The Ed and Ed Show
One or two comrades did not like my article for The Independent on Sunday yesterday, in which I said:
Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have been getting on particularly badly recently, although each has long found the other trying.
This was unsourced sour grapes from a “raging Blairophile”, I was told. (Although the latter compliment came from Stewart Jackson, a Conservative MP.) If I had quoted unnamed sources, no doubt this would have been described as anonymous tittle tattle.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to report tensions of this kind and yet, if the experience of the Blair-Brown feud teaches us anything, it is that the quality of such relationships does matter.
Anyway, if it is sources you want, this was provided by four other journalists today. Sam Coates in The Times (pay wall) quoted “one senior party figure” as saying: “Ed Balls is high maintenance. We have to put a lot of work into the relationship.”
Oliver Wright in The Independent quoted a source who claimed Mr Balls was given to “displays of Alpha-male posturing” and that “Ed is frankly a bit scared of him. He doesn’t know what Balls will do next. He refuses to listen to him on economic policy and believes he has a veto on all policy”.
While Jim Pickard of the FT recalled a report of his from two months ago in which the Ed B camp accused Ed M of “indecision” while the Ed M camp accused Ed B of being “overbearing”.
All three agree that there have been differences in policy on the City of London.
Finally, Nicholas Watt in The Guardian quotes “a Labour source” as saying:
Ed Balls just wants complete centralisation. His view is he has his five pledges on the economy and all shadow cabinet members should just repeat them. The Ed Balls team continually block policy proposals from other members of the shadow cabinet.
I am not saying that the two Eds’ relationship is as bad as the Blair-Brown one (that would be something, as we now know), but that it could have serious implications for the long campaign for the 2015 election.Tagged in: labour party
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