Friday, May 22, 2009

Guido is Unwell

The good weather has made Guido unwell.  It was because of the sunshine that Guido drunk a couple of jugs of Pimms.  Which led to a few beers, which led to a sip of Jack Daniels which possibly led to a Baileys. It was a bit fuzzy by this point.  This was in the evening, lunchtime had already seen a few bottles polished off in remembrance of Lord Rennard.  Mostly the weather is to blame.

Meantime enjoy Jon Stewart’s take on Scamalot:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rennard Round-Up

Rennard’s goodbye letter said he was leaving not because of the News of the Screws revealing his dishonesty, not because of his expenses and not because of Newsnight featuring him as the emblematic LibDem expense trougher last night. His letter was as true and as accurate as any LibDem leaflet he has ever written.

    Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone We're in Stockwell

  • Nick Clegg had a two hour meeting with Chris Rennard this morning.  No doubt they were discussing his diabetes medication programme.
  • Paul Burstow, Chief Whip in the House of Commons, phoned a number of female LibDem PPCs personally to assure them that Chris Rennard would no longer be in charge of their careers.
  • The Federal Executive meeting on Monday was supposed to be the denouement of Rennard. As it turns out the Newsnight reference to Rennard was the final straw for Clegg who is as keen as Cameron on getting credit for running a clean party.

The News of the World is not focusing on Chris Rennard’s financial misdemeanours.  A number of Cowley Street staffers are rejoicing at the departure of of the Chief Executive.  Mostly female staff…

+++ Labour MP Ben Chapman Standing Down Over Fiddles +++

+++ Rennard Resigns +++

UPDATE :

Dear [ ],
Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone We're in StockwellFirst, I’d like to thank all members for everything that you are doing to help our candidates in the European and local elections (if you have local elections in your area). I am sure that they appreciate your support at a difficult time in politics. If you are standing yourself, then obviously I wish you the best of luck!

My reason for writing is that I have decided to make the current election campaigns my last as Chief Executive. I discussed this with Nick some time ago and I have given notice to the Party President that I will stand down as Chief Executive at the end of the Summer. I want to be able to work more flexibly in future whilst of course continuing to help our party advance. I believe that I will be better able to do so without the administrative burdens of being Chief Executive and running the party’s day to day organisation. For family and health reasons, I have needed to change the way in which I work. My wife Ann has supported me enormously in all my work. But since she retired a few years ago after more than 35 years teaching, we wanted to have something of a more normal life outside the Westminster bubble. This has become more important to me as I have struggled to maintain good diabetic control with the rigours of a very demanding lifestyle. This has proved to be increasingly difficult whilst carrying out the role of Chief Executive at HQ and around the country.

I decided that this Summer would be the best time for me and for the party to make a change. I am letting the party know this now, so that it can take the necessary steps to appoint a new Chief Executive in the Autumn.

My major work as Chief Executive in recent years has been to help create new structures for the party organisation and help to recruit an extremely strong professional team to work for it. The role of Chief Executive has therefore changed significantly since I undertook this role six years ago.By the Summer, we will have had crucial local and European elections and I believe that we will do well in them. I am also confident that Nick Clegg will prove to be the most successful Leader that we have ever had. I am immensely proud of the roles that I have played so far in securing the steady advance of the Liberal Democrat cause. Our values and beliefs have never been more important than they are today. I will, of course, continue to support the General Election campaign, but not as chair. Finally, I would just like to thank all members personally for all the support that I have had whilst working for the party and I look forward to continuing to work with you in future.

With all best wishes,

Yours sincerely
Chris

+++ S&P Downgrades UK Government Debt +++

Gilts have tumbled on the news that the debt rating agency Standard & Poor’s has just lowered its credit outlook on the U.K. to negative, from stable, in view of the government debt crisis.

S&P has so far kept the Triple “A” rating intact, but the outlook change signals that the the UK’s credit rating could be lowered:

“We have revised the outlook on the U.K. to negative due to our view that, even assuming additional fiscal tightening, the net general government debt burden could approach 100% of GDP and remain near that level in the medium term…”

Note the use of the term “general government debt”. That is because government uses discredited debt definitions to make out that Britain has lower government debt than it really does.  The markets simply don’t believe the government’s figures.

Last October Guido “Asked the PM” via video (creatively using Ms Fawkes’ crayons and sticky backed plastic) about how Gordon added up the national debt:

And he, errm, cheerily trotted out a very disingenuous line:



The markets didn’t believe him and now neither do the ratings agencies…

+++ Moran’s Andalucian Villa +++

Who Paid for This?

That makes how many properties?  Expat website the Olive Press reports Moran has made money renting her fourth home, a luxury property in the Alpujarras:

She has rented out the four-bedroom villa in Granada at various times since buying it in 1984… Holiday lettings agency Rustic Blue confirmed to the Olive Press that it had rented out the luxury property in Padre Eterno, near Orgiva on a number of occasions.

How much taxpayers money has she and her husband had to fund her lifestyle?

Financial Times Catches Margaret Moran Lying

If Margaret Moran was not toast already, she definitely is now.  The FT has caught her using her Commons office to promote her husband’s firm “EQN”.  Then they caught her lying about it.

"You just flip your designation and you are quids in."EQN’s accounts show its funding comes from public grants, business sponsorship and private events organised for paying clients, principally in the housing sector.

Hundreds of documents seen by the Financial Times dated from 2006 to 2008 show that Ms Moran used her parliamentary staff to write funding bids for EQN, telling one that the salary the individual received was tied to working for EQN. Her constituency office also helped organise “great networking opportunities” at EQN conferences with ministers personally invited by Ms Moran.

When EQN bids for funding were unsuccessful, Ms Moran repeatedly used Commons-headed paper to intervene with local authorities and Whitehall departments to express her “concern and amazement”.

EQN received grants in 2008 from public bodies including £10,000 from Luton Borough Council for local regeneration funding, and £20,000 from the East of England Development Agency’s Investing in Communities programme for a “feasibility study” into a local women’s business centre.

A statement authorised by Ms Moran in response to the FT stated that “Margaret has never written any letters for EQN on parliamentary headed notepaper”.

However, the FT has seen copies of letters written by Ms Moran in 2007 on Commons-headed paper supporting EQN funding bids and personal invitations to EQN events sent to businesses on Commons headed paper.

Cameron sacks MPs before dawn when the evidence shows them to be red handed.  Gordon just dithers.

Gordon is Afraid

Gordon said Blears’ house flipping and tax dodging was “totally unacceptable”, but apparently doing the unacceptable is acceptable if you are in cabinet.  Humiliatingly Brown’s spokesman was later sent out yesterday to express the Prime Minister’s “full confidence” in Hazel.

Blears is a fighter; a weak Prime Minister, unpopular and without authority, deprived of McBride* to put the frighteners on Cabinet ministers, is not going to scare the feisty redhead too much.  So she defys him and gets away with it.  As Brown looks round the cabinet table he can see known tax dodgers and profiteers from the public purse.  Hoon, Darling, Purnell, McNulty and Blears all sitting on their profits from playing the property market at our expense.

Brown is too afraid to reshuffle.  Disappoint Mandelson and the Prince of Darkness could easily lead a deputation for his removal.  Mandelson will surely be the undertaker for the Prime Ministerial coffin, probably with the other end of the coffin held by Jack Straw.  He can’t shift Miliband in case he swaps his banana for a backbone and challenges for the leadership.  He can’t fire Blears, because if Blears goes, Hoon must go too and so on…

At PMQs Cameron taunted him, that he was afraid of an election.  Afraid that he would lose in a landslide that would see Brown consigned to history as the worst PM in memory.  Poor Gordon, the “frightened faertie from Fife”…

*Believed to be in Nice, staying at a family owned apartment.  The booze is cheaper in Nice too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Anthony Steen to Spend More Time With His Garden

Anthony Steen MP is to retire at the next election, he has just told ConservativeHome

steen“The real issue is who can fix the country, and I have become a distraction, so have decided that I won’t stand again. I don’t want to risk the party losing the seat, so it is in the best interests of the party that I go. There has been no pressure from my association; they have been marvellous: members have been very put out by the Daily Telegraph coverage.  I’ve had a very good innings, there’s no bitterness, no anger, but as the saying goes, all political careers end in tears.”

He will be able to spend more time gardening, saving the taxpayer a fortune.  Voting blue in Totnes was perhaps going a little too “green” with Steen claiming some £88,000 in expenses for the upkeep of his garden.  Guido will admit this, Steen goes with class, without desperately clinging onto the greasy pole.

UPDATE : The Tory press office says: “Sir Peter Viggers has confirmed that he will retire as MP for Gosport at the next election. He will do so at the direct request of David Cameron”.  Out for a duck.  Well fired for claiming £1,645 for a floating “duck island” in his garden pond. Quackers.

+++ Lord Rennard to Get the Crick Treatment on Newsnight +++

Won’t be about his personal mores, just his financial dishonesty.  That Cowley Street moral high ground looking increasingly shaky..

Hat-tip : Liberal Vision


Seen Elsewhere

Labour’s Plan to Attack Part-Time Boris | Standard
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times
Another Spare Room Subsidy Cut Success | Harry Phibbs
Rich Now Have Less Leisure Than Poor | Economist
UKIP’s Immigration Policy Promotes Migrant Entrepreneurs | Breitbart
Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome


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A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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