Diary: Rumours of Miliband plot prove exaggerated

 

David Miliband made massive waves with that article in the New Statesman that contained the memorable warning against the "seductive" idea that Labour can win an election by reverting to a 1980s mindset. "It is what I shall call Reassurance Labour," he wrote. "Reassurance about our purpose, our relevance, our position, even our morals. Reassurance Labour feels good. But feeling good is not the same as doing good.... Now is a time for restless rethinking, not reassurance."

His words received acres of interpretation. The Daily Telegraph, for example, affirmed that the article's timing was a deliberate warning to Ed Miliband not to throw away the support of the business community by pushing the campaign against the bonus culture too hard.

All of this, I hear, has left the older Miliband bemused. There was no great significance to the timing of the article and it really was, as it said, directed at Roy Hattersley, who had published an article weeks earlier in The Political Quarterly. The older Miliband decided that Hattersley required a serious answer, which he timed for the next issue of the publication.

Word of the piece reached Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, who persuaded Miliband to let him run it. But, when the article arrived, it was written in such specialised language that it was unlikely to grab the attention even of the New Statesman's readership, and the magazine persuaded the author to add a few eye-catching phrases, such as that much-quoted passage about "reassurance".

The timing was an accident. No coded attack on the younger Miliband brother was intended. Out of such cock-ups are Westminster conspiracies born.

Sale by Twitter goes slowly but surely

Thousands have been affected by the collapse of the clothing chain, Peacocks, but none more so than the former singer, Pearl Lowe, who had been hired to design a collection. Yesterday she tweeted: "Is there anyone out there interested in buying 7,000 of my spring/summer collection?"

The first reply was an offer not to buy the whole lot, but one of each design. "OK, that's seven then," Ms Lowe replied. The other 6,993 will be soon gone, no doubt.

Lembit Opik deals mortal blow to pop

You never quite know what the former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik is going to do next to get himself back in the public eye. While he was in Parliament, he left his wife, the weather presenter Sian Lloyd, for one of the Cheeky Girls. Since losing his seat, he has been a stand-up comedian, has appeared on I'm a Celebrity... and much else.

Now he features in a pop video. The 46-year-old is seen in a suit, against a London backdrop, lip-synching to "Pop Wound" by The Good Suns. It is actually not a bad track, and deserves something better than an ageing bloke gyrating his hips on a rooftop.

North-south divide widens to a chasm

Cheltenham is a genteel place renowned for its Ladies' College, racecourse and literary festival, so it is understandable locals feel they have standards to maintain. But Norman Hall, a councillor, went a bit too far by suggesting there should be restrictions on the number of northerners allowed to move south. Having caused a wave offence, the councillor has relented a bit. "We have friends in the north," he told the Gloucestershire Echo.

Ken Clarke misses four-finger salute

Ken Clarke had to hurry away early after receiving the Oldie of the Year award, so did not hear the speeches by other winners. One who particularly regretted his absence was Baroness Trumpington, the 89-year-old Tory peer who was named Peer of the Year. There was not much doubt that she was given the award for that occasion last year when she gave a two-finger salute in the Lords to a Tory colleague, Tom King, who had the temerity to say that she was looking "pretty old".

"I am very sorry that Ken is not in his place," she said, "because I had intended to salute his great honour." And she proceeded to give not one V-sign, but two.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence