Ed Mili’s grammar lessons

A poster in Miliband's office declares: "Give the children a chance - scrap the Eleven Plus. Vote La

To the second-floor Commons lair of Ed Miliband in the Norman Shaw South building - a mix of 1920s grand hotel and dour provincial dole office. The Labour leader has hung posters from his party's past to brighten the corridors, an appropriate choice for the son of a celebrated Marxist historian, even if Dad Ralph had no faith in parliamentary socialism. Stephen Twigg, the un-twiglike shadow educashon secretary, may need to look away should he endorse Michael Gove's intention to extend existing grammar schools. A 1959 election poster declares: "Give the children a chance - scrap the Eleven Plus. Vote Labour." Seven Labour governments later, collectively serving 24 years in power, and grammar schools survive. Miliband, Jr should put that down as a broken promise.

Politicians don't buy books, preferring to leaf through the index in Waterstone's to check for a mention. One tome many a nervous New Labour figure may hope to evade, however, is Revolutionary Communist at Work: a Political Biography of Bert Ramelson. The industrial organiser of the Communist Party of Great Britain enjoyed below-the-radar relations with many a fellow-traveller in the Labour and trade union movements during the strike-torn 1960s and 1970s. Marxism to militant moderation is a well-trodden path for New Labour, but I hear certain luminaries hoped to leave their past behind.

The St Paul's encampment uncovered a dislike of tents by Douglas Alexander, Labour's spokesman on events abroad. Wee Dougie, I'm told, would ban all camping - legal and illegal - if tyrant for the day. Perhaps it's a reaction to comrades thinking there's a touch of the Boy Scout about earnest Douglas.

By the time you read this, a prominent, nay notorious, hacked-off media boss may have become a parent. Congratulations, if they are in order. The individual is accused of egregious invasions of the privacy of others and yet, in an irony of ironies, the, should we say "unusual", circumstances of the pregnancy may well remain private. My informant whispered that the child, if a girl, might be called Scarlett.

In the week the Leveson inquiry opened, it emerged that the Wolverhampton Express and Star and Liverpool's Daily Post and Echo are to follow the Manchester Evening News in abandoning any parliamentary coverage. MPs hostile to national newspapers are furious their local prints will no longer report Westminster pearls of wisdom. There must be an irony somewhere in that.

A full press pack of scribblers, as well as BBC bods, were sounded out and interviewed for the post of political editor of Newsnight. A snout at Auntie mumbled that Robert Peston toyed with applying as a stepping stone to his dream of standing in Nick Robinson's spot outside No 10, before deciding otherwise. The BBC is sacking journos, so Michael Crick's successor will be congratulated, then warned that the job could be made redundant. Nice work if you can keep it.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 21 November 2011 issue of the New Statesman, The myth of the Fourth Reich