Victory: Full Time Whitehall Pilgrims Defeated Guido Campaign Success as Frankie Wields the Axe

It is eighteen months since Guido launched his campaign against Pilgrims – taxpayer-funded trade union officials – and tonight victory of sorts can be be declared. During his speech to Tory party conference on Monday, Frankie Maude will announce a series of radical new measures which mean the Whitehall versions of Jane Pilgrim, Hank Roberts and Julie Davies will no longer be able to rip off the taxpayer for the unions’ benefit. Civil servants will now be banned from spending more than half their time on trade union work, with a new maximum of 0.1% of a departmental budget can now be spent on union representation. Paid time off for union activities has also been scrapped meaning we will no longer be picking up the tab for PCS conferences. Any special circumstances will have to be signed off at Ministerial level and details published online. The unions are furious, but there’s not much they can do to fight transparency.

Credit should be given to the sterling work done by the Trade Union Reform Campaign in helping to expose Pilgrims. TURC chairman Aidan Burley tells Guido:

“These welcome reforms are long over-due, and it speaks volumes that a Labour government bankrolled by the Unions never got round to even ensuring that Government Departments kept basic records of time employees spent on working for trade unions.”

While TURC CEO Mark Clarke adds:

“It is great news that Francis Maude is calling time on the wasteful practice of Pilgrims in central government. But this will still leave thousands of Pilgrims working in schools, hospitals and local government. That means nurses not nursing and teachers not teaching. The Maude reforms need to be extended across the whole public sector so we end this abuse once and for all.”

A very pleasing start, that needs to be enforced across the public sector..

The entire story of how Guido and co beat the Pilgrims, ranging from the outing of Jane Pilgrim to parties with Pickles and Frankie Maude’s consultation, can be seen here.

UPDATE: The Taxpayers’ Alliance data was at the heart of this fight, they’ve also responded to the news:

“This move to reduce facility time in Whitehall will save taxpayers millions of pounds, which will be most welcome at a time when hard-pressed families across the UK are having to tighten their belts.However, similar action is also going to be required elsewhere in the public sector. Only then will the days of nurses and council staff working full-time for the union instead of doing the job for which they are paid be consigned to history.”

Suspended Transport Civil Servant Kicks Back

It’s all kicking off tonight over at Transport as the suspended civil servant Kate Mingay, the Director of Commercial and Technical Services, has gone very rogue and is denying everything:

“While it has been widely reported in the context of the award of the franchise for the West Coast Mainline that I have been suspended, my role has been inaccurately portrayed mainly due to statements and other comment made by the Department for Transport itself. I would like to make it clear that:

•  I did not have lead responsibility for this project;

•  Neither I nor any member of my team had any responsibility for the economic modelling for this project, or for any Department for Transport project;

•  Nor did I have any responsibility for the financial modelling in respect of this project;

I have not been involved in briefing Department for Transport ministers or other government ministers in respect of this project.

I will of course cooperate fully with all ongoing and future investigatory processes in relation to this matter, but wanted to correct the completely inaccurate portrayal of my role immediately.”

If she didn’t lead on the project who did, and why were they not suspended?

Michael Green's Tory Conference Pass

No chance of the internet guru doing a Mitchell…

Via @MirrorJames

Cold-Blooded Ed Knifed McBride

Another cracker of a blog from Damian McBride today. We learn of Jonathan Freedland’s (disputed) role in the 2007 snap election decision, Andy Coulson’s dark arts spanners and how Brown’s inner circle thought he was about to have a breakdown – “Think his post-Mrs Duffy interview with Richard Bacon times 1,000”.

One of the most interesting stories recounted by McBride is his conversation with Ed Miliband after he had been accused of briefing against the future Labour leader:

“When he called me that Sunday, I told him what a joke it was that I was being accused of briefing against him and others. “But where’s it all coming from, Damian?” he said. “They’ve got all these details of the meetings we had; that must have come from you.” “Of course that stuff’s from me”, I said, “that’s just the colour – that’s harmless, but they’re accusing me of doing the lines blaming you and Douglas and Spencer for the whole thing.” “Well where’s all that coming from, Damian?”

His voice and tone reminded me eerily of Hal the computer in the film 2001. “I don’t know, but it’s not from me – I’d never brief against you.” “I don’t believe you, Damian” he said, “I think you’re lying.” It felt like an ice cold razor had been dragged down my spine. “Ed, for God’s sake, don’t say that. I’d never brief against you.” “That’s the trouble, Damian, I don’t believe that’s true. I think you’re lying.” “Stop saying that, Ed. You can’t accuse me of lying. I’m not going to have that.” “I can’t help it, Damian, I think you’re a liar.” “If you keep saying that, you know we’re finished, I’m not having that.” “I don’t care, Damian, I think we are finished.””

Watson and Balls should take note.

Friday Caption Contest (Note-less Tom Edition)

Pro-Chavez Labour MPs Fly to Venezuela

Opposition activists murdered, shocking human rights abuses and a tyrannical president – Venezuela is a lovely place. That hasn’t stopped a host of Labour MPs from enjoying an all-expenses paid trip to South America so they can “monitor” the upcoming elections. Usual suspects Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn, along with Grahame Morris and ex-Labour MP Colin Burgon are all flying to Venezuela.

At least we can guarantee impartiality, right? Wrong – they all attended a pro-Chavez rally in September. Diane’s people insist to Guido that: “she is there as an official election observer, not to lobby for a particular candidate. She just wants to see a free and fair election”Guido always thought Diane was Caracas…

Kay Burley is under fire this morning:

Find out why on MediaGuido

Video: Kay Burley April Jones Blunder

Kay Burley has broken the news of the April Jones murder inquiry to her godmother live on air. Needless to say this has not gone down well…

UPDATE: The full clip backs up Burley:

 

Will Dave and Nick Back Moalition?

It’s nearly that time of year again. Thousands of men up and down the country are set to take part in the Movember campaign to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Will they be joined by Dave and Nick? The Moalition Manifesto is calling for the PM and his Deputy to grow moustaches.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Snoop Dogg on why he won’t be voting for Mitt Romney:

“Bitch got a dancing horse.”[…] Read the rest

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+ + + Huhne Trial Delayed Until January + + +

Developing…[…] Read the rest

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Shapps A-OK With ASA, No Adverts to Ban

The Indy seem rather pleased with their report that the Advertising Standards Authority has launched a probe into the whole Grant Shapps/Michael Green affair. The internet guru won’t be breaking a sweat just yet – as Guido understands it there were no paid adverts on websites run by the Tory chairman’s alter ego so there is no advert to ban.[…] Read the rest

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Tory Guns Turn on Cameron

And so the bun fight begins. Liam Fox is attacking the “metropolitan elites” that run the party. Sources close to a Boris say it’s a “struggle to respect” Dave, something we all knew. It’s fallen to another former leadership opponent to try calm things down.[…] Read the rest

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