Lights Go Out at City Hall

Like a biblical omen, darkness has fallen on Ken’s City Hall.

Due to flooding in the basement the power has been switched off. Has London ground to a halt? Has the lack of advice from diversity officers brought commerce to a halt? Will the lack of active bureaucrats halt the transport network?

Guido suspects London would function better without the extra layer of Mayoral bureaucracy….

UPDATE : Some jokes in the comments that the over-working paper-shredders probably fused the electricity – as with the Stasi before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Would be funny except Ken has boasted of doing exactly this before the 2005 Freedom of Information Act came into law.

Gwyneth Funeral Next Week

Gwyneth Dunwoody’s funeral will be held at St Margaret’s Chapel in London on May 8 at midday.

The by-election date will be announced the following week – expect mid-June. Thursday’s local elections will be especially telling because due to boundary re-organisation, the results will be mappable onto the Westminster constituency. Rumours are that her daughter Tamsin may stand for the seat…

+++ YouGov: Boris 11% Ahead on First preferences +++

10% after second preferences…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

How to Hack Harriet Harman

As the government contemplates a law to criminalise “reckless” losses of data it is worth reflecting on the sophisticated data security employed by Harriet Harman to prevent hacking of her blog:
username : harriet
password : harman
The hacker also tells Guido that he used “log-less multiple proxies” – which are the internet equivalents of dead drops. Apparently.

UPDATE Sunday : Adam Boulton asked Harman on Sky if the story above was true (Adam, how could you doubt?) she sheepishly confirmed it to be the case.

Demos Abandons Party Conferences

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: Word reaches Guido that the “Third Way” think-tank Demos is not going to the party conferences.

They claim that the returns do not justify the costs. There have been consistent rumours that Demos has funding difficulties – which they deny. Frankly given how much taxpayer’s money is diverted to Demos, Guido doubts they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Guido has heard that as much as a third of their income is from taxpayers rather than voluntary donations .

Demos has a problem in that it seems to be on an intellectual ramble with no clear direction. Which does not mean it doesn’t come up with occasionally interesting ideas, just that it no longer has a cutting ideological edge. Financial backers can’t be sure what they are getting for their money. So they understandably don’t give.

Technical Problems

Overnight something has happened. Not sure if it is technical failure, a hacker attack or just a glitch. Everything is backed-up and will be restored in due course…

UPDATE : It was a glitch. Thanks to Dizzy for the solution.

American Idol Producers Baffled by Ratings Collapse

idol
According to the LA Times the curse of Jonah Brown has struck the ratings of the (until now) most successful show on U.S. TV:

And the pace of the fall off may be quickening. Last week’s performance show, featuring the songs of Mariah Carey, one of the most successful pop singers in history, was the lowest-rated Tuesday “Idol” in five years among TV’s most important demographic, adults ages 18 to 49. The subsequent results show, in which country warbler Kristy Lee Cook got the hook, delivered “Idol’s” worst Wednesday numbers among adults ages 18 to 34 since its first season back in summer 2002. Producers also saw depressed ratings for their “Idol Gives Back” charity extravaganza, which this year aired as a stand-alone show with no competition-related material.

Guido has warned before – beware the one-eyed son of the manse, for he is accursed, and all he touches is cursed by him…

“Secret” Meeting Today Over Pitt-Watson

According to the Tribune (yes it is still going) Dianne Hayter and Labour HQ staff had been attempting to keep the meeting today “as secret as possible”.

Pitt-Watson has missed three officers’ meetings and at least two business board meetings and has communicated only to confirm that he had not given notice to his present employer.

Feel free to email Guido the conclusion of the meeting…

Background here and follow-up.

Friday Caption Contest

Blair’s Final Bit of Advice to Gordon

With Labour now 18% behind in the polls on levels last seen at the height of Thatcherism, it is perhaps worth taking a moment to reflect. In his valedictory speech to the Labour Party’s 2006 conference, Tony told Gordon what to do if he was having trouble defeating Dave’s Tories. Gordon should heed the advice…

Blair’s 2006 Final Bit of Advice to Gordon

Harman Backing Boris on Her Blog

click to enlarge

Her website is also currently announcing her defection to the Conservatives. Guido thought it was a spoof site at first. In fact it appears she has been taking online security lessons from Grant Shapps. Her real website appears to have been “improved” overnight. Nice touch thanking Guido for knocking Hain out of the race…

This is the spoof site. They seem to be remarkably well informed about the hack of the real site. Maybe they swapped Harriet some chocolate for her password

UPDATE 09.05 : Guido called Harman’s parliamentary office for a comment. No answer. Well they do keep public sector hours so perhaps someone will get back to Guido before lunch. Meantime you can leave a comment, and many of you have already…

UPDATE 09.10 : The hacker has contacted Guido to tell him that the passwords have been changed. Harman is now locked out of her own website.

UK Mortgage Debt / GDP Ratio Worse than U.S.

“I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery.”
Gordon Brown, 1997 Budget Statement.

Gordon repeatedly tells us that Britain will weather the global financial turbulence better than America. The Bank of England projects that over a million homeowners could face negative equity in the widely expected property market downturn. The data above shows that British homeowners are more indebted than even Americans…

The National Association of Estate Agents reports that house sales and mortgage approvals have halved. First time buyers are an increasing rarity, below the asking price deals more common, properties are taking longer to sell and the number of buyers on agents books is down by a third. And Gordon still condemns the Tories for proposing to effectively remove first time buyers from paying stamp duty…

Hague : Lost in Africa

CCHQ sends a press release:

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, has today called on David Miliband to take urgent action with regard to the Chinese ship, currently heading to Uganda carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe.

Guido suggests the Shadow Foreign Secretary need not lose any sleep over Chinese ships heading to Uganda. Just a hunch…

Quentin Davies : Regrets, He Has a Few

What was it he said about Gordon? Quentin Davies accused him of “unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions”. Oh no, it was Dave he accused of that, before he joined the ditherering, U-turning party. Gordon was “a leader I have always greatly admired, who I believe is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which I fully share.” Shared clear vision?[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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