Archive for ‘Ed Miliband’

February 4, 2011

Ed Miliband not drawing in the crowds

Today was meant to be all about  Ed Miliband connecting with young people, and being a vibrant alternative. He and the Shadow Cabinet have headed off to Newcastle, and Ed is currently doing a Q&A session being streamed online. A shame nobody is watching really…


February 2, 2011

I agree with Ed/I agree with David

Do not readjust your television sets, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition are actually having a civilised discussion about the important issues of the day. Flanked by new Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, Ed Miliband led off by giving a moving comment on his recent visit to Afghanistan, before asking a couple of questions on developments in Egypt. Cameron replied in kind – informative, cordial, consensual. It was all rather different to the normal nonsense, and all the better for it.

As Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband was ensuring the British government was playing a key role in supporting democracy, and protecting its citizens abroad in a time of crisis. He was also showing support for British troops, and tough British government decisions. Ed Miliband joked that he appreciated that this was a rather different PMQs. Well, quite. The world situation is rather different at the moment.

Bizarrely some people feel that this isn’t doing his job, and he should have provided another identikit performance on cuts and the economy. They might like to note that for the first time Ed Miliband looked like a leader, a Prime Minister, and a statesman. In fact, he looked rather a lot like his brother. The civility was only broken a couple of times, once for Cameron to remind everyone about Ed Ball’s ridiculous claim that the previous Labour Government didn’t leave a structural deficit, and right at the end when Barry Sheerman asked about the selling off of public forests.

PMQs has become increasingly dull and staged, with nobody learning  anything about any policy or decision. Far from holding the government to account, it discredits UK politics on a weekly basis. The PM and Leader of the Opposition do not have to agree, but their debates must be constructive. It would be great if this week marked a change in how PMQs was done, but VN reckons the bored backbenchers might have something to say about that.

January 26, 2011

Spotlight turns on Brown’s two henchmen


Ed Balls in Q&A on educationImage by Downing Street via Flickr

Ed Miliband was today flanked by his new Shadow Chancellor in Prime Minister’s Questions, giving Cameron ample opportunity to test out the Government’s remixed attack of tying the two Ed’s to their Brown past, and his disastrous economic legacy.

CBI annual conference 2010Image by The CBI via Flickr
Perhaps it was Miliband’s fault. His fast question asked who was to blame for the bad GDP figures, which instigated much pointing at Ed Balls and cries of ‘you’ from the coalition. Time and time again though the Prime Minister mentioned the Eds and their previous job. He is painting them as ‘Brown’s two henchmen in the Treasury,’ directly responsible for the deficit that the Government inherited, and the subsequent cuts it has caused.

The Brown mud might just stick.

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January 21, 2011

Brown get his dream team in place, as Balls replaces Johnson as Shadow Chancellor

>Yesterday Alan Johnson decided to call time on his career in frontline politics, resigning his role as Shadow Chancellor. Mr. Johnson had been a surprise choice for the role, bur was seen as a safe and uncontroversial pair of hands by newbie leader Ed Miliband. He will be replaced by failed leadership contender Ed Balls, whose wife Yvette Cooper replaces him as Shadow Home Secretary.

Balls worked closely with Ed Miliband as Gordon Brown’s henchmen at the Treasury. Both, but particularly Balls, are cited as key reasons for the failure of a Lib/Lab talks after the elections last May. The leading Labour team is now totally linked to Brown’s failed leadership, and the mistakes of the previous Government. Looks like GB got his legacy after all.

Despite their similarities, Miliband and Balls have openly expressed differences on economic policy. Ed Balls is a devout Keynesian and deficit denier, who disagrees even with his owns party’s policy of halving the deficit in four years. He simply refuses to accept any criticism for mistakes of the end of the last Labour government. Meanwhile Ed Miliband has dones everything, including forgetting he wrote the last manifesto, to show his Labour party is shiny and new, not brown.

Ed Balls is though extremely well versed in economics, unlike his predecessor, and many expected him to get the role in the first Shadow Cabinet. After a slow start to life in opposition, Labour will be hoping that two Ed’s are better than one.

January 12, 2011

>PMQs gets personal

>PMQs was a rather spiteful affair this week. David Cameron came up with two of the most damning lines to describe Ed: “He was the nothing man at the treasury, and now he is the nothing man trying to lead the Labour party”, and VN’s favourite on Alan Johnson advising on banker’s bonuses: “There’s no point Wallace asking Gromit on that one”, but Ed didn’t perform badly. It was though quite a hollow affair, partly due to the predictable questions from the Leader of the Opposition, and partly due to the lack of substance in the answers given in return.

Clearly the Coalition are getting a bit fed up of cheap pops about so-called ‘broken promises’. When Angus Robertson of the SNP tried the trick asking about tuition fees and bankers bonuses, Cameron snapped back, referring to “an SNP that promised a referendum on full independence and never gave it?”

There were also some fairly testing questions from Conservative backbenchers, including one on the promised fuel stabiliser. These serve to demonstrate the increasing tension those Member’s have towards the coalition. Like their Liberal Democrat counterparts, Tory backbenchers are beginning to feel a little sidelined, and are increasingly prepared to show their discontent in high profile occasions such as PMQs.

Cameron also hinted heavily at a compromise on Control Orders, praising the police and secret services in the process. In answer to another question, he gave a backhanded warning to the Unions threatening prolonged strikes by hinting he could impose a rule that 50% of members must support strike action.

The Prime Minister is clearly comfortable with these confrontations but, after a very impressive start, is beginning to rely too much on witty one liners and question dodging. If he engaged Ed Miliband on substance he could win the exchanges outright very easily, exposing the lack of policy Labour have at the moment. Instead, the playground politics trundled on into 2011.

January 10, 2011

>Ed Miliband starts the week slowly, put the kettle on Gromit!


Picture via GreenFeeds

As if Monday mornings arn’t hard enough, Ed Miliband decided to kick this week off with his first press conference of 2011. The yawnfest of a performance from him and his Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson will do nothing to inspire comrades and enemies alike.

Here are some particularly of the best quotes:

  • “My mother taught me never to call people liars. So I won’t. They are practising a deceit”
  • “David will be successful in anything he does”
  • “Let me bring Alan in on the detail” Cue laughter from surrounding journalists
Ed tried to ‘do a Clegg” by looking straight down the camera, but continued to drone on about “this Conservative led Government”, and explaining that he won’t opposes every cut. Except that he opposes every cut, and the deficit wasn’t Labour’s fault anyway. Apparently they borrowed within acceptable boundaries…
Not quite the energetic start to the year the Ed so desperately needed.
December 13, 2010

>Ed Miliband tries to turn on the charm

>Labour leader Ed Miliband has just finished the first of what he promises will be a monthly news conference.  In it he made a ‘big, bold, offer to the Liberal Democrats’…oh hang on… He was standing in front of a window though.

Miliband’s seduction technique is a rather odd one. Having attacked, and vowed to destroy, the Lib Dems during his leadership bid. Furthermore, Ed Mili is reported to have been one of the biggest barriers to a Lib-Lab coalition due to his behaviour during the negotiations. He is now asking them to join with him to fight the coalition most of them voted to endorse.

Former Lib Dem lefty-adviser Richard Grayson is working with Labour policy-wonk in Chief Liam Byrne MP as part of this process. Will be interesting to see what they come up with, given how quick Liam Byrne was to point out that “there is no money“.

Given the weak start to his leadership, and increasing unpopularity, Ed might want to start worrying about rallying his own troops, not luring over others.

December 8, 2010

>Ed Mili is red, brown, but not green

>It has emerged that the Labour leader is refusing to pair Energy & Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne for tomorrow’s vote on tuition fees, forcing him to return from the key climate change summit in Cancun. Pairing is the process whereby the absence of an MP who is whipped one way but can’t attend a vote is negated by an opposing MP not voting too, and is agreed by the partys’ teams of whips.

By refusing to pair Huhne, Ed Miliband is acting cheap and playing politics. He knows that Huhne must now come home and vote yes or resign. He is  therefore forcing him to return from an important climate change summit, showing that petty politicking is more important to Ed Mili and his ‘new generation’ Labour Party than progress on the environment.

Oh yeah, what was Ed’s job before being Labour Leader…Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

November 30, 2010

>Q&A with Ed Miliband


Labour Leader Ed Miliband has gone down the ‘Cameron Direct’ route and got involved in a Q&A event, this one hosted by the Kent on Sunday newspaper. Kent is an interesting choice, as it is just the kind of people New Labour could win, and Miliband risks losing.
Not a very inspiring performance, but it was nice to see him advocating his support for AV and for a living wage.  However, Miliband better hope that the coalition does last five years, as it is quite apparent that Labour are a long way away from being fit to mount a bid for Government.
November 22, 2010

>Red Ed’s relaunch falls flat


‘Comrades I have returned’ Red Ed proudly declared first thing this morning. Probably.
Today was meant to the great return of the glorious new leader after his two weeks maternity leave. Except nothing has really happened. Osborne and Johnson had a tiff over Ireland, but there was no big statement of purpose from the leader, let alone any evidence of him having a direction or an idea.
Of course not rushing out policy on the hoof is understandable, but the big come back has really just been another big flop for Ed Miliband.
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