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Who will stop clapping first?

John Rentoul

ns Who will stop clapping first?The more I think about it, the more damning this passage in my esteemed colleague Steve Richards’s New Statesman article about Ed Miliband seems:

Nearly all those who work for Miliband are dependent on his patronage. He chose them and they are pleased to be close to him. They do not want to say things that he does not want to hear. The contrast with Tony Blair’s office is marked. Blair had to plead with Alastair Campbell to join him, going out to see him while Campbell was on holiday in France as part of the energetic wooing process. Campbell could be brutally candid because he knew Blair wanted him so much. Other advisers, such as Peter Mandelson, had been senior to Blair in the 1980s. They, too, could be ruthlessly or constructively critical, sometimes both. This does not happen very much in Miliband’s office; indeed, the opposite can happen. I am told that sometimes his staff applaud him when he returns from making a mediocre speech.

If I had written something like this, it would have been easily brushed aside with the usual hilarious put-down, “You do realise he’s gone, don’t you?” Coming from Steve, it is rather harder to dismiss.

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  • Pacificweather

    Good one! That’s the funniest April 1st piece I have seen. Better than the spaghetti trees. He should write for BBC Radio 4. The comedy slots are dire these days.

  • JohnJustice

    Anything to do down Ed JR? Sorry but you are beginning to treat him as the Blair haters treat TB. Not very becoming.

  • newfriendofed

    The reason you are ‘easily dismissed’ is because you never applaud Ed even when he makes a very good speech (apart from the episode over union funding.) Steve Richard’s article (as usual) manages to present a balanced picture. You (as usual) focus only on the negatives.

  • Pacificweather

    Ed could take Steve Richards’s advice and run a series of party broadcasts with his front bench team but they are a sorry bunch. He could go for the jugular and talk about Tory corruption: the relationship of Osborne’s best man to the Post Office sale and Maria Millar being let off her over paid expenses. If he wants press support he could say the press should police themselves like Parliament does. Think of all those positive stories and flattering pictures they would run. Giving advice is so easy perhaps I should do more of it and have a one-man stage show which I could publicise in my employer’s paper and website.

  • greggf

    When I saw your headline “Who will stop clapping first?” JR, I thought it was a blog about the North Korean despot Kim Jong Un…….

  • reformist lickspittle

    Having read the piece, it is as fair and balanced as Richards usually is.

    Something our host could learn from ;)

  • Whyshouldihavetoregister

    Yes, that was the point of the headline (but probably alluding to Stalin, who I expect you’ve never heard of), so well done you.

  • reformist lickspittle

    Let’s not forget, too, that the Blair that Richards compares with Miliband now is the early-period Blair – the one many of us voted for as leader, actually liked and campaigned for with enthusiasm.

    The one who was a pretty much bona fide social democrat.

    Those were the days, eh John?

  • newfriendofed

    J. R. feels sorry for himself because his comments on Ed are ‘easily brushed aside’ but still fails to see how self induced this reaction to him is. For example, not sure it is fair to repeat in this forum what he says on twitter but here goes. Today’s article by Ed in his own paper is said to be ‘gibberish’. My point is that he brushes Ed aside but expects us to to respond to him more respectfully than with put downs.

  • mightymark

    As ever, I’m open minded if rather sceptical about Ed, but can someone explain to me how Ed and Labour deal with what seems to be a genuine economic revival – one international body says in effect that the UK will be the developed world’s tiger economy. If Labour had EITHER a commanding lead and there had been real scepticism about austerity (which it seems there isn’t) OR a popular vision of some alternative future I would not need to ask this. Neither seem however to be the case. What reason then has Labour to be optimistic?


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