Congratulations to Toby Young

Toby Young blogs this afternoon:

“I’m writing this from the headmaster’s office at the West London Free School which was officially opened this morning by the Mayor of London. Miraculously, the whole ceremony went off without a hitch – even our hastily-cobbled together curtain-pulling mechanism worked. Boris gave a brilliant speech, praising our school as one of the first taxpayer-funded schools to be set up by a group of parents and teachers and expressing the hope that other parents and teachers will follow in our footsteps. He paid particular tribute to the Secretary of State for Education and said he’d added a new inflection to the verb “to give”: We give, they gave, he gove. “He gove us these fantastic free schools,” he said.

Congratulations are in order, but not everyone thought Toby would get to this point. Guido thinks militant free-school opponent Fiona Miller, aka Mrs Bad Al, owes Young an apology for her “you’ll never do it” attacks…

Labour MP Denies Illegal Donation From the Indian Government

Ten days ago the Telegraph ran an intriguing story about Ealing MP Virendra Sharma and a mysterious party he held to celebrate his election victory in May 2010. A host of big names, including David Miliband and Lord Paul, came along to the event that was hosted at the Monsoon Banqueting Suites in Southall. Nothing really out of the usual so far. Except for an allegation in the Indian Express that the party was paid for by the Indian government through its tourist board in London “Incredible India”:

“An invoice of £5,000 was made out to the Incredible India Office. Jagdish Chander, director of the office, received a letter dated May 31, 2010 from “Dr C Marliapart,” “chief executive” of the “Krishna Menon Institute”, thanking him for funding the event. “Thank you for participating and supporting our event on 23rd of May 2010. On behalf of Krishna Menon Institute I would like to thank you for contribution of £5,000 towards to costs of the hall hire and the entertainement. Could you please make the cheque payable to Monsoon.” India Tourism obliged with a State Bank of India cheque to Monsoon on July 14, 2010.”

When Sharma’s attention was drawn to the matter by Ealing councillor Phil Taylor he said:

“I vehemently deny the false allegations that you refer to in your email and that have appeared in various media. I have never received a donation from Indiatourism and have therefore never been liable to make a declaration in the Parliamentary register of members’ interests.”

But Guido has some bad news for Sharma, via his Indian sources, he’s managed to get hold of a copy of the cheque:

Even if the event was private it would be dodgy enough to have what is effectively an arm of a foreign government pay for it, but Sharma clearly said on the night:

“On behalf of our chair Gurdip Sahota I welcome you to the Ealing Southall Labour Party thank you celebration.”

In other words it’s an official event. There is no declaration to Parliament or the Electoral Commission for it, and besides foreign donations are illegal. What’s going on Mr Sharma?

Friday Caption Contest (Standing to Attention Edition)

Bell Tries to Up His Game

What a strange coincidence: after a hounding from his local press and an investigation launched by the Labour Party, Sir Stuart Bell has taken up the tool that many of his colleagues use to convince us they are doing something:

http://twitter.com/#!/StuartBellMP/status/111829408628740097

Why not use Twitter to ask him what the weather is like in Paris?

Via @jimwaterson

UPDATE: Turns out it’s fake. Guido isn’t quite sure why someone would go to the effort for such a dull fake, but c’est la vie. Miliband’s office have told the BBC that the Chief Whip has had a “stern conversation” with Bell. A classic Labour Party “investigation”.

Obama Has Listened to Balls!

Every time he hears Ed Balls harp on about a global Plan B, Guido wonders what that might be. And now we know – Plan Barack. The President is staring into an abyss, the prospect of him losing the election is now very real. Around his neck is a failed $825 billion stimulus package, the first downgrade in US history and the highest spending and debt since World War II, and his solution? Another $450 billion stimulus package of course…

Faced with defeat, Obama has taken a leaf out of Gordon’s book by throwing as much money as he possibly can up into the air, and hoping that people won’t notice that he’s mugging them to do so. This is like Christmas for Balls as it gives a semblance of credibility to his economic lunacy…



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Quote of the Day

Adam Boulton says David Cameron campaigned as a neo-Thatcherite…

“The manifesto programme, with its sell-off of social housing, clampdown on public sector strikes, EU in/out referendum and benefit cuts, represents a much more traditional, neo-Thatcherite conservatism than that offered by Cameron Mk 1…”

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