Recently in #lab09 Category
Proof, if it were needed, that some in Labour still haven't got why they lost the general election.
Step forward Bob Ainsworth, who brought a similar amount of gravitas to the role of defence secretary as the Chuckle Brothers would to being named monarchs of this nation.
Unpopular with the armed forces, and so politically out of touch that even one of his friends back in Coventry felt the need to go to the Press to hit out at the way Ainsworth had dealt with the death of this friend's son in Afghanistan.
On Twitter this week, Ainsworth wrote:
Tory minister says' our troops don't need more helicopters' and the mighty press are silent
That was in reference to an earlier Tweet he posted:
Peter Luff minister just said don't need more helicopters in Afghan havnt since 06 what did they say when in opposition!
Maybe Alistair Darling is a political genius after all. Faced with delivering a budget which would be either criticised for penalising the public with tax rises or attacked for not cutting the national deficit fast enough, the man with the dancing eyebrows always seemed to be on a hiding to nothing.
So the fact that the first thing anyone on the street will tell you about the budget is that there's a whopping increase in the price of a pint of cider probably counts as quite a clever victory.
What's even more surprising is the apparent inability of the Conservative Party to get the pubic wound up about the state of the economy.
This should be perfect election-winning territory for them, yet they seem to only be succeeding in getting annoyed that the public aren't listening.
The award for this weekend's most blatant PR stunt surely has to go to the National Bullying Helpline.
Within hours of extracts from Andrew Rawnsley's book being published in the Sunday papers, the National Bullying Helpline was weighing in to add weight to the claims that Gordon Brown was prone to bullying behaviour.
It's boss - Christine Pratt - told the BBC the charity had received several calls from the PM's office in recent years.
TO ME, the one constant throughout Tony Blair's reign at Number 10 was that nothing was ever as it seemed.
That's not to say nothing positive came from Blair's time in charge - it did. It's just that Labour always seemed determined to put a shinier gloss on even the most positive of upbeat stories.
He was often accused of being false, and of trying to be everything to everyone - ironically, both allegations now put at the feet of David Cameron.
JANUARY 6, 2009: A date which might go down in political history for one of two reasons. Hindsight in June may tell it is was the day that Gordon Brown's - and Labour's - fragile fightback against David Cameron was scuppered from within.
Or maybe we'll look back at today in years to come and cite it as the date the world's most pathetic and shallow political coup was staged.
One thing is for sure. Today was the day we saw the true colours of Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt. Two failed ministers, smarting at the sidelines of politics, seem by their actions to be telling us that if they can't run Labour, then Labour shouldn't be in Government.
Their credibility couldn't have been more damaged if they'd decided to hold hands and march across the floor to join the opposition parties.
This pair aren't thick. Their actions today - reminding the public of the division in Labour just at the time when Cameron seemed to be cracking and Brown was hitting form - appear to be the actions of stupid people, but they aren't. They knew what they were doing. But they clearly think the rest of us are stupid.
Three days before Tony Blair called the 2005 General Election, I was sat with him in the cabinet office. What do you think we discussed? The war in Iraq? Rising interest rates?
Nope, he was talking about leylandii trees and insisting his government's decision to give councils the power to tell people to chop them down was proof his was a listening government.
I can't profess to a close relationship with Tony Blair. We've only ever met six times and wonderful that it was that on the latter three occasions he always began with 'David, great to see you again' I'm pretty certain that's more to do with the fact he had a good press office around him.
The only reason I was inside the very heart of Number 10 - so close to the sofas on which Blair and his team made all their undocumented decisions - was because the election was about to be called and the paper I worked for then covered several constituencies Labour was keen to keep hold of.
Whether Blair's sudden interest in leylandii trees - an issue among a batch of questions he answered on behalf of readers - ensured Labour kept that seat, we'll never know.
But with less than six months to go until a we have another election, I can't help but suspect current PM Gordon Brown's sudden interest in Everton's aborted move to Kirkby has more to do with votes in Merseyside than it does ensuring the Toffees have a ground fit for the 21st century.
Just days after one of his ministers - John Denham, responsible for the planning inspectorate - kicked out the tie up Tesco in Knowsley, Brown appears to have instructed 'minister for the north west' Phil Woolas to find a way for the plan to happen.
The official reason is that Brown is worried about the impact not having Kirkby would have on England's bid to win the 2018 World Cup.
Now, much as Everton's new stadium looked nice, I can't help but think sorting out the bickering among the 2018 bid team would help swing more FIFA votes. After all, the South African bid team managed to win 2010 despite including pictures of Preston North End's ground.
So what motive does Brown have here? I suspect this is the first of many interventions we suddenly hear of from the prime minister, and I dare say David Cameron will add his weight to a campaign if he feels there are enough votes in it.
Oddly, he appears to have picked on an issue which not even Everton seem particularly keen to pursue, and which still has a lot of local opposition.
But just as in 2005, beware politicians suddenly professing a sudden interest in local issues. The interest tends to wane once your vote has been cast.
The tumbleweed continues to blow around Westminster as village bubble continues its annual tour of first Bournemouth, then Brighton, and now Manchester.
For Labour, the party conference season will probably go down as a success. The party appears to be behind Gordon Brown again, and Labour has seen a bounce in the polls.
Of course, that could change by the end of this week if the Tories get things right but to me, this is potentially the toughest conference yet for David Cameron. As Andrew Marr put it a few moments ago "He's glided along with a smile on his face - but who is the real David Cameron?"
While Cameron is trying to prove to those of us who don't vote purely on the advice of The Sun that he's the man for us, the job for Labour is to build on the galvanisation of the troops and mount a serious pitch for the votes of the rest of us.
With that in mind, here are 10 things I feel Labour must stick to if they seriously want to win:
As even Trevor Kavanagh will admit, it's never been a case that it was "The Sun wot won it."
So why the fuss about The Sun switching sides then? Gordon Brown was quick to point out people determine elections, not newspapers. As was David Cameron.
Yes, The Sun still shifts three million copies a day, but do those 10 million readers a day really care what The Sun says? Probably not. But they will be exposed to a drip-drip-drip of negative Labour stories running up to the election.
Will they see each story and think to themselves "But this is only being written because Rupert Murdoch wants a Tory government?" Probably not - and there's the problem for Labour.
ON Monday night at 10pm, a slightly hassled Nick Robinson "revealed" that his sources were telling him that Gordon Brown would announce, in his speech, that he was happy to have a leaders' debate - and probably not just the one debate either.
By Tuesday morning, sources were telling other political reporters that they weren't so sure it was going to be in Brown's speech.
The result, on the BBC at least, was that political reporters were being asked if this was another case of Brown dithering?
I would argue the answer is no. Just because "sources" (and despite Andrew Marr using just one blog-based source to ask Brown about pill-popping, lets assume Nick Robinson did have more than one source) say something is going to happen, doesn't mean it will.
So, was Andrew Marr wrong to ask if prime minister Gordon Brown was taking prescription drugs to see him through the role as Britain's first citizen?
Believe the Press, particularly the BBC-hating and Labour-loathing Telegraph, and you'll believe the corporation and Labour are on collision course over this.
To me, Andrew Marr is always in a difficult position. As he is the first to admit, his conference is normally over before it's begun for the rest of delegates. That said, his conference interview with a party leader can often set the tone for the week.
If gives a politician an easy ride, and he's accused of cosying up to them - an accusation Adam Boulton over on Sky News also has to deal with.