Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Floor’s the Limit

There has been a fair amount of consternation today about a dubiously sourced piece in the Standard about MPs allegedly sleeping in their offices. Despite the practice being banned, we are expected to believe that MPs are secretly stashing camp-beds in cupboards during the day. While yes those MPs who have less than an hour’s commute rightly can’t claim for overnight costs, if they really can’t face the journey home, what is to stop them dipping into their already well lined pockets on those rare Tuesdays when the House sits late?

Just a moment or two of internet based research finds affordable accommodation within walking distance of Parliament. Why not stay at the Piccadilly Backpackers Hostel - “London’s most central, award-winning and trendiest value hostel”? The merits of it far outweigh sleeping on the floor of your office:

  • FREE showers - bonus!
  • Breakfast Available - don’t forget to get a receipt!
  • 24hr Security – so no complaining that a MP couldn’t possibly stay there!
  • 24hr Internet Cafe – you can even catch up on emails over breakfast!
  • And best of all this is all for the bargian price of £12 per night!

    Meryl Thatcher

    Word is Meryl Streep is being lined up to play Maggie in an upcoming FilmFour biopic. Jim Broadbent will be hovering by the drinks cupboard as Dennis. Despite the lefty tendency of the Channel Four crowd, their film-wing are pretty good at sticking to the facts. The film will focus on the weeks running up to the Falklands. Despite the fact Mamma Mia’s director Phyllida Lloyd is at the helm, Thatcher won’t be have any songs or dancing. Guess we’ll have to wait for Maggie! The Musical…

    iKev Vs. Ken

    Oona King’s bandwagon is gathering pace, her campaign team is certainly growing. She has taken on Kevin McKeever, a former Labour PPC, to run her logistics. Back in his student politics days Kevin was lucky to get away scot-free after being accused of deliberately hacking and taking an opponents website off-line in his unsuccessful Durham union president bid. You can read his shaky defence here.

    Guido thought he better check young Kevin isn’t anywhere near a computer this time round.

    Oona’s press man, former Times tech-hack Dan Sabbagh was quick to stress Kevin is “dotting Is and crossing Ts” rather than campaigning on-line, but let the cat out the bag eventually. “He’s a real dab hand and was very useful setting up our network so quickly” Uh oh, Team Ken better check their cyber-security levels.

    UPDATE: Specialist bookies Smarkets currently have Ken ahead of Oona for the Labour nomination.

    Room on the Sixth

    It is a truth universally acknowledged in Westminster that the sixth floor of Portcullis House has the best offices in Parliament. More like penthouses than offices, they’re each accessed from the fifth floor via an internal staircase and have windows facing both sides of the building, over the atrium and out over London.  There are only six of them. Two face north over the Whitehall rooftops, one faces across St James Park to Buckingham Palace, two face the Palace of Westminster (Gordon Brown has a one of these). The best and last remained unfilled. Considered one of the very best offices in Parliament, office 603 sports a magnificent vista over the River Thames towards the City.

    Formerly the domain of Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, she fought fiercely to keep it – a little greedily as she has a spanking Secretary of State’s suite in Gwydyr House. Eventually she was forced to squeeze into one of the ministerial offices in the Palace. Her parliamentary staff were cast wailing from the Garden of Eden into a subterranean hole beneath the Chamber. By this time, the very best office in the Commons was the very last to be allocated, tormenting the aspirations of exiled Labour Cabinet Ministers and thwarted Tory Shadow Ministers alike.

    He might have been vetoed by Nick Clegg from taking his opposition brief in Government, but former Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois has done his masters proud as Accommodation Whip. Everything he can do to keep the coalition together and therefore the Government in office has been done. Where could 603, this ultimate flagship of Whips’ patronage, most effectively be bestowed?

    Should a LibDem should be allowed to ascend to the sixth floor for the first time, to bind that flakey crew to Osborne’s Budget with golden fetters? Naturally it would have to be one of the few LibDem MPs not sitting on the Treasury bench, to buy off potential disaffection as their leaders’ compromise in office. And among that elite band, who is the most influential and unreliable? In the end there was only one choice. Perhaps Simon Hughes’ support for the Coalition will be a little more steadfast, now that he can look down on his constituency from his desk.

    UPDATE: An eagle-eyed bag-carrying co-conspirator points out that Simon Hughes has really been making himself at home recently. No content with the best office, he has also taken to parking his specially converted taxi in conspicuous places around the estate. Don’t you forget about him…

    It Was The Plan All Along

    All the talk of Repeal Bills and scrapping overbearing state intrusion in people’s lives may be new coming from the government, but there is no denying it has been discussed elsewhere for years now. Today is big victory for the Direct Democracy movement and is seemingly lifted straight from Carswell and Hannan’s The Plan. They still think it could be taken further though:

    “Why not have Nick Clegg’s version of the Great Repeal Bill on a site like Wikiversity?  The Wikiversity site is free and open and anyone can propose, discuss and debate the issues at hand without moderation.  We have found that but putting trust into the idea of crowd sourcing legislation, consensus has been reached on a number of key areas.”

    If you don’t want to register and give the government your postcode and data as some have complained about, head over to Direct Democracy to discuss your ideas.

    The Boy Done Good

    Edelman Public Affairs quietly announced a couple of days ago that they had promoted a couple of their staff to joint Managing Directors. Step forward one Jamie Lundie, lover and landlord of David Laws. Perhaps now he will be able to pay his own mortgage without any public assistance.

    He has also answered an age-old question of who do you have to f**k to get promoted around here…

    Your Freedoms?

    The Deputy Prime Minister has been allowed out for the day to promote his ever so caring and listening Your Freedom campaign. Littering his morning media appearances with anecdotes about squirrels, Clegg is asking for your submissions for laws to repeal.

    The Taxpayers’ Alliance’s  new model of Susie Squire, Emma Boon was on the Today program calling for an end to taxpayer subsidies for unions  – so called “utilities funds” that allow public sector workers to carry on being paid from the public purse on days that they are doing union activities. While this can be a matter of hours, there are cases where teachers are paid not to teach but be regional union coordinators all week. A ridiculous waste of money that Labour turned a blind eye to.

    As serious as some suggestions have been, perhaps we should all have a little fun. Submit your suggestions to the Your Freedom website and then post them in the comments below. The best, wittiest, or soundest ideas will get a t-shirt…

    Featherstone’s Facebook Fight

    For a self-proclaimed social media guru, LibDem Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone seems to be bouncing from scrape to scrape online. First there were the mandarins who had to take her aside and discreetly suggest perhaps it wasn’t particularly ministerial to discuss being in the bath on Twitter, and now her Facebook activities might cause a few red faces:

    Why exactly is a LibDem Coalition Minister part of a Facebook campaign called LibDems Against Tory Coalition?

    UPDATE: Lynne’s some what grumpy and aggressive staffer attempted to give Guido the 101 on how to use Facebook. The line is that the person must have changed their name after inviting his boss to be their friend. “Do you seriously expect her to monitor all those people?” Well yes, we do. If she is going to claim to “get” social media and run her own profile, then she needs to put her money where her mouth is.

    The ‘Looney Left’ is Back

    As the Blairites retire to their non-executive directorships and their former SpAds run herd-like to become leader of the Labour Party by tacking to the voter-repelling left, it is fair to say that Labour’s once marginalised looney left is back.  Even David Miliband, formerly Blair’s tea-boy, now supports a 50% tax rate, has become a born-again peacenik, personally nominated Diane Abbott and is, all in all, beginning to sound like a student union leftie.

    So Guido intends to regularly highlight examples of left-wing lunacy going mainstream – today it is the ever reliable Bob Crow describing the spending freeze as “fiscal fascism”. The sophistication of his political and economic analysis would have Karl Marx revolting – fascism did not seek to reduce the size and role of the state.

    Bob’s policy of choice? A general strike. Just what a weak economy needs to boost jobs and growth.  Crazy? Well Bob reckons “hundreds of thousands of workers will take to the streets.”

    It is as if Tony Blair never existed…


    Seen Elsewhere

    UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
    Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
    Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
    Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail
    BBC Boss Search in Disarray | Times
    Tory Membership Set to Outstrip Labour | Staggers
    Three Cheers for the David Brents | Ed Conway
    Small State Keynesians, Anti-Corporate Hayekians? | Chris Dillow
    Ruffley Shows Why We Need a Proper Recall Bill Now | Alex Wickham
    How is Miliband’s ‘New Politics’ Working Out? | Speccie
    State Should Send More Poor Children Private | Sam Bowman


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    Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

    “At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



    Rob Wilson says:

    Without Predujice

    Darling

    What time will dinner be ready this evening?

    Yours

    Rob Wilson MP

    In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


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