I’m sure that many of us would like to send our regards and speedy recovery to Tony Benn let’s hope to see him at future Labour Party Conference with his usual firebrand with his long awaited encouragement to delegates and visitors
Why is it important for BAME and chinese communities should unite together to come out and vote Labour they will a make a big difference. Now is the time for Labour to spell out why they are the party that listens to the voters and what will be in the forthcoming manifesto for a return of a strong Labour Government in 2015.
As much I concur with Simon Woolley from Operation Black Vote (OBV) at times which we sometime clash with differing of opinions credit is where it is due I have say I endorse what Simon Woolley has to say see his article below:
Simon Woolley recalls his first viewing of the research that could alter the course of the 2015 general election. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “I told them to go away and check it again, and then again. No one expected this.”
It was a depth charge into the waters of contemporary politics, and it resulted from a simple exercise by Woolley’s organisation Operation Black Vote (OBV). It took the information from the census and its up-to–the-moment picture of where Britain’s minorities live – a snapshot measuring the steady but pronounced migration of non-indigenous voters from towns to suburbs and even into rural areas of Britain. It then compared that with the parliamentary boundaries, paying particular attention to those seats designated as marginals, and pinpointed those seats where the slender parliamentary majority is outweighed by a resident minority population now available to vote. What it revealed was that 168 marginal seats are susceptible to the voting whims of a minority electorate.
It’s a window of opportunity in what will undoubtedly be a tight election, says Woolley; a chance to finally force the mainstream parties to pay attention to concerns that might be collectively held by black and Asian voters. The parties thought the same. “Within 48 hours, I had in my diary meetings with senior officials from all three of them.”
High time, says Woolley, for each to explain what they would do about pressing subjects such as equalities legislation, immigration and stop and search. “The stars are aligned for us, but they won’t be for long,” he predicts. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Who knows if there will be so many marginals again, or if minorities will be so well placed to impact upon them.”
So will brown skins vote en masse? Not at all, says Woolley. “We are not homogenous, but there are issues that affect us all. Inequality is one; it’s a big one, whether it is a middle manager hitting the glass ceiling or a young person who has never had a job and isn’t likely to get one. We need to galvanise people and we need to hold some feet to the fire. And we’ve got about 18 months to do it.”
It’s a window in which to turn a paper opportunity into an actual one, and the drive began in earnest this week with the arrival from the US of that veteran galvaniser of the minority vote, the Rev Jesse Jackson. An odd couple perhaps, he and the British campaigner take that aspiration to mass meetings in London and Birmingham, Woolley with his research and Jackson with the experience he has gained through the voter-registration activities of his grassroots campaigning organisation, the Rainbow PUSH coalition. “There are parallels with the UK and the US regarding racial disparities and inequalities in unemployment, education, criminal justice at the hands of the police and courts,” says Jackson. “Here we are, 50 years after the march on Washington for jobs and justice and just months after the supreme court struck a major blow to the Voting Rights Act. My visit to the UK is to celebrate, but also to prepare for action.” Success is a million voters registered for 2015.
The research, which took two researchers six months and was validated by Prof Anthony Heath, an expert in minorities and politics at Oxford University, may have been uniformly seized upon but affects different parties in different ways. For all of them it is an opportunity, but for some a threat.
It gives Labour a chance to re-emphasise its historical supremacy over the minority vote. It has 15 minority MPs and attracted the lion’s share of support in 2010. According to the Runnymede Trust, 68% of ethnic minorities voted Labour, compared with 31% of white Britons.
The party will not relinquish that hegemony in a hurry. And yet, speak privately and you find that all is far from tranquil internally. Black and ethnic minority activists have rarely been so despondent, complaining that the party’s efforts to reach out specifically to minority communities and to secure more minority MPs have dissipated.
A particular bugbear is the fact that it has fully embraced the notion of all-female shortlists, but struggles still with the notion of minority-only shortlists. Concern is heightened because the all-women shortlists – while increasing on paper the prospects for some minority activists – don’t appear to be helping minority women to a significant degree. Of 63 contests prior to the 2010 election featuring all-women shortlists, only a smattering of minority women prevailed, such as Shabana Mahmood in Birmingham, Lisa Nandy in Wigan and Valerie Vaz in Walsall. These highly prized openings routinely attract the attention of well-placed activists with benefactors, networks and a telling history in the party; a headstart. This, the aggrieved will tell you, is Labour’s catch- 22: why do many minorities fail to gain a foothold in the party? Because they do not already have a sufficiently secure foothold in the party.
Even high-fliers struggle. Kamaljeet Jandu, the widely known national officer forequality at the GMB union and well regarded chair of Black and Ethnic Minority Labour, recently sought a place on the party’s list for MEP selection in London. He came sixth.
“We were shocked. We thought that if he can’t break through, what chance for the rest of us,” one senior Black Labour activist tells me. “The will to change this has to come from the top. But that is just not happening. We can find people and train people but there are so many institutional barriers in the party. So much is still based on class – it is anything but a meritocracy. There are behind-the-scenes networks that we just can’t permeate. Thirty years ago, Diane Abbott and Bernie Grant and Paul Boateng came through and that seemed to be the start of something revolutionary. But if anything, since then we’ve gone backwards. It seems to me that people are embarrassed to even talk about race.”
Does all this matter for Labour? Yes, but not perhaps to a heart-stopping degree because the party’s hold over minority votes seems decisive in the short term. Class and force of habit trumps racial self-interest. And rare is the disgruntled black wouldbe parliamentarian who would defect. But that won’t always be the situation, warns one hopeful Labour candidate. “As time passes, people become more likely to consider other options. We can’t be so complacent.”
The MP Diane Abbott also warns against complacency. “The black and minority ethnic vote has been very loyal to Labour for a long while, but younger people are more disaffected. Labour needs to be wary of taking the BME vote for granted. The old certainties no longer apply. The party needs a concrete strategy for moving towards more BME MPs and councillors. We just can’t leave it to chance.”
There is some appreciation of what might be required. For all the squalls of her career, in 2010 – in Hackney and Stoke Newington – where more than half of the electorate comes from an ethnic minority – she doubled her majority, taking 55% of the vote on an increased turnout. There are subjects an MP might address that chime with everyone, she says, but also concerns particular to minorities in her constituency. A current example is the rise in air-passenger duty on flights from Britain to the Caribbean. But the keys are credibility and tone. “It is about how you treat BME communities, how you talk about them and how you talk about issues that concern them, such as immigration.”
These are all issues for a Conservative party that certainly can’t feel safe against the backdrop of the OBV research. Traditionally it has survived and thrived as the party of white middle England, but increasingly strategists are factoring in the demographic shift in UK towns and cities. According to the BBC’s Great British Class Survey, one-fifth of the ethnic minority population can now consider itself middle class. Many could and should present as credible recruitment targets for the Tories.
The party has 11 minority MPs now and operates from a position of weakness, confronted by conflicting imperatives and the knowledge that in 2010 it secured just 16% of the minority vote. What to do to secure a majority, or simply stave off a return to the opposition benches? Should it chase minority support and perhaps secure some of those lifeblood marginals identified by OBV, or tack right and solidify its traditional core vote by heading off the threat from Ukip? There is scant chance that it can do both. And in Lynton Crosby, the party’s controversial Australian strategist, they are led by someone who presents as master of the narrow “core vote” campaign. Hence, say observers, the government’s summer concentration on immigration.
This matters between now and 2015, but it matters even more beyond. And it sets up potential conflict with the long-term thoughts of Tory strategists such as Lord Ashcroft and senior figures such as co-chairman Lord Feldman, who observe the wreckage of a US Republican party that is estranged from the growing Hispanic population of 53 million in the US and thus condemned to bit-part status. Mitt Romney projected his party’s antipathy to Hispanic immigration and paid the price come election day, attracting just 27% of the Hispanic vote. A suicidal act of positioning, singled out by Romney himself as a compelling reason for his defeat.
Conservative disdain for Britain’s minorities may have been sustainable in the glory years – think Margaret Thatcher’s reference to those of an “alien culture” and Lord Tebbit’s insulting cricket test. But forward-thinking Tories now recognise that approach as being so last century. They go armed with internal and detailed research undertaken by Ashcroft, who now veers towards the evangelical on the subject of the Tories claiming their share of the minority vote.
Even before the OBV bombshell, the party was trying things. There was a fresh push by figures such as Indian-born vice-chair Alok Sharma to raise the profile of the party in minority communities and challenge the perception that the party is racist. A new campaign pack gave Tory parliamentary candidates advice on how to operate in minority areas. And it has been keen to find even more black and Asian MPs, now there is no A-list of centrally endorsed candidates with which such an outcome can be engineered. The A-list caused David Cameron a good deal of difficulty prior to the 2010 election. Instead, party officials are taking a closer interest in how selections are conducted, trying to ensure minority hopefuls get a fair shake. But even that is perilous. Voicing the aspiration for greater diversity in the party is one thing, engineering it is quite another. It smacks of “identity politics”. For all the possibilities, Tory activists deplore identity politics.
“It’s all a huge challenge for us, although I’m not sure any political party has got it right yet,” explains one senior Tory MP. “We have a few more minority MPs and that’s a good thing – although I do sometimes wish that some of them would be a bit more secure about their ethnicity. They just ape public school manners and so don’t have the impact one would like.”
He sees his party as being on a learning curve, forced to grapple with new complexities. “A lot of it is down to income levels. You take the Ismaili Muslims – a lot of them are professional and have done well for themselves and we can have one kind of conversation with them. But with Pakistani Muslims, Bangladeshi Muslims and Somali Muslims, that’s something different altogether. It is very complicated.”
And, he says, it’s changing. “We are looking at the third and fourth generation now. It’s no use looking to the old man at the mosque to deliver the vote. He can say what he likes, but the younger ones just go away and organise themselves on Facebook. They’re one step ahead. The old thinking just isn’t effective.”
What could be decisive, he says, is shoe leather: door-to-door politics. “A lot of minorities have never seen a Conservative. All they know about us is what they have been told by Labour and the Liberals. We could counteract that. We’ve been trying. But when certain colleagues use certain kinds of language and send immigration vans on to the streets, that certainly doesn’t help.”
At the sharp end of that Tory dilemma sits Mohammed Amin. One of the groups that the Tories most struggle to attract is Muslims and he is deputy chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum. A tough sell. But he says it shouldn’t be. “If you look at the values of a typical Muslim citizen and what they regard as important – family, hard work, being thrifty and education – these are things reflected in Conservative policy. But if a politician says, ‘Our values are the same, you should vote Conservative’, that sounds too patronising. I am recommending that we just talk about our values.”He’s also recommending that Conservative candidates and activists be prudent with their language. “We, like Labour and the Lib Dems, favour a two-state solution. If a candidate goes around saying ‘I am a Zionist’, Muslims say that means you are in favour of settlers grabbing as much Palestinian land as possible.
We should be honest and consistent but use language that is appropriate.”
And no dabbling in identity politics, says Amin. It doesn’t work anyway. “George Galloway fought a brilliant campaign in Bradford. He ignored the community leaders and had a campaign led by Muslim women who persuaded people who had never voted before to vote. We have to do things our way. There should be nothing we say to a Muslim audience that we would not say to a wider audience.”
And the racism millstone? “You’ve got to fess up. Institutional memory is a big issue. People remember the party of Enoch Powell. We say: ‘We’re not racist now. We have a few racists still but the party has changed.’ You can’t change the past but you can change the future.”
So is there the opportunity for the Lib Dems to present as a party that has never been hostile and hasn’t grown complacent? Perhaps. But it too has a bugbear – the absence of a narrative it can sell on the doorstep. It has a smattering of minority councillors and earlier this year – having convened a task force – sought to find distinctive policy positions on minority education and employment. But still it lacks a distinctive philosophy that might draw in a minority vote. Worse still, in coalition, it is tainted by the anti-immigration reputation of the Conservatives.
It’s a problem for Nick Clegg. In 2009, he said that if his party – all white in the Commons – failed to improve that position by 2015 he would seriously consider all-black shortlists. Since then he has gone quiet on the subject and who can say whether he will be willing, or able, to make such changes after 2015. In the meantime, the prize for his party in this regard seems modest – holding on to its 57 MPs, maybe advancing just a little.
Lester Holloway, a Sutton Lib Dem councillor and anti-racism activist is the secretary of Ethnic Minority Lib Dems. He also led the OBV research, so he knows the specifics. “We have got everything to gain and everything to lose, but we need to broaden our appeal to minorities if we are to have a realistic chance of winning target seats from the Conservatives and holding on to about half of the seats that we have now,” he says. Can they do that? “One of the reasons I am here is that I believe in the central philosophies of the party in terms of equality and social justice and that these are key qualities that can appeal to minorities.”
But it’s an uphill climb, he says. They are “playing catchup” with a Clegg-inspired leadership programme to unearth and develop minority MPs. And they may soon erase the embarrassing truth of an all-white corps of MPs in parliament. Two seats, potentially winnable, will be fought by minority Lib Dem candidates: Layla Moran in Oxford and Abingdon and Maajid Nawaz – a founder of the counter-extremism thinktank Quillam – in Hampstead and Kilburn.
There is a strategy, Holloway says, and he presents it as a hopeful one. But what is also needed is a leap of faith. The party, he says, has to unequivocally commit, banishing all concerns that to pursue a minority vote might conflict with the tenets of liberalism. It has no choice in this regard. “Things won’t improve by themselves.”
None of the major parties is as prepared as it might be, and that’s a boon for the industrious Woolley as he prepares to make his demands, aided and guided by Jackson. But can they communicate the possibilities to those who need to hear them? Can they sign up enough new voters to make the effort credible? Can they establish whether enough common points of interest unite enough minorities for them to collectively dictate a view to the politicians? Can they cajole them from the breakfast table to the ballot box? There is no point identifying votes if the people don’t vote. “I’ll be here, there and everywhere, saying: ‘Look, we have never had this sort of leverage. This is more potential power and influence than we have ever had in our entire political history.’ The question is whether and how we use it.”
Recently I came across a article Anna Chen a well respected broadcaster and journalist and also known as Madam Miaow we may differ with some ideas and policies but give her credit where its due as she writes about the Nasty Party AKA the Conservative Party and why they are dangerous should they win the General Elections in 2015 if we all don’t take a stand to come out to vote see insert enclosed:
Sometimes a government does something so stupid, so nakedly opportunist that the giant pandering is visible from Mars. In their infinite wisdom, the present Tory-dominated coalition has created an image that will sum up the Nasty Party for years to come.
Some genius in the Conservative Party considered it a good idea to dispatch a van around the streets of London emblazoned with a huge yelly placard exhorting “illegal immigrants” to GO HOME OR FACE ARREST. (It is rumoured to be the brainchild of Lynton Crosby, the Australian lobbyist who advises David Cameron on election strategy.)
Never mind that immigrants are probably already aware of whether their status is legal or not, and that they probably can’t even read what’s written if they aren’t. Reminiscent of the worst far right anti-immigrant language of the 1970s, the “racist van” been lampooned across the net as marking the moment Cameron’s cuddly mask slid off. It has been subsequently disowned by the Tories’ Lib Dem partners, and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is investigating whether it could incite racial hatred.
Hardly surprising, considering the vans have been sent into those London areas with the highest immigrant population.
The racist van stunt comes hard on the heels of a series of raids on Chinese restaurants from Cornwall to Scotland by UK Border Agency immigration officers imposing fines of £10,000 for each violation. The China Glen restaurant in West Lothian faces a bill for £80,000 for its eight illegal workers and the Sun Wah in Launceston will have to eat £40,000. A bit harsh for two tiny takeaways. Shame we never see the same vigour applied to the bankers and tax avoiders who wrecked the economy,
Chinese caterers have argued in the past that their cuisine requires specialist knowledge or at least a lifetime eating it and that these skills can’t be taught on the hoof to youth more accustomed to burgers and pizzas. However, hard-hearted politicians with eyes on the next election appear unmoved regarding the authenticity of their next chop suey. Raids are due to start all over again in November.
Now that a network of people smugglers run by fiendish Chinese masterminds has been uncovered in France and Spain whose objects of migratory desire are the US and UK Chinese businesses are a primary target for British authorities. This government’s message: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and country. Meanwhile, the nation goes steadily prawn crackers.
It is alleged that Labour are on course to in 32 Tory seats at the next general election and claim an outright majority in a new poll which was revealed on Sunday 15 Sept 2013.
A survey of 13,000 voters in the Tories most marginal 40 seats showed support for the nasty party had fallen by 7 per cent.
Secondly, Many Labour activists including myself cant help but think that Harriet Harman is on the right track when she said about the Liberal Democrats will do a lot of talking at their conference in Glasgow this week, so it’s worth remembering the single most important truth about them: Nick Clegg has repeatedly said one thing and then done another. Time after time Nick Clegg has tried to distance himself from the failures of David Cameron’s government but the truth is he has ditched his principles and voted in Parliament with the Tories all the way.
Here’s a top 10:
1. Tuition Fees
Nick Clegg campaigned on a promise to scrap tuition fees if they got into power, and every Liberal Democrat MP pledged to vote against future tuition fee increases. But once in government, Nick Clegg and his MPs voted to treble tuition fees to £9,000,
Nick Clegg campaigned against what he called a “TORY VAT BOMBSHELL” during the election. But it was a bombshell he helped the Tories drop – voting to increase VAT to 20%.
3. Tax Cut for Millionaires
Nick Clegg promised “fairer taxes in tough times”, but he didn’t deliver them. Instead, he backed a Tory cut in the top rate of tax, giving 13,000 millionaires a tax cut worth an average £100,000 while millions are paying more.
4. Living Standards
Nick Clegg says that “thanks to the Liberal Democrats, the government has been helping people get through these difficult times with measures to make life fairer and easier”. The reality is that, with Liberal Democrats in government, things are getting harder – with wages down £1,500 since the election and a million young people out of work.
Nick Clegg and his party backed David Cameron’s top-down NHS reorganisation from the start. It was passed thanks to Lib Dem votes, and they share responsibility for wasting £3billion on a top-down NHS reorganisation while more people wait longer in A&Es and over 5,000 nurses are cut.
6. Mansion Tax
In opposition, the Liberal Democrats said they backed a mansion tax. Even after they went into coalition with the Tories, Nick Clegg said “The Mansion Tax is right, it makes sense and the Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for it. We’re going to stick to our guns”. Did he stick to his guns? Of course not. When given the chance to stand up for their own principles and vote for a mansion tax, Liberal Democrat MPs voted against it.
7. Constitutional Reform
Nick Clegg said his constitutional reform programme would be “the biggest shake-up of our democracy since the Great Reform Act of 1832“. It wasn’t. He abandoned Lords reform after Conservative MPs refused to back it, and he failed to deliver reform of the voting system.
8. Sure Start
In May 2010, Nick Clegg promised to protect Sure Start and told voters that “Difficult decisions are going to have to be made in public spending, but Sure Start is one of the best things the last government has done and I want all these centres to stay open”. But in Government, the Liberal Democrats have backed cuts to Sure Start – and 558 centres have shut so far.
In the Liberal Democrat manifesto, Nick Clegg promised to put 3,000 more police on the beat. But in Government they backed Tory plans to cut more than 15,000 police officers.
10. Special Advisers
In opposition, the Liberal Democrats said that special advisers “are political jobs, and should, therefore, be funded by political parties”. They changed their tune when they got into Government. Nick Clegg alone has sixteen Special Advisers – paid for at the taxpayers’ expense.
So whatever Nick Clegg says this weekend, the truth is the Liberal Democrats have not been a brake on the Tories during their time in Coalition. They have voted for the Government’s policies in Parliament and must be held to account for these decisions.
Oh dear what has Nick Clegg fail to tell his party conference delegates up in Glasgow that Labour activists are against any suggestions from Liberal Democrats to doing a coalition with Labour :
Nick Clegg has suffered a major blow as he prepares to put his leadership on the line today, with a poll revealing the deep unease about the direction of the Liberal Democrats among current and former supporters. More current Liberal Democrat supporters those who would still vote for the party now – believe the party has changed for the worse since the 2010 election (36 per cent) than think it has got better (20 per cent), according to a YouGov survey.
The survey found that 59 per cent of all those who voted Liberal Democrat at the last election believe the party has got worse in the three years since, with only 9 per cent saying it has got better. The results show Mr Clegg has a mountain to climb as he tries to woo back former supporters who have deserted the party since it joined the Coalition.
In a crunch debate at his party’s conference in Glasgow today, Mr Clegg will make a personal appeal to delegates to stick with the Coalition’s economic strategy and reject calls to depart from the Government’s austerity plans. The left-of-centre Social Liberal Forum (SLF) wants the Coalition to adopt a new “fiscal mandate” and to order the Bank of England to do more to boost growth and jobs. Mr Clegg’s allies claim this amounts to a call for higher public spending.
But his internal critics have accused him of “picking a fight with his own party”, when a compromise on economic policy could have been reached. They claim that Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, who has close links with the SLF, wanted such a deal. Last night Mr Cable was under pressure to back Mr Clegg rather than his natural allies in the increasingly fractious debate. His aides said he supported Mr Clegg’s economic statement but that he believed it could be improved.
Insiders said the crucial vote that follows the debate could be close, but predicted that Mr Clegg would win over wavering delegates by turning it into a “loyalty test”.
Prateek Buch, the SLF’s director, said: “The motion has to go further than current
Coalition policy as [we] approach the next election, to demonstrate we are an independent party.”
Mr Clegg on Sunday sought to reassure his critics by promising to set out his “red lines” for possible coalition talks should the 2015 election result in another hung parliament . He suggested that cuts in taxes for the low-paid and higher taxes for the rich would be key Liberal Democrat demands in any potential agreement.
The Deputy Prime Minister said it was too early to spell out the party’s “die in a trench” issues, but they are likely to include a commitment to lifting the personal tax allowance to £12,500, taking all workers on the minimum wage out of income tax. This would build on the party’s flagship promise at the last election to raise the threshold to £10,000, which many Liberal Democrats regard as their proudest achievement in government.
A new tax on the wealthiest people – probably through a “mansion tax” on the owners of £2m-plus properties – will be another central Liberal Democrat commitment. The party is also examining the idea of a tax on the value of land on which houses are built.
Mr Clegg told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “I strongly suspect, given that we have put so much effort and indeed so much money into making the tax system fairer, tax fairness will of course be one of the signature tunes for the Liberal Democrats.”
He added: “In my view it is going to be more likely than not that in the future you’re going to get more coalitions. It is less likely that you’re going to get these slam-dunk results when one or the other of the two major parties always gets a majority.”
The YouGov poll, commissioned by the Labour Uncut blog, shows that a majority (53 percent) of current Tory supporters believe their party has got better since the last election, with only 11 per cent saying it has got worse. Among Labour supporters, the figures are 46 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
There is some good news in the survey for Mr Clegg. It found that Labour supporters are much more open to a Lib-Lab coalition that includes Mr Clegg than Ed Miliband appears to be. The Labour leader has said it would be difficult to reach a deal with the Liberal Democrats unless they change their leader.
Some 21 per cent of Labour supporters say the party should form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats even if Mr Clegg remains at the helm, while 33 per cent would back a deal only if he is replaced and 36 per cent want no deal with the Liberal Democrats no matter who leads the party. Eight-seven per cent of Labour supporters who want Mr Clegg replaced would allow him to stay on to form a government with Labour if the alternative was another Lib-Con coalition, while just 4 per cent of those people would rather see a repeat of the current Government than do any deal with Mr Clegg. This means that overall, 50 per cent of Labour supporters would back a Miliband-Clegg partnership to prevent another Con-Lib coalition, while 40 per cent would not.
YouGov interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,593 adults between 30 August and 4 September
I fully concur that Ed Miliband must deliver an extra conference speech to convince the nation why Labour can manage the economy and why it’s the people choice for them to return to Labour or consider a challenge to his leadership.
Many delegates and shadow Cabinet minister has hinted next weekend’s gathering in Brighton could be “make or break” for the Labour leader.
It’s not surprising that a minister in the know has said: “He needs to show he is up to the job. This is the key speech for him because by 2014 it will be too late.
“Battle lines for the election will be drawn and it’ll be too late to recover.”
Yet again I Concur Ed Miliband time has come the honeymoon bubble has burst coming onto three years if he can’t rally our members to convince our supporters what does it says about Labour I would like to see a reshuffle of the Shadow Cabinet that can deliver and not pander to the Murdock press it’s about time for the party to buckle up or hit the road jack comes to mind from many of the party activist .
A party insider said: “They are not looking to throw him under a bus, but if there was an accident they would not cross the road to pick him up.”
Mr Miliband is under pressure to shake up the frontbench team to install some “dynamism” to the party.
One MP said many of those around the leader were “too weak” and did not know how to take the fight to the Conservatives.
Another claimed they were treating opposition as “a five-day cricket match rather than a game of football.”
“We need to be more aggressive but too many of my colleagues are acting as if they are still in government,” he said.
The other day I watched Newsnight on regular bases and found it dawn right insulting that a Shadow Cabinet Minister was insulted for no reason other than being on maternity leave. This is what she had to say in reply:
Rachel Reeves mp, the shadow cabinet member, has spoken of her humiliation at being dubbed “boring, snoring” by the editor of Newsnight in a Twitter gaffe following her appearance on the show earlier this week.
In her first interview since the storm over the tweet by Ian Katz on Monday, Reeves said voters would prefer a “chief secretary to the Treasury who can add up the numbers” to someone displaying “a fantastic sense of humour or great wit”. She was also critical of Katz, former deputy editor of the Guardian, who has been editing Newsnight for two weeks. “It’s no way to talk about your guests. If he wants to make a decision that he doesn’t want to discuss issues [like low pay] then that’s fine, but he should just have some common decency,” she said.
The programme on Monday also featured the Arctic Monkeys and former energy secretary Chris Huhne talking about his experience of prison. “Maybe in between such fun and excitement I was a bit boring. But it’s Newsnight. It’s supposed to cover news,” said Reeves, remarking that “the relentless grind of poverty” experienced by ordinary people was “not that exciting”.
But she said she would still go on the programme, “because that’s my job”.
Katz has since apologised to Reeves and the Labour party for what he called an “ill-judged remark”. He had meant to send the tweet in a private direct message but instead it was seen by 26,000 followers and prompted Labour claims that the episode undermined BBC claims to impartiality.
Katz wrote, in conversation with another Twitter user: “Tnks … except for boring snoring rachel reeves. Playout was fun tho, wasn’t it? telly MUCH netter [sic] than snooooozepapers innit.”
The post prompted an apparently sarcastic reply from Reeves, who simply said “thanks …”.
Reeves said: “Glamorous and exciting are probably not two things you would want from someone in charge of public finances. You want someone who’s steady, who’s serious, who’s responsible – and I hope I tick those boxes. I’m not a pop star or a movie star or a comedian, so I’m going to continue to be serious about the issues, and take them seriously.”
Reeves said her civil servant husband had been furious and she admitted the comment had been preoccupying her. She had has spoken to Katz following his written apology. “I just said obviously I accept your apology, but I told him how I felt. That I felt slightly humiliated and frustrated that this is now going to define my return to politics.
“I think if the biggest thing I have got to worry about is whether Ian Katz thinks I’m boring then I haven’t got many problems, have I?” She said people in her constituency “have had a lot harder things happen to them this week. They’ve had to put something back in the supermarket or worry about whether they can afford for their kids to go on a school trip this week.” Despite just wanting “to forget about it”, Reeves seems resigned to the boring label sticking. “If you Google Rachel Reeves I expect you’ll find lots of references to whether I’m boring or not.”