The Insider

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Ed’s poker face

The Insider  |  9 March 2015

The election draws remorselessly nearer, but the doubly close nature of the polls gives little clarity over what follows election day. In Brewer’s Green a group of Labour staffers work busily on transition plans, but their isolation from the day-to-day campaign seems as much a metaphor as a management decision, with even senior figures briefing …

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The Insider February 2015

Mini-fistpumps all round

The Insider  |  3 February 2015

Ed Miliband’s route to Downing Street runs through Scotland. Without the 41 Labour seats that Scottish voters granted Gordon Brown’s party five years ago it will be almost impossible for Labour to reach a majority. With no majority, a smiling Alex Salmond would be all too willing to promise to temporarily back a Labour prime …

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The Insider December 2014. Naushabah Khan

A mayor for all reasons

The Insider  |  5 December 2014

With Boris Johnson heading back to Westminster and no obvious Tory candidates having his metropolitan appeal, the Labour candidacy for the London mayoralty is a great prize. Sadiq Khan has secured for himself a significant number of early advantages. The shadow minister for London has used this position to promote both his strengths as a …

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The Insider

Coming down the track

The Insider  |  4 November 2014

Scottish or not, it was easy to distinguish Labour members of parliament returning to Westminster from rays of sunshine. A conference kindest described as definitely not triumphal, underwhelming polls and a close-run thing in Heywood and Middleton cast a pall over the new parliamentary term. Auguries of hard times were easy to find. As predicted …

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Search for a star

Search for a star

The Insider  |  20 September 2014

Ah, conference season. Your insider is a hoary veteran and has come to realise that each conference, like a fine wine, has its own special bouquet. There is the post-election conference, either celebration or inquest. There are the midterm lulls, where the only entertainment is provided by the ambitious trying to impress both the leader …

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2014-09-03_1628

The Unlikely Lads

The Insider  |  3 September 2014

Of the big names from Gordon Brown’s government, it is perhaps two of the men who walked out of the spotlight who have seen their reputation and stature grow since. This summer it has been veterans Alan Johnson and Alistair Darling whose names were buzzing round Labour circles. Will they return to frontline politics and …

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Insider cartoon Adrian Teal July 2014 Jon Cruddas

Jon Cruddas: Chicken soup for Labour’s soul

The Insider  |  10 July 2014

Labour’s bout of post-election hangover came heavy and hard. The outbreak of briefing was less a revolt than a nervous shudder, with different prescriptions and solutions competing for the ear of the leader, and offering a path forward to victory. There are those around Ed Miliband and in the shadow cabinet who want more ‘boldness’, …

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Insider cartoon. June 2014.

Band on the run?

The Insider  |  2 June 2014

Polls go up and polls go down. This true, useful mantra for politicians is only used when the polls go down. Labour politicians found themselves saying it rather a lot before last month’s elections. The nervousness this engendered was repressed, but only barely. In May this column noted that Douglas Alexander’s appointment as election coordinator …

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Insider May 2014

True believer

The Insider  |  9 May 2014

The recruitment of David Axelrod was Douglas Alexander’s coup. To get the biggest name in the Obama campaign on board for Ed Miliband was the first fruit of his appointment as Labour election coordinator. That appointment was a while coming. Both Alexander and Michael Dugher wanted to head Labour’s campaign, and both men had a …

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The Insider April 2014

Matching Osborne’s moves

The Insider  |  8 April 2014

Fear is the constant companion of Labour in opposition. We become nervous when our poll leads shrink and the memory of lost elections past is summoned from our collective recall. Are we as secure and as safe from political earthquakes as we need to be to win? Last summer, as Labour seemed to falter, the …

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