Gordon Finally Wakes Up To Local Crisis

The Right Honourable Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath has finally woken up to the fact there is a crisis in his constituency and it might be an idea for him to actually do the job he is paid for. Guido brought you the news a month ago that part of Gordon’s Fife constituency contained radioactive material. Now with a lack of action, not least from the local MP, the beach could be designated the UK’s first stretch of Radioactive Contaminated Land. Finally today Gordon managed to haul himself in front of a camera.

So what has he been doing instead of representing his constituency? Well:

  • £48,166.00 for a speech to Visa International.
  • £36,639.66 for a speech to Credit Suisse in Miami, Florida.
  • £36,018.18 for a speech to Comtec Med in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • £35,873.94 for a speech to World 50, Inc in New York.
  • £36,174.63 for a speech to PIMCO in Newport Beach, California.
  • £36,174.63 for a speech to Economic Club of Michigan.
  • £36,146.29 for a speech to Skybridge Capital in Las Vegas.
  • £36,292.84 for a speech to Citi Latin America in New York.
  • £36,224.88 for a speech to Pershing LLC in Miami.

It must be a little painful for the former Prime Mentalist that Blair can command the combined total of that for a hour of his time, but do you know what hurts more Gordon? Radiation poisoning…

Dale Toys With Sally

Something tells Guido that radio’s Iain Dale knew exactly what he was doing when he sat down for an in conversation piece with Sally Bercow:

ID: What’s your favourite gadget? Steady…

SB: I was going to say my vibrator [giggles].

ID: I knew you were going to say that. Are you going to claim that is off the record?

SB: Oh no, put that in.

Fire up the press releases!

Bet it wasn’t just the men in tights that winced at this one…

Bung to Burnham Buys Backing

When is a smear not a smear? Simple answer, when it’s the truth. A spokesman for Andy Burnham has called the complaint made about his conduct to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner a “weak smear”. What do you think?

Back in May, while he was still the Shadow Education Secretary, Andy Burnham tabled an amendment to the Education Bill that would require all secondary school pupils have access to independent careers advice. If it had been accepted, it would have been a replacement for the cuts to the “Connexions” service. He admitted it would cost £200 million.

Guess who had been pushing for this idea – Unison:

“Careers services for young people in England are being slashed by up to 50% which could lead to 8,000 job losses, the public services union Unison says. Cuts in grants to local authorities for youth services could mean one in four staff at Connexions careers advice services lose their jobs, it says.”

What a strange coincidence… or perhaps not. Burnham took a grand from the union in May 2010 and crucially again at the end of Febuary 2011,  just weeks before he joined in with their campaign to save “Connexions”. And what a strange coincidence that Burnham did not declare this donation when tabling the amendment, despite it being given in such a recent period of time. The matter has been reported to John Lyons and it seems a pretty open and shut case – there was no declaration at the time the amendment went down, despite the rules being very clearThere has always been a perception that the unions have Labour by the balls, but this lot are proving the assertion beyond any doubt…

Priti Patel on form:

“In addition to curbing the size of individual donations, there is one important reform to clear up the problems of the big donor culture that could have been recommended but did not feature. That would have been to ensure that donations made by the trade unions to the Labour Party are not in breach of the Bribery Act. We’ve seen with the Warwick Agreement, the threats by unions to withdraw funding had Labour pursued its Royal Mail privatisation plans and the current reports of unions influencing Labour MPs to table and support amendments how the unions are using their financial leverage over Labour to bring about changes in the law. These practices have the stench of corruption about them and ensuring that any undue influence being exercised could lead to a prosecution under bribery laws would bring these practices the scrutiny and transparency needed.”

Up Close and Personnel

Which mid-market tabloid editor recently sat down with his whispering broadsheet rival and made it clear that unless the latter’s attacks on his paper were toned down, the broadsheet editor would soon be seeing the fact that he keeps his mistress on his staff in the pages of the said tabloid?

The circular firing squad is getting personal…

Soon Huhne

Keir Stammer the Director of Public Prosecutions told Radio Five this morning:

“We are very close to a decision. There is one remaining issue which is that we are seeking some material which is held by a national newspaper. That is the only thing we are waiting for now … I understand why people think it is taking a lot of time but the way in which we get material from journalists is an important principle, quite separate from the Chris Huhne case.”

Soon Huhnie my boy. Soon.

Via Andrew Sparrow

Thomas Cook On the Brink

After doing a whip around the banks, are we about to see the end of the company that started excursions in 1841?

As a result of the uprising in Egypt people seem less keen on packing their bags for Cairo to see the pyramids. Turns out people haven’t been Thomas Cooking it. 

Political Party Bail-Out Dead

The proposed bail-out of political parties, to the tune of £3 a vote, or £100m over the duration of a parliament, isn’t going to happen, but not for the right reasons. Both Labour and the Tories oppose the proposed cap on big donations. Given they are both used to hundred grand bungs here and there, the cap of £10,000 on individuals, companies or unions is laughable in their eyes. Obviously Labour are also refusing to play pall with the union reform proposed in Sir Christopher Kelly’s report, published later today, that would see an opt in rather than an opt out to the millions of hard earned workers union subs that are poured into the Labour Party coffers every year. No surprises there…

Only the LibDems hit the nail on the head by pointing to the fact that at this time of cutting and shrimping, would the public really put up with this sort of money being poured into an already pretty unpopular section of society? Though before we give them too much credit, given their expected vote share at the next election, such rules would probably break them too. Party finance is a mess, but taxpayers cash is not the solution…



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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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