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

Charlie Kennedy has seen the light. In an uncharacteristically early interview on Five Live this morning he finally admitted “I was wrong about that”.

That being the €uro…

Polly Toynbee…

“Workfare really works”

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…

Charlie Kennedy finally admits the €rror of his ways, telling 5Live:

“I was wrong about that”

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 […]

+ READ MORE +

Life Imitating Art – An Occasional Series

After Lansley’s dire day, it was never going to be long before the internet mashups began:

For those left scratching their heads, Lansley’s resemblance to Hugh Abbott from the Thick of It is uncanny:

This one could stick…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Scargill’s Granny
Lansley Baiter is Seasoned Lefty Agitator

Oh dear, that nice little old lady who took against Andrew Lansley is no stranger to protest stunts. June Hautot, a former Unison rep, told the Workers Revolutionary Party magazine last month:

‘I’m all for occupations. That’s our only

[…]

+ READ MORE +

WATCH: Lansley Shot Outside Downing Street

He could have gone through the Rupert Entrance, but instead Andrew Lansley decided to brave the crowds outside Downing Street. Don’t think for a second that June Hautot was some innocent old dear, she is in fact a former union […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Chuka has been trying to spin the Siemens row:

Chuka Umunna: It’s no different from Sky News quoting a business leader.

Adam Boulton: Except yours says ‘VOTE LABOUR’ at the bottom.

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