Coffee House

Harriet Harman: Labour is making steady progress

25 March 2014

8:28 AM

25 March 2014

8:28 AM

‘I don’t think things are going wrong,’ Harriet Harman insisted on the Today programme. ‘I think we’re making steady progress. And if you look at when people actually vote, for example in council elections, then actually around the country we’ve got nearly 2,000 more councillors since Ed Miliband became leader.’


Miliband last night admitted on ITV’s The Agenda that 2015 will ‘be a close election’. Harman helped flesh out why when she defended her leader, telling Today that ‘I think that Ed Miliband has absolutely identified that people are feeling a real squeeze on their living standards, and despite the Chancellor and the Prime Minister saying ‘everything’s fine, the recovery’s under way’, people feel the recovery has not reached them, and he’s put forward radical and sensible measures like freezing fuel bills and ensuring business get a cut in their business rates’. Miliband has indeed identified a problem, but there isn’t much evidence that he has convinced voters that his party is the solution. And this is what worries shadow cabinet members: that beyond negative messages about the nasty posh Tories, they don’t have enough to tell people on doorsteps.

Of course, this is a problem that always happens when a party’s timetable for announcing its manifesto pledges doesn’t quite fit with what the media wants to talk about or indeed with the political timetable of Budgets and other big government announcements. But the timetable itself is a bit of a problem too. The policy review had been due to report in 2012, but when Jon Cruddas took over, the timetable changed so that the first draft of the policy review would be published by July 2013. One paper was published in September 2013. Now the party is gearing up for the National Policy Forum, with The Times reporting today that Cruddas wants to make major decisions before that meeting this July. There are sufficient numbers of people in the party who think playing safe is better than being bold. Miliband’s camp say they don’t want to play safe, but they have some convincing to do before they can declare victory.

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Show comments
  • Doggie Roussel

    Tony Benn’s huge erection, at being laid in state in Westminster Hall, has been quelled and the undertakers have managed to extract him from the Mother of All parliaments and he will shortly be reduced to ashes or dust.

    Many from the tea producing industry and the producers of finest Virginia shag were seen and heard weeping copiously at his obsequies…

  • Doggie Roussel

    Harriet Longford Harperson…

    The most ghastly and consummate fraud since Tony Blair.

    A plague on her and all her self-serving machinations….

  • saffrin

    “They don’t have enough to tell people on doorsteps.”

    Well I’d be surprised if anyone would answer their door if they knocked. What would be the point, after all who would believe anything they had to say anyway?
    Labour, just like the Tories and LibDem’s are yet to keep any of their pre-election promises to date.
    The man on the telly this morning said there’s at least one Government group
    calling for the abandonment of Cameron’s promise to cut immigration to the tens
    of thousands regardless of the fact Cameron already has.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Labour have little to say simply because they are invested in exactly the same bankrupt & deranged vision of Britain’s future as the Tories (individual class prejudices aside).

    PS And by putting forward Harriet Harman (possibly the least convincing politician on the Labour benches) must put in question Labour’s determination to win the election. She like Prescott before her demonstrates the worthlessness of the deputy leader role.

  • realfish

    BBC ‘Today’ have now run puff-pieces on Labour politics for two mornings on the trot. I suppose it ticks a box – they can now evidence some sort of impartiality, say they’ve covered Miliband’s problem – but in reality a penetrating examination of what is going on, it’s not.

    BTW: I wonder if Harman’s effusiveness with regard to the BBC and the licence fee, was in grateful thanks for their deliberate burying of her little PIE difficulty.

  • McRobbie

    I couldn’t stop larfing this morning reading that labour is pushing for a new direction than the one our country is presently on. So our economy is improving, jobs are increasing, debt is falling, cost of living is improving… and labour want to change that ? Obviously from their previous period of managing our economy the new direction miliebrain and labour want is for us to go broke again.

  • colliemum

    Not a word about the Law Society’s ‘guidance’ in regard to making sharia-compliant wills, which by their nature will discriminate against women?
    Yeah, it’s obviously better to go on about ‘cost of living’ than say something which might offend the religion of the permanently offended – who are Labour voters with a good line in postal voting …
    Principles? What principles, right, Ms Harman?

  • Shinsei1967

    The one thing every Minister is careful not to say is that “everything is fine”. So why is Harman allowed to get away with what is plainly a lie.

    The entire economic message from the Tories is that “we are on the right track but that there is still more to do.” Really couldn’t be clearer. There’s no a single complacent “everything is fine”.

    Yet, as always, the Tories are hopeless at fighting the media war.

  • David B

    She failed to mention how low the starting point was!

  • swatnan

    EdM didn’t really have much to say on The Agenda, apart from ‘the cost of living crisis’. If he says that again, I swear I’m going to give up the will to live.
    Tom, do you spell ‘-agner’ with a W or a V? was the highlight of the programme.

  • Greenslime

    Her interview this morning was one of the most vacuous I have heard for some time. Nothing, absolutely nothing, to add to the debate. Just a continuing chant about the cost of living crisis. She, and the rest of the party have obviously been studying Goebbels.

  • Swiss Bob

    “Labour is making steady progress”

    Towards oblivion with any luck, the hateful, thieving, nepotistic pervs.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Agreed. Labour is the party of mediocrity, failure, lies, lying and liars.

    • Daidragon


  • Colonel Mustard

    I shall rejoice when this horrible woman finally gives up politics and no longer harms the nation.

    • Alexsandr

      and her lap dog, the useless Jack Dromey. Pair of hypocritical kiddie-fiddling apologists.

      • wycombewanderer

        Don’t worry they’re lining up safe seats for the next generation.

        Blair,Straw,Prescott,Kinnock,Benn andDromey soon the whole gang will be back at the trough.

        Labour the party of inherited power privilege and money

        • Paul W

          The party of the establishment.
          They have the police, judiciary, quangos, doctors, probably the armed forces and a significant number of misguided businessmen.
          No longer a blue collar party.

          • telemachus

            I am tired of the bleeding hearts who decry the success of the socialists when we begin to enter into the middle class preserves that they had arrogated to themselves
            The whole thrust of this thread is bogus. Harriet is a true feminist and socialist who will deliver the bulk of reasonable women in 14 months
            Whatever Lynton Crosby tries to throw at her

            • Wessex Man

              Harriet Harperson, a socialist who began to enter middle class preserves, are you mad, oh sorry of course you are.

              • Shazza

                The correct spelling is Harpicperson.

                • Wessex Man

                  I like that!

            • realfish

              I do regret that the recent Disqus changes mean that we no longer have the fun of seeing all of Tele’s ‘down arrows’ mount up.

            • wycombewanderer

              “Harriet is a true feminist and socialist who will deliver the bulk of reasonable women in 14 months”

              What does that particular gibberish actually mean?

              • Colonel Mustard

                Borg-speak. Hard wired tribal tripe of the loop recording type.

                Certainly plenty of bulk on the opposition benches. But more treasonable than reasonable.

              • ortac

                It appears that she will be changing her job to midwife, or maybe a stork! 😀

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Nothing. Telemachus is a socialist nutter and nothing he says means anything.

              • Wessex Man

                it means that dear old telemachus is nearing the edge again!

            • Colonel Mustard

              Yeah, we know what you think. Now go away.

            • Colonel Mustard

              She’s also a fan of Newsnight:-


              Solidarity or conspiracy? Nothing like a bit of impartiality from the BBC.

          • Shazza

            And the BBC.

        • Shazza

          And lies.

    • Kitty MLB

      The irony of those words Colonel. she can continue to destroy our country
      the one she is supposed to serve and we can’t get rid of her, we still
      have to listen to the poisonous miasma, even from her recycled delusion of opposition. We have to wait until SHE decides
      to give up politics. Its just all back to front.

      • Daidragon

        it’s called democracy. Her constituents decide when she goes or stays not a bunch of swivel eyed nutters on the Speccie site.

    • Andy

      This evil woman shouldn’t ‘give up politics’: she should be driven from public life. There is no place for apologist scum like her.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Yes there is, it’s called prison and there should be a cell for her next to the one reserved for Gordon Scum Brown.

    • HookesLaw

      Then lets all send her there – vote conservative.

      • Kitty MLB

        Indeed, but you should have used an upper case letter 🙂
        The problem is we do not want them having comfortable seats
        in the HOC. Total oblivion…stygian gloom !

      • Colonel Mustard

        Can’t see that makes much difference when it was a supposedly Conservative-led government that supported and pushed through her wretched ‘equality’ bill.

      • Wessex Man

        well that’s not going to get rid of her, all you are advocating is splitting our vote! Vote UKip!

    • Graeme S

      Nailed it

  • Kitty MLB

    More progress in what Mad Hattie Hatemen ?
    Lobotomising the rest of the electorate so that they will vote for
    you bunch of deluded dictators again, and fortunately self- flagellation
    is not a necessary in this country.

    • Alexsandr

      deluded dictators? we should have a day of alliteration for describing them. that would be fun.
      Deluded dromeys
      bonehead balls
      halfwit hunt

      • Kitty MLB

        Bamboozled Burnham
        Calamitous Cooper
        Effervescent Eagle
        Macabre Miliband
        Rebarbative Reeves.

        • McRobbie

          and balls

  • MirthaTidville

    Ah yes the fragant, but utterly barking Hattie…Glad to see she is as deluded as usual