Finking is Not Enough

Speccie editor Fraser Nelson is giving the Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture to a Centre for Policy Studies audience tonight.  The CPS was of course founded by Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher.  His speech is titled “Winning Is Not Enough“.

Fraser is willing to tell it straight:

“The political fallacies of the 1970s are leaping out from their graves: the notion that you squeeze more out of the rich by increasing their marginal tax rate. The idea that one improves the health service by pouring money into it. The ideological demons that Keith Joseph had thought slain have come back again. And, just like last time, some of these demons are wearing a blue rosette.”

The critique he offers of the Tory willingness to accept Brown’s parameters of debate is not just the Tory right calling for the old Thatcherite tunes. He is squarely taking on what can be described as the Fink approach to politics:

… the Conservative Party is, to an extent, still in therapy; shell-shocked not just by three election defeats, but by the trauma of its own internal warfare. The temptation is to get rid of anything that anyone might criticise, and become politically neutral: provoking neither hatred nor enthusiasm. Here, the Conservatives are in danger of forgetting Keith Joseph’s most enduring lesson: the difference between the Middle Ground and the Common Ground.

Guido is off to hear the speech…

Brown Under Pressure for Misleading House, Again

A furious Prime Mentalist mumbled a response about having no idea about the £50,000 slush fund that Peter Watt revealed in his book at PMQs earlier. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has already asked for more information regarding the complaint put in about and with a planted question today at PMQs it seems the Tories think they might be on to something:

The Prime Minister
10, Downing Street
London, SW1A 2AA

3 February 2010

Dear Mr Brown,

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, you told the House of Commons that you knew nothing about the secret fund, worth a reported £50,000, which was held by the Labour Party for your benefit. When asked why you did not declare this on the Register of Members’ Financial Interests (RMFI), you said specifically: ‘I know nothing about what he [the questioner] is talking about.’

This simply cannot be true.

It is clear from Peter Watt, the Labour Party’s former General Secretary, that you were the beneficiary of a secret fund held by the Labour Party. He has said explicitly:
‘Before becoming Prime Minister, Gordon went to some lengths to insulate himself and the Treasury from our financial troubles, setting up his own personal pot of cash at party HQ. This was money we could not dip into, since it was set aside for the Chancellor’s own pet projects. Murray Elder helped secure donations from the Chancellor’s supporters’ (Inside Out, January 2010, page 105).
He went on to claim that it may have been used to finance your ‘long-term campaign to become party leader’ (Inside Out, Peter Watt, 2010, page 105).

Mr Watt’s assertions were widely reported. Indeed, across several pages in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Watt claimed that you used ‘up to £50,000-a-year of Labour money to pay for private polling’ (Mail on Sunday, 17 January 2010).

The allegations were explicitly confirmed as truthful by a Labour official who said in the same article: ‘It [the fund] was funded through donations to the Party.’

In the light of these allegations, my colleague, Greg Hands MP, wrote to you more than two weeks ago, on 17 January, to query why you had failed to declare the fund properly the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. This letter was publicised in several newspapers on 18 January.

As you did not respond, Greg Hands submitted a complaint to John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner this week. I attach a copy of this complaint for your reference. Again, this complaint was reported.

Yesterday in a speech titled ‘Transforming Politics’, you said that you would ‘do all that is necessary to restore trust’ in politics and the conduct of MPs. If you wish to restore trust in politics, you should stop treating people like fools by claiming that you were unaware of this fund when all the evidence points to the contrary. I therefore urge you to admit to this fund’s existence, apologise for misleading the House and co-operate with any inquiries that John Lyon may wish to make.

Yours sincerely,
Eric Pickles

Chairman, The Conservative Party
Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar

Pickles has essentially called Brown a liar. There is no way he could have had no idea what the question was about. Guido knows Downing Street is an incompetent mess, but to suggest that Brown would have no idea that a serious allegation of potential corruption widely reported by the press and broadcast media could have gone unnoticed is laughable. At the very least he has misled the House about not knowing, at worst he instigated a cover-up.

Quote of the Day

Asked why he did not declare the “fund with no name” Brown said…

“I know nothing at all about what he is talking about.”

PMQs Live : The Tory “Fight Back” Continues

CCHQ Try to Put the Frighteners on Leakers

CCHQ get immensely annoyed when stories leaked from Millbank appear on this blog. Before Christmas George Osborne told a staff briefing that they may enjoy “ten minutes of fame” but leaks (and he named Guido in particular) could blow the whole election campaign.  Guido took that as a compliment.

The minor revelation on this blog that ballot papers will not have “David Cameron’s Conservatives” on them, a much mooted and trialled idea, has resulted in chief whip Patrick McLoughlin wading in.  At the Ashcroft / Cameron Tory PPC get-together this weekend the Chief Whip took the stage. He displayed the story on an overhead projector during a talk about loyalty. They’ll have to try harder than that to silence Guido, several PPCs got in touch to laugh about it…

Guido always protects his sources. The proof: when Downing Street threatened a security investigation, they got nothing.  Injunctions get filed in the bin, Court Orders get flouted, mole hunts end up in a hole.  To quote Rick Astley, Guido is never gonna give you up.

You make this blog happen. Sources are always anonymous (unless you want credit). If you know “the line” is a lie, ask yourself why you got into politics; was it to cover up the truth, or tell it? You may even get a conspiracy member T-shirt for your troubles…


Guido relies on you for information.
Voicemail : 0709 284 0531
Fax : 0709 201 2337
Email : guido.fawkes@Order-Order.com

A Tragedy for Comedy : Sion Simon Standing Down

Sion Simon standing down from parliament is a great loss for this blog, he has provided so much material in all our favourite categories. Who can forget the unintended political comedy of his classic New Statesman article?  The radical feminism of his “be quiet woman” interview on Sky, when we first realised that perhaps the pressure was getting all a bit too much.  The little things, his tweeted bad taste insult of SuBo’s mental health which led to him apologising wholeheartedly for any distress or embarrassment caused..” More seriously getting caught fiddling £40,000 in expense payments to his sister to pay her mortgage in breach of the rules probably damaged his political prospects.  That, plus owing his promotion entirely to Brown rewarding his treachery against Blair, meant that even with his failing eye-sight he could see the political end was coming.

Knowing that Labour will be out of power after the election, Sion is looking for power elsewhere.  As mayor of Birmingham.  Brummies surely have more sense than that…

Point of Order Order

When Guido reads articles about how powerful and influential this blog is he laughs because it was set up on a whim and primarily for his own amusement. The insight that perhaps makes this blog successful was that political gossip and tittle-tattle is far more compelling than people will admit.   Now bearing in mind that the readership of this blog is heavily concentrated in the media, parliament, political parties, the law and the City, which story do you think was most popular yesterday?

The critical analysis of the political paralysis surrounding the fiscal situation? The report back from the Shadow Chancellor’s benchmark launch? The highlighting of the hypocrisy of a senior political journalist?

No of course not. Kirsty Wark’s Prada skirt wardrobe malfunction topped the lot and was easily the most popular story yesterday, followed up by the Telegraph and the Mail this morning.  Which is why this is the blog you love and they hate. Happy 55th Birthday Kirsty!



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn on today’s results:

“We hung on.”

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