David miliband

Steerpike at Labour: No such thing as a free glass of wine

David Miliband blasted New Statesman columnist Mehdi Hasan’s updated Ed Miliband biography yesterday afternoon: ‘Judging by extracts about me in the Mail on Sunday, updates to Ed’s biography should be filed in the fiction section’. The former foreign secretary took umbrage at the suggestion that he had said his brother would ‘crash and burn’. And, just in case we had missed the point, he added ‘i.e. made up’ for good measure. Despite these manifold grievances, the elder Miliband graced the New Statesman’s Labour conference party later in the evening. He waited until Ed had done the rounds and left before entering, tieless. Given that David has pulled in over half

Have the Milibands got Hollande fever?

We’ve grown so used to regarding Ed and David Miliband as mutual nemeses that it’s strange to see them operating as a tag team today. The younger brother has delivered a fiery attack on the ‘unfairness and economic failure’ of the coalition, while the elder brother has an article in the Mirror arguing that the government is ‘Wrong about how to grow the economy in the modern world’. There’s also another article by the latter in the Times (£), just in case you haven’t had your fill of MiliCommentary. Much of what they say is unsurprising, but some things do stand out from their twin attacks nonetheless. The first is

Labour miss out the details

Labour’s launch of its new youth jobs policy has been rather overshadowed by Harriet Harman’s inability to explain the costing behind the policy on the Daily Politics earlier: not a good look for a party trying to show that it is fiscally credible. But more interesting than the number behind the policy is how it marks an attempt by Labour to toughen up its position on welfare. Those young workers who have been out of work for a year will have to take one of these minimum wage jobs or have their benefits docked.

 On the Labour front, the interview with Ed Miliband in the Times today is also worthy

If Cameron doesn’t talk about greater powers for England, Labour will

Action over Scotland is certainly producing a reaction in England. It’s not what you’d call an ‘equal and opposite reaction’ yet, but it’s there — and it’s crystallised by Tim Montgomerie’s article for the Guardian this morning. I’d recommend that you read it in full, but Tim’s basic point is that David Cameron could score a ‘triple crown of political victories’ by moving towards a more federal UK: ‘By offering to extend Scottish devolution he can be the Conservative leader who saves the union. By promising to balance Scottish devolution with a commitment to new arrangements for the government of England, he can radically improve his own party’s electoral prospects.

The other Miliband under attack

By now, we’re all used to waking up to newspaper columns describing Ed Miliband’s flaws and proclaiming him unfit to lead the Labour party. But today, it’s David Miliband who’s under fire in two articles – one by Roy Hattersley in the Guardian and the other by Matthew Norman in the Telegraph. They’re both in response to the elder Miliband’s New Statesman article, the significance of which Pete wrote about on Thursday. In Hattersley’s case, it’s a direct response, as it is his views that Miliband rejected, labelling them ‘Reassurance Labour’ and saying: ‘The problem with the definition of social democratic politics by the Reassurance Labour tendency is not just

The strange survival of Labour England

Any CoffeeHousers with a taste for schadenfreude should read David Miliband’s article in the New Statesman. We have to move beyond big government, he declares. We need a growth strategy. I’m not sure if any Labour leader has ever argued otherwise: maybe, as Miliband implies, it has found one now. But, as I ask in my Daily Telegraph column today, what’s worse: a party that’s stuck in 1983, or a modernising movement that’s aiming for 1987? But talk to any Tory, and it’s hard to find any who think the 2015 election is in the bag. Four factors should prevent us from writing off Labour’s chances: 1) David Cameron is

Why David Miliband’s article matters

The most curious thing about David Miliband’s article for the latest New Statesman — which is causing quite a stir this morning — is that it should appear now. After all, the Roy Hattersley essay that it purports to be responding to was published, so far as I can tell, last September. That’s five months ago. Which is fine, if it’s really taken MiliMajor that long to get around to it. But it certainly fuels the idea that he has chosen now, this moment, to make a political intervention — and Hattersley is just an excuse. And the intervention itself? Basically, Miliband warns against what he calls ‘Reassurance Labour’, a

Miliband beats Miliband in the polls

Ed Miliband’s poll ratings are going from bad to disastrous at the moment. Last week his YouGov approval rating dropped to its worst ever, with just 20 per cent of respondents saying he’s doing a good job, and 66 per cent saying he’s doing a bad one. And today they slip even further. Again 20 per cent say he’s doing ‘well’, but now 69 per cent say ‘badly’: And, most worryingly for the Labour leader, the number of Labour voters giving him the thumbs down (49 per cent) now outnumbers those giving him the thumps up (46 per cent). That’s compared to the 95 per cent of Tories who think

Miliband’s speech fails to excite

Was Ed’s Big Speech worth the extended wait? Not really. It wasn’t a stone-cold terrible speech, but neither was it the rambunctious, attention-grabbing number that his leadership could do with. In fact, we could have saved ourselves the effort by simply reading his New Year’s message again. That was considerably shorter, and covered almost all of the same ground. Squeezed middle? Check. Tackling vested interests? Check. An admission that Labour will need to cut? Ch… oh, you get the point. The best that could be said about today’s speech is that it presented some of these arguments more clearly than in the past. Indeed, the attack on George Osborne’s fiscal

The Burma trail

Foreign policy specialists have been confused about how to categorise the coalition. Is it neoconservative, given its backing for the Libyan rebels? No, says no less a figure than the Prime Minister. Is it realpolitical, given the PM’s willingness to make up with Russia and court China? Most No.10 officials would wince at such a description. So what is it? To answer the question, look no further than William Hague’s trip to Burma last week. Not only was it the first visit by a British foreign minister since 1955, but it was also the culmination of little known, high-level, behind-the-scenes outreach to Aung San Suu Kyi by No 10 and

Enter, David Miliband?

‘Every day, in every way, it’s getting worse for Ed Miliband.’ That’s what I said last Thursday, and it has been more or less borne out since then. Friday, of course, brought that Twitter embarrassment. Saturday, the subsequent headlines, as well as Miliband’s unconvincing attempt to push back against them. Sunday featured some of the most vicious attacks on his leadership by Labour MPs so far. And even today we’ve got the sort of ‘helpful’ advice from a senior Labour figure — in this case, Alan Johnson, suggesting that ‘too often we sound like a debating society rather than a political party’ — that comes across as frustrated criticism. Forget

The Miliband puzzle

So why did Ed Miliband stop his brother being leader of the Labour Party? As each month of his uninspiring leadership passes, it becomes more of a puzzle. In today’s Guardian interview, we learn that he can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 90 seconds. Perhaps David Miliband took two minutes, leaving Ed to regard him as being intellectually inferior. The rest of the interview shows Ed trying to row back towards positions that David Miliband would have adopted from the offset: trying to claim fiscal responsibility, and credibility. The ‘In the black Labour’ movement is also an attempt to repair the repetitional damage being wreaked by Balls, whose calls for

Every day, in every way, it’s getting worse for Ed Miliband

Unless one of Ed Miliband’s New Year’s resolutions was to ignore absolutely everything going on around him, I expect the Labour leader will be in a particularly glum mood this morning. And it’s not just that Maurice Glasman article — which has inspired the headline ‘Miliband’s former guru says he has “no strategy”’ on the front of today’s Guardian — either. It’s the, erm, questionable tweets from one of Miliband’s shadow ministerial team. It’s the LabourList poll that finds scant support, and much disapproval, for his leadership. It’s that John Rentoul column suggesting Yvette Cooper for the throne. It’s the Tory minister who said to Iain Martin that ‘Keeping Ed

Miliband crumples to a new low in PMQs

Inept, useless, incompetent, maladroit, hopeless, clumsy, crap. With thesaurus-rifling regularity Ed Miliband comes to PMQs and delivers a performance which is inept, useless, incompetent, maladroit, hopeless, clumsy and crap. The only virtue the Labour leader has is consistency. He’s consistently worse than last week. In theory he should have scored some damage today. Unemployment is soaring. Growth seems grounded. Cabinet ‘partners’ scuffle in public whenever they get the chance, and Nick Clegg changes his mind as often as he changes his socks. And Miliband’s tactics had some merit too. By disinterring the PM’s New Year Statement from January 2011 he was able to open up the Coalition’s wounds and have

The importance of being earnest | 4 December 2011

The absence of growth and the importance of credibility are recurring themes in this morning’s papers. John Lord Hutton has told the BBC that revised growth figures make pension reform even more urgent, and he added that the deal that was put before trade unions was ‘perfectly credible’. Meanwhile, David Cameron has insisted that ministers increase their pension contributions by an average of 4.2 per cent (more than the 3.2 average across the public sector) to show that ‘we are all in this together’. Pensions also feature in an Independent on Sunday interview with Tim Farron, the Lib Dem President. Farron says he has ‘sympathy’ with state employees who are caught

Which Miliband?

Don’t be too hard on the Independent leader writer and proof readers. Ed or David Miliband? It’s an easy mistake to make. John Humphrys got it wrong on the Today programme back in May, and even Ed’s own deputy, Harriet Harman, slipped up. “I hope we will have David, er, Ed, Ed Miliband elected as Prime Minister at the next election,” she told Woman’s Hour during the Labour conference in September. At least Harman corrected herself, as the Independent now have on their website. This Daily Mail article from June still carries the wrong caption. But this affliction is even more widespread than that. Back in July, YouGov showed 1,265

For one night only, David Miliband returns

David Miliband was studiously loyal to his brother in his one speaking appearance at Labour conference. He told Movement for Change, the community organising group that he founded, that ‘Ed deserves huge praise’, that ‘Ed has led with purpose and conviction and that ‘we’ll all here because we want to put Ed into Downing Street’ But the brother over the water did come with three warning for Labour. The first was that ‘if Labour becomes a sectional party, we’ll never be elected to government.’ The second was that there’s ‘never been more distrust of the state across the industrialised world’ so if Labour becomes ‘a big state party, we’ll never

James Forsyth

Can Labour make the right kind of news this week?

The great Labour worry about this week is that they’ll be relegated to the ‘in other news’ section of the evening bulletins. There’s a real sense of a struggle for relevance. As one Labour MP half-joked to me last week, ‘do you think the conference of the third most interesting party in British politics will get much coverage?’ But those close to Ed Miliband can take some satisfaction from the opening hours of this conference. The leader’s arrival with his wife and children produced some nice pictures for the Sunday papers, his interviews on the morning news shows went well enough and he looks likely to get the changes to

Ed Miliband needs David Miliband if he’s to make proper headway

Are the seeping knife wounds healing at last? This morning’s Guardian reveals that Ed Miliband has offered his older brother a role as Labour’s “unofficial ambassador on university and college campuses”, and that David Miliband has accepted. Although party sources tell the paper that “this should not be seen as a sign that [MiliD] is being lined up for an early shadow cabinet return,” it surely is a sign that the two brothers are repairing their damaged relationship. From barely speaking to each other to mutually preaching the Labour gospel to a bunch of students. It’s progress.   Putting aside the fraternal aspects of the story, it is also an

From the archives: Ed Miliband, before the leadership

It has been a turbulent, ol’ week for Ed Miliband — all the way from those Ed Balls files, through his most substantial speech so far, to that bruising Twitter appearance. By way of putting a full-stop to it all, here’s an interview that our deputy editor, Mary Wakefield, conducted with him in 2007. This is MiliMinor, aged 37, and relatively carefree:  The charm of Ed Miliband, Mary Wakefield, The Spectator, 2 June 2007 Sitting opposite Ed Miliband MP in a large and airy office, the sort of office that befits the Minister for the Third Sector, I suddenly have the surreal impression that I’m at the doctor’s. It’s the