Ken Already Wasting Taxpayers’ Money

This was sent out to Labour MPs yesterday morning:

From: PLP Resource Centre
Sent: 30 March 2012 10:32
Subject: Get on board Ken’s FareDeal Express
To: Labour MPs

Dear colleague,

With just over a month to go before London goes to the polls, the Ken Livingstone for London Campaign has stepped up the pace for the home straight.

Recently the campaign launched the FareDeal Express, our double decker battlebus which has been traveling the length and breadth of London, full of activists who have been taking our message to those target areas that will win this election for Labour.

Now we would like you to join us for a day on the battle bus.

From Wednesday 4th April the FareDeal Express will be leaving 39 Victoria Street everyday in the mid/late morning and returning by 6pm. The bus will take MPs, councillors and activists to key target areas across London. If you would like to join us, please e-mail me at Ross_MacRae@labour.org.uk to sign up to arrange for a day (or more) on the battlebus on a date that’s suitable for you from 2nd April until 3rd May.

Please also encourage your staff to join us. This election is going to be a close fight and every activist can help us to win for Labour.

The email asks Labour MPs to send their staff to help Ken. MPs’ staff are paid by the taxpayer to carry out constituency work on behalf of their MPs. It is against the rules for staffers to work on political campaigns during working hours. Note the bus leaves Labour HQ mid-morning and drops them back at the end of the working day. MPs who let their staff go during working hours risk being reported to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for abusing expenses…

Staite v Sunday Times

Ed Staite is not taking the coming Sunday Times sting lying down. He has this morning published the written proposal he made to the undercover journalists posing as “Global Zenith”. He pitched £40,000 for an “Issues and Crisis Preparedness Plan” which looks pretty standard spinner’s stuff. The way Staite is handling the sting with his pre-buttal shows he is good in a crisis…

Saturday Seven Up

Last week some 112,858 visitors made 314,144 visits to view 502,976 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

Paddy’s Pricing Panic


Given he’s polling at less than double figures, Guido was surprised to learn that Paddick even had policies, but apparently it’s ridiculous for LBC to ask how much his pointless promises would cost. The LibDems haven’t got a hope in hell, but they could at least have picked a candidate who would bring them some attention. Come back Lembit…

UPDATE: Meanwhile Ken is in new tax/donation trouble.

Former Tory Spinner Spoils Sunday Times Sting

Former Tory spinner Ed Staite looks set on trying to ruin the Sunday Times’ Saturday. Having smelt a rat when he met with the “Global Zenith” he has put an unedited version of events on his own website. His fisk of their email allegations is pretty pithy:

Dear Mr Staite,

We are preparing an article for publication in this weekend’s edition of The Sunday Times which will describe advice you gave to undercover reporters posing as wealth fund executives at a meeting in February.

They lied to meet me, took up at least a day of my time and, I assume filmed the whole thing while lying further as a way to attempt entrapment. I outlined a way to make a positive contribution to the political process instead of paying for influence as the journalists continually advocated.

The party will soon begin setting up new groups to form policy ahead of the next General Election, you said.

They will as is the natural process of politics.

This process will go on “behind Chinese Walls” in order to exclude Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are not the same party so naturally they have different policies. This is attempting to make me, and what I advocated, look underhand.

The groups can be bankrolled either with cash sponsorship or by paying for a secretariat. Funders are allowed to “join in the conversation” and “communicate their priorities” in order to influence the outcome.

As bankrolled is not in inverted commas and it is not something I’d say I assume I didn’t say it. Bankrolled is a word used by journalists to make a payment of any kind seem seedy. A policy making process should be a conversation and communicating priorities does not mean they are accepted.

You told the reporters they could even come up with their own idea for a policy group for the party in exchange for funding and suggested Government efficiencies as a good area.

A policy group would have to meet the aims of the Conservative Party only then would it be set up and a secretariat appointed. Government efficiencies are indeed a good idea as we face a massive structural deficit.

You said they could use their influence over such a group to benefit their business strategy by pushing for the sale of the Royal Mail and other assets.

Again I haven’t been quoted here and using the word “pushing” is suggesting something underhand.

Please respond by email with any comments that you wish to make on the above points by 6pm on Friday.

No, thank you. I have responded here on my blog.

Yours sincerely,

Really?

Heidi Blake

I thought your name was Hayley.

Access denied!

UPDATE 1800: The Sunday Times have got in touch to dispute Staite’s version of events.

Ed Misses Labour Donor Roland Rudd Off Transparency List

Ed Miliband has finally snuck his list of donor’s dinners out. A Friday afternoon data dump is always a sure sign that you don’t want too much digging  to be done. The meetings are overwhelmingly with his union paymasters but there are at least two “predators” welcomed in to break bread in his own home. With just one glance there are glaring gaps in the list, for example it shows a meeting with on 9 February with £100,000 donor Assem Allam, but not the meeting he had with him on the 10 March. The one we know about because he was photographed arriving at it in a Royles Royce instead of attending an NHS rally. How many other donors did not make the cut?

There is still no mention of Ed’s secret off the record meeting with the shady spinmeister Roland Rudd. Rudd organised meetings between Ed and business types and is a Labour donor through his firm Finsbury. Why has this not been reported here, and why when Ed promised live on TV to release the list of attendees, has this still not happened?

Friday Caption Contest (Bus to Nowhere Edition)

What did the person in the right-hand corner just say to upset everyone?

Wittiest one liner wins a paperback copy of the newly updatedJust Boris by Sonia Purnell. Usual rules apply…

All In It Together

Unite assistant General Secretary Diana Holland is getting a lot of coverage today due to the ongoing chaos her union is threatening, not over the price of fuel but how much money already well paid drivers get to distribute it. What the TV news seem to be ignoring is that she is also the Treasurer of the Labour Party.

Labour try to suggest the connection to their biggest donor is arms length, but Holland is about as plugged in as they come. Her husband Joe Irvine was a Commander of the Forces of Hell as Brown’s Political Secretary and also the “brains” behind Ed Balls For Leader. Cosy!

Iain McNicol “Looks Like He’s Seen a Ghost”

The Bradford blame game is being pushed further down the line from HQ. One rumour put to Guido is that the Labour Regional Team did not let on that things were not looking so good, though apparently the canvas returns […]

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Get Your Guidogram

The Guidogram round-up of the week is going out shortly. Don’t forget you can now also read the Sunday edition of the blog exclusively in the Daily Star Sunday.

Thousands of Westminster insiders read the Guidogram, everyone from Labour […]

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Labour Staffers Turn on “Campaign Coordinator” Tom Watson

Labour insiders are clucking this morning as the news from Bradford sets in. As Guido mentioned earlier plenty of blame is being dripped out in the direction of General Secretary Iain McNicol, but others are fighting back. One man seems […]

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Labour Finger Pointing Begins

While the polls were still open in Bradford early yesterday evening, broadcasters were notified that Ed Miliband would be doing a walk about outside the City Hall at 07:45 this morning. Funnily enough it didnt happen. Fingers of blame from […]

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Quote of the Day

Labour candidate Clive Lewis tells the Staggers:

“I mean, in the multiverse there’s still three universes in a hundred where there’s a Green MP in Norwich, so anything could happen. I could be caught with my pants down behind a goat with Ed Miliband at the other end – well, hopefully that won’t happen.”

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