Coffee House

Ed Miliband’s problems are mounting

15 January 2014

1:40 PM

15 January 2014

1:40 PM

Today’s PMQs has left Ed Miliband with a strategic headache. Miliband’s new less-Punch and Judy approach to PMQs isn’t working. In large part, this is because Cameron — who thinks he wins more of these sessions than he loses and that the facts on the ground now favour him — isn’t interested in cooperating. So Miliband is faced with the choice of continuing with this approach and being beaten up every Wednesday or abandoning it after just two sessions.

If Miliband does continue with it, expect to see the Tories continue to try to goad Ed Balls, one of the Commons’ most enthusiastic hecklers, into responding to them in kind — note how Cameron took repeated jabs at the ‘newly silent shadow Chancellor’. If Balls returns these taunts while Miliband is still trying his more dignified approach, the Tories will rejoice in claiming that the Labour leader is too weak to control his shadow Chancellor.

In terms of the substance of today’s exchanges, it was clear that Cameron is keen to avoid having to cap the bonuses of bankers at RBS. But he thinks he can head off Labour’s sallies on the issue by promising to prevent the total pay bill at the investment bank rising.

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It also seems that Cameron is moving towards the French idea of compensating individual householders for putting up with energy generation on their doorstep. In response to a question from Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt about the proceeds from fracking, he said that he was keen to ‘look at very local options, parishes and individual people should benefit.’

The biggest laugh of the day was reserved for Andrew Bridgen’s question reminding the House that Ed Miliband had declared that ‘what Hollande is doing in France, I want to do in Britain.’ Cameron, though, diplomatically, stuck to the economy in his reply.

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Show comments
  • Daniel Maris

    Unlike Mrs T who was quite happy to reinvent herself physically to get into power Miliband seems to be sticking to some seventies nonsense about being his own stylist. Bad news for Labour.

    He would be 3-5 points up in my view if he had his teeth sorted (as he had his adenoids done), got his hair coloured and restyled, wore glasses (to decrease the bulk of the nasal region), and stopped wearing those Blair-era suits. He needs to appear fresh and different. Probably for most appearances outside Westminster he should adopt the sweater and jeans look of relaxed middle classness. He looks way too earnest most of the time.

    • Holly

      ‘He needs to appear fresh and different’…and therein lies his problem.

      He will never be anything but the stale, same old, seventies Labour.
      He represents everything that was wrong in the seventies, and no amount of suit-changing, jeans/sweater wearing or spectacle-wearing can change the stuff that swirls around this socialist’s head, and usually comes out of his mouth, sending shivers down the spine of everyone who remembers those times.
      Long may it continue.

    • Makroon

      Perhaps he should get down to M&S and buy some of those garish checked suits that Boland (he’s Dutch which kind of explains it), fondly imagines we are all dying to wear.

  • Chris

    Who cares about this Punch and Judy show?

    Vote UKIP!

  • Geronimo Huxley

    I cannot understand the obsession with the Eds. Can’t the government find any proper opposition to oppose?

    • manonthebus

      Have you any suggestions? Aren’t the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow chancellor supposed to be the opposition? PMQs are PMQs!

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    History is cruel to politicians with the presence vomiting retributions. Most politician did what they did at that time for which they thought correct while the politics of the present succumbing the history. With such in mind a political culture must be respected in common interest. Mr. Miliband is not an exception as his party. He tries hard but his party must try harder.

  • CharlietheChump

    And now BOE’s Carney tells Ed his reforms won’t work.
    Game set and match.

  • BoiledCabbage

    No – all Milliband has to do is harvest the votes of those who wish to have more benefits at the expense of the wealthy and he is PM.

    • BoiledCabbage

      ….and Cameron is so hidebound by the LibDems that few voters know what Conservative policy is.

      • Holly

        And if Boiled Cabbage can recognise the problem…..

  • Smithersjones2013

    So the Tories think its clever to come over as flat track bullies do they? It must be the Flashman in Cameron. Labour would be foolish to give up on the tactic so soon. After a while Cameron will gain a bully boy image and once he has it will be hard to lose.

    Like all bullies it will become apparent Cameron is all mouth and short trousers.

    • Holly

      There’s that POLAR OPPOSITE trick again…
      Nice try though.
      Labour deserve all the mud that is hitting them in the face, every time Miliband mentions ANYTHING!

  • Bill Brinsmead

    Ed Miliband might be hopeless but could be our next Prime Minister – with help from UKIP.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Indeed and don’t forget all the help Labour will get from the Libdems (well the former ones who ran screaming in terror from the thought of fornicating with the Nasty Party).

      PS And its not UKIP who are blowing kisses at Labour. It’s David Cameron’s deputy Prime Minister. The Tories are like the British military during the last world war in Singapore. They’ve got their guns pointed the wrong way and have had them pointed the wrong way throughout this government. If you point your guns at someone, don’t be surprised to see them fire at you. Tories really are the village idiots of the political scene

      • HookesLaw

        You have excelled yourself spouting rubbish there.

      • Colonel Mustard

        It is a complete myth that the guns were pointing the wrong way at Singapore.

        • telemachus

          Possibly
          But useless anyway

          “A great deal of criticism has been made of the fact that the guns were pointing out to sea, that is pointing the wrong way if the Japanese came overland. Col. Russell-Roberts explained that they were very good guns, deliberately sited in 1922 to fire out to sea, and despite the general uninformed opinion some of the bigger ones had a full circle traverse. The ammunition, however, was armour-piercing with very few high explosive shells, so the guns, although first class, were useless for offensive artillery action.”

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Don’t you mean with help from the BBC, the Client State, and his imported demographic?

      UKIP are way way down the list.

      • HookesLaw

        No UKIP are top of the list. They prevented a tory majority last time.

        • Denis_Cooper

          What, UKIP is top of the list, rather than a Tory party which proved incapable of getting enough voters to support it when it only had to defeat one of the most catastrophic governments in living memory?

          See Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 3 about motes and beams.

          • HookesLaw

            The tories won 97 seats in 2010. You need to look at the labour majority that needed overturning.

            • Denis_Cooper

              When we consider the Tory party’s failure to get an overall majority in the 2010 election, why do we need to look at the majority that needed overturning, which was just a measure of the same party’s previous failure in the 2005 election?

              Whatever the majority that needed overturning, after their gross economic and financial incompetence the Labour party should have been virtually annihilated in the 2010 general election, and they weren’t.

        • CharlietheChump

          No. Wee Georgie (strategic master) and Dave prevented a Tory majority last time.

          • Fergus Pickering

            You are a chump, fellah. They won 97 seats. When did the great Maggi win 97 seats? Blair did it, but I guess you are not a fan of his.

  • swatnan

    Ed is a right plonker at times, bless him.
    Doesn’t he read the papers? Hollande is a loser. He should stick to allying himself with Angela Merkel who seems to be winning her way through.
    Play it dead boring Ed, because Dave will always have the last word.

  • Mynydd

    Never before has a Conservative Prime Minister interfered in the operation of a company to the extent Mr Cameron did today, when, he said he would veto any increase in RBS’s wage and bonus pot. I wonder what the outcry would have been if Mr Miliband had said this. Maybe this is the result of Mr Cameron’s last visit to China learning how they micro-manage major companies. If so, who is next?

    • Redrose82

      The government is a majority shareholder in RBS. Cameron has every right to interfere on behalf of us all.

      • Mynydd

        UKFI is responsible for managing the Government’s shareholdings in The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc and Lloyds Banking Group plc. It is their board not Mr Cameron that are acting on our behalf, so much so it was UKFI that sold the shares in Lloyds. He should keep well away and let them get on with the job. It’s the last thing I want is the Prime Minister interfering in the day to day running of any company.

        • Count Dooku

          Given that HMT is the sole shareholder of UKFI and UKFI was set up by HMT, you’re splitting hairs. Cameron/HMT/HMG via UKFI can legally veto any pay packages the board propose to them. It may be advisory only but that’s company law.
          I agree that HMG should not interfere with company pay, but that’s because it always ends in disaster. But then again RBS should never have been bailed out.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        In 2008 the Labour party solemnly declared that the RBS and Lloyds would be run on a commercial basis without state interference. Typical of labour, the party of lies, lying and liars, they now seek to interfere at every juncture in respect of lending policy and staff remuneration. Interfering is all very well if you have the first idea of what you are talking about and can make a constructive contribution. When you are simply posturing for political gain like Miliband it is an utter waste of time. Regulation of the banks should be conducted by the relevant cenral bank which understands banking businesses, there cost bases, capital requirements and implications for bank capital of bonuses and salaries (variable and fixed costs respectively). You may recall that government interference in the bank regulatory process by those twin lunatics Balls and Brown precipitated the first bank failure in the UK in nearly 150 years and contributed mightily to the failures which occurred in 2008. Politicians should keep their ignorant, hypocritical and self-serving noses out of this situation

        • telemachus

          No no no
          The bank failur blew in from the US
          Gordon save not only our own but the US banks as well

          • MikeBrighton

            Funny that I actually know the lead federal regulator for a tier one US BD and their head of risk, neither of them was aware of the Uk actions, and Geithner only vaguely apparently. A good claim but if probe it in the Us you find it’s total BS

          • Holly

            And there’s me thinking the useless moron saved the world.
            After helping to wreck it in the first place!
            Credit where credit’s due eh?

    • Count Dooku

      To be fair the govt is the largest shareholder of RBS and should retain the right to use the veto.
      If RBS wanted to remain a private company (and pay like one) they should not have spent 40 billion buying ABN Amro.

    • realfish

      Nothing new. This was the position last year.
      And Cameron is right to take the position he has. He is also right to look at compensation packages in their totality and not, like Miliband, fixate, pose, gesture, about the bonus element

    • Chris lancashire

      Whilst I agree with your sentiment I have to add, Westland Helicopters, British Leyland ….?

      • Mynydd

        Examples why governments should not interfere in the day to day operations of any company, invest yes manage no.

    • Fergus Pickering

      He will veto what will not occur. The number of staff who will share this is DOWN.

  • toco10

    Red Ed is a busted flush.

    • Rossspeak

      Makes it all the more tragic that on the basis of the current polls he will win next year’s election by default. Who will be laughing then??

      • HookesLaw

        He will only win if people do not vote conservative. Its quite straightforward.

    • General_Patten

      What is tragic though is that he could win with 30% of the vote thanks to the “Rotten Boroughs” he has up North.

  • RavenRandom

    Miliband, Mr 35% saviour of the middle class you know, owner of a large client estate, sometime master of an intemperate economically illiterate bulldog called Balls, and amnesiac. Our own Francois Hollande.
    We need to thank the French. Even if Labour win in 2015 it is likely the example of the French disaster will have slightly tempered their voodoo economics.

    • telemachus

      I am astonished that you crow
      Labour remain consistently ahead in the polls
      The media luvvies think they are on to a good thing but in the real contest Joe Public will vote to bring us back to a fair society

      • Fergus Pickering

        Well of course they remain ahead in the polls. The opposition is always ahead in the polls. Until the election draws near.

      • Paddy

        So was Kinnock!

        • telemachus

          We learned from Sheffield

          • disqus_mfWEY1of2n

            Shame you didn’t learn from the Winter of Discontent

      • Holly

        The headline above states, ‘Ed Miliband’s problems are mounting’…
        Now does Mr James mean…
        The problems Miliband helped create, (before we booted Labour out of office) or the problems Miliband has made,(during his time as Labour leader) by raising one of the many problems, he helped create, just as they are beginning to turn around?

        Maybe, at next weeks PMQ’s, Miliband will raise a ‘problem’ that did not originate from something Labour caused in the first place.

        Doesn’t leave him very much to go on.

        • telemachus

          Most current problems are the aftermath of US subprime unfairly used by the Tories to tarnish economic genius Brown and his golden apprentice Ed Balls

          • MikeBrighton

            Is this a parody account? Labour f’d it up, one stat…Thatcher leaves office the balance sheets of the major UK clearing banks are 73% of GDP. In 2008 when contrary to “no return to Tory boom and bust” the economy busted by a staggering and disastrous 7.3% of GDP, the balance sheets of the clearing banks were more than 450% of GDP. Remind me who was in office for most of this period?

          • Holly

            It wasn’t just Bozo’s ‘economic genius that got him and Labour booted out.
            It was his arrogance, his own over-hyped thinking he was capable, and the fact that Bozo, and his ‘golden apprentice’ Balls, are utterly repugnant.
            Personally I don’t give a fig what other countries let their banks get away with, it was Bozo and Balls who had a duty and responsibility to regulate properly, control the level of bonuses thrown to useless gobshites like Goodwin, and not, I repeat not, give them knighthoods and golden goodbye’s funded by the taxpayer.
            Then on top of that you have all the other disasters that Labour are now rushing to say sorry for…
            Education
            Immigration numbers
            The NHS
            The welfare bill
            The gold sell-off
            The destruction of pensions
            The list of these two’s ineptitude, along with other equally inept Labour ministers, is too long.
            So you carry on ignorantly blaming the mess on the US sub-prime, and we will carry on laughing at your ignorance, and Labour’s inability to come out with any workable or plausible policies.

            I can not realistically see the public voting to get thrown back in the ditch by 1016 under Miliband & Balls….
            But hey, going by the massive 3-5 point lead in the POLLS you never know eh.

          • No1important

            And now I really can not take you seriously after that statement.

      • RavenRandom

        you’re slipping remora boy, second top post. I can hear your fear, methinks you protest too much.

      • David Prentice

        Neotelemachus is indisposed, so I’ll step in. Shut up, Idiot Number One.

        • dalai guevara

          LadyDingDong you mean?

  • AnotherDave

    There wasn’t a single poll in 2013 that put the Conservatives above Labour.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election#2013

    • RavenRandom

      No there hasn’t been; but pollsters questions are often met with the voice of short-term protest against the Government in power. That’s why Labour is worried, they know at this stage if they hope to win when people are faced with making an actual rather than theoretical decision, they need to be a lot further ahead.

      • Mynydd

        Remember the Conservative party must poll 5% above Labour to have an overall majority at the next General Election. Of course this figure was before UKIP became a major player and upset the apple cart. It could well be that the Conservative party’s poll rating should be around the 40% rather than being stuck around the 29/32%

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          And leftist scum like you think that an in-built electoral advantage is perfectly acceptable because it favours Labour.

          • Smithersjones2013

            Yes there are a few boundary changes (particularly in Wales) needed to equalise the constituency sizes (the reduction in constituencies was just Cameroon gerrymandering).

            However the rest of it, the “anti-Tory” tactical voting (which likely UKIP will plug into this time as well) and the lack of Tory support across large swathes of the country is more down to how toxic the Tories have become.

            Whine as much as you like but ultimately its because the Tories are a broken dysfunctional party and there is nothing the Electoral Commission can do about that. End of story.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              I cannot disagree but the alternative is Labour (the party of lies, lying and liars) and until UKIP can equip itself with and communicate (double underlined) a credible raft of policies the Tories are my only refuge. I personally like Farage as an amiable and honest communicator who appears to listen to the concerns of the British public and wishes to pursue their interests. That said he is (to paraphrase Eisenhower) “just not prime ministerial timber”. Thus, reluctantly, I want the Tories to form a government because the alternative is simply to terrifying to consider.

            • Fergus Pickering

              By no means end of story. I am prepared to bet that they will win or at least be the largest party.

            • Makroon

              I thought UKIP supported reducing the number of MPs and equalising constituency sizes ? Or have they decided (again) that it is expedient to back-track ?

          • Mynydd

            Mr Cameron failed in 3 1/2 coming up to 5 years to change the “in-built electoral advantage” there again he failed to win an overall majority at the last general election even when he was faced with an open goal. Get over it the man is a failure.

            • HookesLaw

              Thick tory backbenchers are to blame for that.
              Cameron won nearly 100 seats and Labour lost over 90. How many tory PMs have won over 97 seats at a general election?

              • Fergus Pickering

                I don’t know. But I bet you do. Could the answer be none.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              And yet the last time I looked he was still Prime Minister and to the extent that it irritates leftist leeches like you, I say good luck to him. Get over it, you simply don’t have the intellectual capacity or objectivity to participate in this or any other debate.

            • Fergus Pickering

              He failed to change it because Nick Clegg reneged on a promise. He is not my favourite Tory but he is a pretty successful leader. Your last leader was a disaster and this one is worse.What is more you have nothing better on offer. You get over it!

          • Fergus Pickering

            Well of course they do.

      • Smithersjones2013

        The problem is that so many of the polls are now inherently slanted towards the major parties that its likely that both their supports are over-estimated to some extent.

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