Labour's leadership, Sarko the piglet, and the world's most incompetent terroristsby Prospect / June 22, 2010 / Leave a comment
June 2010: Tintoretto’s Apollo and the Muses is unveiled to the public for the first time ever at the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy estate in Dorset, having undergone extensive restoration
Labour’s leadership battle of the brothers
As the long summer of Labour’s leadership campaign begins, all candidates must answer one question: how do you beat a Miliband? David started well, especially given his donation of at least a dozen supportive MPs to help Diane Abbott qualify, likely a clever ploy to split his rivals on the left. The only blot on Ed’s campaign is his manager, Peter Hain—who had to resign from the cabinet for failing to declare donations last time he managed a campaign (his own) for Labour’s deputy leadership. The brothers remain overwhelming favourites—and if any of the other three are to stand a chance they first must decide which Miliband they plan to dislodge. Here, the logic becomes convoluted. Ed Balls wants to be the left’s standard-bearer against the Blairite David. But to get there he must gather enough second preference votes to see his former colleague Ed Miliband defeated in previous rounds of voting.
The only bright spot for whoever wins could be financial. The party is in effect bankrupt, but with the Lib Dems in bed with the Tories, Labour pockets virtually the entire pot of “Short money” for cash-strapped opposition parties. Not enough to fuel a Milibandwagon, but it is a start.
A wonky game of post-election musical chairs
Which think tank rules the roost in the Lib-Con era? Things looked promising for liberal-friendly Demos—named “one to watch” in last year’s Prospect think tank of the year awards—until its director Richard Reeves jumped ship post-election to work for Nick Clegg. He will be joined in government by one-time Centre for Social Justice boss Philippa Stroud, who left her post to advise Iain Duncan Smith. Cameroon admiration for the Sainsbury-funded Institute for Government will likely continue, despite news that its head, ex-mandarin Michael Bichard, is also to leave. Meanwhile the sole Lib-Dem tank, CentreForum, seems to be cashing in on the “liberal moment”—with a new chief executive, and promises of more boffins to be hired soon. Finally, there are changes on the Labour side, as ex-minister Kitty Ussher joins Demos, while both directors at the Institute for…