Friday, June 4, 2010

Farm-Gate: Spelman’s Blatant Bio-Tech Backing

Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman has sat down for a little chat with The Guardian and here’s a turn up for the books:

“The wider growing and selling of genetically modified crops has received its strongest government backing to date from the new environment secretary, Caroline Spelman”

It is currently illegal to grow GM crops in the UK but not for long it seems. What a strange coincidence though, remember this:

Spelman spent her days before becoming an MP in the agri-business. Seemingly well connected in the field, Caroline and her husband Mark went on to set up “Spelman, Cormack & Associates” in 1989 as a food and bio-technology lobbying company.

A lobbying firm that would directly benefit from a relaxation of the GM crops red tape. A lobbying firm that until a year ago, Mrs Spelman owned half of and was being run out of her constituency home. GM crops are a controversial enough subject without messy financial interests clouding the arguments. This isn’t the first conflict of interest that has arisen for Spelman and until she makes moves to recuse herself from certain aspects of her job, it won’t be the last.

What A Difference A Year Makes

It was exactly a year ago tonight that David Miliband chickened out from standing up to Gordon Brown for the second time and tarnished his reputation forever. As the European polls closed he let his old friend Purnell attempt to pull the trigger, but was nowhere to be seen once Brown’s government was collapsing around him. Where would Labour be now if he had gone through with the coup he was planning?

If he wasn’t the “right man for the job” then, or at the 2008 conference, or back in January  – all chances he had to lead Labour to a better result by scrapping Gordon, what on earth makes him the best man now? The man is a proven coward, will the Labour members remember that?

Friday Caption Contest (Siôn’s Internet Shopping Edition)

What’s On the DVD?

CCHQ staff were given a gift of a DVD at last night’s drinks reception in the Downing Street rose garden. The “Team for Change” box included a personalised letter from Dave and Guido hears the disk is behind the scenes banter and the stuff that didn’t quite make the WebCameron final edits. If one of those said staffers would care to share then please do get in touch

Counting the COINS

If you have nothing better to do this sunny Friday why not take a look through the hundred odd gigabytes of tax and spending data just released from the Treasury. 24 million different transactions are a good start in opening up government. It doesn’t make for a fun read though.

Talking of taxpayers money, there is still no sign of the official SpAd list, and vitally their pay levels. Guido FOIed the Cabinet Office on May 7th for Coulson and co’s salaries. Nothing yet…

IPSA-a-Daisy

The IPSA mission statement proclaims that it “wants to contribute to restoring the public’s confidence in Parliament, to make sure the taxpayer gets value for money from how MPs’ expenses are managed.All very noble but in reality things don’t seem so new and fresh.

The Commons was paying MPs staff salaries until the election day. The ill-fated Authority was supposed to have taken over for the new Parliament. One female bag-carrier saw that she was paid by both the Commons and IPSA at the end of last month. Clearly one of the few honest dwellers on the Parliamentary estate, the young researcher rang IPSA to let them know about the mistake. What did the new open and honest expenses body say? Keep the money and keep schtum…

Elitist Labour

Guido managed to stay awake to watch Question Time last night. Diane Abbott neatly rubbished her leadership rivals for coming from a small New Labour gene pool thus – “David Miliband, Ed Miliband and Ed all played on the same football team together when they were Special Advisers”. Succintly highlighting that they are all male, party insider, wonks. Usually the sweeping criticism is that they all (including Andy Burnham) went to Oxbridge. Diane Abbott read history at Cambridge under the tutelage of historian-campaigner Simon Schama…

UPDATE : Punters give Diane Abbott only a 47% chance of getting 33 nominations to go through to the next round.


Seen Elsewhere

Twitter Should Not Ban Racist Words | Alex Wickham
Guardian Staff’s Elite Schooling | Chris McGovern
Term-Time Holidays Were State Encouraged | Liberal England
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


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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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