Monday, July 16, 2012

Forza Berlusconi

Lets get ready to bunga! Silvio Berlusconi has all but confirmed he will run again for Prime Minister in the forthcoming Italian general election.  Silvio dropped a strong hint over the weekend by renaming his party Forza Italia, the banner under which he has had such much previous success, before giving the game away: “it’s difficult to keep anything secret“. As Guido reported last week the rumours were swirling, but it looks like we are on judging by the interview has given Germany’s Bild today:

“When I took the field eighteen years ago, I saved Italy from communism…In the next few days, I’ll be having a private meeting with Vladimir Putin and we’ll be talking about this. He looks on me as a sort of older brother. We discuss everything…I am asked often and emphatically to step back into the political ring…I can only say I won’t let my party down.”

Go on Silvio, you know you want to…

Boris comments on the Bruce Springsteen outrage:

“It sounds to me like an excessively officious decision. You won’t get that during the Olympics. If they’d have called me, my answer would have been for them to jam in the name of the Lord!” 

Beeb Sex Up Annual Report

The BBC has released its annual report this afternoon, springing a major surprise by awarding itself top marks across the board:

  • BBC 2: “High quality, fresh and new“.

Does that include Newsnight?

  • BBC 3: “Strong year“.

Tell that to those who got the chop

  • BBC 4: “Performed very well“.

Never mind the £700m black hole...

  • Radio 4: “An excellent year“.

Not for for gaffe guru Jim Naughtie…

  • BBC News: “The most trusted source for news in the UK“.

Craig Oliver may disagree

No one mention the Diamond Jubilee…

Ken’s Crony Crow Sues and Loses

PA is reporting that Bob Crow has lost his libel action against Boris:

“The general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) had complained about leaflets produced for Mr Johnson’s campaign for re-election in May. He said they meant that his policies, leadership of the RMT and association with Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Ken Livingstone, seriously damaged Mr Livingstone’s electoral prospects and caused grave harm to Londoners’ interests.

Mr Crow also claimed they meant that he was part of and supported a culture of political immorality involving broken promises, cronyism, scandals and waste. But Mr Justice Tugendhat, at the High Court, ruled today that the words complained of were not capable of being defamatory of the union leader.”

Quite…

Watch: Leves Miserables

Another Leveson musical is doing the rounds:

Some of this is pretty cringe but the David Cameron on the stand bit did tickle Guido…

Via @Kevin_Maguire

Farage Eyes Eastleigh

Nigel Farage is up to something. He’s very publicly challenged Cameron to a debate, delivering a personal note to No.10 this morning:

“I propose a public debate between us where we can put our respective cases forward. My challenge to you is an open and honest one and I hope you will afford me, and the people of this country, a proper say on the matter.”

True to form, the UKIP leader took some ladies with him for the ride. While a debate between these two would no doubt be a belter, it’s not going to happen. Where Farage chose to announce his debate plan did pique Guido’s interest though. It seems he has spent the weekend in the prospective battlefield site of Eastleigh – Chris Huhne’s seat. For now…

Hypothetically, were there to be a by-election in the seat it would tear the coalition apart. There is plenty of bad blood on the ground after local Tories were narrowly defeated by vicious LibDem campaigns in election after election. Nobody would be pulling their punches this time…

If LibDem polling figures remain where they are, it will be the Tories’ to lose, but there are also 10,000 Labour votes up for grabs. With a decent tactical campaign UKIP could easily pick up significantly more than the 3,000 votes they secured in 2010. And not just from from disillusioned Tories…

Interestingly Farage stood in the seat in 1994, he reportedly told a local crowd on Saturday: “coming to Eastleigh is like coming home”“Eastleigh is a site of some interest” a UKIP spokesmen told Guido this afternoon, though they would not be drawn on speculation. Ingratiating himself with local businesses? Talking to residents? Whatever could he be up to…

Photos via Eastleigh News

Guardian Comes Out for Cuts
Rusbridger to Beg Staff to Quit

Apparently Alan Rusbridger has had a change of heart and is getting ready to declare that cuts are “essential”. No, not to the size of the state or the spending budget, but to the ailing Guardian Media Group. Guido hears that this year’s publishing losses will be up on the £38m lost last year with a £40m figure being banded about. A staff meeting is scheduled for tomorrow with managers set to beg more editorial staff to take voluntary redundancy before the axe comes out…

Michael White Owes Guido An Apology

The controversial Downing Street Second Email System story is back in the news. In 2007 in the middle of Blair’s Loans for Lordships crisis and the arrest of Downing Street officials by police searching for evidence, Guido alleged that there was a second, unofficial, email system in Downing Street used to send off-the-record emails. The Mail on Sunday ran with the story, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman under questioning from the Lobby denied its existence at two briefings. Guido demanded that the PMOS issued a correction, none was forthcoming. Shortly after on Newsnight, back in his more camera-shy days, Guido repeated the allegation. Michael White in no uncertain terms sided with the PMOS saying Guido’s story was untrue, based on the word of PMOS rather than any research.

Under questioning about this subject by MPs on the Public Administration Select Committee Blair’s Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell also claimed “There is no second email system inside No 10.” Damian McBride two weeks ago confirmed the existence of a second email system in Downing Street. Michael will surely want to correct his naive mistake…

Yesterday’s Daily Star Sunday Column Now Online

If you had picked up your Daily Star Sunday yesterday you would already know who is sleeping on the job, why CCHQ is flapping about party conference and a taxing problem for Ed Miliband.

You would also have the inside track on Chris Huhne’s latest legal shenanigans – his lawyer forced a change of judge on seemingly spurious grounds. Of course this has nothing to do with said judge having form in banging up MPs…

Yesterday’s column is now online here

Kill George

It’s Kill Osborne season. Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun keeps up the pressure after another terrible round of Sunday’s for the Chancellor:

“It is Mr Osborne, not Nick Clegg’s Lib Dem rabble, who is to blame for the Government’s collapse in public esteem… In a few short weeks, Mr Osborne has shredded his reputation and turned the Coalition into a lame duck administration. It takes a special talent to cast Mr Balls on the right side of an economic argument but Mr Osborne somehow managed to do so. If the Prime Minister cannot grasp this nettle, he is finished.”

It’s amazing who you bump into on trains. Guido was chatting with this morning a loyal Cameroon source, familiar with Andrew Cooper’s polling numbers, who confirmed the speculation that Osborne is the biggest drag on the ticket in Downing Street’s private polling. Since the budget, George’s already shaky polling figures have apparently dropped through the floor and are showing no sign of recovery.

Guido understands that the reshuffle was planned for the week after the senior government appearances at Leveson. It would have been a nice distraction if things had gone disastrously. However given that the outcome of Cameron evidence was seen as an embarrassment rather than full on danger, with his tactician’s hat on, Osborne convinced Dave to delay. A month ago he would have been safe in his job, but 5 September is a very long way away…


Seen Elsewhere

It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
England Must Have Self-Government Too | Mark Wallace
Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Unionists Outgunned | Times


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Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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