Jack Dromey hard at work this morning in the chamber. Careful now.
Jack Dromey hard at work this morning in the chamber. Careful now.
Dissent will not be tolerated. Ever since Ed’s deliberate war with the Mail over a mere headline, any story that displeases the Labour Party is billed a smear or an attack on Miliband without substance. It’s a deliberate strategy to try to hamstring the coming media onslaught in the run up to the next election. By billing Ed as some self-appointed moral media guardian who is only being attacked because of his stance of standing up to the press, they hope to blunt the multitude of legitimate blows. In reality, it’s just another attempt by a worried party that has a penchant for strong-arming the media. Labour should save the word “smear” for a morning when one of their donors and advisers hasn’t just been nicked.
Further to last Tweet, Times has twice splashed in last fortnight worrying about A&E crisis + IDS' Universal Credit. ToryHQ didn't complain.—
Tim Montgomerie (@TimMontgomerie) November 22, 2013
UPDATE II: Worth noting a Miliband flunky retweeted the tweet on his behalf, so Ed is fully behind the shoot the messenger strategy.
Rev Flowers has been nicked as Labour’s Co-op embarrassment makes the front pages once again this morning. By far Guido’s favourite story of the day however is this little gem found by the Sun, who have got hold of Facebook messages written by Flowers in which he lusts over a certain party loving Labour frontbencher:
Thank god he didn’t favourite anything on Twitter…
The Ladies and Gentleman of the Lobby have degenerated into a gaggle of squabbling hairdressers because of a small scale attempt to recreate Washington’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The respective chairmen of the Lobby and the Press Gallery – James Chapman of the Mail and Chris Hope of the Telegraph – wrote to all three hundred hacks covering Parliament to tell them most of them will not be invited to their exclusive black tie dinner in January. All three party leaders are pencilled in to attend the grandiose “Westminster Correspondents’ Dinner 2014″, sponsored by Bloomberg and to be held in the cramped Members’ Dining Room:
“Once spaces have been allocated for guests and sponsors, there are 53 pairs of tickets available. This means that not everyone will be able to come who wants to. If the dinner is an over-subscribed success – which we very much hope it will be – we’re looking at moving to a larger venue in 2015. There is no easy way to divide 53 pairs of tickets between 300 political journalists. After extensive discussion, a sub-group of the Press Gallery committee, which has been set up to look at the best way forward, has decided to allocate one pair of tickets each to the 23 organisations listed below.
Daily and Sunday Express and Daily Star
Daily Mail, Mail on Line and Mail on Sunday
Daily and Sunday Mirror and Sunday People
Daily and Sunday Telegraph
Guardian, Guardian Unlimited and Observer
Independent and Independent on Sunday
The Sun and the Sun on Sunday
The Times and Sunday Times
Channel 4 News
So with just one pair of tickets per news organisation, all hell has broken loose as Sunday and Daily titles bicker and squabble over who gets to go. The only amusement for the warring inkies has been seeing the massively over represented BBC staff incandescent that they have been given just six tickets to share between dozens. Needless to say there are a lot of very bruised egos about.
Miserable deputies and lowly scribes who have missed out are placated with:
“The only comfort we can offer is that the disappointment will be spread widely. There will be losers in every organisation.”
That’s should ease the pain for the poor hard done by lambs.
UPDATE: The BBC’s James Landale has been “elected” as the new chairman of the Press Gallery.
From the Leicester Mercury:
Three of the most vocal Labour MPs sticking up for the Co-op are the ones who have had their pockets lined by the group. Ed Balls isn’t giving back that £50,000 cash bung, though he did his best to repay them in kind by loudly asking if Cameron had ever done cocaine at PMQs.
Balls has once again sent out poor little Chris Leslie to fight his corner this morning. The deeply unimpressive Shadow Chief Secretary tried to spin with a straight face (and fear in his eyes) that “there are now serious questions for George Osborne to answer about how the Co-operative Bank got into trouble on his watch”. The Co-op have given Leslie’s local party £3,040 in the last two years. More of a wet fart than a bang for their buck.
Co-op MP Jon Ashworth fresh from paternity leave has penned an article defending the mess. It goes without saying that he is also in their pay. Labour owe the Co-op millions so should be glad the group are only calling in favours rather than the actual cash.
The impotent Committee on Standards have decreed that Tim Yeo should be allowed to return as Chairman of the Energy Select Committee despite suggesting that “some of the comments he made could damage the reputation of the House”. He even used the “it was a joke” excuse at one point. The Committee’s report found:
“There are two aspects of his behaviour, which are linked and which might be thought to damage the reputation of the House. The first of these is his comment that he told the director what to say in his evidence and linked to this is his comment that “What I do in private is another matter”. Taken together and at face value they could give the impression of a senior member of the House who has little regard for the rules and can easily find his way round them in order to suit his own purposes.”
Despite that, MPs on this particular complaint have circled the wagons for one of their own and instead attacked journalists for doing their job. This was a niche inquiry into just one accusation, and Yeo’s colleagues have chosen to turn a blind eye to the rest of his money grabbing ways.
Guido was particularly disturbed by this line of the report:
“receipt by a Member of a salary from public funds has not hitherto been a ground per se for imposing restrictions on the outside interests. We see no reason why a different principle should apply to payments to select committee chairmen.”
How they cannot see why a elect committee chairman having outside commitments directly related to his brief is a serious conflict of interest?
Yeo was not probed on stench around his relationship with Eco City Vehicles and their wheeler deal to conveniently introduce an age limit for London’s taxis. Not the job where Yeo was paid £440-an-hour that he mysteriously quit on the quiet when No. 10 started asking awkward questions. Nor when he used his position to lobby the government for more flights to China, the very same day that his company TMO Renewables signed a multi-million pound deal in – you guessed it – China. No investigation into his conflict of interest around AFC Energy either and he never really explained why he was using Parliamentary facilities to host potential clients. No, the MPs decided to ignore all this.
Meanwhile Yeo is fighting for his career locally as his association seem fed up with his pomposity and his refusal to spend any time anywhere near the seat. To fight off such “absolutely outrageous allegations”, Yeo spent last week sucking up to the corrupt Azerbaijani dictatorship in Baku at an oil industry conference.
You would need a heart of stone not to laugh at the irony of Miliband launching his “Real Change” campaign to clean up banking straight from the Co-op crack den last summer. Standing proudly in the headquarters of Labour’s ethical bank, Miliband set out his vision to stop all those other big, nasty banks from behaving badly:
“I think that the thing the British people want most of all is banks which reflect their values – responsibility, integrity, reward linked to effort… You [the Co-op] have always understood that ethics of responsibility, co-operation and stewardship must be at the heart of what we do.”
Fast forward a year and a half and Labour stands accused of covering up a raft of gay porn allegations against crack-smoking Rev Flowers back when he was a councillor. And not a Miliband call for an inquiry in sight. How’s that whole responsibility and integrity thing going, eh Ed?
Tory MPs walking to the Tea Room report that Gordon has been loudly remonstrating Labour whips in their office so loudly that they could hear from the corridor. The former Prime Mentalist is apparently rather unhappy at being made to come back to vote, as he is paid to do, when the Tory army rebellion was beaten comfortably. One tells Guido he was “having an absolute barney”. It’s almost as if he’s an ex-politician resenting being made to represent his constituents…
You have to think that Chris Grayling is playing this pretty well, offering to pass such a complex and important decision over to Parliament.
He appeared in front of the Prisoner Voting Bill committee this morning, and said a number of things he’s said before. But they’re worth repeating:
The European Court of Human Rights is an “unlimited jurisprudence”. It has expanded its remit, lost its focus and has gone far beyond its creators’ intentions. In its first half-century it made 800 judgements – it currently has 100,000 cases on its books.
It recently attempted to force Britain to allow US-style political advertising (it lost by one vote). “It absolutely befuddles me how this is a matter of human rights,” Grayling said.
Martin Bashir Resigns After S**t in Her Mouth Palin Rant | Media Guido
Balls’ Bet to Beat Osborne | Mary Riddell
Plain Packs U-Turn Disregards Evidence | Trending Central
Where Were Co-ops Directors? | Jesse Norman
Osborne is a Failure | Telegraph
Balls Works Sky News Party | Speccie
I’m Depressed | John Woodcock MP
Labour’s Error Filled Energy Market Analysis | ManicBeancounter
Cameron’s £45 Million Pig Semen Deal | Buzzfeed
The Truth About Richard Peppiatt | Dennis Rice
We’re All Patriots Now | Quentin Letts
Nigella on her coke use:
“I don’t have a drug problem, I have a life problem.”