Guido predicted that a hundred seats would be vacated following Expensegate, it is a while since he has had a tot up of the numbers. Farewell Barbara Follet, we will remember you for your window cleaning, security patrols and chinese needlepoint rug. After all, we paid for them…
The Serious Fraud Office has announced plans to prosecute BAE Systems, for bribing its way into contracts from Romania to South Africa. For years, BAE Systems has been cashing in on massive trans-national arms deals on dodgy terms but it’s managed to slip away from investigation, not least with the help of government collaboration and a legal team that has strung out negotiations with the SFO over years.
In 2006, Blair slapped down the SFO for investigating a series of BAE deals with Saudi Arabia worth £40billion. Blair claimed it would endanger “national security” – and throw an inconvenient spotlight on defence just a year after the invasion of Iraq.
BAE has spent a long time cosying up to politicians of all stripes to earn its place as the number two defence contractor worldwide. Along with other British arms mainstays Rolls-Royce and AugustaWestland, BAE funds the Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme, a summer holidays jolly for MPs who want to “gain a broad view of military life” and “make official visits to Service establishments [where] they are normally treated as VIPs of at least two star or Rear Admiral level.” Sir Neil Thorne, ex-Tory MP and the founder of this “educational” programme, was a defence-junket goer himself back in the day and seems to have free run of Portcullis House nowadays.
So who’s making the decision as to whether to go after the weapons behemoth? Step up, Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland. Good thing we’ll all trust the Baroness to make the right judgment…
Guido’s solicitor is another fighting Irishman, Donal Blaney, pictured here to the right of Karl Rove. Donal is on something of a roll at the moment,* fresh from re-stocking Guido’s wine-cellar after winning a dispute with a multi-national media giant, he has today succeeded in getting the High Court to grant its first ever injunction via “Twitter”. The order, now to be known as the “Blaney’s Blarney Order” after the name of the blog that applied for it – forces an anonymous Twitter user to stop posting and identify themselves.
The order was granted because Donal (who blogs on Blaney’s Blarney) successfully argued that the fake Twitterer was attempting to impersonate him. Given that neither the High Court nor Donal knew the true identity of this user it was decided that the injunction be served via Twitter.
Matthew Richardson, the barrister who devised and won the Blaney’s Blarney Order, says “The Blaney’s Blarney Order is a huge step forward in preventing anonymous abuse of the Internet. People have to learn that they can no longer hide behind the cloak of anonymity the Internet provides and break the law with impunity.”
Some argue that it is wrong for a libertarian to use the law to defend their reputations in Court. Guido has never agreed with that argument, your reputation is a valuable property worth defending in the Courts if necessary.
The blog you love, and they hate, had 1,526,279 page views from 882,794 visits from 206,965 visitors last month. To which, via the feed, is to be added another 721,280 views from 63,856 visits by 7,365 subscribers. So a not unhealthy 2 million plus hits
Left-of-centre bloggers always claim that they will become more popular when they are in opposition, so Guido was curious to check their traffic levels before they go into opposition. (They perhaps forget that Guido will still be in opposition to the government). The self-styled “most popular left-of-centre politics blog“ had, according to Guido’s web spies, some 220,000 page-views from some 76,000 visits by some 36,000 visitors. These figures are necessarily estimates as they are derived from competitive intelligence. LabourList, according to the same source, actually has more traffic with some 320,000 page views from 92,000 visits by some 25,000 visitors. The data will allow them to argue who is more popular in what terms…
As the Labour Conference shudders to a close let us savour the highlights:
Sunday, Marr asks a stunned Gordon if he is going blind and popping pills to “see him through”?
Monday Labour spin machine and some MPs say they will boycott Marr show in protest.
Tuesday, on the morning he is to give yet another “most important speech of his career”, an Ipsos Mori poll was published showing Labour had slid into third position among British parties for the first time since the formation of the SDP.
Wednesday The Sun withdraws support saying “Labour’s Lost It”. Speaker after speaker in the conference hall calls for a boycott of The Sun. Gordon than undergoes a mauling on BBC Breakfast, GMTV and finally Sky, accusing Adam Boulton of sounding like a “political propagandist”. He then makes an idiot of himself storming off with the microphone still attached. Mandelson calls Sun bosses “c**nts” then lies to everyone that he said “chumps”. Labour aides talk of boycotting Sky News.
So all in all another typical week for the Labour Party, Gordon looking loonier than ever, Mandy brazenly lying, polls dire and Labour’s media strategy seems to be boycott the BBC, Sky and The Sun and opt instead for Twitter. We haven’t had Harriet Harman’s closing speech to the troops yet…
Bad Al Campbell is briefing that the Sun’s endorsement is nothing. When he was really a player in the game, he used to think differently, take this extract from his diaries:
Monday, March 17, 1997
… As soon as TB finished the Q & A session I took him to one side and said I had some good news. I said you remember in 1994 when I said we should try to get the Sun on board and you said you weren’t sure it was possible, well, they are. He thought it was good news in its own right, but was good in the effect it would have on the other side’s morale. I tipped off Mike Brunson at ITN. On one level, it was ridiculous that it should be seen as a big event, but the reality is that is exactly how it is seen. I felt it was a fruit of three years’ hard work, and there will be many more.
If you read his book, “The Blair Years“, Alastair boasts of lying, of spinning in his own words “bollocks”. It was he who sent David Kelly and thousands more to their deaths on the basis of a dossier of lies. Labour circles are currently alive to the rumour that Bad Al is negotiating the terms on which he will return to help Mandelson in Downing Street. Alastair himself is spinning, as if he understands, that the internet changes everything. Mandelson told Paxman last night that The Sun doesn’t matter because of blogs and Twitter, as if they are some 140 character placebo for democracy. Yes, the internet. Come on down Alastair, come spin on the web. Emperor of dirt, we will make you hurt…
On Monday, March 17, 2000 Alastair Campbell wrote in his diary…
“As soon as TB finished the Q & A session I took him to one side and said I had some good news. I said you remember in 1994 when I said we should try to get the Sun on board and you said you weren’t sure it was possible, well, they are. He thought it was good news in its own right, but was good in the effect it would have on the other side’s morale. I tipped off Mike Brunson at ITN. On one level, it was ridiculous that it should be seen as a big event, but the reality is that is exactly how it is seen. I felt it was a fruit of three years’ hard work, and there will be many more.”