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Oh, Ed

So the Guardian's published the full report on voting irregularities in Falkirk. And an exciting romp of a read it is too, particularly at six in the morning in between breaking off to play dinosaurs with an excitable toddler. But to sum up: yup, there is evidence of irregularity in recruiting voters, evidence that some pressure was applied by Unite. Basically it's a big fat Tory bonanza (which rather gives the lie to the Grauniad's alleged labour bias).

The thing is, something like this which, whilst not dynamite (Cambo's already got plenty of mileage out of the kerfuffle, possibly too mild a word for a situation which has forced Miliband to redefine Labour's relationship with the Unnions) is still damaging if brought out not on your own terms. Which begs the question, what on earth was Miliband thinking by refusing to publish? Now, I know that the party line was "to protect the anonymity of the claimants". But I hate to break it to you Ed, Falkirk? not the biggest place. The Labour party in Falkirk? 282 members. Not even the size of a hamlet. Reasonably confident the complainants identities were known. Suspect the ACTUAL reason was "we know this is bound to come out at some point, but hopefully it'll be so far down the road that everyone will have forgotten about it." Which is a timid and reductive way to conduct your politics.

Imagine this scenario: the report is compiled. Miliband reads it, blanches briefly, then sighs and fronts up to the world. Publishes the report. Shows some transparency in politics, shows that he's not afraid of laying his party open to criticism in pursuit of the truth. Gets to make the point that he can't imagine the party opposite having the cojones. He comes off as honest and brave. Labour may be temporarily weakened, but his personal position in the eyes of the public (which, regardless of what politicians may believe, is what actually counts) is that much stronger. But he shat out.

I've recently been doing a spot of slightly less laissez-faire than usual parenting. My oldest son, as is the way with small children, has been experimenting with lying, seeing what he can get away with. The line has been firmly drawn. The idea instilled that no matter how cross we'll be if he's done something wrong, we'll be far more cross if he lies to us. Early days, but it seems to be working. Possibly Ed needs a chat from the Mrs and I, we're here to help!


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