Friday, September 26, 2008

Kelly Nails Miliband Colours To Her Mast

The mystery whether transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, jumped ship or was thrown overboard soon after Brown's conference speech, is clearer today, in a frank interview in which she fears a "drift to the Left" and heaped praise on Blair-boy Miliband. The "family reasons" excuse doesn't hold water. 

Kelly told the London Evening Standard: "The danger is very clear. The centre ground was forged for Labour by Blair and Brown in the run-up to 1997. Now there are people who see an opportunity to row back on that."

With a leadership challenge to Brown from the selfish opportunists in the Blairite Progress group, Kelly is in no doubt that heir-to-Blair Miliband is the best man for the job.

"He is one of the great talents the Cabinet - a star of the future, a real asset and a good friend," she said. 

It seems that Blairite challenge is still alive and the Brownites did indeed claim their first scalp as indicted here. Kelly hinted that more may follow in a cabinet reshuffle.

The expected true Labour challenge to the leadership didn't materialise over the summer. Instead it seems the trade unions have wrung some serious concessions out of Brown in return for party funding. 

Top of that list would have been action over the City fat cats who have helped to cause the current financial crisis. But Kelly said it was essential that the goverment remained "pro-aspiration, probusiness and pro-market".

"There are those in the party who want us to raise draconian regulation and restrict City bonuses. I don't agree," she said.

Kelly, who has lent a willing ear to government lobbyists in the Heathrow expansion plan and a number of high profile government lobbies, could be carving herself out a career move in the City. 

"Of course bonuses should not be for irresponsible short-term behaviour. But it's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and as a party, we have to be very wary. If you go down that road, you can end up drawing the wrong policy conclusions, " she said.

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