Not Clever, Not Confident

Sir Michael White @ 10.06 on the Guardian website
Did you hear Admiral Lord West, GB’s newly-recruited security minister on Radio 4’s Today, scene-setting for the PM’s security statement to MPs? He is supposed to be an amateur politician, a refugee from the hearties at the MoD. Yet he was clever and confident. He ducked all the tricky questions without sounding naff or cross, and he said he wasn’t yet persuaded of the need to extend the 28-day pre-charge detention option.

Turned out to be a little less “clever and confident” later in the day didn’t he? He was very quickly persuaded…

No M’Lord

The FT may have lost a High Court battle to print the Northern Rock investment memo, Gordon somewhat pathetically at PMQs claimed it was “commercially sensitive” information to get him off the hook discussing it. Vince Cable lashed into him when he made that “absolutely bogus” claim. £24 billion of taxpayers money on a bail-out is a legitimate matter of public interest.

It is definitely not secret any more. Guido told you 4 hours ago where it could be found online in the U.S., it is as of now the top Google search result for Northern Rock Summary. You can’t keep politically expedient secrets in an open source world…

UPDATE : Our old friends Schillings are at it again. No Pasaran!

That “E-Borders” Announcement

Gordon came into office promising change with an end to spin and a return to the primacy of parliament with government announcements made first in the House, not on the Today programme.

The E-borders deal (worth £500m, £650m, or £1.2bn, depending on whether you believe the Sun, the Mirror, or the Home Office) was announced not on the Regulatory News Service, or via a statement to the House of Commons, but at the bottom of a story in the Sun, in an article by one G. Brown.

Market sensitive information, put out in a tabloid. So much for “change”…

Northern Rock Nationalised

Historically the Labour party has favoured the nationalisation of the banks, and with Northern Rock they have now achieved that objective.

The FT published yesterday an investment memorandum obtained by the FTs’ Alphaville blog (since injuncted* by a High Court Judge).

The document revealed that even if the bank was sold, the Bank of England would have to provide support to Northern Rock until 2010 when the stricken lender could still be in hock to the tune of £6bn.

This memo reveals that Northern Rock will owe £24bn to the Bank of England by the end of the year. It has effectively been nationalised without a vote held.

*The injuncted memo is online if you really want to read it in its entirety. Hosted in the U.S. tut, tut, tut.

OLR Win 90% of Government Contracts

OLR has become the Halliburton of British politics. Whereas Dick Cheney’s old firm was suspiciously successful in winning war profiteering contracts, Gordon’s crony pollster Deborah Mattinson’s OLR wins focus group and citizen’s juries contracts. Guido explained how this works in September. In May Guido revealed the £153,484.38 focus group. Why does Gordon like OLR so much? Well could it be that they get (free of charge) research results that give Gordon 92% approval ratings? Teasy May has now written to Gus O’Donnell, the head of the civil service, demanding an inquiry. She says “Citizens’ juries are increasingly looking like a sham… Not only are these glorified focus groups wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money but he has the nerve to award the contracts to his personal polling crony.” It is corrupt, plain and simple.

Gordon’s Little Secrets

Who does Gordon have over for dinner at Chequers? Shouldn’t be a state secret should it? After all you pay for it all, even Tony and Cherie allowed us to know who they had over for the weekend.

So why, when Gordon is supposedly committed to open government, are they stonewalling the Telegraph?



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