Posts Tagged ‘Hilary Benn’

Hilary Benn has shown the way. Moderates must stay and fight for our Labour party

03/12/2015, 03:40:46 PM

by Samuel Dale

Every day I have to convince myself not to leave the Labour party in these dark days of the Corbyn nightmare.

I voted for Liz Kendall in the leadership along with just 4.5% of members. The party has clearly changed beyond all recognition since I joined at 16 in 2003.

Every day brings a fresh humiliation, a fresh moral and electoral disaster. Snubbing the national anthem. Shot to kill. Mao’s Little Red Book. Momentum bullying. Everything Ken Livingstone says. The Syria free vote shambles. No press release produced responding to autumn statement for the first time ever. And much more besides.

It is not so much the policies but the sheer incompetence of a shambolic and ramshackle leadership that has dragged the 100-year old Labour party into the moral and electoral abyss in just three months.

So it is natural to think about leaving. Many have. The FT reported as many as 1,000 members have left in the last month in despair at Corbyn’s leadership.  I understand why they have left and it is easy to lose hope. But we have to stay and fight.

That is why Hilary Benn’s speech in the House of Commons was so important.

He made the case for bombing Isis in Raqqa with passion and persuasive verve but it represented more than that.


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It’s not all Ed’s fault

13/08/2015, 04:09:17 PM

by Kevin Meagher

If things had gone differently, Ed Miliband would now be enjoying a well-earned holiday somewhere hot, eagerly pursued by a retinue of security officers and sweaty officials, planning his first Labour conference speech as Prime Minister.

Perhaps, in a parallel universe, that’s precisely where he is, sat at a poolside table in his best long shorts and polo shirt, making awkward small talk with Justine as his sips a non-alcoholic cocktail and laughs nervously for the obligatory photo opportunity.

But it was not to be in this universe.

Instead, Miliband is an election loser. A fallen prophet. The man who broke the Labour party. Marked, forever, as a failure. Johnny No-Mates.

Par for the course, perhaps, when you fail to win what seemed an eminently winnable election, but just as Miliband’s reputation must sink with the ship, so, too, must others who are just as much to blame for Labour’s defeat. The cast of villains does not begin and end with Edward Samuel Miliband.

He was led astray by the polls, we know that much for certain, but that’s only part of the story. The groupthink of his supporters, the hubris, that, despite Miliband’s uninspiring performance and the voters more granular worries about the party’s trustworthiness and competence, especially on the economy, victory seemed, if not inevitable, then highly likely.


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Shadow cabinet league: Sadiq Khan strides ahead

25/04/2014, 10:46:55 AM

by Alan Smithee

Last month for Labour was defined by two events: the Special Conference and the Budget. The former was a triumph for Ed and the latter a disappointment.  This is the story of his leadership – for every positive leap, a stumble follows. It has been much the same for his shadow cabinet colleagues, a month of minor triumph and minor disappointment but not much more.

As he did in the London Marathon, Sadiq Khan strides far ahead of his colleagues.

His speech on prison reform did not please the hang ‘em and flog ‘em brigade but sketched out a liberal-pragmatic path that fits with Khan’s other pronouncements.

March was another solid month for Chris Leslie. His strong performance on rebutting government claims surrounding the budget showed his continued importance to the shadow treasury team.

For Hilary Benn, the month of March was marked by the death of his father. As a result, it seems glib to comment on his shadow cabinet activity, other than to note his rise continues with a step up to third from fifth.

It was a relatively quiet month for Caroline Flint on the media front, counterbalanced by her good usage of written questions. Her questions, as per usual, focussed mainly on energy but she also found time this month to probe on climate change too.

Yvette Cooper impressed last month with a considered speech at Demos on the balance of security and liberty in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Her extra-Parliamentary work underpins her position near the top of the table; she rarely tables questions to ministers.

Rounding off the top six is Rachel Reeves. As in previous months, Reeves has continued to score points against IDS over the trials and tribulations of universal credit. She also struck a good balance between positivity over improving labour market statistics and highlighting the lack of quality jobs and issues with youth unemployment.


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Shadow cabinet league: Khan remains the boss

28/03/2014, 05:15:01 PM

by Alan Smithee

This column returns, bronzed with liver aching, from a brief absence. Thankfully, the shadow cabinet has not taken a similar sojourn. As we enter the New Politics™ era, the shadow cabinet remains important to delivering a Labour victory in 2015 and harrying the coalition in the meantime.

Two MPs have established a commanding lead at the top of the table. Sadiq Khan and Chris Leslie have consistently performed well. Khan has excellent in consistent reactive media work and producing a gargantuan amount of written question. His continued focus on Oakwood Prison and the disturbance in January shows a commitment to scrutiny rather than questions based on cynical opportunism.

Leslie, who does the donkey work in the Treasury team, has produced similar levels of questions and has been able to generate a number of attacks on the Government.  His speech on the zero-base review helped flesh out Labour’s pledge, key for offering fiscal credibility.

Shad Cab table 2013-02-28


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Shadow cabinet league: Khan still top as Benn barges into top ten

21/01/2014, 02:42:44 PM

by Alan Smithee

Early on in a season, a league table often struggles to reflect the true strength of teams. Sometimes teams remain high up in a table due to a superficial good start. However, one cannot tell truly until after a good handful of games have passed. The same is true for Uncut’s shadow cabinet table. However, with December’s results’ in, there are still some useful hints at work rate and the tactics used.

Shad Cab table 1

Within the top five, Sadiq Khan remains at number one, fueled by large numbers of written questions and heavily reactive media activity. His impressive performance has continued to cover a broad policy spectrum and, even if it does not pay major immediate political dues, will leave Khan well set up to manage and modify the penal system. The same formula is used by Chris Leslie, Caroline Flint and Chuka Umunna. Flint has continued to use the energy price freeze pledge and rising bills to hammer the government on the cost of living.   Andy Burnham however has focussed his guns in the media sphere working reactive and proactive to attack the failings of government NHS reforms.


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Naming our streets after fallen heroes is a meaningful mark of respect

21/02/2013, 11:08:28 AM

by Jim Murphy

The armed forces are based on individual acts of courage working in skilled unity for the sake of national security. Each sacrifice is an individual lost, a family mourning and a nation wounded by the personal patriotism of those that serve. It is not only right but essential that we meaningfully recognise and commemorate those who lose their lives in the line of duty. That is why today my colleague Hilary Benn and I are writing to every council leader in Britain to urge that they offer families the chance to name local streets after their fallen loved ones.

On a recent visit to Barking and Dagenham I was told of a scheme where the council offers families the opportunity to choose a street or local location to be named in memory of a loved one lost while serving. In consultation with the family and local residents the location and precise name of a road or street is decided upon.  The council also offers to organise an official opening ceremony, to which members of the community, family and friends as well as service charities could be invited.  Two locations in the Borough have been named in this way and a third family has recently also chosen to do so.

A lasting personal memorial of this kind can demonstrate the value we place on those who have been lost in the defence of our country. They will of course always be remembered by their families, but changing a community’s physical environment would be a chance for their names to live publicly and forever.  While this is a personal issue it is also right, should the families choose it, that we enable communities to show sensitive solidarity and sympathy to those who lose their lives in service.

Rather than wait until Labour is in government, we wanted to urge councils to take this step now.  The forthcoming end of combat operations in Afghanistan does not mean an end to our forces being asked to act upon the responsibilities we have beyond our borders – Libya and Mali are testament to that.  Their role will be enduring, as should our efforts to seek meaningful commemorations. Labour is out of office, but not without power, and we hope this move could spur a collective, cross-party resolve in favour of street naming.


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