A big round of applause to the Liberal Democrat activist Dan Falchikov who spent an entire train journey mouthing off about how he stirred up a rumour that had been picked up by the press about the closure of Kingston Hospital. Richmond MP Susan Kramer quickly got a campaign up but little did Mr Falchikov realise he was infact sitting opposite the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire, who was commuting in from his million pound suburban mansion:
On train a bloke’s boasting on mobile he got Evening Standard to claim Lab has secret plans to shut Kingston Hospital – 9:57 AM Jan 27th
He’s “a manifesto to write”. Tory? Wearing Hibs scarf. Clocking his details. May sneak photo to track down. Or could always ask! -10:01 AM Jan 27th
This is the Kingston hospital scare bloke. Anyone know him? He’s a loud mouth in public places http://tweetphoto.com/9705183 – 11:42 AM Jan 27th
Ta all Tweeters. Hospital phone man ID’d as Lib Dem activist Dan Falchikov. He should stop SHOUTING on trains – 3:22 PM Jan 27th from web
Clearly a fan of EyeSpyMP, Maguire snapped the loose lipped liberal and plastered his first name and photo across Twitter. He was soon identified. No where is safe anymore… the walls really do have ears (and cameras).
Kramer is up against Zac Goldsmith’s extremely well funded campaign and is obviously feeling the heat if she is fighting so dirty that she has stooped to having her campaigners make stuff up. Goldsmith has jumped on the story unsurprisingly. Once again it is another blow to the image of the Liberal Democrats as fluffy and nice that Clegg and Cowley Street constantly spin. On the ground the yellow team are spiteful and vicious.
There is something cynical about Cameron’s modernised, de-toxified, “we’ve changed” Tories getting into bed with the Northern Irish unionist parties. By all means stand Conservative and Unionist candidates, but a readiness to do a back room deal with what remains a bigoted and sectarian political force is not something of which to be proud. They are hardly ideological allies of the progressive, liberalising force in society that the modernised Tories claim to be.
The news that the Orange Order is trying to match-make between the UUP and DUP by convening secret “unity talks” should come as no surprise. The Orangemen have played off the mainland parties for decades, trading their votes for favours. If the Tories get outwitted again by the men in orange sashes don’t be surprised…
Dave had a frank chat with newspaper editors and media big-shots at Davos yesterday. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was one of them. It was on a strictly off-the-record basis. Why?
Presumably Dave was speaking honestly in language that he didn’t think the unwashed voters should hear. Straight-talking Dave is clearly not for public consumption. At best it is evidence of the contempt in which the public is held by the political elite, at worst it is an admission that Cameron’s private views are different from his public positions. Very, very worrying.
Wikileaks, the groundbreaking website which publishes what people don’t want you to know in an increasingly hostile legal environment, is in financial difficulties. The website is down and the home page is requesting donations. By coincidence the BBC’s Culture Show did a profile last night of the website (go 17 ½ minutes in on iPlayer).
Wikileaks refuses to accept corporate sponsorship. As someone who uses it both as a tool and a resource it seems to me that this is making things unnecessarily hard for themselves. So long as they have a plurality of donors and don’t give donors any control it doesn’t matter.
A lot of new media and tech corporations would be happy to just be associated with Wikileaks…
This is the big day for the chattering classes. Today at the Chilcot Inquiry the unreconciled anti-war left hopes Blair will trip up and effectively confess to war crimes, the commentariat are looking for closure – “the questions Blair must answer”, Hampstead and Islington intellectuals are looking for new material for after-dinner arguments. Cameroons will look on misty-eyed as the maestro shows how it is done. There will be something for everyone today. In the end, after six hours of testimony, Guido reckons Blair will walk away with his reputation unchanged. No one will change their mind as a result of Blair’s testimony today. Nevertheless for the political classes today is the super-bowl of political self-justification.
Sir Thomas Legg will report on Tuesday the long awaited results of his audit of MPs expenses. Right about now Members are opening letters revealing whether their appeals against Legg’s stringent payback requests have failed or not. Someone who has read the report told the Standard that it is a “brutal … unexploded bomb”. Not only will over three hundred of the troughing piggies be slammed on Tuesday, but Legg also goes after the officials who allowed the pocket lining to continue without raising eyebrows. Great news.
The decision to bring in Legg was a rushed one taken by Downing Street at the height of the expenses scandal and it has come back to bite Gordon. Not only was he himself ordered to pay back over twelve grand but his measure designed to restore faith in Parliament has come full circle and in the end will reopen the expenses scandal, reignite all that hate and anger, with less than one hundred days until the election.
Another great tactical move from the bunker.
Rumours are swirling around about the near daily smell of fine Cuban smoke emanating from the loos on the fourth floor of Portcullis House first thing in the morning.
Who is this iconoclastic lone law flouter willing to start the day in style?
Guido has his suspicions…
Austin Mitchell has an EDM up supporting Scams Awareness Month,
“this House welcomes the Office of Fair Trading’s Scams Awareness month blah blah blah”
By coincidence this week Austin Mitchell was ordered to repay £10,000 he over-claimed on his mortgage.
At 4 p.m. today MPs find out if Legg has rejected their appeals to be allowed to get away with such scams…
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 Now Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Labour Will Lose Commons if Scotland Votes Yes | Times
Miliband Blanked Gordon | Damian McBride
Cameron Surrenders Keys to Union | Rachel Sylvester
Boris Not Moving to Uxbridge | Scrapbook
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.”