Watch: This Explains the New Daily Politics Mug

It’s amazing what turns up on a DVD that you find down the back of a sofa at Annabel’s:

Brillo and Co. are launching the new Daily Politics and Sunday show next week, which is said to have a Newsnight style politically balanced pundit panel. They are keeping the pundits under wraps…

Guido notes with some interest that Osborne’s biographer and Economist hack Janan Ganesh has just started tweeting, as has the Sunday Times’ Political Editor Isabel Oakshott. The Labour Party councillor and Guardian writer Rowenna Davis  has also upped her twitter game recently. Could they be preparing for some regular debate?

Helmer’s Unresignation: Tory MEP’s Leader ‘Asked Him to Hold On’

Co-conspirators who were following the blog over the Christmas break  will know that Roger Helmer has withdrawn his resignation pending problems with the succession. Helmer wants a guarantee that Rupert Matthews, the next candidate on the East Midlands party list, succeeds him. Tory party chairman Sayeeda Warsi is apparently insisting on someone other than Matthews, namely “a less-geeky woman”. This has not gone down well with the local party. 

Guido is now told by people in a position to know that it was Martin Callanan, leader of the Tory MEPs, who asked Helmer to stay on until at least 20 January, so that he could “participate in some crucial votes in the European Parliament”. So the delay was entirely at Martin’s request and had nothing to do with Rupert Matthews position. Given that Helmer’s single vote is unlikely to be crucial at the talking shop that is the European Parliament and in any event Matthews is of a like mind to Helmer, this line isn’t completely convincing. Nevertheless this is what they now want to have us believe…

UPDATE, January 5: Roger himself insists “I was asked by our delegation leader, Martin Callanan, to stay through January, for some key votes in the Jan Straz session.”

Corrections and Clarifications, For Neville

Loyal festive readers will recall that we ran a story just before Christmas about former Screws Chief Reporter Neville Thurlbeck. He was looking to rent out an apartment and was offering wedding chauffeur services. Given that the online adverts had his email address and mobile number in, we knew they were real. Mr Thurlbeck disputes some of the specifics on his new blog though, so, with due prominence:

“The “luxury Harrow-on-the-Hill apartment”, to which he refers, is not my home. It is a penthouse apartment and is one of 14 rental properties I own. The Mercedes S500 is not for sale. It is for hire as a wedding car and will be chauffeur driven by a retired taxi driver. The car for sale was actually a pristine Mercedes SL280 roadster but has been taken off the market as I quite like it. As for “Ned”, this is my nickname among very close friends and has been for 35 years… Thanks again and call me if you get married or need a roof over your head. I may even wear a peaked cap and drive you to church myself. “

No burying this one on Page 10 à la Rusbridger… 

Exclusive: James O’Shaughnessy Returns to Policy Exchange

After leaving Downing Street a few months ago, in less than clear circumstances, policy-chief James O’Shaughnessy popped back onto the radar in this morning’s Times. Not only has he penned a passionate article about Gove’s education reforms, but he’s put his money where his mouth is:

“This is why I left Downing Street to start a new social business that aims to operate schools and to provide educational services based on a blend of traditional values and positive psychology: because after ten years as a policy wonk I believe that lasting change will only happen from the bottom up.”

However his blue sky days aren’t quite over yet. Having left Policy Exchange in 2007 to go to work for Cameron, Guido hears on the wonk-vine that he is on his way back to his ideological home. Policy Exchange are heading into their tenth year and are said to be lining up some big projects to celebrate. Guido understands that O’Shaughnessy will be coming back part-time to work, surprisingly enough, on the education side of things. You read it here first…

Minxy Mensch is the New Iron Maiden

The GQ spread featuring Mrs Mensch has caused a lot of excitement in the Guy Newsroom. The combination of throbbing soundtrack, the minxy pout and the neo-Thatcherite fashion sense really does it for us.

The Guidoisation of politics continues apace…

All’s Fare in Love and War

With the internet being down all morning, the working year has got off to slow start in the Guy Newsroom.  That is not to say there wasn’t much hilarity on the way in. It seems every single person still supporting Ken Livingstone was summoned today to hand out leaflets in the pouring rain at tube stations. Guido was so amused to find that he wasn’t the only one telling them to p**s off, that he tried to film the shenanigans at his stop. For some reason the TFL staff thought he was a domestic terrorist and moved him on…

Downstairs his plan for a quick and easy story didn’t come together very well either. The leaflets to the right were scattered up the length of the platform, but sadly the pencil-skirted young lady with an exquisite derrière, just out of shot, thought Guido was trying to take a picture of something else. Luckily the immediate arrival of a train saved a further altercation with security. Either way Ken’s leafleting drop is hardly the mobilisation his campaign staff are heralding it to be in their post-match tweeting. Nobody seemed very interested. Something the campaign should probably start getting used to…

Whilst posing for GQ, Louise Mensch wonders out loud:

“What do I have to do to get promoted over here?”

#FareFail Fails the Fairness Test

As our MPs lie in for another week, the rest of the country has gone back to work this morning with a 5% rise in train fares. While nobody likes that, it’s hardly fair to expect the inner-city workers who earn less to subsidise the countryside commuters. Though that hasn’t stopped the usual suspects from making a lot of noise this morning. Protests have been planned, and leafleters have hit the stations. However is this just about lowering fares?

Take a look at who is organising today’s “#FareFail” protest, which hopes to jam the Treasury switchboards. Those centrists over at Climate Rush have got involved, but pulling the strings seems to be the ludicrously named “Bring Back British Rail” campaign. They have been mentioned by various media outlets in the run up today, but it’s a one-man show headed up by Ellie Harrison, a socialist activist and artist. Her plan to lower fares is to renationalise public transport…

While the fare rises will no doubt hit some people very hard, Ellie has nothing to worry about. She is currently funded by an “Artistic Development” bursary from Creative Scotland. That should cover her travel to and from the protests…



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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