Thursday, January 20, 2011

Balls’ SpAd Outed Alan Johnson’s “Personal Reasons”

Alan Johnson’s suspected affair with a civil servant was widely rumoured around Westminster, it was the reason that people believed that he had not run for leader. The story was never stood up by the papers.

This evening Guido sources are pointing the finger at Alex Belardinelli, Special Adviser to Ed Balls, as the person who has been making inquiries into Alan Johnson’s private life. Shadow Cabinet sources say they believe the Sunday Times has the story and Ed Miliband himself believes that Ed Balls’ people have had a hand in the story getting out. Balls chose his moment well, a series of gaffes by Alan Johnson had left him politically weakened.  Yet still Miliband rewarded him with the prize he craved…

UPDATE 22 Jan : Lots of people in the comments saying this story is proven duff by the Mail’s story about the wife and the copper. Don’t be so sure – they’re not mutually exclusive stories…

Official New Shadow Cabinet is Gordon Brown’s Dream Team

Leader of the Opposition
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Rt Hon Ed Balls MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP

Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP

Chief Whip
Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Election Coordinator
Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP

Shadow Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice (with responsibility for political and constitutional reform)
Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (with responsibility for the policy review)
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Rt Hon John Denham MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Rt Hon John Healey MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Angela Eagle MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Meg Hillier MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Maria Eagle MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mary Creagh MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Rt Hon Shaun Woodward MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Ann McKechin MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
Rt Hon Peter Hain MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Ivan Lewis MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
Rt Hon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Olympics
Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP

Lords Chief Whip
Rt Hon Lord Bassam of Brighton

Shadow Attorney-General
Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Ashtal QC

Guy Sources : Ed Balls Will Be Shadow Chancellor

+ + + Sky Alan Johnson Resigning for Personal Reasons + + +

Warsi Cut Loose

Those No. 10 sources have been whispering about Sayeeda Warsi to James Forsyth again:

“…there was a ‘general awareness’ that Baroness Warsi was to give a speech on faith, they did not know the specifics of what she was going to say. They say that no text was cleared by Downing Street. They claim that the first they knew of the controversial lines in the speech was when they were informed that Warsi’s team had briefed them out to the Telegraph.”

Given it was Forsyth that got the “disaster waiting to happen line”, there is a clear pattern emerging here. Perhaps if Warsi had thought to get her speech checked out then someone might have spotted the huge wedge she has driven through the middle of her party. The speech criticises those that frame the debate about Islam into moderates and extremists:

“It’s not a big leap of imagination to predict where the talk of ‘moderate’ Muslims leads; in the factory, where they’ve just hired a Muslim worker, the boss says to his employees: ‘Not to worry, he’s only fairly Muslim’. In the school, the kids say: ‘The family next door are Muslim but they’re not too bad’.

People like Michael Gove? Look what he said in 2007:

“…we cannot effectively champion the interests of moderate Muslims and of our pluralist, tolerant and liberal society, unless we show a determination to tackle extremism. It is the extremists who, in the past, have crowded out from the debate the moderate voices in the Muslim world.”

Despite a reshuffle on the horizon, Cameron is going to find it hard to be able sack the first female muslim in the cabinet, but that isn’t stopping the negative briefing. At the end of the day her competence should be the only deciding factor on whether she keeps her job.

Learned Lord Taylor Testifies

Guido noted on Monday that troughing Lord Taylor’s defence looks set to be “bigger boys told me to do it”, and he has shored up that position on the stand. Via Anna Adams, who is tweeting live from the court room, we are getting a blow by blow account of testimony. Taylor told the jury that he was under the impression “expenses” were not a reimbursement but an “allowance in lieu of a salary” and that the Lords was a place for the “retired and rich”, something he was not.

It sounds to Guido that in making excuses to justify his claims, the learned Lord is actually digging himself a hole…

UPDATE: Taylor claims Black Rod was aware of the situation and said: “we muddle along but it works”. Outrageous if true, but he must still have known he was in the wrong…

The Accident is Happening

Fresh from her gratuitous attack on the right of her party, Baronesss Warsi has felt their wrath this morning in the run up to her controversal “Britain is full of bigots” speech. Lord Tebbit has taken to his blog to slam his successor as party chairman:

“I would have told her to go to our Christian churches and listen to what was said about her religion and those who practise it, then to the Mosques to hear what is said in some of them about the Christian faith and those who practise it (or about Buddhists, Jews, or even those who have no faith at all). After that, I would say, she might consider who is in need of her homilies on prejudice. Until then a period of silence from the Baroness might not come amiss.”

Downing Street insiders say that Warsi is an “accident waiting to happen”, but it seems to Guido and many others that the horse has already bolted in this case. Is Warsi really the best person to be lecturing the rest of the country about tolerance? Not if her own futile attempts at getting elected are anything to go by. She was slammed for her homophobic leaflets in 2005 and caused a headache when covertly recorded in 2010. Warsi told a Muslim audience:

“He says that we need more Muslims MPs, that we need more Muslims in the House of Lords. I would actually disagree with that because I think one of the lessons we have learnt in the last five years in politics is that not all Muslims that go to into politics have asool.”

Asool is Urdu for “morals” or “principles“. It’s that sort of sweeping generalisation that would fail her own “dinner party conversation” test…

Quote of the Day

Campbell vs Boulton Round III

The weekday lunchtime Boulton & Co news show has started this week, it has a lot of that U.S. style presenters walking around talking to each other stuff, news, interviews and a bit of chat. So far it has had no fireworks. The first reactions suggest that it could do with a bit more pace and excitement. That is what the producers must have in mind bringing Alastair onto the show with Adam this afternoon. Will it kick off again?

Will Adam miss the open-goal presented by Campbell now finally admitting he was behind thepsychologically flawed line about Brown that he denied over and over again. Will Adam hold him to account over his lying?


Seen Elsewhere

Does Europe Really Want Britain to Quit? | Nick Wood
Immigration Nation | Hopi Sen
Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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