David Miliband and the Ugandan Tax Row

milibandDavid Miliband’s links to a controversial oil company that makes its billions in Uganda are back in the news today. The £500,000-a-year globe-trotter has faced scrutiny for his role in securing sponsorship for Sunderland FC from Tullow Oil, an oil giant that has in the past been accused of driving villagers from their homes and bribing officials. Today the Ugandan government is alleging that they have taken huge sums of money out of the poverty-stricken country by allegedly not paying an 18% tax imposed on its mining machinery. Tullow is requesting that the dispute be referred for arbitration.

Maybe a certain former Foreign Secretary can use his diplomacy expertise to help them reach a resolution…

The Godless Daily Politics Christmas Card

sunday-daily-politics-xmas-card

Not the first time I’ve seen Giles with a red nose…

New Statesman Internship Auctioned for £1,000
Intern Aware Say Staggers Should be “Ashamed”

At the recent Olympics Ball raising money for Britain’s young athletes, the New Statesman, that paragon of equality of opportunity, auctioned off internships £1,000-a-pop. A great scoop from Dave Lee this lunchtime. “You will have the chance to contribute your ideas and writing to their hugely popular website” gushed Lot 75 with a starting bid of £1,000. Guido is currently trying to find out exactly how much the slave ship ticket actually went for.

Seeing as the Staggers would be getting the free labour from whichever champagne-swilling parent that coughed up for their lucky child’s week of work experience, would they be contributing anything to the deal? “No travel included”.

Last year Helen Lewis gleefully reported on Tom Watson’s attack on the Tories when they tried a similar wheeze:

“The Labour MP Tom Watson told the Mail: “This is a crass example of rich Tories buying privilege. Most young people could only dream of this opportunity. The Conservatives flog them like baubles and fill their coffers with the profits. It is obscene.”” 

Though perhaps it is Laurie Penny, naturally writing in the Staggers, who put it best:

“The Telegraph reports that across the country hundreds of placements are being sold or brokered, often at similar auctions for the wealthy, where the fact that proceeds go to charity gives the new nobility yet another reason to be smug about giving themselves the life chances that previous generations enjoyed for free. For the few of us who are wealthy enough to finance ourselves through work placements, only a firm push is needed to force open the doors of opportunity. Without a co-ordinated effort to reverse this regressive trend, the years to come will be littered with wasted potential and filled with disappointment for young people with nothing to bring to the table but talent, creativity and ambition.”

Intern Aware have slammed the Staggers this afternoon:

“Most people can’t afford to work for free and even fewer people can afford to pay thousands of pounds for the privilege of interning. The New Statesman should be ashamed of operating a practice than puts opportunities out of the hands of hardworking and talented young people.”

They also estimate that “around 1/3 of the editorial staff at any one time are unpaid. Not only do they readily do all the necessary drudgework, they help to depress the wages of paid journalists there.” Shame on them.

Read Dave Lee’s original posting here.

UPDATE: A source tells Guido that the internship went for close to £1,250.

Mitchell: It Wasn’t Me
Former Chief Whip Considering “Range of Further Actions”

Well that was quick:

“Andrew has made no formal complaint to anyone. He reiterates that the contents of the alleged log book are false.”

“No formal complaint”? Not another dispute over words surely?

UPDATE:

“Andrew has made no complaint, formal or informal to the police. He first learnt of the arrest on Sunday evening. He is considering a range of further actions because, as he has consistently made clear, the content of the alleged Police log is false.”

Sounds like some legal action coming down the line.

No Answers from Mitchell Yet on Leak Complaint

Andrew Mitchell’s office are yet to add anything to his statement outside his house this morning. Guido has specifically asked them to confirm or deny any involvement with a complaint to the Met about at the leak of the police log. Should be a pretty simple one to clear up…

Video via ITV.

Prezza, Parties, and Sally on the Sauce
Daily Star Sunday Column Now Online

If you had picked up your copy of the Daily Star Sunday yesterday you would already know that:

  • The PM has organised his Lobby drinks to clash with Ed Balls’ long-scheduled shindig. Coincidence? Meanwhile Nick Clegg’s Christmas drinks at Prezza’s old place seemed dull in comparison to George Osborne’s Gangnam Style antics.
  • Sally Bercow is officially back on the sauce, with a potential £50,000 bill due to Lord McAlpine who can blame her?
  • Louise Mensch has taken up weight-lifting, “to give her upper body strength to match the lower body strength she gets from jogging”. Well she needs something to pass the time.

Yesterday’s column is now online here

Quote of the Day

Exiting socialist France, Gerard Depardieu tells PM who insulted him…

“Despite my excesses, my appetite and love for life, I am a free being, Sir, and will remain polite.”

Caption Contest Winner

3Friday’s caption contest winner is ‘Dennis MacShane’s Shed’, with just about the only publishable entry:

“That Mitchell and Webbed Look.”

Get in touch for your copy of Fred Metcalf’s “Dictionary of Humorous Political Quotations”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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