X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Liam Byrne’s pitch to keep hold of his job

21 August 2013

5:15 PM

21 August 2013

5:15 PM

It can hardly be a coincidence that one of the few Labour figures to bother giving a speech on policy in the middle of Tumbleweed Time is a shadow minister who looks increasingly likely to get the chop. Liam Byrne’s speech today was partly his attempt to get a good last-minute appraisal from the media and Labour party itself before Ed Miliband embarks on his autumn reshuffle, and partly an attempt to lift the party itself out of the doldrums by talking about what Labour would really do.

While Labour clearly needs to move on from lying in wait for the government to muck up now that green shoots are poking up all over the place, Byrne suspects there is more to be gained from waiting for a few disasters on his patch. The grand theme of his speech was that Iain Duncan Smith is mucking everything up, and that only Labour can swoop in and save him. After listing at some length all the things that the Work and Pensions department is making a mess of, he made that typical Labour offer that comes when there is no hope of calling for a judge-led inquiry: cross-party talks:

‘Today I say enough is enough. Universal Credit is a good ida in principle but the implementation is a disaster. We all want this project to succeed, so today I am writing to the DWP to ask that cross-party talks begin with civil servants so that we can see exactly how bad things are and what’s needed to fix them. If Iain Duncan Smith won’t save Universal Credit, then Labour will have to prepare to clean up his mess.’

[Alt-Text]


Someone at DWP is currently filing this under Offers You Must Refuse, but Byrne is mimicking the language of his colleagues by talking about cleaning up the mess of the current administration.

He also came as close as he possibly could today to confirming what James first reported in July: that Labour plans to scrap the bedroom tax if it comes to power in 2015. Byrne said: ‘It should be dropped, and dropped now.’

There is a reason for this heavy hinting. Labour has a credibility problem with voters on welfare, and used to see Byrne as the solution to that. His speech today was entitled ‘Fiscal Discipline in Social Security: DWP under Labour in 2015’ in an attempt to show that Labour does indeed have a responsible attitude to welfare. But Byrne’s own, more pressing, problem is that he lacks credibility in the Labour party, with colleagues and members fretting that he doesn’t represent the sort of authentic Labour vision for welfare that they can support. So he needs to show his party that he is worth keeping because he has the same worries about welfare policies that they do. Whether his pitch to keep hold of his job has been successful will become clear this autumn.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close