Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Huhne Site is Up

Tories Slam Sith "Fair Tax" Plans

This morning’s controversial Smith Institute summit on “fair taxation” was relocated from Downing Street after Guido drew attention to it. The event featured Gordon Brown’s former adviser and architect of Brown’s pensions grab, Chris Wales. As the principal architect of Gordon Brown’s pensions tax he is responsible for devastating pension funds. Today he gave the Sith a few new ideas for “fair taxes” on property to be levied through local councils.

Eric Pickles MP, Tory local government shadow didn’t hold back, he laid into the Smith Institute today – “the public will be alarmed that Gordon Brown’s advisers and favoured think-tank are calling for a toxic cocktail of local income taxes and a new national property tax.”

The Charity Commission is still investigating the Smith Institute for engaging in illegal political activity. Obviously these new policies are just a tad politically contentious…

1,700 Jobs to Go at BBC

That is what Guido calls “a good start”. Glen Oglaza over at Boulton & Co gives an example of why:

When Chris Huhne launched his Lib Dem leadership bid, our cameraman took the trouble to count the number of BBC people present.

There were TWELVE of them. Sky and ITN had three each.

You see this all the time, BBC camera teams literally tripping over each other. Each news show has its own resources. Guido has been inside the BBC’s Millbank operation, regional reporters galore reporting on Westminster. Ridiculous. Newsnight’s production office alone is as big as whole of the Sky News operation. This profligacy only happens because they don’t have to care about the bottom line.

Not much to report this morning, Ming has hinted that the Huhnie monsters could have been behind his demise. Huhne himself is expected to launch his campaign today. The Cleggies are texting all and sundry – Shane Greer has a screenshot of the hastily hidden, soon-to-be launched Clegg campaign site.

Some are speculating that the 29 year-old Julia Goldsworthy might run as a marker for the future. So after arguing for 18 months that age (he was 66) and experience (of sprinting) trumped looks and charisma, they could switch to a photogenic reality TV show contestant as leader – Julia is 40/1 on Betfair. Excellent idea, it couldn’t be any worse…

UPDATE : A co-conspirator says she has told her local rag she definitely won’t be running. Boo.

UPDATE II : John Hemming, who has confirmed he wants to run, is a mere 180 /1 on Betfair. He tells Guido he expects to get 5 nominations already!

UPDATE III : Vince Cable has ruled himself out this morning. Telling Nick Robinson that given “the current irrational prejudice about age… an older candidate is not electable”. Rationally, the 64 year-old slaphead is almost indistinguishable from Ming to voters.

UPDATE IV : Steve Webb says he has enough nominations, but is coming over all coy and pretending he is not sure if he really wants to run.

Comrade Maguire’s Obsessive Maggie Death Fantasy

The Mirror’s Kevin Maguire has a pseudo-working-class-warrior writing style requiring him to always refer to “Druggy Dave” the Bambi-killing Etonian toff. His incisive analysis of the political dynamic clearly owes a lot to a youthful close reading of the Beano. In his columns he talks down to his readers in a patronising style that assumes Mirror readers are stupid in a manner that, by way of contrast, Richard Littlejohn would never dream of doing. It is not a style that he uses in the Guardian or the New Statesman. It is all good knock-about stuff, Maguire is after all a Labour party propagandist first and a journalist second. He is, without doubt, far better at the former than the latter.

His pathological hatred of the Tories becomes totally unhinged when it comes to Margaret Thatcher. Time and time again he shares his death fantasies with readers. Today again, under the pretext of a theatre review, he reminds us that he will celebrate her death. He describes her as a harridan who should not be afforded a state funeral. His poisonous “death to class enemies” attitude reveals all you need to know about Kevin Maguire’s politics and nature. In another time and place you sense that as a commissar he would have happily dealt out revolutionary justice to class enemies – with a bullet.


Seen Elsewhere

What Did Britain Really Look Like in 1930s? | CapX
Who Is Steering Labour’s Strategy? | Ballot Box
Greens are UKIP for Young People | Telegraph
Short-Termism of CCHQ | ConHome
May Aide: CCHQ Are Being Misleading | Telegraph
Tories Planning For Second Election | Guardian
We Are Losing Cyber War | Fraser Nelson
Osborne Aide Lands Pay Rise | Mirror
The Sick Of It | Sun
UKIP MEP’s Welfare Hypocrisy | Channel 4
Rise of Angela Merkel | New Yorker


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The Economist asks Tony Blair about Wendi Deng:

“Mr Blair roundly denies any impropriety. Asked whether he was (at least) careless about his reputation, he says calmly that it is “not something I will ever talk about—I haven’t and I won’t”, and then bangs his coffee cup so loudly into its saucer that it spills and everyone in the room jumps. But did he find himself in a tangle over his friendship with Ms Deng? A large, dark pool of sweat has suddenly appeared under his armpit, spreading across an expensive blue shirt. Even Mr Blair’s close friends acknowledge that the saga damaged him—not least financially, since Mr Murdoch stopped contributing to Mr Blair’s faith foundation and cut him off from other friendly donors in America.”


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