Wednesday News Review


Ed Miliband came under attack last night when his rivals for the Labour leadership hit out at any attempts to “rewrite history” on the Iraq war. Ed Miliband, David Miliband, Diane Abbott, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham appeared in the first televised hustings which are due to run into August. Some of the candidates turned on the younger of the two Miliband brothers who in the first few weeks of his candidacy has made much of his opposition to the war.” – The Guardian

“Abbott’s weapon is communication. Unlike her four opponents, she doesn’t sound like an under-manager at Furniture Village. She is accessible, particularly on television – and the hopefuls will be up before Paxman tonight. As David Miliband grasps and gurns for another intransitive verb, I wonder if his stupidity will dawn on him.” – The Spectator

“This was clearly judged not quite the moment for Miliband the Elder to identify social democracy as the main live ideological strand of the socialist traditions, and to stake his claim that its political future now depends on a plural progressive fusion with the liberal tradition. Perhaps there will be other occasions and platforms for that argument, but a leadership hustings wasn’t the place.” – The New Statesman

“The leaders clashed on immigration, after Ed Balls brought up Gordon Brown’s meeting with Mrs Duffy, an elderly citizen in Rochdale who criticised Labour’s immigration plans and whom Gordon Brown was later recorded calling her a ‘bigot’.” – Politics Home

“On Iraq, Ed Miliband said it was “extremely damaging” and a “catastrophic loss of trust” – adding that at the time he felt the weapons inspectors should have been given more time, but was not an MP then. Ms Abbott pointed out that she was the only one of the contenders to have marched and voted against the war.” – The BBC

“The impact on the betting markets of last night’s first TV debate between the Labour leadership five has been a tightening of the David Milibrand price on Betfair although Ladbrokes reported that most money had come in for Ed Balls. Watching the debate again this morning I’m even more convinced that the only one capable of being an effective leader of the opposition is Ed Balls. He’s sharp, shameless and a fighter.” – Political Betting

Policy posturing

“Andy Burnham has become the first Labour leadership contender to back a 10% “death tax” to set up a National Care Service. The former Health Sec retary said the scandal of families being forced to sell their homes to pay for the long-term care of elderly relatives must be ended.” – The Mirror

In a blog post that will alarm City bosses but delight union leaders, the former foreign secretary said that corporate pay deals have been set by “cartel-like” groups of executives who ensure that salaries are always pushed higher. Mr Miliband argued that the steady rise of executive pay, which had “economically catastrophic” consequences by contributing to the financial crisis, has had “more to do with a concentration of market power than individual business brilliance.”” – The Telegraph

“There was too much arrogance, too much infatuation with courting elites. We should have backed the rights of people in the workplace but instead we listened to the voice of business too much. It meant that when the recession came, people thought we were on the side of the bankers. It gave people the belief that we didn’t know who we were any more.” – Andy Burnham, The Mirror

The candidates

“So the contest looks bad. And it sounds bad as well. The candidates’ pitches have generally been either dull, or desperate. Mr Balls has finally located his doubts about the Iraq war – hitherto better hidden than those pesky WMDs. Ed Miliband’s revolutionary strategy is to talk about ‘values’ and ‘fairness and equality’ – words straight out of the Tony Blair playbook, circa 1997. His brother, David, is the only one of the men who isn’t openly disavowing large parts of the manifesto that all four fought on just a few weeks ago. But his mantra – ‘not new Labour but next Labour’ – is hardly a rallying-cry for the disaffected masses. It’s a slogan in search of a meaning.” – The Manchester Evening News

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