Ed Miliband receives big boost from Neil Kinnock

Former leader says younger brother has best qualities

When I wrote in the New Statesman in 2008 that Ed Miliband would "come to be regarded as Brown's natural successor", I didn't envisage such a heavyweight endorsement as the one that has come today.

The younger Miliband has received a big boost with these words from the much-loved former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, writing in the Observer:

Ed [Miliband], I think, is very bright, including politically bright. He is hugely energetic. He is fluent. He has got the capacity to inspire people, which we need. And that marks him out as a special kind of young potential leader.

I am certain that he is a modern democratic socialist because he has got strong values and he is very practical. His attitude is that it is no good wandering around with convictions unless you want to put them into practice, and that really is his motivation. And vitally, absolutely vitally, he is comfortable among people of every kind, young and old, men and women, inside and outside the movement.

We really do need a leader who can reach out for the rebuilding of the Labour Party, but particularly to give coherence to our thinking.

 

 

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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