Morning Report: Westminster awakes as Nick and Dave rekindle their romance

January 7, 2013 8:36 am

Dedicated LabourList readers will remember that (long ago) we used to do a feature called “Morning Report” each weekday, as a way of rounding up the news that mattered in the Labour movement and looking ahead to what might happen over the next 24 hours.

Well as a 2013 resolution, it’s back…

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As Westminster wakes from the Christmas hibernation Clegg and Cameron are renewing their vows relaunching the coalition today. It’s unclear at this stage what exactly the rekindling of their Rose Garden romance might look like (I’m guessing sickly and/or awkward AKA “Coalicious”) but the event has been pre-butted by Michael Dugher in The Mirror (with obligatory references to hard-working families).

Co-incidentally (and perhaps unfortunately for the government) today is also the day that millions lose their child benefit. The Guardian reports Yvette Cooper’s concerns that the losers from child benefit cuts will be women – and the Daily Mail fears “tax return misery”. Is 2013 going to be as omnishambolic as 2012?

What the government are banking on this week is that Labour will annoy voters and/or have an internal row over the “welfare uprating Bill” on which there is a vote tomorrow. The brouhaha has begun in earnest today, with Jacqui Smith quoted at length criticising the plans in the Daily Mail.

However David Cameron is facing his own internal brouhaha over Europe. Yesterday he was attacking UKIP again on Marr – much to the annoyance of some of his more strident backbenchers. Today there’s a pincer movement from Peter Mandelson in the Guardian and Douglas Alexander on Politics Home attacking Cameron’s behaviour as “absurd”, “economically insane” and symptomatic of his “weakness”. Neither man seems convinced by arguments for an EU referendum.

And finally – the Tories love nothing more than attacking Ed Balls, especially the PM (his obsession is getting out of hand). Yet despite reducing his majority to just 1200 in 2010, the Conservatives can’t even find anyone willing to oppose the Shadow Chancellor at the next election. Seemingly the previous candidate “fears the seat is unwinnable by the Tories”.

I wonder what the hand gesture for that is…?

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