Posts Tagged ‘Kinnock’

I don’t want a new best friend. I want a Labour Prime Minister

24/07/2010, 12:00:21 PM

Back  in 1994 Tony Blair sealed the deal with many of us when he was billed as “the man the Tories most fear”. After the crushing blow of losing in 1992 we wanted a winner. Damn his policies! As the late Tony Banks exclaimed “my members will eat shit to see a Labour government”.

Blair was given enormous latitude. The party was desperate to break its losing streak. We got hooked on successful – but corrosive – habits about stifling internal debate and adopting an approach to discipline that would make a Gordonstoun headmaster blush. But that approach helped keep us in power for 13 years; albeit with a long trail of political capital and supporters leaching out on the road behind us.

We now find ourselves in the middle of Labour’s first truly modern leadership campaign; one that eschews the left/right factionalism of the past and the fatalism we used to have about whether we could actually win power at all. It is opening up debate in a way that we are unused to.

But we have to be careful we don’t overuse our new gifts. There is a balance to be struck between embracing the party’s new glasnost and forgetting the old ways – and why we adopted them in the first place.

At the moment, there’s a lot of tummy tickling going on but not much vision. We need a discussion about how do we equip ourselves for a world where coalition governments may become commonplace. Where there is less money to spend our way to our social democratic nirvana. Where we articulate our own version of The Big Society. Where we back up our grand rhetoric on localism and environmentalism with real commitments next time. But these kind of hard-edged issues are simply not breaking through. (more…)

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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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