Posts Tagged ‘Abbott’

They won’t even give you the time of day now so what hope for the future?

14/09/2010, 11:45:02 AM

As elections go, the Labour leadership contest might go down as one of the dullest ever. If ‘none of the above’ had occupied a slot on the ballot papers, I am sure it would have romped home.

As the two front runners are both related, we have even been robbed of the fun of a bit of viciousness and proper negative campaigning.

All polls point to the Milibands being way ahead of the rest, which has castrated the battle and is making the scramble for second preferences the only lively aspect of the race.

David’s campaign are so desperate they are now relying on the ‘Tories fear him’ argument, and Ed seems to be saying anything to anyone to get a vote, which is never a good sign for a future leader. Let’s see which way he jumps when the inevitable strikes come along.

The entire list of candidates lacks the depth of the party. Call me an inverted snob, because I am, but the fact that all the leadership contenders are Oxbridge educated is a bloody tragedy for Labour.


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Tuesday News Review

14/09/2010, 07:00:51 AM

'Visibly tense'

The Final Countdown

The leadership candidates now have one last televised hustings on Question Time this Thursday to put their case to become Labour leader to members. I hope they all take this final opportunity to proudly defend our record and put forward a more positive agenda that builds on our achievements not trashes them. – Prescott blog, The Guardian.

David Miliband was visibly tense, his brother Ed seemed a bit subdued, Ed Balls was witty and relaxed (yes, really!), Andy Burnham rather tetchy and Diane Abbott… Well, she was just Diane.  – Sky Blog, Sky News.

“For many Labour people this hasn’t been an easy election to call. All of the candidates are of the centre left, they are all Labour. That isn’t the issue here. The big question is who are the Tories afraid of? Who is the best candidate to stand up against Cameron at the despatch box? Who has the best chance to beat Cameron in an election? For me the best choice is David Miliband and that is why I will be supporting him as next Labour leader.” – Lancaster Guardian.

Diane on women

“One way of illustrating this is to examine the Budget’s impact on women and families. The figures are frightening. The bulk of the impact will be felt by women. Some 72 per cent of the cuts will be met from women’s income, as opposed to 28 per cent from men.” – Diane Abbott, Morning Star.

Burnham on Blair

“Tony Blair was right to position Labour as pro-business, pro-job creation and pro-wealth creation,” [Burnham] says. But he says the party attached itself too much to big companies and sold its soul. “In wanting to appear pro-business we lost our sense of ourselves,” he says. –  FT.

Labour’s visionary leader

Labour’s challenge is to find a visionary leader who adapts the party in the light of profound socioeconomic change, to ensure social justice while maintaining Britain’s competitive advantage. In the case of all five candidates, their previous experience of government or lack of it will count for little. – Anthony Seldon, The Guardian.

From the outside…

Plenty of Lib Dems are watching the current Labour leadership race, hoping that someone congenial like David Miliband carries the day, so that they can forge a nice, progressive Lib-Lab coalition at the next election. – The Economist.


Cuba has announced radical plans to lay off huge numbers of state employees, to help revive the communist country’s struggling economy. The Cuban labour federation said more than a million workers would lose their jobs – half of them by March next year. – BBC News.

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Dan Hodges backs a Blairite for the leadership

02/09/2010, 10:00:10 AM

And so it ends. By this week-end, three quarters of the votes in the 2010 Labour leadership election will have been cast. The contest will effectively be over.

We’ve learnt a lot. That a lengthy campaign, far from creating a platform for intensive debate, only deadens it.  That a large field of candidates, rather than introducing diversity, allows only a superficial assessment of their merits, (The ‘Newsnight’ hustings would have shamed a secondary school debating class). Most crucially, we know that the last thing a political party should do after being dumped out of office is launch straight into electing itself a new leader.

Over the past months we have been assailed by a conformity of originality. Diane Abbott  promised the “turn the page election from the turn the page candidate”. Ed Balls was building a “consensus for change”.  Andy Burnham pledged to move the party beyond a “London-centric elite”.


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Tuesday News Review

31/08/2010, 07:00:24 AM

Ed hits back

Ed Mil hits back

Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband has hit back at veiled criticism from Lord Mandelson, insisting the party needed to change. Mr Miliband’s comments came after Lord Mandelson said Labour could be left in an “electoral cul-de-sac” if its next leader tried to create a “pre-New Labour party”. Lord Mandelson appeared to be referring to Mr Miliband in particular, in what is being seen as a personal attack. Mr Miliband said Labour must “move on”. – BBC News.

Positive press in the back yard

More than 1,000 councillors provided the Shadow Foreign Secretary with a huge boost at a crucial moment ahead of the ballot drop next week. Support comes from all corners of Britain as the father-of-two goes head-to- head with his brother Ed, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott. – Shields Gazette.

Blair: book trouble

Blair’s book

High-profile book launches are meant to be a bit of a circus. But it is hard to find a parallel for the mixture of hype and hatred that will attend the publication of Tony Blair’s memoirs on Wednesday. – Financial Times.

Burnham takes Lib Dem pulse

“You hold the key to the future of our NHS. People who voted for you at the election did not vote for such a radical break-up plan. I urge you to listen to them and stand up for our NHS in the face of this attack, which threatens to unpick its very fabric.” – Andy Burnham to Lib Dems, The Guardian.


Jon’s brand of socialism is based on moral foundations – don’t forget he’s a Catholic. When asked why he was backing David he reeled off a list areas on which they agree: “responsibility, family, duty, the importance of community.” I say this with no special knowledge or insight and I stand ready for an angry phone call rebutting the suggestion but it struck me that the fact David is married and Ed Miliband isn’t could also have been a (small) contributing factor in winning the Cruddas vote. – Jason Beattie, The Mirror.

Mullin’s diaries

‘When it’s all over, the big question will be how Gordon ever got there in the first place.’ – unnamed cabinet minister in Chris Mullin’s Decline and Fall, The Independent.

Abbott: Facebook slur

Abbott slur

A tory high-flyer has been forced to quit after writing a vile, expletivefilled rant about Labour MP Diane Abbott on his Facebook page…After the Sunday Mirror contacted the Party, Hallam’s details were removed and he quit his post. Last night he apologised, saying: “It was inappropriate.” –  The Mirror.

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Wednesday News Review

25/08/2010, 07:10:28 AM

The Milibands get personal

“David Miliband will today make his strongest criticism of his younger brother Ed with the Labour leadership contest getting personal as it reaches a critical stage. The former foreign secretary will suggest his brother is pandering to Labour’s core vote rather than reaching out to the middle classes and that his strategy will keep the party in opposition rather than return it to power. David Miliband will set out clear dividing lines between him and his brother, seen as the two front-runners in the race to succeed Gordon Brown. Ballot papers will be sent out next week and the result announced on 25 September.” – The Independent

“We must look forward for new ideas and outward for a new coalition of voters. There is no future for Labour in the comfortable but deadening policies of the past. And there is no future in a politics based on a tactical, patchwork approach to building electoral support.” His speech at the King Solomon academy in north London comes as the Labour leadership contest appears to have narrowed to a straight fight between the Miliband brothers, whose strong relationship has become strained over the summer.” – The Guardian

Diane Abbott: The myth of the forgotten middle class

“There was a ubiquitous television advert for sweets in the 1980s where the catch line featured an endearing moppet saying “Don’t forget the fruit gums mum!” You no longer see this ad. But the right of the Labour Party has it’s own ubiquitous recurring theme where someone pops up and says “Don’t forget the middle classes!” The latest tribune of the right to utter this sentiment is my leadership rival David Miliband. We do not have to choose between appealing to middle-class and working-class voters. It is bogus to pretend that anybody is suggesting this. But only when we leave the “New Labour” era behind will voters of all classes be willing to trust us again.” – Diane Abbott, The Independent

The first of many?

“A Liberal Democrat councillor in Liverpool has defected to Labour because of his opposition to the coalition government’s latest cuts. Ian Jobling is believed to be one of the first councillors in the country to switch sides since the May elections. Mr Jobling, who was first elected in 2003 and is a member of Merseyside Police Authority, said the proposed cuts to the police force had really bothered him. He told the BBC: “On 28 May, when the coalition was only two weeks old, communication came through that we would have to have a £4m budget cut to policing.” –

Changing of the guard in Wales

“The Welsh Labour Party’s general secretary is to quit, he has announced. Chris Roberts, 52, said he intended to step down from the top job after five years in the post, saying five years was “about right” for the job and he was leaving in order to pursue new challenges.” – Wales Online

6 lbs 1 oz

“There were cross-party messages of support for the couple on Twitter, with Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls writing: “Wonderful news about the Cameron’s new baby – she will share a birthday with our 9 year old son – just finishing birthday cake.” – Ed Balls,

“Shadow foreign secretary and Labour leadership favourite David Miliband said: “I’d like to offer many congratulations to Samantha and David Cameron on the birth of their baby girl.” – David Miliband, Daily Telegraph

Paternity leave, but when?

“Despite presumably being the last thing on Mr Cameron’s mind, the early birth has several political implications.  The prime minister used the scheduled paternity leave as a decent reason to excuse himself from the invitation to speak at the TUC annual conference, where he was likely to receive an angry reception from delegates.  The birth raises the possibility of him attending the conference.” –

Another Tory non-dom?

“The controversial hedge fund manager who gave £500,000 to the Tories faced questions about his tax status last night after official records suggested that he is resident in Switzerland.  Millionaire Jon Wood did not pay tax in the UK until 18 months ago and his business moved from the tax haven of Monaco to Britain only earlier this year. Yet he became the Tories’ largest donor in the run-up to the General Election when he handed over the cheque two days before polling day.” – Daily Mail

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Trots, stitch-ups and door-knocks: the leadership candidates’ parliamentary selections

10/08/2010, 03:41:33 PM

In his wonderful Uncut interview last week, Andy Burnham set great store by the manner of his initial selection as a Parliamentary candidate in 2001.

He adduced it as evidence that he is a man of the people. A proper party person who got selected the proper way, with no help from anyone, no special treatment, no favours. Which is more than can be said, Burnham clearly implies, for the coddled and over-promoted princelings who are his leadership rivals. (more…)

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We’re finally starting to see who should lead the Labour Party, observes Dan Hodges

22/07/2010, 02:30:56 PM

The legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once confided to an assistant that he found analysing match replays more stimulating than sex. “Either you don’t know how to have sex”, the assistant replied,  “or I don’t know how to watch game footage”.  I was reminded of that quote when someone at Saturday’s Labour Friends of Searchlight leadership hustings gushed to me how the leadership election was “energising the movement”. Either I have unrealistic expectations of what it means to be energised, or elements of the movement  have to get out there and get some excitement into their lives.

This leadership election is dire. The candidates are exhausted. The contest is mired in tedium. There  is lots of sound, but precious little fury. We are a beaten party going through the motions, and it shows.

And yet…and yet. Despite the banality, the drudgery, the parsing, the positioning; somewhere through the gloom, the odd chinks of light are starting to seep through. Patterns, barely discernable, are beginning to form. Gradually we are unearthing the first clues  to who could, and should, be the next leader of our Party.


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Wednesday News Review

21/07/2010, 08:00:58 AM

A bit of brotherly love from both Milibands at hustings

The Leadership

“It’s easy for me – it’s not on all issues that blood is thicker than water, but I only have one brother standing,” said David Miliband. “I nominated Diane but I fear I would disappoint her (when the votes are cast).” His brother Ed responded: “I would nominate David – I think his qualities speak for themselves but obviously he would be a fantastic leader.” Diane Abbott summed up: “You can see their mum has got them in line on this. Canary Wharf hustings – Docklands 24.

Normally in a Labour leadership election people like us either profess disinterest (or, possibly, even uninterest), or make jokes about intrusions into private grief. I think it would be unwise to be so flippant. I have never set foot in a bookmaker’s in my life, but were I that sort of person, I would be seeing what odds I could get on Ed Miliband’s being prime minister this time next year. Oh, I know he’s the less famous one, and it has been decreed that the Coalition is going to last five years: but stranger things have happened. Therefore, we might take notice of what the Labour Party, in what the media represent as being a quiet period in its fortunes, is up to. – The Telegraph.


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Tuesday News Review

20/07/2010, 07:32:12 AM

Miliband: beating contenders

Leadership Candidate Visibility

‘Despite his rivals efforts to make inroads – particularly Ed Balls who seems to be constantly popping up on tv and radio – David Miliband’s support is rock solid and there is no serious money being invested on any of his fellow contenders’ –William Hill

Many of those who do may have listened to Mr Balls’s speech and been enchanted by it. It may certainly have appealed to their lower instincts. It may have tickled their viscera. And for this reason we can conclude that Mr Balls had a good day, awful though he may have been.  The simple fact was that he was on his hind hooves, bulging his eyes in parliamentary prime time while none of his leadership opponents was to be seen or heard. – Daily Mail.

Miliband in Scotland

Labour will never form another UK Government unless it revives in southern England. The stark assessment comes from David Miliband as the Labour leadership contender tries to get to grips with the public’s rejection of New Labour, now consigned to the history books and to be replaced by what some have dubbed, somewhat unimaginatively, Next Labour, which Miliband says can be relaunched from Scotland. –Herald Scotland.

Labour leadership contender David Miliband has condemned the decision to release the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing as clearly wrong. His comments in an exclusive interview in The Herald today represent a dramatic change in his previous position on Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi’s release on medical grounds. – Herald Scotland.

Ed Miliband: finding a voice on Big Society

Big Society

Labour was today quick to dismiss the prime minister’s pledge to deliver the “most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street”. This is what Ed Miliband told Radio 4: “This is essentially a 19th century or US-style view of our welfare state which is cut back the welfare state and somehow civic society will thrive.” – The Guardian on Big Society. 

Graduate Tax

Vince Cable, and according to Cable, the prime minister and the chancellor; the universities minister, David Willetts; the NUS and all Labour leadership contenders except David Miliband. –The Guardian on Graduate Tax Supporters.
In a letter to the climate secretary Chris Huhne, former climate secretary Ed Miliband called on the government to to stand up against “free-market zealots” and restore funding for green industries. “After helping to lead the debate in changing the balance of our economy in a more sustainable direction, you are now turning your back on green industry and risk undermining the UK’s growing reputation around the world for leadership in this field,” he wrote. “You claimed to be the ‘greenest government ever’ but so far you are turning your back on green jobs and green industry.” – The Guardian.


Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott has called on the Government to continue its aid efforts for Haiti. Ms Abbott tabled an Early Day Motion and requested a meeting with ministers to discuss how further help could be given to the tiny nation on the six month anniversary of the tragedy. – Hackney Gazette.

The idea of Stella and her husband, magazine publisher Alasdhair Willis, doing a Diane Abbott in reverse  –  dragging their children out of public schools to send them to the local state-education establishments to give them a better chance in life  –  is laughable. Jan Moir on Stella McCartney – Daily Mail.

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Saturday News Review

17/07/2010, 09:51:43 AM
The great survivor 

Leadership candidates call on Mandelson to exit stage left

In interviews with The Times, the candidates – David Miliband, his brother Ed and Andy Burnham – suggested it is time for the peer to leave the political stage. David Miliband, former foreign secretary, said Lord Mandelson’s book The Third Man is “destructive and self-destructive” and should have come “after retirement, not before…”. Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary, said the peer is “his own worst spin doctor” and had “offended just about everyone”. He said: “I think this is sad and damaging to Peter, not just to the Labour Party”, adding: “It’s time for a new generation.” Mr Burnham, who was health secretary in the last Labour government, said: “Peter loves the spotlight but it’s time to leave the stage.” – Press Association.

Mr Campbell, victim of a coded kicking in the book, had counterstruck this very day, in this very newspaper, by calling Mandelson a liar, or manager, over an arcane point regarding the Lib-Lab coalition talks he attended. But then he’s one of so many, Mr Blair in the vanguard, to have put the boot in. Having so little experience of internecine strife, this must all be terribly painful for you. “It’s not the end of my world,” says the Gloria Gaynor of British politics laconically, as his taxi draws to its halt. “I will survive.” – The Telegraph.

Balls acknowledged that both men in their different ways are in fact tribal Labour and powerfully described a “commonality” between the two. “Putting that big issue aside, Peter was Labour and I was Labour, we wanted the government to succeed, we wanted to win the election, Peter and I were always the people who, at key moments, were willing to go out and defend the government. I was never part of any plotting and I don’t think anyone suggests Peter particularly was. We were both, as we saw it, trying to do the right thing and doing the right thing meant coming together. We were more effective than we would have been opposing each other; just not effective enough sadly.” – The New Statesman.


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