Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ken’s £319,478 of Chicken Feed

If Ken’s twitter “lines to take” sheet was leaked, Guido would wager this week’s focus is on Boris being a “part time” Mayor. Time and again his cronies and activists have mentioned the 900 words Boris bangs out for the Telegraph for some £250,000-a-year as evidence that he’s not pulling his weight. Even his biographer Sonia Purnell, who didn’t pull her punches in Just Boris“, says BoJo is anything but lazy.

On the surface it would seem that Ken has spent the last four years doing nothing much except sit in the public gallery at City Hall. However a quick delve into the records of Silveta Limited, which he runs with his latest wife Emma Beal, shows he’s hardly one to talk about outside interests. Ken’s last filed set of accounts show a far from chicken feed £319,478 sitting in the bank.

Not that hypocrisy has ever really bothered Ken…

Chuka Jousting for His Career

Normally Chuka is so in line with public outrage that his position shifts before the public have even worked out what they are angry about, so it’s rare to hear people declaring that he “got it wrong”. The Standard reported last week:

“A rising star in the Labour party came under fire today for supporting a decision to cancel the Lambeth Country Show. Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna backed Lambeth council after it scrapped the free three-day event, which attracts up to 200,000 people each July.”

In 2010, Chuka said the show was what the community “was all about”:

So why was he prepared to sell his constituents out this time?

Brixton residents are said to be “up in arms” about the “eccentric mix of outdoor musical performances, sheep shearing, jousting and vegetable-growing” being cancelled so that resources are not diverted from the Olympics. Under fire, the Labour council, led by one Steve Reed, was boosted when Chuka weighed in on their side. 

Things haven’t always been so cosy between these two though. As a long-term local councillor, Reed believed he would be a shoo in for the Streatham seat until some hot-shot, sharp-suited lawyer, with friends in high places, came out of nowhere. However with Streatham preparing to feel the full weight of the Boundary Review, Reed has his local MP by the balls.

Chuka is first in line to take the new mega-safe Brixton seat, but all that could change. As a Brixton councillor, Reed has a lot of local support and could make life difficult for Chuka very easily. In choosing to keep Reed sweet on this issue, Chuka has put his future career before his constituents. He’s not wrong on public opinion here, it’s just beneath him…

DSK’s Naked Hooker Test

If you ever get done for your taxes then Harry Redknapp provided the get out of jail free card with his successful “I can’t read or write and I’m too rich to bother dodging tax” defence. French socialist letch Dominic Strauss Khan’s is trying an equally ambitious line in his latest sex scandal. In reference to paid-for-orgy allegations, his lawyer, Henri Leclerk, said on his behalf:

“He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman.”

It remains to be seen if a jury will be asked to accept that challenge live in court…

Spelman Hails Genetic Modification

In the headlines for the right reasons today, Caroline Spelman has spent the morning at the National Farmers Union conference in Birmingham. Guido’s cider drinking co-conspirator in the room reports that the Secretary of State for the Enviroment told the farmers that “responsible genetic modification” will be key to “sustainable agriculture in the future”.

Surely giving plants steroids is just cheating?

Another Guilty Man Repents

Polly Toynbee: “Workfare Really Works”

In February 1997 the “Commentator of the Year” was musing in the Indy:

Latest figures for Project Work, the Government’s pilot workfare scheme, suggest colossal fraud or deliberate idleness on a scale no one predicted.

Nearly a decade and half later and you have to pinch yourself while reading back Polly Toynbee’s article “The Tories were right: workfare really works”:

Since April, 6,800 people unemployed for over two years have been through schemes in Hull and the Medway. First they have 13 weeks’ intensive Job Search with a dedicated worker chivvying and harrying them to apply for jobs as never before. (One of many embarrassing questions for the Government is, why never before? Answer: cheese-paring on staff, the unemployed never even had to sign on in person.) Next they face 13 weeks of compulsory work for “voluntary” organisations for an extra pounds 10 a week. Either the carrot (help to find a job) or the stick (the threat of compulsory work) has led to an astonishing number signing off and no longer drawing benefit – nearly half of them.

After looking at some individual case studies, Toynbee concludes that it “made a difference.” We may disagree on the minor details, but Guido is very happy that Polly backs the principles behind the scheme…

Sunshine for Salmond

Given that his father’s family moved from Scotland to Australia this could just be sentimentality, however if Murdoch did decide to back Salmond in the referendum, it could all get very interesting. The Scottish Sun swung behind the SNP at the last Scottish elections, just four years after saying a vote for them would be putting Scotland’s head in a noose.

One to watch…

Darling: The Greeks Will Be Back (Cap in Hand)

Guido has said it before; history will be far kinder to Alistair Darling than any of his old government colleagues. This morning he’s the boy pointing at the €uro-emperor’s new clothes with vigour. While his Labour colleagues are silent, he popped up on Today to warn that he was “very sceptical” that the Greek bailout will work and that the Greeks could “stick to eight years of austerity”.

He warned that the Greeks will be “back at the table” for more money. Meanwhile Osborne is saying this morning that the Greeks do not have any other option despite how difficult this is. Now that just isn’t true… 


Seen Elsewhere

Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie
Whitehall Doesn’t Work | Dom Cummings
Russell Brand’s Tax Avoidance Firm | Sun
1 in 7 Young Britons Back ISIS | Times
Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay | Techno Guido
Insurgent Parties Plunge Labour Into Crisis | Alex Wickham


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David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”



“Digger” Murdoch says:

Is it just me, or is Nigel Farage just a top hat and a monocle away from being a Batman villain?


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