Is Ed Miliband Too Intense?

December 19, 2012

There was an interesting piece in The New Statesman by Rowenna Davis, that examined the DWP report on Gordon Brown’s Future Jobs Fund, whereby young unemployed people were given a guaranteed 6 months work at minimum wage. Apparently this policy had a net benefit to society, for each young person enrolled, of £7,750.

The writer contacted Ed Miliband’s office to ask for a view from the leader’s staff, only to be told that, “it still does nothing for those people who are in work on benefits.”

I see Ed Miliband as a man who has a great conviction that there is something deeply wrong and unjust about the system. He desperately wants to find the answer, but can’t quite put his finger on it. It’s as if its there, but just out of reach. It’s good to have a leader who wants to make a real difference, rather than aspiring to coast through a term in office. However, he does sometimes look like he is chasing rainbows at the expense of doing the job.
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The House is a Stage and You are..?

December 18, 2010

I’ve got my media hat back on this week, after watching the Labour backbenchers properly fired up at PMQs, as Ed Miliband listed the Tory promises at the last election and our MPs chanted “broken” to every item on the list.

I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago, calling for them to shout Cameron down, after he made the mistake of accusing Labour people of being nasty. It’s worth revisiting that clip and analysing it in a little more detail before I continue my point about the lack of confidence of the PLP.

When you hear the chant begin, see Nick Clegg lean around Cameron to look at where it’s coming from. However, when Cameron realises something’s happening, he looks toward the Labour benches, and with that, Labour MPs fall silent, and Cameron recovers his composure.
This is the power and the authority he has over them. David Cameron can silence the entire Parliamentary Labour Party simply by casting an eye in their direction. How shameful. David Cameron; the Tory leader whose A-List of selection candidates excludes 90% of the MPs behind him. The PLP cowers in his presence. The PLP need to better understand their role at Prime Minister’s Questions.
You are not there as innocent bystanders to cast judgement on Ed Miliband; you are there to fire him up, and that includes the bad days, as well as the good. Right now, Ed is delivering, but what about on the days when he’s not? Are we going to see our MPs cowering on the back benches, frightened in case David Cameron thinks they are not being sufficiently respectful towards him? When we, the grass roots, lose an election, we don’t cower; we go home and get a good night’s sleep, then the next day, we’re back, ready for the next fight.
I’m not saying that we have no analysis; of course we do, but we don’t focus our minds on the negative, because we are not a bunch of losers. If we were thinking like victims; if we were frightened of the Tories, then I can guarantee that you lot would not be MPs anymore, because you would never get elected.
Imagine a great rock band, let’s say The Who, on stage at a major concert. Roger Daltrey is tired and he’s had some bad news, so he simply hasn’t got his mind on his performance. Does Pete Townsend also get depressed and not play with the energy we’ve come to expect? Would Keith Moon tap his drums with no passion, because Roger isn’t leading him well?
No! Absolutely not! That band behind Roger Daltrey would play with double passion and energy, because they know that they have to inspire Daltrey to come out of his depression. And you know what? It would work. With that sound coming out of them speakers, Roger Daltrey would find his energy and forget his problems and give the concert of his life. This is what the Labour leader needs from the backbenchers at Prime Minister’s Questions.
So when you, as MPs, walk into that chamber at the next PMQs, and you hear that voice in your head asking, “Will Ed do well today?” Correct yourself! The question you should be asking is, “Will I do well? Will I do my job of encouraging Ed? Will I… will we fire him up and give him the Labour Party spirit that will down these Tories, so easily, when it’s energised?”
If you’re in the lobby before PMQs and you hear Labour MPs questioning whether Ed’s going to deliver today, you tell them that they’re the ones expected to deliver. Tell them that they were selected by their Labour Party members to go in that chamber and cheer on that Labour leader, as if the World Cup depended on it.
And on those days when everything’s going against us, when it seems like we just can’t win, remember this one fact that will always give Ed Miliband an advantage over this particularly nasty Tory leader. Remember that no matter how much you hate David Cameron and everything he stands for, it is nothing compared to how much his own backbenchers hate him.

Attack, Attack, Attack!

November 26, 2010


The chickens have really come home to roost for the British Labour Party. Look at that map that shows the whole of the south of England smothered with Tory Blue with only the tiny enclave of inner London bearing the Labour Red. This diagram demonstrates the confined extremity of the Labour core vote. It also shows how close we are to being wiped out. If you swapped the constituencies with pictures of Cowboys and Indians, it would be a diagram of Custer’s last stand. In all my time as a labour Party member, I have never known this party to be in a greater sense of denial. The housing policy, of the Nasty Coalition, aims to bring market forces to bear upon the inner cities, so as to push social housing out to the suburbs, or rather, to cleanse the affluent districts of poverty. This Kosovo-style social-cleansing is not just nasty but also politically sinister, in that it aims to disperse that Red; to disperse our people, our communities. They don’t care where they go, as long as they take their votes with them. And while all this is happening, we, the Labour Party, are slouching about discussing whether we should back AV. Shameful! Wanna know what the AV camp are saying privately? I’ll tell you. They’re saying that if we please the Lib Dems, they’ll agree to form a coalition with us at the next election and allow the Labour Party to form a government. That’s what they’re saying. Allow us? Just when the Lib Dems are on the ropes, these snivelling little runts in the Labour Party want to divide us in order that the “united” Lib Dems can give us permission to form a future government. These dividers want us to get out the begging bowl and go grovelling to a party who are so insignificant, that their HQ offices didn’t get smashed up by the students, only because no one knew where they were. There is one way and one way only of dealing with the coalition government; that is to vote it down, vote it down, vote it down. Let the Tories get divided over AV, while we are united in campaigning to bring about an imminent general election. Here’s the strategy to achieve it:- In the recent Kentish Town by-election the Lib Dems stopped campaigning on the estates because they couldn’t explain their Kosovo policy. Half of the Lib Dem MPs are in traditional Labour seats, half are in Tory seats. Nick Clegg is currently getting punished for his error over tuition fees, but the Kosovo policy is far more damaging because the student vote is scattered while the housing vote is concentrated. The Labour party needs to create a campaign concentrating on vulnerable Lib Dems; Simon Hughes in Southwark & Bermondsey is a good example. If we began voter ID campaigns in that constituency, I am convinced that the data we’d return would so frighten this MP that he would either vote against his party, or defect to Labour. Either way, we bring down the Nasty Coalition. So let’s not take the lead of Custer. While the Indians are circling and the arrows are pouring, we are not so foolish to fight a defensive battle, on their ground, and their terms. Now is not the time to offer gifts to the pitiful and struggling Liberal Democrats. Now is the time to come out fighting, on our ground, our terms and with our strategy. We all know how vulnerable the Nasty Coalition is, so let’s concentrate our fire and attack, attack, attack!

Cameron’s Commitment

February 15, 2010


You can tell a lot about a politician from looking at their commitment. Say what you like about Margaret Thatcher, but when she decided to become an MP she considered what was needed to be a legislator and then took an evening class to get herself a degree in law. Gordon Brown has never stopped studying economics, while Tony Blair went to his constituency and searched for his direction by immersing himself amongst his people. His constituency party membership was doubled as everybody enjoyed the excitement of helping this committed young politician. He eventually realised that the people on the estates felt they had no protection in law against trouble families and youngsters and so the term ASBO came into the English language.
David Cameron is an interesting one to consider. This is a man who there in Downing Street on the day that Sterling collapsed; he was actually standing behind his boss, Norman Lamont, as he announced the humiliating news before going off to sing in his bath. You have to realise that Sterling is not just another currency; this is the coinage that bears the Queen’s head. It’s a representation of the greatest country in the world. It stands for a history of empire, commerce and trusted fair play. Yet it collapsed under massive speculative attack as the markets scorned the green shoots of Norman Lamont. Our only consolation in this national humiliation was that we were not alone; Sterling went down with the Italian Lira.
So following this momentous event, what did David Cameron do to prepare himself for high office as he set off to get himself a safe seat for the Tory Party? Did he brush up on his economics, determined not to make the same mistake as his former boss? No. Did he join the police in order to learn about the law, security and the lives of those caste out by society? No, he didn’t do that. Did he join the foreign office to learn from that great branch of government? No. What did he do? He went into PR; he became a marketer.
The problem is that he didn’t learn the very first lesson of marketing; that you cannot sell a product that people don’t want. What the people want is a government who can govern, who are committed to the task. He thinks they want a pleasantly air-brush picture of pleasant young man, so he plastered the whole county with 80ft hoardings of the image he’d like them to wake up to each day, all at a cost of half a million pounds. What an expensive piece of vanity. He lost a single point in the polls for that singular error. Then he thinks he can reinvent the 1992 Tax Bombshell campaign by frightening elderly people with incorrect facts and the image of a gravestone, as if this demonstrates his empathy with them.
I used to think he was clever. I used to talk to people on the doorstep and explain that these conservatives know nothing of their lives and therefore would do a bad job of representing them. They used to reply “We think he’s just like the Labour bloke” meaning Mr Blair. I thought this was devilish clever of him, but now I realise that all the left wing things he says seem to flutter away, while all the right wing things he says have consistency. People are confused as to who he is because he’s tried to be the marketer without first developing the product. If he’d have come out in the first place and just said “Look, I’m a good old fashioned Tory; I just want to cut your taxes,” I don’t think he would have been any higher in the polls than he was, but I do think his poll lead would have been more solid.
The fact is that we’re up against a bloke who’s not up to the job, because he didn’t have that commitment when it mattered. The fact is that the more he speaks the less he says. The fact is that when this election comes, we can win.

The Weight of the World; Comparing Burdens

March 16, 2009

I was pondering one of those confusing moments of indecision that the modern world has foisted on us. I was in the kitchen having just blown my nose and I honestly had no idea what the advice is between swing-bin and recycling. I chose recycling then suffered the disturbing image of a Chinese child on crust removal duty, so fished it out and gave it to the swing-bin. I went back to my TV then suddenly it occurred to me that paper isn’t kept and ironed out to be re-used, it’s simply chucked into a huge hopper and pulped down for future products. Here’s me contributing to the destruction of the rain-forests out of my pure ignorance. I went back to the kitchen and fished it out of the rubbish and gave it to the recycling bin, but then back at my rolling news TV show, I suddenly imagined your cereal box with a tiny bit of me embossed within the… you get the picture. Swing- bin was the final decision.
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