Posts Tagged ‘Diane Abbott’

Friday News Review

11/06/2010, 08:09:38 AM

Ed Miliband leans left

“Ed Miliband has delivered the most personal speech of the Labour leadership election, coming clean about his early life and political inspirations. The speech also marks out clear territory on the left of the party where he will base his campaign, with demands for a limit on the gap between rich and poor and rules on pay differentials in the private sector.” –

“FAT cat bosses in the private sector should have their salaries pegged back to tackle inequalities in British society, Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband has argued.

A Government plan to ban public sector bosses from getting paid more than 20 times the salary of their lowest paid employee should be extended to the private sector, he said in an interview with the Yorkshire Post.” – The Yorkshire Post

“The government must do more to reduce the pay gap between rich and poor, Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband has said. He called for the coalition’s public sector High Pay Commission to widen its scope to look at the private sector, saying wage differences were “high”.” – The BBC

“I came away from my meeting with Ed feeling inspired and excited. He has the personality, passion and drive that is needed to make an excellent Labour leader and Prime Minister. It is common for politicians to talk about “listening to the voters”, but I’m not sure we always hear what they are trying to tell us. I am confident that Ed is someone who doesn’t just listen, but really hears voters concerns. And acts on those concerns.” – Rachel Reeves MP, Yorkshire Post


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The Messiah is too busy prepping for Paxman, says Dan Hodges

10/06/2010, 08:45:33 AM

In Monty Python’s Life of Brian there is a famous scene in which Graham Chapman, pursued by a mob convinced it has found the new Messiah, turns on his tormentors and beseeches them: “You don’t need a Messiah. You don’t need anyone. You’ve got to work it out for yourselves”.

“Yes”, they reply in unison, “we’ve got to work it out for ourselves…tell us more!”

The desperation with which the Labour party is begging senior MPs to furnish it with “a proper leadership debate” has become Pythonesque.  “Bestow a debate on us”, we cry. “Empower us.” (more…)

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New Statesman hustings: laughometer

09/06/2010, 10:12:20 PM

We did a laugh count at tonight’s New Statesman leadership hustings.

Tiny chuckles weren’t recorded.

We maintained our rule that to score you had to get a proper laugh from a significant portion of the room.

David Miliband  1

Ed Miliband  2

Andy Burnham  1

Ed Balls  2

Diane Abbott 5

Make of it what you will.

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The Diane Abbott interview

09/06/2010, 01:05:45 PM

UPDATE: Diane Abbott has secured 33 nominations and will be on the Labour leadership ballot paper.

This was the second in our series of crowdsourced interviews with the leadership contenders.

Diane spoke to us last night at her office in Westminster, where everyone was keenly monitoring her leadership support with hours left until nominations closed.

She was completely unphased by your questions, which included her son’s private education, the demographic of her leadership opponents and how much she is paid by the BBC.

Q. (From Derek) You and John McDonnell both have solid socialist credentials, but isn’t there a danger that in standing you will split the left vote? I don’t really want the wishy washy alternative of the other 4 candidates. What are your thoughts?

A. There always was a tendency to say that if women stood it split the vote. I think that there is the politics that I’m on the left, and have as good a voting record on left wing issues as John McDonnell, but there’s another issue which is about gender.  It’s not so much that I stood against John, but that John stood against me.

Q. John McDonnell’s come out and said that if it means getting a woman on the ballot, he’ll stand down. In that case, do you wish he’d never stood in the first place?

A. I think it would have been easier if he hadn’t stood. If he was committed to gender issues it would have been easier if he hadn’t. Initially, it was very difficult for either of us to gain momentum. If there’d been just one of us standing then that person would have gained momentum much quicker. (more…)

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Wednesday News Review

09/06/2010, 07:39:06 AM

Count down

Abbott hoping to make the final cut

“Diane Abbott received a boost to her candidacy for the Labour Party leadership when Harriet Harman, the party’s deputy leader, nominated her yesterday. Ms Harman said she was doing so in the hope of helping to ensure there is a woman on the ballot paper, and will not cast her vote in the election this September.” – The Independent

“Mr Balls, the shadow education secretary, called on supporters to back Miss Abbott during an event held by the GMB trade union, saying that it was important for a woman to be in the race.” – The Telegraph

“BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said the three candidates so far are all Oxford-educated men in their 40s, and none of them are from the party’s left – unlike both Ms Abbott and Mr McDonnell. On Tuesday, acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said she was nominating Ms Abbott because she did not want to see a “men-only” contest.” – The BBC

 “Speaking on Tuesday Mr Burnham said he was confident he would gain the seven nominations he still needed, while Ms Abbott and Mr McDonnell – who failed in a bid to challenge Mr Brown for the party’s leadership in 2007 – did not appear close to a deal to transfer MPs to the other to ensure a left-winger made it on to the ballot.” – In the News


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NEC chair’s letter to PLP chair

08/06/2010, 09:46:00 PM

PLP chair Tony Lloyd has this evening emailed all Labour MPs attaching a letter to him from Ann Black, chair of Labour’s ruling national executive committee.

In it, she reports “widespread concern among party members that this leadership election should allow the broadest possible debate”.

This will add to pressure on the 44 Labour MPs yet to declare to nominate Diane Abbott, and on John McDonnell to stand aside in her favour.  The deadline for nominations is 1230 tomorrow (Wednesday).

This is the full text of Ann Black’s letter to Tony Lloyd: (more…)

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Tuesday News Review

08/06/2010, 08:27:13 AM

The debate begins

“During the first major hustings event for the candidates vying to succeed Gordon Brown, Mr Burnham went further

The hopefulls debate at the GMB

 than before in distancing himself from the “top-down” approach of Tony Blair and Mr Brown. In a symbolic break with the New Labour years, both Mr Burnham and Ed Miliband suggested they would not have Lord Mandelson in their shadow cabinets.” – The Independent

“The Miliband brothers took different approaches in a grilling by union members at the first hustings of the Labour  leadership contest. David risked anger by rejecting calls for a repeal of industrial action laws. “If we return to being a party that says secondary picketing is back and balloting is out, you can kiss goodbye to another Labour government,” he said. But younger brother Ed promised the GMB-hosted debate in Southport, Merseyside, that if elected leader he will work more closely with unions.” – The Mirror

“The potential left contribution is not just about sharpening the style of Labour’s centre-right, but also enriching the party’s substance. There are issues where – as Dr Seuss could have written – the left is right, and the right wrong.” – The Guardian

“The meeting came after five of the hopefuls made their case to the GMB union at a hustings which saw Mr McDonnell win loud applause by attacking Margaret Thatcher’s cuts in the 1980s. However, some observers thought he blotted his copybook by quipping that he would like to travel back in time to “assassinate” the former Tory premier. He later insisted that this was a joke.” – Press Association

The Candidates

“There’s been a lot of attention on Ed Balls over the past couple of days as nominations for the Labour leadership are about to close and the race proper will begin. The big news from the former was his readiness to criticise Brown, his former mentor, while he had an assured performance in the latter” – Political Betting

“There’s been a lot said about Ed Balls’ Observer piece on immigration. But the most striking thing about it to my mind is that it shows that Balls has made the transition to an opposition mindset.” – The Spectator

“Supporters of Diane Abbott are urging fellow backbencher MP John McDonnell to stand down from the Labour leadership race to give the left a greater chance of having a candidate on the final ballot.” – The Guardian

“If Labour’s hopefuls are ever to make amends, it won’t be by playing to imagined prejudice and falling back on the surly, inward-looking populism of the immigration debate. The bitter truth about the last election is that voting for the people’s party became the luxury of the affluent. Now, with an age of unrest dawning, Labour will never win back the trust of the fearful by whipping up the politics of fear.” – The Telegraph

Cameron fast and loose with the facts

Cameron "disingenuous at best"

“Cameron is quite right to reduce the figures to a scale and proportion which means something to the ordinary taxpayer; but he’s treating us like fools to pretend that this figure of £70bn is some sort of deep, dark secret which the last government was trying to hide.” – The Independent

“Now that the new UK government is bedding in and getting ready to unleash austerity upon us, I thought I’d quickly look back at the last Labour government and tell you something that you won’t want to hear: the last Chancellor Alistair Darling did a very good job.Investment Week

“To somehow claim that he’s opened the books and found things worse than he thought, that’s nonsense. This is a classic case of the new Government blaming the last government in order to pave the way for things the Tories had always wanted to do, this time getting the Liberals to front it up for them.” Alistair Darling, World at One

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Timetable for the Election of the Leader of the Labour Party

07/06/2010, 12:00:11 PM

After several requests, we’re publishing the formal timetable for the leadership race below.

This is the information sent to MPs by Labour’s General Secretary Ray Collins.


Monday, 24 May
  • 2.30pm Opening of PLP nominations
  • Stakeholder mailing: procedural information packs, including nomination and supporting nomination papers
  • 5.30pm MP nominations posted on Labour Party website; thereafter, twice daily at 12.30pm and 5.30pm until close of nomination process.
Monday, 7 June
  • 7.00pm PLP Hustings
Wednesday, 9 June
  • 12.30pm Close of PLP Nominations
  • 1.00pm Procedures Committee to declare all validly nominated candidates.
  • Email to all members
Thursday, 10 June
  • 12.00pm deadline for acceptance of nomination by validly nominated candidates.
  • Supporting nominations open
Friday, 11 June
  • Youth Hustings, London
Sunday, 13 June
  • Hustings, Glasgow
Saturday, 19 June
  • BAME Hustings, Leicester
Saturday, 26 June
  • Hustings, Newcastle
Sunday, 4 July
  • Hustings, Cardiff
Saturday, 10 July
  • Hustings, Southampton
Friday, 16 July
  • Hustings, London & South
Sunday, 18 July
  • Hustings, Birmingham
Monday, 19 July
  • Procedures Committee
Tuesday, 20 July
  • National Executive Committee meeting
  • 5.00pm Deadline for candidates to provide 250 word statement and picture for inclusion in candidate booklet.
Thursday, 22 July
  • Last day for membership queries (and adjudication by National Constitutional Committee)
Sunday, 25 July
  • Women’s Hustings, Leeds
Monday, 26 July
  • 12.30pm Close of supporting nominations
  • Deadline for affiliated organisations to certify number of members to be balloted
  • Artwork for ballots and candidate booklets made available to affiliated organisations.
  • Ballots being printing
Saturday, 31 July
  • Hustings, Manchester
Monday, 16 August – 22 September
  • Ballots and member magazine posted to all members.  Balloting begins
Wednesday, 8 Sept
  • 12.30pm Freeze date for new members to join
  • Deadline for members in arrears
Wednesday, 15 Sept
  • 5.00pm last day to request  replacement ballot
Monday, 20 Sept
  • Procedures Committee
Tuesday, 21 Sept
  • 5.00pm close of affiliate ballot
  • National Executive Committee
Wednesday, 22 Sept
  • 5.00pm close of members and MP/MEPs ballots
Saturday, 25 Sept
  • 1.00 – 3.00pm Announcement of ballot results
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Monday News Review

31/05/2010, 07:45:59 AM

The candidates

Diane Abbott makes pitch to Sun readers

“”They all look, sound and think the same. I want to ask the difficult questions. The sort of questions Sun readers want asked.” But she faces a battle to win enough nominations to get her name on the leadership ballot.” – Diane Abbott, The Sun

“All that the contenders have to offer are their political skills, they are all creatures of New Labour. That makes them likable, good communicators and very clever; but the drawbacks are equally evident. They are all youngish men who have grown up inside the distortions of the adrenaline-fuelled life of government.” – The Guardian

“Ed Miliband said that he and David never fought during childhood because “we are both too weedy for that”. He said that he chose to stand for election so party members had a diverse choice. “The one thing about opposition is that it gives you the chance to renew,” he said. “It was an incredibly hard decision for me to decide to run against my brother. It’s unusual, to put it mildly.”” – The Telegraph  

Scotland & Wales make play for NEC seat

Iain Gray calls for NEC seats for Scotland & Wales

“Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has said he wants greater influence in the UK party, after calling for a place on its ruling body. Mr Gray told BBC Scotland the time had come to give Labour’s Holyrood leader a seat on the national executive committee to “bind” the party together.” – The BBC

“LABOUR’S Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed by gaining a seat on its National Executive Committee, according to Iain Gray. The Scottish Labour leader said he had urged the party leadership challengers to allow him and Welsh leader Carwyn Jones to join the body that formulates policy” – The Scotsman

“Labour’s Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed, Iain Gray said. The Scottish Labour leader revealed that he has urged the leadership contenders to give him a seat on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).” – Press Association

Uniting the Union

“Mr Simpson and Mr Woodley are due to retire, and will be replaced by one general secretary, who will have a major influence on the Labour Party, of which Unite is the biggest financial backer. The odds are not in Ms Cartmail’s favour, because within each of the two unions that made up Unite there was an efficient vote-garnering machine.” – The Independent

“A moment of truth is approaching for Thigmoo – “this great movement of ours”, aka the UK’s once mighty trade unions, now facing their biggest test for 30 years as the Con-Lib coalition prepares public spending cuts that could threaten at least 500,000 jobs.” – The FT

Brown down

 “Gordon Brown has “good days and bad days” but is coming to terms with losing power, ex-Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said yesterday. Mr Campbell told the BBC the former Prime Minister was “reconciled to the fact that he didn’t win the election”.” – The Mirror

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That Diane Abbott quote in full

21/05/2010, 09:13:38 AM

On the Today programme this morning, Diane Abbott explained her surprise candidacy for the leadership of the Labour party thus:

“If not now, when?  And if not me, who?”

This was a very Abbottian remark.  She is better read and has a better ear for language than most MPs.  Politics is all about ideas and communication, so it is bizarre that so few British MPs read books or respect words.  Abbott does both, which is as much to her credit as it is to the rest of their shame.

No surprise, in which case, that her Soundbite for the Day was a literary reference. Slightly more dissonant, though, were the sources. (more…)

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