Archive for Alistair Darling

Good Week, Bad Week 27/05/12…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2012 by eljmayes

Good Week

Ed Miliband- Miliband has had yet another low key week this week with his party still well ahead in the polls. Miliband’s personal ratings are just ahead of the Prime Minister’s but are still in minus territory. I suspect Labour and Miliband will carry on their good run of form until the party conference season in the Autumn, where much more scrutiny will be heaped on the opposition.

Nick Clegg- Clegg has had his usual dull week. Perhaps he should have been home for the street party thrown by UK Uncut for it to have been livelier.

Ed Balls- Balls succeeded in riling the Prime Minister so much this week that he called him a “muttering idiot”. I doubt the remark will have any real long term impact for either side however.

Bad Week

David Cameron- A slightly better this week for the Prime Minister but still it seems that he and the entire Conservative party can’t wait for the Summer break to come. A reshuffle before the break would signal intent on Cameron’s part but it’s not without it’s risks. The Jeremy Hunt situation has complicated reshuffle plans and Cameron must be wishing that by the end of next week he will be in a position to have a fresh team for the Autumn.

Sayeeda Warsi- Details of Warsi’s accommodation blunder are still sketchy but clearly she looks to heading out of the Cabinet. If Warsi quit Cabinet it would look infinitely better than if she had to be reshuffled out of Cabinet.

Alex Salmond- Salmond was deeply unimpressive at the launch of the “Yes” campaign for Scottish Independence. I feel that he certainly was met his match in Alistair Darling.


A (Short) Alistair Darling: Back From The Brink Review…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on September 17, 2011 by eljmayes

It’s slightly better than Tony Blair’s book, but not as readable as John Prescott’s book.

Good Week, Bad Week 11/09/11…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by eljmayes

Good Week

David Cameron- The Prime Minister has had a good if rather uneventful week. Prime Minister’s Questions were a non event thanks to Alistair Darling’s memoirs, The Tories are neck and neck with Labour in the polls and the opposition seems to be getting very divided before their party conference. The story of Darling’s memoirs will eventually go away but clearly there still are two factions in Labour, those who prefer a more left wing approach and those who would prefer the party to hog the centre ground. Cameron knows a left wing Labour party would be nigh on impossible to elect in 2015 so must be happy at the current leadership of Ed Miliband. Worries of a double dip recession and a split over Europe still may prove to be stumbling blocks for the Tories however.

Nick Clegg- The Deputy Prime Minister has had the usual quiet week leading into his party conference. Expect the Liberal Democrats to rise in the polls next week, perhaps at the expense of Labour.

Alistair Darling- The former Chancellor’s book is very reserved in tone but quite devastating in meaning. In Darling’s eyes, Gordon Brown (as portrayed  before in other books admittedly) is a control freak, Ed Miliband is a bystander and Ed Balls is “difficult to work with”. “Back From The Brink” will be the talk of Labour’s party conference for sure.

Jack Straw- Straw spearheaded a campaign to outlaw car insurance injury referrals which will now be implemented by the Government. A non partisan campaign which benefits all motorists- kudos to Jack Straw.

Bad Week

Ed Miliband- Miliband has little momentum coming into his party conference at the end of the month- Labour have conceded ground in the polls and half his party doesn’t seem to like him. If Miliband wants to stop being likened to a teenage chess champion he desperately needs to set out a clear vision for Labour for the next three years at this year’s conference and leave the rhetoric behind.

Nadine Dorries- Dorries rambled on for ninety minutes of the health debate earlier this week, taking pot shots at Nick Clegg and Dr Evan Harris. The whole episode was deeply embarrassing for Parliament and her constituents.

Ed Balls- Balls is still banging on about a VAT cut and another bank bonus tax like a broken record. One wonders if any floating voter is listening to him.

David Miliband- Miliband’s performance on Question Time yet again was a Bulleye-esque “Look at what you could have won” kick in the teeth for Labour’s grassroots.

My Political Predictions For 2011…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2010 by eljmayes

So, so early I know, but here are my quick thoughts on what may go down in world of politics next year (in a rough chronological order): –

*The VAT rise will lead to increased spending in the first few days of 2011. I doubt Labour will crow about the rise too much next year as Alistair Darling was heavily rumoured to be plotting a similar rise when he was Chancellor.

*The Royal Wedding may give the country a slight economic boost and the Coalition a boost before the local elections a week later.

*The British National Party will finally go under only to replaced by a similar far right party.

*The local elections will prove to be fruitful for Labour, however not as fruitful as they would hope. Expect the Tories and the Liberal Democrats to do badly however, as the smaller parties take local seats from all three of the major parties.

*The Alternative Vote/First Past The Post Referendum will be won by the “No” camp as Ed Miliband will not campaign on the same platform as Nick Clegg. Expect a low turnout and much criticism of the cost of the referendum afterwards from Labour.

*David Laws will make a return to frontline politics.

*Ken Clarke will (sadly) be forced out his role as Justice Secretary by those on the right of his party which will lead to a reshuffle.

*Ed Miliband will unveil the first of his big policy announcements in the Autumn, a reinstatement of the ten pence tax band perhaps?

*The redrawing of the constituency boundaries will enrage Labour, please the Tories and keep the Liberal Democrats indifferent.

*There will be no free vote on repealing the ban on fox hunting next year.

Shadow Cabinet Face Offs…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by eljmayes

So Ed Miliband has decided (rather quickly) on his Shadow Cabinet going forward- here are the tussles that await those lucky enough to be selected.

Shadow Chancellor- Alan Johnson faces George Osborne Johnson will almost certainly be to the right of Ed Balls fiscally (as he backed David Miliband’s leadership campaign so strongly) which will make him more credible to the country but perhaps not in his own party or to the unions. Coalition will no doubt try to portray Johnson as the “old generation” who was at the centre of the last Government which racked up a massive deficit. My gut feeling is Ed Miliband won’t be able to reign in Johnson as Brown did with Darling, and a coherent message on the economy may suffer.

Shadow Home Secretary- Ed Balls faces Theresa May Balls could be effective in this role, especially with the cuts that are coming to the Police. The issue with Balls is one of whether or not he can focus entirely on his brief and not go off on tangents. If he does drift off message towards his specialist subject, the economy, he could come into conflict with those on the right of his party.

Shadow Foreign Secretary- Yvette Cooper faces William Hague Cooper will be wasted shadowing Hague as the Shadow Foreign Secretary role is one mainly of agreement with the Government, there are few major foreign policy differences between all three major parties after all. Cooper would have been better suited to the Education or Defence portfolio in my opinion.

Shadow Health Secretary- John Healey faces Andrew Lansley Health is a rather tricky subject for Labour in opposition because of the Coalition’s commitment to increase spending on the NHS in real terms throughout the Parliamentary cycle. Healey is an unknown, and to an extent Andrew Lansley is as well. I predict therefore (scandals notwithstanding) health and the NHS will slip down the Labour attack agenda as they oppose cuts to other sectors more vehemently .

Shadow Education Secretary- Andy Burnham faces Michael Gove Burnham isn’t as combative as Ed Balls, who was effective against Gove whilst he was Shadow Education Secretary after the General Election. Burnham is a more likeable character however, and his “man from up North” persona may play well against Gove’s (slightly) upper class persona. I expect education to be a key battleground over the Parliamentary cycle, with every single cut being opposed by Labour.

Shadow Defence Secretary- Jim Murphy faces Dr. Liam Fox Defence is by far the most emotive role a politician could be appointed to at the current time. With Fox seemingly disenfranchised with his party over the cuts, Murphy should be able to make headway if he can outline where cuts to our Armed Forces should be made (no mean feat admittedly).

The rest of the Shadow Cabinet would seem to face an uphill struggle against there opposite numbers in the Coalition. Sadiq Khan will not relish taking on Ken Clarke at the despatch box on Justice matters, and neither will Douglas Alexander look forward to challenging Iain Duncan Smith on the subject of Work and Pensions. Ed Miliband’s strategy going forward must be to set up three or four credible attack lines on the cuts maximum and to maintain cohesion between his MPs, activists and trade unions.

George Osborne’s Budget Response…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on March 24, 2010 by eljmayes

George describes this budget as “empty”- I would have described it as “meh”. Clearly I have to work on my soundbites;).

Why Brown Needs To Call An Early Election…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on January 16, 2010 by eljmayes

It is widely reported that the General Election will be on May 6th. If Gordon Brown wishes to avoid putting the Labour party in opposition for a generation he needs to call a General Election early because of the factors outlined below.

The Budget- The budget will be delivered in April and will be exceptionally pivotal to the General Election. The problem for Darling and Labour is that he will have to outline where savings are made and who will be taxed more. Darling could of course fudge it and not specify where the axe will fall again, but that would leave Darling open to attacks from the Tories about not being straight to the voters. An early election would negate the need for this distraction entirely.

Time- If there were to be a May 6th election then the Tories who have more time to plan how to spend their bigger pot of cash. A shorter time frame could lead to the Tories making rash decisions with their money which would make for a far tighter election. Also, a longer campaign means that Gordon Brown will be on television for longer, and the polling statistics suggest that the longer Brown is on television the Labour do worse.

The Economy- If the economy improves drastically by May then Brown will be under huge pressure to outline where spending cuts would be made to reduce the deficit. An early election fought under uncertainty would be better for Labour perversely.

The Polls- Although opinion polls have been slightly better for Labour recently, they are incredibly volatile and by the start of the campaign could be hugely in the Tories favour. If that were the case then Labour activists would be disillusioned and a Tory landslide would be a real possibility. It’s a tough call but there are a lot of pitfalls which could affect the opinion polls in the next few months.

An early General Election may not provide Labour with a victory, but in my opinion it would reduce the inevitable damage that is going to be inflicted on the party. Brown almost certainly will go for May 6th and therefore risk his party’s future at the expense of him keeping in office for an extra six weeks.

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