The “Top Secret” Menu at Chequers is Emblematic of Brown

The retreat of Gordon into the bunker has happened faster than predicted even by his worst enemies. Yesterday’s FT article by Sue Cameron was spot on. Gordon doesn’t have a vision beyond stuffing the Tories, with no genuine sense of the national interest, just the narrow party interest. Soldiers forinstance are merely handy photo-op props, under-funded and under-equipped. Cabinet government means government by his cronies in the cabinet. The cabinet is fearfully inert, unsure whether to continue the New Labour reform agenda of Blair, with more choice and reliance on the private sector, or revert to the top-down, centrally planned 1940s model. The Brownie clique of second raters itself is unsure what vision to offer.

The promises of open government and a new Gordon who had changed after the long march to oust Blair now ring hollow. An emblematic example of this is the determined resistance to revealing who ate what on the Chequers menu. The LibDems and the Tories are asking on behalf of the taxpayer who is dining at their expense.

Brown is blocking, quite wrongly, FoI requests, parliamentary questions and such like. Why?

What paranoia stalks government that makes it is a state secret to know who Gordon breaks bread with on the weekends?

No M’Lord

The FT may have lost a High Court battle to print the Northern Rock investment memo, Gordon somewhat pathetically at PMQs claimed it was “commercially sensitive” information to get him off the hook discussing it. Vince Cable lashed into him when he made that “absolutely bogus” claim. £24 billion of taxpayers money on a bail-out is a legitimate matter of public interest.

It is definitely not secret any more. Guido told you 4 hours ago where it could be found online in the U.S., it is as of now the top Google search result for Northern Rock Summary. You can’t keep politically expedient secrets in an open source world…

UPDATE : Our old friends Schillings are at it again. No Pasaran!

That “E-Borders” Announcement

Gordon came into office promising change with an end to spin and a return to the primacy of parliament with government announcements made first in the House, not on the Today programme.

The E-borders deal (worth £500m, £650m, or £1.2bn, depending on whether you believe the Sun, the Mirror, or the Home Office) was announced not on the Regulatory News Service, or via a statement to the House of Commons, but at the bottom of a story in the Sun, in an article by one G. Brown.

Market sensitive information, put out in a tabloid. So much for “change”…

Northern Rock Nationalised

Historically the Labour party has favoured the nationalisation of the banks, and with Northern Rock they have now achieved that objective.

The FT published yesterday an investment memorandum obtained by the FTs’ Alphaville blog (since injuncted* by a High Court Judge).

The document revealed that even if the bank was sold, the Bank of England would have to provide support to Northern Rock until 2010 when the stricken lender could still be in hock to the tune of £6bn.

This memo reveals that Northern Rock will owe £24bn to the Bank of England by the end of the year. It has effectively been nationalised without a vote held.

*The injuncted memo is online if you really want to read it in its entirety. Hosted in the U.S. tut, tut, tut.

OLR Win 90% of Government Contracts

OLR has become the Halliburton of British politics. Whereas Dick Cheney’s old firm was suspiciously successful in winning war profiteering contracts, Gordon’s crony pollster Deborah Mattinson’s OLR wins focus group and citizen’s juries contracts. Guido explained how this works in September. In May Guido revealed the £153,484.38 focus group. Why does Gordon like OLR so much? Well could it be that they get (free of charge) research results that give Gordon 92% approval ratings? Teasy May has now written to Gus O’Donnell, the head of the civil service, demanding an inquiry. She says “Citizens’ juries are increasingly looking like a sham… Not only are these glorified focus groups wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money but he has the nerve to award the contracts to his personal polling crony.” It is corrupt, plain and simple.

Gordon’s Little Secrets

Who does Gordon have over for dinner at Chequers? Shouldn’t be a state secret should it? After all you pay for it all, even Tony and Cherie allowed us to know who they had over for the weekend.

So why, when Gordon is supposedly committed to open government, are they stonewalling the Telegraph?

What is the Tory Treaty Referendum Policy?

Guido still doesn’t know what the Tory policy is on ratifying the EU Treaty. They want a referendum now, that at least is clear. Gordon is not going to “listen to the people”, that is also clear.

So what therefore would a Tory government do in power in 2010, two years after the treaty could be ratified? That Tory poster promising a Conservative government would hold a referendum was, we were told, incorrectly interpreted. Well that was the line last week…

Hague however said yesterday

“If we don’t succeed in forcing a referendum in this House and if we fail to win in another place (the Lords) and if all EU member states implement the treaty and if an election is held later in this Parliament, which is a lot of ifs … then we would be in a situation where we had a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. This would not be acceptable to a Conservative government and we would not let matters rest there.”

Now this could be a popular position, standing up to European meddling is always popular in Britain. So what if the continent is isolated from Britain? It would not be the first time that Britain has stood alone against a continental threat, would it?

Apart from Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine, no Tories that people have ever heard of would have a problem with this stance. So why not state the policy unambiguously? The Brownies are hoping to open up Tory divisions on this issue. The way to avoid that working is to clearly and decisively state that a Tory government will not be bound by a treaty not approved by the people. Ken and Hezza can be thanked politely for their opinion, they would no doubt still try to piss on the Eurosceptic parade, but so what? Ambiguity gives the press a story, clarity will kill the story and Brown’s divide and conquer plan will come to nought. Given that Cameron was elected to the leadership on a rock-solid Eurosceptic platform he can hardly be said to have given in to his Eurosceptic right-wing. He is a Eurosceptic right-winger…

Blair is Getting £400,000 a Year in Expenses

Just a teensy bit of help with office costs at the expense of the British taxpayer. Well he has two offices, one in Jerusalem and another in Mayfair. Handy for arranging those $500,000 speaking engagements in, errm, China.

359 Lords-a-Fiddlin’

Sam Coates in The Times has another research based snouts-in-the-trough piece. The evidence is that at least 359 Lords, that is the majority of the them, are fiddling their expenses. The evidence whilst circumstantial is particularly compelling. Can it be a coincidence that, according to the article;
  • 359 of the 550 Lords who claimed “day subsistence” — a £78.50 payment for meals and taxis — claimed the maximum on 95%of occasions or more.
  • 272 of the 406 peers who live outside London and claim “overnight subsistence” for hotels — worth £159.50 — claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more.
  • 338 of 514 Lords who claim office expenses, worth £69 a day, claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more. Unlike the House of Commons, secretarial costs are paid to the peer to distribute.
Essentially this is a tax-free fiddle with no receipts required. Guido has pointed to the prevalence of this fiddle before. Many of the same peers, particularly Labour ones, also get on a few Quangos as well to pad out their retirement as if the gold-plated, non-contributory pension benefits they voted themselves when they were MPs were not enough already. The gravy train flows thick and fast for many ennobled MPs.

What particularly irks and disgusts Guido, is that they claim £78.50 for “subsistence meals” per day and children in state schools get meals costing 40p per day. Shows their real priorities doesn’t it? They really know how to look after themselves don’t they?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Ronnie : Cameron Backs Entrepreneurs & Social Investment

Gordon will have bitten his nails to the quick after reading the Guardian this morning. Ronnie Cohen praises Cameron and criticises government policy – this from the man who has in the past given Labour £1.8m.

Asked what has gone wrong for Gordon, he is quoted as saying “All of a sudden what looked like a one-horse race is now a two-horse race.”

How does Ronnie feel about David Cameron becoming the next PM? “I am a businessman who supports a political party for two reasons: whether it supports entrepreneurship and social investment. If you said to me today, am I concerned about the possibility that a Conservative government would come back in and overturn the entrepreneurial system that we’ve worked so hard to do or seriously break the growth of social investment, I’d say no.” So Ronnie is now a swing voter.

Ronnie, who founded venture capitalists Apax Partners, doesn’t think much of Darling’s back-of-an-envelope plan to hike capital gains taxes 80% “Entrepreneurs need to recruit executives who know how to run a business. They’re on big salaries with big companies that offer pensions. A 10% rate enables someone with a big income to take a chance and work with an entrepreneur.” So will he actually be voting Labour this time?

Friday Caption Contest (Sunny’s Conspiracy Edition)

Co-operative Conservatives

Cameron gave a speech yesterday which he said was his “political philosophy in a nutshell”. So was it a vision moment? He said
“the co-operative principle reflects an important part of the vision of social progress that we on the centre-right believe in: the role of strong independent institutions, run by and for local people. That’s why Conservatives have always argued that free enterprise and the co-operative principle are partners, not adversaries. And now I want the Conservative Party to take the lead in applying the co-operative ideal to the challenges of the 21st century. So I am delighted to announce today the establishment of the Conservative Co-operative Movement. “

Over at LabourHome they have gone all “how very dare they” about Cameron’s Conservative Co-operative Movement. Guido had lunch with LabourHome founder Alex Hilton sometime ago, when Guido paid using a Co-operative Bank debit card he positively spluttered with indignation. “What is a capitalist like you doing banking with the Co-op?” The truth is co-ops are compatible with free enterprise, they can compete with profit-driven businesses and are a very welcome component of an enterprise culture. Guido tried to explain that for years he had worked in what was effectively a co-op. Hedge fund partnerships often work on the same principles as farmer’s co-ops, a few traders get together, share a pool of capital, share risks and share profits, just like members of an agricultural co-op do. Some of the swankiest property in New York is owned by billionaire members of co-ops. They do this because they are smart and don’t want a third party to profit at their expense. Co-ops have nothing to do with top-down state socialism.The chair of the Conservative Co-operative Movement will be Jesse Norman, the author of Compassionate Conservativism. In Latin-American countries political parties from across the spectrum often have a social-action wing that does good works. The thinking here is that state-controlled public services are too bureaucratic, too big and public service reform would be better served by harnessing the flexibility and dynamism of co-ops. Co-op schools would be a great start, with like-mind communities getting together to run schools responsive to the wishes of parents and pupils rather than Ed Balls’ diktats.

Labour Party Website Rips Off Taxpayer

This story might seem a bit trivial, but it neatly encapsulates the Brownie’s attitude to using taxpayers money for party political purposes. The most recent list includes; citizens juries making huge profits for Deborah Mattinson’s OLR so she can do “free” private polling for Gordon, the Smith Institute – Gordon’s private think-tank holding nearly two hundred meetings at No. 11 and the awarding to companies of over-priced government contracts whose directors coincidentally go on to do “free” work for the Labour party.

click graphic to enlarge
If you drill-down on pictures of Gordon on the Labour party website you find that they are attributed “Crown Copyright”.

click graphic to enlarge

It is possible that the Labour party has correctly paid for the pictures, Guido has been stonewalled on this, more likely somebody just used the official pictures paid for by the taxpayer for Labour’s private propaganda purposes. In the process stupidly forgetting to remove the “Crown Copyright” attribute. Separation of party and state is of course unnecessary when New Labour is “the political arm of the British people”. Nevertheless, somebody should ask Gus O’Donnell about this, since some taxpayers might object to paying for Labour’s photo ops…

Yawn, Gordon Visits a School

Gordon’s fondness for being pictured with and only taking questions from kids has oft been remarked upon. This week he is at it again:
  • Monday – Downing Street media grid photo op – visit a college, pictured with kids.
  • Thursday – Downing Street media grid photo op – visit a school, pictured with kids.
  • Don’t his media team have any better ideas? Shouldn’t Gordon be lying down in a dark room with calming music playing in the background?

    Chris Huhne’s campaign website had an article by the ex-Somerset Council leader, Sir Chris Clarke, backing Huhne and attacking Clegg as a crypto-Tory. It has now been edited out, but what is the betting that a quick-witted Labour staffer will have a copy to re-use at a later stage?[…]

    + READ MORE +



    Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
    team@Order-order.com

    Quote of the Day

    Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

    “It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

    Guidogram: Sign up

    Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

    Facebook

    Who Said it: Blair or Smith? Who Said it: Blair or Smith?
    Labour MPs Love Theresa May As Well Labour MPs Love Theresa May As Well
    Labour Adviser Created “Theresa May for PM” Campaign Labour Adviser Created “Theresa May for PM” Campaign
    FARAGE TO TRUMP “I COME TO YOU WITH A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND OPTIMISM” FARAGE TO TRUMP “I COME TO YOU WITH A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND OPTIMISM”
    Max Mosley Funds Tom Watson’s 11 Advisers Max Mosley Funds Tom Watson’s 11 Advisers
    “JEREMY, JEREMY, JEREMY” “JEREMY, JEREMY, JEREMY”
    FANCY A JOB IN DANCZUK’S OFFICE? FANCY A JOB IN DANCZUK’S OFFICE?
    TEAM GB SING NATIONAL ANTHEM ON VICTORY JET HOME TEAM GB SING NATIONAL ANTHEM ON VICTORY JET HOME
    HOW BRITISH EMPIRE BEATS EU FOR OLYMPIC MEDALS HOW BRITISH EMPIRE BEATS EU FOR OLYMPIC MEDALS
    PRCA Complain to Carolyn Harris Over Lobbyist’s Pass PRCA Complain to Carolyn Harris Over Lobbyist’s Pass
    Oily Smith the Devolution Dodger Oily Smith the Devolution Dodger
    Times Runs Full Page Ad for “China Heroes” Times Runs Full Page Ad for “China Heroes”
    SONG FOR JEREMY SONG FOR JEREMY
    DROMEY CUTS SHORT ATTACK ON CORBYN TO GREET CORBYN WARMLY DROMEY CUTS SHORT ATTACK ON CORBYN TO GREET CORBYN WARMLY
    LABOUR MP GIVES LOBBYIST PARLIAMENTARY PASS LABOUR MP GIVES LOBBYIST PARLIAMENTARY PASS
    BILL ETHERIDGE SPEAKS: “IT’S BEEN HARD TIMES” BILL ETHERIDGE SPEAKS: “IT’S BEEN HARD TIMES”
    JAMIE OLIVER’S SUGARY, FATTY ADVERTISING HYPOCRISY JAMIE OLIVER’S SUGARY, FATTY ADVERTISING HYPOCRISY
    LABOUR CONFERENCE CRISIS TALKS BREAK DOWN LABOUR CONFERENCE CRISIS TALKS BREAK DOWN
    BRUTAL TORY ATTACK AD SAYS LABOUR SOFT ON ISIS BRUTAL TORY ATTACK AD SAYS LABOUR SOFT ON ISIS
    CORBYN TO ATTEND MOMENTUM EVENT WITH VILE INTERNET TROLL CORBYN TO ATTEND MOMENTUM EVENT WITH VILE INTERNET TROLL