Saturday, August 21, 2010

Those Kennedy Rumours

Last night a reader attended a Q+A session with Ed Miliband in Edinburgh because of his rumoured involvement in the Charles Kennedy rumour. He recorded Miliband's response to his question about the rumour. Here is the transcript...

Question: Rumours are gathering pace about Charles Kennedy defecting to Labour.
Would you welcome him to the party and considering that someone on your campaign team was one of the rumoured sources for this, is it a trump card for the

Ed Miliband

I’m going to be mysterious here. The rumours are good to encourage. I was as surprised as you were when I read the report. He’s not on the phone to me every hour or anything like that. I think it does reflect the fact that there were a lot of Lib Dems who are unhappy and I would welcome Lib Dems to come over to us because it has got to be good for us to have Lib Dems defecting. I think it reflects the fact that among Charles Kennedy, among Ming Campbell and potentially Simon Hughes, there is a lot of unhappiness among that wing of the party because the Clegg people are a
different breed. They are small state Liberals, small state when it comes
to civil liberties, when it comes to the economy. They are basically Cameron
Tory. I saw that absolutely clearly in the coalition negotiations because they
were deficit nutters. I think that in the end I don’t see that there’s much of a
future in one party for Clegg and those other people. But I am certainly
encouraging the rumours.
Er, so, why this morning, does Ed blame the "overexcited blogosphere" for this story? A neat deflecting tactic? Or another sign that his grip on reality if failing almost as quickly as his leadership campaign?

I wonder what the motivation was of the Labour insider who leaked it. Charlie Whelan is rumoured to be the middle man here. Go figure.


Jabba the Cat said...

"I saw that absolutely clearly in the coalition negotiations because they were deficit nutters."

Another confirmation that Miliband minor is a deficit denier.

Manfarang said...

Wow. The Marx Brother at the Edinburgh fringe.I thought Nu-Labour didn't do comedy.

Andy Wasley said...

Small-state Liberals, I think he was trying to say.

That a politician would admit to encouraging rumours is a bit weird; in admitting that he was stoking gossip, he could either scare potential defectors away or blow the whole thing out of the water. It's a shame. Firstly, because it means that the hard left of the Lib Dems remains able to make mischief, which won't do the government much good. Secondly, because I don't think it's going to do MiliE much good either. Of all the Labour candidates, he's the only one I think would present the Coalition with the opposition and challenging debate that we Tories should thrive on. You can't have a battle of ideas with people who aren't armed; all MiliD offers is New Labour's tired dogma and failed statism.

Of course, if any of this is a sign of McBride's lumbering re-entry to politics, things could get interesting. But I'm not holding my breath...

Thomas Hobbes said...

small STATE liberals, I assume he said. These people mean it as an insult because they can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to be told exactly how to live, having every thought and movement being controlled themselves from birth.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing to be surprised about. Now that things like the dismantling of the NHS are making it much clearer that Cameron Toryism is actually much further to the right than he would have us believe, it is quite obvious that a substantial part of the liberal wing of the LibDems are going to be unhappy.

With the Labour Party now moving closer to these people in terms of civil liberties amongst other issues it is hardly surprising that there is talk of defections. Ed M is right to encourage this. anything which hastens the early end of this appalling government is to be encouraged.

Unknown said...

haha Dale is getting worried. Love it.

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Maybe because Ed Miliband is another self-centered politico consumed by one thing and one thing only:

the advancement of his own political career.

Anonymous said...

Who are the others then?

The Daily Express says that there are six but that figure now seems to be growing if anything?

Other reports out today suggest that Kennedy "did not turn down an offer to join the party. and that Kennedy, who is on the left of his party, has been tipped for a possible Labour frontbench job if Ed Miliband becomes leader and like many in his party feels that they are being used as a fig leaf by the Tories to push through unpopular policies hence the fact that he was the only Lib Dem MP to vote against the coalition deal and has made it clear he would have preferred a pact with Labour.

Lib Dem insiders fear this could trigger a mass walkout that would humiliate party leader Nick Clegg.

Even the staunchest LibDem can see that Clegg is only out for himself and that the party is effectively dead under his leadership.

Kennedy, along with others are believed to be planning some announcement towards the end of the month of August – which would also coincide with ballot papers for the Labour leadership elections being sent out to party members.

Liberal Democrat insiders point to the fact that Kennedy and his supporters emerged from the SDP, the old Social Democratic breakaway party, but that in seeking to “break the mould” of British politics and merging with the Liberals to become the Liberal Democrats in the 1980s, never in their wildest dreams expected to end up supporting a minority Conservative Government intent on the most swingeing cuts in public spending since the Second World War.

Charles Kennedy’s own Scottish seat of Caithness and Sutherland had historically been a Labour seat, before it’s then MP, Robert Maclennan, defected to the SDP in the 1980s, and became the party’s last leader.

A second potential defector is said to be Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock.

Hancock too comes from the old SDP, has been very unhappy with the coalition and despite being effectively part of the coalition is attacking Andrew Lansley in the Portsmouth News today.

Hancock is a former Labour Leader of Hampshire County Council.

The other MPs also linked are said to be Hancock's flate-mate and Colchester MP Bob Russell, Adrian Sanders, Tim Farron, and Roger Williams and lets not forget that earlier this week Simon Hughes demanded that the LibDems have a veto on Coalition policy.

Salmondnet said...

Is that leaked as in made up, or do you think there is truth in the rumour?

Anonymous said...

It is being suggested elsewhere that Charlie Kennedy has already defected

Anonymous said...

Pretty shameful if Kennedy, Hughes and Ming are considering switching to the big-state, iraq-invading, ID-card mob instead of, you know, actual Liberals. Being a party of Government must be a big shock though.

Tom Harris said...

"Small state". I think he said "small state". That seems to make sense.

Richard Nabavi said...

'Small stay' is surely a mistranscription of 'small state'.

Anonymous said...

I expect "Small Stay" was actually "Small State" given the context

Unknown said...

"Small state" seems pretty obvious for the questionably transcribed expressions. Its inclusion says a lot about Ed's mindset, in that he openly admits that the wing of the Liberal Democrats that believes in minimal state intrusion into the economy and, more tellingly still, civil liberties, is one that would not get on with Labour. Leaving aside the absurdity of someone who didn't believe those things calling themselves a liberal, this just goes to show that an Ed Milliband Labour would be the nasty party, V 2.0.

Bird said...

the story quickly moved on from Charles Kennedy to Ed Milliband and Ed Balls telling us that lots of Liberal MPs were thinking of defecting to Labour.
No evidence at all, but gleefully broadcast by the BBC on every news bulletin.

Unsworth said...

Why is it that Miliband and those of a similar ilk find it so necessary to 'label' and stereotype everything and everyone? Is it possible that it's their only means of debate - dismissive diminution rather than genuine confrontation and logical argument? Certainly seems that way - and they absolutely detest it when others employ the same tactics against them.

WTF is a 'small-state Liberal', anyway? And what exactly is a 'Cameron Tory' or a 'deficit nutter'?

Enough labels and faux jargon Miliband, let's have some real, concise and cogent English for a change. After all, it is said you got to university on merit. Any damn fool can make things more complicated than they actually need be.

Steve C said...

@Natacha - his right-wing MPs think he is far too 'liberal' yet you think he is far too right-wing - you can't both be right and they are much closer to what is going on as MPs than you so I'll ignore your loony 'Cameron is a hard-right man' comment. The evidence against you is overwhelming.

@Geoffrey G Brooking. The problem is, what is the point of the LibDems? They have 3 really stand-out policies. 1. Very Europhile & 2Climate Change & 3. Civil Liberties. Problem is that Nu Labour have stolen most of their Europhile clothes and the Tories when in Government bahave like Europhiles in practice; 2. Both Nu-Labour and Cameron's Tories have largely stolen their climate change clothes again and 3. civil liberties, again Cameron's Tories are on pretty much the same ground. So in reality, the Libddems may as well decide whether to join the Tories or Labour since they simply cannot properly distinguish themselves as a separate party. The 50-60 seat mark is all they will ever get. They only win Labour seats where the people don't trust Labour now but can't bring themselves to vote Tory & Tory seats where the reverse applies and there are only 60 ish seats like that.

DespairingLiberal said...

Er, because it makes trouble for the Coalition? All goes to show why nobody should ever trust a thing the notoriously shifty Millibrothers come out with.

I can't really imagine Kennedy contemplating such a move - there's always been a bit of a leftish streak there, but he can't stand the Labour Party.

DespairingLiberal said...

Mind you, now that Clegg has joined the Tory Right, I suppose it would help balance things a bit if Kennedy and Hughes joined Labour. I for one didn't realise that I was voting for crushing the BBC, slashing child benefit, ending winter fuel payments, cutting highways expenditure by a half, selling off Britain's nature reserves and privatising the Royal Mail when I voted LibDem!

Unknown said...

Natacha: you keep using that word ('liberal'). I do not think it means what you think it means.

Anonymous said...

@Natacha: Ed Milipede? He is a pillock. This idiot's views shoul be ignored. Pillock like him has the temerity to talk after the govt in which he was a member has bankrupted the country. Ofcourse, he is the unions' ventriloquist dummy.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Despairing namby pamby says:

"I suppose it would help balance things a bit if Kennedy and Hughes joined Labour"

like, all they need right now is another nutter and a lush.

Perfect, if they do.

Unknown said...

Maybe some younger folk do not recall that the oxymoronic "Liberal Democracy" was founded by the Liberals and defectors from the LABOUR Party led by Woy Jenkins and David Owen. These champagne Socialists were seeking escape from Union loonies (still there) and Militant Tendency. Oh, the preservation of their own political careers was, of course, secondary to this.
It has taken the formation of the coalition for the Country to realise the LibDims are split down the middle and have been since they beacme Democratic.
Self destruction is on the cards so rejigging the Constituencies is essential if we are to avoid the posssiblilty of a PERMANENT Labour Government when they have repeatedly proved themselves totally unfit for it.
None of the contenders are fit to lead any political party even one as bad as Labour.

Alix said...

"Natacha: you keep using that word ('liberal'). I do not think it means what you think it means."

Surely she cannot be a Labourite who thinks "liberal" means "things I like as a right-on sort of person". That would be inconceivable.

Gerry57 said...

Kennedy, Hughes and Ming have spent their political careers repeating the mantra 'we must get away from the two-party political system'. So are they soon to be part of that system ?

Led said...

When did fiscal responsibility become a thoughtcrime? Fine Milliband, for utter incompetetence you owe the nation £3M, if you fail to pay up you can pay the interest out of your own pocket.

Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems are a bunch of Liars IMO - they said when Kennedy was *Drunk* he was not very well before the 2005 election. They went around saying he was a candidate for PM - when will folk learn you cannot trust Lib Dems.

They are just waiting for the New Labour leader and then they are going to walk - Its obvious what will happen.
The Lib Dems cannot say that kennedy did not talk to Labour folk, he has been talking to Labour whips.

If you believe the Lib Dems you need your head examining - Duplicity is something they excel at deploying.

King Athelstan said...

Seems to me anyway the glibdumbs are still enjoying their five minutes of relevance, the coalition has lasted longer than anyone might have expected.