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Ed Miliband’s “Nightmare”

John Rentoul

nightmare 300x181 Ed Milibands NightmareOur text of the week is Torsten Bell’s email to Greg Beales and others, as published by the Mail on Sunday:

As an example of why we’re having problems on EB messaging – this is his current three-part argument:
Cost of living
Recovery built to last
Economy works for working people
Nightmare.

There has been a lot of comment about this, initially on the assumption that it had been leaked, which meant that people focused on the evidence of factional warfare. Bell is Ed Miliband’s economic adviser; Beales is his head of strategy. Then it emerged that the email had become public because it had been copied in error to James Morris the Conservative MP instead of James Morris the Labour pollster.

That left most people, including Dan Hodges, scratching their heads trying to work out what it was about EB’s (Ed Balls’s) “messaging” that was a “nightmare”:

The three main lines Balls was planning to use – highlighting the cost of living crisis, calling for a “recovery that’s built to last” and an “economy that works for working people” – all seem pretty reasonable in the circumstances.

I have no inside knowledge on this, but I can guess from past history of Balls’s way of working, on his own account and on Gordon Brown’s, that Bell found the machine-gun delivery of familiar sound bites frustrating. Balls’s style is assiduous, continuous, relentless – and rather boring for other party apparatchiks, and for journalists.

Balls’s messaging tactic is the bludgeon. Keep saying the same things. Flatlining. It’s hurting but it’s not working. Tax cut for millionaires. But it is possible that there are those in the Labour machine who think that this approach lacks creativity, imagination and the human touch.

In other words: Nightmare.

Picture: General Boles

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  • greggf

    Benedict Brogan pens a blog today on “the baffling recovery of Teflon Labour and Unpopular Ed”.
    Perhaps it should prompt one of your questions to which the answer is No…..?

  • aardvark10

    I didn’t realise the country was in quite such a bad state that we need a complete non-entity like Russell Brand to show us the way to do anything, except perhaps deviant sexual habits
    Maybe we should ask Cambridge University to enrol him as a visiting professor!

  • Pacificweather

    John, substitute your face in the picture for a more accurate representation of EM’s nightmare.


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