Thursday, November 6, 2008

+++ NO2ID : "We Have Home Secretary’s Fingerprints" +++

…more to follow.

Sleazy Lobbyists Morgan Allen Moore Suspended from Political Lobbyist’s Standards Body

Morgan Allen Moore MAM, the lobbying firm which managed Peter Hain’s leadership campaign, has been suspended from the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) for “non-compliance” for inter alia non-payment of fees and failure to register clients.Steve Morgan has not had a good year – already under investigation by the police for funding irregularities concerning the Hain for Labour campaign, MAM sued a former employee for libel because James Davenport alleged that MAM had, in breach of the APPC rules, provided campaign services to Peter Hain. The Mail on Sunday alleged that Peter Hain had endorsed MAM clients in what looked like a return of favours.

The MAM case against Davenport collapsed when evidence presented to the Court revealed that cheques were solicited to be sent to MAM’s offices in Cardiff and that MAM employees were dealing with the Hain4Labour campaign finances.

MAM is now reduced to running skeleton staff, with clients shying away and politicians refusing to talk to them, and their influence inevitably waning. Phil Woolas was said to be livid when he discovered that Deborah Morgan (Steve’s wife), for whom his office had arranged a Commons pass, was boasting on her lobby firm’s website that SD Environmental Solutions could influence decisions and had access at ministerial level. Woolas was at the time the Environment Minister.

Steve Morgan claimed to a credulous local paper that he was the “international spokesman” for the Obama campaign. Where was Obama’s international spokesman on the night of Obama’s victory? He was in a Yates’ wine bar in London watching it on TV. Tragic.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Guys Arrested, Searched, and Ticketed


Start:

Outside Downing Street:

+++ Police Arrest and Search Ten Guy Fawkes in Parliament Square +++

Remember, Remember

Since Guido is a tourist in Westminster today, this lunchtime seems like a good day to go for a walk. Assuming that he isn’t arrested (again) Guido will then be sauntering along to Millbank to listen to Hazel give her speech to the Hansard Society and responding to it at about 4pm. Later tonight having tunnelled inside the House of Commons, Guido will be shining a light on the normally opaque world of those shysters known as lobbyists at an event chaired by David Hencke, the Guardian’s delver into dirty deeds. It is organised by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency who ironically are a front group for totalitarian greens. Your enemy’s enemy etcetra…

With the Public Administration Select Committee shortly to publish its recommendations from a year-long inquiry into the lobbying industry, now seems like a good time to put the boot in. Should say incidentally that sleazy lobbyists Morgan Allen Moore have told the Association of Professional Political Consultants that they will withdraw from the self-regulation group if Robbie Macduff speaks on the same platform as Guido. Hopefully that is a promise, good riddance to bad rubbish…

Averting the Next Crisis: why transparency in lobbying matters

Panel

David Hencke, Westminster correspondent, The Guardian (Chair)

Robbie MacDuff, Chair, Association of Professional Political Consultants

Robert Siddall, CEO, Airport Operators Association

Peter Facey, Director, Unlock Democracy

Prof David Miller, Director, SpinWatch

Guido Fawkes, Westminster blogger

6 -7pm, 5th November 2008

Committee Room 9, House of Commons

Sponsor, John Grogan MP

Contact for further information, stories or comment
Tamasin Cave: Tel: 07973 424 015; email: tamasin@spinwatch.org

No PMQs live-chat today, am in Westminster all afternoon. Media bids for Guido re Walk / Blears / Lobbyists to 0709 284 0531. Later…

Congratulations America

Watch with amusement as the Hilary-backing Brownies claim the rookie, inexperienced Obama for their own and laugh as the sister party to the Republicans congratulate the Democratic candidate.

Palin who?

Not Nihilistic, Realistic

Yesterday afternoon Guido put in a call to Paul Richards, Hazel Blear’s SpAd, after being tipped off that she was going to attack Guido in a speech later today to the Hansard Society. Guido also called the Hansard Society to arrange to attend the speech. He was told it was a closed meeting. The subject of the meeting, ironically, is political disengagement.

The pre-speech spin to the press is that corrosive cynicism, fueled by politically nihilistic blogs and a retreat from dispassionate reporting is endangering British political discourse and fueling growing political disengagement in Britain. She will say:
“We are witnessing a dangerous corrosion in our political culture… Perhaps because of the nature of the technology, there is a tendency for political blogs to have a ‘Samizdat’ style. The most popular blogs are rightwing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes. Perhaps this is simply anti-establishment. Blogs have only existed under a Labour government. Perhaps if there was a Tory government, all the leading blogs would be left-of-centre?

“But mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy.

“Until political blogging ‘adds value’ to our political culture, by allowing new voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair.”

Paul Richards, Guido understands, wrote her speech. (Guido has written about him a few times.)

Anti-establishment and occasionally vicious Guido may be, but nihilistic? Never. Nihilists deny that an objective morality exists. Guido has a clear sense of morality – Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Blears really shouldn’t use words she doesn’t understand. Does Blears actually think that Guido rages against political corruption because he cares not for morality?

She is however correct to say that Guido has disdain for political corruption and seeks to unearth scandal and hypocrisy. Does Blears really think that is a bad thing?

Asking political bloggers to “add value” is to misunderstand the relationship between a free press and politicians. Take a memo Ms Blears, we are not here to “add value”, or do what politicians want, Guido has his own values and aims to hit back at political hypocrisy and lies. Politicians make laws, so they should be held to account, to a higher standard. The Nick Robinsons, Peter Riddells, Michael Whites and Steve Richardsons of the world don’t do investigative digging, they report back their impressions from their lunch meetings. They re-package and interpret spin from the party machines. That is how they “add value”. They are what Peter Oborne memorably described as the “client media”.

Guido has, without the platform of a newspaper or broadcaster backing him, achieved a position of influence for some reason. From nowhere this blog has become one of the most widely read political sources in Britain. It reaches a lot of people who were once disillusioned with and disinterested in politics, it is written (on a good day) in an accessible and entertaining way. Why does Hazel think this fuels political disengagement? The Labour Party would love to have a website that engaged as many people as this blog.

What has deservedly brought about disengagement from and cynicism towards politicians is spin, triangulation, focus group derived policies, positioning purely for partisan advantage, vacuous slogans and meaningless promises. Add in personal self enrichment from expense fiddles, petty corruption and barefaced lying to that toxicosis. Hazel has herself personally defended with repulsive sophistry everything from 45 minutes to mass destruction and cash for honours in her time. Who has really fueled corrosive political cynicism? Look in the mirror Hazel.

Labour Re-Treads Plot Online Battle, Draper Mulls Blogging

Dale’s story yesterday that Dolly Draper had convened a war council of would be cyber warriors had Guido’s ears burning (a day ahead of schedule). Attendees names you might recognise include Ben Wegg-Prosser (Mandelson’s protege now based in Moscow), Tim Allan (Ex-Blair spin merchant under Campbell, now boss of Portland PR), David Prescott (son of Prezza and another spin merchant). Dale missed Luke Akehurst (Weber Shandwick’s spinner for arms dealers) off his list.
Derek wouldn’t confirm who else attended but he was keen to emphasise there were younger bloggers there as well – “don’t just say it was a load of re-treads” he protested. Derek was pleased that, despite not actually blogging, he now knew “his RSS from his elbow”. Guido encouraged him to become the Iain Dale of the Labour Party, “it looks like a lot of work” he said uncertainly.

Can’t help wondering if this plan to ignite the Labour blogosphere isn’t a bit top-down and over-laden with lobbyists and spinners with few grassroots bloggers involved, if it was going to happen it surely would have happened spontaneously already. What hope is there for any authenticity from this crowd?

This video is apparently only the first salvo in their battle to motivate the Labour base:

It is at least mildly amusing and a welcome change from Labour’s earlier online attempts to motivate activists with videos of Ed Balls boasting about achieving child poverty targets. Guido can’t figure out the strategy here. What do they hope to achieve?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cut Out and Keep Masks for Tomorrow


Downloadable Guy Fawkes Mask

Get your own at Scribd or explore others: Politics

You’ll need a scissors, some glue and a piece of string. Gunpowder optional

"Ask the PM" Competition Winner

Guido’s competition to submit a question to Gordon has closed and was won by Luke. His question on the economic value of his Gordon mask (together with clunking fists) amused Guido.

Meanwhile over on the Number 10 site currently there is once again some confusion. Guido spoke with Mark Flanagan from Downing Street’s web team. He says they changed the closing date for entries because they wanted to lengthen the time available (now until November 13) for entries which was previously too short. Nothing to do with Guido or anyone else asking tricky questions about the economy. Well he is a non-partisan civil servant and he wouldn’t fib would he? However the Downing Street site still says that questions have to be in by 30 October.

Guido is happy to send the Downing Street site an extra bit of traffic and thinks it important that you get to ask Gordon about the economy. Alex Masterly has done just that brilliantly – see his question here:

Unfortunately it is over a minute long so no doubt they will rule the question out of order. Remember to keep it non-partisan and shorter than a minute – a little birdie tells Guido that they are going to look for excuses to not answer video questions. Wonder if Gordon will avoid answering Guido’s question?

Seen Elsewhere

A Bold Plan to Reform Welfare | Ruth Porter
Clinton’s Busty Mistress Nicknamed ‘Energizer’ | Mail
Photo Analysis of Miliband’s Obama Visit | Buzzfeed
Dave Shouldn’t Have Moved Gove | Michael Howard
Bercow’s Nightmare | Alex Wickham
Miliband Abandons Britain to Meet Obama | Sun
Tequila-Quaffing Chat Show Plonker Clegg | Quentin Letts
Pragmatists v Romantics | Rachel Sylvester
I’m Sorry | Colin Brazier
Blair Was a Gradualist Prime Minister | Janan Ganesh
Why Blair Will Worry Ed | Steve Richards


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion Guido-hot-button (1)


Owen Paterson lifts the lid on the Green Blob:

“I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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