Labour Still Picking Up The Bill

When Labour launched their defence procurement review back in December last year, they announced their “Review Team” which included:

“Bill Thomas, former Senior Vice President and General Manager (EMEA) for Hewlett-Packard Company.”

Like with Michael Dugher yesterday, it’s the not the immediate past job that raises eyebrows…

Hewlett Packard bought our old friends EDS in 2008 and Bill Thomas was Senior Vice President EMEA when Micahel Dugher joined the company as their top UK lobbyist in 2006. Now Dugher is leading the same review into defence procurement, which is set to take into consideration:

  • How can we achieve Value for Money for all programmes?
  • How can we prevent scope creep and programme delay?
  • How can we ensure future delivery of equipment programmes are to time and on budget? 

Given Bill Thomas has been brought in for his expertise in the field, let’s have a little look at his track record in regard to delays and budgets. In 2006 RAF servicemen didn’t get paid for six weeks after EDS botched the implementation of new software. The £456 million Child Support Agency system, built by EDS, had “five hundred faults in the three years after it went live”. The Agency ended up manually inputting 36,900 cases as a result of an EDS IT failure. In 2003, Bill himself took full responsibility for a Revenues and Customs IT disaster that shafted the Inland Revenue. It is widely considered to be the worst government IT cock-up ever. EDS had to pay-out £70 million in compensation for the mess, but negotiated further government work before paying up. Guido could go on, but you get the picture…

When profiled by the Telegraph in 2007, Thomas said “if things go well it’s not interesting” and he certainly made that his motto. Guido can see very little reason Bill Thomas has anything to do with trying to coordinate successful procurement. Other than being Michael Dugher’s mate, obviously…

See Also: Ed’s PPS and MoD Lobbying Links and Dugher’s Defence.

On Ya Segway

Bad news for those looking for an interesting third candidate in the Mayoral election next year. Lembit has told the Standard:

“I have been in politics long enough to be able to read writing when it’s on the wall.”

The true character of LibDems on the ground has been on show in this race, with LibDem HQ’s cardigan-clad establishment candidate Mike Tuffrey being pushed as the stop-Lembit candidate. Given Lembit  is the only LibDem anyone has heard of and the fact that they are going to get slaughtered anyway, it seems to Guido like a bit of a missed opportunity.

If Paddick wins the race tonight, it doesn’t say much for Labour or the LibDems, that they are unable to find anyone better than last time’s losers…

UPDATE:

Goldbugs v FT

For years the FT has portrayed investing in gold as akin to flat-earthism, Alan Beattie at the FT is perhaps the most prominent, if not sole, media supporter of Gordon Brown’s sell-off of gold a decade ago. Guido has long lamented the FT’s tendency to follow the latest intellectual fashions and it is no surprise the FT approved of the Balls/Brown sell-off of gold reserves. It was the newspaper that was the biggest cheerleader for the euro and all things EU, of which it is less effusive about nowadays. The FT’s comment pages are full of wishy-washy, centrist, establishment, hand-wringing of the limousine liberal kind – no surprise given they are overseen by a former editor of Prospect, the monthly journal of wishy-washy limousine liberals. FT readers from the City who don’t simmer with self-loathing know it is best to skip the comment pages and read the market reports and the surprisingly good arts pages.

So how would you have done if you had invested in the stock market instead of gold? Take a look at the charts below, gold out performed the stock market by 17% last month, that is not relative out performance, that is gold was up 12% and the stock market was down 5%. Over the year gold is up some 40%, over 5 years and 10 years gold is more than 100% ahead of stocks.

Stocks of course pay dividends but likewise gold can be leased out to short sellers for an income. Alan Beattie insists gold is speculative, Guido would say, on the contrary, it is an insurance against a collapse of paper assets. So far Guido has been right for a decade and Beattie has been wrong. He now reckons the gold bubble is really about to pop this time. Guido reckons the West’s government debt crisis is about to take off big time and would rather own hard assets like gold and farmland than paper assets. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

UPDATE: Alan Beattie tweets to complain that he never recommended stocks as an alternative to gold, above amended accordingly. Nevertheless gold is up nearly 600% since the Balls/Brown sell-off, which he supported. Beattie is emphasising that his injunctions against gold purchases applied to central banks not investors. But not the central banks of India and China apparently…

Friday Caption Contest (Little Man Syndrome Edition)

Dugher’s Defence

Guido’s exposé of Michael Dugher and his lobbying links has clearly hit a bit of a nerve. He took to Twitter last night to rebut the allegations:

Debatable. Standard practice would be:

‘Under the terms of their contract, special advisers are required to submit an application to the head of their former Department for any new appointment or employment they wish to take up during the two year period after their last day of paid service.”

The Cabinet Office may have cleared the job, but that doesn’t make it right…

The only thing that could make this more awkward was if there was some sort of link between Dugher’s upcoming Labour Party defence procurement review and EDS, the company for which he was formerly a lobbyist…

Guido’s Got His Ticket For “Scouse Night”

Despite hosting their conference in a former European Capital of Culture, this is the most imaginative thing that Labour can come up with for a conference party in Liverpool:

“We’re going to showcase all that’s best about our great city, and give people a night they’ll never forget! We’ll have a Beatles tribute band performing, we’ll serve scouse pie, we’ll be giving away some of the best scouse competition prizes Liverpool has to offer, and even have a special scouse karaoke room, complete with Beatles wigs!”

Guido is looking forward to Luciana Berger’s rendition of Ferry Across the Mersey…

Cuts to Labour Uncut

Siôn Simon’s Labour Uncut blog had two exclusives from Alistair Darling’s forthcoming new memoir. Both of which got a lot of follow-on from the media, and both of which appear to have been cut from the website today. Presumably this is under pressure from the publishers who have sold the exclusive extracts to the Sunday Times.

There is speculation that this leak could cost Darling a lot of money in lost serialisation fees. Guido has republished the cut bits of Labour Uncut here. Just trying to be helpful…

UPDATE: Labour Uncut confirm the cuts were made after threats from the publishers.



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