Caught Red Hand Ed

The Tories are rubbing their hands with glee tonight as Ed Miliband tells Joey Jones from Sky News that he doesn’t ‘‘think any politician should claim that they’re leading an ordinary life” But they exclaim “just before the cameras started rolling, Miliband’s aides tried to do just that by carefully removing the first class covers from the train’s seats. Busted.

Yvette Glams Up

Goodbye boring bob, hello power dye! There was much stirring when Yvette’s glamorous new look was unveiled today:

Talking of spicing things up, it’s the “Best of British” this week in Parliament meaning Union flags on menus and of course traditional British food like today’s, ummm, chicken jalfrezi with hot chillis. The irony of such a dish being served in the middle of the immigration air war was not lost on recess-happy bag-carriers.

Business Boys Exclusive Bust Up

It seems there is nothing more than Robert Peston and Sky’s Mark Kleinman love in life than the word exclusive in front their story. With Sky News determined to get their business coverage up to scratch, the word is seen nearly daily around Kleinman, regardless of how interesting the story is. On the other hand Pesto has had some genuine exclusives about News International in recent months, that strangely coincide with his old mucker Will Lewis moving to the company.

Today the two came head to head, both claiming the exclusive regarding Lord Browne’s apparently imminent appointment as Chairman of commodities giant Glencore. First Kleinman dipped a toe in and said he was hearing it might happen, stressing the might aspect. A furious and humiliated Peston went ahead a confirmed the whole story moments later. About twenty minutes ago Glencore appointed Simon Murray, as its Chairman. You can read Pesto’s exclusive backtracking here. Three points to Kleinman.

Pilgrim’s Progress

The St George’s Hospital Trust was quick to distance themselves from Jane Pilgrim when Guido spoke to them a moment ago. And it’s not hard to see why, take what one St George’s employee said this morning:

“It’s a disgrace that somebody who is in full time ’employment’ with the NHS, is trying to open up a nice little side line that is probably a conflict of interest. I object as a taxpayer to her actions. She is not competent enough to run a piss up in a brewery let alone run a business and this is from personal experience. She must be stopped otherwise she will make St George’s Hospital a laughing stock in the NHS. Does David Astley CEO know about her activities?”

Despite paying her salary, they stress that she acts on behalf of Unison and not them. This didn’t stop her dressing up with a stethoscope for pictures and being happily described as a “nurse” by The Standard though. Guido has put the following questions to their communications team:

  • Given St Georges Trust are the ones that pay Ms. Pilgrim were you aware of her outside consultancy?
  • Do you see any possible conflict of interest with her outside consultancy and her job at the hospital?
  • Were St George’s Trust aware that Director of Transformation Alan Thorne was featured on the consultancy website?
  • Does he have any financial interest in the consultancy?

Guido is patiently waiting on a reply…

Unison have been deeply unhelpful, despite the damage their taxpayer-funded representative is causing them. This is the closest we have got to a comment from them:

Then why lie about being a nurse? Is that the same efficiency drive that saw “staff safaris” to Wagamamas and John Lewis? It seems Mary Maguire, Unison’s head of press, should go back to Jane Pilgrim and ask her why she is active in the Kingston and Surbiton CLP. Last October she was writing about how important it was for Labour to win the next election. Typical holding response though, that does little to address the accusations of dishonesty.

UPDATE: St George’s Tooting are investigating Unison “nurse” Jane Pilgrim. No comment until tomorrow though it seems.

Unison “Nurse” is Privately Pocket Lining Too

Remember our good friend Nurse Pilgrim? She’s the taxpayer-funded, full time Unison union-worker who made up details of a meeting with Lansley that she didn’t attend. Well it appears that whilst we pay for her to work for a trade union she’s lining her pockets in the private sector. Not content with depriving St George’s Tooting of a frontline active nurse, Jane Pilgrim has her own private consultancy firm Pilgrim Way:

“Pilgrimway” beleave [sic.] that Staff engagement and happiness produce productive and successful companies and services. Our consultant “Jane Pilgrim” is an award winner in partnership working and has been able to lead successful staff engagement projects, in the NHS to improve customer care ,work relationships and create great places to work.

We are able to offer packages designed for your needs:-
Consultation
Team Building
Customer Service Training
Staff Engagement workshops”

Guido’s first thought was “do St George’s know about this?”. Well he hopes this is news to them, but has a feeling they tacitly endorse it. Especially given Alan Thorne, the hospital’s absurdly titled and salaried “Director of Transformation” (paid around £95 – £100,0000 last year) is featured in a photograph on the site:

Thorne and Pilgrim work closely together at St Georges. Do they have a private professional relationship too? Given she’s a burden on the taxpayer full-time, one fellow Unison figure pondered to Guido how this outside consultancy is possibly compatible with her day job? Sadly Nurse Pilgrim is still not talking to Guido. Time to go above her head…

+ + + Another Screws Hack Arrested + + +

Assistant News Editor James Weatherup was one of Coulson’s inner circle.

The old bill are expected to visit Wapping again today.

Cable Drops His Bomb Prime Minister Neutered

Traditionally a Minister would have walked before accusing his boss of being “very unwise” and risking  “inflaming extremism”, but no such bravery from Vince Cable who has once again fobbed off to a female journalist. Cameron’s speech, to Hampshire Conservatives no less, is undoubtedly a bid boost his parties chances in the locals next month. However there was nothing new in the speech and it is basically the government’s policy. Did Cable tell his old chum Brown he was being very unwise when he said “it is right to talk of immigration and address people’s worries and concerns. Because if we don’t, people will listen to whoever does” a few weeks before the election?

Cable is bound by collective Cabinet responsibility and was already on his final warning for his loose tongue. Cameron’s weakness is exposed by his apparent inability to sack this liability.

State of the Race

Whisper it quietly, but is the AV referendum campaign finally gearing up? Osborne and Danny Alexander have scraped in the papers, which must have made for an interesting morning meeting in the Treasury today. The Indy seem to be the only one who thinks Yes calling in lawyers looks good. Meanwhile sports stars have lined up to scratch their heads and say “huh?” for the No campaign, pushing the powerful “winner-may-not-win” line. And in typical style the New Statesman says AV is crap, but wants people to not think and just vote for it anyway stop the evil Tories. Glad they have the best interests of country rather than party at heart. Not much of a shift in the polls and No still well ahead with the bookies this morning.



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Quote of the Day

Ken Clarke tells the Ben Fellows trial:

“The idea that I would go strolling off in order to grope a man in an office is highly unlikely.”

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