Ethics and Propriety for Beginners

Howls of outrage and denial from some on the public payroll about Guido’s denunciation of those who want to fight the internal political battles of the Labour party at the taxpayers’ expense. The anonymous blog that is produced out of Tom Watson’s office even tried a bit of mockery mixed in with a quote from the Special Advisors’ Code of Conduct. The clause that cheating SpAds (when caught) hope to use to get them off the hook states that “if, with the approval of their Minister, they wish to assist with other party political matters such as a leadership campaign, they may do so while on paid or unpaid leave or at times which do not interfere with their normal duties, for example, out of office hours.”

On leave or out of office hours with their minister’s approval. That excludes, by definition, being sat at your desk all day toiling endlessly to get the candidate elected, shooting off emails to all and sundry and running up the national debt on the phone for hours. The whole purpose of the restriction was to prevent the situation we have now. Dozens, and Guido means dozens, of SpAds doing little else but plot and conspire to further the private interests of party candidates in an internal party election. They are not acting to further the political interests of the government minister, the job the taxpayer pays them to do, they are acting to further the interests of the private individual climbing the greasy pole.

That is not appropriate activity for civil servants, which is what SpAds are, and that is the reason why the Code of Conduct exists. Clause 7 in the model contract for Special Advisers states bluntly:

Special Advisers should not use official resources for Party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.

So when Blair McDougall emails all and sundry from his FCO email account on behalf of the Benn4Labour campaign he is doing precisely what the Code was established to prevent. He is not paid to run party political campaigns using official resources, he is a paid public servant who is supposed to advise the government on relevant political matters.
Everyone in Westminster knows that all the SpAds of ministers campaigning for the Number 2 position are doing little else but organise their minister’s campaign. Just as everyone in Westminster knew that peerages were for sale. Guido could be accused of being naïve, but he is appalled by sleazy SpAds who think nothing of diverting public money to private ends. If a single-mum did a bit of cleaning-work on the side and claimed benefits at the same time, the government advertises warnings that it will bring criminal charges, “no if, no buts”. Likewise, if a Special Adviser does a bit of work on the side for a minister while claiming public money, they should be fired and the expenses repaid, no if, no buts.

Brown Friday

The dark shadow now being cast over the land signals that the dreaded day will soon be upon us. Guido will be doing his best to ruin unveil some of the surprise planned for Gordon’s big day. They are playing their cards close to their chest, but a few details have leaked out. More tomorow…

Where’s Gordon?

GuyNews : Where’s Gordon? Jenny v Yvette

The Daily Politics took up Guido’s meme, with Jenny pressing Mrs Balls as to when would Gordon “come out”.

See it on GuyNews.TV.

How Much Does Gordon’s Pollster Charge for a 1-Day Seminar?

Guido has said it before and he’ll say it again, the way Gordon Brown’s pollster, Deborah Mattinson at Opinion Leader Research, gets contracts is not right.

Hidden away in an announcement made quietly on May 4, when all our attention was on the local election results, was the news that OLR had won another government contract to organise a one-day seminar.

£153,484.38 was the price the taxpayer paid OLR for a one-day seminar on the “The Skills Challenge: A Public Debate” in February. That should subsidise a hell of a lot of free polling for Gordon.

Gordon Finally Sighted at PMQs!

BBC’s Daily Politics took the piss this morning with a “Where’s Gordon?” piece.

UPDATE : GuyNews.TV will have the Daily Politics’ “Where’s Gordon?” Jenny v Yvette excerpt later..

Don’t Forget Prezza

John Prescott has been largely forgotten in the long goodbye to Blair. We must not forget his contribution to the political life of our nation. Guido will shed a tear for the lost opportunities for material that his parting will bring. His replacement by Cruddas or Johnson won’t be half as much fun.

Guido’s meta-Father, Kelvin MacKenzie, has a book out honouring the man and legend that is the deputy PM. Fittingly for our tits-and-arse grabbing DPM, it focuses on his true area of excellence – The John Prescott Kama Sutra.

Brown to Surface on Friday?

Guido understands that after the meeting of the PLP on Thursday ballot papers will be made available and that Gordon will launch his “campaign” on Friday. Presumably Blair will be in Sedgefield Thursday morning to tell his constitutency the shock news. That certainly seems to be the consensus of the Lobby.

Brown will spin that his media black-out has been necessary to give Blair a clear run to the exit, not to avoid association with the Scottish election results…



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