Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rennard’s Last Campaign

Lord Rennard resigned from his job as LibDem CEO last month, he claimed it was for “health reasons”, and that is a fiction that Clegg and the LibDem establishment are happy to maintain.  He was scheduled to leave Cowley Street in September, however Chris Fox has already been appointed as his successor and is now in place in Cowley Street.  Rennard is therefore somewhat superfluous in Westminster.

Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone We're in StockwellNick Clegg confirmed last week that Chris Rennard would be running the North Norwich campaign, it is likely to be the last campaign Rennard runs.  It is a little awkward given that the reason for this by-election on July 23 is that Ian Gibson, the sitting Labour MP, stood down over his expense claims.  Rennard himself is mired in his own expense claim difficulties over his “second home” two miles from Cowley Street.  He has now been reported to the House of Lords Privileges committee and asked to explain how and why he has claimed over £40,000 in expenses for what is in reality his main residence which he owned before even becoming peer.

He has now taken the step of calling in lawyers, Goodman Derrick, to advise him…

Paramount Wake for New Labour

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: Guido was at the “21st Birthday Party” for IPPR held in London’s Paramount at the top of Centre Point.  IPPR was partly responsible for dragging the Labour Party from the electorally chilling loony left towards the centre. You knew this was a valedictory affair the moment Nicholas Boles came on the video tribute.  When the former head of  Policy Exchange, Cameron’s favourite think tank, was paying tribute you knew the moment for this once so New Labour think-tank was over.

ipprAccording to one of the speakers 1500 people had worked for them over the years, they included some famous names now in high office who had done the photo-copying as interns.  The whole night had a “our best days are behind us feel”.  When a drunken IPPR PR started screeching “how did you get in?” it felt embarrassing to tell her that Guido was invited to the wake – and, even more embarrassingly – had been there at the birth long before her.  Farewell New Labour, we won’t forget you easily…

Monday, June 29, 2009

Blundell Ousted from the IEA

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: Dale is first with the news that John Blundell has been ousted from the directorship of the venerable Institute of Economic Affairs, the grand-daddy of think tanks.  To be honest whatever spin is put in the official announcement this has been in the offing for some time.  Guido made his view clear to all in wonkland last year: “Young Blood Needed at the Daddy of Think Tanks“.

The problem was that John Blundell was not only low profile, he was very expensive and was beginning to concern the trustees.  The complete lack of influence on the Conservative Party agenda on the eve of a change of government was a big disappointment. The IEA trustees very pointedly introduced a rule in April that no IEA employee could drink during business hours or at IEA events.  The IEA has also, like most think-tanks, suffered from a fall in donations post credit crunch.  Staff were recently put on a four day week.

Possible successors to Blundell who are likely to throw in their hat are said to include; Tim Evans, formerly with the Stockholm Network and now kicking his heels at the Libertarian Alliance, the IEA’s own Roger Bates and Julian Morris from the International Policy Network.   Bates and Morris have baggage which will probably rule them out of the running, both have acted too often as think-tankers-for-hire to directly push policies on behalf big agri-businesses and Big Pharma.   The IEA has always kept itself above that sort of thing, it campaigns for capitalism not big corporations.

Matthew Elliott is too happy where he is and will want to keep the pressure on the incoming government from the Taxpayers’ Alliance. His brother-in-law, City A.M.’s editor Allister Heath, is in with a strong chance.  If the IEA wants to become a policy player again he would be a good choice, with his contacts in the media and politics he understands what will get attention.  The only thing is that if (as is rumoured) Matthew d’Ancona is thinking of moving on from the Speccie, Allister might also fancy his chances there.  Other potential candidates from wonkland could include Progressive Vision’s Mark Littlewood or Shane Frith, both of whom have done work for the IEA in the past.  A lot of people would like to run the biggest think-tank budget in Westminster…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Balls Still In Touch With McBride

balls_mcbrideWhen you know that it was Ed Balls who originally talent-spotted McBride at the Treasury and that it was Balls who directed the smear operation which McBride ran, it makes sense. Damian McBride was to have been Ed’s right hand man when he ran for the leadership if things had gone differently.  Having told the Today show to much guffawing that he barely knew “Mr McBride” he has now switched tack.  Perhaps fearing he was going to be caught lying when directly questioned by Gaby Hinsliff, he said his recent contact was merely social – “I certainly wished him a happy birthday. As I said [when he resigned], Damian did a very stupid thing, he’s paid a very heavy price, but we all get on with our jobs.” So Mr McBride hasn’t quite been airbrushed out completely…

Mrs Bercow Cavorted with Stripper Who Turned Rapist

You won’t believe this in the Mail on Sunday.

Hain’s Political Lobbying Firm

The Sunday Times has uncovered that Peter Hain, despite being made Welsh secretary in Gordon’s last barrel scraping re-shuffle, is still a partner in a firm that specialises in political communications. HaywoodHain, a consultancy set up with his second-wife claimed to have a “detailed understanding of the political landscape in the UK” on its website and used Hain’s London home as the office address. No conflict of interest there…

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Keen’s Squatters are Angry Taxpayers

keen-squatters

Banner reads “Reclaiming Your Taxes”Could this be the work of the provisional wing of the Taxpayers’ Alliance?

N.B. More photos here.

+++ Police Called to Keen House Over Squatters +++

Mr-&-Mrs-Keen-on-Expenses

Unconfirmed reports from local sources say police have been called to deal with squatters at Mr & Mrs Keen (on expenses) empty home. At least it is going to good use…

Brown’s Billions for Climate Change

Yesterday when Gordon proposed throwing $100 billion at developing countries to help them cope with climate change, he said:

When historians look back on this critical moment, let them say, not that we were the generation that failed our children; but that we had the courage, and the will, to succeed.

Brown is BonkersThe Prime Mentalist will succeed only in putting our children into debt that will last generations.   No other G7 country  supports this position because they are not led by loons.  They have budget deficits to worry about, Britain’s deficit is the worst, last month alone the government overspent by £20 billion.  Britain is broke, a government that can’t pay it’s bills has resorted to printing money to buy its own government debt and has run out of things to tax. They are planning to tax phone lines.

Bonkers Brown reminds Guido of Wacko Jacko, saving the world “for the children”.  Jacko died broke, living extravagantly beyond his means.  Brown is taking us to never, never land financially…


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