Coffee House

There’s poison in the Shadow Cabinet – and it could cost Ed Miliband the election

24 June 2014

1:50 PM

24 June 2014

1:50 PM

That Ed Miliband is even having to state that he wants to carry on as Labour leader if he loses the general election when his party is ahead in the polls shows what a mess the operation around him is.

There are a number of Shadow Cabinet members who seem more interested in what happens after the 2015 election than in their party’s chances in that election. Perhaps this is because they have decided that though their party is ahead now, voters will panic about Miliband as they start to try imagining him as Prime Minister. Better to get your off-the-record briefings in now, and not make too much of an effort batting for this guy when you think you’re doomed.

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The problem is, of course, that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you assume your leader is doomed, brief that he’s ‘weird’, start plotting about who will lead the party after the 2015 election, and neglect your brief in the Shadow Cabinet, then you’re hardly helping your party hold on to that poll lead. Labour backbenchers are frustrated with this unrest, and the apparent lack of effort in some quarters. Some around Miliband are starting to squint suspiciously at figures who should be key in the Shadow Cabinet such as Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham. Cooper in particular is suspected of taking more than a passing interest in the future of the party, and less of interest in the Home Office brief. This is not entirely fair: the leak to the Mail on Sunday at the weekend showed that the party has decided to neutralise its immigration policy, which scarcely leaves this shadow minister with much room to do interesting things, other than chase Theresa May around Westminster.

The timing for Labour of all this unrest is dreadful and a reversal of the Tory party’s fortunes. The Conservatives have spent the past few years fighting, only to relax and (largely) unite in the run-up to the election. The Cabinet – save some spectacular bust-ups such as Michael Gove vs Theresa May – is not the main source of poison. Conversely, the Shadow Cabinet is the main source of infighting and venomous briefing, while Miliband’s backbenchers tend – with the exception of a few outspoken types – to feel their leader has invested so much in them that they should stick by him. The question is what to do about the poisonous shadow cabinet. There is an expectation that the Labour leader will carry out a reshuffle after David Cameron has done his, but this fish seems to be rotting from the very top of its head. Removing very senior Shadow Cabinet members could cause more trouble for Miliband than he thinks it is worth. Which may mean he has to work out how to put up with the poison, rather than removing it.

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Show comments
  • David B

    Blair and Brown all over again. Except this time we see it in opposition so hopefully we won’t make the same mistake by electing them

  • Pier66

    Hi lads
    Yvette Cooper next Miss England what do you think?

  • bugshead

    Lots of rotten fish in this cabinet, he would leave some very large gaps ! is there anyone in that cabinet that has not briefed against Millipede in the past 2 years ?

  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron has said he will continue as leader of the Conservative party if he looses the next election. We all know who wants his job their actions every day tell us who they are. We don’t need to guess.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      While Labour is a picture of stability with Miliband enjoying the full confidence of the three stooges pictured above. Idiot. Trolling for Labour as usual.

  • TrulyDisqusted

    Does any of the above even matter today when half of Labour’s voters can’t speak English?

    The other half just need to know “who to hate today” and where their nearest Victim Claims Unit is.

    Now, where is my Free Owl?

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Perfect comment. Absolutely perfect.

    • Daidragon

      Why are you firing fluffy things if the blades aren’t revolving? Another tory landowner ripping us off and taking a nice fat subsidy for having a turbine I suppose. Damn these parasitic Normans.

  • Mike Barnes

    Is everybody in the Westminster bubble looking at the wrong set of polling figures or something?

    http://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/06/24/survation-finds-con-to-lab-swing-of-7-3-with-the-lds-dropping-to-just-2-in-four-key-commuter-belt-marginals/

    Dave should be ringing around looking for a trustworthy removal man.

    • HookesLaw

      A little while back the govt actually won a by election. Comfortably. A real election when they could have sent a real message of anger to the govt – not an abstract poll.
      At a similar time before the last election Labour lost Crewe.

      • Alexsandr

        won an election but halved its majority. And saw a minor party come from nowhere to take a significant slice of the vote. Nowt there to be complacent about.

        • Wessex Man

          Won that by-election by getting every MP up there campaigning at least twice, appealing for voluteers from all over the country to go and help and getting members of the Tory Party not going up to conduct telephone canvassing.

          They still lost over half their majority and the buddies lost their deposit as usual. They will not be able to cocentrate the resources like that again comee the GE.

  • MirthaTidville

    Always nice to see the Socialist rats fighting in their particular sack….Long may it continue

  • Kitty MLB

    Indeed Bloodless Ed Moribund will need to watch out with that bloodthirsty hound from hades as his shadow chancellor and Mrs Balls the hamster chewing wicked witch.
    All waiting and plotting. Poison seeping of their chalice which they give wee Ed a drink
    whist inviting him for a drink. The horseman f the apocalypse flying across the heavens as they speak. Honestly the thought of that country destroying bunch being
    given power again is totally ludicrous, you couldn’t make it up.
    We must remember that they started the economic firestorm and are morally, socially
    and economically bankrupt. They betrayed this country and loath their core working
    class voter.

  • goatmince

    When you photomerge the faces of those to evil chaps in the picture and add some specs, the product of your work would not look dissimilar to the chap whose guilty verdict we are now no longer allowed to comment on.

  • Terry Field

    It is fun to watch the nauseating Balls, the poisonous Madame Balls and the Wensleydale man present a common repulsive face of terminally poisonous as well as poisoned New Old God-Knows-What-it-is Labour.
    State socialism is as dead as a dornail. It is absent in all the great nations of the world. Britain, socially and culturally behind the times as ever, is having a tiny difficulty in dumping the poison.
    Fear not, however; it will get there.
    The trio will continue as the rotten representatives of the politically and economically challenged as their colleagues fall buy the wayside, one by one, and then have to actually work for a living.
    And what of their prospects after ‘devo max’ and the solution to the West-Lothian Question, plus – one day – democratically fair boundaries?
    Then the Ballsian landscape will be bleak indeed.
    Milliband is, quite simply, a riotous comedy show, but nasty with it – as the brother can attest only too well.

    • telemachus

      Such bile
      Such vitriol
      When I look at the picture I have hope
      To have a real human being, a fair human being is a consummation devoutly to be wished. Folks are tired of the to-us-and-ours philosophy in our economic management
      They do not want a cat clawing witch at Home
      And above all they do not want the sly smug Hunt at Health

      • davidofkent

        I thought you didn’t like bile and vitriol. Or is it just other people’s bile and vitriol you don’t like.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        It is a picture of utter scum. Amoral, incompetent, preposterous scum.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Such predictability.

        When I look at the picture I see the Three Stooges of the Labour party catching flies.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Flies? Don’t you mean lies?

          • Colonel Mustard

            No, lies is what comes out of those gaping mouths not what goes in! But the image rather neatly captures the faux outrage that all three peddle. I especially enjoy the hushed and wheedling tone Mrs Balls routinely deploys to emote outrage at some imaginary Tory atrocity and empathy with its manufactured “victims”.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Agreed. Is Balls the most emetic of those three ghouls? I think it is impossible to decide they are all as dishonest, preposterous, self-important, incompetent, sanctimonious and hypocritical as each other.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Balls is what we used to call a ‘balloon’ and I’m surprised anyone takes anything he has to say as serious. He merely has to open his mouth for the lie detector klaxon to start wailing. He puts the slime in balls.

                But I reserve a special loathing for the creature of the night in the middle. A thoroughly nasty piece of work and a real fascist.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Well said. Burnham is a disgusting creature and a stain on public life.

                • telemachus

                  Andy has a credible plan to rescue the NHS from imploding

                • Wessex Man

                  oh dear, oh dear.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Oh yes Andy Burnham who believes the NHS
                  belongs to Labour…is that why we had so many
                  bad, filthy hospitals where people were dying
                  and the elderly left and forgotten.
                  It was a case of were we safe in the hands of the
                  NHS we were not but because of the excellent
                  work of Andrew Lansley and now Jeremy Hunt
                  we are safe.

                • Mynydd

                  Please read the latest reports on the NHS.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Yeah, probably to kill off every patient over 50.

                  Plans are only credible in fruition you muppet, not in formulation.

                  And “Andy” – as though he is a personal chum of yours. Pass the sick bag.

                • Peter Wass

                  Yes, losing the election.

      • Terry Field

        Oh please- Labour is the most cynical manipulator of the poor. You are naive beyond belief. You are beyond rational discussion and conversation.
        It is depressing that madmen like you are their to elect these monsters.

      • balance_and_reason

        shush Ed…its not good form to puff yourself.

        • telemachus

          Ed Balls is a miraculous man
          Whether singing
          Or playing football or running a marathon
          In short he is a man with breadth
          Contrast that with grey grey Osborne
          *
          We need some energy in politics

          • Inverted Meniscus

            But utterly preposterous, dishonest and incompetent.

          • Andrew Smith

            His policies near bankrupted the country.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Don’t worry, he will f**k things up properly next time.

            • telemachus

              Have you not read Beyond the Crash
              *
              It is objectively clear that the Brown team coped magnificently with the buffeting that was visited on the UK by Lehman Nd associated US events
              Not only that we showed the financial world fraternity how to rescue their banks

              • Wessex Man

                it’s the way you tell em! beyond the crash indeed, comes the Police Summons!

              • Andrew Smith

                Brown deserves credit for his reaction to the crisis. Three questions though 1) Who deregulated the banks in 1999 to allow them to become world leaders in dodgy practices? 2) Who spent money we didn’t have during boom times, thus hanging the millstone of debt around our economy? Where was Balls sitting at this time? Why, it was next to that Brown man who was responsible for 1 and 2.

                I’m looking forward to your next piece of non-sequitur sophistry about the sun-kissed Brown.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Miraculous as in managing to make money disappear with nothing to show for it. If he had three hats the walnut wouldn’t be under any of them. He would have eaten it.

          • Wessex Man

            oh dear and abandoning an accident site.

          • Fergus Pickering

            You missed out playing the piano.

      • Jabez Foodbotham

        a cat clawing witch at Home

        That’s a pretty good description.

      • Wessex Man

        oh dear!

      • Fergus Pickering

        cat clawing witch? How ungallant. Wash your mouth out with soap.

      • David B

        Tele you know all about spouting bile

  • The Masked Marvel

    Amusing that the Spectator editor has disabled comments for the two posts about Coulson.

    • realfish

      Not amusing, quite proper. The case isn’t over, the jury are still considering other verdicts.
      It would be interesting to consider, given the tone of Miliband’s unrestrained criticism of Coulson, whether he is in contempt.

      • HookesLaw

        Miliband is employing the man who outed Dr Kelly. Another labour cheerleader – the odious Campbell – was also involved in that disgraceful episode. It strikes me both these people should be in jail.

    • Terry Field

      HAs he?
      There is extreme pressure from the Home Office and there are gagging notices all over the place. The application of thought control is really quite extreme in Britain.

  • The Masked Marvel

    No, this isn’t the reason Labour could lose the election. The reason is that they are awful people with awful policies, and the majority of the public just might not want them in charge, no matter how hard the BBC try to help them clean up their message and prop them up.

    • Terry Field

      The Beeb should be terrified of a Tory government – they will remove the Goebbels-like media manipulation department of the Beeb – and Channel 4 finance supply should be dependent on the removal of the horrifically biased Snow – a man Paxman precisely summed up the other day in a couple of sentences.

      • The Masked Marvel

        The current Tory government has been toothless in that regard, and there’s no reason to expect any future one to behave any differently. Sure, Gove occasionally stands up to the partisanship on Today, but that’s about it. Didn’t Cameron leap obediently onto the Hacked Off bandwagon once the Beeb got it going?

        A Tory government which will really effect change at the BBC may be an existential threat they worry about at Broadcasting House, but it’s not much of a real one.

        • Terry Field

          Things may change. I live in hope – not a lot – but some.

          • The Masked Marvel

            Not until there is an exodus of Tory MPs who stand up and profess their love and devotion to the BBC every time there’s a wee scandal.

        • HookesLaw

          Its not a tory government – its a coalition.

          • The Masked Marvel

            Oh, sure, but don’t expect me to believe that this is the one area where the LibDems influenced a Tory policy.

          • Wessex Man

            That’s your get out clause now is iy Hooky babe?

          • Mynydd

            Does that mean half the Ministers are Lib Dems if so why did they get them from they don’t have enough seats. Its a Tory government like it or not.

  • itdoesntaddup

    Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

    • Terry Field

      as long as they hatch out elsewhere – I agree

      • itdoesntaddup

        In the shadow cabinet is just fine by me.

        • Terry Field

          Indeed – maybe they will change the name to the Shaddow Watercloset.

    • julian

      And remember Herod`s advice to Claudius `Trust no-one, not even me!`

  • swatnan

    It would be impossible for EdM to continue as Leader after the Election.
    Ordinary members would not allow it.

    • Terry Field

      All three members!

  • DavidGow

    An assumption behind this article is that Labour are likely to win the next election. Whilst they are slightly ahead in the polls now, no party has won an election with such a small poll lead a year before an election. I assume the shadow cabinet know this hence the infighting.

    • KestrelSprite

      The assumption behind your response is that the electoral system is fair and balanced. Due to unbalanced constituencies, Labour has a hidden majority and that is before they start postal voting fraud on an industrial scale. Labour cannot lose the election, even with Ed in charge.

      • Wessex Man

        I was absolutely amazed at the numbers of postal votes for one County at the last elections, it’s wide open to corruption and should be restricted to the infirm and those who can prove to be out of the country at the time of an election.

        That of course doesn’t include those currently running wild in Iraq!

  • Pier66

    Holland V ENGLAND 2 – 12
    L’Aia, Paesi Bassi; 1 of April 1907
    Poor Holland shocked for ever as the rest of the world
    Ynwa and tory all the way

  • telemachus

    Dan Hodges is onto this in the DT

    The charismatic one is in there

    *

    One person who did not issue a supportive statement, of course, was the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls. Indeed, over the past few weeks, rumours have started to circulate in the corridors of Westminster that Balls is “on manoeuvres”. “He’s up to something,” MPs have been whispering to one another, in conspiratorial tones.

    • Moriarty

      Yes and then Hodges dismisses this. Why only read one half of the article? Idiot.

      • Kitty MLB

        He never reads articles correctly. Just a goblin sent here to lurk in the
        shadows of this place. Antagonising everyone and creating mayhem
        whenever he can.

        • telemachus

          You know well that the first bit of Hodges was true

          • Kitty MLB

            Its odd how you just turn up, a hovering wasp lurking in the
            shadows.

      • telemachus

        I read it all
        But form dictates that the quoted bit is the reality

        • Moriarty

          No. It is the bit you selected to present.
          Form “dictates” (whatever that means) that you desist from insulting the intelligence of the rest of us.
          You are like a forum “Trigger”.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The funniest part of that article, which was a joy to read as it confirmed the hopeless nincompoop-ism of Son of Communitht’s warmed up “New” Labour gang, was the description of the odious slimeball and propagandist Watson as a “Brownite pistolero”.

      The fact that Son of Communitht has had to resort to Kinnochio as a cheerleader says it all.

      “We’re awwwwwwwwright!”

      Tee-hee

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