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With Friends Like These…

August 30, 2010

The battle between David & Ed Moribund for the leadership of the Labour Party has seen both candidates campaigns marred by unwanted interventions by supposed supporters.

First we had GMB union Paul Kenny giving the right-wing press ammunition to shoot their preferred candidate (Ed Miliband) with allegations of being in hoc to union bully boys:

Asked by The Times if his union would withdraw funding from Labour if Ed Miliband did not win, Mr Kenny said: ‘If the new leader offers us more of the same, many unions — including our own — would have to consider where we are at.
‘Ed Balls and David Miliband represent where we’ve been. They are not without talent. I would not rubbish them. But if the direction of the party went off chasing some right-of-centre ground . . .’
He added: ‘Ed Miliband is not ashamed of Labour’s core values. It’s not about a big society. It’s about a fair society.’

Mr Kenny may as well have taken a shit through the letterbox of MiliE’s campaign headquarters. Here’s Soho Politco’s (@SohoPolitico) take along those lines:

If the GMB were aiming to associate Ed Miliband with the idea of truculent, militant unionism, they’ve done a bang-up job. Sheesh.Sat Aug 28 13:25:55 via web

And similarly, Sunder Katwala (@nextleft) of the Fabian Society:

Paul Kenny of GMB leadership/funding intervention seems to me rather counter-productive if intended to boost Ed MilibandSat Aug 28 12:55:35 via web

This came after Mirror journalist Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) tweeted on Friday that the Ed Miliband campaign had been “bunged” £100k in funding from Unite. Here’s the ever reliable Ben Cooper (@BenCooper86) with the retweet and a none too subtle dig at the Ed Miliband’s campaigns penchant for the hashtag #poweredbythepeople.

#PoweredByOneDonation RT @Kevin_Maguire Unite bunged Ed Miliband’s Labour campaign £100k. < wonder how this will go down with the public?Fri Aug 27 12:27:06 via web

Fortunately for Ed Miliband, his brother has some equally clumsy friends, who’s interventions are more likely to cost him votes than bolster his support. If anything is likely to cement a coalition of the left of the party and centrists sick of New Labour factionalism behind Ed Miliband it is this:

Peter Mandelson today claimed Ed Miliband would take Labour into an ‘electoral cul-de-sac’ if he were to become party leader.
The former Business Secretary expressed firm support for David Miliband and his belief that he can recreate the ‘coalition’ that took Labour to power in 1997.
His intervention is a blow for David’s younger brother Ed, who is also set to face a critique from Tony Blair in the former prime minister’s memoirs.

Not just one New Labour pariah then, but the added bonus of Blair too. Outside of those voters already planning to give David Miliband a first preference vote, I can’t think of a more toxic combination to solidify not only Ed Miliband’s support, but also the second preference transfers from the other candidates too.

Others agree:

The Blairites realise that each high profile endorsement of D. Mil. makes it more likely Ed. Mil. Will win, right? #LabourLeaderMon Aug 30 11:12:20 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

So the New Labour old school has come out fighting today then? Scare tactics more likely to push ppl to vote @Ed_Miliband I’d have thought.Mon Aug 30 11:19:18 via TweetDeck

The intervention of The Prince of Darkness caused Tom Watson MP (@tom_watson) (supporter of that other Ed) to tweet thus:

Hello @DMiliband. When you visit my constituency today, I expect you will want to condemn Mandelson’s cheap attack on Ed Miliband.Mon Aug 30 10:32:29 via Echofon

And then to the following altercation:

Low blow. Why is it up to him to do so? RT @tom_watson: Hello @DMiliband, I expect you will want to condemn Mandelson’s cheap attack on EMilMon Aug 30 12:27:00 via Twitter for iPhone

@SohoPolitico because I’m certain he’d want to distance himself from peter’s well-timed attack and keep this campaign about ideas.Mon Aug 30 12:33:24 via Echofon

@tom_watson Do you go around insisting that your own candidate, Ed Balls, distances himself from comments made by ppl outside his campaign?Mon Aug 30 12:55:36 via web

@tom_watson We both know the implication here is that, if DM doesn’t go out of his way to respond to Mandelson, he must welcome his commentsMon Aug 30 12:57:29 via web

@SohoPolitico oh so peter mandelson is outside the campaign? Pull the other one.Mon Aug 30 12:58:25 via Echofon

@tom_watson So your claim is that he speaks for David Miliband? What is Mandelson’s title in the DM campaign?Mon Aug 30 13:02:18 via web

@SohoPolitico You write anonymously so I can’t judge whether you’re gullible or taking me for a patsy. He’s at it.Mon Aug 30 13:04:11 via Echofon

@tom_watson It’s hard to know what to make of that comment. DM already condemned Mandelson’s memoirs. How much more distancing do you want?Mon Aug 30 13:11:50 via web

@tom_watson The point here is that it’s pretty cheap expecting a fresh condemnation from DM every time PM opens his mouth.Mon Aug 30 13:12:43 via web

@tom_watson The only reason to insist that he does is if you have an interest in ensuring that DM can’t move on from the old tribal labelsMon Aug 30 13:14:47 via web

And this is all without even touching on the completion of the unholy trinity of MiliD supporters.

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