Agreeing With Tom Watson

Well it’s taking some getting used to for Guido, but Tom Watson is certainly taking to his new role as chief-thorn-in-the-coalition-side. One of the benefits of going from government to opposition is you know where the bodies are buried. He knows his way around the Cabinet Office too. Though he seems to have been stonewalled on getting the government hospitality wine cellar list published, he is aiming slightly higher now…

First there was his report on government cars and who has actually given them up and who hasn’t, now this morning he has released his research into private offices and found Hague costs the taxpayer three times more than Vince Cable. Caveats like security and breadth of brief aside, it makes for an interesting read. No surprise that Caroline Spelman feels she needs twelve personal staff to assist her at DEFRA.

Goodbye GOD

So Cathy Newman got the scoop tonight that Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell isn’t quitting. Yet.

Well more intriguingly the king of the mandarins wanted to go straight after the election, but given the circumstances, it is easy to see how he would have been persuaded to stay on in these unchartered waters for a little longer.

Now the battle starts for who Dave and Nick want to put in GOD’s shoes…

Silly Season (Caste Edition)

It seems that these PM Direct events are giving hacks endless copy over the quieter months of the summer. Asset rich David Cameron declared earlier that he is “middle-class” (despite the Eton education and blue blooded wife.) Cue a mild flurry of gasps and stifled laughs.

Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull, a long way from Cunard these days, once said “we are all middle class now”. Has the Prime Minster finally found something he can agree on with his lingering old tormentor? When these two place themselves in the same band, surely it is the end of the class system as we know it.  Either way, expect this one to trigger far more column inches tomorrow than need be…

Dave’s Sponge Avengers

So Dave has finally done it, he is actually lifted a government policy from the first episode of the Thick of It with the creation of the Snooper Force, or is that Sponge Avengers? However noble the pursuit of hunting scroungers, the end does not justify the means. The government trawling any private data should immediately start to ring alarm bells.

Just months ago Dave and Nick were singing from a very different hymn sheet at their infamous Rose Garden press conference. What did they offer?

“…a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government and roll back state intrusion.”

It seems like only an election ago that Clegg and Cameron were promising to end ID cards and the enchroachments of the database state. Where does snooping on innocent people’s credit card transactions fit into that?

Oona’s Open Invite

It seems struggling London Mayor wannabe Oona King is deploying a last ditch open-bar strategy. She tweets enthusiastically:

“YOU are invited to a party at campaign HQ on Wed 11, 6-8pm! Come down and meet me and the team and have a drink! PLEASE spread the word xx”

Guido is happy to oblige. So see you all tomorrow at 6 Heron Quays, London E14 4JB. Over in Canary Wharf. If the evening turns out anything like Oona’s old party days in Vauxhall’s finest after-hours clubs, it will be a messy one…

Band of Brothers

As if the Labour leadership contest wasn’t exciting enough already, just as it comes to its natural conclusion we learn this morning that More4 will be making a docu-drama about the Mili-brothers. The “light-hearted” look at their bitter rivalry that has seen them drive a wedge through their family in their individual quests for power, will go out the night before the result is announced. The rumours that Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise will be rekindling their acting partnership are apparently wide of the mark.

Charlie Kennedy Chooses Booze Over Family

Charles Kennedy is separating from his wife Sarah Gurling “entirely amicably”, and “with great sadness” according to a statement released by their lawyers.

It is fair to say that Kennedy hasn’t managed to kick the bottle, despite it costing him his political career and now his marriage. Desperately tragic.

The Fable Digs In

In a first since the formation of the coalition, Vince Cable has had what could be described as a good day. Well he seems to have got his own way for once at least. Despite the idea being “Miltoned” previously by Downing Street, it now looks as if Cable’s plans for taxing successful graduates have been given the nod. Apparently taxing aspiration is making Britain “fairer”. No wonder he had some nice things to say about his bosses today:

But the big surprise, which in some ways is a pleasant surprise, is that the coalition does actually work. Personal relationships are very good, very businesslike. Having worked with the Tories, at close quarters, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that they’re not as I’d envisaged them.”

You could have fooled Guido. Cable has been walking around looking physically pained by his predicament. Rumours are circulating that he threatened to resign if his tax plan was rejected – perhaps he would have ended up back in Labour. It would not have been a fatal blow to the government though. Is placating this increasingly doddery old crypto-socialist really worth burdening the next generation with even more crippling debt?

How Not To Deal With Spam

Lefty front-group 38 Degrees have built up a vast mailing list which they can deploy to flood MPs inboxes with whatever the current complaint of the day is. Guido imagines this can be rather tiresome, but all part of being […]

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Diane’s Dialling Dilemma

Guido was following up, what turned out to be, a dud tip-off last week that gave him reason to put a call into the Abbott campaign. Or at least try to. It turns out it’s quite hard to find any […]

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Bending the Laws

Not only did David Laws have the shortest, though admittedly bright, of cabinet careers, it now looks like he is going to serve the shortest of penances on the backbenchers. James Forsyth who is rather plugged in to the Downing […]

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Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

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Quote of the Day

Cameron on Trump:

“I have to say that knowing the gruelling nature of the primaries and what you have to go through, anyone who makes it through that extraordinary contest to lead their party into a general election deserves our respect.”

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