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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012
** Hey Ed, Remember David? ** Guess Who's Coming To Lunch ** ** Bankers Beware ** Ed M, The Boy Band And The Bonking Machine **


Labour leader Ed Miliband has been doing the traditional, pre-conference leader's interview on the Andrew Marr show. He says he will maintain an "iron control" on public spending if Labour is elected to government, and promised to reverse the coalition's cut to the top rate of tax (from 45p back to 50p). He backed Harriet Harman's description of the Lib Dems as "accomplices" to the Tories.


David Miliband is said to have once told a member of his inner circle that baby brother Ed will "crash and burn" according to the Mail on Sunday's serialisation of an updated paperback biography of the Labour leader co-authored by, er, um, yours truly.

From the paper's extract:

"David is still 'psychologically scarred' by losing, claims a friend of Ed. 'The number of grudges he holds is unbelievable.'..Towards the end of last year, David was overheard telling a member of his inner circle: 'Ed will crash and burn.'"

Friends of Ed are also worried about the other Ed, Balls"

"While Ed M may lack outriders, Ed B doesn't. 'The Ed Balls machine is running the show,' says a frustrated friend of the leader. 'It's waiting patiently and, if Ed fails, it'll replace him with Yvette. It would be a coronation.'"

The book is on sale from Monday. Last night, David Miliband tweeted: "Judging by extracts about me in the Mail on Sunday, updates to Ed's biography should be fiin the fiction section - i.e. made up"


Meanwhile, a few moments ago, on the Marr show, asked if David M is coming back to the Labour frontbench, Ed M said: "I think [David] is doing a whole range of things, and I think he wants to carry on with that and I hugely respect that."


From the Sunday Telegraph:

"Boris Johnson will have lunch with David Cameron at Chequers [today] – a week before the start of a politically charged Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

The meal comes in the middle of a rocky period between the Prime Minister and the London Mayor, who have clashed over a range of policy issues and claims that Mr Johnson is "on manoeuvres" to succeed Mr Cameron as party leader.

The lunch will be a private affair at the Prime Minister's Buckinghamshire residence – with just Mr Cameron, his wife Samantha, Mr Johnson, and his wife Marina present.

A source close to Mr Johnson said the Mayor was 'relaxed' about the lunch."

Perhaps he shouldn't be too relaxed about the meal, given how threatened the PM is by the mayor of London. In fact, Boris, why not get Dave to taste all the food first? Just to be safe...


There's always mileage to be had in bashing bankers - some on the left worry that Ed Miliband hasn't done enough of it. The Labour leader, however, takes his strongest line against the banks in an Observer interview this morning:

"I'm saying very, very clearly – there's two things that can happen. The banks can change direction and say we're going to implement the spirit and principle of Vickers to the full, which means the hard ringfence between retail and investment banking. Either they do that or I'm giving a very, very clear message which is that the next Labour government will just by law break up retail investment banks. You'd do what they call Glass Steagall."

Hmm. Has he checked this with his shadow chancellor, who has in the past suggested to some that he opposes such a split?


The answer is: tax cuts. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph's Patrick Hennessy, shadow chancellor Ed Balls calls for a two-year stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers aimed not just at kick-starting the housing market but stimulating the entire UK economy.

Says Balls: "What George Osborne has managed to do is an astonishing political achievement. He's actually managed to unite Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, me and Harriet Harman — all agreeing that we need tax cuts now."


Watch this spoof video of "Cameron On Letterman: The Bits You DIDN'T See".


Speaking to the Sunday Times, outspoken Unite boss Len McCluskey says: "We should only be supporting those constituencies where their vision of the type of future that we want is in line with ours... Of course we are trying to influence the party again."

The headline? "Union boss: we'll seize back Labour"

McCluskey is annoyed about Labour's support for a public sector pay freeze. An annoyed Polly Toynbee has just accused McCluskey of being "extraordinarily irrelevant" on the Marr programme.

Ed Miliband, meanwhile, has told Marr: "My view on this is very clear: we have the right policy of putting jobs in the public sector ahead of pay's a difficult decision...there is a bigger message about the Labour Party... we must be a party of the private sector just as much as we are a party of the public sector."


From the Independent on Sunday:

"David Cameron was embroiled in a fresh party funding row last night after he opened a factory in Brazil belonging to one of the Conservatives' largest donors.

The Prime Minister is to face questions in Parliament over the decision to put Sir Anthony Bamford's JCB factory in Sao Paulo at the centre of his trip to the South American country."


Who says the Labour leader out of touch with popular culture? From the Mail on Sunday's extract from our updated biography:

"A visitor to [Miliband's] office spotted a calendar of the boy band One Direction on the wall behind Jill Cuthbertson, the leader's diary secretary.

As he was looking at the calendar, Ed wandered over and, pointing at 18-year-old Harry Styles – the band member known for his flings with older women – casually remarked: 'This guy's a bonking machine.'


"I'm not interested really in that sort of poker game," says Ed Miliband in his Observer interview, when asked whether he'd rule out working with Nick Clegg in a future hung parliament. But that's exactly what he has said on several previous occasions.


From the Observer/Opinium poll:

Labour 39
Conservatives 29
Lib Dems 10

This would give Labour a majority of 110.

From the Sunday Times/YouGov poll:

Labour 40
Conservatives 35
Lib Dems 10

This would give Labour a majority of 60.


@catherine_mayer Never mind imagining Ed M as PM. I'm trying to imagine him on #Letterman. #Marr

@IanDunt #Marr is doing very badly here. Miliband giving him a bit of a spanking.

@OllyGrender For well over 12 years Labour kept the top rate of tax at 40p #marr #toolittletoolate


Matthew D'Ancona, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, says: "What is the point of a Left-of-centre Labour leader with an empty wallet? [Miliband's] response will determine the success of this conference – and much else besides."

John Rentoul, writing in the Independent on Sunday, says: "Ed Miliband may be irredeemably wonkish; he may say he looks like Wallace; but when people say that they intend to vote Labour, I am inclined to believe them."

Andrew Rawnsley, writing in the Observer, says: "What should most worry Mr Miliband is how few voters think he is capable of making a tough decision... This weakness matters greatly because it is closely enmeshed with whether voters will be prepared to trust the nation's finances to Labour."

Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan (, Chris Wimpress ( or Ned Simons ( You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @chriswimpress, @nedsimons and @huffpostukpol
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