87% of Tories Behind CameronHow Many Labour MPs Behind Brown?

It seems pretty clear that Brown’s attempt to placate Labour MPs by attending the meeting of the PLP on Monday was not successful. Labour MPs actually criticised him to his face about putting up taxes on low income earners. When Brown went into his tractor-production-is-up mode around the room “there was a collective murmur of disagreement. It was like a collective heckle”– according to an unnamed MP quoted by the Guardian’s Nicholas Watt.

On the opposition benches the grassroots polling carried out by ConservativeHome is reporting high levels of satisfaction with Dave. Labour’s Charles Clarke MP helpfully produced a doomsday list of southern seats that will see Labour MPs out come the general election. Those marginal MPs will be the ones who start agitating for a change of direction and perhaps a change of leader. Ivan Lewis, a government minister, laid into Brown on the weekend. He said the government is out of touch with ordinary Labour voters. Even the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire agrees – “Labour must prove it’s in touch with voters”.

Brown will be fighting on two fronts, his own benches restless and fearful, the opposition benches hungry and united. How long will the Blairites restrain themselves? Guido suspects that the psychological impact of Mayor Boris will be huge. It will signal that a Brown led Labour Party is facing certain electoral defeat.

The civil war will begin on May 2…

Never Mind Seal Clubbing, What is Hague Going to Do to Harman?

Recess Monkey admits that Labour MPs and activists are resigned to witnessing horrific and possibly brutal cruelty at PMQs today.

So let’s get the popcorn in and sit back and enjoy the show…

UPDATE : Fantastic comedy value and very entertaining. She gave Hague as good as she got. Guido would go as far as to say she did very well. Better than Prescott ever did at PMQs against Hague…

*Guido of course abhors unnecessary cruelty to advertisers seals, but he does wonder what they taste like…

+++ Irish PM Bertie Ahern Announces Resignation +++

RTE News has more

March Stat-Porn : 458,475 Page Hits from 352,291 Visitors

The most popular story last month was about Nick Robinson’s expenses and Cameron’s slap down of Ed Balls. Invariably the top referring sites to Guido over the last couple of years have been Iain Dale, ConservativeHome and PoliticalBetting.com. Of late however some of the Big Media political blogs have started coming up the rankings. This month (for the first time) the Speccie’s Coffee House blog sent more referrals than Political Betting, putting it at #3. Google sends more referrals by far, however the top ten referrers after Google and Yahoo are:

#1 Iain Dale
#2 ConservativeHome
#3 Coffee House blog
#4 PoliticalBetting.com
#5 Times Blogs (Red Box and Comment Central)
#6 BBC (Nick Robinson, Newsnight and Daily Politics)
#7 Telegraph Blogs
#8 Biased BBC
#9 Dizzy Thinks
#10 House Price Crash Forum

What this tells Guido is that Big Media is beginning to catch up on us new media insurgents. The surprise is that we have held the lead for so long. When you consider the resources being poured into blogging by media organisations with existing high traffic news sites and cross marketing opportunities, it is nothing short of phenomenal.

The Centre for Policy Studies produced some research comparing political blogs using data supplied by Hitwise. Hitwise uses technology embedded at network level with ISPs and is generally considered by the online industry to be the most reliable source of competitive data. Hitwise draws data from millions of British ISP accounts tracking internet activity. It does not rely on cookies or toolbars so is not skewed or possible to “game”.

The data above is for unique users. Below are some other well known (in the blogosphere) sites with surprisingly small traffic numbers. Ben Brogan’s blog is read by everyone in the Westminster village, but it seems to be read by few outside it. As you can see, Labour’s leading blogs just don’t have much of a reach in comparison to their right-of-centre equivalents.
Guido has bad news for his Big Media rivals, he has plans to ratchet up the content this year and the stickiness of the site to drive traffic over the million hits a month level…

Was the Ken Video “Leak” a Ploy?

Ken’s supposedly accidental leak of this video doesn’t add up.

Sam Coates on The Times got it first. “So where did it come from?” Guido asked, Sam is obviously not saying. The video is clearly recent, filmed by a campaign-friendly video-camera, rather than a hostile journalist.

Guido suspects that given that the Labour Party is polling double digits behind the Conservative Party, Ken is shrewdly distancing himself from the party that is a liability. Why else when asked “what would you say was your proudest moment?” would he laughingly reply: “Oh it’s taking on and smashing the New Labour machine in 2000 when Tony Blair wouldn’t let me run for mayor and just grinding them into the dust. But you won’t be able to use that one.”

But they did use that one, didn’t they? Ken got coverage and distanced himself from the party to which he is only semi-attached at the best of times. Smart tactics? Ken is no April fool…

Vote for Dale – To Be On Celebrity Big Brother

Iain is feigning indecision methinks, in true blogging style he is polling the readers. Vote for him to go into the house…

TaxPayer’s Alliance forces Sleaze InvestigationInto Speaker’s Expenses

Click to enlarge.

The TaxPayer’s Alliance has struck a blow against the Speaker putting his snout deeply in the trough. Excellent news. If he is found to have abused the system he will have to go. He has no authority to oversee a system supposedly based on “honour”.

Gordon Loses His Way Again With the PLP

Sky’s Jon Craig didn’t come into the Lobby to have his advice ignored. Last night the PM’s advance security detachment asked him which door Gordon should use to enter the PLP meeting. “The Chairman’s Entrance,” Craig told him. “The PM always uses the Chairman’s Entrance.”
Ian Austin, PPS to Gordon, ignored the advice leading the PM in via the “Members’ Entrance”, which, according to Craig;
plunged them into a throng of Labour MPs and peers waiting to hear the PM rather than to the platform from where he was due to speak, they emerged, sheepish and embarrassed, and headed for the “Chairman’s Entrance”.

“Gordon’s got lost again!” shouted one wag among the political journalists in the corridor. And indeed he had.

If only the Prime Minister, his PPS and his detective had listened to me.

Guido is compiling a (shades of Dale) list of the top twatty Mr Bean things that Mr Brown has done.

Going on the list are:

  1. Reading from an autocue obscuring his face at his “Gordon for Britain” launch.
  2. Tucking his trousers into his sock.
  3. Getting lost at Windsor Castle Dinner for Sarkozy to the amusement of Her Majesty.
  4. Locking himself in the toilet and having to ring Blair on his mobile to get him out.
  5. Absent mindedly picking his nose for two minutes on the front bench on budget day 2007 in full view of the Tory ranks and TV viewers.
  6. Getting entangled in balloons at a photo-op.
  7. After an interview with Adam Boulton in India, getting up and walking into a plant pot.
  8. Forgetting the access codes for his own office resulting in a No. 10 armed security response unit rushing to find him in his nightie.
  9. Telling the same anecdotal jokes time and again and still screwing them up.
  10. Trusting Blair to keep his word after the Granita dinner.
Any more twatty things? In the comments please…

Poor the Sarah

Spotted last night – Sarah Teather eating alone. Maybe Recess Monkey’s campaign on her behalf should be re-started? Fact: she has a large collection of Paprika jars.

Guido fears she could in a few years turn into a liberal version of Anne Widdecombe…

UPDATE : While Hague had 14 beers a day, Clegg tells GQ magazine that he has dabbled his pork sword with some 30 different women. Sarah needs to keep her side up…

Boris Will Do PMQs Tomorrow

Guido can confirm the Times’ Sam Coates exclusive that Boris will lead for the Tories against Harriet Harman tomorrow at PMQs. Repeated misleading references to Boris by Gordon Brown were the trigger for Cameron’s decision to give Boris an unprecedented right of reply in the PM’s absence. The last time a backbencher was given such an opportunity was during Asquith’s time.

“Lets face it, Boris is better known than most of the shadow cabinet, this will give him a chance to show leadership, he will crush Harriet Harman at the dispatch box“. Is this a high risk strategy? Not really, he is up against Harriet Harman…

Nigerian Financial Services

Personally, Guido can never remember his bank account details, so in order to help his many African correspondents:-
Account Name: George Galloway Election Fund

Account Number: 00 86 45 38

Sort Code: 30 90 47

DoB: 16 August 1954

Please make cheques payable to “George Galloway Election Fund” with your name and address on the back, so we can send you a receipt, and send it to: George Galloway Election Fund, PO Box 1109, London, N4 2UU. A luta continua…

When Think Tanks Collide : CPS and Reform Clash Tonight

Guido gets invited to the occasional think tank bash and when in London generally goes to the ones with the best booze (full marks to the Adam Smith Institute – up market beers and champagne).

Not sure what the booze situation is tonight in Westminster for the Centre for Policy Studies seminar on Politics, Policy and the Internet, the invitation doesn’t say. George Osborne is a big Politics 2.0 advocate of the power of the web and he is headlining it along with Tom Steinberg.

At exactly the same time over at Bloomberg’s offices in the City, Jeremy Hunt, the DCMS Shadow, is talking about the New Media Politics Revolution. Booze is clearly highlighted on the invite.

Decisions, decisions…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

If Jacqui Has Done Nothing Wrong, She Has Nothing to Fear

Perry de Havilland over at Samizdata draws attention to the German hacker group that has published thousands of plastic foil reproductions of the German Interior Minister’s fingerprint, ready to glue to someone else’s finger to provide a false biometric reading. Which set Guido thinking…
Guido will buy dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant for anyone who provides him with a verifiable* copy of Jacqui Smith’s fingerprints.

You can do it yourself – How to Fake a Fingerprint in 12 Easy Steps – Chaos Club, there is an instructive D. I. Y. video here.

Remember, remember: people should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.

*Verification should be an explanation of how it was obtained, preferably with photographic evidence. Forinstance if she comes into your kebab shop and you capture her on CCTV holding your laminated menu. Don’t worry about copying the fingerprint. We will take it from the surface direct, so keep it safe. As far as Guido knows there is no law prohibiting gathering finger residue fluids – yet.

Brown’s Loyalists “Part of the Problem”, Not the Solution

They are calling it Downing Street blue-on-blue infighting. The neo-Brownies from the PR world ousting the old Brownie tribe who successfully undermined Blair. The truth is the Brownies are second rate compared to the Blairites, this was patently obvious to any objective observer. Even Guido, no fan of Blair, could see that he was a politician with a high calibre team. Brown on the other hand is a brooding malevolent weirdo who had no choice but to surround himself with second raters, Blair had attracted the best and the brightest of New Labour’s talent pool.

The Brownies were able to undermine a triple election winning prime minister, brief against rivals, selectively leak, obstruct, frustrate rival policy objectives out of spite and generally behave like petulant secretive plotters always positioning for factional advantage rather than in the national interest. They were capable of that, alas when they finally assumed control of No. 10 it became clear within months that they were not a capable or competent premiership team.
If Gordon is to have any hope of narrowing the double digit lead Cameron has over him at the polls he clearly needs to up his game. Stephen Carter has been brought in from his job as CEO of Brunswick to do that because the veteran Brownies are part of the problem, not the solution, too immersed in the Labour tribe, good at arm twisting the party rank and file, not at reaching out to swing voters. His PPS Ian Austin’s heckles of Cameron at PMQs amuse only the class warriors on the Labour back benches – they even manage to irritate the chippy Speaker. His counsel is no use to Gordon now the electorate that matters to him is no longer merely the PLP.

Month after month of poll decline has finally got the message through to Brown. Hence we see the marginalising of his former closest supporters, even his pollster, Deborah Mattinson is said to be on her way out. Spencer Livermore went in tears. Gordon’s praetorian guard MPs Tom Watson and Iain Austin, respectively Gordon’s attack puppy and heckler-in-chief, occupied ground floor offices in Downing Street adjacent to the cabinet room. The pair liked to think of themselves as Gordon’s enforcers. Stephen Carter has had them kicked out of their offices and their places taken by his deputy and secretary.

Competition Winner

Some cracking entries for the sing-a-long song competition for the campaign to bar Alistair Darling from every pub in Britain.

Guido tried imagining a drunken bar singing the songs to make his judgement. Commendations to Alex, and Anon. Mitch is the runner-up with his re-working of Abba.



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