Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Tale of Cornered Rats

Cornered rats are dangerous animals. They tend to go for the throat, given the chance. I thought of that when reading Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle's letter to the Daily Telegraph this morning...
Sir – Your report (August 6) that David Miliband has asked Alan Milburn to be his Chancellor if and when he becomes Prime Minister will alarm the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Apart from the obvious fact that there is no vacancy, it will reinforce the view that Mr Miliband is a political lightweight, lacking the experience to make informed and acceptable political judgments.

What will be proposed next: a third term of office for Peter Mandelson?

This letter is perplexing because I cannot work out what Kilfoyle's agenda is. He grew to loathe Blair only just slightly less than he loathes Brown, which is only slightly less than he loathes Mandelson.

Yesterday, Rosa Prince wrote a Telegraph front page lead which said unequivocally that David Miliband had offered Alan Milburn the Chancellorship, should Miliband become PM. Today, Miliband allies are accusing Brown's lackeys of planting the story to damage their man. Rosa Prince's follow up in today's Telegraph makes for interesting reading too. Miliband's people are now accusing her directly of doing Brown's dirty work for him.

Whatever the truth of Miliband's position one thing is clear. He and his people have underestimated the power of the Brown machine to crush all internal opposition and to rubbish those who dare to gainsay the Prime Minister. Miliband didn't stand against Brown last year partly because he knew he wouldn't win and partly because he calculated that Brown's people would destory him in the process.

As he suns himself on a Minorca beach, David Miliband may well be reflecting that what was true then, still holds true today. I have said all along that I did not believe Miliband's Guardian article was an overt leadership pitch. I was in a very small minority who held that view. Let's assume I am wrong. Miliband will now be fearing that things have got out of control and that he threatens to become a Heseltine-type figure who has wielded the dagger but will never inherit the crown.

If the quotes in Rosa Prince's article are genuinely from disenchanted potential supporters of Miliband, he will know he is in deep trouble. But as I said at the beginning, cornered rats are dangerous beasts. There's no telling what he might do when he returns from his holiday - or who he might bite...

32 comments:

Beachhutman said...

>> the power of the Brown machine to crush all internal opposition<<
I thought gordy had stopped being a stalinist?
No, damn, sorry, I must mean Joe Stalin has stopped being a stalinist - Gordon is a man of principle. He won't abandon the old ways!

Richard Nabavi said...

I think you missed a trick here, Iain. You could have run a web-exclusive story along the lines of "Senior Labour MP calls for Peter Mandelson to replace Brown."

Everyone else is running stories like that, so why not?

Jonny Mac said...

"Miliband's people are now accusing her directly of doing Brown's dirty work for him."

Too right. In one corner of the bar, delicately sipping a martini: the ambitious, gullible Ms Prince, trying to make a name for herself while more senior colleagues are on holiday. In another: Brownite spinners, nursing whiskies and pints of bitters. To (mis-quote) the excellent opening credits for "Hart to Hart" - "when they met it was (er, journalistic) moyder!"

Newmania said...

Now this is the stuff,. I thought you were wrong about the Millipede and what about this for an idea
Suppose Millipede can think of better things than spending the next ten years if not forever , out of power and suppose he knows getting rid of Brown alone is pointless without a huge swing right , in other words suppose its true ? I know the obvious response is cui bono but can you imagine the desperation of a Millipede after all those years kissing Blair ass to be out on his ear a nothing who achieved nothing .
Brown cannot crush a paper cup anymore and Milliband has worse things to worry about than him.

BTQW what was that rubbish Mary Riddel was on about in the Telegraph ? Is she drunk

strapworld said...

Whilst I appreciate you write some excellent articles for the telegraph.

I hope, Iain, people write to the editorial team over the rosa prince articles, because I believe they are scandalous.

There is NO evidence whatsoever in the first or second of her articles to give any proof of the allegations she makes.

It is quite disgraceful reporting and the editor who approved this must answer to the readership.

We, after all, pay their wages by buying the paper.

After stopping the Mail, losing confidence in the Times which paper does a Tory read these days

Scary Biscuits said...

I agree with Strapworld et al. Rosa is a right-on leftie who shouldn't be writing as a news journalist for any newspaper, let alone the Disastergraph.

Her article is another example of how press self-regulation has failed and journalists continue simply to make up stories to the extent that nobody believes them even when their true.

The blogosphere doesn't pretend to have a code of conduct but nonetheless seems to be able to separate news from comment/gossip much more effectively and honestly than the dead tree press.

Anonymous said...

Gordon must indeed be worried to be sending out the hatchet men before the blanket olympics coverage swamps all and sundry.

However all those slim majority Labour MPs may be pondering through all the olympic races as whether to put money on Miliband's big race...

Alex said...

Iain

What paper can a Tory read now they've lost the Mail (Dacre, Gorgon's mate), Times (Murdoch, Gorgon's mate) and Labourgraph (full of ex Mirror and Guardian writers)?

Anonymous said...

Iain, you are bang on the money.

Brown didn't spend ten years waiting to be Prime Minister for him to give it up quickly.

He will, I'm sure, use the conference platform to make it completely, totally and unequivocally clear that he will not be giving up without a fight.

He will pursue a scorched earth policy to remain at Number 10, or as Leader of the Labour Party if his premiership leads to ruination at the General Election. He would rather the pyrrhic victory of being in charge when the ship goes down than quit and watch someone else take over at Number 10.

Anonymous said...

Millie-caught with his sticky Blair proxy fingures in the till yet again.

norman said...

Gordon Brown is anchored in as the PM for the rest of this parliament. The Labour Party rules militate against Miliband, the teenager. Milburn, Byers, Clake all yesterday men, Blairites, can march Miliband up the hill and down again but Brown 'will get on with his work', i.e working with his cabal in No 10 bunker. I do not hope to see Brown in Kirkaldy golf course until he is defeated in the next election.

trevorsden said...

When Miliband stuck his two pennyworth in via his Guardian article he must have known, anticipated, the result. If not then he is doubly undeserving of high office.

But as I have said before I think it is asking a lot to expect anything coherent from this Labour lot - their track record is one of incompetence. Why should their palace revolutions be any different?

If Miliband is indeed plotting anything with a coherent outcome then he should be plotting his resignation to gain maximum effect. There would be no point becoming Labour leader unless he also has some kudos with the same voters he must rely on if he is to become PM.

I agree with those who say The Telegraph is not the paper it was. But its in good company. In my distant youth our family read was the Daily Express !!

Guido does have an agenda when he berates the 'dead tree press' but he also has a point. As I occasionally sit and do the Telegraph 'Codeword' I do wonder how much else makes it worth 80(?)p. Then I think of the content of its rivals ...

The Saturday cost of course is eye watering and most of it disappears straight into the bin ... except the Motoring and 'Honest John'.

Anonymous said...

I do not think that Miliband is a Heseltine type. Miliband and Miliburn could well turn Labour's fortunes around, Brown and Darling will certainly not.

Has the Labour party got the spunk to try for an eleventh hour rescue, or will it submit to certain defeat?

tapestry said...

The BBC and the EU-subservient media wanted to pre-empt a messy leadership tangle by quickly promoting Miliband to front-runner before any others could get their names to the fore.

It looks like back-firing, but poor old Miliband. He was only doing what his masters in Brussels had instructed him to do.

Their ability to call the political tune in Britain is collapsing as it is in Ireland.

The way is open for the trade unions and the left to punch a hole in Brown's leadership and threaten the Lisbon Treaty - before Cameron can get the credit.

old lobby bore said...

The Daily Telegraph, I am afraid to say, is reaping the whirlwind of having replaced a first-class, highly-experienced political team with a group of promising but unproven relative beginners.

Ex pol-ed George Jones had three potential in-house successors in Toby Helm, Philip Johnston and Andrew Pierce. There was also the outside possibility, if they had been willing to pay the transfer fee, of luring back Brogan from the Mail. It is frankly beyond belief that not one of these four was chosen, and that the man who was then proceeded to clear-out the entire lobby team. It will be many years before the paper recovers its authority.

Gordon said...

Here's a shocking idea:

Maybe Millipede did chat to typist-beater Milburn and at least raised the possibility of his Chancellorship, and that "friends of Millipede" then told Rosa and she reported it.

Anonymous said...

I think we've been here before. Peter Kilfoyle is the only "Labour" MP as far as I can see and he seems a pretty decent sort of chap. I think his seat is pretty safe and the way things are going he may be a one man party in a couple of years time.
Who was the crime writer on the paper review last night?
freedom to prosper

Anonymous said...

Hang on a minute! The only certainty in all this is that Rosa Prince's story in the Telegraph suggesting Miliband has already lined up Milburn for Chancellor is pure fantasy.
I know it's August and it's slim pickings for hacks. But I have seen a story so widely rubbished by colleagues since the Hitler Diaries!
It's not the first time that Prince has been caught out with this kind of stuff.
Still, she's doubtless told them she's got a good source. But does her imagination count??

Boggo said...

No one but an idiot would want to take over from Brown at the moment; the time for a new leader is when Labour lose the next election, and Milliband has put his marker down for that. He may not be Obama, but look at what there is to choose from. It can't be hard to stand out of that crowd.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me why these publications all seem to be backing a loser???

Labour Matters said...

Iain, may I suggest you leave Labour politics to Labour people whilst you carry on concentrating on what you do reasonably well?

You do however get bonus points for spotting that Miliband wasn't really bidding for Leader, although anybody outside of the Telegraph and the Mail offices knew that immediately.

P.S. Love you on Sky News, you're strangely less partisan there (but for heavens sake don't tell Rupert!).

Anonymous said...

At least she is doing her job and increasing sales for the labourgraph.

Anonymous said...

Rosa Prince. Daughter of Dominic Prince, ex-city editor of the Daily Express.

Like father, like daughter. A complete and utter tosser.

Anonymous said...

Let's get one thing straight. To talk about Millipede as a 'Heseltine figure' is surely some kind of joke. I disliked Heseltine but, give him his due, he was a political 'beast'.

Millipede is a pygmy in comparison and as for him 'wearing the crown', well, words fail me. Get out on the street and listen to what people have to say. There won't be a party left to crown after the next election.

Anonymous said...

www.HarrietHarmanSucks.com

javelin said...

Let's not forget about Harman's Harpieism waiting in the wings. I hope she does become PM so it exposes modern-feminism for the short-term self-interested lobby group it has become.

Anonymous said...

See 'yer 'ol mate Norm, is saying if we all end up as Muslims its the fault of the CofE being taken over by poofters.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1042755/LORD-TEBBIT-If-head-church-uphold-standards-shaped-hope-there.html

Oh! as your opposed to all that PC nonsense I know you won't mind me using the term poofter, do you Iain?

comment.

Anonymous said...

Miliband is a punk. Bill and Ben the flower pot men have more political importance then the Milipeded boys.

Anonymous said...

An article in the Telegraph today is talking up the price of oil falling to $70 a barrel. However this will not be the end of the problem. The oil blip has put an inflationary pulse into all wage talks. This has yet to show itself.

Talk of pay-restraint did not eventually win a '79 poll victory for Callaghan. It is Gordon's nightmare.

Miliband does not have the talents to succeed where Gordon has failed - he is no Blair.

Chris Paul said...

Guido has this right I think. Someone's pulling Rosa Prince's leg on this. The original story was quite extraordinary as Luke Akehurst pointed out. There was no mileage in a Mili/Milburn tie-up though they would likely have had desks together in the third form and from that point of view be more likely to become buddies (not).

This will not be Brown. It will be a maverick prankster of some kind, seeing how gullible the press can be. Someone in McDonnell's circle perhaps? Or BMA? Or Kilfoyle himself?

Beyond New Labour said...

I've written about this on my blog. It wasn't long ago Brown was considering a pitch for Milburn as Chancellor, to appease Blairites no doubt. Since he rejected him the briefing against Milburn has been incredibly hypocritical. Take Robinsons "its a thought, not a very good one" quote. He didn't say that when Brown was Considering him.

Mark said...

Iain, next time you;re having difficulty working out Peter Kilfolyle's agenda consider that it may just simply be a different one from New Labour and give him credit for it .