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Gordon Brown: Long Time No Speak

By Leslie Clark
May 13th, 2013 at 8:07 pm | No Comments | Posted in Labour, Scotland

‘Hey stranger! What you have you been up to? I’ve heard you made an important speech on Scotland’s constitutional future today’.

Gordon Brown replied:

In the last few years I have had time on my hands, time to reflect, courtesy of the British people, and I want to put the positive, principled, forward-looking case for a strong Scottish Parliament inside a strong United Kingdom.

Ask any best man and they will tell you it can take a long time to prepare a quality speech, including the tricky opening icebreaker, but Gordon’s life has been far from hectic of late. As revealed by Guido Fawkes back in February, Gordon Brown went TWELVE MONTHS without speaking in parliament.

With his ample preparation time, his speech on preserving the political marriage between Scotland and the UK ought to be something special.

I’ve not seen the full-text his speech but from the snippets I’ve heard from various news outlets, it appears to be the usual mixture of Nat-bashing, sentimentality and platitudes. In other words, exactly the same speech Gordon Brown has made on the Union over the past two decades.

Boredom is often a key reason for divorce.


Ed Miliband’s Latest Immigration Pledge

By Leslie Clark
December 14th, 2012 at 3:34 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Labour

Ed Miliband today called for immigrants lacking proficiency in English to be barred from certain public sector jobs. The Labour leader said, “if we are going to build One Nation, our goal should be that everyone in Britain should know how to speak English.”

My first reaction to his speech wasn’t to question Labour’s record on immigration or analyse any key policy changes but rather to recall former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s sustained assault on the English language:

“We are now taking proper, putting the amount of resources and investment to move what we call extreme conditions which must now regard as normal.”

“I undressed 450 students yesterday with Ed Miliband and Eddie Izzard and I did 300 last night.”

“The green belt is a Labour achievement, and we mean to build on it.”

Luckily for the people of Humberside during the PCC elections, they managed to stop the indigenous Lord Prescott attaining a “publicly- funded, public-facing job” via the ballot box.

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Labour blows dog whistle on EU migration

By Leslie Clark
November 11th, 2012 at 10:31 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Europe, Labour, Migration

Reports of the death of Blue Labour have been greatly exaggerated – its spirit lives on in Labour’s new approach to EU migration. With the transitional controls on those from Bulgaria and Romania ending in December 2013 – which was already the maximum timeframe under EU rules – Yvette Cooper has said Labour supports extending the ban. Why?  It’s a handy way of ‘reconnecting’ with your core constituency ahead of the European Elections. Think Gillian Duffy.

Hysteria is already rife in the British press regarding an impending influx. Hilariously, The Daily Mail shrieked ‘30m Bulgarians and Romanians are set to gain unrestricted access to UK as EU regulations are lifted’, a remarkable figure when one considers that the total population of those two countries is actually less than that. Likewise, The Sun helpfully provided a Dad’s Army style map to inform its readers of another continental invasion.

Too often, migrants are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they are in work, they distort the labour market and steal ‘British’ jobs. If they aren’t in work, they leech off the state. So when debating such matters, it is time we searched for facts rather than populism. As a recent Open Europe report concluded,

 “…the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the UK’s new migrants from Eastern European countries have come to the UK in search of work rather than to take advantage of the UK’s welfare system.”

Freedom of movement is at the cornerstone of the EU. Last year, Maurice Glasman, the intellectual guru of Blue Labour, made his feelings known about Eastern European workers coming to the UK,

I think we should have a treaty change to stop it. Renegotiating treaties. Going back to the roots of the EU protection of workers and land.”

However, to quote the aforementioned Open Europe report,

In truth, trying to opt out of free movement is essentially the same as trying to leave the EU.”

Labour have to decide whether they support our continuing membership of the EU or allow Blue Labour Euroscepticism on migration to seize the day. They can’t have both.

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Lib Dem Ad Campaign: Amateur Hour

By Editor
October 4th, 2012 at 9:00 am | 3 Comments | Posted in Labour, Liberal Democrats

We are joining the ranks of Lib demmers looking at the new ads being run by party HQ and saying er, No.

The most recent ad looks, as Digital Politco puts it, like “someone photoshopped it when they were bored for 5 minutes”.

We really thought we heard Nick tell us last week that were the party of the centre ground. Yet here we are, but a few days later, shouting a leftwing banker bashing message for all we are worth. We are not even sure that it is that easy to recognise Ed Miliband beneath that powered wig hat and ears. (And we are sure he reminds us of some character from a BBC period drama but can’t quite put our finger on it.)

And though you might think us picky we are not even sure you can count a poodle (if that is indeed what it is supposed to be) as a lapdog, surely it has to be a minature poodle to be a lapdog? All in all  a pretty lame effort.

It also curiously, seems to have little to do with the ad van running around Labour conference right now (photo from Liberal England blog spot). Well Ok , its bashing Labour, its from the Lib Dems and it has the fairertax website url on it.. but really does that constitute a coordinated campaign?

Its best been described by a former LV blogger with a flare for hitting the nail on the head :

“It’s a Focus leaflet graphic on a billboard, with no clear or memorable message, targeting a group unlikely to switch to the Liberal Democrats and saying nothing of any interest to other groups, with the possible exception of tax geeks who like bar charts” .

(We are also not entirely sure that the numbers  are correct – though we hope we can at least rely on Campaigns to get that bit right , so we bow to their expertise on this one.)

So what is going on? Last week at conference Jeremy Browne articulated what many of us who have worked in marketing or communications have been saying for a while – we should not define ourselves by the Conservatives or Labour, but define ourselves in our own terms. – as liberals Sadly that message seems not to have reached whoever is in charge of our media strategy.

We are not entirely convinced that an ad van, presumably targeting the (most hardened of) Labour activists attending conference is necessarily a good spend of our cash. Unless of course it is a cunning plan to excite conference attendees to push Labour further to the left in bid to squeeze out a bit of space in that fabled “centre ground”.

Either way with precious little money to spend, the party needs to get much better at these “attack” ads or, better still, abandon ya boo politics, pull our finger out and get the growth going. When we see some real green shoots we will have something to shout about, until then we are probably best saying nothing – especially if this is the best we can come up with. Unfortunately in the interests of “fairness” we have a nasty feeling that we might just see something equally cringe-making ad “sticking it to the Tories” at Conservative conference next week. More humiliation. Oh joy.

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Am I wrong to laugh at Labour’s woes?

By Angela Harbutt
September 27th, 2011 at 7:42 pm | No Comments | Posted in Labour, Uncategorized

Yes probably. But I could not help but hoot when Ed Miliband went off air for a while during his speech… Trust Labour with the economy ?.. You can’t even trust them to get their “once a year- showcase to nation”  broadcast right. Oh dear…

There is a mischeavous part of me that wonders if his “advisors” did not pull the plug on him..

Then came the sad indictment of the whole Labour party conference…Rather than spend hours with woeful Labourites arguing (still) that Ed Balls should not have apologised for Labour mistakes – or analysis and reactions to their glorious leaders speech- both BBC News Channel and Sky News decided that showing hours of live footage from Michael Jackson’s doctors trial was more interesting!

Hmmm..  Apparently… coverage of deadpan attorney in a dry courtroom addressing question of whether doctor killed pop star or not much more interesting than coverage of dull Labourites in dull conference hall addressing question of whether leader had killed party or not.

I seem to recall a certain Labour phrase about it being a good day to bury bad news. But NO! They surely didn’t deliberately schedule their hapless leaders speech to end just before the trial was due to go live… just in case?

Then again….

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