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Ed's walking a tightrope to prove he's up to the Labour leader's job.

Byline: CHRIS MONCRIEFF The view from Westminster

ED Miliband must keep a cool head and refuse to be swayed from his chosen course during Labour's conference in Manchester this week.

The party leader has been warned by Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, to "kick the New Labour cuckoos out of our nest". And he called on Miliband to reject the siren voices of the "Blairite dead".

All this, of course, poses a huge dilemma for Miliband. The party relies on trade union hand-outs amounting to millions of pounds for its very existence.

In these circumstances, it is not easy (to say the least) to tell the party's benefactors to take a running jump. But, on the other hand, Miliband does not want to be accused of kow-towing to the unions and being their puppet.

Meanwhile, a biographer has claimed that David Miliband, still sore about having the leadership snatched from his grasp nearly two years ago, has said that brother Ed will "crash and burn" - scarcely a filial remark.

And there is still a large swathe of Labour supporters who would prefer David rather than Ed to lead the party.

Elsewhere, there are signs that Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, is flexing his muscles, even though his supporters hotly deny that there are any plots to topple the present leader.

All this makes it imperative that Ed Miliband does not falter in the slightest at Manchester this week - and beyond.

. ? Justine Greening was angry that she was removed as transport secretary and given a job she apparently did not want, namely Secretary of State for International Development. But her arrival in this department may signal good news for the British taxpayer.

Right from the word 'go', she has indicated that she will be no soft touch and has already shown her mettle in trying to stop millions of pounds of taxpayers' money going to despotic governments.

We also know that aid cash goes to India which is in the business of launching a space programme. That simply cannot be right.

We are also, apparently, helping to fund a tourist project in Iceland - bad enough in itself but made worse by the fact that Iceland owes us a cool PS2.3 billion.

That also cannot be right. Now, Alan Duncan, a minister in this department, has made the astonishing allegation that the European Union had "forced" them to give taxpayers' money to the EU with no say on how it is spent. This, if it is true, is a scandalous state of affairs.

The Prime Minister hinted vaguely the other day that if the Conservatives win the next general election, there could well be a referendum on Britain's relationship with the European Union in the next Parliament.

What on earth is stopping him from holding that referendum straight away? Why the delay? ? The Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell - as well as the Prime Minister himself - are anxious that we should all "move on" and say no more about the altercation Mitchell had with police officers who refused to allow him to ride his bicycle through the main gates of Downing Street.

Of course they want us all to forget about this bizarre incident because, among many other things, it depicted the Tories as "the nasty party", an allegation that David Cameron has been working hard to dispel..

But why should we forget? The matter is far from being resolved. Mitchell, to his partial credit, has apologised to the police for his tantrum. That apology should enable us all to draw a line under this incident, says the Prime Minister.

But in his apology Mitchell continued to deny that he had used some of the words complained of. These words included "plebs" and "morons".

If Mitchell had stopped to think for a moment, he would have realised that what happened will haunt him for the rest of his days. People do not forget these things - particularly obituary writers.

There is still a large swathe of Labour supporters who would prefer David rather than Ed to lead the party.
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Oct 3, 2012
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