On the Road to Scotland

Whilst Guido was unable to persuade Neo-Guido of the merits of hanging child-killers, he has been converted to the cause of Scottish Freedom.  A former Chairman of Edinburgh University’s Conservative and Unionist Association, he has come a long way from when he was the blog’s undergraduate summer intern in 2008. He has written about his conversion from devout unionist to freedom-fighting nationalist guerilla here:

“The brain drain that saw enlightened Scots give America its magnificent constitution has never stopped. What remains is a nation dependent on the state; a hand out culture and a something for nothing utopia. An insult to its past. And this will never change while Scotland remains the junior partner in a relationship it never asked to be in.”

Now, about the monarchy…

Lambeth Labour Put Pilgrim Wrecking Amendment Down

Pilgrims are on the agenda in the People’s Republic of Lambeth tonight. The Red Council has been dodging Pilgrim FoIs for six months, but was finally forced to reveal that their annual bung to the unions costs Lambeth taxpayers over half a million quid a year – ten times that in neighbouring Wandsworth. Guess who doesn’t run that council.

The Tories have put down a  motion against the £317,517 a year that is spent on 9.7 full time equivalent Pilgrims representing the triumvirate of Unison, GMB, and Unite. Another  £141,411 is spent to support 2.6 full time equivalent Pilgrims  from the “teaching” unions – principally the NUT and NASUWT. Lambeth Labour have gone into full bulldozer mode. Have a look at the wrecking amendment to Motion 7 here.  They amend:

“Council is grateful that these costs have now been disclosed. However,members are appalled that in a time of budget reductions and austerity in the public sector Lambeth Council is paying £503,548 a year to subsidise trade union officials.”

To:

“Council is grateful that these costs have now been disclosed. However, members recognise that in a time of budget reductions and austerity in the public sector paying trade union officials is a cost effective way to deal with industrial relations in the workplace. Massive cuts, too far too fast, forced on Lambeth by the government have resulted in unprecedented staff changes and restructurings where unions play an important role in scrutinising job plans, making amendments and supporting individual members through life changing decisions. They also perform excellent work on health and safety and basic skills training at minimal cost to council.”

Brazen.

Harman is No Champion of Press Freedom

Guido can’t find Harriet Harman’s “first major speech on the future of the media” trailed in any other paper besides this morning’s Guardian. Apparently Ed Vaizey’s DCMS shadow is declaring that she is “going to be a champion of press freedom”:

Before her first major speech on the future of the media, Harman claimed there was a clear consensus around these principles, and last night challenged editors to put forward practical proposals. “I think it would really help Leveson if newspaper editors came forward with a solution. We have had a good scoping of the issues, but now it is time for the editors to lay their cards on the table. They need to propose the solution, rather than have one imposed upon them.”

All this has come as a bit of a surprise to a source with knowledge of the Shadow Culture brief. Guido hears whispers of a meeting last Monday (January 16) where Harman had to be talked out of  supporting the state regulating the press. Just nine days ago Harman was openly advocating imposing the very solution that she derides today. Add to that her track record of trying to censor the tabloids and Page 3 plus her past support for extreme political correctness suggests the idea of her being some sort of champion for free speech becomes risible… 

+ + + Essex Police Pass the Huhne File to the CPS + + +

Take two. This time with the final piece of evidence. Don’t worry about doing your red boxes this weekend Chris…

Ignore the Facts, Look at the Chicken

It didn’t take very long for Ken Livingstone’s “Fare Deal” campaign to unravel. Fact Check – often cited by Labour sorts as the be all and end all of statistical disputes, is damning:

Mr Livingstone is wrong to claim there’s a £729m surplus, and there is no separate budget for investment projects. If he cuts fares, TfL expects to lose £1.12bn in income from fares – and that’s a hole he wouldn’t be able to plug without hitting the day-to-day funding for London’s transport or taking money from investment projects.

How he’d do that is up to him, but it could mean that tube and bus route upgrades are delayed, or TfL could be forced to shed some staff members. Any mayoral candidate can raid the TfL’s coffers to cut fares. But cutting fares could mean cutting investment – which London’s transport system has been sorely starved of for decades. Investing money to bring it up to speed only began in earnest under the last Labour government.

So with one pillar of his campaign in pieces, Ken is on the attack this week. Here is his latest devastating attack ad:

That was officially put out by the campaign. It even comes with powerful “Boris Johns-hen” Twitter account. Game changing stuff…

Tax Transparency Bill Gets Second Reading

Ben Gummer’s tax transparency 10 Minute Rule Bill was just passed in the House and will come back for a second reading in March. Chris Bryant stood  up to oppose it on the grounds that “there are better things we could be doing”, and raised various technicalities, but to no avail. It makes you wonder what he doesn’t want the voters to know? The UK is a step closer having an itemised breakdown of how our money is spent. 

PMQs LIVE: Chancellor Zero Edition

Cameron Learns That You Can’t Always Get What You Want

The Prime Minister won’t be Dancing in the Street at Davos today. Proving he is not a Slave to anyone, or Under the Thumb, Mick Jagger has pulled out of a planned appearance with Dave, citing over-politicisation. You can Almost Hear Him Sigh, and Cameron will hope this scandal will just Fade Away. Time Waits for No One and Jagger was told to Take It or Leave It. 

With the meeting Slipping Away, the PM Can’t Get No SatisfactionIt’s All Over Now, but Guido doubts this is The Last Time a celebrity Sittin’ on a Fence will leave a politician stuck  between A Rock and a Hard Place. Or is that Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)?

Channel Four News Weighs In On Helmer Row

It’s not every day you get to talk about druids on national television…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Chancellor Zero

Even if the GDP numbers are not entirely unexpected, they are still a failure, a failure to grow the economy. The deficit can only be paid down if the economy grows, we can’t borrow our way out of a debt […]

+ READ MORE +

+ + + GDP NEGATIVE -0.2% + + +

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Liam Fox Surfaces to Bang the Iran Drum

Intriguingly Liam Fox just surfaced on the Today programme. Asked about his resignation, he batted away the question:

“I’m still drawing my own conclusions, I’m still thinking about the events and responses… I’ve rediscovered the benefits of sleep and lunch

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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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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