Friday, 14 November 2014

The abyss looks back also..

So how'd he do? Ed Miliband's comeback speech gets five gold stars from Tom Clark in the Guardian: "all but his most determined enemies will have been impressed". "Finally, Ed Miliband shows with a fighting speech that he has what it takes to be Prime Minister," the Mirror roars
The Indy's leader writers aren't so sold. "Lame to the point of satire," is their verdict"The best we can say is it wasn't as bad as his party conference calamity," the Sun sighs. "Full of class war [and] quasi-Marxist rhetoric," is the Mail's take. "Mr Miliband's speech," Philip Collins writes in the Times, "contained nothing for anyone on middle income or above and there is no majority to be assembled in this country for a campaign aimed only at the bottom third of the income scale."
Forget Michael Foot, our leader says. Labour is "if anything in a worse position than it was 30 years ago". "It has no policies at at all, merely slogans....Ed Miliband was, as usual, good at identifying the country's problems but woeful at prescribing a cure."
What's the internal reaction? Privately, hopes for a Tory meltdown after the Rochester & Strood by-election is the real cause for optimism among Labour MPs, while others point to the astute recent hire of Ian Warren, a data guru who, they hope, will allow Labour to grit out a parliamentary victory even if the party finishes second in the popular vote. 
Much will hinge on Ed Miliband not repeating his trick of roaring like a lion before falling into a Bagpuss-style slumber for a few months. That Ed Balls is out today adding further detail to the party's plans on tax avoidance, promising not just payment but punitive fines for tax avoiders, shows that the Opposition is starting to get wise to the tactical mistakes of times past. Ignore the troubled substance - for all the policy flaws of the energy price freeze, Labour made hay by attacking, continually and relentlessly. The real test is not in yesterday's speech or today's papers but whether Labour is still keeping the pressure on in a month's time. 

British jihadists who fight for Isil in Syria and Iraq will be barred from returning for at least two years, Steven Swinford reports. The PM is Down Under for the G20 Summit, and he will announce the plans later today. "Temporary exclusion orders" will put suspected fighters on a no-fly list for two years and require them to submit to strict conditions, including enhanced surveillance, on their return to British shores. The proposals may face a legal challenge from countries that may refuse to keep British-born jihadists within their borders. 
The SNP are in Perth today for their conference, which will confirm Nicola Sturgeon as Alex Salmond's successor as party leader and First Minister. That man Mr Salmond will tell party members not to accept defeat in the independence referendum as decisive. "They thought it was all over, it isn't now," he will quip. In the Guardian, Martin Kettle profiles the Blair-Brown style deal between Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon a decade ago. On the Today programme this morning, Ms Sturgeon has said that "the wish and will" of the Scottish people will decide whether the referendum debate has finished, and has suggested that an EU exit could trigger a referendum. It would be "democratically indefensible" for Scotland to be taken out of the European Union "against our will", Ms Sturgeon says. 
"We wouldn't put the Tories into government," Nicola Sturgeon said on the Today programme, while, as part of an interview with Mure Dickie in the FT, Alex Salmond raises the possibility of a confidence and supply deal with the Labour Party after the next election. It's all part of the SNP's attempts to defuse Scottish Labour's predicted "vote SNP, get Cameron" line next May. 
The chances of a British exit from the EU are "50-50", Sir John Major said in a speech in Berlin last night. "British frustration is no game," Sir John told the audience, saying that there must be real concessions if the referendum is to be won. Chris Hope has the storyand the full speech is here
Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite, has rounded on Jim Murphy in an article for LabourList. He is "the candidate of a reheated Blairism", Mr McCluskey says. His "victory would be all the SNP's Christmases come at once", Mr McCluskey continues, a sentence of "political death" for Scottish Labour. There's "nothing personal" to his objections, Mr McCluskey tells the FT. Mr Murphy currently leads Mr McCluskey's preferred candidate, Neil Findlay, among constituency nominations by 20 to 11. 
Philip Hammond is "misguided" in his comments on the commitment to enshrine the 0.7% spending target in GDP, say 15 development bigwigs, who have made their feelings known in a letter to the Telegraph. The signatories, who include the CEOs of Christian Aid and Cafod, say that it would move the debate from "how much is spent" to "how it is spent". Nick Clegg says that the Foreign Secretary's comments are "bizarre". "It was a Conservative party manifesto commitment," Mr Clegg told LBC listeners
£3,350 A POP
The badger cull cost the taxpayer £3,350 for every badger killed, Ben Riley-Smith reports. Just 1,879 badgers were culled. The cost of bovine TB to Britain is estimated at around £500 million. 

You can get in touch with me by pressing "reply" or on Twitter. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams - a gallery of his work is available here.  
Conservatives 31% Labour 33% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 17% Green 6%  (Ashcroft-ICM-IpsosMori-Opinium-Populus-Survation-YouGov, 07.11.2014-14.11.2014)
YouGov: Conservatives 33%, Labour 32%, Liberal Democrats 8%, Ukip 15% Green 6%
@WillardFoxtonThis is what, the 15th Miliband relaunch? Apollo project got to the moon with eleven.
From the Telegraph
Fraser Nelson - Miliband sounds good but lack substance and show 
Cathy Newman - Keep going, Dame Judi, you're an inspiration 
From elsewhere
Philip Collins - Labour's had all the luck, but it's going to lose (Times)
Tim Montgomerie - 10 Reasons Why I Won't Be Joining Ukip (ConHome)
1900: Children In Need.