Sith’s “Operation Bluewash” Infiltrated by Co-conspirators

Despite applying well in advance to the “public” event advertised in the Speccie as part of the Smith Institute’s Operation Bluewash “we’re not Gordon’s front-group, look we invite Tories via adverts in the Spectator” – Guido’s invitation never arrived. Guido called up Konrad to check on the invitation’s progress, but things got a little hysterical and they put the phone down. Nevertheless a number of co-conspirators (who applied after Guido) have a particular interest in Ms Beckett’s wisdom and are looking forward to visiting No. 11 tonight.
So even though Guido won’t be there in person, the Sith will sense a presence…

Chief Political Correspondent Wanted

The Times’ chief political correspondent, Anthony Browne is off to run the Policy Exchange think tank after only one year in post. The job interview must have been interesting, since only last month he described Policy Exchange as “very close to the Conservative leadership” and accused them of issuing a report “giving perfect cover for a hard-hitting speech on the same day by David Cameron, detailing how he would tackle the issue.” Clearly they forgave him for that sensitive jibe.

The job opening comes at a crucial time, Murdoch having basically decided to back Brown and try to crack the whip on Cameron to bring him into line. If our tele-democracy is about bread and circuses, Guido is in no doubt who is the ringmaster. So who will be the clown who gets the job?

It will be interesting to see if it goes to a journalist with known sympathies. If Tom Baldwin gets it, you can be sure the Times will be slanting reportage even more favourably to Gordon. It is one thing for the comment columnists to be partisan, if they weren’t, it’d be boring. Some days even the Times’ political reporting reads like it was written by Ed Balls.

UPDATE : This just in from Machiavelli , frankly nothing would surprise Guido…

Robinson Hints Source Not Necessarily Downing Street

Beware of source speculation says Robinson, reading between the lines he is saying it was a blend of sources “In my experience of journalism it is rarely as simple as one side or the other handing you a story or a document on a plate.”

How can an email have multiple sources Nick?

Meanwhile, back in Court, the Beeb got the injunction amended and can now report of the email “It was sent to Tony Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, and concerned Labour’s chief fundraiser Lord Levy.”

UPDATE : Subsequent revelations point to it being a document rather than an email, it apparently was prepared for Ruth’s lawyers or perhaps originally intended for Powell’s eyes. Possibly it was produced on the legendary Downing Street Lotus Notes system.

Oh What a Tangled SpAd

Cheating Phil Taylor, Peter Hain’s SpAd, campaigned for his boss at the taxpayer’s expense and against the rules. He told Guido last Thursday that he had already told the permanent secretary he was resigning*, he even had the audacity to explain that this noble sacrifice would cost him his SpAd termination payment. On Friday he changed his mind and was telling people he was only taking unpaid leave.

Matt Withers in Wales on Sunday followed it up:

WELSH Secretary Peter Hain’s top advisor has quit amid political gossip that he had been campaigning for his boss to become Labour’s Deputy Leader.

Phil Taylor, who advises Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Hain on devolution issues across the water, is to step down from his position to concentrate on his boss’ race for the number two position.

Mr Taylor asked for unpaid leave on Thursday, the same day a political gossip website claimed Mr Taylor had already been involved in the campaign.

As a taxpayer-funded civil servant, this would have broken Cabinet Office rules. Special advisors are not allowed to get involved in leadership battles.

The Northern Ireland Office has confirmed Mr Taylor’s departure.

Mr Taylor said: “It is true that I intend to leave at the end of the month which is when we hope to have a devolved government in place at Stormont. I have been asked to help out in the campaign and that is what I will do.”

Guido has been calling Phil for clarification to no avail so just in case he isn’t picking up his email either, here are the questions:
  1. On Thursday you told Guido you had already informed the permanent secretary that you intended to resign and that this sacrifice would cost you your termination payment, how did this on Friday become you were taking unpaid leave at the end-of-the-month?
  2. According to reports, you only told the permanent secretary of your intention last Thursday, when you knew Guido was trying to contact you – when did you formally tell the permanent secretary?
  3. Guido has been given a number of Hain4Labour campaign documents that place you at various locations at various times. Guido is confident that it will be found through FoI requests that you were not on leave. Do you have any explanation?

Incidentally, to Guido’s new fans in the Welsh Labour Party, it was a pleasure.

*PA and the Belfast Telegraph also reported he was resigning.

Mirror’s Maguire Brown-Nosing Into Downing Street

Kevin Maguire fantasises that he will be the Alastair Campbell of the Brown regime. He has Campbell’s old job as political editor at the Mirror and certainly sucks up to Gordon enough to make himself a candidate to follow his predecessor’s footsteps. Guido saw Maguire at the Milburn / Clarke website launch and wondered if he was actually there reporting or spying. It is also noticeable that of late he has been putting himself about giving “media training” to Labour party candidates and is increasingly seen at regional party events.As well as practising his Brown-nosing at the Mirror, he is part of the New Statesman / Sith nexus, so it is no surprise that he was one of the few hacks to quote the recent discredited “Opinion Leader” poll. Maguire soothed Brownite nerves in the Mirror last week

the poll that really counted this week may prove to be an Opinion Leader Research survey of senior public figures. Political heavyweight Brown was judged to “believe” what he says by 87 per cent, lightweight Cameron by 59 per cent.

Maguire claims the poll that mattered wasn’t either of the two field-tested four-figure population polls from ICM and Communicate research, it was the one organised by Gordon’s pollster, Deborah Mattinson, of 100 carefully selected “opinion leaders”. Does he really believe what he writes?If Maguire gets to be Brown’s spinmeister don’t expect a highbrow moral tone from the man who this week wrote of often dreaming of Margaret Thatcher’s death and how “back home on Tyneside at the weekend, I found many a Labour voter eagerly awaiting the day [the] former premier is dead and buried.” Strangely yesterday morning on Marr’s BBC show he didn’t recount his dreams to Carol Thatcher – who was sharing the sofa with him. Now that would have really livened things up.

When not dreaming of Carol’s mother’s death he calls Cameron “Druggie Dave, the Bambi Killer”, which may be fair comment or an indication of the nature of the coming Brown onslaught on the poll favourite. If Brown appoints Maguire it will signal that he intends to fight a dirty, class-based political struggle which appeals to Labour’s activists – a style reflected in Kevin’s journalism that has helped the Mirror lose 25% of its readers since 1997. Can he do for his party what he has done for his paper?

Good News, Bad News for the Monkey

Well he’ll wake up pleased to know that Hilary Benn, for whom he is campaigning, is according to YouGov, the favourite for deputy amongst Labour party members and trade unionists. He’ll also discover that Margaret Thatcher is still alive despite his report to the contrary. Hungover?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Cui Bono: Is Downing Street the Leak Source?

Guido is very wary as we enter the closing straights of the investigation. Downing Street is in serious trouble and the only defence advanced so far is that the peerage nominations were for “party peerages”. That is a non-existent class of honour and the admission in itself was effectively a confession, not a defence.

The BBC appears to be in a position to stand up the story going around in mid-January about a “Smoking Gun” email. Why else would the police want to injunct the story unless it was correct and revealing? The question is, who passed the email to the Beeb and what is their motive?

Fact : the BBC does not do cheque-book journalism.
Fact : Yates’ team are, whatever the spin from Downing Street apologists, very tight-lipped.

When news of arrests and interviews has come out, it has more often than not been from the politicians themselves. Given that the Beeb didn’t buy this story, who profits from revealing crucial police evidence? Not the investigators, which is why the police sought to suppress the story, because defence lawyers could make much mischief, and probably will, with the “trial by media” line.

To quote the most famous detective of all, “If you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, even if improbable, must be true.” Those under investigation, now that they believe it no longer possible to “fix” the CPS because of the evidence known to have been discovered, have the most to benefit from bringing the evidence into the public domain. The desperadoes of Downing Street would not be above leaking against themselves, tactically it would also allow them to portray themselves as victims of media savvy police investigators. They already brief that the police are “theatrical” and whine that they are unable to publicly defend themselves from the “trial by media”.

These are dangerous times for Downing Street’s toughest street fighters. The gloves are definitely off, which is why Guido thinks this leak has Downing Street’s fingerprints on it.

House Keeping & Stat’ Porn

As the shadow of the coming Brownite tyranny draws ever nearer, Guido finds he turns increasingly to the well designed and conceived The Man Who Would Be King blog, which is something of a Gordon Brown information clearing house. It has become the latest addition to Guido’s blog-roll.

The much awaited redesign of Guido’s blog is nearing completion, some widget related issues remain to be resolved but an über-Geek is on the case. Google smoothly handled the transition from the old Blogger to the new Blogger 2.0 without losing a single one of the thousands of posts or tens of thousands of comments and they held Guido’s hand whilst he fretted. Guido loves GOOG.

In a change from the ususal stat’ porn this month (pageviews: 426,499, unique visitors: 286,901), Guido has taken a look at reader loyalty over the last quarter. Of the visitors, Google analytics shows just short of 60,000 hardcore co-conspirators have visited the site 200 or more times and at the other extreme 44,000 visited once and never came back. The above chart compares last month to a quarter ago. Students of media studies might want to investigate why Guido gets more readers than any other political commentary website in Britain, more than both the political parties, more than the Speccie or New Statesman, more than WebCameron. Why are our lying, sleazy politicians so unable to connect?

LibDems: “Corruption is a Crime”

“We can cut crime” – that’s the message from the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in Harrogate, they even launched two new websites last night: a special blog to keep tabs on the multiple failures at the Home Office (www.homeofficewatch.com) and an online petition calling for a full inquiry into corruption allegations.

Excellent news. Perhaps they will now repay the defrauded £2.4m they got from their crooked backer who languishes in jail? Strangely nowhere on www.corruptionisacrime.com is Michael Brown mentioned…

++ INJUNCTION ++

Contrary to rumour, Guido has not been injuncted. He has been on the piss.

The email is news to the BBC, not readers of this blog.

Friday Caption Contest (Posh ‘n Butch Edition)

Phil Taylor Has Overnight Change of Plan

Yesterday he told Guido that he was resigning, that he had told the permanent secretary he was intending to resign and that he had already emailed his NIO colleagues telling them of his intentions. His trembling voice told Guido that as a result he’d be sacrificing his termination pay-off. Today he is telling people he is only taking unpaid leave at the end of the month.

Watch this space SpAd…

Has Bright Joined the Dark Side?

Guido has long respected the New Statesman’s Martin Bright as an investigative journalist, but his extended and continuing proximity to the Smith Institute seems to be compromising his objectivity. He wrote a very prissy and disingenuous defence of his employer, the New Statesman, when Guido pointed out that it is a Brownite fanzine which both cross-subsidises and houses the Sith HQ.
Now he is quoting discredited Sith propaganda in his article this week, claiming that Gordon Brown
is bolstered by a poll of 100 leading figures from the City, industry, media and politics carried out by Opinion Leader Research, which showed that 87 per cent believed what the Chancellor said, compared to 58 per cent for Cameron

That “poll of 100 leading figures from the City, industry, media and politics carried out by Opinion Leader Research” has zero credibility. The methodology is not one recognised by the rest of the polling industry. OLR is run by Brown’s personal pollster, Deborah Mattinson, she is always wheeled out with contrary “research” when Brown gets a bad press from negative polls from more objective organisations.

OLR also has a six-figure contract with HM Treasury. Martin Bright had the cheek to question Guido’s independence last month, how independent do you think that OLR poll might be?

Deborah Mattison also sits on the board of the Smith Institute and OLR does polling for them as well. The Sith’s office is all of six yards away from Martin Bright’s desk at the New Statesman. How independent is he?

The New Statesman publishes glossy corporate “sponsored supplements” for the Smith Institute, but not one single mention of the Smith Institute’s troubles has appeared on it’s pages…

Friday Lunch Alert

Guido has somehow managed to get himself into a cruel and unusual situation. No lunch booked on a Friday…

Shop-a-SpAd : Peter Hain’s SpAd Has Resigned

When Guido finally tracked down the elusive cheating Phil Taylor, he told Guido that it was already his intention to resign, that he had informed the permanent secretary that he was intending to resign and that it didn’t therefore matter. He was going to work on his boss’ campaign and had emailed the rest of the NIO that he was going already.
[…]

+ READ MORE +



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