Diary: Did Ed Miliband's failure of nerve cost Labour the mayoral contest?


As the Labour Party contemplates why it lost the London mayoral election when everything else was going so well, the campaign organisers have insisted it was not for lack of effort by the door-knocking foot soldiers, who squeezed every last vote they could from an indifferent electorate.

Ed Miliband had no say over the selection of a candidate, which was held at the same time as the leadership election, immediately after the 2010 election, but the Labour Uncut website lays part of the blame at his door, because he could have seized a chance months ago to disqualify Ken Livingstone and reopen the selection.

This is not just hindsight. Many months ago, Blairites were quietly suggesting that removing Mr Livingstone was the way that Miliband could establish his credentials as a strong leader. The flaw in the scheme was that it assumed there would be someone of stature who was prepared to follow the path that the luckless Frank Dobson trod when he ran for Labour against Mr Livingstone in 2000.

Still, it was a bit rich to hear Livingstone on the Today programme attacking Miliband for being "too concerned about carrying the discredited old Blairite wing with him". If he had been a little more concerned, Livingstone might have been silenced sooner.

Tory councillor suspends herself

It can be very painful for a political leader to have to discipline someone who has put in time and unpaid work for the party because of some foolish action. So it was thoughtful of Sue Anderson, a Tory councillor from Bournemouth, who tweeted in haste that "nobody except the EDL (English Defence League) sticks up for the English" to save party colleagues the heartache.

She has apologised "unreservedly", taken down her Twitter account, suspended herself from the Bournemouth East Conservative Association and from the Conservative group on Bournemouth Council, and, as the Council's Standards Board returned after the holiday, they received a complaint against Sue Anderson – lodged by herself.

Twitchier than a mad cow

As Nicolas Sarkozy departs the political stage, his passing is deeply mourned by at least one professional group – the satirists. Stéphane Guillon, one of France's leading satirical political commentators, gave a last fond look back on the President who has been such an easy target for them, describing his campaign thus: "Sarko was twitching and shaking so much that if you came across him amidst a herd of cattle with mad cow disease, you'd slaughter him first."

Rotten on the real anarchy in the UK

While other public events are quickly forgotten, last summer's riots are not. John Lyndon, aka Johnny Rotten, formerly lead singer of The Sex Pistols, the man who serenaded us with "Anarchy in the UK" 35 years ago, has his say in the June edition of Q magazine: "Really appalled at the deaths and the burnings, and that aspect of it. But I could understand the emotions behind the situation.

"When you deny young people opportunity, it's going to lead to catastrophe, all right?"

At this point, the old punk rocker raised his voice and shouted: "Please invest heavily in youth." Whether his shout was audible in Downing Street, I could not say.

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