Baldemort Bungles His Sums

Liam Byrne better watch out if  he doesn’t want to be humiliated in the Shadow Cabinet elections. He botched his response to Danny Alexander’s cuts in the House this afternoon. Baldemort declared that the cuts announced were just 0.05% of government spending, apparently clearing Labour of running a scorched earth policy on the way out of office.

But the sums don’t quite add up. Two billion actually accounts for about 0.3%  of the some £650bn the government spends every year – six times higher than Byrne’s figure. And you wonder why they ran out of money…

Rory Running Before He Can Walk

Word reaches Guido that a certain new MP is ruffling a few old guard feathers with his arrogance and brutal determination to climb the ladder. Despite barely having an office and working phone Penrith’s Rory Stewart, the Conservative’s self-proclaimed bright star and Afghan rambler, is lobbying his colleagues hard for a spot on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

Though he failed to mention the time he spent as a Labour Party member, he has bullet pointed his “career highlights” in a letter that has been snorted at by some old timers. “It’s highly unusual for a freshman MP to be seeking a spot on such a powerful committee. But then again, Rory Stewart is a highly unusual little man” one told Guido after lunch…

Beaker Wields the Axe

Was Danny Alexander writing press releases or cutting down trees? All that work in Cairngorms National Park must have done some good for Beaker as he seems to be able to handle an axe quite well. He just told the Commons that the government could not “spend money it simply did not have.”

He announced twelve prospective government projects that Labour approved will be scrapped saving two billion pounds and suspended other projects worth another eight and half billion. The controversal £80 million loan to Sheffield Forgemasters has gone.

He’s no David Laws, but such action should go some way in reassuring those who doubt Beaker’s steel.

MSP’s Underage Blunder

Frank McAveety, the Labour MSP who left his microphone on while discussing a certain young lady in the audience of his committee meeting, has quit as the committee’s convener and Scottish Labour’s sports spokesman. While these remarks were clearly embarrassing, as Guido said yesterday, find him a man who hasn’t made a similar remark to a friend.

It was a blunder, but McAveety’s resignation came as a bit of surprise to some, a tip from a Caledonian co-conspirator explains why he had to go though. The object of McAveety’s roving eye was an intern who is just 15.

The Other Labour Fight

Today is Ken Livingstone’s birthday. For such a polarising figure, people across the political spectrum have been quick to wish him many happy returns for his 65th year. Opponents are relishing the opportunity to highlight his age and subtly dog-whistle a comparison to his youthful and energetic mayoral rival Oona King. The mayoral nomination battle is heating up with accusations being aimed at King for coordinating a “series of attacks on Ken by Oona King’s supporters, who seem more interested in smearing the ex-mayor than promoting their own candidate.” Reference is given to the “shadowy” @No2Ken Twitter account. Not exactly Watergate but intriguing if there is an connection.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, a King supporter has ruffled feathers with his demands to Labour general secretary Ray Collins that the selection rules be bent slightly, a suggestion firmly rejected by the party machine. The decision to choose a candidate nearly two years before polling day does seem odd. If the Tories did that in 2006 they probably would have ended up with Steve Norris again.

Despite their protestations that Ken is being victimised, it is amusing to see his team having a go at people fighting dirty, something Ken himself could write the book on. Even if the Labour leadership race is going to remain dull, the Labour movement looks to be splitting down some traditional lines over this battle. It’s certainly going to an amusingly messy side-show.

Gordon the Scottish Dancing Monkey

Paul Waugh reported yesterday evening that the real reason the former Prime Mentalist was seen in public for the first time in a month yesterday was to disprove rumours (first reported by Guido) that were going round primarily in Labour circles. Namely that Gordon was undergoing some kind of post – breakdown psychological treatment. Dance monkey, dance…

None of this takes away from the fact that it is wrong for him to expect the taxpayers to pay him £1,264-a-week to stay at home in Kirkcaldy writing his personal memoirs. Incidentally, it seems Guido isn’t the only one to have noticed that Gordon is becoming markedly more Scottish once again…



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