Posts Tagged ‘Darling’

The Brown inner circle: from spearhead to shambles, by Dan Hodges

12/08/2010, 12:00:25 PM

On Sunday I had my first opportunity to watch ‘Five Days That Changed Britain’, Nick Robinson’s exposé of the deals, double deals and expressions of sincerity from Nick Clegg that culminated in the establishment of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. Although the programme wasn’t revelatory, I found it candid, insightful and, to my surprise, moving. There was something genuinely poignant in the picture it drew of Gordon Brown’s growing isolation as the political options narrowed and his enemies closed in.

It reminded me of a little vignette from the morning after the election, when Gordon arrived at Labour HQ to address party workers. After a few brief words of thanks, he prepared to depart for Downing  Street, only to be unceremoniously bundled into a side room by Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, who proceeded to lay out their strategy for a grand alliance to keep the party, (though not necessarily him), in power.

Peter, Alastair and Andrew Adonis featured at length in the transition drama, and were clearly – to the extent that we had a negotiating strategy – its architects. Which goes beyond poignancy, stampedes right past pathos and dives headlong into Shakespearian tragedy. At his darkest hour, with all hope fading, the King calls out for his trusted aides, only to find himself surrounded by the henchman of his bitterest foe. “That one might read the book of fate/And see the revolution of the times”. Or, in Gordon’s case, the Sun and the Mail.


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Tuesday News Review – The Budget

22/06/2010, 08:03:24 AM

Now is the time to fight

George Osborne to unveil his emergency budget

“So tomorrow, when George Osborne puts the fragile recovery at risk with his ideological onslaught on public services, by pretending the economy is worse than it is, and using the quisling Lib Dems as political cover, it will be up to acting leader Harriet Harman and shadow chancellor Alistair Darling to lead the Labour response. But it is also important that the David and Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott pile in, and do so with real impact. Not just as a way of highlighting the risk Osborne and Co pose, but as a way of showing party and country what they have by way of argument, strategy and fight.” Alastair Campbell Blog

“Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls warned: “A VAT increase would hit the poorest hardest – pensioners, the unemployed, those on lower incomes.” – The Mirror

“Leaderless they may be, but Labour MPs are able to agree on a common line to use against the Government’s deficit-reduction plans. They argue that the public expenditure cuts to be announced later today by the Chancellor George Osborne reflect not necessity but desire bordering on the sadistic.” – The Independent

“Yesterday Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband called on Lib Dem MPs to vote against the Budget. “I say to the Lib Dems very clearly that they should exercise their consciences and be willing to oppose this Budget, on issues such as VAT and fairness,” he said.” – City AM

“Alistair Darling, free at last of Mr Brown’s budgetary meddling, is almost a lone defender of his party’s economic legacy (which is not as grim as Mr Osborne pretends). While the leadership contenders have done some Osborne-bashing, none offers a coherent vision of how capitalism can be reconnected to the public good.” – The Telegraph

“Labour’s reply to the Budget in the Commons will come from the party’s stand-in leader, Harriet Harman. But Labour’s big hitters are already predicting tax rises and claiming they will hit the poor hardest. The shadow chancellor Alistair Darling told Sky News he would be “absolutely astonished” if VAT does not go up, probably up to 20%. “If you need money, income tax and VAT are the cash cows,” he said.” – Sky News

Darling defends his legacy

“Former chancellor Alistair Darling said a move from the RPI Index to the CPI Index, which he believed Mr Osborne would announce and which would save the exchequer £1 billion if he did, had been discussed when he was still in the treasury […] Unlike other senior Labour figures, Mr Darling, who is not a leadership candidate, sought to adopt a reasonable approach: accepting the need for some cuts, but disapproving of others.” – Irish Times

Alistair Darling, not a man given to hyperbole, is on top form defending his economic legacy and attacking what he sees as ideological cuts from the Tory-led coalition. He has been a regular on the air-waves at a time when Labour lacks leadership, and this passionate piece in the Observer was a model Keynesian take-down of the Government’s fiscal plans.” – The New Statesman


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