Thursday, March 29, 2012

Manchester Mystery

Guido will eat his hat if Lucy Powell does not win the Labour selection process for Manchester Central. Ed’s Deputy Chief of Staff is in a bit of a pickle though. Given that she somehow managed to work her way  onto the controversial new party executive board, how is her selection going to look like anything other than a stitch up? This one doesn’t appear to have been thought through…

Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word

Ken is wriggling. In today’s Jewish Chronicle he writes:

“Let me start with the report that I said at a meeting of mainly pro-Labour Jewish Londoners that Jews will not vote for me because they are rich. I didn’t actually say this. However, I can see that the way the conversation unfolded meant this interpretation was placed on it. When such controversies unfold it is easy to get dug in and appear to defend positions. I don’t wish to do this.”

Almost there…

Mayday

20120329-073606.jpg

Guido understands that one of the more fiery witnesses due to appear at the Leveson Inquiry has been notified about their impending star turn. Rebekah Brooks is said to have been told on Tuesday that she will be on the stand at the very beginning of May. Though she will be severely hindered in what she can say due to ongoing police investigations, this could be very awkward for the Prime Minister…

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dave’s Afternoon Thrashing Around

How to end a perfect day of being called an out of touch toff? A spot of the game first invented in Badminton by the Duke of Beaufort of course:

The sun being in his eyes is not an excuse…

Dirty Texts Scandal

Things are getting steamy down on the ground in Bradford with George Galloway threatening to sue the Labour Party for texts that are being bombarded to voters. There is no proof the Labour campaign had anything to do with them and they deny the accusation. Now today Galloway supporters are fighting back and a message urging people to vote Respect is doing the rounds with some bitter words for the Labour candidate:

“Muslims of Bradford! Watch the Sunday Politics yorkshire and lincolnshire programme on BBC iPlayer (43min-47min) and watch the TRAITOR, and SELLOUT Imran Hussain (labour candidate) support British troops to continue their occupation of Afghanistan, despite his own party leaders position on withdrawing from Afghanistan. See for yourself and vote Respect, the party that is actually speaking up for the loss of innocent muslims lives…”

With Galloway’s odds tightening, polling day tomorrow could be a tense affair…

UPDATE: Ladbrokes have suspended betting on a Galloway win.

Labour Are On a Roll

With Miliband and Balls twisting the knife by going to Greggs for lunch, Cameron’s claims to have had a pasty at Leeds station are looking increasingly dodgy:

It’s shaping out to be a terrible week. And it’s only Wednesday…

UPDATE: PM’s spokesman says “maybe it wasn’t even Leeds”.

Brian Paddick tells the Guardian he opposes himself becoming mayor…

“Lib Dems in principle are against directly elected mayors because it concentrates too much power in one person’s hands.”

Trade Union Lawyers Have Previous For Empty Threats

As Guido reported yesterday, Bob Crow has sent a laughable legal threat to the Boris campaign. He used the trade union ambulance chasers Thompsons to sabre rattle, but if their past form is anything to go by, the Mayor shouldn’t be too worried. Last year the Director of the Taxpayers Alliance skewered Unison’s Dave Prentis live on the Daily Politics:

A few months later Thompson’s weighed in:

From: Tom Jones (Thompsons Solicitors) 
Sent: 26 November 2011 11:23
To: Taxpayers Alliance
Subject: Dave Prentis and UNISON

Dear Sirs,

We act for Dave Prentis General Secretary of UNISON. You currently have a clip on your website which shows Dave Prentis apparently on The Daily Politics Show on 26 March (no year is given). You have manipulated the image to show his nose growing longer when he says his salary is ‘nowhere near’ £127,000.

Your depiction of our client treats him and the union with contempt. The clip does not show the whole discussion and takes our client’s comment out of context. The manipulation of his image is defamatory and subjects him to mockery. You fail to make clear that the figure you quote is gross and includes, for example, national insurance contributions and as such it is misleading.

Please confirm if you have authority from the BBC to use the clip. If you do not then your use of the BBC footage is an infringement of their copyright. The infringement is further compounded by what we assume is unauthorised manipulation. Youtube is also infringing copyright by showing the clip.

My client accepts that in his role he is likely to be the subject of media interest but it is not acceptable that he is subject to vindictive and personal attack. Please confirm that you will immediately take the clip down from your site and from Youtube.

Yours faithfully
TPR Jones
For Thompsons Solicitors

-

From: Matthew Sinclair
Sent: 29 November 2011 13:24
To: Tom Jones (Thompsons Solicitors) 
Subject: RE: Dave Prentis and UNISON

Mr. Jones,

Thank you for your email regarding the video clip on our website of Dave Prentis on the Daily Politics Show. The clip – which YouTube shows was released on 26 March 2010 – is scrupulous in its presentation of the facts.

It shows the actual page in the Annual Report of the Certification Officer that was the basis of our claim about your client’s total remuneration, which is in turn based on returns from the unions themselves, and is absolutely explicit that the £127,436 figure is composed of ‘salary’ and ‘benefits’. As such, it seems to us that any potentially defamatory allegation (you fail to identify what that would be) is based upon truth (at the very least, substantially), and is not misleading.

The comments are not taken out of context. The entire discussion of his remuneration is included. The degree to which it may harm the reputation of your client, whether that be exposure to hatred, ridicule or contempt, is no more than that to be legitimately expected by someone who, in the public eye, is misleading the public over the matter of their remuneration, where that information is of public interest.

We sent the clip to BBC journalists at the time, feeling they would be interested in how we followed up after their programme. The use of a short clip to produce a satire, and expose a public figure to legitimate scrutiny, is not likely to be upheld as an infringement of their copyright. To the extent that it even might be though, we will await hearing from the Corporation’s lawyers. Copyright does not exist as a vehicle for public figures prominent in ongoing public discourse over matters of public concern to suppress legitimate criticism and scrutiny of their positions.

A well paid trade union official leading strikes that will disrupt the lives of millions of people should be subject to proper scrutiny. Your client enjoys no legal protection against mockery. Our clip does not constitute an invasion of privacy, harassment, an appropriation of commercial personality rights, or any similar such interference with his rights.

Similarly, UNISON has no right to reputation defensible under English defamation law, even if any such reputation were somehow impacted by the clip.

Your client is welcome to laugh it off or to rebut our claims if he can.

Best,
Matthew Sinclair

Matthew Sinclair, Director
The TaxPayers’ Alliance

And that was the end of that.

Baldamort to Brum

Michael Crick has finally caught up with what Guido told you in Daily Star Sunday on 11 March:

LEAVING the Treasury after Labour’s General Election defeat, the Birmingham MP Liam Byrne famously left a note for his successor which simply read: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left.” After the uproar this joke caused, Byrne, right, kept his bald head down as a backroom figure for Ed Miliband. Dubbed “Baldamort” by David Cameron, he wants to escape what could be a long opposition. We hear Byrne is being encouraged by the likes of Alan Johnson to seek Labour’s nomination as the candidate for Mayor of Birmingham. Labour sources seem almost certain he will throw his hat in the Bull-ring. With Brum having a budget of £3.5billion, though, that note might yet come back to haunt him.

It doesn’t say much for the leadership when the person in charge of the policy review for the Labour Party has had enough and is ready to jump ship. A bit like the Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party quitting to go and be a police commissioner… 

Ken Patronises Irish as Navvies

Last month Ken Livingstone was an unwanted gate-crasher at an event in London with the President of Ireland, undiplomatically grabbing a photo-op with the Irish Head of State, to put on his leaflets without asking permission. The Office of the Irish President told The Irish Times: “There was no contact made about using the photograph in the literature” and Ken didn’t bother to have the courtesy to stay for the speech once he got his photo.

This week he was asked in an interview with the London Irish Post what he would do for the Irish, old Ken is about as patronising as it gets:

“Two two thirds of the jobs that have been lost in London have been in construction. This hits the Irish community hardest. What they and all Londoners need now is for London to start building again.”

As if all the Irish in London are still “navvies”…


Seen Elsewhere

Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times
Speaker Cornered | Times
Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion hot-button


Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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