Postcard to Iain McNicol From the Office

Dear Iain,

Sorry to spoil your holiday, unfortunately we have some developments that we thought we better share with you immediately. There’s good news and there is bad news…

The good news is that you’re not going to be fired.

The bad news is that after the near mutiny at Labour HQ after the re-organisation shambles topped off by the safe-seat loss in Bradford, it is generally agreed that you will have to go.

As General Secretary the buck stops with you and we understand that when you get back from your poorly timed and – in the circumstances – borderline offensive holiday, you are going to be sidelined out of the way. It may even be made to sound like a promotion.

Given the role our blog has played in your recent career development, we thought it would be best if you heard from us first.

Best wishes,

Guido

Brown’s “Not a Single Penny” Un-Spun

When it emerged that Gordon Brown had made £1.4m since leaving office on the international speech circuit, his spinners were quick to point out claim that “not a single penny” had gone to Brown himself and instead it was all given to charity. But that’s not quite true.

The most recent set of abbreviated accounts for the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown (Ltd.) paint a different picture. Though they do not give a turnover, or how much actually went to charity, or how much was spent on “administration”,  they do show that at least 20,934,300 pennies are being held by the Browns in cash. No income tax on that…

Boris to Ken: “You’re a F***ing Liar!”

Ken tried to lie his way out of his tax problems again on LBC  and it seems that one person wasn’t going to have it. The Guardian reports:

“Boris went nose to nose with Ken in a small lift and told Ken three times: “You’re a fucking liar, you’re a fucking liar, you’re a fucking liar.””

Ken’s spinners are desperate to talk about anything other than Ken’s taxes, claiming that Boris lost his temper about cable cars. As if. Ken had tried to suggest that the Finland Station Ltd television production company that Boris had done work with was a similar ruse to his own tax avoidance. Boris was a minority shareholder in the company, unlike Livingstone’s shell which was owned by him and employed his wife and a campaign aide. Finland Station Ltd actually made TV programmes, all Silveta Ltd seems to have done is donate money to Ken’s campaign and minimise his tax bill. Guido is wondering why former copper Brian Paddick, who was also in the lift, did not break things up…


John Healey Could Run for Mayor of Sheffield

Guido hears that John Healey is contemplating a bid to become the Labour candidate for Mayor of Sheffield. Healey has taken an active interest in the Sheffield job in the Commons and as a South Yorkshire MP, tight with unions, he would have a very good shot at it.

Unlike Liam Byrne, Healey does not even have the prospect of a decade in the Shadow Cabinet having lost his job at health to Andy Burnham. He has remained a vocal backbencher since then and executive control over a city the size of Sheffield would be a promotion. His colleagues say he’s pondering and Guido has been trying to get hold of John this morning. His constituency office staffer expressed personal doubt at the rumour, but promised an answer by the close of play…

UPDATE: A spokesman for John Healey was quick off the mark:

“John is committed to remaining an MP for Rotherham and the last thing he wants is to become an elected mayor.”

Not dissimilar to what Liam Byrne was saying a few months ago about Birmingham…

Iranian State Cheering for Ken

It’s fair to say Press TV are pretty chuffed with George Galloway’s win in Blackburn Bradford. And now they have their eyes on a bigger prize for another of their payroll candidates:

“Some supporters contacted Press TV, as a major force behind Galloway’s election win, hoping the same would happen to the British politician, Ken Livingstone, who is running for the post of Mayor of London. Livingstone has been recently under fire from British media for his regular cooperation with Press TV.”

With friends like these…

Digital Dave is Watching You

In opposition the liberal Conservatives were hardline in opposing New Labour’s surveillance state. David Cameron gave speeches attacking it:

…stopping the state from exerting too much power over us demands another big change. This Government is running not just a control state, but a surveillance state. In 2007, Privacy International ranked Britain’s privacy protections joint 43rd out of 47 countries surveyed – with the worst record in Europe, and only marginally better than Russia and China. Faced with any problem, any crisis – given any excuse – Labour grasp for more information, pulling more and more people into the clutches of state data capture…  And the Government doesn’t want to stop with the basic information. They want the most complex, important, personal information there is… Scare tactics to herd more disempowered citizens into the clutches of officialdom, as people surrender more and more information about their lives, giving the state more and more power over their lives. If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.

Dave’s government is now proposing to allow the security services to monitor every single email, Facebook status update, text and tweet. This is such an about turn, which will ramp up the surveillance state so much, that one wonders if it is deliberately being set out to be defeated. The Coalition Agreement promised “We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason”, libertarian Tories and the LibDem left will surely form a parliamentary coalition against it which a cynical opposition will surely join. The more Machiavellian-minded might suspect that the purpose of the proposal is for it to be dropped and thereby demonstrate that the government is listening to its backbenchers. Surely when we already have Google already monitoring everything, we hardly need the state to get in the game…

David Cameron the candidate said…

“If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.”



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Quote of the Day

Ken Clarke tells the Ben Fellows trial:

“The idea that I would go strolling off in order to grope a man in an office is highly unlikely.”

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