As the PM sat down after a tough outing in the Commons, the news breaks that Fred Goodwin was told at 3pm that he had been stripped of his knighthood “by the Queen”. Intriguing timing.
Knighted by Gordon for banking and stripped by Dave for, er, banking.
Another day, another mob win.
Dennis Skinner just leaned over and asked Ed Balls "What is Lasagne, anyway?" Ah…the virtues of good Northern cooking!
— Barry Gardiner MP (@BarryGardiner) January 31, 2012
Skinner’s invite must have got lost in the post…
Guido brought you the news of Edward Leigh’s meeting for Euro-sceptics last night. The plan was to convene immediately after the last vote at 10pm to coordinate the backbench reaction to Cameron’s EU sell out. Canny Tory whips clearly had a better idea though – they texted Members at half an hour before to tell them not to worry about the last vote and to go on home.
Guido isn’t sure that will be enough to quell the anger though…
Another day and another defection from Labour by a young activist claiming that Ed is leading the party off a cliff. Tara Hewitt, 26, is “a diversity consultant from Liverpool and former Labour Students National LGBT Officer”. She was on Luciana Berger’s Liverpool Wavertree team, but now she’s a “proud new member of David Cameron’s “new” Conservative Party.” Luke Bozier seems to have started a trend, and Hewitt is rather blunt:
“Once it was Tony Blair’s Labour party that held the progressive ground in UK politics supporting business and encouraging wider participation within the party. But now times have changed we see Ed Miliband isolating the labour party from businesses and isolating himself from the Trade Unions that supported him just 15 Months ago.
We are facing one of the most difficult economic periods in history and the message from the labour leader and Ed Balls is “we cant make any promises” political speech for “we have no solutions”. Unlike the two Eds, David Cameron is leading the conservative led government by making bold decisions on welfare reform, education, health and imigration and George Osborne has been honest and frank about what is needed to help fix Britain’s broken economy.”
On her website she thanks Louise Mensch for all her helpful advice…
There wasn’t much of his famed “grit and steel” on display from Ed Miliband this morning. He repeated his Davos trick of trying to look hard by just wearing a suit on Sky earlier, but with frozen breath, and even funnier than usual facial contortions, he looked absolutely freezing. Guido isn’t sure what the logic is here. Someone buy the lad a coat…
Laurie Penny lets the truth slip on Channel Four News:
“I don’t think sovereignty in people’s own homes is something we should be striving for.”
When he’s not fibbing on Twitter, Denis MacShane is sounding off in the House. Take yesterday’s gem of an intervention during DCLG Questions:
“Frankly it’s not good enough because the department is not publishing spending between 50p and £500 and that is where on credit cards and other areas a lot of things go wrong, so can we actually have some transparency in this wretched department instead of the cover-up they are currently practising?”
Not only did MacShane’s facts “go wrong” – credit card spending under £500 is published, but this is from a man under police investigation for his dubious use of public money and the subsequent “cover-up”. Scotland Yard are still looking into those “wretched” invoices, laptops and that garage. Labour have withdrawn the whip from MacShane, yet he still insists on hanging around on their benches like a bad smell.
Time for someone to have a quiet word…
Back in October Guido wrote:
“Though we all know that Red Ed is grubby statist at heart and painfully pro-European, he is also a shameless opportunist. If he really wanted to make an impact with ordinary, hard-working, sensible voters he should back the calls for the referendum. It would distance himself from lies of Brown and Blair over the issue and the betrayal of “cast iron” Cameron. “
Though he missed that boat, it seems Ed is up to something this morning. With Cameron retreating from Europe last night, failing to return with anything particularly substantial and giving up on his EU institution fight, this morning Ed fearlessly entered that den of interrogation know as the Daybreak studios to retaliate. And he caught Guido off guard:
“I’m very concerned about what David Cameron has done…He’s sold us down the river.”
Dave is in the Commons at 3.30. Let the Purple Alliance begin…
Team Miliband deny Ed M playing the sceptic cards by accusing Cameron of selling UK down the river over EU summit deal.
— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) January 31, 2012
Guido was just thinking that blog-favourite Steven Purcell had been quiet for a while, and then just as Miliband headed for Scotland, up he popped again. In another stunning PR success, Labour’s one time Glasgow golden-child, was questioned by police over the weekend about an “assault” that took place at his flat at 5:30am on Sunday morning. Guido understands that Glasgow councillor had been out celebrating the fact that the Crown Office had dropped their investigation into his time as chief of the Labour-led City Council. As we covered extensively at the time, Purcell’s career ended with him in rehab and his criminal associates under the microscope.
Police were called to an “after party” that got out of hand and punches were thrown in a dispute with an invited guest. Having had their investigation into corruption shunned by the powers that be, Guido imagines that the police were only too happy to wade back in to this one. Purcell was questioned for ten hours.
A younger man was also arrested…
UPDATE: Anna Raccoon has more.
Who Is Steering Labour’s Strategy? | Ballot Box
Greens are UKIP for Young People | Telegraph
Short-Termism of CCHQ | ConHome
May Aide: CCHQ Are Being Misleading | Telegraph
Tories Planning For Second Election | Guardian
We Are Losing Cyber War | Fraser Nelson
Osborne Aide Lands Pay Rise | Mirror
The Sick Of It | Sun
UKIP MEP’s Welfare Hypocrisy | Channel 4
Rise of Angela Merkel | New Yorker
May SpAd Removed From Candidates List | ConHome
The Economist asks Tony Blair about Wendi Deng:
“Mr Blair roundly denies any impropriety. Asked whether he was (at least) careless about his reputation, he says calmly that it is “not something I will ever talk about—I haven’t and I won’t”, and then bangs his coffee cup so loudly into its saucer that it spills and everyone in the room jumps. But did he find himself in a tangle over his friendship with Ms Deng? A large, dark pool of sweat has suddenly appeared under his armpit, spreading across an expensive blue shirt. Even Mr Blair’s close friends acknowledge that the saga damaged him—not least financially, since Mr Murdoch stopped contributing to Mr Blair’s faith foundation and cut him off from other friendly donors in America.”