Posts Tagged ‘Gloria de Piero’

Can everyone please put their spades down?

07/07/2015, 06:06:26 PM

Denis Healy’s droll advice to stop digging when you find yourself in a hole seems lost on the current Labour frontbench. Just when it appeared that the party had officially reached Peak Disaster in May’s general election, it seems there is always more that can be done to frighten away potential voters.

Let’s take just four interventions from last week.

On Wednesday, at Prime Minister’s Questions, acting leader Harriet Harman casually committed the Labour benches to supporting a third runway for Heathrow, the central recommendation of Sir Howard Davies’ long-anticipated Airports Commission.

This is slightly surprising because there is no such commitment in the recent Labour manifesto. Indeed, there has been no discussion in the party about the change in policy. If there had been, it might have been pointed out that without ameliorative measures, a third runway will lock-in, rather than reduce, regional economic imbalances between Greater London and the North and Midlands. But, hey, it was a good line for PMQs.

Next up was Gloria de Piero, the party’s shadow equalities minister. She announced that companies employing more than 250 people (note: not the public sector) will be subject to a new regulation compelling them to undergo an “annual equal pay check” and publish information on the pay gap between their male and female employees in order, it seems, to be publicly shamed for any disparity.

Labour’s charmless offensive with business continues unabated. If there is evidence that employers pay women less for working at the same level as men, in the same organisation, on the same hours, then it’s a simple matter of enforcing the 1970 Equal Pay Act, which has outlawed such practices for the past 45 years.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Advantage Alexander in Labour’s campaign team reshuffle

04/07/2014, 08:02:33 AM

Three new faces join Labour’s campaign team as deputies to Labour’s chair of campaign strategy, Douglas Alexander: Gloria de Piero, Toby Perkins and Jon Ashworth to improve broadcast coverage, field operations and work with candidates. Cue warm fraternal regards from all and sundry on Twitter, nothing to see here, all just run of the mill announcements.

Except of course, they aren’t.

The essential background is that Michael Dugher – responsible for campaign communications – and Douglas Alexander, are not on speaking terms. We know because of this. Quite possibly the most extraordinary example of red on red briefing since the low point of the TB-GBs a decade ago.

The overlapping nature of their briefs was always likely to cause friction, a function of Ed Miliband’s reluctance to pick a single campaign boss. Now, the Alexander-Dugher antipathy has become so entrenched that even by Labour’s dysfunctional standards (see recent comments by J Cruddas about unreconciled camps), something had to be done.

Rather than fix the original mistake and unambiguously choose a single campaign lead, Ed Miliband has opted for a fudge.

The primary role of the new appointments is to form a human shield between Alexander and Dugher.

In the original campaign structure, Dugher and Alexander had an executive function: their role was to discuss the recommendations from the staff team and make decisions. But in a world where the two aren’t talking, and the leader refuses to choose between them, a buffer was needed.

Enter the new deputies.

It’s notable that on the Tory side of the fence, there is no comparable proliferation of MPs in campaign roles. They have a single official at the helm, Lynton Crosby, who is accountable to Cameron and Osborne and that’s it. Everyone else does as they are told.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Labour in key seats retreat

14/01/2014, 06:27:23 PM

On the day ICM’s monthly poll saw Labour’s lead fall to 3 points, news reaches Uncut of a quiet “re-prioritisation” of the party’s list of 106 key seats.

At Uncut towers, we’ve been hearing grumbles from the field for a while that the flow of resources and help from head office has been extremely variable, with certain seats receiving substantially greater support than others.

Now a Brewer’s Green source has confirmed that a new approach is being implemented, saying “some seats are more key than others.”

Partially, this is the Livermore effect. Labour’s new campaign chief, Spencer Livermore, has been in post for just under two months and is focusing his scarce resources to maximise effectiveness.

But underpinning this reappraisal are two broader developments: first, the increasing effort Labour is having to devote to retaining marginal seats it already holds and second, the party’s flagging performance in the south.

At the last election Labour won 17 seats where the majority was only in three figures. Although Labour’s vote in these seats will undoubtedly be bolstered by defections from the Lib Dems, there is a real danger that anti-Labour supporters of the coalition parties will switch their votes to maximise the chances for a Labour defeat – after all, both the Tories and the Lib Dems will be standing on the same economic record.

In 2011, when Debbie Abrahams won the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, it was notable that the Lib Dem vote held up, sustained largely by massive switching from the Tories.

If this type of behaviour were replicated at the next election then Labour could face losing large numbers of seats, with shadow cabinet members like Gloria De Piero, who had a majority at the last election of 192, under threat.

Allied to the need to protect these seats has been a growing realisation that Labour is not making the headway needed in some southern seats and that the party’s finite resources would make more of a difference if committed elsewhere, principally in the northern marginals.

The source who spoke to Uncut highlighted Dover, Crawley and Battersea as examples of the types of seats where Labour is struggling.

This doesn’t mean all support for the lower priority list will be withheld, more that they will not get first call on the resources that are available.

The source suggested Labour’s realistic target list is nearer 60 than 106.

In effect, Labour is now targeting a coalition with the Lib Dems following the next election.

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Crossman, Etzioni, abstaining and the big society.

02/02/2011, 12:30:45 PM

by Tom Watson

“One of the difficulties in politics is that politicians are shocked by those who are really prepared to let their thinking reach any conclusion. Political thinking consists in deciding on the conclusion first and then finding good arguments for it. An open mind is considered irresponsible – and perhaps it really is”.

It will be sixty years in November since Richard Crossman penned that entry in his diary. I think about that quote a lot; have done ever since I first read his diaries over many hours in the coffee shop of the national film theatre in 1984. It repeats back to me most days, particularly these dark days of opposition. Sometimes it’s the little things that trigger the memory of it.

This week, for example, the Labour party has done a lot of abstaining. The Tories are mired in a long, long internal argument about the European bill. Our corporate view is that much of the discussion, and subsequent backbench clauses to the bill, are private grief for the prime minister. For Labour MPs, the division bells have been closely followed by a text message with the words “we are abstaining”. I hate abstaining on anything. It seems so weak. Last night I cracked and decided to positively abstain, that is, to vote in both “aye” and “no” lobbies. A whip – friendly, polite, gently firm – asked me not to. I obliged. Is my thinking so unclear that I can’t even conclude to abstain right? It’s been a busy, stressful week but I was disappointed with myself for being so compliant. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Gloria, la parlamentare più sexy d’Inghilterra

02/10/2010, 10:30:53 AM

la Repubblica, Italy’s second biggest selling daily, was so excited to learn that the Ashfield MP Gloria de Piero (who has Italian heritage) has been voted the sexiest female Parliamentarian that they have a special photo feature on the Bradford born ex-journalist.

With the ballot now open to elect the new shadow cabinet, an Italian is just what is needed in the PLP.

Perhaps PLP secretary, Martin O’Donovan, could ask Ms de Piero to perform Antonello Venditti’s desperate stadium lament, Ci vorrebbe un amico, at the formal announcement of the shadow cabinet election results.

Venditti wrote the song for the Italian shadow cabinet elections of 1981. Two years later, a socialist prime minister, Bettino Craxi, finally took office in Italy. But the ’81 shadow cabinet elections were a low point of skullduggery and misery.

Venditti’s sense of grief and desperation, the mix of love and hate for one’s colleagues is universal among ambitious politicians. This wooden translation gives an idea of the turmoil next week’s 30 British shadow cabinet losers can expect.

Living with you became a rough game
Ok, you won, the rest is just life.
In this story of ours, I am the one going down.
I need a friend
to be able to forget you.
I need a friend
to forget the bad.
I need a friend
in pain and in regret.
Love, illogical love, desperate love.
See, I am crying, but I have forgiven you.
And if I loved [for] nothing, love, my love, forgive
in this cold night all I need is one word.
But living with you was a tough match
it was a tough fight, regardless of how it ended
but maybe because of the magic night or just the emotion
I find myself again at your door.

At least the shadow cabinet losers will have the sexiest female member of the mother of parliaments to sing them this comfort from the home country.

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon