Ed Miliband Embraces “Dancing on Thatcher’s Grave”

Ed Miliband was out campaigning in Gloria De Piero’s seat at the weekend in the run up to the locals. It was all smiles and door knocking as per usual. One local council candidate Keir Morrison looked very happy to see the leader, though Guido wonders what the leader would make of the young man’s attire.

Always one for a good march, will Red Ed be joining his Labour colleague as one of the generation that “will dance on Thatcher’s Grave”?

The Blame Game Briefing Begins

And so it came to pass, the Yes campaign are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of their campaign. Unfortunately it’s an oncoming train. 

Their people, most likely to be spinner Jon Bartley, have already begun briefing against Chris Huhne and his political game playing:

“Nothing Chris Huhne has done in the last few weeks was authorised by us or useful to us. The difficulty from day one was that we didn’t want the referendum to be seen through the prism of the coalition.”

Looks like the number one slot on the Guilty Men list has been filled.

UPDATE: Turns out that it’s everyone hates Chris day, as Osborne’s scathing put down from the Cabinet duff-up has mysteriously found it’s way in to James Forsyth’s ear:

“This is the Cabinet, not some sub-Jeremy Paxman interview.”

Looks like Osborne wouldn’t mind Huhne walking…

Huhne’s No Tarzan

Chris Huhne’s posturing at Cabinet has been well reported elsewhere. Apparently he cares so much about the AV campaign that he openly challenged the Prime Minister at Cabinet. He then fully briefed hacks within minutes that he’d done so.

He certainly seems wound up, and there is even speculation that he could walk on Friday when the LibDems are decimated locally and in all likelihood the “Yes to AV” Campaign is defeated. This anger feels fake to Guido though. Perhaps Huhne’s mistress, Carina Trimingham. who is on the “Yes to AV” campaign, has him on a Lysistrata-like no-win-no-lay policy. 

There wouldn’t be much love lost if the manoeuvring Huhne did walk. It would solve the where to put David Laws problem in one. Though Huhne could stir from the backbenches, he should remember that Helseltine was actually popular and liked before he wielded his knife. And he had better hair too…

Quote of the Day

The Commons Administration Committee rules…

“The Committee agreed to recommend that passes should not be provided to former Members convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a year or more in prison.”

Humphrys Stumped Thrice

Christmas came early for those who enjoy a good John Humphrys cock-up, as this morning three came at once. He went to pieces in his discussion about AV.  ‘As opposed to First Past The Post, which is used by no other major democracy…’ Wrong.

‘It simply isn’t true that you count votes more than once’  he went on the batter Cameron with. Wrong.

The whole point of AV is that you count the votes more than once until someone gets 50%. Not only couldn’t he get his head round the system, but the campaign is clearly a bit of a struggle for the ageing presenter too: “There’s broadly two campaigns, Tories against Lib Dems/Labour and some Labour are on the other side as well’. Wrong.

More than half of Labour MPs, more than 80% of Labour councillors, plus two thirds of Labour peers and the major unions are all backing the “Labour NO to AV” campaign. If one of the most politically engaged people in the country can’t get their head round AV, what’s your average punter meant to be thinking? Either that or old Humphrys is back to his spinning tricks…

Wonk Watch: Blond’s Swerve

Steve Hilton’s cipher-wonk Phillip Blond is often a good gauge of what is going on at the no shoes, blue skies end of the Downing Street operation.  There was the briefest point back in 2010 when it looked like some of the more “progressive” bunch might back “Yes to AV” and Phillip, in his position as pope of the Tory wets, set out the reasons that Conservatives should not fear AV” 

“AV or not the Tories will still be able to win that game gain a majority and govern from a position of strength” he declared, after furiously attacking First Past the Post.

But with the winds of change, a new haircut, and a surge in the polls for the “No to AV” campaign, Phillip has spent the morning furiously backtracking and fighting AV all over Twitter. Guido didn’t see any “No I believe 1st preferences count more than 2nd or 3rd – and I fear government by 3rd preference” in the old report. The new haircut must have bought new sense.

Washington Post Tells Twittering Hacks to Stay Objective

The Washington Post prides itself on being politically objective, as the chronicler of all things D.C. this is an important asset. In the dull and antiseptic world of American broadsheet journalism this is actually regarded as a good thing. The free-wheeling world of Twitter has proven to be a bit of a 140 character release for the hacks who have revealed their true colours in pixel form. The managing editor of the Post, Raju Narisetti, tweeted his support for Obama’s socialising of medicine and scepticism about the cost of America’s wars. In doing so he it seems compromised the hallowed “objectivity” of the paper.

The Post has responded to the furore with new guidelines:

“Post journalists must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything – including photographs or video – that could be perceived as reflecting political racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility.”

Thankfully the only media organisation in the UK that pretends to “objectivity” is the BBC. The BBC’s untold legion of twitterers do so on a superficially private basis, their bio’s all say that their views are their own, not those of the BBC, even when their Twitter feed is promoted on the BBC.

So why then when the BBC’s Robert Preston cracked a few off-colour jokes about the Royal Wedding did the BBC insist he remove them? He joked about the happy couple’s sex life and Her Majesty’s close relationship with her horses. Seems to Guido that the BBC are having it both ways; Pesto’s views are private, but if they are too controversial the BBC will insist on censoring them. That is just not credible. Either tweets are the personal views of BBC employees or they should comply with BBC guidelines. Which is it to be?

Guido doesn’t believe that Washington Post or BBC journalists can really be totally impartial, so they shouldn’t pretend to be, it is dishonest journalism to pretend otherwise. This of course presents existential problems for a taxpayer-funded broadcaster…

See also: Paranoid About Left-Wing BBC Bias?, BBC Boss Tells Left-Wing News Staff “Stop Tweeting”

Quote of the Day

Archbishop of Westminster on deserved sainthood of John Paul II…

“It is not difficult to recall some of the outstanding impact John Paul had. It started with his resistance against Communism, first as a young man, then as a Polish bishop and then, eventually, as Pope, when he gave his explicit support to the Solidarity movement. In fact, some would say that morally he was the one who called the Solidarity movement into existence.  It was his understanding of the dignity of the person – that no human being should have to live under a tyranny which denies them the freedom to express themselves and their religious sensitivities.”



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Quote of the Day

Labour MP Jamie Reed:

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

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