Posts Tagged ‘Ed Miliband’

KAMPANJ | Tony Booth har berättat för Newsweek om sin syn på Labour och om hur han fick fart på Tony Blairs politiska karriär.

Picture Sean Dempsey-AP -- Tony Blair & Cherie Booth campaigning in April 1997

I Robert Chalmers intervju berättar den gamle socialisten Booth, vars dotter Cherie Booth är gift med Tony Blair, att han tror att hon skulle ha blivit en bättre premiärminister.

Is there any leader who could revive the Labour Party? How about Tony Blair, in the highly unlikely event that he could be persuaded to run again? “Funnily enough, I think he might have an outside chance. Because people would say: well, at least he is the devil we know.

And with Miliband, you find yourself thinking, this is a good kid, but when is he going to get into long pants? Are we just putting him up as a dummy until we find the right person?”

Booth’s response to the question of whether the current Labour leader could win an election is characteristically unambiguous: “In your fucking dreams. This is not play school.”


He was instrumental in propelling Tony Blair towards Westminster. Booth recalls arranging a lunch for his son-in-law, at Soho’s Gay Hussar restaurant, with Labour MP Tom Pendry, during which the future prime minister was persuaded to stand for office. At that time Booth, nationally famous for playing Mike Rawlins, the “Scouse git” opposite Warren Mitchell in Johnny Speight’s Till Death Us Do Part, and as the husband of Coronation Street star Pat Phoenix, was well placed to generate publicity both within and beyond the Labour party. It seems curious that many forget the vital role he played in shaping Blair’s career.

“We did what we could,” he says. What would have happened otherwise? “I think he would have become a barrister.”

Ron Rose, the playwright and former Labour councillor for Doncaster, told me that, “The crucial thing you must understand about Tony Booth’s relationship with Blair is the part that he played in getting him elected. When I began canvassing, he was already telling people about his son-in-law, who was going to be prime minister. This was in the early ’80s, before Blair was even on the political radar. Tony Booth is the best canvasser I have ever seen. He was driving all over the country, working for the day when Tony Blair would become leader, long before anybody gave the idea credence.” Booth concedes that, “I helped get him into [his parliamentary seat of] Sedgefield.”

Booth and Pat Phoenix had also campaigned for his daughter Cherie, in her unsuccessful 1983 candidature at the Tory stronghold of North Thanet. “On reflection,” he tells me, “I wonder if it should have been Cherie. She wouldn’t have taken any shit from anybody.”

Bild: Sean Dempsey/AP. Tony Blair och Cherie Booth kampanjar i april 1997.

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RGJ Cartoonist - Richard Jolley - The Spectator 22 November 2014

Bild: RGJ i The Spectator den 22 november 2014. Fler teckningar på Richard Jolleys hemsida

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Val 2015 | Varför har teamet kring premiärminister David Cameron inte gått mer på offensiven och attackerat Ed Miliband mer intensivt?


Speciellt när det väger så jämt mellan Conservative Party och Labour borde de konservativa tjäna på att urholka väljarnas förtroende för labourledaren.

Det finns antagligen fem anledningar till att premiärministerns stab är så försiktiga.

1) Under Camerons ledarskap har partiet försökt tvätta bort stämpeln som ”the nasty party”. Man vill inte nu riskera att väcka den björn som sover.

2) Förtroendesiffrorna för Ed Miliband är så svaga att de konservativa inte vill riskera stöta sig med väljarna när Labour nu – thank you very much – gör grovjobbet åt Cameron.

Många inom Labour har gett upp tanken på Miliband som en tillgång för partiet. Istället hoppas man att missnöjet med regeringen i slutendan ändå skall vara större än missnöjet med partiledaren.

3) Varför skulle de konservativa attackera labourledaren när opinionsundersökningarna redan visar att Miliband är en belastning för Labour?

Då är det bättre för Cameron att försöka behålla, och utöka, väljarnas förtroende för premiärministern på områdena ”ledarskap” och förmågan att ”hantera ekonomin” – de två områden där Cameron ständigt rankas högre än Miliband i opinionsmätningar.

4) Eftersom Labour som parti oftast får högre siffror i opinionsmätningarna, om än knappt, måste de konservativa inrikta sig på att få ner dessa siffror istället.

Detta speciellt som Conservative Party inte lyckats få upp de egna siffrorna tillräckligt mycket. En ledarskribent har kallat nästa års val för ”the war of the weak”.

5) Ed Miliband har själv försökt ta udden av sitt imageproblem. Genom att vägra spela de konservativas spel har man (till viss del) vridet vapnet ur deras händer.

Två anhängare till Labour hade en intressant diskussion om problemen i oktobernumret av Total Politics.

De två som diskuterade var Dan Hodges, har tidigare arbetat för Labour och fackföreningen GMB och nu är krönikör i Total Politics, samt John McTernan som tidigare var rådgivare och politiska sekreterare till Tony Blair.

DH: This is the interesting thing. The Tories themselves are still not sure how to deal with Miliband.

JM: They thought he’d be gone by now and he’s not.

DH: I think his great success as a leader – if you want to make it a success – is that he has put the Labour Party at ease with itself. The problem is he’s done that by not challenging the party. He’s been pushing a message: we can win by being true to ourselves, we can win from the left, and we don’t have to make the compromises that Blair did. People make the mistake of saying Labour has been unified. It just hasn’t been challenged. That’s why he’s still in place.

JM: The thing is, I think Miliband was right to make the speech he made in July, where he specifically took on the issue about public perceptions of him. It was brave, necessary, and an inoculation against the types of attack the Tories are going to make. But I do agree with Dan that if you make an attack that has no resonance then the public not only has no idea what it was about but also thinks it won’t listen to the next attack. On the NHS, for example, I will certainly shoot myself if I don’t shoot somebody in the Labour Party if they keep going on about “top-down reorganisation of the NHS”. I don’t know a single voter in the country who was thinking about voting Tory but then realised Cameron broke a solemn pledge about not leading a top-down reorganisation of the NHS. The NHS is about quality and outcomes. Cameron made one promise: to cut the deficit and not the NHS. Well, he’s not cut the deficit and he has cut the NHS. That’s what you got for him. This nonsense about campaigning against the privatisation of the NHS – it’s a diversion. It plays to Labour’s safe place. Some of the Labour attacks on Cameron have no purchase. He’s a leader, he looks like a leader, and he has that authority. Now, authority is very often the flipside of arrogance. And he’s an arrogant man, that’s the weakness. That’s the point. It’s all about him. It’s all about staying in power.

DH: On the Tory attacks on Miliband, the Tories haven’t been going for him. And I’m not 100% sure they are going to. One of the things Labour has done effectively is to re-embed the idea of the old toxic brand, which means the Tories are too scared to go for Miliband. It’s amazing how many Labour advisers have said, “Jesus, they will take our heads off on X, Y and Z”. But then it hasn’t happened. Miliband has demonstrated just enough that if the Tories don’t target him, he may become a strength. He’s a very weak link for the Labour Party but he’s not such a weak link that the party’s campaign will just fracture if the Tories don’t touch him.

JM: Dan’s really hit something when he says that the Tory Party hasn’t dealt with the legacy of Theresa May calling them what they are, the Nasty Party. They’ve got unfinished modernisation issues. Sometimes when you lose advisers you really lose a part of yourself. Blair had a strength: he replaced people and could rebuild his team. Steve Hilton left, and that role has never been filled, the one who keeps going to the PM and saying, “Stick to the centre”. And one of the things they are standing off from is negative politics. If you’re driven by polling you’d think, “I’d never go negative”, but if you sit in the focus groups you hear people saying, “I hate negative politics… but it always changes my vote”. So you have to have the brass neck to do three seconds positive then 10 hours of negative. You have to go positive to get permission to go negative. Back to the Obama campaign: they made a judgment of just going for Romney. They took a gamble. They framed early, they kept that space and they stuck there. There’s a strategic hesitation at the heart of the Tory Party.

DH: You’re absolutely right about the Obama campaign. They decided to bomb Romney on the runway. The problem for Labour is, that has happened to Miliband. The Tories didn’t bomb him on the runway. He bombed himself. He didn’t even get into the cockpit. He didn’t define himself early in his leadership. Whatever you say about Cameron, the polls are clear – he consistently outpolls the Tory Party. He’s their biggest asset. People have bought what Cameron is saying. Miliband is Romney in this scenario. You’ve got a leader less than a year before an election effectively relaunching himself. That speaks volumes. Miliband is still sitting on the runway.

Bild: Från soniceclectic.com.

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KAMPANJ Ett parti som bara svartmålar riskerar förlora röster om väljarna inte känner igen sig i deras beskrivning.

Photo - www.instinctforfilm.com

Conservative Party vill gärna att väljarna skall se Labour som ett parti som saknar lösningar på de problem man lastar den konservativa-liberala koalitionsregeringen för.

När Sam Macrorys intervjuade de konservativas partiordförande för Total Politics var det tydligt att Grant Shapps vill att väljarna mentalt skall förknippa attackerna från oppositionen med att Labour har en svag partiledare och att partiet saknar egna lösningar.

Extra viktigt blir det för regeringen att sätta bilden av en svag Ed Miliband bland de väljare som börjat tröttna på regeringens politik. Det gäller att övertyga dem om att Labour inte är lösningen på deras problem.

The argument is one we’ll hear rather a lot in the coming months: the government is turning the economy around, has restored a rise in growth and jobs, can do more without the shackles of coalition, and must be allowed to finish the job. And the Conservative Party, Shapps says, is “feeling proud… we’ve done exactly what we said we were going to do. We followed a long-term economic plan and worked hard on reducing the deficit. What’s happened? We’ve become the fastest growing economy in the developed world. Clearly the economic plan is working.”


It’s going to be long and tough, but we have to make those arguments vigorously every single day. And whereas we have a vision for the future, Ed Miliband has another crisis.”

Shapps whips out a sheet or two of A4 from his pocket and thrusts them in my direction. “What separates Miliband from Cameron? And what’s the reason why people recognise consistently that Cameron is the better leader and better prime minister for Britain? Why? I think I’ve got the answer. Miliband has a knack of announcing crises. He’s announced 56 in the last three years. What’s that? Getting on to 20 a year. He’s also got 15 issues that he describes as the most important facing Britain.” Shapps looks up from the Miliband crisis dossier with glee. “In other words, this guy can’t decide.”

Looking through the headlines, if nothing else, the Labour communications team has been a little lazy with their crisis management. “Here’s a list of things he says are the number one crisis issue,” Shapps continues, pouring through his “fascinating” figures. “The badger cull crisis… that’s the number one issue facing Britain? This is a guy who leaps from one subject to another, jumps on the nearest bandwagon as it passes him by and tries to attach himself to every issue. He comes from the cold, hard, calculating [Gordon] Brown world of politics. The public end up realising that this is not a man who is the right person to be in Downing Street. This is a person who responds to the news rather than making the weather. You can’t both jump on every bandwagon and have the long-term interests of the country at heart.”

This is not the first time the Tories have tried to pin a perceived crime on Miliband. They tried ‘Red Ed’, the frothing socialist leader. That didn’t stick. Next came ‘Weird Ed’, the, well, weird leader. So what is it this time? “Well, it’s a ’Bandwagon Ed’, I suppose, but I’m not trying to brand him as anything,” Shapps replies. “All I’m trying to say is there is a choice. He’s always looking for the negative and he doesn’t have a positive, long-term vision for his country. Only [one of] two people can walk into Downing Street after the next election, Miliband or Cameron, and Cameron has a long-term vision for this country.”

So, is the choice in 2015 made after a presidential-style battle between two men? “Yes, Cameron is a big asset, but no, actually.” Shapps disagrees. “What’s commonly misunderstood about elections – and what I hope I bring to the table as somebody who won a seat off Labour – is that it’s not one national election, it’s not a US presidential election, it’s 650 separate contests on different things in different places.”


Back to those crises. There’s one in the list of 56 that resonates, and that’s the cost-of-living crisis. “Wait,” Shapps interrupts. “Let’s just check.” He looks back at the list. “Cost-of-living crisis…. there it is, number 21. Yes, crisis 21, 17 January, 2013.” He looks pleased, but should he be? The cost-of-living crisis, the argument that even as the economy recovers people see little to no improvement in their living standards, seems to cut through. “Look, it’s true that people have suffered huge pain over six years as this economy has got back to the size it was, when Labour – Labour – had its great recession. You know what? People have hurt and suffered from Labour’s great recession.” So it’s Miliband’s cost-of-living crisis, then? “He’s identified what he and Ed Balls were doing in the backroom while Gordon Brown was destroying the economy. He identifies the problem, he ignores the fact it’s of his own making, and then he fails to identify the solution.”

Bild: www.instinctforfilm.com

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POLITIK | Alastair Campbell, Tony Blairs gamla kommunikationsrådgivare och spin doctor, har inte försvunnit från den politiska arenan.

Total Politics November 2013

Campbell var en hjärnorna bakom den numera legendariska valrörelse som 1997 förde Blair och New Labour till 10 Downing Street.

Enligt en intervju med Sam Macrory i Total Politics har han även planer på att hjälpa Ed Milibands Labour inför valet 2015.

Men Campbell har inte legat på latsidan sedan 1997. Erfarenheterna från valrörelsen kom väl till användning när Campbell hjälpte Edi Rama och hans albanska socialistiska parti till makten förra året.

Campbell helped Rama win this summer’s Albanian general election with what he proudly declares was a “New Labour landslide”. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given what Campbell had brought with him from London. “It was the ‘97 playbook – everything. All the systems, pledge cards, messaging, changing the look, changing the name, everything. Obviously the world has moved on – social media, and all that stuff – but in terms of basic messaging, organisation, strategy, media monitoring, rebuttal, events and visits, we did the really basic stuff, and they were brilliant at it.”

So brilliant, in fact, that Campbell has returned from Albania with a new idea for Ed Miliband: film as many recordings as you can of your critics, and play them back on giant screens to your audience. “Every voice was negative, and he’s framed his speech around it. It was really powerful,” says Campbell of Rama’s experiment, one which echoes the ‘masochism strategy’ that Blair deployed in the run-up to the Iraq War and the 2005 election. Campbell is convinced it would work for the current Labour leader.

“I’ve tried this on Ed, and I think it would work with his style. It’s not a case of persuading him, I’ve just said, ‘By the way, we did this and it was really powerful, it really worked’. It’s just out there as an idea, and I think Ed would do that well.”

Enthused by the idea, Campbell sets the scene: “For somebody to come up there and say, ‘You’re a geek, you haven’t got charisma’, somebody to come on and say, ‘Yeah, you speak quite well but you’re not Tony Blair, you’re no Barack Obama’, he can then say, ‘No, I’m not Blair, I’m me; this is what I am. OK, I might not be as charismatic as Barack Obama, but here’s what I’m going to do with energy, here’s what I’m going to do with this… ”

Tidskriftsomslag: Total Politics, November 2013.

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IMAGE | Det cirkulerar många skämt om partiledaren för Labour i Storbritannien. Men det är kanske något Ed Miliband kan bjuda på.

The Spectator 26 april 2014

“A new cruel joke is doing the rounds about Ed Miliband: that the Labour leader is like a plastic bag stuck in a tree. No one is sure how he got up there, but no one can be bothered to take him down”, skrev t.ex. Fraser Nelson i The Spectator.

Ett annat skämt är att utmåla honom som en av figurerna i ”Wallace & Gromit”. Både New Statesman och The Spectator har haft tidskriftsomslag på temat.

Ovanstående bygger vidare på temat och kombinerar det med en valaffisch från Conservative Party; ”New Labour. New Danger.” från 1979

New Labour New Danger Conservative Party 1979

Texten på affischen från reklambyrån Saatchi & Saatchi, som egentligen lanserades månader innan själva valrörelsen, lyder:

One of Labour’s leaders, Clare Short, says dark forces behind Tony Blair manipulate policy in a sinister way. ”I sometimes call them the people who live in the dark.” She says about New Labour: ”It’s a lie. And it’s dangerous.”

Även om de konservativa förlorade valet kom Tony Blair snart att uppfattas som just manipulativ.

Hur mycket affischen bidrog till detta kan naturligtvis diskuteras. Valaffischer spelar trots allt mindre roll än vad en regering verkligen gör när man väl fått makten.

Poängen här är att tidskriftsomslaget knappast skulle fungera om läsarna inte minns originalet. Om affischen varnade för en ”ondskefull” Blair så varnar omslaget snarare för vad som kan hända om en ”inkompetent” Miliband tar över.

En kampanjaffisch från 90-talet hjälper därmed Tories – via media – att definiera hur väljarna skall uppfatta Ed Miliband inför valet 2015.

Men Miliband och Labour behöver kanske inte bry sig alltför mycket. Det är trots allt valresultatet som gäller. Och alla opinionsundersökningar pekar mot ett regeringsskifte efter nästa val.

Läs mer: “Miliband spinner embraces Wallace and Gromit resemblance” 

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LABOUR | Idag är Tony Blair lobbyist och rådgivare åt diktaturer. Detta har gjort honom mycket rik. Med en förmögenhet på cirka 70 miljoner pund.

Tempus nr 10 - 7-14 mars 2014

Med en förmögenhet följer en livsstil som knappast gör honom till den typiske väljaren. Och även om han också ägnar sig åt välgörenhet har han knappast blivit populärare i sitt gamla parti.

Ed Miliband, partiledaren i Labour, håller distansen till honom. I en artikel i Tempus, översatt från The Guardian, skriver Andy Becket följande:

Tempus nr 10 2014


Tempus nr 10 2014.

Tempus nr 10 2014 .

Läs mer: Lionel Barbers intervju med Tony Bair i Financial Times.

Tidskriftsomslag: Tempus, nr 10, 7-14 mars 2014.

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