Friday News Review

Ed: targeted?

The leadership

Both the Reading East and Reading West constituency parties voted to give Ed Miliband ‘supporting nominations’ at a meeting on Thursday, following a visit to the town by the shadow climate secretary the week before. Reading Labour Party chairwoman Sarah King said: “There is a strong field of candidates in this election, and Thursday’s was a well-attended and lively meeting, with a number of new members taking part. Over 100 new members have joined Reading Labour Party since the election, determined to fight back against the damage the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition is inflicting on our country. Ed Miliband has a sense of vision that appeals to members in Reading, but local people know that, whoever wins the leadership, Labour will be in there fighting hard on their side.” – The Reading Chronicle.

Ed Balls’s campaign, pitched at school building cuts and VAT closures, has a concrete quality that his opponents’ have lacked. He would make the case for spending and borrowing more with economic literacy. Nor can the craftsman of Bank of England independence be easily dismissed as a wild man. However, his platform plays into the Tory narrative. Is that what Labour members want? – The Guardian.

Ed Miliband is under fire from all sides. “He just tickles the tummy of the party,” say some of the Blairites backing David Miliband. “He’s far too junior to be party leader,” say some of the Brownites backing Ed Balls. “He’ll take Labour back to the 1980s,” say the conservative commentators supporting David Cameron. We are witnessing Operation Target Ed Miliband. As he sets off for his summer holiday in Cornwall, the younger Miliband brother could be forgiven for thinking that he must be doing something right to be attracting such pointed criticism from rivals and right-wingers alike. – New Statesman.

Candidates debate Iraq

A two-hour debate between the Labour leadership candidates on 5 Live didn’t sound like an invitation to the most thrilling 120 minutes of radio ever broadcast. But thanks to host Victoria Derbyshire’s refusal to let the candidates evade the Stevenage audience’s questions – even shouting at Ed Balls to get him to identify a single spending cut that he would make – this could be the moment that the contest finally caught fire. – Bee Hive City.

David Miliband told Victoria Derbyshire and an audience made up of 5 live listeners “in retrospect, looking back, we got it wrong”.
Andy Burnham, meanwhile stood by his decision to support the war, saying “Did I do the right thing for the right reasons? Yes I believe I did”.
And Ed Miliband questioned Ed Balls asking “Do you recognise that we hitched our wagon to the United States which I think was a profound mistake”. – BBC News.

“I do not think Ed or any of the rest of us can claim with any credibility that in 2003 we thought the war was wrong but we just forgot to tell anyone, because that would make us look ridiculous.” – Ed Balls, The Guardian


Ken speaks

Mayoral scrap

A London Labour candidate going into an election with a question-mark over the Freedom Pass, such as being open to means testing it, would damage Labour. Either Boris Johnson will use it as a stick with which to beat Labour, posing to the ‘left’ of the Labour candidate. Or it will open up territory that assists those who want to erode travel concessions. – Ken Livingstone, New Statesman.

Natural partners?

The country has not known a peacetime coalition for the best part of a century, when the Liberals last shared power. For decades the Labour Party was assumed to be their natural ideological partner, not the Conservatives. Days before the deal that made Mr Cameron (pictured left) the Tory prime minister, with Mr Clegg (pictured right) as his Lib Dem deputy, the partnership was an option that even insiders barely entertained. The coalition is an extraordinary thing, whether it collapses before its hoped-for shelf-life of five years or turns into a full-scale merger of the two parties. – The Economist

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