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There are two possible angles to this story, either the cutting edge digital Telegraph team is preparing an attack on Dave using social media to harvest information in the run up to the election. Or given it’s Friday and all, hacks have sunk to new lows in lazy attempts at sniffing out a story. So look out for some inane rumours and anecdotes about Dave’s early days in the next week – you know were they came from now. Heidi Blake looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, but perhaps she should have paused to think Dave’s old school chums might be a little more loyal than that.
While the limos may not be circling Parliament Square just yet, it is worth noting the intense speculation that something is up at Downing Street today. The polls are tightening, the recession figures could be spun well and Dave and co are off to the seaside for the spring forum that Labour couldn’t afford. Has Gordon been reading up on Wilson?
“Wilson would make his annual trip to see HMQ at Balmoral to coincide with the start of the Tory conference. To disrupt proceedings at the seaside, Wilson would feed a few trusted journalists that he was seeking a dissolution. It worked a treat. “
Gordon’s has never recovered from the election-that-never-was in Autumn 2007 because he allowed the speculation to go on too long. The Tories are secretly praying he holds off until May, as are the media whose well planned agendas would have been a total waste of time. Bookies have stopped taking bets on March 25th. If Gordon doesn’t make a move to confirm or quell the hype it will be Bottler Brown all over again.
Wilson quote via Events Dear Boy Events.
The ONS have revised the Q4 growth figure from a sickly 0.1% to a meagre 0.3%. An improvement but still nothing to be cheery about. What this figure does do though is decrease the chances that on 23rd April Britain will officially be back in a recession. Much of the speculation about an early election was based on this news, the final nail in Brown’s coffin would be a double dip announcement in the last weeks of an election campaign. The odds on an early election were slashed last night, but this news is good for those holding out that the election will be 6th May.
UPDATE: Guido understands that the BBC political teams have been told not to go away over the weekend.
For all their talk of engaging online and being so technically advanced, sometimes politicians painfully show just how of touch they really are. Most Twitter users at some point in the last week would have received a message from one of their followers or friends that said “haha is this you?” with a link. Classic spammer trick, it then spreads to all your followers. Harriet Harman has gone into full hysterical mode claiming in the House of Commons that her account had been “hacked” when Alan Duncan, a new gaffe-potential convert to the Twitterati, replied to what he thought was a genuine message from his old sparring partner. Far from Twitter proving this lot are in touch, more often than not it makes them look like morons. Perhaps it would be a more appropriate use of MPs time to be working on fixing that £178 billion deficit rather than messing around trying to look like they are down with the kids.
Guido understands that Andy Burnham is about to be in some deep trouble. Yesterday he said he “did not believe that a lengthy, adversarial inquiry would be in the best interests of health care in Staffordshire.” Today it has emerged that in 2007, as a Junior Health Minister, he signed off on one of four stages of the Mid-Stafford Hospital’s elevation to Labour’s coveted Foundation Trust status.[…]
Without a hint of irony Alastair Campbell has broken cover and spoken out about Number 10 bullying. Not because he has had a sudden bout of atonement for his past sins, but in order to weigh into bashing Andy Coulson. If Bad Al and Prescott going on the attack against the media is all Labour can muster then things must be worse that was first thought.[…]
After Guido’s story yesterday about the controversial and murky “Friends of Speaker Bercow” fund-raising group, it seems a member of UKIP in the Speaker’s constituency has put a complaint in to John Lyon about a letter he received. Guido imagines Bercow wouldn’t have been so stupid to have used the Speaker’s stationary to beg for money, but the secretary of the fund has said Bercow was responsible for drawing up and passing on names.[…]
Phil Heatley, a politician in New Zealand immediately tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister when it appeared that a $70 receipt for two bottles of wine at a party conference had been accidently claimed on his expenses. Heatley told the press “I believe I’ve failed to live up my own standard and for that I’m embarrassed and immensely sorry.[…]
So it seems it’s not just Bercow misusing the Parliamentary Estate and status. In what has already been yet another uncomfortable day for Labour, the Tories have scored a late hit. The Serjeant at Arms has cancelled a Unite the Union event in Parliament at the eleventh hour.[…]
Bercow must be feeling the heat from Farage’s growing campaign in his hitherto extremely safe seat. It seems he’s resorted to playing on his position as Speaker to raise money. Local Tory members and donors have been surprised to receive begging letters and phone calls from a front calling itself the “Friends of Speaker Bercow” asking for help to fill a £40,000 election war chest.[…]
Given that candidates have been on the highest state of alert since the new year, gearing up to an election that could be called at any moment, Guido is unsurprised by the amount of anger this latest blunder has caused. It would appear that the printing company that CCHQ were using went bust leaving constituencies and their agents stranded and angry.[…]