Now call Guido cynical if you will, but on the day the Charity Commissioners announce their intentions, and the Telegraph articles show the press chase has begun, we learn from a deftly placed story in the government’s favourite mouthpiece, The Sun, that tragically Gordon’s son has cystic fibrosis. A good day to front-page the tragic news?
DEVELOPING – MORE TO FOLLOW
The exchange took place at this year’s Labour Party conference during a reception hosted by the GuardianObserver, where Levy took it upon himself to act as an unofficial “meeter and greeter”.
Levy and I started talking, particularly about a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on the “cash for honours” affair which I had presented and had been broadcast that same night.
Levy was his legendary charming self. Disarmingly, he told me that his wife had watched the programme and found it very fair. I was delighted, but said there was one matter I felt I had to raise with him. What did he make of the general point I made in the programme: that the loans from wealthy party supporters were not intended as loans, but were to be converted into donations?
He gripped my arm like a long-lost friend and said, by way of answer: “Only some of them.” I asked him what he meant and whether he could point to any specific loans. He volunteered the name of Lord Sainsbury, the billionaire former science minister who had lent the party £2m.
The point is that large donations, under this government’s own legislation, had to be declared, but loans did not. So what exactly was Levy saying to me? Did he misunderstand my original question? That is possible, but he had gone on to give me an example. Was he joking? Again possibly, but it’s an odd matter to joke about. Or was he merely expressing his hope that the loans would be converted into donations?
UPDATE :According to an impeccable source who has just emailed me, the Yard’s attention has been drawn to the Martin Bright story in this week’s New Statesman.
As Christmas approaches it is the traditional time to think of those less fortunate than ourselves. You know, the hopeless, friendless and soon-to-be bankrupt. Someone has established a blog to Keep Tony Blair as PM. I’m not quite sure why, as the link was received by Your Servant via multiple intermediaries. Heavy irony suspected.
The comments on LabourHome say it all;
Surely somebody else could be put up to doing PMQS. Prescott has had most of his other jobs taken from him. Usually, it’s a laugh (mostly at him, but he can crack a good joke every now and then), but even by his own awful standards, it was an embarrassment.I firmly believe that John Prescott should have been sacked and should not even be in the position.
JP had been encouraged to be “off sick”
“Blogs are increasingly used as a political tool. Political blogging has risen rapidly in the last 18 months and will no doubt be important in next year’s French elections. The most visited political blog Guido Fawkes is as popular as Private Eye magazine. Fawkes publishes his server logs on his site to show that politicians go there and use the site.
“There are stories that appear in the media that we tracked using traditional press cuttings services, but blogging is not tracked by cuttings agencies. Monitoring news is important as so much affects us as a government.
“We see a number of newspapers are crediting the blogs that gave them the lead. The Home Office used its library current awareness service to track blogs.
Karen George, head of the Home Office library told them how the blog monitoring was done -
“In July 2005 they had a meeting with the press office to set up a montoring service on a trial period of six months.
“As news of what we were doing for the press office spread we were asked by lawyers, IT and all areas of Home Office made requests. Issues like ID cards produce a peak in blogs. In November of this year we already on 1888 alerts. We have 12 librarians that monitor blogs on a daily seven day week basis. These come in as feeds, the tools make the job easier, they cannot replace the skills of the professionals. Fundamental information professional skills of knowing your audience really comes to light. In just over a year it has become a key part of our department service, the benefits include a public enquiries unit that we can alert to media campaigns that are Home Office issues. There is now an enquiry department that is ahead of the news. As a result the department has a better relationship with its users.”
Bates apologies for hand gesture
Nov 29 2006
A Welsh Assembly member apologised today after his rude hand gesture was captured on film and posted on the internet. Liberal Democrat AM Mick Bates was seen holding up his middle finger during a debate in the Assembly chamber yesterday.
A video of the incident appeared on the Guido Fawkes blog, accusing Mr Bates of directing the gesture at Assembly Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas. A Lib Dem spokesman said Mr Bates, the AM for Montgomeryshire, was in fact engaging in some “light-hearted banter” with Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas.
In a statement Mr Bates said: “My gesture was not directed to the Presiding Officer, for whom I have enormous respect and affection. “I was showing Rhodri Glyn Thomas which finger he should use to operate the Assembly’s modern push-button voting system. “If anyone has taken offence then of course I apologise for that.”