Features

Meet Team Miliband

The political pack behind Ed’s campaign for No. 10

26 April 2014

9:00 AM

26 April 2014

9:00 AM

If the opinion polls and bookmakers are to be  believed, some time during the morning of Friday 8 May next year a small group of men and women will appear out of the of the Derby Gate entrance of the old Scotland Yard building on Whitehall, stride purposefully across the road, and assemble at the gates of Downing Street. After having their names checked by the officer on duty they will continue their journey up the famous street, enter via the equally famous and rather imposing black front door, and get to work. That work will involve running the United Kingdom for the rest of the decade.

When Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister in 1997, his senior staffers were household names. OK, they weren’t exactly household names. Except in their own households. And one or two of the households occupied by their political opponents.

But they had managed to forge a reputation for constructing and driving one of the most formidable political operations in post-war British history. Mandelson. Campbell. Powell. Gould. The architects of New Labour.

The group of senior advisors that plan to cross the threshold of Number 10 with Ed Miliband do not have formidable reputations. Their names do not strike fear into their Tory and Lib Dem opposite numbers. If those opposite numbers know their names at all.

They are the architects of One Nation Labour. Or is it the Politics of a New Generation? Or the more prosaic 35 Per Cent Strategy?

Whatever it is, their walk up Downing Street – if and when it comes – will be cloaked in anonymity. Partly this is a reflection of Ed Miliband’s desire to turn his back on the ‘celebrity politics’ of Labour’s recent past. Partly it’s because his advisors have themselves, in the main, shunned the limelight. And partly it’s because Miliband’s operation has, by common consent, been a bit of a shambles.

‘Poisonous’, was the picture painted by one former senior advisor. ‘Dysfunctional,’ said one shadow cabinet member. ‘A bunch of medieval courtiers, not an office,’ said another. The most positive description I could get was ‘It’s a work in progress. They’re learning. Slowly. But they are learning.’

But however poisonous and dysfunctional the court of Miliband the Younger may be, either by fluke or design, they have clearly managed to get some things right. It was this team that secured the Labour leadership against the odds. It was this team that has fashioned a small – though shrinking – opinion poll lead. And it is this team the bookies still have as favorites to win the 2015 general election.

And it is this team, rather than the shadow cabinet, that will decide the direction of Britain should Miliband win.

Tim20LiveseyV2

Tim Livesey, 54 Chief of Staff
The putative leader of Team Miliband is the chief of staff, Tim Livesey. His appointment saw plenty of raised eyebrows inside and outside the Labour family, given he was at that time serving at Lambeth Palace as chief of staff to Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury. He was hired just as Miliband was developing the love for political abstraction that would come to define his leadership. Many insiders worried that Livesey’s theological background would merely encourage further meaningless introspection.

Initially, however, the sceptics were pleasantly surprised. ‘The whole thing was rudderless when Tim arrived,’ said one Labour insider. ‘He brought some organisation and structure to the office.’ But those who were hoping Livesey would then expand his role to building a serious political operation were destined to be disappointed. ‘It’s odd,’ one Labour MP told me. ‘Tim isn’t wet behind the ears. He used to work in the Foreign Office, and in the Downing Street press office with Alastair [Campbell]. But he doesn’t really understand politics, and he certainly doesn’t understand the Labour party.’

Livesey’s main job now involves working alongside Charles Falconer on Labour’s transition to government. ‘Tim’s been appointed minister for hubris,’ one wag explained. Maybe. But those insiders who scoff at Livesey’s knowledge of their party do so at their peril. ‘Tim’s the guy decid-ing who gets what job in government,’ says one MP. ‘And who doesn’t get a job at all. His critics run around saying ‘Livesey doesn’t get how all this works.’ And Tim just sits there quietly, and strikes another name off his list.’

The clearest sign of Livesey’s power is a campaign to destabilise him led by Spencer Livermore, the well-liked former Gordon Brown aide who was recently brought back to help mastermind next year’s election campaign. ‘Spencer wants Tim’s job,’ said one Labour source. ‘If you look at the negative briefing around Ed’s recent Israel trip, which Tim organised, that was the Livermore camp. They’re trying to destabilise him’. The games, the games.

StewartWood

Stewart Wood, 46 Shadow minister without portfolio
By far the biggest personality within Ed Miliband’s orbit is Stewart Wood. Many advisers stay in the shadows. He has been made Baron Wood of Anfield (he’s a Liverpool fan) and taken into the shadow cabinet as minister without portfolio. He divides opinion more than any other member of Miliband’s circle.


A former foreign affairs adviser to Gordon Brown, Wood is seen by many people as the only serious political strategist on the team. ‘Ed’s surrounded by kids,’ said one MP. ‘He’s the only guy in there who owns a pair of long trousers.’ Another observer agreed. ‘He’s a proper political operator. He’s the one who can pick up the phone to people in the White House.’

Wood was at Ed Miliband’s side from the beginning. When Miliband was weighing up the fateful decision to run against his brother, Wood was his sounding board. ‘Stewart was the one who told Ed that, to win, he needed to drive a wedge between himself and David,’ says one MP. ‘He didn’t advocate personal attacks, but he was clear he had to go for him on policy. The graduate tax, the moral case for the 50p rate, a living wage.’

Wood’s clumsy efforts at briefing the press have become a running joke in Labour circles. ‘Whenever Stewart briefs he doesn’t just leave fingerprints, he leaves giant, muddy footprints,’ said one insider. ‘He can’t help playing games,’ another shadow minister complains. ‘Remember that Guardian letter urging Ed to be bolder on policy? Stewart was ringing round people urging them to sign it.’

Wood is also one of the few members of Miliband’s team who does not enjoy the anonymity that comes with working the backrooms of politics. ‘Soon after Gordon [Brown] became PM he had his first meeting with George Bush,’ recalls a former Downing Street workmate of Wood. ‘We talked about it a lot beforehand, and the strategy was clear. We had to put distance between ourselves and the Bush administration. They were toxic politically. So we have the meeting with Bush and his people, and Gordon’s in there with Stewart and a couple of others. And as soon as the meeting ends Stewart comes out and tells us all “Bush has given me a nickname”. Apparently Bush had this habit of giving senior foreign leaders staffers nicknames so he could remember them. So Stewart walks up to Damian [McBride – Browns senior press advisor] and says “you should drop that to the lobby guys”. Damian says “what are you talking about Stewart?”. So he tries again. “You should tell a couple of the guys. How Bush has given us all these pet names”. Damian just looked at him like he was nuts.’

Hungry for notoriety or not, Wood has made himself Miliband’s most indispensible aide. ‘I was called into Ed’s office for a meeting on [names policy area],’ says one advisor. “And the meeting ended, and we all got up and Stewart’s was the only one apart from Ed still sitting there. The next meeting was on [names issue]. A couple of hours later we all trooped back in to talk about election strategy. And Stewart’s still there. He hadn’t moved. Strategy, press, policy, economics, stakeholder engagement, foreign affairs. He has a say across all of it.’

Marc Stears, speechwriter

A less high profile, but still influential member of the inner circle, is Marc Stears, Miliband’s former university flat-mate who now works as his speechwriter.

Stears is viewed with suspicion by a number of the professional politicians and advisors who court Miliband. ‘Marc’s basically Ed’s security blanket,’ said one. ‘Whenever Ed needs someone to say how great he’s doing he will pipe up “Ed, you’re doing great”.’

But another Miliband observer thinks Stears has an important role to play in supporting his old friend. ‘Marc isn’t massively political. But the one thing I would say about him is that he’s one of the few people who’s solely there for Ed. Most of Ed’s team are using working for Ed as a ladder to move on to better things. Marc isn’t like that. Everything he says and does he does because he genuinely thinks it’s in Ed’s best interests.’

Tim-Livesey

Tom Baldwin, 48; Bob Roberts, 48 Spin doctors
One of Livermore’s allies is Tom Baldwin, former deputy political editor of the Times. Where Tony Blair had one senior media adviser in Campbell, Miliband has three — Baldwin, Bob Roberts, formally of the Daily Mirror, and Patrick Hennessy, until recently political editor of the Sunday Telegraph. Baldwin is unpopular with his former colleagues in the parliamentary press pack, who regard him as excessively volatile. But as the man charged with managing Miliband’s ‘strategic interventions’ he has shown his worth, in particular over issues such as phone-hacking and the energy price freeze.

Roberts, who used to run a stall on Camden market, is popular, and has won a reputation for managing Miliband’s day-to-day media engagements with skill and integrity. He has a tabloid journalist’s eye for a good political attack story, and harries the Tories effectively. But some Labour insiders believe he occasionally fails to see the strategic political picture. ‘There are times when you have to say, “We could get a good headline today. Or we could say nothing and get lots of good headlines in a year’s time”,’ said one shadow cabinet adviser.

Hennessy is also liked by political journalists, who regard him as a ‘straight bat’. But some of Ed Miliband’s camp view him with suspicion, regarding him as a veteran of Gordon Brown’s inner circle. Hence his arm’s-length role managing press relations for the shadow cabinet. ‘Paddy’s main job is to get high-flyers like Rachel Reeves and Gloria de Piero on the park,’ said a friend.

While Miliband’s media team is seen as one of the more effective arms of his operation, many Labour observers question whether it would survive the transition to Downing Street intact. ‘That’s three big personalities you’ve got there,’ said one, ‘and No. 10 is a small building.’ It’s an open secret that Baldwin and Roberts can’t stand the sight of each other. Baldwin, who formerly had strong links with the Blair inner circle, is seen to have brought a convert’s zeal to Miliband’s efforts to move beyond New Labour. ‘Part of the problem is Tom’s always trying to prove to Ed he’s a true believer,’ said one senior adviser. ‘Where he should be talking Ed down from stuff, you’ll find Tom shoving him further up the ladder.’ Roberts, in contrast, adopts a more sceptical attitude towards the rather esoteric ways of his boss’s inner circle. ‘Bob’s a professional. He’ll do his job, but he isn’t going to start drinking the Team Miliband Kool-Aid,’ said a colleague. The expectation is once the election is over Baldwin will return to journalism or consultancy, and Roberts will take over the main briefing role in No. 10.

greg-beales2

Greg Beales, 36 Director of political strategy
Below the big beasts come a diverse group of second-tier advisers. One of the most influential is Greg Beales, his head of strategy. A former McKinsey consultant, he was brought into politics by Tony Blair, stayed under Gordon Brown and is now minting policies for Miliband (including the energy price freeze). Beales is popular and respected, but frequently runs up against the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ culture of Miliband’s office. ‘Greg will present them with negative polling and there’ll be a lot of coughing and staring at feet. Then someone will say, “OK. But they like our energy price freeze, right?”,’ says one shadow cabinet adviser.

A Labour MP agrees. ‘Greg manages the feedback from the focus groups and the polling. And that means he’s actually the guy with the widest interface with the voters. Greg’s always trying to pull Ed’s people back towards that swath of former Labour voters the party lost under Blair. While every-one else is banging on about how to hang on to former Lib Dems, Greg’s popping up and saying, “Fine, but remember that if we want to win, there’s a few blue-collar, small-c conservatives we’re going to need to pull across as well.”’

Torsten Henricson Bell, strategist

A former advisor to Alastair Darling, he is ‘terrifyingly bright’ but ‘totally devoid of any politics’, according to one MP. ‘Every shadow cabinet member he sits down with comes away thinking he’s just met an ideological soul mate.’

He was initially brought into Miliband’s inner circle by Lucy Powell, Miliband’s first chief of staff who has since become MP for Manchester Central. ‘Lucy got Torsten in to try and help her get a grip. It was a shambles. And to be fair, he did get a grip,’ recalls one former aide.

One area that Henricson Bell focused on was policy. ‘It was great at first. He started producing all these bit of paper. And politicians like that. It gives them a sense of order. But after a while people started to say “OK, Torsten, you’ve set up these 28 different policy working groups. But what’s coming out of them?”.’

Eventually policy development was handed to Jon Crudass, fomer aide to Tony Blair ,and MP for Dageham. The transfer of responsibility is said to have angered Henricson Bell.

‘It caused all sort of problems,’ says one Labour insider. ‘Torsten started briefing against Jon. In fact, he even tried the old trick of placing stuff to make it look like it had come from Jon. Then one day Jon just fronted him up and said “look, I can spend fifteen minutes walking you through what you’ve been up to here, or you could just stop”.’

One problem for Miliband is both Henricson Bell and Beales are currently looking for safe seats at the upcoming election. ‘That tells you all you need to know about what they think of Ed’s chances,’ said a shadow cabinet member.

anna-yearly

Anna Yearley, 36 Political secretary
One of the few senior women in Miliband’s team is Anna Yearley, his political director. She recently found herself in the spotlight over what was seen as her mishandling of the Falkirk selection scandal, which led some to see her as a lightweight.

Not so, according to one hard-bitten adviser I spoke to. ‘A lot of people don’t realise that it was Anna who was responsible for swinging that last handful of MPs over to Ed during the leadership election. She was the one who kept banging away at the second preferences. She’s got better trade-craft than people realise.’

A former adviser agrees. ‘It was Anna who told Ed the last month before the leadership vote, “You’re not going to do anything for the next two weeks except stand in the atrium of Portcullis House and glad-hand every Labour MP who walks by.” And he did. And it worked.’

Yearley works closely with Simon Fletcher, Ken Livingstone’s former chief of staff, who has responsibility for managing Miliband’s relationships with the unions, and the broader left. ‘Forget the hype,’ said one MP, ‘the Labour movement is an alien planet to Ed. You get someone like Simon who actually knows what Manuel Cortes [head of the TSSA union] is actually thinking, and they’re going to grab him with both hands.’ Although a relatively recent appointment, Fletcher’s influence is increasing — something that Labour’s dwindling band of modernisers have noted with alarm.

Perhaps we should all be alarmed. In just over a year’s time, this Team of Accidental Rivals could be taking decisions that affect every single one of us.

Dan Hodges, who writes for the Telegraph, was once called ‘the Blairite cuckoo in the Miliband nest’

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Show comments
  • Kitty MLB

    Good God. his unscrupulous team will try and deceive the electorate
    that this dim-witted clueless dolt, who most certainly doesn’t have any attributes
    to make him the first minister of the Queen and representative of this country to the
    rest of the world. They will believe themselves a shroud for Milipede to hide beneath
    whilst they try and make him Prime Minister by default, the same way he became
    leader of the Labour Party..through the back door, politics in this country is now
    a shambles.

    • Realpolitik

      He’s an advisor, not a miracle worker thank God!

      • Kitty MLB

        I see you have changed your image again,
        its usually women who are forever changing
        their minds. You are right about bankers,
        banker bashing one of his favourite bandwagons.

        • Realpolitik

          I couldn’t help thinking Farage looked rather like “Michael Le Vell” from Coronation Street in that photo, not that I watch that tripe.

          My brother is a banker and thinks it’s farcical that labour think they can tax their bonuses any more than they already do for several reasons;

          1. They will be paid in shares/ increase their salaries.

          2. This tax revenue won’t improve any lives

          3. if they are greedy they will take greater risks to make up the loss of income.

          4. you are punishing one of the pillars of our economy.

          5.
          all of the intelligent bankers will move into hedge funds and you will
          have idiots running things (that’s if they force taxes on them via some
          other means)

          6 . this money is spent in our country anyway, by the government taking it it will be lost.

          labour are just using jealousy tactics.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Politics in this country has been a shambles for over 20 years. It just takes a little time for the realisation to filter down to the voter…….

  • NBeale

    The good news is that the Labour Lead is down from about 8% a year ago to about 4% now, and with the economy improving rapidly it will probably fall to zero later this year.

    The bad news is that it is still theoretically possible that these clueless loons could be running our country in 13 months.

    • Mr Brit

      It scares the life out of me to be honest!

    • Shorne

      Well the poll that I just looked at has Labour on course for a 40+ majority, as it has been for sometime. Moreover the bookmakers, always more accurate, are predicting a Labour victory, with no seats for UKIP incidentally.

      • NBeale

        If there really were a GE tomorrow then Labour might win. But:

        a. in 12 months time the economy will be much better, unemployment down a further 300-500k, 2M more in employment than at the last election, and the campaign will have exposed the uselessness of Labour’s leadership and economic policies.

        b. People may SAY they would vote Labour/UKIP when they talk to pollsters and it’s costless, but if they were faced with the awful reality of having a PM who is not up to the job and an economic team they don’t trust many will blanch and vote for competence.

        c. Bookmakers don’t “predict” anything.

        • George_Arseborne

          Mr. Fantasy NBeale.
          Economy better for the Rich (5%) ?
          2 Million Zero hour contracts?
          Cameron is a PM who typically has knee jerk reaction to stuff. He is not up to the Job like wise his chancellor ( Economy is consumer led via more house hold borrowing after 3 years of flatline economy). Bad Economy team with high degree of incompetence.
          On like bookmakers, you ain`t see anything yet. Prepare for the shock 2015 Cameron out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Shorne

          a. You hope
          b. So you think Cameron is ‘up to the job?’
          c. Yes predict was the wrong word to use, bookmakers quote odds which will prevent them from losing too much money and they are consistently correct about elections.

          • Colonel Mustard

            b. It is not about whether Cameron is ‘up to the job’ but the prospect of the thinly disguised communist loon leading the gormless shadow cabinet into No.10.

        • Smithersjones2013

          but if they were faced with the awful reality of having a PM who is not up to the job and an economic team they don’t trust

          And you think voters think Cameron and Osborne are competent and trustworthy? ROFLMAO…..

          If there were a general election tomorrow Labour would win as they have so much of an advantage in the electoral system that the Tories need to be something like 10 points ahead in the polls before they can hope for a majority (they were ahead by 7 points in 2010 and still didn’t win a decisive victory).

    • George_Arseborne

      You dreamer, ask Lord Arschroff the Tory poll star to give you statistics on so many marginal seats. Then you will realized how deep you’ve been dozing. Wake up and smell the coffee.

      Just as a reminder, when Ed won Labour’s leadership contest in 2010, there was a lot of jubilation at the Tory HQ on how easy they will sweep power in 2015. How easy is it today?

      • NBeale

        It’s basic arithmetic that the conservatives will be doing 7% worse in the marginal seats than in the country as a whole. It tells us nothing much when this is confirmed by polling.

    • Colin

      Forget the polls, keep you eye on the bookies.

      • MrHarryLime

        Labour to win most seats, 4/6. Conservatives, 5/4. That’s with Ladbrokes.

    • MrHarryLime

      ICM has the Labour lead at 6% last April and 8% this.

  • hereward

    Lets have a round of drinks and toast FPTP which will deliver this treacherous know nothing EU prat into No 10 . Much talk of democracy ,but where is it ? Not in Britain that is sure .

  • sarah_13

    I thought Dan from your blogs for the telegraph that you were sure Miliband could not possibly win?!! Have you changed your mind?

  • Tom M

    What Dan an article where nobody’s a racist? Your slipping.

  • Chris Hobson

    If he tries to elect himself with such a small mandate then god help us all.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Ghastly bunch.

  • David Lindsay

    Bloody Hodges again. Once a GMB tea boy, no longer possessed on any tie whatever to the Labour Party. How is still employed?

  • Terry Field

    They seem a team that can deliver the customary Labour performance.
    best of luck to you all.
    Migration forms are available from the international airports served from most British airports.
    Try Bangladesh – it will probably be more pleasant than the ‘youkay’ after this lot have finished their work!

  • Realpolitik

    NEVER FORGET:

    1. they start taxing at £6,500…….. compared to the coalition’s £10,500..if they represented the working man why tax low-paid workers so harshly forcing them onto benefits as they are better off on them?????)

    2. they didn’t regulate the banks in 13 years. (Blair now a banker worth upwards of 60 MILLION- and he started the new labour movement…..) Google “Peter Mandelson on yacht with Nat Rothschild” “Google Brown at Bilderberg” etc.

    3. more tax has been paid by top earners EVERY year under the coalition than ANY under labour.

    4. They want to increase debt BY £3,200 per person

    5. spend 11.6% more than they take in tax.

    6. they destroyed our economy. Labour presided over the slowest growth in 50 years, they produced the fastest decline in British manufacturing since manufacturing began, they left us mired in the longest recession since the war, they bequeathed maybe the largest deficit in peacetime history, and they handed over a debt so huge we will still be repaying it when the earth is swallowed by an expanding sun, a cosmological termination which might therefore come as some relief.

    7. they want to continue to send 57million a day to the EU

    8. they want higher immigration (last time allowed the biggest mass immigration into the United Kingdom in our nation’s history: three million people, possibly more than entered these island in the preceding 1,000 years combined.)

    9. they have destroyed the NHS in Wales (where they are currently in power, why wouldn’t they do it here too?????- the coalition have ring-fenced our NHS budget so they CAN’T cut it, but labour will.) Our last labour government blew £250,000,000 on private surgery because their NHS was so bad1,200 died in Mid-Staffordshire Hospital alone, that’s more than died in Mid-Staffordshire during the Black Death.
    along with their gagging orders on whistle blowers within the NHS

    10. they raid the pensions.

    11. Iraq+Afghanistan.

    12.They sold off 400 tons of UK gold reserves and invested the money in euros, compare the change in the value of gold to the change in the value of the euro in recent years if you have some free time.

    13. run by the unions

    14. They bloated the welfare budget.

    15. They didn’t keep up with house building when demand rocketed, allowing house prices to triple

    16. They failed to build a lot of necessary infrastructure such as power stations.

    17. they didn’t invest in infrastructure (despite borrowing 1 trillion and taking 13 years of tax) Well, yes: they built the Millennium Dome. It’s easy to forget the Millennium Dome, because, after all, who would want to remember it, but this thing burned up 800 million pounds, was maybe the greatest marketing flop in recorded time, and it turned out to be a great big dirty tent where queueing families could pay £60, just to look at uplifting representations of litter.

    18. They continually increased fuel duty by over 107%, harming motorists.

    19. They signed the Lisbon treaty, giving vast amounts of power to the EU and going against their own manifesto in with they specifically said they would give the people a referendum.

    20. Allowing rich people to buy peerages.

    21. Started HS2

    22. They left us with the largest budget deficit in the G20 relative to GDP.

    23.They lumbered the NHS with vast PFI repayments which are coming out of Foundation trusts and straight into the pockets of the private sector. £50 Billion’s worth of loans which are costing us £300 Billion in repayments-genius!…….

    24. Housing waiting lists DOUBLED under Labour

    25. Europe. labour’s biggest achievement in Europe was to give away half our precious rebate, won by Thatcher, at a cost to you and me of £9 billion so far – and in return they got precisely nothing, unless you count a chortling, after-dinner promise from Jacques Chirac, that he’d make Tony Blair President of the EU, which he didn’t. A small mercy.

    26. Education. ensuring English youngsters are amongst the worst educated in the western world, and closing the grammar schools preventing the poor from achieving.

    27. giving everyones personal information to america

    28.google “labour MP wants muslim prime minister”

    29. they can’t even run their party finances ( lost 2 million recently in banking)

    30. The party is almost identical to the previous labour government who got us in to this mess (ed balls).

    31. Google “labour25”

    32. Medi Hassan wrote Miliband’s biography is a militant muslim who described westerners as animals (a video you can find on here)

    33. The espouse the same political policies and views as the French President Hollande which are destroying France, where the rich have left youth unemployment is at 25% and they have seen the largest drop in investment for over 60 years.

    34. 5 Labour MPs—and no Tories or Lib Dems—have been found guilty of expenses fraud by a court and sent to prison. Ed Balls claimed £33 parliamentary expenses for poppy wreaths he had laid at his constituency ceremony.

    35. you’re voting for the racist Diane Abbott, weak and incompetent Ed Miliband and the oaf who destroyed our economy 4 years ago- Ed Balls,

    36. labour corruption privatisation of Qinteq defence service making LABOUR Lord Drayson worth over £542 MILLION

    37. The gap between rich and poor was wider when Labour were in power.

    As for the Labour Party right now, they’ve opposed every cut that aims to tackle the deficit their party created and are not offering a plan of what they would do differently. Apart from keeping all the cuts (which they are opposed to)

  • Ajibola

    is this journalism?

    • MrHarryLime

      Yes. I really enjoyed it. You? I’d read nothing on Miliband’s inner circle before this. It’s comprehensive and illuminating.

      I can’t quite trust Dan’s judgment, given that he sees the Labour glass as being not so much half empty as smashed to smithereens, but all the same, this was fascinating.

  • Minnooli

    Lucky these guys won’t get elected in 2015 : with a shrinking Labour poll lead (4% – way too small for success), an economic recovery underway, and an incumbent PM who sounds both like a real person and a statesman, Miliband doesn’t have a hope in hell. And his team knows this.

  • newlands203@btinternet.com

    I know this is a bit of a cliche, but do any of these people know anything in particular? Have any specialist knowledge or experience outside the tiny world they have been living in for, apparently, most of their lives. And they are more important than the shadow cabinet!

  • Peter Stroud

    How on earth can anyone take Ed Miliband seriously? His ‘one nation, idea was an old conservative slogan: it came about in the 1950s, but really grew from the ideas of Disraeli. The same Disraeli that Miliband failed to realise was originally Jewish: – the real first Jewish PM. Didn’t any of his back room team know this, so they could gag him before he told Israelis he wished to have that honour?

    Miliband seems to have been hoodwinked by the union bosses, who still have incredible power over Labour policies. Furthermore, his handling of the Falkirk business was pathetic. Add to this his promise to take Labour to the left, and thought of him in number 10 is frightening.

    Then we are treated to his utterly stupid policy of freezing energy prices. So, we clearly see a loser. A loser, no matter how good is his back room team.

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Mr Hodges, I think you need to find something productive to do with your time. What does any of this matter? Miliband is a charisma-free zone who will be immediately forgotten once Labour tanks in the coming elections. What remains of the old industrial working class will vote UKIP at the expense of Labour – that’s all commentators like you need to know. Time for you to get a proper job I feel…

  • Smithersjones2013

    How very predictable for a Union puppet. A team made up of a load of white middle aged blokes and a token piece of totty as his secretary.

  • llanystumdwy

    But the New Labour household names that you mention Dan are not even elected politicians: they are all spin doctors. It says so much about what happened to the Labour party after 1997. They became, and still are, a party obsessed with spin and spads. Policy means nothing any more other than something that will get them power. New Labour are largely responsible for the mistrust, apathy, and, sometimes public hostility towards British politics today. For they brought about this age of spin and most other parties have followed them in doing politics this way.

  • rjbh

    What England needs is someone who will fight for England as hard as Alex Salmond fights for Scotland… Jeeze is Mr Ed the best we can do?

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