Village People: Slow progress

There is more to the Ed Balls papers leaked to the Daily Telegraph than plotting and bile against Tony Blair. One of the most revealing document is the long memo written by Gordon Brown around October 2005, when he was exasperated by Tony Blair's speech to the Labour Party conference, and accused Blair of "self promotion".

Having got that off his chest, the then future Prime Minister showed hard common sense, for instance by warning against mouthing slogans that have no meaning. Don't say "Labour renewal" unless you have a plan to renew Labour, he suggested.

He feared that even one of his favoured slogans, "progressive consensus", was becoming "a term anyone will latch on to but with no definition or clarity".

He was right, of course, and yet more than five years later, the phrase lingers on, as in Ed Miliband's speech to a Fabian conference in January: "I am optimistic because the last ten years have shown we can build a progressive consensus in this country that poverty matters."

Still spinning

Seeing Gordon Brown back in the news evokes memories of that awful day in Rochdale when he climbed into a car and complained to his advisers about a "bigoted woman" he had supposedly encountered. After Brown spotted that he was still miked up, his press adviser Iain Bundred assured him it would not matter, because Sky would not broadcast a private conversation.

That was not the highlight of young Mr Bundred's career. Last week, he took up a new job in public relations where he should do well, because he sure knows how to talk PR. In a statement about his new job, he explained: "As PR moves away from traditional silos and towards offering 360-degree brand reputation strateeezzz..." Sorry, my fingers slipped off the keyboard.

Sally forth

The comments that the Speaker, John Bercow, made in conversation on stage with my colleague Steve Richards about the Daily Mail – a "sexist, racist, bigoted, comic cartoon strip" – have been well publicised. His remarks about Sally Bercow, above, his Labour-supporting, Twitter-using towel-modelling other half, less so. He said: "I don't know in advance what she's going to tweet, which is probably just as well. The duty of impartiality doesn't exist for her. There isn't a Mrs Speaker. It's a spectacularly sexist idea that Sally should have to be silent." Still, you wonder whether Sally Bercow would have notched up nearly 25,000 Twitter followers if she was Mrs Ordinary.

Baghdad connection

The former Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews remarks in his memoirs, Off Message, published this week, how little media interest there is in the opinions of ex-MPs. And even serving MPs will make the news only when their opinions fit the agenda. Thus he tells how, before the Iraq war, he was desperate to get on air to express his suspicions about the case for war, but all the requests he had from broadcasters were for his comments on the now forgotten trial of Princess Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell. "It was during a morning interview on 5 live that my reserve and patience finally cracked," he wrote. Asked to comment on Burrell's allegations about royal servants, "I found myself observing, 'non-consensual sodomy of royal valets is almost unknown in Baghdad. That is, however, no reason to believe that they possess weapons of mass destruction'."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015