DUEMA in Crisis: ICM Give Tories 5 Point Lead

And ICM/Guardian poll has the Tories on 40% for the first time since March 2010. They are five points ahead of Labour on 35% with the LibDems are on 16%.

The Don’t Unseat Ed Miliband Association is in crisis talks tonight….

UPDATE: Populus/Times has LAB 38, CON 37, LIB 13. ICM have always been the kindest to Labour though so this is not much of a silver lining… 

The Million Pound Pilgrim
Full Figures Reveal the True Cost Of Julie Davies

Guido has got hold of the original FoI response regarding Julie Davies, the teaching Pilgrim from earlier. As you can see the information provided was only in regard to 2002 and 2009. In this seven year period, Davies cost the taxpayer £679,198. This isn’t just her salary (£35,000pa), but the cost of paying someone else to cover for her too:

Given that Davies was also paid to do trade union activity for three days a week between 1997 and 2000, and five days a week between 2000 and 2002, the £300,000 figure quoted in the Standard tonight is way short of the real picture. Guido has been doing the real maths based on what she cost the taxpayer between 2002-09:

 Sept ’97 to April ’00: 3/5 x (£679,198/7) x 2.5 years = £145,542

April ’00 to March ’02: (£679,198/7) x 2 years = £194,057

Add that to the figures given by the council and you get a cost of £1,018,797 up until March 2009. Add to that the £70,000 that Davies has been paid for 2010 and 2011, plus the cost of covering for her in that period and that figure hits £1,158,797. Over half-a-million pounds wasted on one teacher not teaching…

Labour Chuka Spanner in Works

Credit where credit is due: Chuka may not be so hot on polling, but he has ruined Vince Cable’s week. The Social Market Foundation website has a heavy trail for Cable’s speech tomorrow lunchtime on reforming executive pay. So heavy that you might wonder why such an announcement was not being made to Parliament first. Well now it will have to be, as Cable’s shadow has been granted an Urgent Question forcing the Business Secretary to bring the announcement forward to this afternoon and give it to the proper audience – parliament. There goes the grid…

Meet Julie Davies the £300,000 Teaching Pilgrim

Pilgrim fans will love Julie Davies, a teacher in Haringey who hasn’t stood in front of a blackboard since the turn of the century. Despite being paid £35,000pa to teach English at Northumberland Park Community School in Haringey, Davies has been working for the NUT five days a week since 2000. Instead of teaching she seems to spend most of her time agitating against the government and leaving comments on Lynne Featherstone’s blog. Guido particularly enjoyed the quote Davies gave the Standard:

“I’m an ordinary teacher. Most of my time’s spent sitting next to teachers who are being sacked or disciplined.” She denied being a “pilgrim” – a union official paid from the public purse. “I work really hard. I’m paid £35,000 a year by Haringey, and help when someone’s in trouble. I don’t work for the union. My substantive position is English teacher. If I stopped doing this [union] job I could return tomorrow.”

That’s the plan Julie, that’s the plan…

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed co-conspiritor points out that Davies is not registered as an “ordinary teacher” on her school’s website. Not only is she being paid £35,000pa, but the same amount of money will have to be spent on another teacher to cover for her. The NUT should pay for this organiser. 

Labour Trying to Have it Both Ways on Polling

More bad news for Boris today as a ComRes poll echoes last week’s YouGov offering that had Ken in the lead. The jubilation in Labour circles is on the up, but they obviously didn’t get the same lines Chuka was sent for his appearance on the Sunday Politics yesterday: “Polls go up and down… you’re obsessed with polls Andrew”. Heads in the sand…

Leaving aside Brillo’s cutting riposte “I’m sorry Mr Umunna these just go down”, Labour are clearly trying to have it both ways. Do polls matter or not? Why is a poll showing Ken in the lead any more valid that one showing Ed tanking? Any suggestion that polls aren’t devoured by people like Chuka is nonsense… 

Abbott Says Labour HQ Censor Tweets

It’s rare that a Labour MP actually coughs that their Twitter output is stage managed and censored by the party machine. Step forward gaffe-queen Dianne Abbott, who popped up on LBC this morning to talk about that tweet with Nick Ferrari:

NF: Does anyone have sight of [Tweets] within the Labour Party, does anyone like to see them before they go out, or do you have to run them past anybody?

DA: Oh sure, I mean I always check my tweets with my colleagues, and as I say this morning I tweeted on the very sad fact that the poorest people who need to have healthy diet are actually cutting their expenditure on fruit and vegetables.

NF: So who do you check that with, and that’s a very valid point, but who do you check that with?

DA: We have a system in the Labour Party for clearing this sort of thing.

NF: Oh. Was that bad one cleared then? …

DA: That, that was part of a conversation. …

NF: Ha ha, and just before I go so how does the clearance system work with the Labour Party?

DA: How it works is the Labour Party is very clear on the sorts of policies that you’re supposed to talk about for instance we’re not allowed to commit ourselves to reversing any particular cut, and that has been the position right from the beginning.

And there was Guido think Peter Hain’s inspired spin was heartfelt…

Totty Watch: Sexy (Home) Secretary

Last week it was Louise Mensch in GQ, this week it’s Theresa May glamming up for Total Politics. Guido approves…

An MP moans about their subsidised food:

“The bucket’ of chips, while attractive to some and no doubt trendy, makes for soggy chips. The tower arrangement is better.”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

[…]

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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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