Friday, July 18, 2008

Mystery of Purnell Workfare Leak

James Purnell's new 'workfare' proposals were leaked this afternoon. Within the last hour I have had three phone calls from different people with very different 'agendas' suggesting that the leak came from Number Ten. Another emailed suggested that this was James Purnell throwing down the leadership gauntlet. Could the two theories by any chance be connected?

UPDATE: Sky's Niall Paterson broke the story HERE, where you can read a copy of the leaked Welfare Reform paper.


Anonymous said...

Workfare - that should go down well in Glasgow East !

Anonymous said...

Iain, just read your thread and linked to it from

I agree it stinks to high heaven and could sway the Glasgow East by election where 50% are on benefits.

Maybe Purnell's team were told to pull the Monday announcement so someone has decided to leak it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Work for dole is OK - as your link points out its a Tory idea (this by the way is the same Tory party Brown regularly clams has no 'substance'), but what about if you're on some kind of sickness or invalidity benefit? That is where most of the 'unemployed' reside.

Old BE said...

11 years into Labour's reign are we finally getting "the unthinkable"?

Anonymous said...

All of the 'contenders' are going to have to start positioning themselves by setting out their stalls, or even 'branding' themselves.

Purnell could do a lot worse than suggesting that the 'Work and Pensions' received wisdom has to be challenged and the 'settlement' groupthink that has pervaded for the last decade needs to be challenged.

Next up will be Andy Burnham with some new ideas for the domestic agenda - sadly promising lots more CCTV will not be it.

I can't help think Miliband [D.] will be at a disadvantage as most people aren't really in touch with the vagaries of foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting about the leak is that it is cabinet correspondence, a number of days old, with a classification 'Restricted'

The release of this sort of information is a criminal issue, whereas by now there should be a draft at the printers ready to go in time for Monday's announcement which although embargoed would surely not at least have its classification on it.

As a letter asking for clearance, the document is yet subject to change based on the replies.

The leak seems amateur to say the least, done by someone low down. Also, the document has a distinctive mark on every other page - it is possible that a leak enquiry could pinpoint this machine. It all seems v odd.

Astro-Turf Lawnmower said...

Why would Number 10 leak something that is going to enrage the good citizens of Glasgow East? If it's close there, this sort of thing could end up costing Gordon his job.

Sadly Gordon won't end up on workfare - if he walked down a motorway verge picking up litter it would be the most valuable and least damaging thing he'd done in the past 20 years.

Lola said...

if it's run by New Labour it won't 'work'. Either because the staff implementing it will be incapable of doing so, or because culturally it is beyond Labour to conceive that anyone does not 'deserve' benefits as a form of redistribtion. And of course they will have to employ a whole new cadre of civil servants to implement the scheme.

Anonymous said...


You realise that if and when the Tories take over, they will be faced with the same civil servants that Labour have currently? So Tory policies will be just as doomed, and rightly then we can blame them for the failures.

Anonymous said...

What makes that little squirt Purnell think he's leadership or PM material?

To me he's a mini Blair - a micro mini - with a Brownesque mouth problem and a decided lack of Blair's political capablity or charisma.

Purnell's already mired in accusations of sleaze: the phoney picture scandal when he had his pic taken and it was inserted into one of a political meeting he didn't attend plus the Newsnight naughties allegations etc etc.

Don't we have too many inexperienced professional politicians with virtually no experience of real, productive jobs outside the political bubble? I bet Purnell studied PPE too.

The Mail had a brilliant piece on him which says it all:

Purnell "wreathed by a cologne cloud of self-delight"

Anonymous said...

Purnell...the lad of Primrose Hill... goes to Downing Street?

Oh, please. More like one of the Lavender Hill Mob rides again if his incompetence in miring himself in sleaze allegations is anything to go by.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant:


Anonymous said...

"The goal of achieving 0.7 per cent. of gross domestic product for aid is most important. Not only will it revive people's faith in politics, but it will show that the Government can make a real difference by spending money wisely and increasing the amount that is being spent."
(James Purrrrrrnell)

This aint Blair, this is born again Brown..........

Anonymous said...

"The goal of achieving 0.7 per cent. of gross domestic product for aid is most important. Not only will it revive people's faith in politics, but it will show that the Government can make a real difference by spending money wisely and increasing the amount that is being spent."
(James Purrrrrrnell)

This aint Blair, this is born again Brown..........

Anonymous said...

The Lavender Hill Mob:

The bros Miliband, Douglas Alexander, Pat McFadden, James Purrrrrrrnell, Jim Murphy, Andy Burn'em, Matthew Taylor, Geoff Mulgan and Patrick Diamond, Geoff Mulgan and Patrick Diamond - a loose affiliation of millionaires and would be billionaires and, baby:

"It's a turn-around jump shot
It's everybody jump start
It's, every generation throws a hero up the pop charts,
Medicine is magical and magical is art
think of the Boy in the Bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart.

These are the days of lasers in the jungle,
Lasers in the jungle somewhere,
Staccato signals of constant information,
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires and baby,
These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all o-yeah."
(Paul Simon - Boy in the bubble)

No way, sunshines!

Anonymous said...

Purrrrrnell discusses Ladbrook's positioning him as number 2 after Miliband to succeed Brown here.

Does he fantasise about being PM. Oh, yeah! Watch how he struggles to suppress a smirk when it's suggested to him. You can almost feel the - delicious - pain of the muscular tetany this induces creeping round Purrrrnell's jaw.

Also. several times Purnell mimics Blair's theatrical, girly, kiss curl/head shakes - and 'I'm an honest sort of bloke' performance - a dead give away.

Yet a statesman - Purnell? With that silly, squeaky, lispy little boy voice my daughter says he has and similar lispy manner? With his Brownesque lack of confidence (underlying purrr's phoney cologne cloud of self delight), his very poor judgement and pronounced Brownesque mouth distortions? No way.

The mouth distortion becomes more pronounced when Purrrrrnell's under pressure - just like Brown.

If Purnell is number two and Miliband is number one, nulab must be in terribly dire straits for candidates.

Gerry Attric said...

As someone who was on the New Deal program for 13-weeks at A4e Edinburgh in 2008 and, like most of the other claimants I knew, found the whole experience a complete waste of time. At the end of the 13 weeks I emergerd even more depressed and more cynical than when I started the course - only to sign-on again. In fact there was a 62-year old man in my group who was one year off getting a company pension! Why on earth did the jobcentre refer him to the New Deal program in the first place. I don’t think many taxpayers fully realise just how many millions £ of public money is being wasted on the New Deal, which is to be replaced by the Flexible New Deal (FND) in October. And there are even fewer jobs than last year, and what there is mostly part-time and temporary.