Posts Tagged ‘Burnham’

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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Tuesday News Review

13/07/2010, 07:50:57 AM

The gift that keeps on giving


The leaders of Labour‘s general election campaign believed their party was “fucked” six months before Gordon Brown fired the starting gun in April, Lord Mandelson has revealed. In the latest instalment of his memoirs, the former business secretary says that three senior members of the cabinet joked last October that Labour should fight a campaign based on three Fs: Futile, Finished, and Fucked. – The Guardian

The peer criticised the “unbridled contempt” of some of Mr Brown’s allies – taken as a reference to Mr Whelan and Ed Balls – for Mr Blair. Mr Balls, now a candidate for the party leadership, said yesterday it was incorrect to say he had briefed against fellow Labour MPs over the past decade. In a BBC interview he said: “Are there times when I was in my late 20s, 15 years ago, where… we were sort of youthful and exuberant and a bit arrogant? Almost certainly the case, but we all grew up.” – The Western Mail


Clearly annoyed by Lord Mandelson’s actions, leadership candidate Ed Miliband, who served in cabinet with him, said: “One of the lessons for Labour is we do need to move on from some of the psychodramas of the past, some of the factionalism that there was.” The most important lesson to be learnt from the memoirs, said Mr Miliband, was that the party would be “profoundly wrong” to believe that it lost the election because of its most senior personalities, rather than its policies. “We began as the party of the windfall tax on privatised utilities and the minimum wage in 1997. We ended up – despite doing great things – as the party defending bankers’ bonuses and pushing forward ID cards,” said Mr Miliband. – The Irish Times


A senior Labour politician has launched a scathing attack on Lord Mandelson, saying the former Cabinet minister should compensate the party for the damage his memoirs are likely to cause. Ian Davidson, the new chairman of the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, said Mandelson should donate the proceeds from his explosive tell-all memoirs to the party. The MP also said that the television advertisements for the book, in which the former Business Secretary wears a smoking jacket and a cravat, proved he had always been egotistical and self-serving. – The Herald


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Friday News Review

09/07/2010, 08:27:14 AM

Show me the money

David Miliband has raised more in donations than any of the other candidates

Since launching his bid to replace Gordon Brown in May, accounts issued by the Electoral Commission show that the shadow foreign secretary has raised nearly £200,000 from major donors alone. He has also drawn in 94 smaller gifts of less than £1,500, which do not have to be declared. In contrast, Ed Balls, the shadow education secretary and his nearest rival, has raked in less than £30,000, and Mr Miliband’s younger brother Ed, the shadow energy secretary, has only £15,000. – The Telegraph

Black Country MP John Spellar has offered a donation of £13,000 to Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls’s campaign – but he doesn’t expect ever to pay it. Mr Spellar is listed as a donor in a new register published by the Electoral Commission which shows how much the candidates have received. Shadow Foreign Secretary David Miliband is in the lead in the cash stakes, with £185,265 in financial support from major backers. – The Birmingham Post

David Miliband brandished his political fundraising abilities today as it emerged he had attracted far more in donations to his Labour leadership bid than any of his rivals. The shadow foreign secretary has so far racked up £185,265 in financial support from major backers, according to the Electoral Commission. That is apart from 94 other donations of less than £1,500 which do not need to be declared and two cash gifts from the Usdaw and Community unions which will be listed in future months. – The Guardian


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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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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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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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