So Guido calls up Osborne’s office looking for Mckenzie. He is not important enough to be allocated his own phone and desk Guido is told, but they will pass on the message. A few minutes later…
JM “How did you get my number?”
GF “I didn’t, you called me”
GF “It’s about the Pendennis story”
JM “Did you write that?”
GF “No, I write the Guido Fawkes blog”
JM “I will have to call my office and find out if I should be talking to you”
GF “They told you to call me didn’t they?
JM “I’ve got to go”
So Guido Calls Blinky’s office…
SM “Hello Sarah here”
GF “Hello it’s Guido Fawkes here, I’m calling about this story”
SM “It is rubbish”
GF “So you have never met him”
SM “I have because he is on the same course as me in Leeds”
GF “But you aren’t, haven’t..”
GF “Give my regards to Blinky.“
So that is that, isn’t it?
A week later comes the Brownite response, today’s Guardian reports on a survey of a hundred “opinion leaders” which shows Gordon outperforming Dave on a whole range of indicators – scoring a modest 92% on integrity.
Who conducted this highly scientific “survey”? None other than Opinion Leader Research run by Deborah Mattinson, the long time Labour Party consultant who is now Gordon Brown’s unofficial pollster and sits on the advisory committee of the Smith Institute – alongside the veteran U.S. pollster Bob Shrum. It was Shrum’s anti-Cameron advice to the Sith that forced the Charity Commission’s official investigation. Guido wonders why a non-partisan, non-political, educational charity has so many pollsters involved?
Mattinson has plenty of previous, she was wheeled out by the dark forces of the Sith the last time Brown’s negative ratings caused rumblings. Popping up in the Times with an article claiming, ironically, that it was all spin and that Gordon is in fact a popular guy.
Of course surveying “opinion leaders” is completely subjective and easily manipulated to give the required answers. Mattinson’s clients know it, but since her clients include Defra, the Department of Education and Science, the Department for Work and Pensions and coincidentally HM Treasury, you can be sure she knows where her bread is buttered and what they want to hear.
Is Guido the only one who has noticed that in times of need, Gordon’s pollster conducts polls with dubious methodologies which she then writes up in hagiographical pro-Gordon articles? Is Guido the only one who thinks there might, in the circumstances, be a serious conflict of interest in her not only sitting on the board of the Smith Institute but also having HM Treasury as a paying client? Who commissioned and paid for this survey of “opinion leaders”? How did she get the HM Treasury contract? Was it by competitive tender?
Guido has asked them repeatedly this morning who commissioned the poll, but nobody at Opinion Leader Research seems to know…
UPDATE : Guido has just noticed that The Sun this morning headlines Deborah’s “survey” Brown is back in poll victory. Will that do Gordon?
Venture capitalist, Ronnie “PFI” Cohen, Gordon’s moneybags backer, has a direct debit paying the equivalent of £20,000 a month to the Labour party. Nigel Doughty and Jonathan Aisbitt are another couple of red blooded capitalists happy to chip in a quarter of a million a year to the party formerly known as the worker’s party. Peter Hain said he wanted City slickers to give up their bonuses, but this week he doesn’t mind them giving their bonuses to the Labour party. He who pays the piper calls the tunes.
Last week Hain wanted City slickers to give their bonuses to “charity or invest it in regeneration schemes for unemployed kids”. Now he says “private equity funds provide a very good vehicle for start-ups, for rescue operations and for investment to grow” – which they do – with a tapered relief 10% tax rate on liquidation and tax deductible debt costs to offset against profits. Gordon of course ultimately makes the rules, is he going to side with his millionaire backers, or the workers?
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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:
“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”
Christie Malry @fcablog
Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops