Ed Miliband has become so on-message it’s frightening. Following hot on the heels of his edict to pull the dogs of war off phone-hacking, and his subsequent courtship of the Sun over law’n’order, we now have the instruction to members of the shadow cabinet that all speeches, articles and press releases must be run past Team Ed.
Here is the very form that hapless shadow cabinet ministers must fill in before venturing forth in public. Though it hardly smacks of the “new politics”, this flash of Millibite centralisation has been welcomed by many as a sign that Labour’s new leader is getting a grip on his operation, and his party.
But ardent control freaks, beware. Labour insiders have spotted a couple of chinks in the new “template”.
“One problem is there’s no space to identify the cost implications,” says the exasperated official. “If you’re going to monitor spending commitments, it’s a probably a good idea to identify what’s being spent.” Fair point.
A second source has a more mundane complaint: “The form has to physically be signed off from the leader’s and Treasury teams. That means literally wandering over to get the signatures. It’s hardly rapid rebuttal.”
Too true. Having gone to the symbolic trouble of establishing post-new Labour email domains, the party might find it a good idea to use them.