David Miliband

Jim Pickard

This is a little unfair, because tonight’s Keir Hardie speech is meant to be intellectual and the audience will expect nothing less. This is the kind of rhetoric that plays well within the party heartland. Still, some of Mili-D’s comments seem more than a little confusing: is it just me?

I’ve put my own translations in bold – they may well be wrong. (Here is the entire text of the speech).

In our concern with meeting people’s needs we seemed to sever welfare from desert and this led people to think that their taxes were being wasted, that they were being used: Some people got benefits who didn’t deserve them

Our lack of distinction between the proceeds of financial capital, which was often concerned with its short term multiplication not its long term investment, and manufacturing capital, which was embedded in the real economy, led to a real lack in private sector growth throughout the country. We concentrated too much on City of London casino banking and not enough on manufacturing. Read more

Jim Pickard

David Miliband may or may not have been right to have abstained from toppling Gordon Brown when he had the chance. I sympathise with his view that the subsequent civil war would not have been worth it; as he tells Alex Smith at LabourList today: “I don’t think anyone would have benefited from a second Kamikaze pilot.

Now that Brown has gone, however, Miliband is not holding back. Here are some key lines from this evening’s Keir Hardie speech in Wales: Read more

Jim Pickard

As Britain’s largest union Unite should have considerable influence over the leadership contest; unions make up a third of the total voting. Although unions don’t have single bloc votes they can tell members who they favour.

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Jim Pickard

I wrote earlier today that Labour’s leadership candidates should be working hard to secure the support of a small handful of figures, including Alistair Darling.

As one of the few former ministers to survive 13 years in power – with barely a scratch – the former chancellor’s backing carries weight. Tonight he nominates David Miliband; and tomorrow the pair will be out campaigning in London against the coalition’s cuts to university places and the Future Jobs Fund. In other words, it’s more than just a tacit endorsement.

Here is the relevant letter:

Andrew Burns
Labour Party offices
78 Buccleuch Street
Edinburgh

Dear Andrew,

I am writing to let you know I will be nominating David Miliband as the next Leader of the Labour Party, and to explain my reasons for doing so. This is a crucial moment for our party so I wanted to write to you myself to set out my thinking. Read more

Jim Pickard

Paul Waugh has an intriguing quote from Diane Abbott, the surprise Labour leadership contender, suggesting that David Miliband is already into three figures in terms of MPs’ support:

“David Miliband is hoovering up nominations. Quite rightly, he’s a very able candidate, he’s got over 100. It’s just it squeezes everybody else. There’s a slight tendency – it’s not a tendency which David Miliband encourages – for people to think ‘well, who’s going to win, let me nominate them because I’ll get a job.’” Read more

The Labour national executive has opted for the long game: the next leader will be anointed on September 25. This is probably bad news for party’s right wing: the longer the campaign, the more pressure there will be to woo the grassroots with promises to protect spending.

It was apparently a “friendly and comradely” meeting. But the stakes were high. Those lobbying for an extended campaign wanted to stop a “coronation” and give all the outsiders  (Burnham, Balls etc) time to grab the spotlight.

But I expect the bigger problem for David Miliband will be the kind of commitments that will have to be made in the leadership race.

This campaign is not only going to straddle the emergency Budget. It will end just weeks before the most austere spending review in living memory. There’s a good chance of a “cuts vs investment” auction. Read more

The Brown team assembled today for the last full cabinet photo before the election. Two ministers were notably absent: Alistair Darling and David Miliband. They both had good excuses. But somehow it seems fitting. Was this as close as Brown will ever get to his fantasy cabinet? You have to wonder whether Ed Balls assumed the chancellor’s place. Smiles everyone!