The Times' Paywall of Death

The wall is up at The Times even if payment isn’t required yet. It started on May 24 and traffic has more than halved in the month since. It will probably halve again and then some when the cash register opens…

I’ll wager Danny Finkelstein, who is overseeing the Wapping paywall project, that within 12 months no Times political columnist will have more measurable readers online than Guido. Lunch at the restaurant of his choice…

Krude de Gulf

Those pesky Don’t Panic kids went along to a BP drinks party…

Hughes Breaks Cover, Manoeuvring or Messing Up?

Simon Hughes has just thrown a spanner into the works. He told the Commons earlier:

“When it comes to the Budget next week, we will vote for the budget. But if there are measures in the Finance Bill where we could improve fairness and make for a fairer Britain, then we will come forward with amendments to do that.”

A spectacularly inappropriate choice of words for the deputy leader of a governing party to come out with. Whether this was a cack-handed attempt at broadening some budget measures, or a deliberate dig at his leader and the coalition only time will tell. When Vince stitched up the deputy leadership election for Hughes, Guido speculated they were on manoeuvres. With displays of rebellion like this it’s hard not to believe Hughes is escalating towards an anti-coalition jihad.

Where's Gordon?™ Chatting With a Kennedy Apparently

After some excitement this morning that Gordon Brown might actually be in town to represent his constituents the truth unravels. While he may have put a fleeting five minutes in the chamber, (making the number of days he has been in two out of a possible forty-nine,) King of the Lobby Gary Gibbon has what he was really down here for. A meeting with a Kennedy, a chat with Sir Tim Berners-Lee about his future employability and a natter with his old cabinet allies.

All wonderful representation for the people of Kirkcaldy.

UPDATE: Via EyeSpyMP we learn that Gordon has even brought his “wee son” to his day at the office. Clearly “getting on with the job” is his top priority.

iYes Minister

Guido understands that an announcement tomorrow will say that CCHQ digital media guru and former parliamentary candidate, Rishi Saha has been made a civil servant running a to-be-merged Downing Street and Cabinet Office online team as Deputy Director of Communications. Rishi, a close ally of Steve Hilton, was the coordinator of the Tory’s successful digital campaign and will continue his work online without his blue hat on. Rishi first came into the limelight with the “Pimp My Party” website.

Given that pre-election the Tories announced they would be cutting down on the number of political advisers and strategists they would have, shuffling them into the Civil Service seems a cheeky loophole, though Guido understands there isn’t a new job being created, he is replacing a civil servant who has come to the end of her contract. Interesting to note that Mark Flanagan, a Brown-era hire, brought in from the private sector by Stephen Carter, hasn’t been dumped but instead booted upstairs to a “strategic role”…

UPDATE: Saha’s closeness to the Cameron project should not be underestimated, which will make the jump to neutrality interesting. He was there from day one.

Quite literally.


+ + + Gordon Sighted in Westminster + + +

+ + + Developing + + +

UPDATE: According to Robert Halfon MP, Gordon entered the chamber briefly for Defra questions.  Jonah’s back…

The PM's a Sheila

As Guido highlighted yesterday as a real possibility, the Aussie Labor Party has got rid of an unpopular leader in Kevin Rudd rather than risk certain electoral defeat. Welsh-born Julia Gillard has become leader and Australia’s first woman PM. Harriet Harman would only be human if she wistfully asked herself this morning, “what might have been…”

UPDATE : Gillard is in Labor terms a right-winger, so her British analogue would be fellow redhead Hazel Blears rather than Hattie.



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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