Ireland Votes 60% / 40% to Ratify Fiscal Treaty

Fear triumphed over anger and the Irish government won a mandate to ratify the EU Fiscal Treaty on a turnout of 50.6%.

Guido bought advertising across Ireland parodying the Yes side’s CEO-fronted campaign (above) and is a little worried that people took it literally and followed the “advice” of Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein to vote in favour of paying billions to Irish taxpayer bailed out bond holders. As is traditional in Ireland we may yet get another repeat referendum if France’s President Hollande renegotiates the terms all over again…

The Scilly Spring – Islanders Demand an Elected Mayor

Last week Guido brought you the news of a council chief executive who was so desperate to stop the only school in his control from becoming an academy, that he suspended the headteacher without following due process or presenting any evidence for an alleged financial irregularity.

Until Craig Oliver went to town on Norman Smith, the story was one of the highest ranking of the week as residents of the Isles of Scilly flocked to the comment section to vent their frustration at the nation’s smallest Unitary Authority and its loathed leader Philip Hygate. The problems blighting this tiny archipelago are a fascinating microcosm of the problems that blight all of government. Namely, vested interests, concentrated power and incompetence. 

Word has reached the mainland that a few brave islanders viewed the suspension of the popular headteacher as the last straw. Last night a public meeting was held. More than two hundred attended – 10% of the population – despite reports of intimidation from the Council and threats not to attend. One would-be revolutionary told Guido it was a “we the people” moment, with islanders overwhelmingly signing motions including scrapping the post of Chief Executive and replacing it with an Executive Mayor. It was apparently “the most mild mannered revolution of all time.” Guido understands that at least one Minister has a holiday booked on Scilly this summer, perhaps he should take Hilton, Gove and Pickles with him…

Friday Caption Contest (Slap Edition)

The wittiest caption wins a Jubilee bunch from Arena Flowers

Labour Staff Reprimanded for Interfering in Internal Elections
General Secretary Demands Block On Email Electioneering

This email went out to Labour staff 5 minutes ago:

From: Iain_McNicol
Date: 1 June 2012 12:04:13 GMT+01:00
To: All_Staff
Subject: Staff and Internal Elections

Dear All,

Over the past week I have received a number of complaints about staff interfering with internal elections.

Although no rules have been broken, the spirit of the rules has been tested and the timings questionable. With NPF and NEC as well as Police Commissioner elections coming up, there is a lot of attention being given to these key selections.

Recently emails have gone out to members from some people seeking to gain positions in these elections. I must remind staff that helping candidates to contact members whilst they are seeking election unless it is part of your constituency responsibilities is not acceptable.

I came into this job to change the way our party operates. I want to create a party that empowers and respects its staff, but at the same time I want to create a party that is open and transparent. To this end I have asked the chair of the NEC – Michael Cashman and Executive Director for Governance and Party Service, Emilie Oldknow alongside chair of the JTUC, Ray Walker to work on a code of conduct for staff covering internal elections as I do not feel the current staff handbook deals sufficiently with the issue.

I hope that staff based in head office, across the nations and regions and those working in local offices understand the severity of the issue. Upholding our own rules and remaining fair is the role of all our staff and any failure to do so can only undermine our internal democracy which does us no favours.

After such great results in May, of which you all contributed, I hope we can have a summer where we build on these successes that lead to us being a one term opposition. Creating a fair, open and transparent party is a vital step in the right direction.

Yours

Iain

Iain McNicol
General Secretary

Background to this can be found over at LabourList, this article on the Labour Party’s “culture of fixing” elaborates. LabourList’s editor Mark Ferguson says “at the moment, some of the actions that go on in our supposedly democratic party would shame a low grade banana republic.” Blairite Phil Collins said the same in an article in The Times recently in an uncoded attack on Tom Watson’s machinations…

Exclusive: No. 10 SpAd Sean Worth QuittingMoving to Policy Exchange Think Tank

Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Sean Worth is departing government to head up an investigation into better public services at Policy Exchange. It seems to be mid-term transfer season with lots of  SpAds looking to move on and out. Worth was on secondment to fire-fight at health and Guido hears, like another recently departed member of Team Dave, he wants to be able to speak out more than he currently can about how to radically reform the public sector.

This is the second prominent hire for Policy Exchange from government – with No.10 policy wonk James O’Shaughnessy also joining their teamTraditionally seen as a bit of a SpAd school, Policy Exchange seems to becoming a rehab centre for them on the way out of government too…

Pic via Political Pictures

UPDATE:

+ + + Vicky Pryce Pleads Not Guilty + + +
+ + + Chris Huhne Does Not Enter Plea + + +

Vicky Pryce defence at her trial will be “marital coercion”.

Chris Huhne has not entered a plea.

Very interesting…

UPDATE: 

Sun says

“Why doesn’t George Osborne just get a box of matches, set fire to his Budget and start all over again?”

Huhne in the Dock

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce are up at Southwark Crown Court at 9.30. A full trial is expected to take place in the autumn. Huhne has consistently denied the allegations, but were his ex-wife to plead guilty, he could be in extremely sticky situation. What a lovely sunny morning…



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Quote of the Day

Asim Quereshi, research director of CAGE, the British “independent advocacy organisation”, on Jihadi John:

“[He is] a victim… extremely kind, gentle, the most humble person… a beautiful young man”

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