Guido is just digesting the reforms announced:
End to first class travel, only standard class to be reimbursed.
MPs can no longer buy taxpayer-funded second homes.
MPs will still be allowed to employ husbands, wives, mistresses and kids.
The number of MPs unable to claim any accommodation allowance has gone up from 25 to 128. These 128 MPs are now, like normal people, deemed to live within commuting distance of Westminster.
MPs are specifically banned from buying goods and services from family members or business partners, whereas before they were only instructed to “consult the Fees Office.”
Any airmiles earned (or similar bonuses) must be used for parliamentary purposes, not personal benefit.
Members have until August 2012 to get rid of mortgages.
Any family members current employed are allowed to continue until in their jobs “until the date when the party in question ceases to be employed or otherwise to provide staffing assistance.” It does not specify whether this means at the General Election.
Guido thinks the Tories are wise to take advantage of their most obvious selling point – Gordon. Aside from taking lines straight from Guido and switching back to Saatchi for their ads, what else might have changed?
A co-conspirator sends in this snap taken at the bus stop straight outside CCHQ on Millbank. Looks like a little something of the great Kelvin MacKenzie’s je ne sais quoi is rubbing off on the young staffers as he looks down on them.
Whenever Guido faces an ethical dilemma or an editorial challenge, he asks himself, “What Would Kelvin Do?”
Don’t believe the spin about Euro RSCG still being the Tories main advertising agency. Saatchi are back and one CCHQ insider told Guido that the problem with Euro RSCG was very simple: “they’re shit.”
These ads are simple and direct, forget Fink’s policy nuancing, forget fiscal details of tax and spend, on election day the choice facing voters is this: “Do you want five more years of Gordon Brown or not?” That is what it will boil down to in the voting cubicle when the curtain is drawn. If the Tories can frame the vote as a vote for or against Gordon Brown they will win.
Gordon is a huge negative for the Labour Party. Glad to see that someone at Saatchi agrees with Guido that Gordon’s gold sales debacle is worth putting to the people…
Guido is most amused with Joey Jones, Sky’s political correspondent, making the above comparison with a straight face and analysing the pros and cons of the Baldemort line, asking “will it work in the election?”
Even better, the (unconfirmed) word is that the Tories will be using Brown’s disastrous gold sales as a subject in a Saatchi created poster – an idea encouraged last week on this blog. If the poster features Dale Winton, the Guidoisation of politics will have reached a new high…
Monday was all about Byers; cartoon, lawyers competition, over 4000 people signed a petition to have him stripped of the “right honourable” title at one point at a rate of 1 every 10 seconds and don’t forget that excruciating video.
Guido also deconstructed a typical bit of spin from Vince Cable bigging himself up in the press. Mugshots of the dirty dozen Labour figures who are either facing criminal charges for theft, have been suspended from the party, suspended from the Lords, found to be expense fiddling, offering to whore themselves out or some permutation of all of the above featured on Tuesday. Amusing bits of gossip about Balls and Michael Foot capped off the day, Guido was particularly proud of this headline.
Wednesday the blog scooped Patsy Hewitt was due to lecture on corporate morality and Thursday she cancelled. PMQs saw Dave use Guido’s Baldemort quip about Liam Byrne (Armando Iannucci says he used the line about someone else and Guido owes him a fiver, send the invoice to Dave mate). The Tory attack ad against Ed Balls moved Guido to make a donation.
Lots of mad emails this week, Guido was invited to the New Statesman’s budget lunch with Liam Byrne, accepted and was then dis-invited for some reason. Not much of a soup fan anyway. This follows on from being invited to be a Guardian Student Journalist of the Year judge last month, agreeing to various terms and then getting dis-invited. Bemusing. What happens? Do they lose their nerve and get cold feet?
If you were not one of the 61,453 visitors viewing 431,638 pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:
- Desperate Labour Rip off Hacks
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- Tories Launch Ed Balls Attack Advert
- How Many Laws Has Byers Confessed to Breaking?
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- Union Boss Fat-Cat Lies About His Pay on TV
- How to Sting Greedy MPs
You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…