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Tuesday 16th December 2014
Ed Miliband's attempts to shake off his "Red Ed" moniker have been dealt a blow.... by John Prescott!
The Labour heavyweight helpfully used the nickname as he did the flagship 8.10 interview on Radio 4's Today programme this morning.
Prezza was attacking Government plans to introduce so-called English votes for English laws and commending his own leader's approach when he appeared to slip up.
He said: "Now how you have the accountability, whether it’s elected different regions, whether you actually have economic powers and resources within the elected people is a debate and discussion. And that’s why Red, Ed, is right to have a commission to look at these and not rush them through ready for the election which Hague is now doing."
Oops. The Red Ed nickname was adopted by the Tory-supporting press soon after Mr Miliband's Labour election victory in September 2010.
It largely disappeared later but was then temprorarily revived as a reaction to the Labour leader's 2013 party conference speech when he pledged to freeze energy bills.
Recently it has been dying a bit, despite the best efforts of Tory HQ. Did Prezza just bring it back to life?
Friday 5th December 2014
With the Liberal Democrats averaging eight percent in the polls, it’s only fair someone gives Nick Clegg a break for Christmas.
So the Deputy Prime Minister will surely be overwhelmed with delight to hear that he is judged to have "won Christmas" with this year’s amusing photo-booth style card.
The year's effort is a classy shift from the cutesy cards of previous years designed by the Clegg children. In 2010, for example, Nick was portrayed as a gingerbread man glued to his phone, donning a Lib Dem yellow tie.
Meanwhile, David Cameron’s card shows the PM and his wife surrounded by the Chelsea Pensioners. With such patriotism on clear display, anyone might think Ukip was breathing down his neck...
Over in Primrose Hill, Ed, Justine and their two young sons are putting the last-minute touches on Labour’s 2015 manifesto with vital attempts to bring in the youth vote.
As for who lost Christmas this year?
Season’s Greetings, Chandler Bing.
Tuesday 2nd December 2014
It’s no secret that David Cameron has increased the number of people attending the Cabinet table, but it’s just getting ridiculous now.
In a rare insight into the kind of lobbying operations that can secure ministers a spot at the top table, Phillip Schofield spoke with the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room in No 10 this morning for Good Morning Britain (the first ever live TV interview from there, incidentally).
Schofield, who did the interview as part of a 24-hour live TV presence for the Text Santa charity, said afterwards:
“I am in a bit of a sort of takeover mood. I am feeling quite comfortable.”
Cameron, acknowledging he had been roundly outmanoeuvred by the ingenious power play, responded:
“I'm staying right here.... You can stay on for Cabinet. See what really happens.”
Wednesday 26th November 2014
Congratulations to Ed Vaizey for – hopefully – giving the question of ‘does any of your family drive a white van?’ a humane ending.
Echoing fellow Labour MP Jamie Reed’s performance at PMQs today, Sadiq Khan took the opportunity to inform us that his nephew and brother drive a white van before laying down the gauntlet to Tory guest Ed Vaizey.
“I’m sure Ed has members of his family who drive a white van as well. Ed?” he poked on the World at One.
While he fell short of the rhetorical flourishes of Nadhim Zahawi, Vaizey made his point:
“My kids are too young to drive. They’re only eight and six. I think about my neighbours and I think about Sadiq’s family. I will from now on, anyway.”
Wednesday 26th November 2014
Labour has been having a few problems with celebrities in recent weeks.
So when Sol Campbell made a film for Daily Politics about why the mansion tax is a bad idea, there may have been a few at Labour HQ holding their breath.
Owen Smith, Labour’s chosen prize fighter today, decided to take a different tack to his leader and come out swinging at the millionaires.
Having prepped in advance, Smith pointed out that Campbell had recently put up his house in Chelsea for sale at £25m, owned another flat in Chelsea as well as a “big country pile”.
“People in this country who are, frankly, struggling under this Government will have zero sympathy for millionaires like you pleading poverty," he charged.
Campbell, who probably hadn’t seen such aggression since marking Duncan Ferguson, seemed a bit taken aback and claimed he “can’t afford” the tax. A job well done for Labour.
Perhaps buoyed by his first scalp, Smith decided to carry on, taking aim at his fellow guest Grant Shapps. In an exchange about political merchandising, Smith swiped:
“I’m loath to engage in a conversation about branding with Mr Green because he’s such an expert on branding.”
At this point Andrew Neil decided to put an end to the rampage.
“Cheap,” was his assessment.
“I thought it was vaguely amusing,” Smith pleaded.
“No, it wasn’t."
Fun and games over, Owen.