The Case for Boris

Guido has learned that Boris has been discussing the possibility of running for Mayor since at least January. Boris is concerned that he first has to have the support of his constituency if he is to devote six months to campaigning for the job.

Surely Henley can spare him in the noble quest to finally rid Lo
ndon of Ken?


The Succinct Case for Boris:

  • He is high profile and likeable. He has name and face recognition that matches Ken Livingstone. Very few people outside the Conservative activist base know any of the other candidates.
  • He would be the popular grassroots choice with his own party activists.
  • He reaches out to those not usually interested in politics.
  • He is a talented media performer and campaigner.
  • He can win.
There are only ten days left to draft him, nominations close Monday July 16th. Currently over 80% of those polled by Guido want Boris to run…
UPDATE : Hammersmith Tory councillor Harry Phibbs, writing for the Conservative leaning think-tank the Social Affairs Unit, backed Boris for Mayor in January.

Gordon @ PMQs

Mrs Fawkes prevented Guido from seeing the first PMQs clash live (the picture on the right is from a previous PMQs session) but reports reach Guido that in the Public Gallery were Gordon’s brother and Wilf Stevenson. They will have been disappointed.

Watching the recording, Brown got off to a surprisingly shaky and stammering start. The act he is putting on will be difficult to maintain, trying to sound unnaturally consensua, as fake as his new smile. Give it a few months and the inner Gordon will come through. His perfomance was such that he was slapped down by Ming. That was a change…

Speccie Endorses Boris for Mayor

Matthew d’Ancona has declared Boris to be the official candidate of The Spectator for the position of London Mayor.
The I’m Backing Boris Facebook group is now open for business…

UPDATE : Tory Radio is backing Boris.

UPDATE : Somebody has bought up today : boris4london.com, boris4london.org, boris4london.co.uk, boris4london.org.uk, boris4london.net, boris4mayor.org, boris4mayor.com, boris4mayor.org, boris4mayor.co.uk, boris4mayor.org.uk, boris4mayor.net.

Brown to Protect the Sith

In the small print of Brown’s Commons Statement yesterday:

Right of charities to campaign
168. …it is important to ensure that the regulatory framework for the third sector, together with the Government’s consultation mechanisms and investments in strengthening the organisational capacity of the sector, help it to foster and harness community voices on important issues of public policy. The Government will therefore work with the Charity Commission, Capacitybuilders and sector leaders to explore the options for enabling charities and other sector organisations to better campaign on issues that are likely to advance the cause of the purposes for which they have been established. As part of this process, the Government will consider the recommendations of the recent report of the independent Advisory Group on Campaigning and the Voluntary Sector, chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (23 May 2007).

The review was far from independent and was cobbled together by the Treasury last February to report in April – unusually timely and speedily. (Wonder why?) The great and the good on the committee chaired by Helena Kennedy recommended that “Charities should be able to engage in political campaigning in furtherance of their charitable purposes as long as they do not support political parties.”

It might surprise you to learn that Guido supports this move, then again Guido has never seen a tax cut he hasn’t liked. This move might save the Smith Institute’s charitable status, but if campaigning becomes tax-deductible Brown is going to get an awful shock. Right-of-centre pressure groups and campaigns will raise and spend more money than his supporters ever will. It will give political organisations outside the party structures a huge warchest. A lot of people will be far more inclined to give to their causes if it comes off their tax bill…

Blair Trousers First £100,000

Guido hears that Blair’s package for his UN-sponsored Middle East Peace Mission is £100,000-a-year, plus office and travel expenses.

Didn’t Jimmy Carter have this exact same job a decade or two ago?

++ BOLES PULLS OUT OF TORY MAYORAL RACE ++

Nick Boles is quitting the race due to serious illness. He is getting treatment for cancer. Best of luck Bolesy.

Labour’s Anti-Heir-to-Blair Campaign Poster

If Cameron is the Heir-to-Blair, and the Brownites have been fighting Blair for so long, is this any surprise? They have recycled an anti-Blair poster from the 2005 general election. Michael Howard’s Tories had a poster of a grinning Blair, with the slogan “wipe the smile off his face”.
If the Labour party carry on like this it will be cathartic for them. They will be able to attack Dave for all his Blairite traits and in doing so they will purge their guilty consciences.

UPDATE : Here is the old Tory advert.

Snouts in Trough : James Gray (Again)

James Gray is widely perceived to be a cad. He barely held on to his seat when efforts were made by disgusted Tories to deselect him over his treatment of his wife when she had cancer – he left her for his mistress. The mistress’ husband was quoted as saying that James Gray is full of “sanctimonious, self-serving drivel.”

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer, “encouraged” him to repay payments to his ex-wife of £12,000 from his Commons expenses between last October and February, when the payments were exposed in the Mail on Sunday. Ordinary people caught defrauding the public purse get prosecuted, when MPs get caught they just repay the money. Disgraced Blunkett fiddled his expenses for his mistress, got caught and repaid the money he defrauded “by mistake”. What will it take for an MP to be prosecuted?

Scores of MPs fiddle their mortgage expenses, pay spouses and offspring to do non-jobs, whilst claiming allowances to which they are not really entitled. The sums are not insignificant, but the principle that law makers should not be law breakers is more important than the size of the fiddle. This is stealing from the public purse, defrauding the taxpayer. MPs complain that the public don’t trust them.

Can’t politicians see that their transparently venal ways are a large part of the problem?

Miliblogger to Persevere

Guido has received a tip-off that the Miliblog will not die, it will be re-incarnated at the FCO. What a waste of taxpayers money. Shouldn’t he really be concentrating on foreign relations rather than his personal spin blog?

Shouldn’t the Labour party rather than the taxpayer pay the bill?

See previous stories.

“Two Horse Race” for Second Place in Ealing Southall

Labour has a thumping majority in Ealing Southall and will, unless something spectacular happens, hold the seat. The interesting race is for second place.

A re-energised Conservative party are intent on squeezing the 3% deficit with the LibDems, who are struggling badly in the polls. The LibDems live for by-elections, but the Tories are hoping to give them a bloody nose this time. Is this wise?

Ming’s leadership is in desperate difficulties. He has led them from polling at the +20% level to the low teens. This poor showing is becoming worryingly consistent. If they knock the LibDems into third place it will add dramatically to the calls for Ming to stand down. Is that really in the electoral interests of the Tories?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Stat Porn for June

346,444 pageloads from 255,504 unique visitors, Oh, F**K” – Who’s That Girl?” was the most popular story. Iain Dale remains the top referrer and the top search term is still Gordon Brown rocking horse“.

UPDATE : As someone pointed out in the comments, congratulations are due to Iain on winning more traffic than Guido last month. Guido has, to be fair, been distracted of late with two books* in the pipeline, overseeing Polish builders finishing off a new house, business pressures and just the tedium of Blair’s long goodbye sapping his enthusiasm for blogging.

Iain has beaten Guido some months in the past, competition is healthy and imminent developments in the Loans for Lordships scandal should see traffic explode. Guido will be all over it…

*The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze is out, the forthcoming Levy book is still some time from publication.

Tom Watson Breaks His Promise, As Predicted

Back in October last year Guido wrote of Tom Watson:-

“was overheard telling senior party officials in his constituency recently that he expects “to be back in government” after Gordon takes over… Gordon wouldn’t reward the treachery that he has publicly disavowed advance knowledge of and claimed he would have advised against. Would he?

Tom got very upset and posted in the comments

For the record: I do not want to go back into government whoever leads the Labour Party. I’m very happy being a constituency MP.
10:28 AM, October 26, 2006

He went on to write

I’m an overweight opinionated member of parliament, I embarrass my relatives all the time. That was the only accurate bit of your post. But you know this.

The bit about returning to government is the inaccurate part of your post. But then I suspect you know this too. You are asking people to comment on a story that isn’t true. It doesn’t do you or political bloggers any service. Then again, why am I bothering to say this to you? You know all this as well.
11:15 AM, October 26, 2006

With a reputation for accurate and balanced reporting to protect, Guido was troubled by this, perhaps Tom Watson was not a treacherous, lying plotter who met and connived with Brown on the eve of his coup attempt against Blair. Maybe he was not going to return to government under Brown. Guido offered to retract the allegation if he promised not to return to government.
Tom said…

It shouldn’t be neccesary but to amuse you: I promise never to return to government.

Good enough?
11:26 AM, October 26, 2006

Tom Watson rejoined the government as a whip today. But we never really believed him did we? Nor did we really believe that he only chatted to Gordon about the kids. As politicians go, Tom Watson is one of the most mendacious shits in parliament. The thing is, he is proud of it.

Smith Institute Board’s Financial Backing for Gordon

The Smith Institute’s director, Wilf Stevenson claims that it is an independent, non-partisan charity and has no direct links to Gordon Brown.

So it is a bit of a coincidence that Lord Haskell, chairman of the Board of Trustees gave a five grand donation to Gordon’s leadership campaign. Even more of a coincidence that another board member, Mr Paul Myners, gave twelve grand. Surely he can’t remain mere “mister” Myners for much longer. It was Myners of course who provided the implausible story to cover-up the Treasury’s direct payment to the Smith Institute.

You won’t read about this in the Guardian, because although it likes to advertise that it has no press baron owner, Myners is chairman of the Guardian Media Group as well as being a Sith board member. Another fortunate coincidence…

The official position, as of this afternoon, is the “The Charity Commission’s inquiry into the Smith Institute remains open and ongoing”. How much longer can the investigation go on? It is a pretty open and shut case.

PMS First Briefing : The Spin Begins

We must now learn to call the PMOS the PMS, he is no longer the PM’s Official Spokesman because that would imply an Unofficial spokesman doing off-the-record spin. That is apparently not going to happen anymore in our changed spin-free-Brownite era.

But lo, the age of spin may not be completely dead. At Michael Ellam’s first briefing as Brown’s mouthpiece on Wednesday, he announced the symbolic first move in office: stopping Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell from telling civil servants what to do. When sharp-eyed and unusually on the ball Lobby hacks pointed out that neither man still worked in government, Ellam, suffering perhaps first-day nerves, conceded: “It is a meaningless gesture.”

This is not quite how the exchange is reported on the No. 10 website, though:

“Put to him that the Orders of Council applied to just two people, one who had already gone and one who effectively went today, and did not actually apply to anyone else, the PMS replied that while this was technically correct, this was not a meaningless gesture.”

If Mr Ellam dares to contradict Guido there is a recording…

Friday Caption Contest (Isaby Edition)

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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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