Tag Archives: james purnell

Opinion: Reassessing New Labour

It is worth buying Reassessing New Labour just to read James Purnell’s short preface. New Labour’s would-be philosopher king pretty much disappeared from view after Labour chose the wrong Miliband as leader. Purnell’s piece highlights perfectly the challenge Labour faces in coming to terms with its 2010 election defeat. It is brilliantly lucid in assessing why Labour lost. It is extremely limited in its analysis of how to recover. In particular it completely ignores the 500lb gorilla in the corner – the economy. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

Diamond and Kenny’s book brings together a range of contributions …

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg – Poverty plus a pound isn’t enough

Over in The Guardian, Nick Clegg writes,

All governments promise welfare reform. Very few deliver. In 1997 Labour promised to “cut the bills of social failure” and to “make work pay”. But during its 13 years in office the welfare bill rose by 40% to £87bn. People moving into work can still lose more than 90% of every pound they earn: a punitive tax burden on the shoulders of the poor.

The real tragedy, however, is not the cost of the welfare system. It is the price paid by the most disadvantaged, too often condemned to a life on benefits. Nearly 1.9

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Where next for Lib-Lab cooperation?

Two former Labour leadership possibles-never-contenders have talked in the past week about the future prospects for the Lib Dems and the Labour party forming a coalition at some point in the future. Their differing stances say a lot about the current state of British politics. But what they say about the future?

First up, John Denham, the shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, who made plain his anger at the Lib Dems last week, according to a report in The Independent:

Labour would demand the resignation of Nick Clegg before doing a deal with the Liberal Democrats in a future hung

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 85 Comments

What Nick told Gordon (according to Peter) when asking him to quit: “Please understand I have no personal animosity whatsoever.”

The first of the post-New Labour memoirs, Lord (Peter) Mandelson’s The Third Man, begins its serialisation in The Times today.

Those who pay for the paper, in print or online, will have the joy of relishing its every detail. If like me you’re reliant on the Press Association’s fillet, it seems the big splash is what we knew already: that Nick Clegg told Gordon Brown he would have no option but to resign if there were to be any chance of Labour and the Liberal Democrats cutting a deal.

Unlike every other Labour MP except James Purnell, however, Nick did …

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Fight to succeed James Purnell turns nasty

Tameside Eye has the story about the fight to win the Labour selection in Stalybridge & Hyde, where James Purnell is standing down. It has both its serious and its farcical elements.

The serious: a series of anonymous emails have been sent out making a wide number of personal attacks on Cllr Jonny Reynolds, one of those in the running to be Labour candidate. The emails have come from two IP address: one which has also been used by another Labour Councillor, Sean Perry-Parker, to send out emails and a second one which is a local council IP address (and therefore …

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Purnell to quit as MP – what does he mean by that?

Well, there’s a turn-up: James Purnell – former secretary of state for work and pensions, the man who almost brought down Gordon Brown, and seemingly a strong contender for the Labour leadership after the next election – has announced he will be quitting Parliament at the general election. Here’s how The Times reports it:

Labour insiders said that he was telling his Stalybridge and Hyde local party that with regret he was standing down to seek new challenges. …

After his resignation Mr Purnell returned to the back benches and has played a big part in running the Demos centre-left

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The 14 non-Lib Dem MPs who backed the Single Transferable Vote

The House of Commons yesterday voted by 365 votes to 187 to hold a UK-wide referendum on changing the voting system next year from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote. The Lib Dems reluctantly voted for the alternative vote, as the most modest of improvements on the current, broken system.

But the party, in the person of Cambridge MP David Howarth, also moved an amendment to leave out ‘an alternative-vote’ and insert ‘a single transferable vote’ – in other words, to ask Parliament to approve an electoral system which would at last reflect the votes cast for parties across the country, …

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Move over James Purnell, there’s a new photoshopping king in town

First, a recap from 2007 for new readers:

You may recall the story of James Purnell and the photoshopping incident – an NHS Trust faked a photo featuring him, the Trust and he then gave differing accounts of how it happened, he then bombed out in a rather funny TV piece trying to defend his line that he didn’t know what was going to happen and wasn’t in any way to blame for the fakery and then Pink Dog got dragged into the whole saga.

Yesterday the Telegraph and today the Mail have unearthed more evidence, and it’s looking pretty bleak for

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Millennium’s Credit Crunch Diary… May: Not Just Moral Bankruptcy

General Motors, the World’s biggest car company, responsible for the world’s biggest cars, became the World’s biggest BANKRUPT.

As the economic output of Great Britain fell by a confirmed 1.9% in the first quarter, with the biggest fall in consumer spending since 1980, and while inflation was marginally better at a manageable-if-still-above-the chancellor’s-target-band rate of 2.3%, High Street sales fell back after an unexpected rise in April (possibly down to a late Easter), so the worsening recession continued to hold the attention of the news meeja…

…Oh, who am I kidding! There has only been ONE news story …

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Cabinet reshuffle – open thread

It’s going to be a fast-paced day today, with English local election results due to be announced throughout the day, and a simultaneous cabinet reshuffle. On this open thread we’ll update you on the shape of the new cabinet, sans Purnell. What do you think of the new appointments? Is it enought to save Gordon Brown from the chop? Over to you…

Confirmed so far:

Chancellor: Alistair Darling stays
Foreign Secretary: David Miliband stays
Home Secretary: Alan Johnson handed the posioned chalice, takes over from Jacqui Smith
Justice Secretary: Jack Straw stays
Leader of the House of Commons: Harriet Harman stays
Health Secretary: Andy Burnham …

Posted in News | 14 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 5 June 2009

Let me let you into the hidden secret of the LDV Daily View – it’s usually written very late the night before, ready to go live at the crack of dawn for your breakfast pleasure. This poses a problem when, as I am now, you’re writing at gone midnight not knowing whether Gordon Brown will have anyone left in his cabinet by the time you, dear gentle reader, are pouring milk over your cereal. But here goes…

2 Big Stories

James Purnell quits cabinet: is this the end of Gordon Brown’s premiership?
The resignation of the work and pensions secretary was a …

Posted in Daily View | 1 Comment

James Purnell quits and tells Gordon Brown his time is up

From The Guardian:

James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, tonight dealt a monumental blow to Gordon Brown’s chances of holding onto office when he dramatically announced he was quitting the cabinet and asking Brown “to stand aside to give Labour a fighting chance of winning the next election”.

His statement, effectively declaring Brown as unelectable, will further weaken the prime minister’s waning authority and takes the challenge to his leadership to a new dangerous level. Purnell made his sensational move after polls closed in the local and European elections, informing Brown by phone tonight.

The prime minister had no inkling that

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James Purnell accused of abusing expenses rules

An ironic twist in the latest MP expenses story – this time is it James Purnell, the minister in charge of ensuring that the rest of us don’t claim too much in expenses, who is accused of claiming back more in rental costs than he actually paid out. The Sunday Express writes:

CABINET Minister James Purnell was under pressure last night to explain why he claimed £10,000 more in Parliamentary expenses than he paid in rent for his London flat.

The Welfare and Pensions Secretary, tipped as a future leader of the Labour Party, pocketed £10,143 more than the rent he

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What have James Purnell, Geoffrey Howe and Elvis Presley got in common?

Why, they all feature in the same sentence in the excellent piece from Steve Richards on the Labour leadership rumblings of course.

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What to make of Labour’s attack on the Social Fund?

Do James Purnell and Kitty Ussher read consultation documents before they get sent out? I ask because of Labour’s proposals to start charging interest rates of up to 27% on loans from the Social Fund, which currently makes interest-free loans to individuals on benefits who urgently need money to buy large items such as cookers and beds. …

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Post Office keeps contract to run card account

The Government will allow the Post Office to keep the Post Office Card Account contract until at least 2015.

The contract had previously been put out to tender, risking the loss of 3,000 Post Offices if a private firm won the contract.

To cheers in the House of Commons, Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell announced that the bidding process had been closed, saying, “Now cannot be the time for the government to do anything to put that network at risk.”

Mr Purnell stated that private company Paypoint would be compensated for the cost of bidding for the contract, insisting, “It …

Posted in News | 7 Comments

LDV readers say: Miliband would be most effective Labour leader

A fortnight is a long time in politics, y’know. With the Tories’ huge poll lead slipping back to being simply large, the economy facing a serious recession, and Gordon Brown’s conference speech judged relatively successful, the likelihood of the Prime Minister being forced from office has – at least for the moment – receded. But before all that happened, Lib Dem Voice asked our readers to say who you thought would be the most effective next Labour leader (from the Labour party’s point of view).

Here’s what you told us:

David Miliband – 19% (67)
Alan Johnson – 17% (61)

Posted in Voice polls | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Second James Purnell aide leaves in interesting circumstances

No Mottram Bypass has the story, all of which reminds me of this YouTube clip of James Purnell being interviewed. Very much one from the “how not to handle a difficult question” pile.

Hat tip: Dizzy Thinks: Is Purnell clearing out his skeletons?

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The Independent View: the Lib/Lab relationship past, present, future

Few in a Labour party currently riven by civil war and threatened with electoral wipe-out will be giving much thought to the relationship with the Liberal Democrats.

For their part, the Lib Dems are busy putting as much distance as possible from the government as they seek to take advantage of Labour’s current political weakness. Yet, as I argued recently in an issue of Progress magazine the very same factors currently driving them apart – Nick Clegg’s redirection of the Lib Dems and the resurgence of the Tories – may in fact end up moving them closer together in …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

NEW POLL: who do you think would be the most effective next leader of the Labour party?

It seems inevitable the Labour leadership will continue to dominate the week’s headlines, regardless of the show of unity that is mounted for the cameras in Manchester over the next few days. The question of ‘Will Gordon survive?’ seems increasingly redundant: quite simply, Labour cannot continue like this, and even Mr Brown’s biggest fans seem unable to imagine the circumstances which will allow him to recover the popularity he lost a year ago. Events have developed a momentum of their own, and it’s a question of when, not if, he will be toppled as Labour leader.

Which begs the question: who …

Posted in Voice polls | Also tagged | 11 Comments

The question isn’t: ‘Should Labour replace Gordon Brown?’ It’s ‘Why would anyone want to succeed him?’

Last night’s stunning SNP victory in Glasgow East caps one of the worst six months for the Labour party in at least 25 years. Policy gaffes and u-turns; a deeply unpopular leader; and catastrophic election defeats across the country – it doesn’t get much worse than this.

The time has now passed when the question could genuinely be asked whether it is in Labour’s interest to replace Gordon Brown as leader. The answer is just too obvious: of course they should, and (if it can be achieved in a dignified way) the sooner the better. It isn’t just a matter …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Is James Purnell the man to take on the Tories for Labour?

Today’s ICM poll in The Guardian showing the Tories with a record 20% lead over Labour will increase the pressure on Gordon Brown.

Conventional wisdom – backed up by the results to date of the latest LDV poll – suggest the Prime Minister is safe for the moment. And at least part of the reason for that is the absence of a popular alternative – perhaps David Miliband, Alan Johnson, Harriet Harman or Jacqui Smith might do a better job. But no one in the cabinet has yet demonstrated they have anything like the chutzpah that would be …

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BBC Question Time: open thread

After Paddy last week, it’s the turn of another former Liberal Democrat leader, Ming Campbell, to represent the party on the panel on tonight’s Question Time (broadcast on BBC1 and online from 10.35 pm GMT).

The panel will also include the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (and future Labour leadership contender?) James Purnell, senior Conservative politician Lord Heseltine, “well-known television personality” (aka the smuggest man in the world) Piers Morgan and novelist and journalist Rachel Johnson.

If you’re watching, and want to sound-off, please feel free to use the comments thread.

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged | 24 Comments

Chris Huhne on the politics of public behaviour

Word reaches LDV from think-tank Demos that Chris Huhne, the Lib Dems’ shadow home secretary, has contributed an essay to a new publication out today, The Politics of Public Behaviour: how governments should respond to the public consequences of private decisions.

Pamphlet editor Duncan O’Leary explains more:

the social effects of personal decisions on marriage, parenting, diet, exercise, smoking, flying, pensions savings etc). Nanny state vs ‘Pontius Pilot state’ as John Reid once put it.

Huhne’s basic argument is that community approaches and peer pressure should be the tools to address social policy goals without coercive intrusion into people’s personal lives. The

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The sclerotic defence

Amongst the weighty matters of political debate on Liberal Democrat blogs at the moment is the question of whether “sclerotic” is too recondite a word for Nick Clegg to have used. Stephen Tall posts a case for the defence, a view echoed by Brian Appleyard:

I would have thought that, since arteriosclerosis is so common, almost everybody would have come in contact with the word … Ignore the knockers, Nick, swallow a thesaurus that we may engorge on your recondite multiloquence.

P.S. A quiz question for Iain Dale: can you guess what word is not only used on the Conservative Party …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Monday morning miscellany of stories

Nick Clegg has spoken out against moves to stop British Olympics athletes from speaking out over China’s human rights record, calling any such ban “a real abdication of our moral responsibility”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott is introducing a bill into the House of Lords to require all its members to be British taxpayers. This will increase the pressure on controversial Conservative Party donor Lord Ashcroft, who promised to become a UK taxpayer when he was appointed to the Lords but hasn’t provided clear evidence that he has kept this promise.

James Purnell, he of the photoshopping and staff problems, …

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James Purnell, fakery etc

Our favourite photography subject, James Purnell, is back in the news. As Dizzy’s beaten me to writing-up the story, it’s easiest to look at his blog piece instead.

(Original hat-tip: Tameside Eye blog.)

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Something for the Weekend: My lovely horse

Welcome to January’s final Something for the Weekend, which comes this week from a kebab shop in Peckham. Fortunately it has wi-fi. And is hypothetical.

In the Something for the Weekend closet today: the smell of Barack Obama; the fetishes of a Labour MP; the women playing with balls; and more!

» Good Week

Saudi football supporterIt’s been a good week for the Prince Muhammad bin Fahd University’s female football team. They won a rare inter-college women’s football match in Saudi Arabia on penalties in front of a large female-only crowd in the university’s stadium.

According to Alarabiya.net:

The match is the biggest such event hosted by Prince Muhammad bin Fahd University and the first ever to see the home team playing against another team from Riyadh. The University has introduced women football some 18 months ago.

Suggestions that 16 of those 18 months were spent explaining the off-side rule are not to be entertained.

» Bad Week

Before we pick this week’s poor soul, it’s only right we spare a thought for the man who graced this section just two weeks ago. Yes, Peter Hain has shuffled off to spend more time with his lawyers, and has been replaced as Secretary of State for Work and Pensioners by James Purnell, whom you may remember from such blogs as this one. (James Purnell’s reaction to his promotion? Speechless.)

KebabTempting thought it is to give Mr Hain a second starring role, I’m going to risk reprisals from her minder to declare Home Secretary Jacqui Smith this week’s unfortunate. When she isn’t sneaking off to Peckham with her bodyguard for a (donor?) kebab at teatime or labelling a large chunk of the population as not-we, she’s trying to justify bad laws by inventing new words:

It won’t be hypothetical if and when it occurs. We are not legislating now on the basis that we are bringing it in now for something that might happen in the future; we are bringing it in now for something that might happen in the future; we are bringing in a position for if it becomes unhypothetical.

Another one for the New Labour Doublespeak Dictionary.

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Is a Labour MSP about to quit over donor scandals?

Rumours abound that Labour MSP Charlie Gordon may be about to quit over the Wendy Alexander Scottish Labour leadership campaign’s illegal donation.

As the Daily Record reports:

LEADING Labour MSP Charlie Gordon looks set to quit Holyrood after the devastating revelations about illegal donations in yesterday’s Daily Record.

He will make a statement about his “political future” this week.

That fuelled speculation he is poised to quit Holyrood.

As he arrived for a crunch meeting of Labour MSPs yesterday, all Gordon would say was: “I’ll make an announcement about my political future later this week.”

His comments came after the Record revealed Gordon secured illegal

Posted in News | 1 Comment

James Purnell gets into further trouble

You may recall the story of James Purnell and the photoshopping incident – an NHS Trust faked a photo featuring him, the Trust and he then gave differing accounts of how it happened, he then bombed out in a rather funny TV piece trying to defend his line that he didn’t know what was going to happen and wasn’t in any way to blame for the fakery and then Pink Dog got dragged into the whole saga.

Yesterday the Telegraph and today the Mail have unearthed more evidence, and it’s looking pretty bleak for James Purnell:


Posted in News | 3 Comments

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