Tuesday News Review

The David & Ed show

The next Labour leader is unlikely to be an Abbott, Balls or Burnham. Gordon Brown’s successor will be a Miliband. But I’m more interested in whether he will be Mr Sun or Mr Wind. Aesop captured the dilemma in a fable. If you want a man to take off his cloak, do you huff and puff and force him to give it up or do you cover him with warmth until he discards it freely? In Aesop, the sun scores a predictable victory. Politics isn’t so easy. Harriet Harman’s blasts at Nick Clegg’s alleged betrayal of left-wing voters has undoubtedly blown many Liberal Democrat voters towards Labour. In the long term, however, Mr Miliband (for surely it will be Ed or David) is more likely to prosper by offering flowers to Liberal Democrats than by throwing the vase at them. – The Spectator

 He accepts that it looks “odd” for Ed to be running against him and appears to have separated his sibling into two distinct mental compartments: Ed the Brother and Ed the Rival. On the shelves of his office, it’s striking that there is no photo of Ed. This strangeness is reflected in the way the normal rules of politics are blurred by the family affair. Normally, the runner-up in a leadership race can expect to get the shadow chancellor’s post. But wouldn’t it just look weird in the modern age to have two brothers in these two posts? Mr Miliband is firm: “I can honestly say I’ve not started giving out jobs to anybody. It’s certainly presumptuous to start giving out jobs to people and I’m resisting all temptations to do that”. – The Evening Standard

Diane finds mud and slings

Abbott claimed today that Miliband had in fact “£400,000 in cold cash” to drive through his leadership bid. “There is something unfortunate about even the appearance that someone is buying the election,” said Abbott in a video interview for the Guardian. A committee of Labour’s ruling body set a cap of £156,000 for each leadership contender – equivalent to £1 for each party member registered at the time the contest began. But Abbott pointed out that this cap excluded the cost of staff on which contenders rely to canvass Labour members for their votes. She claimed Miliband has a 90-strong staff to support his campaign to the “two-and-half volunteers” helping her bid. – The Guardian

Don’t get distracted by the Lib Dems

Labour leadership contender Ed Balls has warned his party that it risked falling into David Cameron’s “trap” by focusing its attack on the Liberal Democrats. The coalition was “fundamentally a Conservative government” and Tories should not be let “off the hook”, the shadow education secretary said. Mr Balls described the Lib Dems as merely “cannon fodder shielding Mr Cameron”. He said Labour membership was now up by more than 25,000 and Nick Clegg’s party had “collapsed in the polls”. – The Press Association

Mansion tax

Owners of homes worth £2million or more should pay a “mansion tax” to help the poor, Labour leadership contender David Miliband said yesterday. Mr Miliband said the tax could help reverse the effects of ComDem housing benefit cuts that will drive hard-up families out of more expensive neighbourhoods – including large swathes of London.The annual mansion tax would raise £1.7billion – £400million more than the ConDems are saving from benefit cuts, the Shadow Foreign Secretary said. – The Mirror

Labour leadership contender David Miliband said today that owners of homes worth more than £2million should pay an annual ‘mansion tax’. In an interview with the Evening Standard, the shadow foreign secretary said the levy would raise £1.7billion to fund housing benefit for the least well-off. His radical proposal also appears designed to upset the delicate equilibrium between the coalition partners as well as appeal to Labour grass roots. – The Daily Mail

Time to embrace the Big Society?

Richard Darlington, spokesman for Demos, said: “This poll will be a wake up call for Labour’s leadership candidates. “Labour’s next leader needs to support public sector cuts and embrace the Big Society agenda if they are to be heard by the public. This post-election poll shows that Labour’s defence of services against spending cuts was falling on deaf ears. While Labour has consistently argued that spending cuts should not go too far or too fast, this poll shows that a significant number of voters recognise the need for cuts.” – The Telegraph

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