Sunday News Review

Ed sets out programme of review

Ed Miliband vowed yesterday to give everyone a say in drawing up Labour’s policies – and even the chance to choose his successor. He made the pledge as he urged the party to move beyond New Labour and reconnect with the public after “losing its way”. In his first major event since returning from paternity leave, Mr Miliband warned that Labour could not wait for David Cameron’s coalition to “screw up” if it wanted to snatch power back. He said: “We shouldn’t mistake the anger at what the coalition is doing to the country for a sense that it isn’t as much about us as it is about them. The strategy that says ‘wait for them to screw it up, simply be a strong opposition’ is not a strategy that is going to work.”- The Mirror

Labour, stressed Miliband, could not survive as a “party of declining membership” but had to relaunch itself as a “genuine community organisation” that embraced non-members. Miliband, who has been criticised privately by some Labour MPs for not making his mark on the leadership rapidly or firmly enough, insisted that union members would remain a vital part of decision-making. But aides said he was keen to see the public involved in future as well. One idea could be to give non-Labour members a share of the vote in future leadership contests – a move that could anger the grassroots. One senior Labour MP said: “If members of the public are to have a say in all these things, what is the point of being a Labour member?” The moves will be seen as Miliband hitting back at critics who say he is in the grip of the unions.  – The Observer

On first sight it would seem ridiculous to claim that a young Opposition leader, whose party is up to five points ahead in the polls and who faces a Coalition Government driving through a harsh programme of spending cuts, could be on the edge of a crisis just two months after being elected. However, Mr Miliband’s speech to Labour’s National Policy Forum in Gillingham on Saturday was inevitably branded a relaunch as he sought to re-establish his authority on a party still bearing the scars both of its general election defeat in May and the subsequent leadership battle, which saw Mr Miliband win the crown narrowly and controversially from his brother David, owing his success to union members’ votes. Labour, two months on, is still suffering from damaging infighting and junior Labour MPs have begun dividing shadow cabinet ministers into those who have “stepped up to the plate” to take the fight to the coalition and those who haven’t. Ominously for Mr Miliband, growing numbers on his own side appear to think he is falling into the second category. – The Telegraph

ED MILIBAND yesterday told party members to leave New Labour behind if they want to return to power. The new leader wants to distance himself from the policies drawn up in the 1990s that put Tony Blair and Gordon Brown into office. In a keynote speech, he vowed to transform Labour by reaching out to the people of Britain and again becoming the party of their “hopes and aspirations”. Addressing Labour’s national policy forum in Gillingham, Kent, Miliband said there had to be a move “beyond New Labour” following the party’s election defeat in May. – The Daily Record

The right-wing papers are eagerly writing off Ed Miliband. They are a bit premature. Although he has only had the job for a couple of months, he has Labour ahead in the polls and his own rating is better than David Cameron’s was at this stage of his leadership.Mr Miliband has a lot to do and he knows it. But he has the great advantages of an imploding LibDem vote and the effects of the brutal cuts that will be felt next year. There is everything to play for. Mr Miliband and his Shadow Cabinet team have to remember that, stay focussed and all pull together. – The Mirror

Labour needs to create space for military experience

Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are to be recruited as Labour candidates at the next election under plans to address the party’s “glaring gap” of military experience in the Commons. Jim Murphy, the party’s defence spokesman, said union influence over the selection of candidates in winnable seats is to be curtailed to “create a space” for former members of the armed forces. After 13 years in power – which saw military intervention Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Kosovo – there is “an emotional disconnect” between the Labour Party and the services, he said. The intensity of military deployments, at times in the face of public opposition, had damaged the relationship between the two sides, he said, but insisted there is “no good reason” for the Tories to have “dozens” of MPs with military experience while Labour has only one, Falkirk’s Eric Joyce. – The Independent

Gove under fire on school sports

Headteachers will launch a national revolt today against plans to cut school sport as Michael Gove comes under intense pressure from inside and outside government to rethink his plans. Sixty headteachers from across England have expressed their outrage at his decision to end the entire £162m budget for School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) in a hard-hitting letter to the Observer. Their intervention comes as the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee also raises his concerns in a letter to Gove, arguing that with the 2012 London games approaching, it was vital that the SSPs should be kept in place. The heads, many in charge of specialist sports colleges, which use the funds to provide coaches and expert help to other schools in their areas, decided to act after the Observer highlighted the effects of the cuts last weekend. – The Observer

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