Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Labour leadership #3

Mr Edward Balls

born 25 February 1967
Married to Yvette Cooper
"Labour Co-op" MP for Morley and Outwood.

Studied PPE at Keble, Oxford (where he was a member of both the Labour Club and the Conservative Association) then at Harvard (-1990).
Journalist on Financial Times 1990-1994.
Adviser to Gordon Brown 1994-2004.
First stood for election in 2004.
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in June 2007.
Re-elected with a reduced majority as Labour Co-op party MP for Morley and Outwood, beating local Conservative Antony Calvert by 1,101 votes.

Mrs Rigby will leave it to the Guardian to explain why he might not be the best person to 'lead' a party, any party, especially a political that is meant to represent the ordinary working folk of Britain. An article that also, uncannily*, indicates some of the social problems that are Labour's legacy
I have arranged to go to Swindon with Ed Balls on the first excursion in his four-month Labour leadership campaign. There is just one problem. He has gone to Euston instead of Paddington. When he arrives, half an hour late, he apologises, explaining that he's having some difficulty adjusting to life without a ministerial car and half-a-dozen staff explaining where he needs to be.
The day proves to be pleasingly accident prone. We are met at the station by Anne Snelgrove, who lost her Swindon South seat to the Conservatives in the election but remains close to Balls and is one of his campaign managers in the leadership race. She has arranged a visit to a local pre-school playgroup, but *the playgroup's roof has been vandalised, causing a flood in their usual play area and confining the children to a small room next door.
On the train back – we upgrade to the almost empty first class to avoid annoying other passengers with talk of "post neoclassical endogenous growth theory" ...
From Paddington, we take a taxi to the Commons
Mrs Rigby just thinks it's rather odd that they had to go all the way to Swindon for the interview, instead of staying in London. Why the need for the journey - it certainly isn't very 'green'.

And to then visit a playgroup - why? Why involve little children in some stunt? These are pre-school children, they know nothing about politicians, and politicians should know that we're meant to be very careful around small children these days.

And the means of travel? Train/taxi? The reality is that ordinary people would, if they didn't have their own car, probably try to use either National Express or Megabus for longish journey, because rail fares are too expensive! A return journey from London to Swindon costs £109, or £179 First class.

But, Mrs R supposes it was all on expenses and probably all paid for by the newspaper, so stuff like that doesn't matter.

There's no indication that Mr Balls has anything other than a political awareness of the real world that the rest of us inhabit.

Is he really the best person to lead the Labour Party?


See Mrs R's thoughts about Mr David Miliband and Mr Edward Miliband.

(added 21:11 02/06/2010)

There's this interesting piece too, dated 28 April 2010. Where Matthew Norman discusses the leadership potential of Mr Balls.
Read it - and you'll probably both smile and weep.


Quiet_Man said...

He and Diane Abbott are probably the best people to lead the Labour Party into electoral oblivion.

So they have my vote.

Mark Wadsworth said...

He he, good stuff. As a rule of thumb, trains are cheapest for one person, cars are cheaper for two or more sharing. Coaches are even cheaper but not much fun.

John R said...

"Is he really the best person to lead the Labour Party?"

Oh, yes, yes indeed he is. Most definitely.
What greater gift do DemTories need?
And Abbot as his deputy would just be the icing on the top of the cake!!