Friday, March 30, 2012

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 were “on the face of it, ok.” Toby Perkins, the MP who was leading the charge, has gone from hero to zero in the eyes of the leadership apparently.

As one insider put it “this is what happens when you let MPs who did well in their own constituency run campaigns”. Apparently Iain McNicol is looking rather pasty this morning…

UPDATE:

They should get upset then.

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 HQ insiders to Quentin Letts never miss it.

Join the conspiracy and become a subscriber to the Guidogram, free, to keep in the loop.

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

UPDATE: Too late, it has been sent out.

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 to be suspiciously quiet on the subject and has been all campaign: Tom Watson. As Labour’s “Deputy Party Chairman and Campaign Coordinator”,  he was in charge of this spectacular cock up.

Questions are being asked about why he has spent the week frothing about Panorama damp squibs and sitting around on Twitter instead of leading from the front. Given the number of Mayor and Police Commissioner elections coming up that will involve current MPs, the list of by-elections this year is growing. Too late to do anything about it now though…

UPDATE:

UPDATE II: Witnesses report that Tom Watson spent the day in the House yesterday. He was spotted having a long chat with disgraced former Labour MP Denis MacShane. Why wasn’t he on the ground getting out the vote?

UPDATE III: Instead of campaigning in Bradford in the all important weekend before polling, Watson went to the “Guardian Open Weekend” and shared a platform with fellow media luvvies Amelia Hill, Alan Rusbridger and Nick Davies. He cares more about self promotion than his job as Campaign Coordinator.

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 high up in the party are already being pointed at the General Secretary. Iain McNicol told the leader’s office to prepare for a comfortable victory and told staffers not to go to Bradford and instead focus on campaigning in London. Team Ed are furious with McNicol for predicting victory so confidently earlier in the week and thus destroying any chance to do expectation management briefing.

The normally loyal Labour bloggers are not happy and speaking to Labour staffers this morning, loyal to both Milibands, there seems to be an acceptance that Ed’s problems run deeper than most thought. A defeat after “this week’s circus” and while ten points ahead has sent a mighty shockwave right through the professional party.

LabourList’s Mark Ferguson blogs

“We didn’t just lose by a bit – we were given a total 10,000 vote pasting… This is what happens when constituencies are taken for granted.”


Seen Elsewhere

Bribes, Lies and Curry in Tower Hamlets | Standard
Tory MP Breaks Cover on Canberra Crisis | BBC
Labour MP: Wimmin’ Stop Us Bombing ISIS | Speccie
Peace Envoy Arrives on Italian Coast | Mail
Golden Age of Trusting Politicians is a Myth | Irish Times
More Ed Criticism | Damian McBride
Hague to Weigh into Bercow’s Canberra Crisis | Times
Shadow Cabinet: Who’ll Johnson & Darling Replace? | Labour Uncut
Damian McBride’s Spinning Against Ed Miliband | John Rentoul
Boris Fails the Character Test for Social Conservatives | Laura Perrins
No Charges After Two Years On Bail | Patrick Foster


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Damian McBride offers some more of his helpful advice:

‘Mr Miliband will not survive the televised leaders’ debates trying to have it both ways on every policy from Syria to an EU referendum. The prime minister may be entirely wrong on issues such as HS2, but at least his position is clear.The Labour leader’s attempt to keep his options open is all very well, but to what end? If he thinks he can avoid taking any big decisions until he’s securely installed in Downing Street, Mr Miliband unfortunately hasn’t a prayer.’



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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