RUMOUR: Gordon Brown Is Going

Guido is getting wind of a rumour from Labour circles that Gordon is set to resign as an MP later on this week. It would make sense to allow the by-election to take place on the May 5th, and if the writ is to be moved in time it needs to happen ASAP. The Lords is apparently beckoning, and finally the people of Kirkcaldy will get the representation they deserve. Since standing down, the former Prime Mentalist has has an abominable attendance record and spent his time writing and lecturing while still taking the shilling.

A rumour, but we can but hope…

“I’ve Forgotten Why We Liked Nick Clegg”

By James Sherwood

Hain – The Hidden Chapters

Guido is always happy to hear news of an old friend, so imagine his delight when this press release arrived earlier:

“BITEBACK is delighted to announce it will be publishing the autobiography of former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain in January 2012. Hain held an array of glittering posts in the British political firmament under both Blair and Brown.”

Guido can’t wait to finally read the truth about keeping it in the family – with the details of what Hain’s pensioner mother was doing to earn her taxpayer funded salary as one of his staff. The truth behind that bank robbery in 1974 that Hain was charged with, but got off after blaming “a body double.” One of the most interesting chapters will surely be how he didn’t notice that “someone else” was spending an extra hundred grand during his deputy-leadership bid and how he couldn’t add it all up. The fun he had digging up cricket pitches as a Liberal Party student activist. And finally we may learn the truth of exactly how he was exposed to that perma-tan blast of radiation.

Public Don’t Buy Wed Ed

After he was rounded on by the media and widely mocked for not only his appearance at the Riot for an Alternative, but the content of his speech, Ed seemed to think that announcing he was getting married a couple of days later would make up for his mistakes. However the latest YouGov figures show the public saw straight through it. Just 29% of people asked think he proposed for genuine personal reasons compared to the 43% that think it was to improve his personal image.

Oh well, Justine looked happy anyway.

Another Spending Balls Up

As Ed Balls let out a huge sigh of relief, having narrowly avoided decapitation from Tory rival Antony Calvert last May, he couldn’t help put the boot in:

“You can come along with all your posters, and all your leaflets, and all your advertising, but you cannot buy this constituency”

Despite having his office funded by the unions and a parliamentary communications allowance to fall back on, Balls made the wholly incorrect assertion that Calvert was being funded by Ashcroft cash, when the opposite was true. Calvert used YouFundMe to raise money from small donations from across the country that tapped into the low regard the Shadow Chancellor is held in. Now neighbouring Tory candidate Nick Pickles has digested the election spending figures and guess what:

Yes, despite accusing his opponent of trying to buy his seat, Balls spent £26,659 to Calvert’s £24,911. Has there ever been a sum he’s got right?

One thing is for certain, Balls is terrified now his seat has been put into play by an outsider. There is a very high chance he will lose it under AV. There is nothing Guido enjoys more than seeing constant Twitter pictures of him canvassing his ultra-marginal in the pouring rain every Saturday morning. This weekend he had to stoop even lower to beg for funds:

Please make cheques payable to the “Washed Out Celebrities and Transvestite Fund” c/o The Labour Party.

Quote of the Day

Andrew Neil in Edinburgh says…

“Welcome from the land of the free, free prescriptions, free university places…”

Queen Guardianista Takes On Daily Mail’s Dacre

Get ringside seats for a great commentariat celebrity death match in the offing: Dame Liz Forgan, queen of leftie arts luvvies and head Guardianista, versus Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail. Forgan, who chairs the Arts Council, has taken tremendous exception to being mocked last week by the Mail’s Quentin Letts.

She has duly had her Arts Council flunkeys write a legal threat to the Mail advising them that she is going to the Press Complaints Commission and that she was tempted to sue for libel because Letts’s piece “bordered on defamation”. The thing that really got Forgan angry was Letts’s description of Forgan’s “multicultural nomenklatura”. The Arts Council’s letter to the PCC, sent by the Council’s solicitor Sarah Bailey, asserts that this broke the editors’ code that the ethnicity of any individual should not be identified. It demands that Dacre and Letts issue “sincere and personal apologies” to the entire Arts Council board and senior management team for suggesting that they might have been token appointments who won their jobs on anything but open competition.

Part of Forgan’s case seems to be that she herself is not responsible for senior appointments at the Arts Council. This, Guido understands, has caused cackling laughter in the office of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. His aides remember the terrible battle Forgan fought to try to stop the ex-Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley becoming an Arts Council member.

Letts, on hearing that the Arts Council claims that his piece was “grossly offensive”, responds: “I certainly hope it did border on defamation, because, by definition, that means it was not defamation. Did I intend to be rude to Dame Liz and her Guardian-loving friends at the Arts Council? You betcha!” Guido just wonders how much the Arts Council pays its solicitor Sarah Bailey for this sort of work. The taxpayer-bloated Keynes-founded Arts Council is surely a body devoted to freedom of artistic expression. How does it square that with legalistic bullying of hacks?

Miliband’s Money Manoeuvre

Regular readers will remember that Guido and Andrew Pierce have not always seen eye to eye, but credit where credit is due. Pierce’s column today will make for uncomfortable reading for both of the Miliband brothers as he exposes David’s perfectly legal, but thumb-nosing and hypocritical, tax arrangements:

“Quietly, he has set up a company called ‘The Office of David Miliband Limited’, which will be a tax-efficient vehicle for his non-parliamentary earnings. This means that all payments the former Foreign Secretary receives from commercial speaking engagements and other lucrative private work will be paid into the firm. It will be subject to corporation tax of 20 per cent”

It makes complete sense as who would go out of their way to maximize their tax payments, but given that David was in the cabinet that introduced the aspiration-killing 50p tax rate it is rather telling that he doesn’t want to pay it himself. Will the militant-wing of HMRC, UKUncut, be occupying David’s Primrose Hill mansion in protest? They can also complain about the death tax on the property that the family conveniently got round while they are at it.

UPDATE: Strike the niceties, Guido is reminded that the Carina Trimingham/Huhne story that Pierce included in his column appeared here first. The Guinness story was Paul Waugh’s last week too. The invoice is in the post.

Rich and Mark’s Monday Morning View

See Grayling: “We are right to take action on Incapacity Benefit”[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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