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Foodbank statistics present problems for the coalition – and for Labour

16 April 2014 11:47
Rochdale Foodbank Use Triples In A Year

Despite the stream of very good economic news (as described by Fraser and James), you won’t catch ministers saying that the crisis in living standards is ‘over’ because there is… Continue reading


Keith Vaz on the smarm offensive

14 April 2014 15:52
Keith Vaz is all things to all men. (ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

Keith Vaz was in full oil slick mode on Friday night when he found himself as the only Labour MP at the Asian Business Awards in Waterloo. Surrounded by dozens… Continue reading


Alex Salmond’s message to Labour supporters: vote ‘yes’ to escape the Tories

12 April 2014 17:28
SNP Leader Alex Salmond Delivers His Keynote Speech At The SNP Conference

When is a conference not a conference? When it’s a rally. Sitting in the hall listening to Alex Salmond this afternoon, it was hard to ignore the feeling that this… Continue reading


Ed Miliband bungles as Miller’s tale draws to a close

9 April 2014 17:02
Ed Miliband missed the opportunity of the week at PMQs, allowing David Cameron off the hook. (Image: Getty)

Oh dear. Miliband was all set to give Cameron an almighty hammering at today’s PMQs, but Maria Miller’s resignation blew up his ammunition dump. Mr Bercow rose at the start… Continue reading


Miliband’s moment of decision, does he call for Maria Miller to go?

8 April 2014 19:03

Ed Miliband faces a big decision tonight, does he use PMQs tomorrow to call for Maria Miller’s resignation. So far, he has limited himself to saying that Cameron has questions… Continue reading


Has anyone noticed Tory tanks rolling onto Labour’s lawn?

7 April 2014 8:40

It’s unfashionable to talk about the battle for the centre ground these days. The fight to win political credibility is conducted through a new prism. Populists versus the establishment, centralisers… Continue reading


The other awkward May elections and why they matter

3 April 2014 16:06
Electorial count staff tally the votes f

After all the excitement of Nick vs Nigel and the endless mutterings in the Tory party about uprisings following the European elections, you might be forgiven for thinking that the… Continue reading


Why Tristram Hunt is wrong about free schools

3 April 2014 10:09
Tristram Hunt at the Spectator schools conference this morning.

‘I’ve come to exorcise you lot,’ said Tristram Hunt cheerfully, as he turned up to deliver the keynote speech in The Spectator’s schools conference today. He had come to explain… Continue reading


Len McCluskey: Unite could start donating to other parties

1 April 2014 15:28
Image: Getty

Len McCluskey spoke to the press gallery lunch on April Fools’ Day. It would have been more fitting had the Unite leader not been such an impressive, witty, and thorough… Continue reading


Douglas Alexander: Labour hasn’t fired Arnie Graf as election guru

30 March 2014 10:43

Ed Miliband tried to reassure his MPs this week that the party just needed to weather a temporary blip. But one question the Labour leader will be (or should be)… Continue reading


Class warriors and unpaid mercenaries

28 March 2014 17:22

Class war. It’s not very classy, is it? But it’s Labour’s big thing at the moment, the class-of-politicians-crisis, which it thinks works well with the other crisis facing hardworking families… Continue reading


Small Labour rebellion as 22 MPs vote against welfare cap

26 March 2014 15:48
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Visits The UK

The Commons has just backed the government’s welfare cap by 520 votes to 22 against. As that figure for the Noes will include SNP MPs, this means a very small… Continue reading


Will welfare cap vote be Miliband’s biggest rebellion?

25 March 2014 14:43
Miliband visits Trafalgar Place

So Rachel Reeves confirmed in the Commons today that Labour will back the welfare cap when it comes to a vote. Tory MPs cheered her as she announced this. There… Continue reading


Harriet Harman: Labour is making steady progress

25 March 2014 8:28
Harriet Harman

‘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… Continue reading


Labour’s localist lurch

24 March 2014 13:48
Hilary Benn appears to have won his battle with other Shadow Cabinet members for a Labourish form of localism.

One of the other things worth noting from this morning’s letter from the ‘members of the progressive community’ who are anxious that Labour isn’t attempting to make a big offer… Continue reading


Budget 2014: a torpedo Budget which will split the Shadow Cabinet

24 March 2014 9:42

Last week’s budget has transformed the political landscape. The welfare cap, new savings and pensions freedoms and ‘NISA’s, have all been much commented on. So too other micro measures, like… Continue reading


Labour thinkers see danger in playing safe

24 March 2014 8:52

David Cameron’s attack on Labour for “flailing and dithering” over whether to support the government’s pension reforms would seem unfair had the party not struggled to present a clear message… Continue reading


What today’s polls mean for the Tories and Labour

23 March 2014 18:43
Image: Getty

The Labour party’s reaction to today’s opinion polls will tell us a great deal about how well Ed Miliband has really invested in his party. If the backbenchers feel they… Continue reading


Ed Miliband pushed left-wing Scots’ buttons today – but he needed to do more

21 March 2014 16:29
Image: Getty

English Labour leaders tend to find Scottish party conferences difficult. The Scots tend to be more old-fashioned, unreconstructed and left-wing than their English colleagues which can make it difficult for English… Continue reading


Ed Miliband’s speech in Scotland: Mr Pooter meets Alan Partridge

21 March 2014 16:01
Ed Miliband's Speech To Scottish Labour Party Conference

Ed Miliband has just given a quite extraordinary speech. I don’t know if it was deliberately banal or merely unfortunately dull. It was certainly stupefyingly boring. The Labour leader gave… Continue reading


Of course Labour doesn’t trust people with their money: the party made little effort to teach them about it

21 March 2014 13:38
Only in September of this year will personal financial education become part of the national curriculum. Picture: Getty

Labour’s response to the biggest announcement of the Budget, on pensions reform, was never going to be snappy. It would be unfair to expect an Opposition to deliver an immediate… Continue reading


Labour’s campaign pickle

21 March 2014 11:56

Douglas Alexander has given an interesting interview to the Independent in which he reveals that Labour has set up a team to monitor Ukip. It will go some way to… Continue reading


Labour sticks to cost-of-living attack as Budget debate rumbles on

20 March 2014 17:45
Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 15.55.27

If Ed Balls thought he could have done a better job than Ed Miliband at responding to the Budget, today he got his chance. The debate on the measures announced… Continue reading


Labour doesn’t want to talk about today’s budget

19 March 2014 17:46
Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 14.45.17

Ed Balls has just delivered quite an odd post-Budget briefing. It was odd because he didn’t really want to criticise anything. Of course, when the Chancellor has just unexpectedly announced… Continue reading


Budget 2014: The Tories gave Ed Miliband licence to become a class warrior

19 March 2014 14:47
Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 14.45.17

No opposition leader looks forward to responding to the Budget. It’s one of the harder gigs as you get little notice of the detailed measures that may cause real rows… Continue reading