Tag Archives: ed miliband

Ed Miliband’s speech: tricky message, poor timing

Ed MilibandI’ve quite a lot of time for Ed Miliband. Politics needs intelligent, thoughtful folk with their hearts in the right place.

I respect, for example, that he held out last year against the superficially attractive urge to call for an in/out EU referendum advocated by more opportunistic Labour colleagues who relished the idea of stirring Tory discontent with Cameron. Miliband, rightly, decided to put national interest ahead of narrow party interest.

But there are evident troubles with his leadership, crystallised by his speech yesterday in which he acknowledged his own image problems: “I am not trying to win a photo-op contest in the next 10 months. And I wouldn’t win it if I tried.”

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Dear Daily Telegraph, Enough already. It’s actually okay for MPs to claim 11p for a ruler.

The_Daily_TelegraphSo the Telegraph is back to its old tricks on expenses. Five years ago, the paper uncovered some serious abuses by MPs at the taxpayers’ expense – along the way, the paper was also (as I wrote at the time) “guilty of flaky fact-checking, unfair distortions and disgraceful smears”.

Yesterday the paper attempted, rather desperately, to re-live past glories by running the story, ‘MPs’ expenses: Ken Clarke bills taxpayer for 11p ruler’. It wasn’t just Ken who attracted the Telegraph’s ire though: ‘Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was found to …

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ICM poll: No revival for two-party politics, even as Lib Dems drop to 10%

State of the parties, 17 June 2014.The Guardian has published its latest ICM poll, the ‘gold standard’ survey most eagerly awaited alike by political junkies (because ICM has the best track record) and Lib Dems (because it tends to give the party higher ratings). It shows Labour on 32%, a nose ahead of the Tories (31%), with Ukip (16%) and the Lib Dems (10%) trailing in third and fourth.

Two points stand out. First, the combined Labour/Conservative shares, at 63%, are the lowest ever recorded by ICM using the phone method. No sign of a reversion to two-party politics.

Secondly, the Lib Dem share of 10% is also the lowest ever recorded by ICM using the phone method. As Anthony Wells notes, “ICM were responsible for the Lib Dems lowest ever score of 3% back in 1989, but this is the lowest ICM have ever shown for them since they switched to phone polling in the 1990s”.

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Opinion: Prince Charles has gone too far this time

Prince CharlesIt was ironic to watch the news today. Two politicians who (I suspect) do not much care for Prince Charles’s views in general  were speaking in his defence, whereas one who might be expected to be more sympathetic was being more critical. It was the latter, Nigel Farage, who was right. He said of Prince Charles’s comments, likening Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, that there are some things the Prince should leave to the professional politicians.

Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband, on the other hand, were arguing that the Prince had a right to have his views and express them, or words to that effect. Prince Charles does indeed have a right to have his own private opinions, and he is not the first to have compared the actions of today’s Russia with yesterday’s Nazi Germany.

BUT, Prince Charles does not have the right to drop a bomb into the middle of British-Russian relations like this. It’s not just indiscreet, it is downright dangerous. There is no knowing what sort

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Opinion: Miliband, Piketty and the Liberal response

milibandThree weeks ago, Miliband crossed the Rubicon and entered the heartland of Tory ideology. His support for European-style longer and more secure tenancies — and by extension capping rent increases — runs roughshod over a hitherto post-Thatcherite consensus.

Grant Shapps led the Tory riposte with a quick and ludicrous barb: Labour were proposing “Venezuelan-style rent controls”. Most people won’t know the details of Venezuela’s housing policy, but will be sure it’s unlikely to be any worse than our own.

Times have changed. We can see this clearly in that most …

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Battle of the Election Videos: Lib Dems’ “Incredible Silent Man” v. “Labour’s Un-credible Shrinking Man”

So Labour’s party election broadcast then… Titled The Un-credible Shrinking Man it mocks Nick Clegg as a deluded patsy of the posho Tories. He starts off being offered a biscuit and ends up being chased across the cabinet table by a big cat. Because he’s shrunk, y’see. And naked. I’m not sure I’m doing its nuanced subtlety justice. It’s sort-of funny, at least if you enjoy laughing at one-dimensional caricatures which fit your pre-existing bias – a bit like a sketch for Radio 4′s The Now Show. You can watch it for yourselves here.

Kudos to the Lib Dem team at Great George Street who immediately re-packaged the party’s own video The Incredible Silent Man chiding Labour leader Ed Miliband’s reluctance to take the fight to Ukip or make the case for Europe:

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Rent reforms – Miliband to announce 20th area of Lib-Lab agreement today

decent homesSix weeks ago I highlighted the 17 policy areas where there is significant agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems. These range from tax-cuts for low-earners and the mansion tax to local school accountability to an EU in/out referendum. There were also two areas I omitted, flagged by Adam Corlett in a comment here: childcare and a living wage.

A 20th area can now be added, with Ed Miliband set to announce Labour’s plans for the private rental sector, some of which mirror the Lib Dems’ Decent Home

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Miliband on in/out Europe referendum: I agree with Nick

Ed Miliband has decided, once and for all, what Labour’s position is be on an in/out EU referendum – the same as the Lib Dem policy.

Writing in today’s Financial Times, the Labour leader has said his party’s manifesto will commit to a referendum on whether the UK should be in or out of the EU only if there is a proposed transfer of more powers from London to Brussels.

This is subtly different from the Government’s ‘treaty lock’ agreed within the Coalition Agreement: that promised there should be a referendum on any future treaty that proposed a transfer …

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Photo of the Day: Merkel addresses Parliament in German

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, today delivered an historic address to both Houses of Parliament, hailing Germany’s “close partnership” with the UK, and making it clear she wants Britain to remain a strong voice in Europe.

Here’s the official photo of Clegg meeting Merkel:

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FT: “For nearly four years, Britain has been served reasonably well by multi-party government”

On Tuesday, it was reported that David Cameron wanted to rule out the possibility of a second Lib-Con coalition in the event of another hung parliament. This tit was matched by an equivalent tat from the left, when Unite leader Len Mclusky urged Labour to do the same.

Today’s Financial Times leader attempts to inject a dose of reality into this anti-coalition arms race:

All this chest-beating has stirred Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem deputy prime minister, whose party can only govern with others, to denounce “tribal voices”. And he is right to do so. This should not

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LibLink: Stephen Tall: What Clegg was really up to last week

In his regular Conservative Home column, Liberal Democrat Voice co-editor Stephen Tall looked at the rationale behind two things that Nick Clegg had done last week, the debate challenge to Farage and his comments on Steve Richards’ programme which were interpreted as showing willing for a coalition with Labour.

So what does Stephen think it’s all about. Firstly, about getting the best deal in 2015 if there’s another hung Parliament:

In part, he’s preparing the ground for what may be. In part, he’s reaching out to those 2010 Lib Dem voters who’ve peeled off to Labour. And in part, he’s laying down

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Ed Miliband’s “People Powered Public Services”: some interesting ideas lurk beyond the bland

I read Ed Miliband’s Hugo Young lecture on the train home last night to save you the trouble. No need to thank me. Actually there are some good parts to it, which I’ll come onto. And if you want to share my pleasure the full text is available here.

However, I’d suggest skipping the first 1,685 words which can be summarised as, “Life can be unfair. I, Ed Miliband, have noticed this and so have lots of other people, like Obama and the Pope.” Along the way he name-checks Margaret Thatcher (a conviction politician, y’see… except for all the …

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Opinion: Why local banks need Lib Dems to act

It hardly seems worth Ed Miliband’s time to actually make the speech on economics today, because it has been previewed, leaked and debated – almost sentence by sentence – all week.

There was a debate about the middle classes on Tuesday.  Then there was the important commitment to competition in the banking sector, where he flagged the idea of a market cap, an important idea – but there are three practical problems with it.

First, there is a danger that it will lead to the big banks dumping poorer customers – though equally, there will be more banks available for them to …

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Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Cameron still leading as Miliband recovers (a bit) among Lib Dems

We’ve been asking this question for over two years, and over the past year there has been quite a change in fortunes (and back again) for the two party leaders, as this graph illustrates:

cam mili member ratings - dec 2013Continue reading »

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Ed Davey nails Labour’s energy price freeze: “Prices go up, small, independent competitors go out of business, the big six is created again. Well done, Mr Miliband!”

Here’s Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey highlighting one of the many flaws in Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze energy prices in today’s Guardian interview:

ed davey energy prices

(Hat-tip: John Rentoul in The Independent: Quotation of the Day.)

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Carmichael for leader in 2014? As likely as him giving up booze for a year, I’d say.

Carmichael Mark Darcy blogThere are occasions when political journalists get things so wrong that they make themselves look a bit silly. The BBC’s Mark D’Arcy has made me laugh with his latest blog in which he suggests that new Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael might challenge Nick Clegg for the party leadership if we have a poor showing in the European elections next year, but this would happen some 4 months after the vote.

This is how the theory goes:

Faced with the prospect of devastation at the next general

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Ed Davey MP writes… Labour’s energy policy is a con

Energy-bills-006“There is no such thing as a free lunch” was one of the first things I learnt in economics. But it seems that Ed Miliband thinks there is. He seems to believe that you can have freeze energy prices for 20 months with no adverse impacts. It may have seemed a politically smart thing to do leading into the traditional period of energy price increases. But it is likely to have really harmful consequences. In short, it’s a con.

Many commentators have already pointed out that energy companies will be free to …

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Marxism: a respectable philosophy, or dangerous, or evil?

MarxThe Daily Mail’s ludicrous accusations that naval veteran Ralph Miliband hated his country conceal the relevant political question behind all this. Is Marxism a respectable philosophical position to take, or is it dangerous, or even evil?

This debate will sometimes revolve around the overthrow of Russia’s fledgeling democracy in November 1917, the subsequent mass murder and mass starvations committed by the Soviet regime under Lenin and Stalin, the suppression of the Prague Spring and so forth. To what extent can this be ascribed to the influence of Marx, or alternatively understood as a rejection …

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Telegraph accused of Labour bias over Miliband’s dad – or was it the BBC? #LOL

Milk Bottle Politics 200I cannot help but be amused by the coverage of the affair of Ed Miliband’s dad in the Sunday Telegraph.

First up is an article declaring the “BBC accused of becoming Ed Miliband’s mouthpiece.” It seems that Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire – a champion of a living wage for MPs – has reported Auntie to its governors for allowing Miliband to “milk” coverage for Labour’s advantage.

It’s a story on fairly thin ground, but I have long imagined that there is an old adage among right wing journalists. “If in doubt where a story is going next, bash the BBC.”

Of course party politics has had a role in the affair of Ed Miliband’s dad. But it has mostly been a debate about the nature of our press. Above it has been an examination of the character of the Mail’s journalism under Lord Rothmere and its daily weekday editor Paul Dacre. Nick Clegg was forthright on the matter: the Mail is “overflowing with bile about modern Britain”. As I said earlier, that’s just right.

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Of course, the Daily Mail has form when it comes to smearing party leaders’ families

My colleague Andy Boddington has already (rightly) laid into the Daily Mail for its gratuitous insults against Ed Miliband’s father, Marxist historian Ralph.

The paper has form when it comes to smearing the families of party leaders. Let’s turn back the pages of history to… well, 10 days ago when the Mail tried to link Nick Clegg to fascism through his father-in-law:

clegg father in law daily mail - sept 2013

Or we could roll back to December 2012 when the Mail splash on a desperately thin story implying some …

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Nick Clegg supports Ed Miliband over his dad – that’s just right

Geoffrey Levy on Milibands DadOnce again the Daily Mail has disgraced itself and the journalistic profession.

In an article headlined “The man who hated Britain”, the newspaper attacked Miliband father, a man who fled the Nazis to arrive here as refugee. Ralph Miliband quickly came to love this country and he fought for it in the Second World War. But in common with many of his era, he was attracted to Marxism.

His left leaning and his youthful comments were enough for Geoffrey Levy of the Daily Mail to launch one of the most unpleasant character assassinations in recent history.

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Ed Miliband’s speech: 5 thoughts on what it means for Labour, Tories, Lib Dems and the 2015 election

Ed MilibandI listened to, rather than watched, Ed Miliband’s speech to the Labour party conference yesterday. On the up-side that meant I missed the three hammy mid-speech standing ovations (shades of IDS c.2003); on the down-side it accentuated the peculiar whooping of some of the more excitable delegates (calm down, it’s just a politician talking). In its own terms — getting noticed for its content rather than simply as an impressive no-notes memory feat — it was an undoubted success. Matthew Parris in The Times rather brilliantly captures the flavour:

Crikey

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Opinion: Labour’s energy freeze is terrible economics but excellent politics

Ed Miliband announced in his keynote speech to Labour Party conference that, if elected, he would force energy companies to freeze energy bills for 20 months.

Now obviously, from an economic liberal  perspective, this makes no sense.

Freezing energy costs is precisely the wrong way to go about dealing with the cost of living problem in this country. By freezing income while costs rise in the global upturn & the population expands to require greater supply, Miliband is depriving the energy companies of the capital they need to invest in the expansion of the system.

This will inevitably drive the energy supply industry …

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That Ed Miliband speech in full…

milibandThe following arrived in a brown envelope at Lib Dem Voice Towers, this morning. It is probably an early draft.

I want to start by thanking somebody from the bottom of my heart.

Ella Philips, who fell off her bike and called me an action hero who mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. She called me suave and not geeky at all.

I was pretty pleased with this until I realised she was concussed. So I got her to vote in her local constituency candidate selection.

I have emotion that is felt at kitchen tables …

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LibLink…Paddy Ashdown: After the Syria vote, Britain must not sleepwalk into isolationism

Paddy Ashdown has been writing about the implications of the Syria vote for the Guardian’s Comment is Free site. First, he pretty much repeats what he said on Friday:

There are strange paradoxes here. It is possible to be both proud of a parliament that said no to the executive on a matter like military action. But sad; even – dare I say it – a little ashamed at the decision it took.

Of course there are reasons for this. The leftover poisons of the Iraq war; the toxic effect of public distrust in our politics. Mishandling by the government. President Obama’s

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Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Cameron bounces back as Miliband’s stock falls further among Lib Dems

We’ve been asking this question for almost two years, and over the past year there has been quite a change in fortunes (and back again) for the two party leaders, as this graph illustrates:

mili v cam - aug 2013

Here’s the

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: Ed’s made a bold move, but he absolutely needs to see it through to the end

As a Lib Dem, I obviously write as neither a Labour party member nor supporter, but I was genuinely stirred by Ed Miliband’s speech at the St Bride Foundation yesterday. It was bold, gutsy and liberal minded – qualities the Labour leader’s critics often accuse him of lacking. The announcement that Ed will push forward plans to change the current arrangements in which all union members across the country are automatically affiliated with the Labour party, to one in which union members will have to voluntarily opt in to Labour affiliation, was brave to say the least. It potentially …

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Nick Clegg’s offer to Ed Miliband on the political levy

Nick Clegg Q&A - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsIt was Deputy Prime Minister’s Question Time today, and Nick duly stepped up to the mark.  In reply to a questions from Conservative MP, Jonathan Lord, and others, he offered the Labour Party a chance to make changes to the political levy.

At present, members of trade unions pay a political levy on their membership subscriptions, which, of course, goes to the Labour Party and helps to justify the unions’ heavy involvement in the party and their participation in leadership elections. Many members …

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Miliband vs McCluskey: 2 points that strike me about the Labour/Unite row over alleged candidate selection rigging

Looking in from the outside, albeit as a former Labour member myself, two points strike me about the Labour/Unite row over the alleged attempt by the union to rig the selection of the party’s general election candidate in Falkirk.

The first is this:

How lucky is Ed Miliband in his opponent, Len McCluskey?

Yes, you read that right. Ed is lucky in Len. The reason why is simple: Len McCluskey has gone about his attempted putsch of Labour in an extraordinarily cack-handed manner.

If you wanted to set up a comedy caricature trade union boss, you’d make sure he had a salary of £122,000, had called for a general strike, have him make threats against prominent Labour ‘Blairites’, and then protest against the lefty New Statesman when it reports accurately what you’ve said.

If you wanted to be a smart trade union leader, however, you’d operate below-the-radar. You’d do things just the same: ensure your chosen candidate was elected Labour leader (however dubiously), line up your mate to head up the party’s election campaigns, and guarantee loyal union members are installed in as many key seats as possible.

But you’d do so sotto voce.

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Will Ed Miliband “do a John Smith” and push for an early EU in/out referendum? There are advantages, y’know…

John Major and David CameronCould Labour be about to “do a John Smith” to the Tories over the timing of an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union?

In the 1990s, Labour wrought havoc on the fourth-term Tory government by (cynically) teaming up with the right-wing ‘Maastricht rebels’ to inflict damaging Commons defeats on their common enemy, John Major.

Could Ed Miliband try and do the same to David Cameron? That’s the hint in today’s Guardian:

Labour is considering backing an in-out referendum on Europe as early as

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