Deborah Mattinson Says Guido Drove Gordon Mad

Deborah Mattinson was Gordon Brown’s personal pollster and part of the bunker / Smith Institute inner circle around Brown. In her new book Talking To A Brick Wall she has revealed something that gives Guido an immense amount of satisfaction. For over a year Guido ran a campaign against Gordon Brown’s Smith Institute, the charitable front for his political ambitions. The years of guerrilla warfare waged by this blog were not in vain, it drove him mad:

Guido Fawkes, launched a campaign attacking me personally for the public sector work that Opinion Leader did. He, and other Conservative bloggers picked up on the citizen engagement work that OLR had done. He accused Government Departments of hiring OLR solely because of my work with GB and implied that the work that I conducted for GB was a quid pro quo for the Government Citizen Engagement work.

As anyone who has bid for Civil Service contracts will verify, nowadays – quite rightly – everything is tendered to within an inch of its life. Knowing a Minister, let alone the Chancellor and PM heir apparent, would be a hindrance rather than a help and place the potential contract under closer scrutiny. It was true that much of the time that I put in for Labour was pro bono, as it had always been. Like most political activists, whether drafting leaflets or knocking on doors, I gave my time willingly out of support for the cause. Furthermore, many of the costs associated with my political work were paid by the Labour Party or by a sympathetic organisation such as the Fabian Society. Nonetheless, the story ran. This was a tense and difficult time and GB was impatient with anything that might adversely affect his forward march. On one occasion after a particularly nasty piece, claiming ludicrously that Opinion Leader had charged £153, 484.38 for a one day seminar, had run, GB burst into our weekly meeting and exploded, ‘You’re in the eye of the storm. What are you doing about it?’

I was hurt both, by the accusations themselves, and also by GB’s less than supportive response. I had seen him treat others harshly but, up till then, I had always been made to feel valued. After much agonising and, following discussions with Viki, my ever tolerant business partner I decided to step down from my role as CEO of Opinion Leader and stopped working on any public sector clients, to avoid making either GB or Opinion Leader Research vulnerable to further attack. Instead I focused on my corporate role as Joint Chair of Chime Research Division. Meanwhile, sadly, GB shelved the listening programme – it looked to be more trouble that it was worth. . . Citizens were not going to get their say after all.

It is good to know that Gordon was such an avid reader…

IPSA Facto

It is that time of week when the various institutions within Parliament decide they should probably tell everyone else what they have been up to. Two updates today, first from everyone’s favourite IPSA. They report back that due to the fact their expenses filing system is so complex, that they are having to train bag-carriers how to claim their bosses expenses back:

Training for MPs’ Staff

To date, over 350 members of staff have booked onto IPSA’s training sessions, which run until early July.
Staff can book onto one of the sessions below by calling the IPSA training helpline on 020 3334 3377 or by emailing training@parliamentarystandards.org.uk.

IPSA are stalling on how these sessions are organised, and more importantly, how much they cost per hour. Staffers are told to pencil in three hours for the session though. It’s clearly an efficient system…

Meanwhile over at the PRU – the Parliamentary Resources Unit – the Tories pooled research team, they are doing something similar:

IPSA Claims Support Service

We’ve now assisted eight Members and their staff in getting started with making claims on the IPSA system. This personal tuition approach has proven very effective as we can focus on the particular circumstances of the Member. We’ve successfully covered hotels, mileage, software, train fares, office furniture, stationary, subsistence etc.

It takes about 45 minutes on average to get both Members and staff logged in, circumstances registered, and big ticket claims made. We also help you develop a smart way of working together to ensure receipts are saved and submitted, as well as considering budget planning.

Why is the taxpayer picking up the tab for two different organisations doing the same job, at the same time? And secondly, if the PRU can do it in forty-five minutes with one member of staff, why is IPSA racking up the meter and taking three hours? The farce continues…

UPDATE: IPSA got in touch to say that they are using two private contractors from Marton House for their sessions. Two IPSA staff also take part in class that caters for up to thirty people at a time. So four people are being paid, for three hours at a time, for a job that can seemingly be done by one person in forty minutes. Still trying to work out how much this is costing the taxpayer.

Grasping At Straws

Jack Straw has been doing the media rounds complaining about the referendum legislation. Putting the voting system aside, he had the cheek to moan on the World at One that the boundary changes that come with the reform would harm Labour’s electoral chances. He openly said what every Labour backbencher knows, but most have the tact not to say out loud. He called it “wholly partisan legislation”. So the bent system that we have now is fine because it is skewered in Labour’s favour? Very telling.

Friday Caption Contest
(“David, I Can’t Believe You Would Tell Him That” Edition)

Quote of the Day

Simon Jenkins was heard to say to Paul Johnson…

“As people get older they seem, like yourself, to move to the right, in my case I have become more radical. Why is that do you think?”

Paul Johnson paused for thought before replying…

“Because you are a c**t.”

Union Fat Cats Go Into Hiding

The Taxpayers’ Alliance seem to have rubbed the union bosses up the wrong way this morning. Following their release of the “fat-cat” list of bosses on over £100,000, no union official, despite many being asked, has managed to make it onto the TV this morning to defend their pay packets. After what happened when Dave Prentis got tied down on the issue on the Daily Politics a few months ago, it’s no surprise they have gone to ground. Thirty-eight trade union general secretaries and chief executives who spend their days lecturing about inequality and exploitation, received remuneration of more than £100,000 last year. That will ease the pain of the long days of the “general strike” being planned.

Honeymoon Couple at the Speccie Party

Cameron and Clegg made their entrance together to the Speccie’s summer party last night, either as a statement or out of convenience. Cameron was at ease among his own people. Clegg looked a little glum, like a newly wed wife who realises too late that her husband keeps company of which she really doesn’t  approve.

The Speccie – slogan: “Champagne for the Brain” – provided champagne in a straight glass to one of Dave’s minders, which Guido could have sworn was passed furtively to the PM, no iPhone snap will be on the Mirror’s front-page this time. Picture evidence implies Bucks Fizz…

Dave worked the room with good grace. Clegg looked uncomfortable with the editorial descendants of the weekly magazine which called for the deportation of the Tolpuddle Martyr’s children. He seemed a bit stiff among his new progressive friends like Kelvin MacKenzie, Taki, Liddle, Janet Daley, Fraser Nelson plus allies like Andy Coulson and Lord Ashcroft. Danny “Beaker” Alexander was in his element, enjoying being slapped on the back by political adults and congratulated on his fiscal restraint. Beaker’s new SpAd Julia Goldsworthy was wearing a demure little black number which would not look out of place at the upcoming £4,500-a-table Tory Black and White Ball.

Clegg really should be like his junior colleagues, and learn how to lie back and enjoy coalition…



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Labour MP Jamie Reed:

“I apologise to every man, woman and child in this country who needs a Labour government.”

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