David Miliband’s slight of hand….

As the leadership campaign draws to an ever tighter conclusion the lines of demarcation are becoming even clearer. David Miliband has written a piece for the Daily Telegraph in a clear effort to distance and distinguish himself from this piece his brother wrote in The Guardian. Notice the optical illusion David entertains us with; for him the C2 social class is not put with the D’s and E’s but the C1’s. We could argue until the cows come home about whether they see themselves as middle-class or not but that is largely irrelevant because the current economic climate and the Coalition’s cut-backs will drive them into the ground. They are looking over the precipice and see an alphabetical and social fall as being very much on the cards.

He also puts forward some highly suspect mathematical arguments:

Those on lower incomes, the C2 and DE’s, make up about 44% of the voting population. You just can’t craft an election majority out of a minority.

It’s well-known as a point of fact that under First Past the Post this simply is not true; to win a governing majority you need the magic 40% or thereabouts.  David talks about the centre and centre-left in abstract but makes no mention of where he will shift the gravity of the non-existent centre too. This is because, as we all know, it will be to the right. His rhetoric and propaganda may fool the likes of John Cruddas and Neal Lawson but then again that says more about them than it does him.

David’s argument is based on an Aunt Sally. One that the Telegraph itself illustrates helpfully:

The comments put him directly at odds with his brother and fellow contender Ed Miliband who has called for a traditional Labour appeal to the working classes.

Nobody said we should ‘forget the middle classes’, least of all Ed Miliband. What he has said that the way we build the broad coalition David seems so desperate to build is by value-driven policies. He is right. David condemns ‘chasing after the media’ from the last government but seeking broad coalitions as an end in itself logically leads to the same end. Championing the downtrodden means championing the middle classes too de facto especially now. It’s notable how the attacks on Ed Miliband and back-door smears (including the absurd blaming on him of the Charles Kennedy rumours purely because a known supporter wrote the original piece). This can only be a good sign because it shows people are worried.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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40 responses to “David Miliband’s slight of hand….”

  1. de g. says :

    Wrong, on so many levels.

    1) Your attack on him for how he treats C2s is entirely fallcaious, in that you’re grossly misrepresenting it. If you read what he actually says, he references each category separately, rather than combining them with those above and below. And he is right to do so, for it is those in the C1s and C2s who are among the most important for Labour to reconnect with – remember Mondeo man and Worcester woman? It is those groups who are the swing voters, and we need not just to win them once but to encourage them to build a sense of allegiance to a Labour perspective.

    2) You’re also wrong about the mathematical argument, in that you seem to assume that because 44% of voters are in the C2DE categories, that that means 44% of the vote for Labour. That, I am afraid, is just wishful thinking – even in 1997 we only got twice what the Tories got among those voters. That means, even assuming just 5% for the Lib Dems, we’re only going to get at best 26% of the total electorate voting Labour from those groups. Where do the rest come from? They come from the ABC1s, and it is right that David focuses not just on how we engage with a core vote, but also on how we foster a commitment to voting Labour across all parts of the population.

    3) I’m not entirely sure where the myth of David being of centre-right comes from, and why there is any suggestion that he and Ed are fundamentally different in their position? They both have similar backgrounds (being brothers ‘n’ all, and both having worked in policy development) and were both members of the same government. The only difference seems to me that as a high flier elected in 2001, David is intrinsically linked with the Blair period, which is fine if you’re only going to focus on the bad bits and ignore the important positives which were delivered (like BSF, for which David was the chief architect).

    4) Strangely, the only smears I’ve seen issued anywhere in the race have been those rather blatant attempts (such as this) by supporters of Ed to undermine his brother. It’s also notable that David retains his support among the wider public, and has won two of the three open primaries held so far. More to the point, every time I have heard the various candidate speak he has been streets ahead of any of the others in his credibility as leader of the party who can deliver a victory for Labour. Ed, on the other hand, has been disappointing every time I have seen him and is rapidly losing his sheen.

    5) You suggest it is rhetoric and propaganda which fools Cruddas, but does it not strike you that Cruddas is someone who knows him well and recognises that we are in a ‘broad-Church’ party and that we need to attract support from across the economic spectrum? While he is not my favourite MP, I am sure Cruddas is rarely fooled and it is disingenuous to use ad-hominem attacks on others to make your point.

    Here’s a question for you:
    Were you happy with the manfiesto under which Labour fought the 2010 general election? I’m not. Ed had well over two years honing it, and what did we have? No big idea, no great sense of principle, just a series of administrative statements which entirely failed to inspire. That remains the single biggest barrier to me voting for Ed – we cannot afford a Leader who makes those kinds of mistake. David was part of a policy team which did inspire

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  2. de g. says :

    Forgot to finish the last para!
    David was part of a policy teamw hich did inspire – remember 1997 and how the enthusiasm was not just a vote against the Tories but a positive vote for Labour. We have to get that back, and it strikes me that David is far mroe able to do it.

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  3. darrellgoodliffe says :

    deg,

    In reply.

    1) Errrr no he doesnt, he lumps the C1’s with the C2’s and as for treating each catergory indepedent notice how throughout this little tirade you dont mention the D’s, E’s etc. Like I have said it is yourself and Miliband who is setting-up an Aunt Sally argument that Ed and people like myself are saying ‘forget the middle classes’; this isnt what is being said at all but you diliberately potray the argument as being about that when it isnt to suit your own perspective. Its not about who we appeal too so much as *how* we do also.

    2) My point was that the premise you cant win an election with a minority is false. It is. You need about 40% of the vote to form a working majority. Of course all of one social class would not go to one party but the more we appeal to our ‘core’ group the less we need from others so the less concessions we have to give.

    3) It comes from what he says and what he does. In broad terms, I would chracterise his ‘ethical socialism’ as being virtually indistinguishable from left-liberalism; where as I think there is a more practical edge to Ed’s.

    4) Thats patently ridicolous. You obviously dont follow Twitter much where David’s supporters give as good as I get. What I have said about his politics are not smear they are based on facts and a reasonably argued point of view. Funnily enough the Aunt Sally of an argument you have chracterised as being Ed’s position (as has David) could be construed as a ‘smear’.

    5) You might be right and Cruddas might be fooled but some of the things Cruddas says clearly blur in the same way what David says does.

    A manifesto is not really the sole product of an individual now is it; if you are unhappy with some of its contents as indeed I am then you are talking about altering the entire direction and orientation of the Party not changing an individual. This is why I support Ed because he talks about our values and I see them as being mine when he does. David talks about his values and I feel like I am listening to a Blairite. Blairism has had its time and its gone.

    Your right but I would say as I have said above, just as you cannot damm Ed for 2010 you cannot credit David. This is because the Party was headed in a more radical direction at that time (alot of which was unfufilled). If you listen to what Ed has been saying he has been saying very positive things about 1997 and feels just like you and me about it.

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  4. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    0) One more thing that was bothering me – it is sleight of hand, not slight (David always appears to have rather large hands whenever I see him). However, it is disingenuous and rather insulting to accuse one of the leadership candidates of deception (which is what sleight of hand is), and says more about you than it does about any candidate.

    1) I quote:
    But so must be the 2.8 million skilled and middle class workers (so called C1s and C2s) who have left us. We maintained a healthy lead among DEs in 2010 (9%) but ended up well behind in the other two groups (11% and 8% respectively).

    Note the “respectively” in there. C1s and C2s are different, and it makes no more sense to lump them respectively with ABs or with DEs when, in terms of how they vote, they have very different characteristics to either group. And for the record, I have made attack on EdM other than for being deeply disappointing in this race. I went into this race expecting that he would be the one I would back; it’s now a toss-up whether he gets 3 or 4 from me.

    2) The premise you cannot win an election from a minority is false. But you create your own Aunt Sally there in that it is pretty clear what David means – looking at the stats, even at our best result under Blair we could only take 2:1 over the Tories among those voters. Even assuming we need 40% to win we cannot craft it from among those voters. David is entirely right that to win again and to win regularly we need to garner support across the centre and the left. The only difference betwen his and Ed’s positions on this is the degree to which we focus on one group or the other.

    3) Is not the ‘David is right-wing’ the biggest Aunt Sally of them all in this race? It’s notable that, apart from among supporters of Diane, it is something I have only heard from supporters of EdM.

    4) Once again, have you noticed I don’t actually attack EdM at any point for anything other than being as good as you think he is? If you read what David says, rather than the Torygraph’s interpretation of it, you’ll notice that David’s whole focus is on reaching out to BOTH middle AND working class voters rather than focusing on any one group. There’s no attack on EdM either explicit or implicit, though there is a clear warning to those who would take the Labour Party swinging to the left; not something which I think applies to EdM though certainly something relevant to some of his supporters. And I follow enough people on Twitter to make my own judgement on what I see (as a keen user of named fallacies, I’m sure you can spot that this is a massive red herring in that it is both an attack on me AND an appeal to the majority).

    5) I’m more incliined to trust Cruddas on this one. I think Cruddas is a very astute MP and is more than capable of not being fooled.

    A manifesto may not be the sole product of an individual, but there is no doubt that Ed’s role in its development was far more significant that David’s. Personally, I am pretty confident that David, Ed, Andy and Ed are pretty similar in where their beliefs lie to me (do you seriously believe that any of them are that far apart in their beliefs?), so I am more concerned about where they are going to take the party.

    One of the reasons Labour lost at the last election was more practical than all the policy in the manifesto though. In the run up to 1997 we were very strong at the local level, winning councils and councillors giving us a strong and visible presence on the ground. In the 13 years up to 2010 we did the opposite, losing thousands of local representatives across the country. From what I have heard and from talking to others within the party including senior councillors, only David has addressed this issue. He’s done it practically by committing funds to training community organisers, and by promising bringing the leader of Labour in local government into the cabinet he has demonstrated how he will embed the local level in how we deliver in government. I don’t just want Labour to win the next election, I want Labour to be in power for as much as possible during my lifetime, not just nationally but running councils and making the day-to-day decisions which make lives better. To my mind, David is by far the best placed candidate to do this.

    It is these sorts of debates that the leadership should be about, rather than the screaming hordes behind five candidates arguing over which of the other candidates is the most right-wing. And while it makes no difference to how I view him, the supporters of EdM have to my mind been the least dignified of any in the race. I can’t wait for it to be over now – if EdM wins I’ll back him just as I would any other; I just don’t think he is the best man for the job at the moment.

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  5. de g. says :

    Damn! That should have been “I have made no attack…” in 1)

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  6. darrellgoodliffe says :

    deg,

    0) I think deception is a strong word and not necessary what I am saying. Spinning something in a certain way isnt always outright deception. However, in regard to how David presents Ed’s argument there definately is deception taking place and given his intelligence I would have to conclude its willful.

    1) I dont see that the respectively makes any difference to what is being said; he is merely locating the statistics. In terms of their social position my point is that there is a schism within the C’s with the C1’s belonging more with the AB’s and the C2’s to the DE’s for reasons I have outlined.2)

    2)As I have said numerous times nobody disagrees with the need to forge these alliances. The question is how we do it.

    3) Not at all, he is a centre-right candidate he just dare not say it because he knows the climate is wrong.

    4) I dont trust Cruddas at all who also reputedly has strong personal ties with David which may well make him incapable of making a clear policy judgement.

    I think this is pretty much an Aunt Sally. We can see from the subsequent campaign that the manifesto clearly did not reflect Ed’s ideas on how to govern and what policies we should pursue. By definition a manifesto is a collective effort so your attempt to pin it on one individual are pretty spurious.

    I would say there are important differences between all three which boil down to this notion of socialism as an ethical concept which I believe is an inherently centre-right argument not that much different from left-liberalism. Andy and Ed seems to have different practical expressions of a more lets change the structure social democracy.

    I think you do highlight a positive aspect of David’s campaign and a creditworthy thing he has done but noble acts dont qualify one to be a leader; more they point to a future possible role in that area. Policies and politics are what should define support for a leader not creditworthy deeds.

    It’s simply a debate you dont want to have because it exposes your candidate; he isnt going to make the changes neccessary to bring this Party back to power and is the representative of a past that had its time but failed at the last election.

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  7. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    0) Deception is very much what you’re saying – what else do you think sleight of hand is?

    1) You’re just making things up now to justify a poor argument. David doesn’t make any sort of comment on where C1s and C2s ‘belong’, he simply refers individually to their respective record of voting Labour at the last election.

    2) You didn’t attack David on that though, did you? You attacked him for rightly pointing out that (even allowing for only 40% needed for an outright majority) that Labour cannot win while focusing on its ‘core’ vote.

    3) If you are really convinced that David Miliband is centre-right, you’re going to be in a bit of a difficult situation if he wins (as still appears likely). What do you do then? Are you going to spit your dummy again and go and join the greens? On a personal level by misrepresenting David’s position so grossly you are the one guilt of fallacious arguments, not anyone else. Do you see the difference between saying ‘I think David is the most right of the candidates’ and ‘David is centre right’? The former is a validly held opinion (even if I and others may disagree with its premise), the latter is unsubstantiated bollocks.

    4) Again, you resort to personal attacks rather than addressing the issue. First, you say that Cruddas was fooled; now that he is untrustworthy? That’s a very significant thing to accuse someone who remains one the most respected thinkers on the left of our party. Which of the other 106 MPs and MEPs backing David are also conned or doing it out of narrow self-interest? Are the 75 MPs and MEPs backing EdM backing him for some reason other than that they think he is the best person to lead the party? What about the Labour members and supporters in Bassetlaw, 5000 of whom emphatically backed David?

    It is not an Aunt Sally to give *MY* view on why *I* think that EdM has shown himself to be lacking when it comes to his performance on the last manifesto. Neither you nor I know the extent to which David and others had an input, but you have to acknowledge that for almost three years prior to the election EdM was referred to almost universally as the architect of the manifesto. That isn’t made up by the papers – he will have been referred to as such in party press releases, things like that.

    Regarding ethical socialism, it’s not a subject I pretend to be an expert on but I personally think you’re making up some new construct to suit your own argument. You are aware that the chair of the biggest ‘ethical socialist’ group (the Fabian Society) in the Labour Party has nominated EdM, and indeed that EdM is closest of all the party candidates to that group. As someone with a track record of practical implementation, IMO David has a far longer and deeper track record.

    I have no problem debating which leadership candidate is the best to take our party forward. But this should be done by highlighting the positive reasons why someone should vote for your preferred candidate (something I have consistently done) rather than publishing explicit and largely false ad hominem attacks on the other candidates. Like I say, from what I’ve seen EdM supporters have been the least dignified in the race, but I’m capable of seeing beyond the briefing, the sniping and the slurs to recognise that it’s not what EdM is about. Something you perhaps might want to think on.

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  8. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    0) I think you will find I ackowledge that point – in fact, I am prepared to go further. Not only is what David Miliband saying deceptive he is using the Conservative press to smear his closest rival.

    1) And that is instructive in itself because in the pieces cited by Ed, the c2’s are placed alongside the D’s and E’s. This is a subtle distinction that matters.

    2) As you well know of the votes lost by Labour; only 1 million have actively switched to the Conservatives. The rest either vote Lib Dem or not at all. Of course there is more to winning an election than the core vote but you cannot take the core vote for granted and that is what Ed has rightly said Labour has been doing.

    3) If he isnt the most centre-right candidate then why has he sent out an intemperate and ill-advised e-mail in a desperate bid to prove he is not? No. I will be a loyal opposition but since I dont even agree with every dot and comma of what Ed says that would be the case in any case.

    4) Not all of them but alot are; even against their own politics in some instances. People are backing David in the mistaken belife he is the best hope he can win the next election. I believe that to be wrong and dont think a DM led Labour Party will form an overall majority at the next election. In fact, I think it will bring serious problems to the Party.

    It is because you cant hold an individual soley responsible for the manifesot and you know that. Would that include the ‘practical implementation’ of rendition flights and the subjecting of people to torture too?

    I think thats completly wrong. I think the David Miliband campaign has not only done this but frequently used the conservative press to launch its attacks which says alot to my mind.

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  9. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    Dear God this is hard work. For the record, your series of posts and comments on this matter, despite being wrong in most respects, are the most visceral and nasty thing I’ve read in any of this contest. Fortunately, your reputation precedes you and most people don’t take a blind bit of notice of you, but in all honesty I’m embarrassed to admit we’re part of the same party at the moment.

    Your arguments betray an ignorance of both how the Labour Party works and the basics of the use of demographic statistics. I’m not going to get into any more debate on key points because I’m just repeating myself, but I will say this – if it is your true and honest belief that David Miliband is centre-right, how can you in all conscience remain a member of a party whose direction you so abhor? After all, you’ve previously quit other parties over lesser things.

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  10. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    Since your not prepared to debate the substance and resort to what you would no doubt characterise as ‘visceral and nasty’ comments I dont see the point in answering anything you say. At least I havent done it through back-door briefings with the Conservative Press hey which has been the hallmark of the DM campaign.

    It is of course true that I am not the only one who regards David Miliband as ‘centre-right’ and that this is a widely held precpetion encouraged by the likes of Peter Mandelson etc, etc.

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  11. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    I’ve shown willing to debate, but there’s no debate in sitting repeating myself while you make up things to suit your own arguments. And give that the the teams of both Milibands have been guilty of briefing against each other, it’s nothing short of hypocritical to laud EdM while trashing David.

    I don’t think Mandelson, Blair, EdM, EdB, Andy or most other rational party members see David as centre-right – because by definition, if he is he’s in the wrong party. Are you seriously saying that David would be more at home in the modern Tory party? Because that is what centre-right is. I refer you back to my earlier comment – there’s a difference between referring to someone as ‘the most right’ and referring to them as ‘centre-right’.

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  12. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g

    I am also quite willing to debate. So, lets start with this shall we? I am sure we are all going to be entertained by this; concrete examples of where you think the EDM team has been guilty of negative briefing against the DM campaign please? Don’t just bat the question back because I have laid out elsewhere where I think the DM campaign is guilty of this.

    I think its quite clear who Mandelson and Blair see the elder Miliband as the heir to New Labour which yes, I do submit, is a centre-right political strain. No, you see thats where you have totally distorted what I said, I actually said there was little difference with left liberalism, not conservatism but if you must make the comparsion then it is yours not mine.

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  13. de g. says :

    Frankly Darrell, there’s no point. Your position is your position, and I’m not going to change it, though I resent the pseudo-intellectual way in which you try and justify your opinion through badly thought out or just plain wrong premises. Your blog would be immeasurably better if you said “I think that”, rather than trying to make it look clever by grossly mistreating stats as you do in this post, or making up your own facts to back up your position as in others.

    The other thing I very much dislike is the need to be rude about others to make your chosen candidate look good. I’ve nver felt the need to do this, you will note – the only negative thing I have said about EdM (apart from commenting on his team which reflects on you and them and not him) is that he hasn’t been as good as I expected him to be. No slagging him off, no assigning positions to him, not knocking him for his ability to galvanise the unions… He may be our leader in a few weeks, and if he is I will credibly be able to back him. You, on the other hand, have been so anti-David you undermine your own credibility in fighting with him for the Labour cause if he is elected leader – you contribute to creating a divided party, and divided parties don’t win elections.

    Who Mandelson and Blair back is irrelevant other than to people like you who wish to use it as another reason to create divisions. It’s as irrelevant as the inane bullshit of those backing EdM to his ability to lead the Labour Party. What is relevant is that, in my opinion based on seeing all of them several times and talking to a number of people whose opinion I respect and value, David ‘gets it’ and is by far the best placed person to take the party forward.

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  14. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    So is that an admission you cant provide the concrete examples asked for?

    The rest of the stuff is just drivel. Will you then condemen David Blunkett for example for being so negative that he would presumably be unable to work under a Ed Miliband leadership? Are you going to condemn the Red Scares that have been emanating from the David camp?

    I think his ability to lead and unite the Party is a pertinant question in a leadership election. Its obvious David cant; he cant carry, for example, the unions and that much has already been made clear.

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  15. de g. says :

    No, it’s an statement that I can’t be bothered with searching through hundreds of articles on Labourlist, Labour home, New Statesman and all the other sources for examples, because unlike you I won’t take any statement in favour of EdM as an explicit attack on his brother.

    You’ll notice that I’ve condemned those from *both* camps engaging in the ridiculous bickering, not just EdM’s team. You’ll also please note once again: I have never attacked EdM, I’ve just said why I think that David is by a margin the best candidate. I don’t need to attack EdM to affirm that position – it’s already self-evident. That you do, proves that actually your candidate isn’t quite as good right now as you think he is.

    The ability to attract the Unions is not a pre-requisite for power. Tony didn’t have the major Unions behind him in 1994 (I believe only Community backed him), but do you seriously think that a Prescott or a Beckett led party would have won three elections and delivered the scale of change that Blair did? Similarly, as a near bankrupt party, it’s important that we can attract major donors, something David has proved himself able to do (and been ridiculously attacked for) and EdM clearly hasn’t. Does that make EdM unfit to be leader? It doesn’t particularly play in his favour, but the Labour party is more than just its leader.

    It’s clearly a myth to say that David can’t unite the party – that he has such a large proportion of the elected representatives behind him shows that he is much better placed to do that than EdM or any of the other candidates, and his concrete proposals of what he will do (as opposed to policy direction over which a leader only has limited influence) are far better than what is on offer from any other candidate.

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  16. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    Something I will take as a acceptance such things do not exist. I could make the point that any positive comment by definition implies a negative (you saying David can unite the Party implies Ed cant, or at least as well, see your closing paragraph).

    I am not talking soley about the ability to attract the unions though you would think that in terms of firming up our core vote that is somewhat essential. This is where the fundemental difference does exist between the two camps; I tend to feel that David merely sees it in terms of Labour being merely a big tent and to do that he wants to do the Blairite thing of perpetual ‘triangulation’ which worked for three elections but failed at the last one – a sure signal it is time to move on.

    I dont actually see that as being essential at all – I have no wish to see this Party subservient to its financial backers; be they unions or Lord Sainsbury. Actually, the key test of a new leader is his ability to generate small-scale but numerous financial support and that is exactly what Ed has done in his campaign.

    Again, I dont see the PLP as being the be all and end all, in fact, I think its high time the PLP had its electoral weight severly curtailed. I dont agree on his concrete proposals – he cant even committ to a TUC hustings to marching against this governments viscious attack on the public sector and that is not a good sign at all.

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  17. de g. says :

    Darrell

    For clarity, it is not an acceptance that suich things do not exist. As an activist involved in his campaign I could point you to your own blog as a starting point of course…

    There is no dispute that whoever leads the Labour Party needs to improve our relationships with the unions and the people they represent. But you’re being naive if you think that the Labour Party is not about triangulation and perpetual internal dissent – that is exactly what it is about. It’s about the balance between idealists and pragmatists and between working with unions and reaching out to a wider electorate. It is when one part of the equation is too powerful that we lose elections: in the 80s, the idealists held sway and we could not convince the electorate that we offered solutions that were better for the country, while this year the pragmatic drift left us with a manifesto that was all about administration rather than ideas.

    Parties need money to win elections – until such time as we have reform of party funding that will remain a fact. Party membership has been falling for many years across all parties and, barring the current blip, is likely to continue to do so. To exist and scuceed, we need to be able to attract money from a variety of sources – unions, rich individuals and much larger numbers of small donations. Again, I think you are naive if you think that Ed’s success in attracting small donors can be replicated to the extent it allows us to win elections; having seen how it works at a constituency level, it is the same few people donating regularly just as most of the campaigning is. Despite many attempts of various types, it is extremely difficult to convert even members who are largely unengaged into regular campaigners and contributors. Also, it’s wrong to say he’s not attracting small donations – while it’s not quite on the scale that Ed is he has still attracted a significant amount (around £45,000, so far as I can tell). Notably, while Ed is doing well from Unions and small donors, he isn’t getting substantial amounts from individuals.

    I didn’t describe the PLP as the be all and end all, I referred to elected representatives which includes County, District and Parish Councillors as well as MPs. What you haven’t recognised is the extent to which David has recognised and engaged with them (i.e. the people on the ground who are actually responsible for putting Labour values into action in a meaningful way that affects people’s daily lives). This is why more than a quarter of all Labour Councillors have publicly backed David (list on his website), and why polls are showing him with a 5% lead among them for first preferences rising to 14% after others are eliminated (New Statesman, 7th Sept). His concrete proposals don’t focus as much as EdM does on policy, something over which the control of the leader is limited especially in opposition, but they do major on how we rebuild the party from the bottom as a mass movement and a community-based, campaigning and activist organsiation. It is that which wins Council seats, and it is Council control which wins elections and keeps MPs even when the national party might be less popular, and it is that which only David has addressed.

    As for committing to marching – it’s a fool who commits to anything without being absolutely certain they are clear what they are marching against. Only EdB and Diane are arguing against the need to make cuts now; the others would be hypocrites to commit to march against public sector cuts per se. His refusal to commit shows David to be honest and prepared to say it straight; I’d be more worried about a leader who makes rash commitments which they would then have to go back on, whoever that leader is.

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  18. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    You really cant because you cant compare the opinions of an activist to off-the-record, behind-closed-doors briefings from campaigns to the Conservative press. Neither can you compare it to the swift-boating of Ed by David Miliband supporting MP’s which not only myself but Sunny Hundal has noted. This tactic extended in at least one case to a cloak and dagger attack on a trade union that is supporting Ed, Unite although admittedly that was to the Independent, not a Conservative paper.

    Ok, how are you and your candidate proposing to do that? Extend some nice and fraternal words and thats it? No, I was specifically referring to electoral startegy which failed at the last election (and arguably the one preceding it too, although Labour stayed in power it lacked a mandate) to deliver any kind of success; not the inner party dynamic. I tend to agree about the need for balance though however there are other issues like the yawning chasm that exists between this Party and its core vote that David Miliband doesnt even recognise exists yet alone is willing to address.

    Party membership has been falling precisely because of this issue which your candidate will not address. I dont think that is naive at all; its perfectly possible and if it wasnt nobody ever told Barack Obama did they? Your comments show the lack of imagination and boldness which defines your chosen candidate I am afraid to say.

    The councillors poll you mention is irrelevant largely because its over two months out of date and has a pathetically small sample size. All the candidates have been engaging because they are in a campaign. One positive aspect of David’s campaign has been the Movement for Change which, despite some reservations, I have said before.

    Well, there you see you have a problem because you have just exposed that on a vital issue like the economy David Miliband is radically out of step with mainstream party opinion. What happens if David is elected leader and Ed Balls catapulted into the Shadow Chancellor role, say? The two have fundementally different lines on the economy and the approach to the deficit and the same division that existed during the Blair-Brown years will be in danger of being replicated, not surpassed.

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  19. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    In case you haven’t noticed, I’m nor part of this campaign. I’m telling you what I think, based on my own experiences and observations of it.
    I am pretty certain that the campaigns of both EdM and David have been guilty of briefing against the other, as indeed (and I repeat myself for the 753rd time on this) I have condemned both for. But putting aside the claims of briefing (which there undoubtedly has been) and the conspiracy theorising (which you and many within the EdM team seem to be indulging in rather a lot of), ultimately the campaign is about the best person to lead the party. Regardless of who has been briefing and where, EdM is, at the moment and in my opinion, a poor third behind David and Andy as who I would want to be leader; the only reason he is ahead of EdB is that the EdB’s abrasive style sits uneasily with me.

    As for your second point, you’re going back to something which I pointed out you were wrong on before. Both David and EdM recognise the importance of the core vote, but even EdM himself has acknowledged (in the Guardian I think) that the two have differing perspectives on the extent to which the focus should be on specific demographic groups. If you look then at how we got into talking about the unions, it was specifically in relation to the correlation between gaining their backing and having the ability to unite and lead the party; I still maintain (and Blair remains the perfect example) that a Labour Party with credible Labour policies to deliver for the majority of people will carry the unions regardless of who is leader – because ultimately union members care about the same sorts of things as the rest of us in the Labour movement.

    We shall just have to see on party funding, shalln’t we? While Obama got a lot in small donations, he also brought in vast amounts from large donors. In the US as you will be aware the relationship between parties and non-member supporters is very different; people there expect and seek to donate in a way which does not and never has happened in the UK. I’d like to be wrong, really I would, but I just don’t believe it will happen or indeed, that it is happening at the moment (I would be willing to bet that at least 75% of all small donors [sub £50] to the campaign are from existing activists who already contribute small amounts on a regular basis to branches, constituencies and the the national party. Since neither of us can prove my cynicism on this to be justified or unjustified, I suggest it’s a point we’re going to have to let lie).

    Your attitude to the poll is reminiscent of one who has read a poll he doesn’t like! I know it is a small sample size, but it is backed up to a significant degree by the fact, as I highlighted above, that more than 1 in 4 of all Labour councillors (and a much higher proportion of those to have declared their intention) have publicly endorsed David, as far as I know far more than for any other candidate. I’m well aware that all five candidates are all attempting to engage with our elected members but in David’s case it was one of the first priorities of his campaign in a way I can see no evidence of in the campaigns of any other candidate, and it remains a key focus of his offer which has not been matched by other candidates.

    I don’t see that David is actually out of step with mainstream party opinion. Mainstream party and public opinion is that, rightly or wrongly, cuts are encessary and the debate is over which cuts and the degree to which things are cut. And given that EdM also shares this position (unless I’m mistaken, he is still on the ‘cuts are necessary’ line?) then your point is a complete red herring, because exactly the same problem exists if he is elected as leader. Given the wafer thin policy differences between all the candidates bar Diane, the line of EdM or bust on matters of policy that you are peddling is frankly nonsense. You also don’t address the point that it is a fool who makes a promise without knowing what he is promising to do – is this a tacit acknowledgement that actually David was right on this one?

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  20. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    All I have to say is that I totally endorse the view experessed by Neil Kinnock in todays Guardian who says exactly what I have been saying all along; this is not a ‘conspiracy theory’ unless he is such a theorist. Its also worth noting that accusations of Mandelson’s involvement were made by Tom Watson, a supporter firstly of Ed Balls, not Ed Miliband. The fact is that the David Miliband campaign has run a campaign, in the pages of the *Conservative* press against Ed Miliband full of blantent lies, misinformation and slander.

    I agree on Party funding; since nothing much can be proved we are going round in circles. I have to challenge what you say though because nowhere has David Miliband even properly ackowledged we have a problem with the core vote; regardless of the demographic word-play. I have to disagree about the unions; I think they are sick and tierd of being spat at and a leader who cant even committ to marching with them against cuts and attacks on their members is doing exactly that.

    With regard to the poll I am simply stating the facts which seem to be uncontested by yourself. I think you will find Ed Miliband is shying away from that position – further towards the Ed Balls line which is one I share. No, because it was quite clear what was being asked of him and he couldnt do it.

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  21. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    All candidates have used the pages of the press to fight the campaign to a greater or lesser extent; that David has the ability to cut across all sections of it in a way no other candidate can is yet one more good reason why he is the best person to lead us. Like it or not, the media doesn’t just report the news but makes it, and we need to have a leader who can define the agenda rather than all the Lib Dems and Tories to do so. As for lies and misinformation; I disagree, and I again challenge you to answer my earlier question about where you will be if David is elected as leader.: How can you possibly and credibly support a party led by someone whose (apparent) political position, style and relationship with the wider party is something you have so viscerally criticised?

    Just because the unions want something, does not mean they should necessarily get it; I’m not aware of any previous leader or candidate ‘spitting at’ the unions (certainly not the affiliated ones). Unless EdM is going to change his position on cuts as necessary then he is a hypocrite to agree to march without knowing the full premise on which he is marching. That goes for any candidate, and I would rather have a leader willing to talk honestly to the unions and treat them with respect than one who has to go back on earlier promises made in haste. I suspect most unions and union members would also prefer that.

    As for polls – I note you disregard most of the national polls which have consistently (and bar one recent one among party members still) show that David is the candidate most able to lead Labour to power. Still, I illustrate the one and the associated endorsements to demonstrate a point which you have not refuted: that David is the candidate that those who are responsible for putting Labour values into effect, our elected representatives, are backing in the greatest number.

    And I dispute your references to almost anything as ‘fact’ – this post (and indeed most others on the blog) have a lot of ill-informed supposition and little in the way of cold hard facts.

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  22. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    So, having lost the ‘conspiracy theory’ line your now making a positive virtue of somebody using the Conservative press to slander their opponents? Oh dear me, I dont think many Labour Party members will see it that way; indeed, they are probably sensible enough to realise that the Tory press is supporting David to tear him down later. I am sure there will be plenty of searching questions about, say, rendition flights being asked at a later date by those self-same papers that are now praising him to the hilt. His campaign may enjoy the warmth of their glow now but ultimately they will be the ones who end up looking rather foolish as they are torn apart by the people they used to smear Ed. I have answered that question; I will remain in the Party and carrying on fighting and arguing from within.

    I am sure your ‘my way or the highway’ line will be highly amusing to new members who have recently joined. Obviously they are not welcome in Labour; you dont want these people back nor do you want to win back lost voters because presumably they are not ‘pure’ enough for you.

    I agree that the unions should not have entirely their own way but on the other hand they are entitled to be actually listened too and have a role within the Party they give their backing too in both word and deed. I rather think most trade unionists would laugh at those comments; they have been spat at for a considerable period of time.

    I am totally happy to deal with them; they do indeed but that does not mean somebody who would not have as much name as well as personal recognition cannot make up that ground and even surpass David’s current position does it? In my experience our elected representatives are not always the best judge of ‘putting Labour values into practice’; their primary goal is re-election, and when the two things are preceived to collide they usually go with self-interest and electability.

    Funny how, when presented with facts like the Kinnock comments this morning, your case collapses isnt it?

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  23. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    Apart from that I am inclined to think that Kinnock is just such a theorist, he is as tainted as any of the other shrill voices behind the campaigns. Do you notice the extent to which David has publicly distanced himself both from Mandelson’s explicit backing and the type of approach that accompanied it?

    And I suggest you want to be a little more cautious about your choice of words – apart from the technical fact that it is impossible to slander someone in the press, David’s support has come from across the whole spectrum of the press, not just the Conservative supporting wing. While it peed me off like everyone else when the Grauniad came out for the Lib Dems, who else has got the backing from them, the Observer and the Mirror as well? The Tory press will always seek to tear down later whoever is leader, but if we’re going to succeed in opposition and ultimately in government we need a leader and a party that can engage with it and get our views represented robustly. A lot of potential Labour voters read the Tory-supporting press; we need a leader who can speak to them (the Sun and the Mail sell more copies each day than all other national papers put together, while the Telegraph sells more than twice as many copies as the Guardian).

    My line is not a ‘my way or the high way’ line – it is a serious question as to how you personally could in future support someone who you have variously claimed is right wing, responsible for lying and slandering opponents, proverbially ‘spitting at’ unions, and beholden to major donors. Nothing more than that – because all your crap is fundamentally against the expressed commitment of your chosen candidate to unite the party.

    Most trade unionists might laugh at the comments, but then about half of trade unionists are not in unions affiliated to the Labour Party. Among affiliated trade unions, they have had huge influence in the party and continue to do so. Given that some of the biggest controversies over selection at the last election related to the ‘parachuting’ of senior union people like Dromey and Dugher and the level of influence that Charlie Whelan is supposed to have wielded over Brown, do you not see the nonsense of the suggestion that unions have not been listened to? Unions will always want more, but then that is what their members pay them to do; it is not self evident that just because they want it that they should automatically get it.

    Polls are polls, and you’re right that there’s plenty of time to pick up name recognition. As for elected representatives, I clearly put more store by their opinion than you do. While I can recognise that they are motivated by self-interest as well as service, Labour Councillors don’t usually get reelected by failing to put Labour values into action. Remember, putting Labour values into practice is largely dependent on being elected, so I dispute that there are many situations where the two are mutually exclusive.

    My case stands up very well, because my case remains that David is now and in the future is likely to be the best person to be elected to lead the Labour Party. My case is that in your original post and subsequent replies your arguments are so full of holes, hyperbolic statements and misuse of stats that you lack any credibility anyway. My case is that I’m waiting to see how soon it is until you decide to spit your dummy again at the crossing of some perceived line-in-the-sand and go and join another party where you can inflict your rude manner and ill-informed nonsense on their activists instead of ours.

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  24. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    So, now Neil Kinnock is a ‘conspiracy theorist’ for simply stating that which is obvious to just about everybody who has witnessed this campaign – those except the blinkered. So what? Of course he did publically but we all know what he says publically and what goes on behind the scenes will be entirely different.

    No, I will not be constrained in what I say by your snobbery. How long does the list have to be; Tom Watson, Sunny Hundal, Neil Kinnock – all of them have seen exactly what I have pointed too but you cant see what is in front of your face. On the unions, yes they should because the party is too dominated by people who have no understanding of what the Labour Party is; a party born of hardship and struggle and for whom its an ‘ethical’ committment to some vauge idea of progress. They are the heart and soul of this Party and as such should be central to what it does.

    I am going to leave the other stuff; I will leave readers to question what they should think about somebody who protests at ‘rudeness’ then engages in personal attacks. You are, as is the person you support, the past not the future of this Party and even if he is elected it wont last because he hasnt got the right values to help the Party rediscover theirs. Notice how you avoid talk about the rendition flights? Dont want to discuss your candidates complicity in barbaric torture? Wonder why not….

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  25. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    So on the one hand it’s not a conspiracy… yet even when David publicly distances himself from it, ‘we all know what he says publically and what goes on behind the scenes will be entirely different’. If that’s not conspiracy theorising I don’t know what is.

    I can’t particularly disagree about the history of the party, but you must also remember that some of the most important people within the Labour Party have not been of that background, but those from a privileged background for whom their values told them that Labour was the right way. Wilson, Attlee, Benn, Foot – they all have a privileged background in common. I still believe that the party is full of and dominated by people for whom that does drive them, and you’ll see why I object to your rudeness – you insult them and everyone else by apparently trying to benchmark people against yourself.

    You still haven’t answered the central question: What will you, personally, do if David is selected, given your visceral attacks on him?

    I’m not sure what you think gives you the right to tell me, or anyone else, of their place within the future of the Labour party. What is certain (and this is a general statement NOT a comment about EdM specifically) is that a perceived swing to the left or a dance to the union tune is guaranteed to see us in opposition long into the future.

    Your personal attacks on other candidates are based on ill-informed nonsense. My personal attacks are based on my experience of dealing with you, previously having to challenge you personally on your rude and offensive manner with hard-working activists. I’m quite comfortable that people within the party locally respect me and what I do; can you say the same?

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  26. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    So your calling leading figures in the Party conspiracy theorists with no adaquote basis for those points. Where as we have all seen the red baiting articles; the swift-boating, etc etc but you seem to have not and you seem to take a candidates words at face value which is a little worrying.

    Well maybe it is time that changed. And you are not being amazingly arrogant in benchmarking yourself against them? I have, time and time again, to the point where I dont feel any desire to revisit it. I think a movement though not a swing to the left is exactly where the Party needs to go; your still living in 1983 and things simply are not like that anymore. You invent this mythical concept, the centre-ground, to justify the big tent while missing the fact that your building the tent in the long place.

    I’m not going to continue that part of the discussion – lest we discuss the actual results achieved (how many votes lost?) and we will note once again you duck a substantive question about policy. You maybe happy in your comfort zone of failure but I am certainly not happy for this Party to stay there with you. A priggish Party prating about manners is absolutely no use to the people that need it and it achieves the results you did.

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  27. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    Not specifically conspiracy theorists, but two of them are among EdM’s strongest supporters and thus can be expected to back up your argument. You’ll note (for the 754th time) that I’ve criticise both teams for their briefing and nonsense, not just EdM’s.

    You’re attributing a lot to me and my politics without knowing actually anything about it, other than who I am backing in the contest. Since David’s campaign has drawn people from across the spectrum, it’s an entirely false premise on your part to do this and is yet another example of you making things up to suit your argument. I disagree that the tent is being built in the right place, but I’m sure we’ll find out; I very much suspect that even if EdM wins our position will be rather less left than you seem to want to take things. To level a frequent criticism of others at you, once a trot…

    I’m more than happy to discuss the vote achieved – I’d love to hear how you would have run the campaign better within the resource available to achieve a better vote. Rest assured, I didn’t put in two and a half years of hard work with the intention of losing; it’s not fun and I have no desire to fight elections for their own sake – there’s nothing comfortable about it. However, I have absolutely no desire to trample over and insult hard-working activists as you do – it’s not ‘prating about manners’ [sic], but about simple common courtesy and you could do with learning some.

    As for your fallacial argument about rendition flights – two points: 1) how is it relevant to this debate other than another way of smearing your candidate of choice, and 2) I joined the party in 2007, long after rendition flights had been revealed and investigated; it’s in the past. I’ve said before, policy wise they are all very close; it’s the offer to the party that differentiates David from the others. And it is among those within the party who matter that this is being recognised publicly. I refer you to Denis Skinner’s comments in support of David and would counsel you to take heed of them before you continue on your divide and rule nonsense.

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  28. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    So you conceded Kinnocks point then that there has been bile coming from David Miliband’s campaign has been spreading ‘bile’?

    I know full well Ed will not be as left wing as I would want but there is a certain degree of compromise involved in any position which will not stop me arguing for my position on a whole host of issues, like Labour’s nonsensical committment to nuclear weapons. Nor will I abate on a critique of a society that is structurally deficent and unequal; a point that by the day more and more people are realising is true as it fails to provide. Just because I dont agree with every dot and comma doesnt mean I dont support somebody as the best person to take this Party forward which Ed is and David isnt.

    Plenty to say their to the CLP which couldnt even be bothered to consult its members on who to support because ‘nobody would turn-up’ – if that is not a defeatist, attitude of failure then I dont know what is. Labour could be contenders in that seat given the actions of the Lib Dems but in the current situation its unlikely; thats why it will no longer be a key seat. It was a mistake, for example, to support tuition fees and I am not the only person who thinks this. Also, note this leacturer on manners away from this computer screen was part of a clique critical of other, more successful, Labour campaigns.

    Omg, they matter because David was Foreign Secretary at the time and tacictly allowed them and guess what? This government is going to have a new inquiry on them so your points are rather ignorant of current affairs. Torture happened on his watch and to say he wasnt aware makes him, much like Andy Coulson, either incompetant for not knowing or a liar who did know they were happening. To downplay it and belittle it speaks volumns about the kind of ‘values’ your Labour Party would hold dear; more concerned about ‘manners’ than the torture of innocent people.

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  29. de g. says :

    Darrell,

    There has been crap coming from both campaigns. To my mind, there has been far more bile coming from Ed’s campaign – witness your own desperate need to smear David at every opportunity (for the record, David Miliband was not made Foreign Secretary until 2007, long after ER had taken place and been investigated. But why let the facts etc…) to boost your own candidate; notice that I have absolutely not said anything about EdM or tried to define his position other than to say what I think of his performance in this campaign.

    Actually, the best person to take this party forward is the person who is elected by its MPs and MEPs, its members and those who pay the union levy. Which is why I am comfortable to support whoever is eventually elected. You, on the other hand, have been outright in your condemnation of David so I ask once again: how can you credibly claim to support as leader someone who you have been so strongly against in this contest?

    Actually, the particular CLP to which you refer would have been more than willing to organise a selection meeting if someone had volunteered to do so. However, this takes time and work, something which not everyone was in plentiful supply of at the time. Regarding the key policy issues, I suggest you take that up with the candidate, because ultimately she decided these things, not me or the constituency.

    I am mystified to know which ‘clique’ you think I am a member of, but I’d be grateful if you would tell me as it is always useful to know who you allies are! However, if by clique you mean ‘anyone who isn’t you and one or two other key people’, then I can’t really argue with that. Not that I’m going to lose sleep over it.

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  30. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    Well there we obviously disagree. On ER I am sorry but why recently did David return to the Foreign Office for two hours to check there was nothing bad about to come out when it has emerged he was told by MI6 what was going on? As Foreign Sec he also spent alot of time and effort trying to block a judicial inquiry. Why? This is detailed here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/sep/22/david-miliband-torture-judgment.

    So, are you now going to say a leading lawyer is part of an Ed Mili smear campaign? What will the judcial inquiry reveal heaven only knows but I doubt it will be good for either David or the Party which is one of the reasons the Conservative press want him to win. Alot of unanswered questions exist about this issue; ones that concern the chracter and judgment of one of our candidates which you are simply unable to answer. I think tortureing innocent people is serious matter; you obviously dont.

    No that was not the case. You are totally misrepresenting what happened but this is a tangent and irrelevant to the main issue, I am much more interested in you providing some substantive answers to the above.

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  31. de g. says :

    Are you still going on this one?

    Are you first going to admit that you were wrong, that David Miliband cannot in any way be held responsible for comlicity in torture which may have taken place, and that he did not become Foreign Secretary until long after rendition flights took place (Jack Straw was FS at the time of the acknowledged flights through Diego Garcia)? If you read your own link, the criticism is not that he was complicit in anything, but that he resisted instigating a public inquiry. It’s probably true that one should have been set up, but it’s nonsense to imply that he was in any way responsible for the illegal acts which took place.

    I’m not sure what gives you the impression that I think torture is trivial; at the same time, though, it is also serious to accuse someone of something for which they cannot possibly have been responsible (see above). There is no evidence of any kind that David was responsible for actively or passively facilitating rendition or torture; to say otherwise is just one more example of you making things up to suit your own argument.

    I suggest we call this argument to a close now, to be honest. In just over 48 hours we will know who our new leader is going to be, and soon after that who will be elected to the shadow cabinet. Whichever brother is elected the Labour party gains an asset and we will need to focus our energy on fighting the Lib Dems and Tories, and not each other. In spite of what we’ve both said in this thread (I offer no no apology as I stand by what I’ve written, as I suspect do you) I hope that if and when the time comes we are both involved in the same campaign we can put aside those differences and remember that we’re on the same side, whatever each make think personally of the other.

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  32. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    No I am not going to admit I am wrong because I dont think I am. Will you or will you not answer the substantive questions I asked and that article raises. What about the article the previous day in the same paper?

    Link here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2010/sep/21/mi6-consulted-david-miliband-interrogations.

    I get that impression because throught this discussion you have not addressed substantive points raised by both myself and other people in the links provided. In fact, much like Nick Clegg’s osterich you want to bury your head in the sand and simply not deal with this issue. No doubt Mr Miliband would like to do this himself rather than answer these questions but whatever you, me or he wants there is now going to be a judicial review on this issue and mark my words, if David is leader it will shame and damage this Party. That is what makes it an issue. This is about admitting what was shameful and wrong about the last government; the reasons the electorate rejected us by giving us our worst vote share for a significant amount of time. Not to say everything was wrong, some achievements, like the minimum wage, peace in Northern Ireland etc are there to be proud of but having just tasted electoral defeat where we went wrong is neccessarily more important than where we were right at the moment.

    Having said that I do agree with your last paragraph that this discussion is getting increaseingly circular; on the above we await the reverlations coming from the judical review which will prove one of us right and wrong. As you said neither of us is going to give ground and alot of what we say can only be proved right or wrong in time. Likewise I hope the same, I am sure it will happen and I look forward to it 🙂

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  33. de g. says :

    The substantive point is that David Miliband has no case to answer when it comes to being responsible for any torture or rendition flights which may have occurred. Anything else is pure conjecture. You explicitly said above that torture happened on his watch – that was and is factually wrong and the statement from his spokesperson in the Guardian article you link to is unambiguous about it. Do you seriously think, once rendition and torture had been exposed and investigated, that he would have been stupid enough to come in as Foreign Secretary and allow it to continue in the knowledge that at some point in the future an inquiry was likely? For the record, you’ve not asked a single substantive question about rendition, and you’ve yet to acknowledge the places where you’ve been factually wrong. But there we go.

    To give you a bit more background now – I’m not actually that interested in the intricacies of policy debate, or the navel gazing that goes on after defeat. We need to do it honestly and frankly, but it cannot be what defines us for the next 5 years. There are few things that interest me less than sitting around in branch meetings discussing over-written resolutions which are going to get lost in a web of procedures which only three people know. I come from the pragmatic side of the party, in that I want a leader and candidates that are going to win and win consistently, and are going to use the power they gain to put our policies and our values into action. It’s why I do campaigning rather than putting my effort into being a keyboard warrior (most of the time).

    When you look at it that way, I’m sure you can better appreciate why I get so angry at people bitching about other candidates and why I refrain from doing it myself (other than about Diane, but then she merits it). The Labour party is big enough and mature enough to come up with a shared policy direction; since all candidates have pledged a greater role for the party in this respect it mystifies me why all the debate and scrutiny has been about policy direction which is largely out of their individual control rather than how the party will work which is entirely within it.

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  34. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    Of course he has a case to answer. Lets be quite clear about what the article says:

    “During the three years Miliband served as foreign secretary, MI6 always consulted him personally before embarking on what a source described as “any particularly difficult” attempts to gain information from a detainee held by a country with a poor human rights record.

    While Miliband blocked some operations, he is known to have given permission for others to proceed.”

    And again:

    “As foreign secretary, Miliband fought an unsuccessful legal battle to prevent the public seeing part of a court judgment that showed MI5 was aware Binyam Mohamed was being tortured in Pakistan before one of its officers was sent to interrogate him.”

    So, what has David got to hide? The article goes on ‘Miliband declined to answer a number of questions put by the Guardian 12 days ago about his role in granting MI6 permission to proceed with such operations, and his assertion that he always struck the correct balance.’ Again this begs the question as to why, if there was nothing to hide he is silent. I have asked numerous substantive questions, including several in this reply.

    Navel gazing over policy? This is about British government complicity in the torture of innocent people. This matters and if your saying it does not leads me to the assertion that my accusations about you not seeing this as important are fundementally correct and justified. As for the ‘pragmatic wing’ well, its your wing that the electorate just threw out of power. The electorate want to know alot more about our principles and are sick to tears of a pragmatism they associate with spin and opportunism.

    Well I think oddly we might agree about Diane Abbott who has dissappointed me as a left-winger. I agree about the shared policy-making decisions though; but I am not sure the torture thing is even a ‘policy question’ its a question of judgment as was outlined in the first piece I linked too and when picking a leader I think that is something that has to be bourne in mind.

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  35. de g. says :

    Sorry, you misunderstand me. As far as I am concerned, he has answered the case about the issue of torture – he’s been clear and unambiguous in his role. There is nothing to justify the assertion that he had anything to do with torture or rendition.

    In terms of navel-gazing over policy, I’m not talking about torture/rendition, as that’s not an issue of policy. I’m talking generally about the intricate detail of policy generally, where discussions in my experience are far more often about who can shout loudest, not who actually knows something about it.

    I think you miss the point about the pragmatic wing – we lost as a party, but it certainly wasn’t because people like me went out and worked for years to try and win. I don’t come from a particular policy wing, so I’ll thank you not to keep misrepresenting my position. Sometimes, you have to remember that you cannot just pigeonhole people into the convenient little ‘them-and-us’ boxes that you like to use.

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  36. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    Its ok. Sorry if I misunderstood but I think we do disagree here because I do not think he has answered in a satisfactory way at all. Too many unanswered questions remain and his visit to the FO was unfortunate to say the least, it made him look like he had something to hide.

    Ok. Here again I disagree. A big debate on these issues needs to happen because as I have said, I think the election of a new leader puts us at the beginning not the end of a process of change. Big debates need to happen about, for example, our economic policy.

    I think our wires are getting crossed here; its not about the work activists do but more the argument that the ‘pragmatic’ wing is the one that perpetually chases the ‘centre ground’ which is in my eyes the political equivilent of Camelot; a mythical place which is invented to justify right-wing pragmatism. You have to admit that calls for pragmatism and electability are most commonly associated with the right wing?

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  37. de g. says :

    I don’t agree. There are large numbers of people within the party who don’t choose to be part of the intellectual discussion of policy and direction; rather they focus their effort into doing the campaigning and getting involved in their local communities. Are they right-wing? Or are they just Labour?

    As I have said above, the party is about striking a balance. On the one hand, we need to be guided by our values, but on the other we can deliver nothing without being elected. Both perspectives need to have heed to the other; all your ‘left-wing’ values mean nothing if all you’re doing is throwing brickbats at a Tory Council or a Tory government.

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  38. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de.g,

    But as was rightly said in another place you can knock on all the doors you want. If the message isnt right, doesnt resonate, it doesnt matter now does it? People wont flock to a active party with the wrong message, if activity determined success then fringe parties which tend to be hyperactive, would always outscore the mainstream parties.

    I agree it is about striking a balance between the two things so in that vein we are merely emphasising different ends of the equation are we not?

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  39. herbalpharmacy.mobi says :

    Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find
    a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
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    Like

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