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If the press are wrong about Ed, it won’t be the first time they’ve called the instant judgement badly

Posted on 28 September 2011 | 8:09am

An interesting little passage in Polly Toynbee’s column in The Guardian this morning, as she described the post-Ed speech process in the press room at Liverpool.

“‘Lurching to the left’ and ‘Red Ed’ were the inevitable responses of the mostly rightwing press convening in an instant huddle after the speech. If you want to see the herd mentality in action, stand there and watch them gather to agree this is a plunge back to Labour’s dark days or some such nonsense. Murdoch may be maimed, but don’t imagine any weakening grip by Britain’s 80% rightwing press whose gale force influences the prevailing wind among the broadcasters too.”

It is this final point that always used to annoy and trouble me most when I was at the sharp end of the relations between politics and media. Technological change has given the broadcasters an infinitely superior position to newspapers, in that they have the ‘monopoly on now,’ not a bad position to occupy in the news industry.

Yet they continue to have the tone and agenda of their coverage set largely by newspapers who in the main have a political agenda every bit as sharp as the main political parties. It is why I have always maintained the real spin doctors are owners, editors and journalists. All week we’ve been hearing broadcast journalists saying Ed Miliband is ‘failing to make an impression on the public.’ That statement may or may not be true. Polls point in different directions. But how many ‘members of the public’ have those covering the conference actually met inside the political bubble that conferences become. The main source for it, when you boil everything down, is the commentariat. So journalists tell each other Ed Miliband is not making an impression on THEM, and this somehow transmutes itself into ‘public opinion.’

The bad news is the distorted picture it gives of Britain and the major events which take place here. The good news is that the public are much more aware of media spin than they used to be, and so discount it more than they used to.

Ed Miliband is in one of those jobs where people see enough of you to make up their minds over time. It’s why, as I said yesterday, it is right that he follows his own instincts, and tries to ignore a lot of the noise around him, not to mention all the trivial stuff that accompanies the assessment of a top flight political figure – voice, hair, mouth, blahdiblah, (see Jonathan Freedland a few pages after Polly Toynbee’s piece.)

He is right that the public focus on these things sometimes to the exclusion of serious politics (hardly surprising given the media focus on the froth and the trivia). But they’re not daft. The most important thing in Ed’s speech yesterday was not his suit, his tie, his smile, his wife, his wave, his delivery, but the argument he made.

Arguments are won and lost in politics over time. He will have plenty of opportunities for it to be heard. And for what it’s worth. having seen many examples of the political lobby herd mentality at work, sometimes the instant judgement is right. More often than not, it’s wrong.

Having 80% of the press ranged against you is not the easiest place to be. But it is not the end of the world. And Ed seems to have a calm about him that means he can face it down, and just keep on keeping on with his argument.

  • Kevin Mitchell

    Jackie Ashley on the money too, talking about the “closed circle” of the commentariat. They can be clever, perceptive and utterly weak-kneed, scared to leave the circle, scared to give up their privileged position of influence, smugly satisfied and, often, totally out of touch.


    Very sensible. I used to go to party conferences every year as a journalist working on a national newspaper. What struck me was that my fellow journalists spent very little time listening to speeches, no time at all talking to delegates and huge amounts of time talking to each other. So the man from The Telgraph would ask the man from The Mail what he thought, who would pass on what he had heard from a bloke on The Sun. And next day that would be what the Conference was thinking. And during next day BBC radio and then the news channels would spend the day discussing why conference was thinking that. 
    This wasn’t really a party point. The same thing happened at Conservative conferences, though naturally most of the journalists had a more favourable view.
    Having 80% of the press against you is still a problem, but it is a diminishing one as people read it less and less and don’t increase the amount of time they spend on TV much. And at last on the internet they get different voices unfiltered.

  • ambrosian

    The longer I reflect on Miliband’s speech, the worse it seems.
    Could I really vote for a Labour leader who thinks Thatcher was right to sell off council housing – and then make it illegal for councils to use the revenue to build more houses?
    (Of course, stuff like this makes a nonsense of press claims that this was a lurch to the left).
    Could I vote for a leader who thinks officials should make personal moral judgments about those applying for social housing rather than allocation on basis of need? What nauseating, patronising, paternalistic nonsense!
    And if voluntary work gains you points for obtaining housing, it raises the question of ulterior motives. Maybe that Neighbourhood Watch organiser who knocks on my door isn’t just an irritating little busybody but has his eye on a a Housing Association flat. In that respect, it’s not unlike those (mostly middle class) parents who pretend to be regular church-goers to get their kid into a faith school – and maybe slip the vicar a few quid for the church roof fund. Maybe this is what Miliband means by the “something for something” culture.

    Sorry, AC, but a lot of the public are indeed very daft. It’s regrettable that appearance, voice, etc, are so important today but that’s the way it is. Robin Cook used to say that he could never be Leader looking as he did.
    It wouldn’t matter quite so much if Miliband was an inspirational speaker. But frankly, that 16 year old boy could have given a better delivered speech if they’d given him an hour. At least he knew how to handle the applause breaks without staring into the camera like a panda looking at an oncoming high speed train.

    This morning the Radio 5 Live phone-in had to put out an appeal for people to phone in in support of Miliband. Many of those critical of him were Labour supporters like myself. OK, that doesn’t prove much………maybe the Tories mobilised their forces better. But it feeds into some worrying mood music.

    Miliband said this morning that he doesn’t give a damn if people think he’s weird. That’s an admirable attitude for him personally but his party should be very worried indeed. After all, if that slick, PR chameleon Cameron couldn’t win a majority in the most propitious circumstances, what chance does an awkward, uncharismatic policy wonk like Miliband stand?

  • Nicksmegghead

    Not just 80% press are rightwing but 80% of the media are rightwing.

    The BBC political journalists are either rightwing or are just lazy to give a balance view.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Ed Miliband is a social democrat.
    He has now officially abandoned the bankrupt neoliberalism which almost bankrupted the whole world in 2008.
    If Messrs Cameron and Osborne continue with neoliberalism, Britain´s economy will collapse.
    And if Britain´s banks are not immediately reformed, Britain´s financial system will collapse after the financial Waterloo of the eurozone.
    Britain then will not be able to pay back its debt.
    Switch from neoliberalism to social democracy is essential for economic security.
    Moral economy based on fairness as suggested by Will Hutton is needed to prevent the collapse of capitalism.
    737 people own 80% of the world´s wealth, and now the rest have no money to spend.
    There is no growth, and capitalism is about to collapse as the world´s leading world-systems analyst Immanuel Wallerstein of Yale has stated.
    Somewhat smaller but active state is needed to regulate the markets for economic security.
    Across the Europe left is making a comeback.
    Political pendulum is swinging to the left.
    Helle Thorning-Schmidt ousted rightwing government in Denmark. The alliance of French Socialists and Greens took control of the French senate.
    German Christian Democrats of Ms Merkel have lost important regional elections.
    Italy´s conservative government of Silvio Berlusconi is close to collapse as is Italy itself with its combination of huge debt and no growth.
    Mr Sarkozy will probably lose the French presidental election next spring. Social Democrats will probably win the German general election in 2013.
    In Finland, Social Democrats are already back in the government.
    I predicted a new economic crisis months ago. The UK appears now to be in recession already.
    The world´s largest bond trader Pimco says that the UK will miss deficit target because of lack of growth.
    George Osborne´s last desperate attempt is new round of quantitative easing (QE) which means printing money through buying bonds. But QE has only limited potential in the current climate.
    Mr Osborne forgot the basic rule of classical economics: in recession you spend, not save!
    His plan A is now totally bankrupt like his neoliberal ideology. And he boasts that he has no plan B.
    Ed Miliband has chosen the right course and will come up with policies to implement it.
    We are not watching X-factor now. We are witnessing a survival game of capitalism.
    Ed might be called “Red Ed”, but we now know that Michael Foot was right in 1983.
    And Ed is doing better at the moment than David Cameron at this stage.
    Personalities do count. But Britain´s next PM must be a man who has right policies to save capitalism from itself.

  • Well I wanted to watch the speech for myself on YouTube last night but couldn’t because it wasn’t up.  I haven’t time today and given EMs stance on the strikes my level is of motivation won’t carry me on to try again.

    Labour also hasn’t got the hand of cyberdomain managment and I’m afraid it needs to in this day and age.

  • Teresa

     Alastair I watched quite a bit of news last night and heard negative comment after negative comment, lots of smug sarcasm, maybe they are not being effected by this Government but millions of us are, and we will be the people with the power at the next General Election not them.  

  • MicheleB

    I’ve never been convinced that EM is half as clever or half as well-advised (or even willing to listen to others) as any of his recent predecessors.

    I don’t think Labour can get back in Govt with him.  Better realise that now, given that all of the Opposition seem to have meekly swallowed that this Govt will last 5yrs come hell or high water.  What the ???? 

    In the same way that movable Elections can be sprung when times are woooohooo never be better we know that news about those times can be held back till closer to a fixed date. 

    Everything is manipulable.  What’s so great about a fixed term when a Govt still controls what’s reported and can even hold back the good times?


    EM was massively used by R4’s ‘PM’ programme just before last year’s Conference when he readily replied to the question his brother had refused to answer the week before (quite properly in my opinion as we all know his answer would have been ‘Yes’ as we all know it would have to be but no need to rub anyone’s face in it on the airwaves). 

    For EM to use how own answer like a Tarzan yall was pathetic

    EM thinks it’s funny he’s thought of as the character that stabbed his brother in the back; I think he’s the character that others used to do it.  Not quite so macho-sounding is it?

  • Chris lancashire

    You are, of course, quite right as usual Mr Campbell. The Press have made an instant judgement that Ed is useless, ineffective and unlikely ever to be PM. The same Press made the instant judgement that Tony Blair was open, honest, pretty straight and a great leader. Then look at what happens, he gets booed at a Labour Party Conference. Just proves what you say in the headline.

  • MicheleB

    Use iPlayer?

    Should Labour really spend time or effort on ‘cyberdomain management’?

  • Ehtch

    The right-wing press is more and more living in their own fantasy world of tittle-tattle nonsense And it saddens me what The Times is these days – in the 1970’s they were an excellent paper, quite balanced, but they seem to be heading right into the gutter, that is if they are not already in it.

  • Ed does indeed have calm but not gravitas and, alas, no charisma.
    Against Nick Robinson – former President of the Oxford Uni Conservative Association and Andrew Neil surrounded by the Murdoch media he was not going to be heard.
    Ed’s certainly not one to set the heather on fire, his speech the night before battle would never muster the troops to war yet, yes, his serious argument on the need for a new contract is true.
    Sheer ineptitude on the part of the BBC who are mandated and supported by billions of tax pounds to fulfil an important democratic role in their failure to even check the fuses and wiring on their broadcast systems.

  • MicheleB

    Wasn’t that line booed because that part of the audience realise it was, sadly, so very true.

    He is not TB, he will never be half as clever or have half the courage.

  • sarah dodds

    The bloke just leaves me cold.
    Am I allowed to say that my relationship with Labour is feeling like waking up after a drunken one night stand and finding myself married by mistake?
    I am looking at him thinking “yeah….I wanted to give you a chance….I really did… but….who the hell are you???”

  • Anna

    When did any leader of the opposition get a good press? It’s a ghastly, thankless job and a leader of the opposition who eventually becomes Prime Minister does so because the electorate is hacked off with the incumbent, not because he’s won many hearts.

    I quite like Ed Milliband, actually. He seems to me to be unflashy, intelligent, decent and hard-working; not bad qualities in a PM. As for all the nonsense about ‘oratory’, ‘image’ and ‘spin’ – it’s time we got over it.. Imagine the hammering Clem Attlee would get if he were in politics today – a laconic, unprepossessing-looking little man – and yet he achieved much in office. (I’m old enough to remember being taught to sing by my Granny ‘Vote, vote, vote for Mr Attlee, Attlee is sure to win the day…..’ and he did!)

  • Mark Wright

    I was asked to contribute my thoughts for inclusion in today’s Evening Standard. Here they are:

    “Ed Miliband’s speech can be summarised in five words: “I am not Tony Blair”.
    It is important for him to be his own man. But it is equally important to remember that it was because of Tony Blair that I and many others joined Labour. Lest we forget, Tony Blair is the only Labour leader to have won a general election since Wilson in 1974. We should be proud of the genuine social change that Blair achieved, not constantly apologising for him.
    Despite the poor write ups there was much in Ed’s speech to applaud. Since the riots he has started to find his narrative. He still has a tendency to use naff sloganeering such as “New Bargain” and the media coverage remains as much about him as his message, but that’s ok, he has three and half years to put some meat on bones of his convictions. But to break through he must ensure that his ideas are seen to have traction outside the Labour Party. Perhaps give that guy who won three elections in a row a call for some tips?”

    • Bar Bar of Oz.

      Ed’s “I’m not Tony Blair” and the outbreak of booing at mention of Tony’s was a sad reminder of why Labour is now in Opposition and a further sad indication that it might have another 18 years there as it did after ’79.

      Was struck when reading AC’s Diaries on the early days of the government about the cabinet secretary lecturing Tony that he was taking his hardworking, talented ministers like Straw and Blunkett too much for granted, paying them too little attention and encouragement because of the time he was spending indulging Gordon and Mandy’s (destructive)prima donna behaviour. Was quite shocked by this revelation, particularly in regard to Mandy and partic so early in the first term.

      It seems to me that Tony’s great (and only failure) was not to groom a successor to lead the Blairites and then do the groundwork for breaking Gordon’s hold on the party that would have enabled a successful challenge to him in 2008, if not actually defeating him (and Balls) in the leadership contest in 07. 

      How easily Labour fell back into being the reactionary party. Tragic.  

  • Rebecca Hanson

    Well I think it’s far more important they get themselves sorted out to sound credible first. 

    But the Tories have teams of people instantly buying up the advertising links from the key phrases of the day and ensuring they link to Tory party propaganda and so on.  Labour couldn’t even get their core message to YouTube within a few hours.

    Does Labour have people who are analysing the way that cyberspace works and, most importantly, how it can be used to effectively communicate with people?  I’m happy to chat to anyone from any party because my interest is in the aspects of this which it will benefit society for any party to harness.

    Might watch the speech if I’ve got time but trying to find the program on the structure of the economy in Libya is higher on my list.

  • Anonymous

    The political commentariat is no different from a bunch of music critics who hang around the bar after a performance and decide collectively what they are going to write.  

    Jonathan Freedland has already said that Ed Miliband doesn’t have the secret ingredient to win people over.  The bias and laziness of journalism in this country means I simply shut my ears to it all.  Didn’t listen to the speech because if would have come through the cheese cloths of this or that broadcaster.  Do I think Ed Miliband can win?  Well, I keep paying my subs but I really have no idea. If you aren’t a great communicator (and I don’t say there are any politicians out there currently who are), then all bets have to be off.  Labour should be capitalising on those of its MPs who really are convincing on TV.  Step forward Chukka Umunna and Stella Creasey.  

    I must confess unease at reading that John McTernan has gone to work for the Australian Labour Party. It was he who pointed out that if Labour politicians keep apologising, they can’t lay claim the good things that were achieved in the preceding thirteen years.   If Labour can’t use a man as intelligent as that, I do question its judgement.

  • MicheleB

    If you’re happy to get frustrated rooting around on youtube in the expectation that Labour should do things the way you’d prefer them to, feel free to :-s      < great little icon where it works! We pay for the BBC (most do) and even those that do not can watch a programme that was live in full on their computer for free once it has been broadcast. I prefer supporting the Beeb to supporting youtube and its advertising revenue and I also think there's a value in something that hasn't been cut or prettified. Over and out.

  • MicheleB

    ……………………… Does Labour have people who are analysing the way that cyberspace works…………………..

    If the habits of the Tories and the blogs that appear under youtubes are anything to go by I hope Labour stays well clear.

    I’ve got a RL friend who’s got about 70,000 friends on Facebook, whooopidoo, way to go?

    Disturbing news today about the defaults that apply on such silly organs, friends/followers/whateverers can trace one’s browsing.   So ….. just a few months after we heard the full extent of hacks’ hacking we find there are millions of people worldwide leaving themselves wide open to similar.

  • Dave Simons

    Unfortunately David Cameron got a good press when he was in opposition.  Not just a good press but a grovelling, toadying, sycophantic, mouth-watering press – and some of the broadcasters picked it up and augmented it to sickening proportions. I remember some such broadcaster guffawing to a nauseating degree when Cameron made his dreadful joke about twittering – ‘how many twits does it take to make a twat’ or something equally schoolboyish. Yet despite all the support he got from the media luvvies, and despite the coincidence of Labour’s third term with the international banking crisis, Cameron still couldn’t form a Conservative government without support from the duplicitous LibDems.
    Equally unfortunately I’m inclined to agree with Sarah Dodds – Ed’s probably the nicest of guys but he seems to me to have about as much chance of leading Labour to an election victory in 2015 as Neil Kinnock had in 1987 and 1992, and there was a major personality factor involved in the loss of that last election, because nation-wide the cards were stacked against the Tories.

  • ambrosian

    Yes, many people joined the Labour Party because of Tony Blair. But you conveniently don’t mention that many later left the party because of Tony Blair.
    He left the party’s membership seriously depleted and the party virtually bankrupt.

    If you saw Miliband’s Q & A session this evening, you’d have found him scarily channelling Tony Blair. Not since St Tony walked amongst us have I heard so many sentences beginning with “Y’know” or “Look,…” and by the end of the session the stage was ankle-deep in dropped consonants. Sadly, I didn’t hear a single meaningful answer.

    This event was touted as the first time a party had opened the hall to the general public for them to interrogate the leader. But virtually every question came from a party member. Only a couple were mildly challenging and many were like the planted questions that backbenchers ask leaders in the Commons. Yet at the end Miliband claimed that this was “re-inventing politics”. Do me a favour! You’re ‘aving a laugh aren’t you, Guv?… they probably say in Haverstock Hill. (Is that really a rough part of London, as Miliband claimed yesterday? Maybe it’s difficult to get a decent Brie or Sea Bass at the local shops?).

    For those who missed it, this was the second day running that coverage of Miliband was interrupted by a break in transmission. And although I was watching BBC Parliament, it was a Sky test card that popped up when the live link went down. Conspiracy theory anyone?

  • Hafod76

    after that vid link, I need a hearing test. What a sound! I will have to turn my sound down on my headphones before I click another yootoob link of yours, MicheleB.
    : )

  • Ehtch

    You sound like a character from Skins, or even sound like Rachel from Friends in Vegas with Ross….

  • AC your flogging a past it leader, EM in my humble judgement will not be leader of the Labour Party in 2015, the Labour Shadow Cabinet and MPs are not going to do a Gordon Brown and go down with the Miliband ship, also the number of MPs needed to call an election is less than when Labour is in power. As PM Cameron noted you have given 10 grand to the Labour Party, moved on AV, what happens if Labour does dump EM, and they elect a another centre right leader, are you suddenly going to change back to New Labour. Are you thinking with your heart or head AC, they are never going to forgive you for Iraq, NEVER!

  • By the way what’s your answer to the charge by Alistair Darling that in the time you were in No 10 there was no effective Cabinet Government, in fact all the time of New Labour?

  • Rebecca Hanson

    Dunno what the icon meant Michele but OH and I were making a list of the people he should suspect if I’m bumped off tomorrow due to my activities in cyberspace.  Should I add you to the bottom?

    Mossad are top of the list today and Elizabeth Truss is on there somewhere.

    This is indeed as good as I was told.
    Fingers crossed we might have done something good in the Middle East at last.

    • Gilliebc

      “………………   OH (One’s Husband?) and I were making a list of the people he should suspect…………”     Are you serious?

      Now I really am beginning to worry about and for you Rebecca.

  • ZintinW4

    The political commentary is always distorted and the fact that broadcast media go along with the agenda the print media set is troubling. Yet, as AC knows, we have always had the same problem in that the media establishment are owned and controlled by wealthy, right wing pro-Conservatives. At the same time Ed was elected leader because he wasn’t the clunking fist of GB and was not  seen as a TB replacement. He just isn’t media appealing.

    The problem is that we can become too obsessed with a leaders image. Jim Callaghan was always more popular than Thatcher when she was leader of the Opposition. Thatcher won in 79 because she was able to define a new politics that appealed to voters who had grown frustrated with the status quo.

    Ed is quietly trying to do the same. I just wish he could be more conversational, more relaxed and less of a policy twonk. We don’t need the Tories and every minute they are in power they pull the carpet from under the feet of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. We can’t allow this to continue and we have to be clear that the only option at the next General Election is a Labour victory. Let’s workd for that despite our hostile media.

  • Whatifwhatif

    In fairness it’s just possible that EM was simply stating the fact, not disowning TB but then again, his failure to correct the perception that some showed demonstrates he’s just not quick enough on his feet.  Either way it was not impressive. 

    He’s not GB either, another skill set he’s lacking.

    As for EM claiming the moral high ground re the Murdochs, I doubt certain members of the Select Committee appreciated that … I hope to have my impression corrected if indeed he was driving or pulling the strings of the likes of Tom Watson.

  • MicheleB

    Plus of course youtube’s full of distractions like this!

    Is it still Tuesday?  😉

  • Janiete

    As always the biggest problem for any Labour Party leader is cutting through media prejudice to reach the public with our message in tact. Political interference is far more of a problem for us, given the 80% ish right-wing dominance in the media.

    We also have to overcome the current journalistic obsession with denegrating politics and politicians at every turn. The central purpose of a political report or interview is not, it seems, to inform the public but to embarrass elected representatives and enhance the journalist’s career prospects. 

    However undesirable this situatuon is, it isn’t going to change in the short term and we have to deal with it. I’m not sure though that Ed’s team is tackling media relations anywhere near as professionally as New Labour did and it shows.

    His ‘I am not TB… (wait for response)’ comment was a mistake. Not only did it anger a large number in the party, but also many in the country, where TB is still a very popular figure. Predictably every news report ran with it and much of the talk and coverage today has been on this, instead of the content of his speech.

    There are other areas of weakness in our media relations which probably 
    relate to not having an Alastair Campbell figure anticipating how the media will react and preparing for it.

    Incidentally AC, I very much doubt we will ever find someone of your calibre but  rather like Man Utd in their search for a Peter Schmeicel replacement, we have to keep trying in order to avoid more own goals.

  • sarah dodds

    I can’t remember the Vegas one…

  • MicheleB

    Hope if I take care when sending this off that it’ll re-claim my wrongly IDed ones!

    Dunno why you should think for a moment (never mind putting it in to print) that I might have ambitions to bump you off RH, I’m not that emotional about some things.  Too much flailing around can make us all feel a little bonkers at times ….. eg: Oborne nearly melted in to his seat on Two just now.

    The :-s icon when it translates elsewhere (that I used to post on ages ago) looks like an extremely quizzical face, a sideways-S-shaped mouth of the type Edna Everidge (sp?) does best. 

    You and your OH think you could be a Mossad target?  I’m awestruck, look >>>>>  :-s

  • Ehtch

    BLIMEY!!! Why has your name changed from MicheleB to another? i confused, but it doesn’t take much…. strnager things go on, he says.

    • MicheleB

      I really don’t know why it keeps happening Ehtch, sometimes it happens before I correct it to MB and other times it even switches back to wiwi as it’s disappearing in to moderation with MB.

      I keep threatening to dump it and re-reg with another email address in hopes of dumping the glitch!  If only I could remember loads of passwords 🙁

  • Gilliebc

    I used to be an admirer of “St. Tony” up until fairly recently.  But after he ceased to be PM he’s just turned into a money making machine.  I’ve no objection to people making money. But some of the ways he’s chosen to do it are very dubious and call into question his integrity.

    I was very disappointed when Ed M was elected leader of the Labour Party, especially when he distanced himself from the Blair years.  Later I thought he should be given a fair chance and hearing, but nothing he has said or indeed the way he says it, i.e. the way he comes across has made me change my mind really.  I don’t know what direction he wants to take the party in and I’m not sure he does either. 

    I feel a bit sorry for him and that’s not a good thing.  If he thinks he can lead the Labour Party back to power, he must be seriously deluded.  Self-confidence is one thing but self-delusion is another more worrying characteristic.

    • ambrosian

      It would be easier for Miliband to distance himself from the Blair years if he were a ‘clean skin’ but he was at the heart of those governments.
      One advantage that Cameron had was that, although he had been a political advisor, he had never been a Minister. Blair had the same advantage as opposition leader. And it’s not just Miliband. The Labour spokespeople we see on TV are all in different ways tainted, by their time in office, by expenses, by incompetence. For example, Hazel Blears and Liam Byrne, the latter being the man who left a jokey note saying there was no money left and was stupid enough to think the coalition wouldn’t mention it for the next five years.

    • MicheleB

      I don’t think the sort of jobs that TB has done since being PM are the sort where one negotiates the pay rate, they are what they are. 
      For all we know, chunks of his go to charity. 
      His books could have bombed.
      His career as a QC (had he stayed and moved up that career path) would have paid much much more than he earned as PM.

      What’s wrong, exactly, with ‘the ways he’s chosen to do “it”‘ post-PMship?  Middle East envoy?  I can’t think of a better person to be fulfilling that role.  So he had to kiss ass with Gaddafi?  So has Jeremy Bowen and countless others.  Ways and means ….. and there but for !!

  • Rebecca Hanson


    For the explanation check out>TED Ideas worth spreading group > Why should/should not Palestine request to be a permanent member of the UNO?

    • MicheleB

      I try to stick to the theme of a thread RH and while I might have gone all :-s last week when TB made the requst that he did to the Palestinians I figure there must be an intricate political and actual need for him to speak as he did, so didn’t post.

      I’m hopeful that TB would actually have celebrated that the Palestinians made their request anyway because he knew that the reception it would receive would show the Israeli delegates that the tide is turning.

      I’m glad there are people that can stuff their own emotions for the sake of the greater good and trust that ends will justify means.

      There can be no personal reason for TB to say what he did.  Islam recognises Jesus and TB’s own religion/s, Judaism does not but then Judaism is not related to Zionism, just as the ADL doesn’t actually give a toss about defamation per se and that word has become owned.

      Let’s hope that continuing international opprobrium won’t allow any spiteful IDF behaviour in coming months and let’s hope Obama gets back in and that once that’s happened the world can do the right thing at last.

  • Quinney

    Perhaps the press could report that Ed Milliband last night, deliberately went out of his way to meet the delegation of workers from BAE Systems who are campaigning to stop 3,000 highly skilled aerospace workers losing their jobs.

    These are jobs at the cutting end of technology, well paid making world class products. Was it not Osborne that said in March in his budget speech “A Britain carried aloft by the mach of the makers. That is how we will create jobs and support families”? The only place these workers will be marching to is the job centre.
    Ed Milliband today  met these workers again and pledged to help them, again that won’t be mentioned.

  • MicheleB

    It usually means ‘other half’ Gbc and I think (or hope) RH was indeed joking.

    Re my own last: I should have added that we can be sure as heck that if Obama doesn’t get back in and one of those rightwing nutters does, the chances of the UN ever doing the right thing for the Palestinians is *ecked!

  • ambrosian

    In the next few days the Palestinians are meeting to decide whether to declare Blair ‘persona non grata’ because of a perceived lack of neutrality.

    I suggest you take a look at Monday’s C4 Dispatches programme. OK, it was a hatchet job by Peter Oborne but many of the facts are not disputed and I found some of them quite shocking.

  • Mark patrick norris

    Removing the Stake from D.W.P
    As we turn the page with good’s fort-tune with Rothschild rear rangewith long vehicle in mind.
    ElvisJobseekers don’t need conversationthey need action it should be a cake walk.
    David Bowie
    Come on George Osborn put on your red shoes and walk the blues.
    Lets Line Dance.
    Supreme Bones Barry White
    Let it play on on and on something of the what Knight Templar MichaelHeseltine and Michael Howard something of the night long right rightwrite till the STAKE is gone.
    “O lord these are the policy of the sea shore”
    “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”
    No Storm any New Dawn
    Government minister in every jobcentre to pull jobseeker to one sideand ask relevant questions what what can do …… Job seeker my say for myHousing Benefit C/T
    Pension and a £100 pw I could Road Sweep Remove Chewing Gum and more……
    James MorrisonAs I’ve been out in a long and the Flexible Deal comes crashing downnow we can start fixing it up when there is no one to turn the volumedown Pension of I.D.S as we take a Chain and bill it round has wehold the act of right as we Cain and take it to David and fix the carbonnet as it comes star chamber we are the real black and blue eyes itsnever dole when we cam and rod as we drive this pillar 13 off as weCalm the word of Cain shape through David true to the gospels
    I.D.S his days are over as we flush him down the kitchen cabinet sinkcan you feel your cc coming……… as we hold pole……………
    mark patrick norris

  • Janiete

    Having made questionable or perhaps even illegal expenses doesn’t stop coalition ministers getting good coverage from the media. Uneven reporting led the public to incorrectly associate Labour more with expenses fraud. This isn’t Ed’s fault and I don’t think any other leader could do much about it either.   

  • OH = other half Gillie. Cyberforum speak.   

    No need to worry about me – I’m fine.  Just beer infused banter in the pub and a bit of light humour to try and diffuse any offense caused to Michele.

    No need to worry – unless I start using terms like ‘One’s husband’ in which case worry away.

    Elizabeth Truss’ fans have stalked me across cyberforums and across into real life in exceptionally disturbing ways in the past.  Fortunately Richard doesn’t seem to be one of those stalkers.

    Full credit to all the politicians who are taking the criticism I offer and publishing it.  Douglas Carswell got it in the neck too yesterday.

    Douglas, Elizabeth, the US, Israel and the labour party for not getting its speeches to YouTube fast enough.  The labour party did pretty well out of that I think but then I didn’t actually watch the speech…..

  • What’s Tony said then Michele?  If you give me a link I’ll read it.

  • Dave I’ve kind of lost track of my conversation with you – I’ve probably missed bits.  Sorry about that.

    The reason it would be better to chat offline is that I don’t really know enough about you to work out what it is you need to know and to pitch it at the right level. 

    + this comments interaction is complex and stilted due to the moderation.

    So do feel free to get in touch.  I will protect your identity if that matters to you.  I don’t expect you to read lots of old papers on the painful, forced re-birth of collaborative cultures in UK industry. 

  • Ianjamesstourbridge

    I actually think Ed’s position is really admirable and I share his vision. However, I’m under no illusion about the electoral difficulty he’ll have moving the centre ground as opposed to moving TO the centre ground as Blair did. 

    I’m not sure it’s helpful for the party to worry about whether or not Ed is following Blair’s lead. The world was very different in 1994, and patently Blair’s vision at that time was bang on in electoral terms. The tories had decimated public services and industry, leaving only the financial sector from which to obtain tax revenue to rebuild public services. For a long time the plan worked well, but after the crash it has become clear that a much deeper restructuring of the economy is needed to enable prosperity with true social justice.

    It’s a completely different era requiring a completely different solution (Cameron and Clegg are not offering a new solution whatsoever – same old thinking) and I think Ed’s going in the right direction, but for all the reasons mentioned by AC regarding the right wing press, anything that veers even a millimetre from the classic neo-liberal model, is considered communism – I despair!

  • Liam Quinn

    Good article from Oliver Wright in the Indy today who claims that most of the press are implacably opposed to Ed Miliband and will pursue him in the same way as they did Kinnock and Foot
    The Daily Mail described Mr Milband as having a “deficit of charisma that makes Greece’s economic shortfall seem modest”.Wright goes on : ‘How much this matters in the internet age is questionable – but any suggestion that Miliband will get a fair hearing for his ideas from the right-wing press over the next few years is now over.’

  • Quinney

    Alastair, thought you might be interested in this, from the FC United of Manchester fans website:

    The North West Mental Health Football League promotes football for people dealing with mental health issues in their lives. 

    Up to a third of us experience some level of mental health problems. Football is not only great exercise but is a way of overcoming the stigma that can result. 

    A six-a-side tournament is taking place on Thursday 22nd of September from 12 noon to 3pm with teams from Greater Manchester the North West and further afield. The venue is Power League near the Trafford Centre. 

    FC United are supporting this tournament and one of our players will be 
    presenting the trophy. Anyone is welcome to attend. 

    For more details email:

  • Never mind.  Read it.  FFS.

    My position is the international community needs to clearly define the conditions under which a Palestinian state will be formally recognised and that those conditions must be achievable so that the Palestinian people clearly have the opportunity to elect a government which can commit to them and be recognised.

    UN recognition is what they want.  We should listen to them.  It’s not an unreasonable request.

    TB and I have disagreed on this before.  Like when I went to speak to my MP before the last gulf war and he gave me his clear commitment that he would not vote for war without a second UN resolution.  He clearly meant it at the time.  Heaven only knows what was done to him directly after that to make a liar of him.


  • MicheleB

    I don’t need to ‘take a look’ as I took one when it was broadcast.

    A lot of it was people adopting stances for political reasons just as everyone in such negotiations on their varied national timetables with conflicting deadlines, differing constituencies and priorities have to.  

    I posted at the time that Oborne (who’s become sweatier and more panicky-looking as the week has gone by) provided no proof of his accusations, admitted he’d found no proof but repeated them anyway. 

    He’s looking like a neglected jealous spouse who’s living on spite, he must surely be damaging his reputation (except with those that like hyperbole and vendetta).

    I think it’s time that we assessed whether our Press serve us or expect to drive us?  I don’t want some shabby sweaty hack running like a headless chicken round the world in pursuit of what’s in his head.  He needs to stand still.

  • MicheleB

    I’ve been referring to his asking the Palestinians not to make a formal request for statehood at the UN last week. 

    I’m sure he can have meant only at that time, not forever, but it must be much more than frustrating for them.

  • MicheleB

    I hadn’t known the details of Robert Enke’s suicide so I find it especially moving that he did so after his little child died but really wish his method had not been what it was.

    One can empathise about the need to do something that demonstrative but still wish that others had not been subjected to what they must have been.  It’s all symptoms of how destroyed he must have felt, but the effects on others ….

    This reminds me of the thread about CRB checks and how they are not done solely to check up on the background of the would-be worker but also to assess their own resilience to the side-effects of others’ sadness.

  • Whatifwhatif

    Ooops, that should be on the other thread!

  • Actually, Views from the UK 2006, although my MP promised me personally that he would not vote for war without a second UN resolution and them did, I have forgiven him.  I realised I had at the last election.  It wasn’t a bar to my voting for him with TB gone.  The bar was Labour’s economic policy.

    However Tony’s current efforts at destabilising the world could change my opinion.  For goodness sake please someone sack him. It’s time to send Hague in instead.

  • MicheleB

    …………….. sigh

  • sigh

  • MicheleB

    ooops, I knew I’d placed this on the wrong thread but couldn’t find it to re-place it where it would be relevant!