Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
ED Balls has all but laid to rest any doubt over what job he wants after admitting to Lobbydog that he would “love to be Chancellor”.
His comments were made as New Labour leader Ed Miliband weighs up which leading figures in the party should take up which key positions.
He’s thought to be considering his brother David for the role of Chancellor, but there is still doubt over whether the defeated leadership candidate will remain in front line politics.
Meanwhile Mr Balls – widely considered to have best articulated Labour’s argument against Government cuts – is also a leading contender for the job.
When I asked him if he would confirm whether he wanted to be shadow chancellor Mr Balls was cagey. But asked whether he would want to be Chancellor, he was not so shy.
“Chancellor, I’d love to be chancellor. The question is whether I want to be shadow chancellor. Of course I’d like to be chancellor but at some point in the future – but in terms of the shadow cabinet decisions those have got to be for the leader.”
When nominations for Labour’s shadow cabinet ballot close tomorrow Balls will know whether David Miliband is sticking around, and whether his main rival for the job is out of the way.
Monday, 27 September 2010
There seems to be a little bit of ire among some Labour members about the results of the elections for Labour’s Governing body – the National Executive Committee (NEC).
Constituency party members vote to choose six people to sit on the committee – as representatives of rank and file Labour people.
Out of 127,331 party members balloted, a total of 88,235, around 69%, wanted London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone on the NEC, with failed mayoral candidate Oona King also gaining a place.
Two of the other candidates chosen, Luke Akehurst and Ellie Reeves, are also based in the capital.
Another of the winners, Christine Shawcroft, has a strong London connection, though she is officially secretary of Nottingham South Constituency Labour Party. Ann Black, from Oxford, was the other winner.
The contention made by several very active Labour members I’ve spoken too is that the selection is far too London-centric.
There has even been talk of a bid by members to change the party rules to ensure that there is a stronger regional presence on the NEC.
The debate which characterised the 2010 General Election – how fast to cut the deficit – will now be fought out among senior figures in the Labour party.
Darling just called for a “credible plan” to tackle the deficit, his idea having been to halve it in four years.
But then on the other side you have Ed Balls who has called Darling’s idea “a mistake”.
One of Balls’ lieutenants, Jim Knight, told Lobbydog today: “We need to develop something that the electorate will understand as an alternative. The leadership debate has been kicking that around and that needs to be firmed up by our Leader and his new team.”
So Ed Miliband will be pulled both ways, by figures in his own party, by the Government and also by the press.
His contribution so far has been that Darling’s plan is a starting point – which in real-life language means “we might do it, we might not”.
Meanwhile he’s said he will wait to see what cuts the Government brings forward before deciding what to oppose and what not to.
If he’s smart he’ll put off saying exactly what he’d do as long as he viably can. It’ll keep his options open and his shadow cabinet on their toes.
Ed Miliband was doing the rounds of regional party receptions last night, soaking up the applause and buoying the troops.
His relaxed tone – the way he could name check almost everyone in the room – was actually pretty impressive.
But there was a slight twitch of his eye-brow at the East Midlands reception when he was being introduced by the Tulo (The Trade Union & Labour Party Liaison Organisation) representative.
Just before calling Ed to speak he said: “And remember – unions are for life. Not just for elections.”
It felt a bit like that scene from The Godfather when Don Corleone agrees to do a favour for Bonasera the undertaker.
Don Corleone: “Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me.”
In The Godfather the day did eventually come.