Exclusive: Cable was sidelined in Lib Dem campaign, book will reveal

Amusing extract from Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley.

Paul Waugh has written of how a forthcoming book about the 2010 election -- The British General Election of 2010 by Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley, published by Palgrave later this month -- reveals that "Cleggmania" from the TV debates caused complacency in Lib Dem circles and may have cost the party seats.

And I have got hold of another amusing little extract from the book, too:

Whilst the extra media attention (and accompanying money) from Cleggmania was welcome, foreign correspondents travelling with the Lib Dem team demanded things in return. At one point, a Russian TV station contacted Clegg's press secretary asking if they could be filmed taking a sample of his blood so that they could use the DNA to trace his Russian ancestry. There being relatively few Liberal Democrat voters in Russia, they were politely declined. Cowley Street also organised tours for Vince Cable and Paddy Ashdown, the latter focusing primarily on seats in the south-west. Cable's tours had originally been intended to be more high profile, but with the post-debate attention now focusing almost exclusively on the leader, Cable would occasionally wonder out loud why there were so few journalists present.

Looks well worth a read.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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