Peter Hain’s Campaign Strategy

Normally this kind of thing when leaked is not that exciting, Guido is usually underwhelmed by the details of by-election battle-plans and suchlike. But you know, the perma-tanned boy-racer is so bloody irritating that hopefully outing some MPs who have tentatively promised him support (no doubt they have said the same to other candidates) will give him a bit of a slap and please many rugby fans.

Particularly amusing to see listed is the promise by Harriet Harman’s PPS, Martin Linton, that he will publicly support her rival for deputy leader. What is clear is the total state of paralysis gripping the party of government as all minds are focused on positioning. Poor the Harriet…

Download Peter Hain’s “Strategy and Supporters” list here.

Remember, Guido’s contact details are in the right-hand column if you want to blow the whistle…

Gordon and the Explosive Power of Bloggers

Speaking in Davos this morning, Gordon Brown, sitting next to Rupert Murdoch, said:

“A few years ago the debate was about whether the media controlled politicians or whether politicians controlled the media. Now it is about how we are all responding to the explosive power of citizens, consumers and bloggers.”

The Smith Institute dossier requested by the Charity Commissioners is being delivered on Monday.

Growling Chris Grayling MP has also written to the Chancellor requesting answers to some pertinent questions:
  • Will you publish a full list of all events held at Number 11 Downing Street by the Smith Institute?
  • Have any costs for Smith Institute events held at Number 11 been subsidised by you or the Treasury in any way? If so, what has been the total cost to the taxpayer of hosting these events?
  • What are the criteria by which applications to hold events at Number 11 are judged?
  • What is the number of applications you have received to hold events at Number 11; the number accepted and the number declined?
  • Will you list those charities that have been refused permission to hold events at Number 11?
  • Have any other Treasury facilities been provided for the purpose of hosting Smith Institute events?
  • On how many occasions have you personally attended Smith Institute events?
  • Has the Smith Institute ever provided you with any personal benefits? If so, have you declared such benefits (a) to the Register of Members Interest and (b) to the Electoral Commission
  • Have you ever solicited donations for the Smith Institute?
  • Can you provide assurances that there is no conflict of interest between anyone who has donated to the Smith Institute and your actions as Chancellor of the Exchequer?
Come Monday morning the Charity Commissioners will, Guido strongly suspects, be adding some of their own questions about his “non-political, independent charity”. Guido loves the smell of gunpowder in the morning…

Sith for Beginners

Sith Exposé Part I

Courtesy of B-BBC

++ Smith Institute Exposé ++ Newsnight Tonight ++

Guido knew something was up when the Charity Commissioners contacted him this week asking for evidence regarding the Smith Institute. When Guido said he was still compiling his dossier they warned that they could “legally compel” Guido to provide evidence.

Guido retorted that they should fufil an outstanding Freedom of Information request. This evening out-of-the-blue at 5pm the Charity Commission’s Senior Manager for Compliance personally handed Guido a revealing two inch dossier. In an enclosed written request he asked Guido to provide all relevant information “by the close of business Thursday 25 January 2007”. All the bits of the puzzle have yet to be assembled.

Guido understands that tonight Newsnight’s Michael Crick intends to run an exposé of the Smith Institute, which is already under investigation by the charities regulator (for a second time) over allegations of political activities in breach of the Charities Act. The Charity Commission was due to issue a report shortly, they may soon have to revise their findings. The Sith are unavailable for comment.

++ More to follow ++

Snouts in the Trough : Microsoft Doles Out Pork and Wine

Here is a fine example of how the ruling political class literally get their snouts in the trough courtesy of suppliers:
First minister Jack McConnell and Danuta Hubner, European commissioner for regional policy, are among the speakers at a two-day Microsoft ‘government leaders forum’ which takes place in the Scottish parliament.

Microsoft, quasi-monopolistic purveyors of over-priced, buggy, sub-standard software have high level sales teams embedded in government, literally using government offices to sell to the government. To make sure that the bosses keep buying Microsoft they schmooze them like mad. They also fund think-tanks to produce reports protecting their monopoly and rubbishing superior open source software. You can be sure that the wine at this “government leaders forum” will have an excellent bouquet discernable to a politician’s snout.

Chris Bryant Writes for Guido!

That is it. Have had enough of this silly rumour that has been going round. It is not true, casts me in a weak light and I will not stand for it anymore. Lawyers will be corresponding with anyone who tells this smear on my good name.

The story goes that some time ago I was working out in the commons gym (got to look my best in pictures after all). I was sprinting on the treadmill. Jack Straw was on the rowing machine just across from me. When, after doing an impressive 5 miles, I jumped off to dab myself off with a towel, Jack is supposed to have shouted across: “Very good Bryant, but now give me 20 press ups.” Always willing to ingratiate myself (he was the foreign secretary), I am supposed to have immediately hit the deck and given him a quick 20 press ups.

It is a lie. I will sue. I did 50 press ups!

I am Chris Bryant!

U.S. Military Surveillance in Iraq

Newsnight Replies Re Running Order Ruckus Over Ruth

There was consternation in many places over last week’s reporting by the BBC of Ruth Turner’s arrest. Many thought that Newsnight in particular messed up the priorities with a Michael Crick story on a Tory using the word “cripple” in an email as the lead item. Guido agreed and on Saturday emailed Newsnight’s editor Peter Barron:

Peter,

Could you give me an on the record quote concerning the relative priority given to these stories on Friday.

The lead story focused on an embarrassing email sent between two non-entity local Tory councillors. In other news, after nine minutes on this story, the next story was that PM’s aide was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in the loans for lordships investigation. This story was given three minutes.

Why were the stories prioritised in that order?

Do you think the un-pc email story was more important?

The reply came back this morning:

Guido,

On Newsnight we don’t necessarily stick to linear running orders which reflect the relative significance of stories in the same way that news bulletins tend to. The loans for peerages story was of course more significant, but there were other factors at play. We had committed Michael Crick to following David Cameron’s efforts to relaunch his campaign in the North. While covering that he came across the “cripple” email story, which was an exclusive and highly pertinent to the Conservatives’ attempts to portray themselves as a compassionate party of government. It followed and mirrored the biggest controversy and talking point of the week which concerned the use of un-PC language in Big Brother. The loans story had been reported in some detail on the 10 O’clock News and on Newsnight we considered that our version could not be substantially different given the information we had at that point. We therefore decided to lead off on our own original story and to run the loans story prominently in second place. You could actually argue that in terms of global significance it was our third story – about China and star wars – which was the most important of the three.
Guido gets the impression that they were committed to the Crick story, when Ruth got arrested they didn’t want to bin the Crick footage. A misjudgement. A nothing story, about a nobody versus the arrest of the PM’s aide? This could lead to a crisis of Watergate proportions and surely deserves serious treatment by the nation’s prime serious news show. What were they thinking?

UPDATE : Peter Barron blogs “I don’t rule out the possibility that it was simply a misjudgement.” Quite.

Celebrity Big Politician Eviction Vote Night

Brillo! Brillo! Brillo!

“The Thick Of It” special had a junior minister who went on TV only to be reduced to a blinking quivering mess by the fictional forceful line of questioning. If only instead of being so craven they were like that in reality, Guido thought to himself.
Yesterday Ed Ball’s made fantasy reality. His blink rate per minute went hyper when Andrew Neil asked him about inflation. Why is it lower everywhere else in the Western industrialised world? Ball’s smile turned into a stutter, the blink rate doubled, the smile thinned under further pressure. Blinking desperately, Balls is reduced to stroking Neil’s ego. No excuses left, even Paddy Ashdown manages to put the boot in with a “Blair won’t go until the economy goes bad” crack.

See GuyNews.TV for the extract.

Brillo Dis-Inflates Balls

Ed Balls Grovelling to Andrew Neil

Just now on the Daily Politics – the best of the BBC’s political output – Andrew Neil would not let Gordon’s apprentice off the hook, repeatedly asking Ed Balls why, if it was down to oil, UK inflation was higher than the rest of the Western industrialised world?
Ed tried to wriggle and in the end started grovelling to Neil, that he was probably the best informed political journalist on the economy. Classic. “Please stop beating me up” his eyes were pleading.

He Likes a Pie or Three….

Konrad Still Sulking

Guido called the Sith office today a few times, with no reply. So he decided to call Konrad Caulkett, (remember last time we spoke). Guido called him on his mobile directly with a simple question for the Smith Institute events organiser.
GF Hi Konrad, what is Ed speaking on tomorrow?
KC Err, who is this?
GF Guido.
KC I’m not talking to you.
GF But you are now aren’t you?
click… brrr…

Using only the power of the good side of the force, Guido has divined that the Sith are holding a meeting with Ed Balls, the master’s apprentice, as the speaker.

This is the non-political, non-partisan, Treasury hosted and rebated, tax-deductible-donationswelcome “public educational charity” holding a meeting it wants to keep secret. Maybe one of the co-conspirators knows the details. Is it at No. 11 again? What is the topic? Most think-tanks want to publicise their events openly, the Sith acts like a secretive cabal. Which in many ways it is…

More about the Smith Institute.

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