Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sir Ian Blair Spinning Exoneration

Ian Blair, who resigned under a cloud as Met Police Commissioner last year, has put out a press release claiming that the unpublished report by the Inspectorate of Constabulary into the awarding of more than £3m worth of Scotland Yard contracts to a friend, Andy Miller, clears him.  Not so fast copper…

James Cleverly, Tory member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, has blogged in response: “The Authority now wishes it to be made explicit that its decision, as recorded in the minutes of its exempt meeting, does not amount to an exoneration of Sir Ian Blair’s conduct.”  Watch this space…

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Update : Bringing Jacqui to Justice

Chris Galley from the Sunlight Centre has been in touch to say that :

bring-jj“We are very happy that on the first day of fund raising we have had something like a 100 donations online and raised some £7,000. We wait to see what the post brings tomorrow, most donations are coming in small amounts of £50 and under. We are expecting to have raised some £20,000 by next week from pledges received today. This goes to show that the internet can be used as a tool to channel grassroots anger into action and donations.”

There are a lot of people genuinely angry about the way MPs have ripped off expenses – they want to see those who milked the system face the consequences. 

If Obama can raise $200 million online, we can raise £100,000…

See the Sunlight site for more details.

Livingstone Channeling Cameron

Fascinating interview with Ken Livingstone on LabourList – Ken demonstrates his supposed ability to channel the thinking of Dave and Boris:

On Boris and Cameron:

“he took the decision to stand for mayor not on the assumption that he’d win, but on the assumption that he’d run a good campaign, win some credibility and get back in the game in Parliament. I think he was horrified to win, as was Cameron.”

Boris CameronVictory

Here they are pictured on election night looking horrified.

Alex Smith, perhaps a little quizzically, follows up with “You think Cameron was horrified that Boris won the London mayoralty?”

Yeah. If you look at the Euro election results thirteen months on, Labour had its best result vis a vis the rest of the country that we’ve ever had. We came second only to the northeast in terms of the size of the Labour vote – that’s unheard of. That is partly because people see Boris and he doesn’t give them confidence about what a Tory government would do. Londoners are privileged to see the slight outline of what a Tory government might be like. The first year after my defeat, people kept coming up to me saying “how did he get in, it’s awful”. Now they come up to me and say “I voted for Boris, but I’ll never do it again, please forgive me!”

Of course in the South East where people know Boris and a London Tory administration best, Labour actually came fifth in the recent Euro-elections.   Has Ken lost his grip on reality completely?

PMQs Live Chat – Mindtracking

Why Guido is Giving £5,000 to Bring Jacqui to Justice

On the weekend Jacqui Smith gave an interview where she said “I became the poster girl for the expenses scandal.” She personifies the excesses of expensegate not just because she was the first that the public found out about, but because she was one of the worst.  We found out that taxpayers paid for her husband’s porno thrills and almost everything else, literally including the kitchen sink, right down to her 88p bath plug.

She resigned as a result in disgrace.  That can not be the end of it.  She claimed over £100,000 in expenses on the basis that a room in her sister’s house was her “main residence” and her family home was her “second home”.  For years politicians have been spitting in our faces with this kind of blatant milking of the expense system.  They can not be allowed to walk away with our money unpunished.

Bring Jacqui to Justice

The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, a pressure group that Guido helped set-up, is gathering evidence for a case.  The police have indicated that they are not going to investigate Jacqui Smith, who as Home Secretary was at one time responsible for the administration of law enforcement.  Led by Chris Galley* the Sunlight Centre is planning to bring a private prosecution.  The key factor under the rules for determining “main residence” is where she spent most of her nights.  Chris Galley worked in her private office with access to her diary.

The law firm hired by Sunlight to represent the public interest says that it could cost up to £100,000 to bring Jacqui to justice.  Yesterday Guido gave Sunlight £5,000 to get them started.  Everyday some 50,000 people come to this site to read tales of snouts in the trough and expense milking by politicians, if only a small percentage of you give £10 or £20 we can get Jacqui in front of a jury.  You can make your donation online here. What did she used to say about ID cards?  If she has done nothing wrong, she has nothing to fear…

*Chris Galley is better known as the Home Office mole. What he did took courage and cost him his career. Having met him I can say he is someone made of the right stuff with a moral compass. Don’t forget, he blew the whistle on Home Office lying.

Guido Summer Drinks

Guido is off for a month to the Maison Secondaire. Planning to have drinks on Thursday at an undisclosed Westminster location.

Email for details / invite…

Half-Year Portfolio Report

For the seven or so readers who are interested in Guido’s financial market trading (and you seem intensely interested) here is the half-year report.

The portfolio was up 30.6% at the half-way mark for the year, not too shabby considering the FTSE was off some 10% over the same period.  Currently up 46% Year-To-Date.

It has been up as much as 60%.  Alas when trading is going well, Guido pushes his luck – too much.  God knows what the Sharpe ratio is, but basically this is a small amount of capital over-leveraged (up to 20 times) in the futures markets.   With regular 10% swings in net asset value daily, this volatility is not for widows and orphans. When it is going badly Guido de-leverages.  Two big hits were betting heavily gold would break  out over $1000 (it didn’t) and selling into the recent gilt spike and getting stopped out.  Have decided to leave gold alone because of prospective IMF selling, still playing the gilt market from the short side.  Am basically flat, short or double short gilts for the forseeable future.

In the last six months Guido has had 33 positions.  Mrs Fawkes thinks that since blogging is not as lucrative as the bond market she would very much rather that Guido went back to professional bond trading and amateur blogging rather than the other way round. You never know…

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Telegraph Losing £200,000 a Week

telegraph logoThe Telegraph lost £9.8 million last year – which is a pretty good result for them – they lost £30 million the year before.

Circulation jumped 2% in May on the back of Expensegate, but fell back in June showing they were unable to hold onto readers.

Something to bear in mind about the Telegraph Media Group is that it is now a semi-nationalised newspaper.  The Barclay Brothers overpaid a stonking £665 million for the newspaper in 2004.  They are in hock up to their offshore eyeballs to RBS and HBOS, both nationalised banks.  So in a sense Gordon Brown is now their chief creditor.  Do you wonder why Guido calls it the Daily Labourgraph? You don’t want to upset your largest creditor too readily…

Ashcroft Law Won’t Work

Labour backbenchers are obsessed with Lord Ashcroft and he enjoys the “Dr Evil” status that they give him.  Last night they forced the government to accept an amendment to the law on political donations that the government said was unworkable.  It is unworkable. Still if it makes them feel better…

Guido has said it before and he’ll say it again: Ashcroft should just publicly come clean on his status. If he wants to take a substantial role in public life that is the price he has to pay.  A source claims that the Electoral Commission has glossed over the investigation of Lord Ashcroft.  Perhaps, or more likely he is careful to act within the letter of the law. As previously when laws have been targeted at him, he will not be hampered in the slightest by this law change.

Labour’s backbench MPs might reflect on non-domiciled donors like Lakshmi Mittal (pictured), Ronnie Cohen and Swaraj Paul – who during the Blair years gave the Labour Party £10 million. Lord Paul’s status is very confusing, is he now UK domiciled?  Does he pay UK taxes on all his income and capital?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dizzy Does Downing Street


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