Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bright Moves Up from Statesman to Spectator

Paul Johnson did it. Melanie Philips did it. They of course had God by their side when they shifted. Bright hasn’t found God as far as Guido knows and he still sees himself, perhaps needs to see himself, as a man of the left. Bright, until recently political editor of the New Statesman, is now blogging for the Speccie.“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Can it be long before Nick Cohen follows?

Web 1.0 v Web 2.0

Just had a “why didn’t you reply” exchange with someone whom Guido really did not intentionally mean to ignore. This may seem very Web 1.0, but email really is best. Despite now getting some 800 emails a day, this is still the best way of communicating with Guido. If you know the number text via SMS is slightly higher priority (or call the voicemail number on the blog 0709 284 0531, this is texted to Guido via Spinvox). Twitter is completely ignored – would you converse with a thousand unknown people? Facebook is rarely logged into. Forget the other social networks.

Afraid Guido is just perhaps too Web 1.0. Dale and Draper are so very into Tweeting trivia, if you want to know about Gio’s latest bowel movements or Dolly’s state of sobriety, Twitter is for you. Welcome to Web 2.0…

Labour Sleaze : Lord Moonie’s Cash for Questions Northrop Grumman Paid Peer £30,000 for 23 Questions

The Sunday Herald has got more trouble for Lord Moonie, who is already under investigation for Cash for Laws. He is paid £30,000 to act as a consultant to Northrop Grumman Corp., the U.S. arms manufacturer, distasteful but legal.

The sleazy Lord has however now been caught out asking Questions for Cash:

23 of the 46 written questions Moonie has had answered by the government in the Lords relate to defence work connected to Northrop Grumman Corp. These include the F35 joint strike fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Airbus A400M cargo plane, the Navy’s Type 45 destroyer programme, and unmanned aerial drones for spying and bombing.

Moonie also asked a question about the Sentry Awacs early-warning aircraft. In 2005 Northrop Grumman won a £665 million contract to maintain and support the Royal Air Force’s Awacs fleet over 20 years.

Moonie was ennobled in 2005 but did not ask any parliamentary questions in his first three years as a peer, according to Hansard. But since mid-2008 he has asked almost 50, all on defence issues.

Angus MacNeil, the Nationalist MP for the Western Isles, said “The coincidences do not look good. I would like to think there was no motivation when Lord Moonie asked these questions, and I am sure he will be able to tell us why he didn’t ask any questions before he worked for this company.”

Moonie stepped down as an MP following boundary changes to make way for Gordon Brown and was enobled as a quid pro quo. Moonie also paid Gordon Brown handsomely for his old Kennington flat which he then sub-let to Alistair Darling. We are clearly not dealing with an obscure outsider here, we are dealing with corruption right at the heart of Labour’s Scottish Raj. Will Gordon Brown allow a corruptian investigation into someone so intimately connected to him?

Labour Sleaze : "Second Home Secretary" is on the Take

The Mail on Sunday has caught Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, fiddling her expenses to the tune of £116,000 – bang to rights.
  • She claims her “main home” is the one she stays in when in London – except it belongs to her sister.
  • She claims her “second home” is the home she owns in her constituency. However her own official website says she and her family live there.
Her SpAd claims “It has been cleared by the Commons Fees Office.” The Fees Office don’t clear anything, they take an “Honourable” Member’s word. The property records indicate sole-ownership of the property she claims is her “main home” is in her sister’s name. If she is in fact merely lodging with her sister, who is pocketing the taxpayer’s £500-a-week tax free? Can we have a Home Secretary who steals £116,000 from the taxpayers?

UPDATE : Don’t forget her husband is also on the payroll (£40,000) doing “research” – when he isn’t sending letters supporting her to the local paper – without mentioning his financial and marital relationship.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

LBC Get Wikileaked

Guido loves Wikileaks. They are like a risk management tool for bloggers. Ben Goldacre of Bad Science blog hosted an MP3 excerpt of an LBC show where a presenter, Jeni Barnett, gave an “irresponsible, ill-informed, and ignorant anti-vaccination campaigning that I have ever heard on the public airwaves.” MMR jabs are a subject of intense debate in the Fawkes household. Mrs Fawkes is in the don’t-care-if-it-is-irrational camp, consequently Guido is in the forced-to-cough-up-£300-for-single-shots camp.

LBC threatened to sue Ben Goldacre for breach of copyright.* Big mistake. He took it down and in his place others put it back online. It has probably now been heard online by more people than originally heard it broadcast. Download it via Wikileaks (MP3).

Distributed defiance of lawyers is something the Dead-Tree-Press can’t do. Bloggers are the free press.

*In any event Guido is under the impression that damages in copyright cases are limited to the financial loss caused by the breach of copyright, which in this case would presumably be very limited.

Johnson : We Have Only Wasted 1/4 of the Money

The Tories have announced they plan a spending cap on IT projects in view of the NHS super-computer disaster, where the budget has gone from £2 billion to £13 billion. Which is a complete joke considering that is more than Google will spend on research and development. The charge of waste must be hitting home, if this report from a co-conspirator is anything to go by:
I shared a train carriage today with Alan Johnson. He was having a loud telephone conversation overheard by the whole carriage telling everyone how worried he was the Tories would attack them over the lack of progress and tax payers money spent on the new computer system for the NHS. “We have only actually spent £3 billion, rather than the £12 billion we planned, so taxpayers are actually getting value for money….” were his very words.

On that basis the last charge of the light brigade was not a complete military failure, since some of the calvarymen survived.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Gordon’s Other Eye in Downing Street

Jeremy Clarkson has apologised for mocking Gordon Brown’s appearance – note he did not apologise for calling him an idiot. So the matter is closed says a Downing Street spokesman.

Guido can’t help wondering if the person who chose to hang David Austen’s “Green Electric Morning – Eye” picture from the National Art Collection on the wall in Downing Street might also be having a laugh.

Wonder what Gordon thinks of it everytime he spies the eye out of the side of his one good eye?

Perhaps he uses it as a target for his Nokias?

Tax Justice Protest Against Guardian Tax Dodging

Tax Justice campaigners had a small demonstration outside the Guardian’s offices today to protest at the hypocrisy of the Guardian campaigning for FTSE 100 companies to pay more corporation tax when, despite GMG making £300 million in profits last year, it paid none itself. GMG took advantage of a perfectly legal loophole to avoid paying taxes on the capital gains made on the sale of Auto Trader. Without exploiting the law they would have had to pay more than £50 million in tax!

The campaigners also highlighted that as well as being adept tax avoiders nowadays, the Guardian’s heritage is one of tax evasion. The Trust that owns the paper, the C P Scott Trust, was set up for the sole purpose of avoiding death duties following the 1932 death of C P Scott. By depriving the revenue of its due, the Scott family succeeded in avoiding the heavy taxes which would have otherwise meant them selling their interest in the paper. Neat dodge, eh? What did the Guardian say about Osborne’s plan to raise inheritance tax thresholds?

It is ridiculous hypocrisy for the GMG fatcats to lecture the CEO’s of British industry on paying more corporation tax when they don’t pay a penny themselves. At the very least they should voluntarily pay the £600,000 that would have been payable as a result of the Auto Trader transaction on the transfer of GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited (a Caymans incorporated Special Purpose Vehicle) if it had been incorporated in the UK rather than the Caymans. If they won’t pay the £600,000 to the Revenue, why do they expect other corporations to behave differently? Hypocrites.

Friday Caption Competition (Clarkson for PM Edition)

Jonah Brown Update

Guido is finding it difficult to keep up to date with reports of Brown’s post-visit accursed effects. Co-conspirators email them in almost daily. If Guido can find the time he is going to plot them on a map as we did before with Where’s Gordon?™.


Here are two recent examples of the curse in terrible action:

Liverpool radio DJ Phil Easton dies after interviewing Gordon
The prime minister has led the tributes to legendary Liverpool broadcaster Phil Easton. Gordon Brown was recently interviewed by him for his show on CityTalk. The PM said: “Phil was an accomplished and talented broadcaster who was on the top of his game when we met just a few weeks ago.

Workers face axe at Cwmbran PM visit factory
Around 40 workers at a Cwmbran factory are set to lose their jobs, just weeks after the firm was visited by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Cwmbran’s Contour Premium Aircraft Seating announced a “proposed head count reduction” of up to 40 employees on Wednesday.

Is Guido the only one to notice that after Downing Street boasted that Gordon was the first world leader to call Obama, the U.S. President began pushing a “Buy America” bill. Gordon talked to Obama about the dangers of protectionsim.

Seen Elsewhere

Boris Not Moving to Uxbridge | Scrapbook
Cameron Toast if Scotland Votes Yes | Isabel Oakeshott
How to Spin the Referendum Result | Rob Hutton
Anti-Immigration Party Lets Left Into Power | Mark Wallace
Tories Well Ahead on Economy | Standard
Madrid Unveils Margaret Thatcher Plaza | Breitbart
Journalists Are Not Above Criticism | Media Guido
Guido’s Column | Sun
Carney is a Feminist | Kathy Gyngell
Middle Class Moralism of Owen Jones | Spiked
Booze-Fuelled Fight at Palin Party | Times


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


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.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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