Diary: Ed's in trouble with Yvette (and it's got nothing to do with kissing Harriet)

Village People at the Party Conferences
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Indy Politics

Ed Balls does not always photograph well. Today's picture shows him lining up to deliver a smacker on the cheek of Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, after his triumphal speech yesterday.

He is, love him or loathe him, the man who adds intellectual weight to the shadow Cabinet. He is a man with guts. Unfortunately, it is his gut that is now worrying his allies.

They think that too much of it was visible when the shadow Chancellor took part in the annual football match against the press.

They think somebody ought to warn him that leaping energetically around the pitch, which he loves doing, is not good for his image.

However, Balls is a scary guy, and none of the well-meaning folk who are whispering this sort of stuff to passing hacks dares tell the shadow Chancellor to his face that they think he is too portly for footie. "Yvette will have to show him the red card," one said, with reference to Mrs Balls, aka the shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper.

Quote of the day

"I hope we will have David, err, Ed, Ed Miliband elected as Prime Minister at the next election." Harriet Harman on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour

Shades of Hague as Stewart steps up

There has not been a debut quite like it since 16-year- old William Hague set the Conservative Conference alight in 1977. Rory Weal, 16 , who lives with his single mother and eight-year-old sister in Maidstone, Kent, has taken the week off school to be at the Labour conference, and had the entire hall, including Ed Miliband, rising to their feet after he had finished a ringing peroration.

"Two-and-a-half years ago, the home I had lived in since birth was repossessed," he told them. "I owe my entire well-being and that of my family to the welfare state. That is why I joined the Labour Party. That very same welfare state is being ruthlessly ripped apart by a vicious, Right-wing Tory-led government. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that system, that safety net.

"So I take this opportunity to plead with the Government to reconsider their measures. Their measures for young people, which will divide a generation and seriously threaten the British promise that Ed Miliband has spoken about, where one generation does better than the last. Their measures on welfare, such as the housing benefit cap which will potentially make 40,000 people homeless and hammer the most vulnerable people in society.

"It is up to us in the Labour Party to create a vision of what a better Britain looks like. Let's get to work."

We can expect to hear more from Mr Stewart of Maidstone.

I'm sorry I missed...

Kevin Gould, delegate from the Camberwell and Peckham Constituency Labour Party, who was 80 yesterday, was startled over breakfast when Harriet Harman, strode into the room to deliver a heart-rending version of Happy Birthday.

If you think industrial relations are bad here...

Union leaders here complain the UK has "some of the worst trade union legislation in the whole of Europe", but there are worse places to be union organisers. The worst in the western hemisphere is Colombia, which is torn apart by a bloody civil war almost as old as the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

A witness from that place will be speaking at one of the fringe meetings in Liverpool today. Ivan Cepeda is a Congressman from Democratic Pole, an umbrella for various left-wing groups. His father, Manuel, was also a Senator, from the Patriotic Union, a party born out of a temporary ceasefire between the government and the left-wing FARC guerrillas. That ceasefire collapsed. The guerrillas slipped back into the jungle, and the Patriotic Union's unarmed senators, congressmen and councillors were left to the mercy of the death squads. About 5,000 were killed.

Death came to Manuel Cepeda on 9 August 1994, but in an almost unheard of development, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights established the Colombian government's complicity in his murder and on 9 August this year, the Interior Minister apologised in parliament.

Ivan Cepeda said that getting a semblance of justice for his father was "only a small step in a gigantic process" in a country where the first right that unions and left-wing politicians have to fight for is the right not to be murdered.

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