Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Exclusive : LibDem is New Boss"Get Yer Evening Standard! Evening Standard! Only a Quid!"

Ex-KGB man turned oligarch, Alexander Lebedev, is said to have paid a nominal £1 for a stake of 75.1% in the London Evening Boris. Which kind of supports Guido’s thesis that the newspaper business is a dying business.

This might not be good news for Boris, the paper has been a staunch supporter of him, Lebedev’s consigliere, Justin Byam Shaw, will become deputy chairman. The wheeler dealer is fondly known as Justin Byem Sellem and is presumably a supporter of the LibDems since Guido understands he donated money to Nick Clegg’s leadership campaign – although strangely Guido can find no record of this on the Electoral Commission register. Boris might not be able to count on slavish support in the future…

What is the betting that Lebedev will buy the Indy next? Any takers?

UPDATE 16.30 : Nick Clegg’s office have been in touch to say Justin Byam Shaw gave £3,000 to Clegg’s leadership campaign and it is on the Electoral Register. Clegg has two separate entries, one as leader and another as an MP. Guido was looking at the wrong one. Doh!

Miliband Slips on Another Banana Skin

David Miliband travels the world stepping from one banana skin to another. After insulting Manmohan Singh in his own drawing room,* resulting in the worst diplomatic flap with India in living memory, the Indian PM has Guido understands, written a frank letter to Gordon Brown conveying New Delhi’s disappointment over the behaviour and comments of the “arrogant” Foreign Secretary.

Miliband gave a speech a few days ago, perhaps hoping to curry favour with the incoming administration, by dissing and disavowing the outgoing George Bush’s “War on Terror”. Miliband said the notion of the “War on Terror” is misleading and mistaken. That would be the “War on Terror” which British soldiers are dying fighting.
So what did Obama say about the subject yesterday? He said;
Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred…. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

Obama will fight on, perhaps without Miliband.

*The Militwat once publicly lectured Guido on how to blog at a New Statesman event. So Guido knows how Manmohan Singh feels.

Economic Recovery Needs the Audacity of Hope

The City, home of eternal optimists, has begun to seriously price in the all too real risk of national bankruptcy. It would be the first time Britain has defaulted on the national debt since the dark ages. An historic legacy for the former chancellor who, ironically, once claimed to be prudent.
Guido had lunch with a Labour MP recently, when the conversation turned to the economy it became clear that the City and finance were a foreign place, far away, not really understood. The important thing was that there were new hospitals and schools. That the lights may go out with teachers and nurses left unpaid as result of New Labour’s Peronismo policies was not contemplated.

In contrast the writers on the Telegraph have gone into apocalyptic group-think; Simon Heffer wants the IMF in immediately to deal with the insanity of Brown, horrified that £37 billion has been wasted on the banks “a sum larger than our defence budget”, Iain Martin reckons history will see Gordon Brown as the Neville Chamberlain of economics, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard warns of the perilous mismatch between Britain’s foreign reserves at £61 billion (less than Thailand’s reserves) when our foreign liabilities are $4.4 trillion.

Clearly the dire economic situation is of an historic and epic magnitude. Brown is doing the only thing he knows, throwing taxpayer’s money down the plug-hole. The opposition response has been slow to coherence, now under the slogan of sound money they tentatively advocate fiscal responsibility coupled with measures to boost business lending. When seeking to blame Brown for the perilous debt situation, they need to avoid being relentlessly negative, Labour will accuse them of “talking down the economy”. It is a long dark tunnel, yet the opposition needs to offer some optimism and hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change Has Come

One Last Encore

Guido won’t be live blogging the inauguration (yawn), turn up the volume, play this one last time as loud as possible and annoy your office lefties before Dubya exits in the helicopter. Guido notices that Brillo’s sidekick, Anita Anand, is providing the impartial political coverage for which the BBC is famous…

Limo for Mr Maguire

Mirror Man in Toff Transport Shocker

Guido is feeling a little tender after last night’s “Farewell to Bush” party thrown by Tim Montgomerie. At the after-party in the Westminster Arms, Guido thought he spotted Kevin Maguire, tribune of the workers, hammer of the Cameron and scourge of the Bullingdon boys etcetera, getting into the back seat of the preferred choice of the boss class, a big chauffeur-driven Mercedes. No bicycle with driver following, nor public transport for him. Was it all a Guinness-fuelled hallucination? Surely after all he has written about Cameron’s hypocrisy, he himself would not be guilty of such hypocrisy? It is after all only a few stops on the District line to his mansion in the millionaire’s suburb of leafy Richmond

“Nothing is too good for the workers” he said testily. Guido, hopefully, was not too fuddled to video our discussion on the subject, and in the best traditions of the Mirror, this will be uploaded. As and when the headache subsides enough…

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blairite Tells Brown to Drop the "Do Nothing Party" Attack Line

The 13% point Tory poll lead tells us clearly that the endlessly repeated key “Do Nothing Party” attack line from Labour just isn’t working. Blair’s former aide, Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, in what must be a first for LabourList, gives an honest assessment of Labour’s immediate prospects:
This weekend’s polls show that politics is now returning to normal. Despite defying political gravity throughout the Autumn Gordon Brown has now been brought back to earth with a widening poll gap and a sense that his new year campaigning has not quite delivered. While the second wave of British bail-outs shows that there is no quick fix to the systemic crisis in the global financial system. … The elevation of Eric Pickles to Tory Party Chair is further evidence that both parties intend to indulge in some fairly tough political combat. Having Chris Grayling as Shadow Home Secretary will certainly add some grit to Conservative policy campaigning.

Since the new year Gordon Brown had tried to get with the programme with some bolder moves… [for] the Downing Street team … to get some momentum going … stop repeating tired lines about the Conservative party being a “do nothing” party.

When even your own side think your propaganda is crap, you need to up your game.

+++ Spelman Demoted to Old Local Government Job +++

New to the Shadow Cabinet:

  • The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP
    Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

  • Mark Francois MP
    Shadow Minister for Europe

New Shadow Cabinet responsibilities:

  • Alan Duncan MP
    Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

  • Chris Grayling MP
    Shadow Home Secretary
  • The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP
    Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
  • Nick Herbert MP
    Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
    Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Shadow Minister for Women
  • Eric Pickles MP
    Chairman of the Conservative Party

Headbangers Explode Over Return of "Jurassic Clarke"

This didn’t take long – the Bruges Group‘s Barry Legg says;

“This effectively means the end of David Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution… it is now clear that Mr Cameron does not have the will to carry the necessary legislation … if the Conservative Party were elected to office. Mr Clarke and his supporters within the Conservative Party have been given carte blanch to oppose the policy. The so-called ‘big beast’ has trampled all over Mr Cameron as the price of his return to the Conservative front bench.”

The press release is a bit of a non-sequitur, since it is Clarke who has to change policy, or at least not disavow the settled Tory policy. Guido suspects that Clarke will try to restrain himself until the General Election. In government however…

UPDATE : In his acceptance statement Ken does indeed bend the knee to Dave on Europe: “Some may raise questions about my views on Europe. They are well-known. But I accept that the Party has come to a settled view on European matters, and I will not oppose the direction David will set on European policies in the future.”


Seen Elsewhere

Bercow ‘Wounded’ | Speccie
This Goes Further Than Rotherham | Simon Danczuk
Bercow Mocked | Times
Indy Deletes ‘Jewish Lobby’ Headline | MediaGuido
Cracknell v Boris | Sun
British Muslims are Failing to Integrate | Dan Hodges
Dear Sarah Wollaston… | ASI
Treatment of Ashya King’s Family Authoritarian | Brendan O'Neill
Stop the War Should Disband | Rob Marchant
State Should Not Act as Parent | Kathy Gyngell
Guido’s Column | Sun


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Douglas Carswell…

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Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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