Ed Miliband’s campaign has announced that it has raised nearly £40,000 in small donations from supporters. This will help feed his narrative as being the grassroots/Obama-esque candidate; given that by early July he had only received £15,000 in large donations.
Now that the Lib Dems are in power the party no longer gets “short money” and therefore has had to reduce its headcount at Cowley Street in Westminster. Unsurprisingly this has prompted a difficult period for those who have not kept their jobs or found new ones in government.
In the light of this morning’s blog about everyone wanting to hug/hire a Lib Dem I’ve been passed a list of 10 former staffers who either are or have been looking for new jobs. I’d be surprised if most don’t find new work given the sudden need for UK plc to understand/befriend the yellow party.
Esquire magazine is this month tipping five coalition MPs as future cabinet ministers as part of a piece naming 20 future high-fliers in Westminster.
There is one Gandhi-sized gap on David Cameron’s programme of visits in India.
Sonia Gandhi suddenly pulled out of a meeting with the prime minister, which was scheduled for this afternoon. The cause is still a mystery. But, at first sight, it does not bode well for the new Anglo-Indian “special relationship”.
Ms Gandhi, the president of the Congress party, is probably the most powerful person in India. Her son Rahul — who was unable to see Mr Cameron because he’s in London — is a prime minister in waiting. Meeting with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is a rite of passage for any visiting dignitary that’s serious about making an impact on India. In New Delhi, personal chemistry is everything, and the Gandhis are the people you need to know.
I wrote back on June 1 about the lobbyists and other power-brokers suddenly courting the Liberal Democrats since they entered government. There has been a surge of applications to attend the Lib Dem conference this autumn from people who have never been before.
Only yesterday I was told that the Daily Mail has just upped its posse attending the autumn conference from, er, one person to 12. Expect this pattern to be repeated elsewhere; including the FT.
Given this new environment I was unsurprised to hear that Tory lobbyist-maestro Peter Bingle is now styling himself as a chum of the Lib Dem movement.
I revealed this morning that the TUC has revoked an invitation to Vince Cable to address it’s autumn conference in Manchester after a decision last week by some of the big unions who are angry about public sector cuts. The general secretaries have also agreed to host a big rally next spring – comparable with the Stop the War demonstration – to protest about mass redundancies.
The Vince move has prompted concerns within the moderate end of the movement, however. Some more thoughtful characters are worried that Vince may be one of the ministers who would resist attempts by more rightwing colleagues to crack down on the movement. Antagonising Vince could be counter-productive, they fear.
Some important developments to report from India.
We’ve discovered that David Cameron is scarily happy to recycle jokes.
At the end of a rather long and worthy address in Bangalore on Wednesday, he tried to lighten the atmosphere with a Casablanca gag about this being “the start of a beautiful friendship”.
You must remember this. (Don’t worry, only one more Casablanca crack to go.) It was exactly the same line he finished his first ever speech in India, almost four years ago.