Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Politicians

Congratulations are in order to Toby Young who has landed the much coveted role of political columnist at the Sun on Sunday, which will likely mean that he will be the most read political columnist in the country. With Speccie editor Fraser Nelson now writing a column for the Telegraph, the Speccie contributor has effectively filled his bosses’ old Screws slot. Toby has apparently written about his new gig in the magazine tomorrow…

UPDATE: This could get spicy:

https://twitter.com/#!/vincentmoss/statuses/172382036215083008

UPDATE II: Slight amendment to the headline via @TimGattITV

Milburn Gives Up the Act

Alan Milburn is not even trying to hide his membership of the reality based community any more. He tells tomorrow’s Staggers:

“The truth is this: the era of big public spending is over. Austerity is the new normal. It is not a temporary phenomenon. It will become permanent. Fiscal conservatism is the order of the day.”

His party colleagues should listen to him…

Huhne Speeds Past Trouble

Labour Councillor “Dearly Wishes” Thatcher Would “Go Blind”

To Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, where at last night’s meeting Councillor Ann Holland, a Labour member for Droylsden West, was turning on the rhetoric:

“Where did Prince Phillip go when he was ill? Where did David Cameron go with his sick child? The NHS. Where did Margaret Thatcher go for her eyes – I dearly wish she’d go blind, but she went to the NHS.”  

The Leader of the Council, Kieran Quinn, tried to distance the council from her comments saying:

“We do wish her well and do not support any of those comments regarding her health.”

During this an enraged Ann Holland shouted “you don’t speak for me!” at her comrade. What a charmer!

Guido has spoken to multiple people in the room who confirm these quotes. He just got off the phone with Ann who refused to deny saying these things. After quizzing Guido on his sources she said “no comment… I have nothing to say. I’m going now.” Going, going…

Burnham Had to Phone Department of Health
Checked His Own Risk Register Policy

“Why isn’t this government carrying on the precedents started by the previous government” squawked Burnham in the House a moment ago. Apparently this Risk Register is not the same as Labour’s Risk Register in 2009. If that is the case,  it is odd then that the reasons officials gave for not releasing the two Registers are remarkably similar. Almost as if they were written by the same civil servant.

Here is Lansley’s answer:

“Whilst conscious that there will be public interest in the contents of the Department’s Risk Register and assessments being made freely available, the public interest in preserving the ability of officials to engage in discussions of policy options and risks without apprehension that suggested courses of action may be held up to public or media scrutiny before they have been fully developed or evaluated has also been taken into account.”

And here is Burnham’s from 2009:

“Whilst we are conscious that there will be public interest in the contents of the Strategic Risk Register being made freely available, we have also taken into account the public interest in preserving the ability of officials to engage in discussions of policy options and risks without apprehension that suggested courses of action may be held up to public or media scrutiny before they have been fully developed or evaluated. “

Has Burnham forgotten his former position? Well yes it would appear he has. Health sources were most amused yesterday when a worried Burnham called the department’s civil servants to check whether he did indeed approve a decision not to publish his Risk Register. Whoops…

Alison the Bank of England Pilgrim

Citing the Data Protection Act, the Bank of England have refused to tell Guido how much they pay Alison, their full-time trade union official. She’s seconded to Unite the Union, though seems to do nothing that an HR title couldn’t cover.

Why they feel the need for a union recruiter in the central bank beggars belief. 

The bank’s website seems very proud of this arrangement. Many would argue she’s a strange choice for their profile of typical employees. Before she became a Pilgrim, Alison tried her hand at being a bank regulator. That went well…

UPDATE: Guido forgot to add that the Bank pay for her to have an assistant as well.

PMQs LIVE: Workfare Warfare Edition

Someone At ITV Has a Sense of Humour

Blinking in the winter darkness Neo-Guido walked into the ITV Daybreak studios at an ungodly hour this morning expecting to spar about welfare with socialist prodigy Owen Jones. In make-up it was announced that it would actually be Diane Abbott joining him on the sofa. Perhaps because of the Twitter-race row back in January she didn’t look too happy when greeted with a cheery good morning. With a shake of the head the handshake was spurned and not a word was exchanged off camera. Talk about divide and rule…

Daybreak host Kate Garraway (Mrs Derek Draper) handled things much better – there was even a smile. Despite the last time she came face to face with Neo-Guido…

WATCH: Obama Singing the Blues

The Former Coalition Ministers Club

What becomes of disgraced coalition cabinet members after they are forced to resign? Well if this morning is anything to go by it seems they perform a pincer movement on George Osborne, calling for tax cuts.

If Huhne weighed in it would be a full house…

While there is an irony about Fox complaining it is too hard to sack people, he makes some good points in the FT:

The budget must confidently assert that capitalism works. But it doesn’t work if failure is rewarded as if it was success. …individual risk and effort is not rewarded when the UK government share of GDP has risen from 38 per cent in 1999 to 51 per cent in 2011, the effective top rate of tax is over 50 per cent, and CPI inflation for the last five years has averaged 3.5 per cent.To restore Britain’s competitiveness we must begin by deregulating the labour market. Political objections must be overridden.

In the GuardianDavid Laws follows up Monday’s Newsnight outing with a welcome call to speed up taking the poorest out of tax. He wants to put up taxes though to fund it. Hmm…

A cynical person might think this must be coordinated, but Guido isn’t so sure. There’s no doubt that Laws’ interventions are sanctioned by his leader, though Guido doubts the same can be said be said for Fox. Steve Hilton will like it, but No.11 sources seem rather relaxed about the whole affair this morning…


Seen Elsewhere

Mirror’s ‘UKIP Goggles’ App Backfires | Press Gazette
Woolas Agent Standing for UKIP | MEN
Compassionate Left in Action | Mark Wallace
Sainsbury’s Distance Themselves From Sick Cam Tweeter | Speccie
Elites Pay Price for Killing Grammar Schools | Jago Pearson
Thornberry Makes Burnham Leadership Favourite | Matthew Norman
Guido’s Column | Sun
BBC Still Ignoring Savile Evidence | Telegraph
Politicians Brought Down by Twitter | CityAm
Ed the Biggest Loser in Rochester | Trevor Kavanagh
A Just Way to Manage Migration | Mats Persson


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Boris on his fellow Islingtonista Emily Thornberry:

“It was an entirely run-of-the-mill English townscape, with some straightforward words to go with it. There was no obvious insult, no abuse, no overt sneering. She might have got away with it entirely, had some alert blogger not spotted it. He instantly detected the coded message that Emily Thornberry was sending to all her right-on, bien-pensant, Labour-luvvie friends in Islington, or wherever else it is that they follow her on Twitter.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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