UPDATE 12:00 Sunday : Guido is taking a break this weekend from sifting through sleaze. Take the opportunity below in the comments to do what Guido would do. See if there are reasons why Alan Johnson might cook the books?
Look at Johnson’s donors, are there any with a possible conflict of interest with his ministerial position, people who do business or represent businesses or are associated with government contractors?

Are there people with dodgy histories? What was their motive in giving cash to Johnson? Consider this a little experiment in distributed journalism and research. Good luck, remember the Dead-Tree-Press will be reading and looking for leads. Last week identifiable traffic from newsroom offices surged and contributed to the 30,000 a day readership…

Guido is Off to Google UK HQ Tomorrow

Guido will be among the geeks.gov.uk on Saturday trying to rein in some of the starry-eyed types from the eGovernment crowd. As someone who was around for the first internet boom, and only lost half his NAV in the tech crash, it will be Guido’s self-appointed role to try and keep them all on terra firma, particularly the ones spending your taxes.

Since there will be a lot of Whitehall geeks attending maybe Guido will find out why his blog is blocked in some parts of Whitehall for lower grades and not for higher Civil Service grades. Is it because they are scared of leaks or just people monging about on the blog all day?

Guido will be discouraging the eVisionaries from doing things that should be done by the private sector and encouraging them to be open and realistic. Spending millions on sites that no one visits is never a good idea…

APPC Calls Emergency Meeting Over Hain Lobby Firm

PR Week is reporting that the spin industry’s self regulatory organisation, the Association of Professional Political Consultants, has called an emergency meeting of its management committee on 28 January to look into a complaint about Morgan Allen Moore, the public aff­airs firm linked to the Peter Hain’s donations.

APPC chair Gill Morris called the meeting after receiving a formal complaints concerning a number of breaches of the lobbyists code of conduct by Morgan Allen Moore.

Morgan the Organ made a £5,000 donation to the fake think-tank and allowed the Hain4Labour campaign to use Morgan Allen Moore off­ices. Cheques to Hain4Labour were sent via the Cardiff offices of Morgan Allen Moore before ending up in the campaign coffers. The fake think tank shares an address with Morgan Allen Moore as well.

These actions breach section 12 of the APPC code of conduct, which states that members

must keep strictly separate from their duties and activities as political consultants any personal activity or inv­olvement on behalf of a pol­itical party.

Steve Morgan is going to try and claim that this was all done in a personal capacity. Think carefully Steve, Guido is watching…

Competition : Alternative Career Suggestions for Hain

Now he has more time on his hands we should really be charitable and come up with a few suggestions for alternative careers for Peter Hain. He is after all heavily in debt, owing campaign debts of £41,200.

He needs the money. One obvious suggestion is doing celebrity endorsements. He has already endorsed Tesco, Picture Financial, Cuddy Construction and Freshwater UK.

Perhaps he could endorse St Tropez fake tanning lotion? Tango drinks? Orange phones? Best suggestion in the comments wins a copy of The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze.

Friday Caption Contest

The Labour Party is in the Dock

The list of Labour Party figures who look likely to find themselves in the courts this year is getting longer; David Abrahams (or whatever he is calling himself today), Peter Watt, Peter Hain, Wendy Alexander and Harriet Harman, plus a potential supporting cast of intermediaries, advisers and party apparatchiks as defendants.
Some 28,800 people were prosecuted last year by Hain’s former department, the DWP, for failing to declare income. Many were prosecuted for small amounts of money. Poor people.

They were unable to use the defence that they were too busy, that it was an innocent mistake, or that they forgot. Peter Watt conspired to break the law, David Abrahams concocted a scheme to circumvent the law, Wendy Alexander broke the law as did Harriet Harman. If they are not prosecuted it will mean that we are not all equal before the law, the rich and powerful can treat it with contempt. Should it be acceptable that a single mother on benefits who does a bit of hairdressing for cash gets prosecuted, whereas a former Minister of the Crown gets the benefit of the doubt? No ifs, no buts, lawmakers can’t be allowed to be law breakers.

Pressure on Lobbyist Transparency

If you go to the websites of some public affairs firms they boast that they can set up “grassroots networks” – fake campaigns to boost corporate interests. Big Pharma, for example, funds endless patient groups and fake think tanks that are really about increasing product demand, getting approval for their products or policy changes which boost their profits.

A number of left-wing groups have got together in the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency. Their key launch demands are:

* A mandatory public register of lobbyists, with full financial disclosure

* Enforceable ethics rules for all lobbyists

* Enhanced rules on ethics for politicians and public officials on the so-called ‘revolving-door’ syndrome between lobbyists and public bodies; to halt privileged access to decision makers.

This is necessary. A lot of public affairs firms are conning their business clients about what they can do, if they could do what they claim it would (or should) be illegal. It is a murky trade, it is one thing for businessman to lobby in self defence against over regulation, but as often as not they are lobbying for preferential treatment and corporate welfare. Vested interests are not in the common interest.

This seems to be an exclusively left-wing campaign when it is something that could equally easily be supported by groups like the Taxpayer’s Alliance. If this turns out to just another left-wing anti-business campaign it will be a shame.

Back on Newsnight

Guido will be contributing to the Newsnight discussion tonight on the demise of Peter Hain. Guido doesn’t normally do television, but this is a special occasion…

How Guido Destroyed Hain’s Ambitions in 12 Months

On January 29, 2007 Guido threw Hain’s leadership campaign into disarray by revealing his campaign strategy. It led to chaos in Hain4Labour. The leak meant that nobody in the campaign trusted anybody.

In May 2007 Guido revealed the Hain4Labour campaign budget and that sleazy lobbyist Steve Morgan was arranging the financing.

On the morning of December 3, 2007 Guido chased down an undeclared donor and talked to Hain’s Special Adviser Joe Carberry to ask about missing undeclared donations. That afternoon Hain went to see the Electoral Commission.

On January 8 this year Guido revealed the links between campaign donors and endorsements from Hain.

Get the full background to the story:

All Guido’s recent Hain stories. All Guido’s older Hain stories.



Guardian Online Doesn’t Have Much to Boast About

The Guardian was boasting this week that it has 3.6 million UK users a month. Guido has got the breakdown of those numbers from the online industry’s competitive intelligence monitors Hitwise.

In December the Guardian politics pages had some 455,000 UK users, compared to Guido’s 305,000 users. Iain Dale is on a similar number. In fact any two of the top five blogs get more British readers in a month than the whole of Guardian Online’s politics pages. Something that should be worrying the boys and girls on the Farringdon Road…

More Orwellian Behaviour

On Tuesday Guido drew attention to the Orwellian re-writing of speeches after they had been delivered by Gordon to cover-up mistakes. Today we have another 1930s Soviet-style propaganda technique being used by McStalin: airbrushed old photos being used in government publications.
The picture on the left is taken from Gordon’s introduction to Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives published yesterday. The first picture looks ten years old, the picture of the unhealthy figure on the right was taken more recently. Who are they trying to kid, him or us?

Hat-tip : LFAT

This story is a bit confused, not least by the Mayor’s office issuing denials and spin. The few facts that are clear are that the Mayor’s Deputy Race Adviser, Rosemary Emodi, had visited Kamp Afrika, a holiday resort in Nigeria. Errol Walters, who styles himself the Managing Director of Brixton Base Limited, also claimed to represent the Mayor’s Office. According to the Nigerian press, Errol offered Kamp Afrika support and promised London offices for the project, to support the Nigerian diaspora, courtesy of the Mayor’s taxpayers.

Questioned by the BBC, Rosemary Emodi denied attending, she later admitted she had attended and was forced to resign. (Googling quickly comes up with pictures of her in full African costume at the resort) The Mayor’s Office denies any support for the project. Brixton Base is at the centre of an investigation into £2m in grants allegedly given because of links to Jasper. The sleaze is lapping at Ken’s door. He still supports Lee Jasper unreservedly…

Gordon is a Jonah

Gordon goes to Heathrow. Airplane crashes. Lands in India. Bombay Stock Exchange has record all time losses falling 15%. Returns to London, London Stock Exchange crashes. When he first became PM, God punished the people of England with floods, pestilence and Islamic fires of terror. Every national sporting event he visits, the home team loses. God must really hate Gordon…

Northern Rocky

Stolen from : Channel 4 News

UPDATE 30 January 2008 : Seems that the humorous “Stolen from” reference has set someone off – for the record, Channel 4 News have given written permission for the occasional use of artwork on condition that they get a back-link.[…]


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Trump jokes about media bias…

“The media is even more biased against me than ever before. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it. It’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My Wife Melania gives the exact same speech! And people get on her case! And I don’t get it! I don’t know Why!”

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