing to flinch from confronting the truth about him. – Rawnsley on Brown, The Guardian.

Since Labour left office their ­successors have finally been able to go through the books. And they make for uncomfortable reading. Of course it is difficult to fathom the labyrinthine bureaucracy that under-pins the NHS. But it would be hard to imagine any private business accepting without question a supplier increasing the price of a product by almost 1,000 per cent over two years. –Daily Mail.

Leadership news

The widow of John Smith, the former Labour leader who died of a heart attack in 1994, has thrown her backing behind Ed Miliband in the party’s leadership battle. Baroness Elizabeth Smith said she was sure that her husband would have done the same thing if he had been alive. “I am backing Ed Miliband because I identify with Ed’s values and principles, and I know that John would have done so too. Ed is also the candidate who I know has the ability to unify the party going forward,” she said. – The Guardian.


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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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Saturday News Review

10/07/2010, 08:32:06 AM

And so it begins

The Peter Mandelson memoirs are released this week

At times, Lord Mandelson said, Mr Brown feared that he had “killed” all three men, but, wound up by his lieutenants, was unable to stop the feud, meaning that Mr Blair was forced to devote too much energy dealing with him. The former business secretary said some of the blame for the hostilities lay with the people around Mr Brown who, he said, treated Mr Blair with “unbridled contempt”. – The Telegraph

In an interview published by Saturday’s Times newspaper, the peer said that relations between Mr Blair and Mr Brown were “awful” and “exceptionally bad” between 1994 and 2007, not least because the latter “couldn’t get over” the fact that he was not prime minister. Lord Mandelson also said he wished the pair had “behaved to me and treated me differently” – a reference to his two resignations during the Blair government. – The FT


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Wednesday News Review

09/06/2010, 07:39:06 AM

Count down

Abbott hoping to make the final cut

“Diane Abbott received a boost to her candidacy for the Labour Party leadership when Harriet Harman, the party’s deputy leader, nominated her yesterday. Ms Harman said she was doing so in the hope of helping to ensure there is a woman on the ballot paper, and will not cast her vote in the election this September.” – The Independent

“Mr Balls, the shadow education secretary, called on supporters to back Miss Abbott during an event held by the GMB trade union, saying that it was important for a woman to be in the race.” – The Telegraph

“BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said the three candidates so far are all Oxford-educated men in their 40s, and none of them are from the party’s left – unlike both Ms Abbott and Mr McDonnell. On Tuesday, acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said she was nominating Ms Abbott because she did not want to see a “men-only” contest.” – The BBC

 “Speaking on Tuesday Mr Burnham said he was confident he would gain the seven nominations he still needed, while Ms Abbott and Mr McDonnell – who failed in a bid to challenge Mr Brown for the party’s leadership in 2007 – did not appear close to a deal to transfer MPs to the other to ensure a left-winger made it on to the ballot.” – In the News


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Monday News Review

07/06/2010, 07:35:47 AM

Balls blames Brown

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Schools Secretary Ed Balls arrive at the Acland Burghley School to attend a meeting of the National Council for Education Excellence on July 16, 2009 in London, England. Mr Brown and Mr Balls will discuss progress in the NCEE's recommendations on schools and college links with businesses and higher education institutions.

Ed Balls says he warned Gordon Brown over immigration

“The Labour leadership contest came to life today when Ed Balls launched his strongest attack yet on Gordon Brown, his mentor and patron, and demanded a rethink of the founding principles of the EU to curb immigration.” – The Guardian

“It is Mr Balls’s claim that he warned Mr Brown, his friend and boss for almost 20 years, that will attract much attention. Not least because he claimed that the incident in which Mr Brown called Gillian Duffy, a lifelong Labour supporter, “bigoted” was symptomatic of his refusal to engage with the issue.” – The Telegraph

“Ed Balls, the Labour leadership contender, criticised his political mentor yesterday when he accused Gordon Brown of blundering by ignoring the immigration issue before the general election.” – The Independent

“Meet Ed Balls, the candidate for Mrs Duffy. As the race for nominations closes, the Labour leadership candidates are beginning to focus on party members. With varying degrees of conviction, the contenders have identified immigration as the issue the party must address if it is to reconnect with those voters who spurned it.” – The Spectator

“Balls must have known all along that his party was getting this country into a dreadful mess. His pathetic half-admission of guilt would be more convincing if he weren’t trying to persuade the unions he is a fit person to be Labour leader.” – The Daily Express

The Candidates

“If I thought either Ed Miliband or Ed Balls or Andy Burnham or Diane Abbott or John McDonnell would be a better Leader of the Opposition or a better Prime Minister than I, then I would be running their campaigns. But I don’t, and that’s why I’m running my own campaign.” – David Miliband, The New Stateman Blog

“TONY’S Blair’s former press chief Alastair Campbell has said that Labour leadership hopeful Ed Miliband is not up to the job. He said Ed would only make Labour “feel okay about losing” unlike his older brother, the outgoing foreign secretary, who could get the party “into shape again”.” – The Scotsman

“The Labour leadership hopefuls are to go head-to-head in the first of the contest’s hustings. The six declared candidates will have the opportunity to appeal to delegates at the GMB’s annual conference on Monday afternoon before appearing before fellow MPs in Westminster in the evening.” – Press Association

Final push for nominations

Andy Burnham is confident he will reach 33 nominations

“Andy Burnham yesterday also brandished leftist credentials. He said that he would promote “more job security for workers in private and public sectors” as well as “promoting fairness in pay and aspiration.”” – The Times  

“Candidates need 33 nominations to get on the ballot paper, but the former Health Secretary insisted he would be able to garner enough support. Mr Burnham told political editor Adam Boulton he would lay out his case for the leadership this week, promising “policy drawn from my life experiences”.” – Sky News

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Monday News Review

31/05/2010, 07:45:59 AM

The candidates

Diane Abbott makes pitch to Sun readers

“”They all look, sound and think the same. I want to ask the difficult questions. The sort of questions Sun readers want asked.” But she faces a battle to win enough nominations to get her name on the leadership ballot.” – Diane Abbott, The Sun

“All that the contenders have to offer are their political skills, they are all creatures of New Labour. That makes them likable, good communicators and very clever; but the drawbacks are equally evident. They are all youngish men who have grown up inside the distortions of the adrenaline-fuelled life of government.” – The Guardian

“Ed Miliband said that he and David never fought during childhood because “we are both too weedy for that”. He said that he chose to stand for election so party members had a diverse choice. “The one thing about opposition is that it gives you the chance to renew,” he said. “It was an incredibly hard decision for me to decide to run against my brother. It’s unusual, to put it mildly.”” – The Telegraph  

Scotland & Wales make play for NEC seat

Iain Gray calls for NEC seats for Scotland & Wales

“Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has said he wants greater influence in the UK party, after calling for a place on its ruling body. Mr Gray told BBC Scotland the time had come to give Labour’s Holyrood leader a seat on the national executive committee to “bind” the party together.” – The BBC

“LABOUR’S Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed by gaining a seat on its National Executive Committee, according to Iain Gray. The Scottish Labour leader said he had urged the party leadership challengers to allow him and Welsh leader Carwyn Jones to join the body that formulates policy” – The Scotsman

“Labour’s Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed, Iain Gray said. The Scottish Labour leader revealed that he has urged the leadership contenders to give him a seat on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).” – Press Association

Uniting the Union

“Mr Simpson and Mr Woodley are due to retire, and will be replaced by one general secretary, who will have a major influence on the Labour Party, of which Unite is the biggest financial backer. The odds are not in Ms Cartmail’s favour, because within each of the two unions that made up Unite there was an efficient vote-garnering machine.” – The Independent

“A moment of truth is approaching for Thigmoo – “this great movement of ours”, aka the UK’s once mighty trade unions, now facing their biggest test for 30 years as the Con-Lib coalition prepares public spending cuts that could threaten at least 500,000 jobs.” – The FT

Brown down

 “Gordon Brown has “good days and bad days” but is coming to terms with losing power, ex-Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said yesterday. Mr Campbell told the BBC the former Prime Minister was “reconciled to the fact that he didn’t win the election”.” – The Mirror

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Sunday News Review

30/05/2010, 08:59:44 AM

Next Labour

Ben Bradshaw backs David Miliband

“David’s breadth of leadership skills and experience, combined with his clear vision of where he wants to take the party and Britain also, offers our best chance of winning again in Norwich, Swindon and Milton Keynes, without which there won’t be another Labour government.” – Ben Bradshaw MP, The Observer

“The issue has been forced because of the doomed coalition talks in the last days of the Labour government which revealed a deep chasm between the “progressive” and the traditional wings of the party. That division wasn’t just about whether to do a deal with the Lib Dems, it was about a divergent approach to politics.” – The Scotsman

“It is more eyebrow-raising that the denigration of New Labour has also been joined by the Miliband brothers, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, a quartet who served their political apprenticeships in the courts of Blair and Brown and then ascended to the cabinet. They are jostling to criticise the government of which they were very recently prominent members.” – The Observer

“Perhaps the Labour front bench believes that having been mercifully released from the death grip of G Brown, it is now under no obligation to accept responsibility for his errors: that expunging the chief perpetrator was itself an absolution.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Talent show

David Miliband threw caution to the wind last night by calling for a full television debate between all candidates for the Labour leadership, in a move that could help boost his rivals.” – The Observer

“Labour leadership contender David Miliband is challenging his rivals to a TV debate. The former Foreign Secretary made the suggestion in a letter this weekend to the five other candidates.” – The Sunday Mirror

Old, New Labour

Campbell tells of power struggle at heart of New Labour

“The full extent of the explosive feuds at the heart of New Labour are revealed today in a new book by Alastair Campbell.Tony Blair’s former spin doctor discloses furious shouting matches between the ex-PM and Gordon Brown that left both men “with purple faces”.” – The Sunday Mirror

“Whilst many of us want to concentrate on the future and the rescue of our economy, the next few months will also see some reappraisal of the Labour years. For the first time we will be able to debate them without the choking blanket of spin coming from Downing Street.” – John Redwoods Diary

Baby boom

“Both the Prime Minister and Opposition leader could be on nappy-changing duty within months if Ed Miliband wins the race to succeed Gordon Brown” – The Mail on Sunday

“The family theme to Labour’s leadership contest took a fresh twist last night as it emerged that Ed Miliband is to become a father for the second time later this year.” – The Independent

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Jimmy Chen rejects the tyranny of the prefix

23/05/2010, 06:30:44 PM

As I watched the results come in on Election Day, I knew from quite early on that Labour was heading for defeat.  Given the poor performance of the Liberal Democrats, it was also clear that the numbers didn’t add up for a Labour-Liberal alliance; and that sooner or later, David Cameron would take over from Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.
Of course, I would have preferred if Gordon remained Prime Minister. I believe that he was instrumental in saving the world, yes, world, economy from a much deeper recession, or even depression. His actions have been recognised by many foreign governments, but alas, our own electorate did not do so. I am happy that Gordon has decided to remain a backbencher for the time being, but nevertheless the future of our party remains uncertain. (more…)

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Thursday News Review

20/05/2010, 08:03:55 AM

Andy Burnham joins the race

“As Labour debates its future, we must avoid looking like we are disowning our past. Everyone owes a debt of thanks to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But it falls now to my generation to rebuild Labour for new times. Politics has changed. Our job is to reconnect Labour with people who want something different from it. We also must bring back those people who have lost faith with us. I believe I can reach them. That is why I am today asking for the support of my colleagues to go forward as a candidate to lead the party I love and have served for 25 years.” – Andy Burnham, The Mirror

“Andy Burnham will become the fifth Labour MP vying for the leadership of the party when he declares his candidacy today. Writing in the Daily Mirror, the former health secretary will claim to be the candidate who can reconnect Labour with aspirational blue-collar workers. He will formally launch his campaign in his Leigh constituency in the north-west.” – The FT

Andy Burnham will join the race to replace Gordon Brown, saying Labour “had our fingers in our ears and our hands over our eyes” over election issues including immigration. The former health secretary will announce his candidacy at the People’s History Museum in Manchester this afternoon, bringing the number of candidates to five.” – The Guardian

“He will say the ex-PM’s decision to axe the 10p tax rate – which hit the low-paid hardest – sent out the signal that Labour “didn’t care” about ordinary people. Mr Burnham, 40, will also call for a clean break with the Blair/Brown era by claiming the party has lost touch with its core voters.” – The Sun

Diane Abbott enters the fray

“Backbench MP Diane Abbott has joined the race for the Labour leadership. The Londoner told the BBC her bid was “serious”, saying there was little between the other candidates and she would be offering Labour a choice. The 57-year-old Cambridge graduate, who became the UK’s first black woman MP in 1987, said she was getting support from both MPs on the left and women MPs.” – The BBC

“Left-wing Labour MP Diane Abbott announced today she was running for the party leadership, becoming the first woman to enter the race. In a surprise move, Ms Abbott said she was confident of attracting the 33 nominations needed to get her on to the ballot paper.” – The Independent

“Diane Abbott has thrown her hat into the ring, announcing that she will stand for Labour leadership. The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington told the BBC‘s Today programme that her bid was “serious”, and would offer Labour a choice, given the similarities between the other candidates. This unexpected addition certainly brings something different to a race which, until now, was populated entirely by white, Oxbridge educated men in their 40s — Ed and David Miliband, Ed Balls, John McDonnell, and Andy Burnham.” – The New Statesman

“Diane Abbott’s announcement that she will stand for Leader of the Labour Party has set off a fire cracker at the heart of a hitherto staid affair. Because of her TV pundit status, and her controversial career, the media will go nuts over her. Only John McDonnell has reason for dismay: she will take Campaign Group MPs’ nominations from him, and probably ensure that neither of them will get onto the ballot paper.” – LabourList

“Ever since it became clear that a Labour leadership race was in the offing, people have been urging me to run. The declared frontrunners are hugely talented, but the danger is that they are “hoovering up” all the nominations and sucking the air out of the contest. This is pivotal moment for the party, and there is a long summer of hustings ahead. And many people believe that we need the broadest range of candidates in the race. Otherwise, many issues that Labour party members (and the public) want to debate will be off the table.” – Diane Abbott, The Guardian

The contest

“Last night, the party was considering demands for candidates to be given more time to raise the support of 33 MPs, which they need if they are to feature officially in the contest. MPs and activists had protested that next Thursday’s 12.30pm deadline would stop candidates such as Mr McDonnell from running. A change of heart now looks possible after Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary and leadership contender, supported the demands. “MPs/members annoyed about short nominations timetable: I have to say I agree,” he wrote on Twitter.” – The Independent

“The three former Cabinet ministers have remarkably similar backgrounds: all studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford in the 1980s and completed their education at Harvard before becoming advisers to Mr Brown or Tony Blair. But Mr Balls hinted that his roots were more provincial than those of the metropolitan Milibands, who have spent recent years “travelling around the world” as Cabinet ministers responsible for foreign affairs and climate change.” – The Times

“It says something about the Labour gene pool that all the serious candidates for the leadership are white Oxbridge-educated men in their forties who were special advisers in 1997. They are, as John McDonnell — the leftwinger who is standing but won’t win — put it “the sons of Blair and sons of Brown”.” – The Times

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Update: the teams behind the leadership campaigns

19/05/2010, 11:06:59 AM

We summarised the core teams here yesterday.   David Miliband made a point of saying in his formal launch speech that his named spokesperson would be Lisa Tremble, and that there would be no unattributable briefing.  Cynics in the other camps have raised their eyebrows.

His organisation and logistics will fall to Joe Carberry, the widely liked godson of Peter Mandelson.  (The Dark Lord himself is ‘keeping out of it’, as is Alistair Campbell).

The weird temptations of one more campaign have lured several former Downing Street staffers. Stewart Wood, Gordon Brown’s DCMS and foreign affairs guy, has  joined Polly Billington spinning for Ed Miliband.  Into which camp Rachel Kinnock has also wandered.  Whereas the woman who used to share an office with Dr Wood in Downing St, former Head of Broadcasting, Nicola Burdett, has reportedly signed on to spin for Balls.  At whose strategy meetings she will encounter the familiar face of Michael Dugher, now MP for Barnsley East but till very recently a top spinner in the Brown Downing Street.

For those who assume otherwise: I doubt that any of these ex-staffers will be paid for any work on this campaign, though many will be working full time.  As they will have been on the general election.  Which they won’t have been paid for either.  They do it because they can’t help themselves.

So far, the Brown Downing Street is splitting between the two Eds.  But there are many yet to declare.

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