Seumas milne

Diary – 15 August 2019

I lay low during the ‘season’ as I can’t think what to say to people any more. I went to only two summer parties, a personal worst for me: Lady Annabel Goldsmith’s annual gold-plater in Richmond, and Jenni Russell and Stephen Lambert’s Notting Hill do, where I found myself introducing David Cameron to Seumas Milne. ‘You were at Eton and you went to Winchester,’ I said, as if the pair were shy teenagers at the Feathers Ball before the snogging, ‘so you two should get on like a house on fire!’ Seumas tried to recruit me in 2017 but I never came across. ‘Which party should I enter as a

Seumas Milne and Russia – a brief history

Oh dear. A number of  Labour MPs are calling for Jeremy Corbyn to sack Seumas Milne after the Labour leader’s communications director reportedly questioned the reliability of information on Russia from Britain’s intelligence agencies. In a lobby briefing, the Press Association quote Milne as saying: ‘I think obviously the government has access to information and intelligence on this matter which others don’t; however, also there’s a history in relation to WMD and intelligence which is problematic to put it mildly.’ However, were Milne to have said this, it was in his role as the Leader’s spokesman. So, what does Milne think personally? Happily, there is a wealth of articles –

Winchester College honours its Corbynistas

As Jeremy Corbyn feels the heat this week over his decision to row back on an election pledge to ‘deal’ with pre-existing student debt, his MPs have been doing their best to deflect attention from the apparent U-turn. When challenged over Corbyn’s comments on the Today programme, Mike Kane – the shadow minister for schools – said the more important issue at play was that the BBC journalists asking him about it were all privately-educated. However, Mr S isn’t sure this is the wisest attack-line to go on. After all, Corbyn’s own office can hardly be described as State Schools ‘R’ Us. In the new Winchester College newsletter, two of the country’s leading left-wing revolutionaries – Corbyn’s

Seumas Milne and the Stasi

Few noticed in 2015 when Seumas Milne excused the tyranny that held East Germany in its power from the Soviet Invasion in 1945 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Nearly every page reeked of a sly attempt to sweeten dictatorship and cover up the murder it inevitably brings. It was greeted with deserved indifference. As for Milne, two-years ago he was just another columnist in a newspaper industry that is stuffed with them. He provided a niche service on the Guardian by catering for a corner of the market that yearned to hear defences of 20th century Soviet Communism and 21st century Islamo-Fascism at the same time and

Revealed: Jeremy Corbyn and Seumas Milne’s nicknames

Although Owen Jones, Derek Hatton and Glenda Jackson are just a few of the Labour left to turn on Jeremy Corbyn of late, the Labour leader can always rely on comrade Seumas Milne. Corbyn’s director of strategy and communications has stuck by Jeremy through thick and thin, even ending his leave with the Guardian to move to the Leader’s Office on a permanent basis. So perhaps it’s little surprise the pair have formed a special bond. In fact, word reaches Steerpike that the bromance is so strong the pair even have nicknames for each other. The talk of Labour staffers is that Corbyn refers to Milne as ‘TGM’ which stands

Seumas Milne exits the Guardian for good

When Seumas Milne first announced that he was joining Labour as Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications in 2015, it was made clear that he would not be exiting the Guardian for good. Instead — in an arrangement that raised eyebrows in Westminster — Milne would merely work for Corbyn while taking leave from his role as the paper’s associate editor. Since then, there has been much talk about Milne’s wish to return to the Grauniad. However, subsequent discussions on the topic failed to come to fruition over concerns from officials that a return as associate editor could cause issues with regards to the paper’s editorial line. Now Milne has decided to quit the

Wanted: ‘first class’ networker to spin for Labour

With Labour predicted to win as little as 20pc of the vote in the 2020 election, there’s been little cause for celebration in the Leader’s Office this week. However, should you be a glutton for punishment, an opportunity has arisen to join the beleaguered party as its ‘deputy director’ of Strategy and Communications: The lucky candidate will work as Seumas Milne’s deputy — and will preferably have experience of project management in ‘complex situations’. It seems, too, that Corbyn may be looking to step outside of his comfort zone — with the deputy director required to have ‘first class’ networking skills. Alas it might not be the longest career working for the Labour

Guardian in a pickle over Seumas Milne’s return

With Seumas Milne on the way out as Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications, he is widely expected to return to the Grauniad. The columnist and associate editor has been ‘on leave’ from the paper since he moved to the Leader’s Office last October. However, Mr S hears there is a slight hiccup delaying his much anticipated return. While bosses at the top of the paper are keen for Milne to return as a columnist — complete with inside knowledge of the Corbyn regime that would make for essential reading —  some have reservations over Milne coming back as an ‘associate editor’. They feel that if Milne were to take on a role overseeing the the editorial line of the

Paul Mason vs the MSM

With Seumas Milne rumoured to be on the way out, Jeremy Corbyn could soon be on the prowl for a new Director of Communications. Although Paul Mason has denied that he is interested in the job, he is still a favourite to join the Leader’s Office. So, with that in mind, Mr S was curious to hear his views on Fleet Street and the Mainstream Media (better known as MSM among Corbynites) at a Momentum talk on ‘radical media’. It turns out that the former Newsnight economics editor isn’t such a fan. While he promised to ‘try and be strained in my vitriol and personal views’ in the discussion, Mason went on to say

Is Seumas Milne about to be shown the back door?

Oh dear. It’s not been a great conference for Seumas Milne. Jeremy Corbyn’s director of comms managed to make himself the story this week after he altered Clive Lewis’s speech on Trident at the last minute. The shadow Defence Secretary was said to be so angry over the changes that he punched a wall after the speech. So, Mr S was curious to hear a rumour swirling around Labour conference this evening. The talk of conference is that Milne’s departure is imminent with suggestions his last day could be as soon as Friday. While sources close to Milne insist to Mr S that this is not the case, several party insiders are

And from left to left we have…

Corbyn’s allies on the hard left are lining up to reform the Labour party. Some make him look like a moderate. Here are the most notable, from the least to the most radical… Owen Jones, 32, is a Guardian columnist and former poster boy for the left. Jones suggested Corbyn could do more to appeal to the masses and, as a result, was one of the regime’s first casualties. Throughout the Labour leadership election, Jones has become increasingly vocal about Corbyn’s limitations as leader. He is now an unperson. James Mills, 32, is head of communications for both John McDonnell and Corbyn’s leadership campaign. Mills is less of a purist

Vlad the corrupter and the crisis on the left

Julian Assange still has not found the courage to face the women who accuse him of sexual abuse. Rather than try to clear his name, he has sat in the basement of the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge for four years – a confinement long enough to drive most of us out of our minds. If Assange has lost his wits, however, there is a method to his madness, as there was long before he received what paltry hospitality the Ecuadorian diplomatic corps could offer him. Nothing he leaks has ever hurt Russia. He will denounce and expose human rights abusers, as we all should. But he will never allow his

Coffee Shots: Seumas Milne gets in Corbyn’s way

With Labour in turmoil, Owen Smith and Angela Eagle have both spent their Sunday explaining why they should be the one to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership.  So with a leadership contest looming, how has Corbyn spent the weekend? Catching Pokémon, it turns out. In a short film for the BBC, the beleaguered Labour leader can be seen trying out Pokémon Go, the new phone app currently taking over the world. Unfortunately Corbyn hits an initial bump in the road after Seumas Milne — his director of strategy and communications —  stands in the way of Corbyn’s phone. Happily, they overcome this and his efforts are soon rewarded when Corbyn manages to

The Spectator podcast: The Tory leadership contest turns nasty

To subscribe to The Spectator’s weekly podcast, for free, visit the iTunes store or click here for our RSS feed. Alternatively, you can follow us on SoundCloud. A week after Britain backed Brexit, politics shows no sign of slowing down. David Cameron has resigned, Michael Gove has pulled out of Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign before launching his own. And Boris has decided not to run in the contest. We now have a final slate of five candidates vying for the top job. In his Spectator cover piece this week, James Forsyth says the Tory party is in a ‘deeply emotional state’. But he also points out that the leadership candidates who

Jeremy Corbyn wades in on Labour’s war with the BBC – ‘they are obsessed with trying to damage the leadership’

When Seumas Milne wrote a letter of complaint to the BBC after Stephen Doughtly resigned from the shadow Cabinet live on Daily Politics, many in the Labour party thought it showed a lack of judgment on the part of Corbyn’s spin doctor. However, a new VICE News documentary on the Corbyn leadership — titled Jeremy Corbyn: The Outsider — suggests that Milne is really just echoing the views of his boss when it comes to his stance on the Beeb Discussing the local election results, the interviewer puts to Corbyn that not all is rosy when it comes to his leadership. However, Corbyn hits back — suggesting that they are simply watching too much

Seumas Milne fails to help Sadiq Khan’s cause

In recent weeks, Labour’s Sadiq Khan has faced flak over his decision to share platforms with extremists. In a recent Evening Standard article, Khan was criticised for sharing a ‘platform with five Islamic extremists’ at an event organised by Friends of Al-Aqsa. At the 2004 conference titled ‘Palestine — the suffering still goes on’, both Khan and Jeremy Corbyn spoke alongside the event organiser’s founder Ismail Patel — who once said ‘Hamas is no terrorist organisation’ — as well as the Imam Suliman Gani — who says women are subservient to men — and Dr Daud Abdullah, who led a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2005. Defending his decision to

Coffee Shots: Whitto reveals Seumas Milne’s Maoist manifesto

Today’s lobby lunch was the cause of much amusement among hacks. John Whittingdale used his speech to cast a light on Labour spinner Seumas Milne’s school days. The Culture Secretary recounted his time at Winchester College with Milne. He said that during this time, Milne co-authored a manifesto supporting Chinese communist dictator Chairman Mao. What’s more he even posed for a photo with the election poster in question: John Whittingdale went to school w/ Seumas Milne and all he got was a lousy poster of Seumas supporting Chairman Mao — Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) March 8, 2016 Of course this isn’t the first time someone in Labour has been associated with the communist

Ed Miliband meets Team Corbyn

Ed Miliband has been keeping a low profile since stepping down as Labour leader, but could he now be angling for a return to frontline politics? Miliband was spotted engrossed in conversation this lunchtime with Team Corbyn. A beady-eyed spectator snapped a photo of Ed having a coffee with Seumas Milne — Corbyn’s director of comms — and Kevin Slocombe — head of Leader’s media — in Portcullis House. Can you get me a meeting with @jeremycorbyn please @SeumasMilne? — Eye Spy MP (@eyespymp) February 23, 2016 Watch this space…

Is Seumas Milne’s Guardian ‘leave’ coming to an end?

When Seumas Milne — the Guardian associate editor and columnist — was hired as Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications, Labour released a statement in which they made it clear that Milne would remain on ‘indefinite leave’ from the paper while he worked for the party. The arrangement raised eyebrows at the paper and proved to be a point of contention as Milne has made it clear that he takes issue with the Guardian‘s political coverage. Now it appears that things are coming to a head. The Times reports that senior executives at the Guardian are to urge Milne to step down from his role. They want him to take voluntary redundancy, as they seek to make 100 journalists redundant in

Who’s who in Team Corbyn

The first week of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in September was reminiscent of a The Thick of It omnishambles. The Labour leader pulled out of scheduled media appearances, ran away from camera crews, was falsely accused of stealing sandwiches from war veterans and suffered the misfortune of having hacks eavesdrop his shadow cabinet deliberations. Four months on and — although one could argue that his leadership remains chaotic — things have certainly improved. He now has a loyal team in place, his office is made up of a mix of those behind his leadership bid and trusted allies. Yet with a larger schism than ever existing between the PLP and the leader’s office, his closest allies are regarded with suspicion by