Posts Tagged ‘Hopi Sen’

The week Uncut

25/07/2010, 12:57:50 PM

It’s all about momentum. And team Ed M think they’ve got it. Miliband Jnr has hit his stride and has Miliband Snr in his sights. He picked up the backing of Unison this week and now looks certain to be backed by Unite on Monday. But will it be enough? 

Miliband Snr has got lots of pieces of paper with the Queen’s head on and fancies his chances. And the bookies seem to agree. Abbott, Balls and Burnham have been written off, long shot outsiders; the real money is falling on the Milibands, with David the odds on favourite.

The race is on the home straight. The Coalition is getting shaky, the sooner the Opposition is in place the better. Rumours of Ed Balls dropping out have been denied by his team. Diane has managed a whole week without picking on the boys and Andy Burnham is looking like the closest runner to the Milibrothers.

It’s been a busy week on Uncut. In case you missed them, here are half a dozen of Uncut’s best read pieces of the last seven days:

Ed Miliband on girls, gigs, baseball, cuts and co-operatives

Alistair Darling on the growth figures that vindicate Labour’s actions

A brutal assessment of the leadership candidates and contest from Dan Hodges

Hopi Sen gives his advice to the man (or woman) behind the man (or woman)

Peter Mandelson on the book, the candidates and the future

Young dynamism and old pragmatism, Shelly Asquith makes the case for Ken

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“Marvin … What do we do now?” Hopi Sen’s advice for the next leader

22/07/2010, 10:26:03 AM

The passage of time being what it is, some Uncut readers won’t be familiar with “The Candidate”, a 1972 film featuring Robert Redford as an insurgent Senate candidate struggling to retain his idealistic purity while trying to beat a popular Republican incumbent.

The film was written by Jeremy Larner, a speechwriter for Gene McCarthy in the 1968 Election campaign.  McCarthy didn’t win the Presidency, but Larner did win an Oscar.

It’s a great film, not least because of the perfomance of Peter Boyle, playing political consultant Marvin Lucas. Once you’ve seen Lucas, all gleaming pate, glasses, beard and calculated cynicism, it’s hard not to see the West Wing’s Toby Ziegler as a tribute act.

Why do I raise a forty year old American film?

Because the challenges that face the next leader of the Labour party mirror those facing the fictional Bill McKay. At the end of the film, McKay turns to the man who has reshaped and remoulded him and asks “Marvin, What do we do now?”  

On the 25th of September, when the last vote has been wrung out of the campaign, when the challenge to inspire the party alone has ended, one of the teams will need a great answer to that question. 

It could be Spencer, Stewart, Polly, or Jim, Douglas, Blair or Kate, or Alex or another Jim who get asked. Their answer might decide the fate of the Labour party for years.

The questions the new Labour Leader will be confronted with won’t be much different to the ones they’ve faced over the campaign, but the attention paid to their answers will be.

These first months can kill when you’re a new opposition leader, unknown to most of the public and with years to run before an election, as Kinnock, Hague and IDS all discovered. Each was defined early in their leadership. None quite recovered.

So in an attempt to be helpful, here are five things to do, and two disasters to avoid for the next leader. (more…)

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Hopi Sen asks the leadership bright boys some hard questions

20/05/2010, 09:52:52 AM

In the leadership election campaign, there will be a lot of talk of telling ourselves “uncomfortable truths”. Quite often, these “uncomfortable truths” will be a rhetorical trick to tell the audience what it wants to hear. Like that it’s all someone else’s fault, or that the party lost its way and got out of touch.

So I thought we should perhaps make a habit of proposing some uncomfortable truths that the Labour party, and even the candidates themselves, really don’t want to hear.

Here are two to start us off.

Don’t throw the machine away. Mend it.

The current crop of leadership contenders are the products of the most ferociously successful political machine in Labour party history. It was a machine that won three general elections, reduced the old left of the Labour party to irrelevance and made the country we live in a fairer, more open and safer place to live.

These are not bad things. (more…)

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Tuesday news review

18/05/2010, 09:42:42 AM

John Cruddas rules out standing for Labour leadership

“The free-thinking Labour leftwinger Jon Cruddas rules himself out of the Labour leadership race, saying he does not have the personal qualities for the job. His announcement, in the comment pages of the Guardian following a weekend of soul searching, will disappoint those hoping his candidacy would broaden the range in the contest.” – The Guardian

John Cruddas rules himself out of Labour leadership – ITN News

“I would like to be involved in the debate about the future direction of the party and how we reconnect with our lost voters. But I cannot enter a leadership election just to contribute to a debate; to go into this must be on the basis of running to win and hand on heart I do not want to be leader of the Labour party or subsequently prime minister. These require certain qualities I do not possess.” – The Guardian

“As the potential field for the party contest continued to narrow, Mr Cruddas said he did not aspire to the top job. The Dagenham MP, who has strong union backing and finished third in the 2007 deputy leadership contest, said ”many people” had urged him to stand and he had given it ”serious thought”. – The Telegraph

David Miliband: Time to repair Labour

Future is the most important word in politics, but at the election people judged that the Labour Party was out of time. The dad I met having breakfast with his son in Rochester on Saturday morning had voted for us three times; this time he felt we weren’t addressing his concerns about the cost of living. Too many people like him felt Britain needed change, but that we didn’t offer it. In a “change election” we were perceived to be defending the old order, rather than advancing a new one. Founded as the people’s party, we were too easy to caricature as the politicians’ party.” – David Miliband, The Times

“David Miliband declared the death of New Labour yesterday as he officially launched his leadership campaign.Speaking overlooking the Tyne in his South Shields constituency, he promised tougher policies to tackle anti-social behaviour and drive up classroom standards. He argued that Labour needed to “catch up” with the ConDem coalition with action on political reform, immigration and housing. But he said at the heart of his campaign was a vow to move the party into a new era.” – The Mirror

“Speaking in his constituency of South Shields, the former foreign secretary claimed the electorate had not sent the party into “retirement” but into “serious rehabilitation” instead.  The elder Miliband – whose main declared rival for the post thus far is his brother Ed – has long been seen as close to the former prime minister Tony Blair. But today he urged the party to bury the labels Blairite and Brownite and “renounced refighting the battles of the past”.” – The Guardian

“David Miliband called time on the “Blair-Brown era” as he officially launched his leadership campaign yesterday with a pledge to end infighting and take the Labour party into an era of idealism. Speaking at his South Shields constituency, the former foreign secretary put critical distance be-tween himself and 13 years of Labour government, saying there was no longer any need to “repeat mantras” or “bow down in front of the greats of the past”.” – The FT

“David’s speech was particularly strong on party organisation and the new politics.  This is important ground, especially in reviving the party organisation, and David sounded genuinely engaged in that -especially in the ending of unattributable briefings.  That said, I wonder what implications the “ending of machine politics” has for, say, Parliamentary selections or the NPF.  David will be asked for more hard edged commitments here, no doubt.” – Hopi Sen

“David Miliband has formally launched his bid for the Labour leadership with a call for his party to “reform, repair and reconnect” with voters, as Ed Balls, the Brownite challenger, prepares to throw his hat into the ring.  Miliband, the Shadow Foreign Secretary and regarded by many as the Blairite candidate, made his pitch in his home constituency of South Shields and sought to downplay the Blairite/Brownite delineation, saying he promised to leave such distinctions to the past. “New Labour did fantastic things for the country, never let anyone take that away, but what counts is Next Labour,” he declared.” – The Herald

“Following David Lammy’s thoughtful contribution which includes a call for the public to be brought into the process, and a piece by Ed Balls who is surely about to join the race, David Miliband has formally launched his camaign with a fresh and lengthy speech. The main focus was on his own roots, values and policy positioning. Miliband indicates he is trying to implement his father Ralph’s legacy with practical politics.” – The New Statesman

The future of Labour

“The Labour party was not smashed to bits on May 6th. Its share of the vote fell below 30% and it was almost wiped out in the south of England. But it fought back impressively in places such as Scotland. Across the U.K. it held on to 258 seats – an impressive total in the circumstances, after a deep recession and some keystone cops antics from it leadership in recent years. Labour’s escape in the election has been likened to the evacuation of Dunkirk: Most of the armor and artillery was left behind but the vast majority of the men got away to fight another day. So, the party is theoretically within touching distance of the Tories – who are on 306 seats. If it can regroup and work out a way to take thirty seats then it would be in a strong position to form an alternative coalition with the Lib Dems. If it could take back 70 it’s back in government.” – Iain Martin, Wall Street Journal

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