Friday, September 26, 2008

What Kind of Liberal Waters the Beer?

How they can describe themselves as “liberal” sometimes baffles Guido. Responding to Nick Clegg’s announcement today that the LibDems will support a minimum price on the sale of alcohol, Progressive Vision – the properly liberal think tank run by Mark Littlewood, ex-head of spin for the LibDems – has rightly called the proposals “nannying, patronising and regressive”.

In the press release, sent by Littlewood, Progressive Vision says “If Nick Clegg wants to stop supermarkets providing low-price alcohol, will he also clamp down on events at LibDem conferences providing free alcohol as an inducement for LibDem activists to attend? If he is so concerned about cheap booze causing binge-drinking, free booze must be even more of a worry.”

Quite, imagine the dangers of boozed up LibDem MPs going on violent rampages…

Brum Business

Guido hasn’t booked a bed in Brum – any good recommendations? Preferably within falling down distance of the epicentre. Ended up staying in between a brothel and a lap-dancing joint last year in Blackpool. Didn’t say it was a complete disaster…

UPDATE 14.00 Saturday : Have managed to find somewhere 4 star for less than £200 a night. Mal Maison still has rooms at £440 available, which is more than Guido paid to stay at the Carlton in Cannes, where the food and views are (Guido suspects) slightly better than in Brum. Many thanks for the suggestions.

Friday Caption Contest (Clegg Crime Caught on Camera edition)

He Who Pays the Piper….

The Senate Banking Committee is the ultimate legislative oversight for U.S. financial regulation. The members of the committee have almost all had donations from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Now they are to decide on bail-out terms?

Incidentally Guido bailed out of all his speculative positions in the early hours of Wednesday morning when it hit the wires that Warren Buffet was taking a $5 billion stake in Goldmans, given his reputation Guido felt Buffet might single-handedly turn market sentiment. That combined with the impossibility of predicting how and when the politicians would go made the markets too random for Guido. Baby Fawkes is unwell and between the 24/7 currency markets and her, the lack of sleep was too draining.

Hat-tip : LFAT

Tory Site Makeover Goes Live

The look and feel is bang up to date with an Obamaesque “It’s time for change” slogan with a wall of Tory talking head videos. Under the hood is more regionalisation, uploading facilities for user generated content and single-issue campaigning. The blue blog is live and Dave is doing his chatty engagement thing…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Read it Here First : How Not to Lift a Story from a Blog

The naming and shaming of parasitical journalists continues because Guido finds it cathartic. On Tuesday Guido ran a nice little story about Miliband’s SpAd sending a pleading text out to MPs.
The next day the Times Diary fairly quoted it with a credit. (Sherwin gets only 6/10 because he did not include a link in the online version).
A text from Dan Norris, David Miliband’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, intended for sympathetic MPs, was intercepted, sadly, by the notorious blogger Guido Fawkes. “If you’re at conference pls make a point of speaking to lobby correspondents who are trying to distort party unity, to help them u’stand David’s speech was a unifying one which is why it went down so well in the hall. Thanks.” No advice on countering the supposed “Heseltine moment” gaffe.

A few miles from Wapping over on the Farringdon Road the same day the Guardian’s Hugh Muir had also lifted the same blog post for his lead story, no credit. Tut, tut. Muir is following no doubt in the tradition of Marina Hyde, who during the 2004 U.S. Presidential election took to lifting stories daily from Wonkette with no attribution. Easier than working ain’t it?

Sherwin let himself down badly yesterday (0/10, stay behind after deadline) by lifting Wednesday’s story about Cameron’s Carlton Political Dinner jokes without attribution this time, though he may have copied it from Paul Waugh who also ran the story under his byline in the Standard after it appeared here.

They may all say they got it from their own sources – they usually do. Funny how it is after Guido publishes and never contains more information than was given on the blog.

Look chaps, if you are going to lift, at least link. If you don’t want to admit to your editors that you are taking the money under false pretences for cutting ‘n pasting from blogs, rather than actually cultivating sources, send a case of Margaux. This blog is not a syndication service for lazy hacks.

Something that the Lobby Didn’t Tell You

The gentlemen of the Lobby have kept pretty schtum about the drink fuelled circumstances of the Ruth Kelly briefing by Damian McBride at at 3 a.m during Labour Party conference. Danny Finkelstein is alluding to it indirectly.

Guido understands that the PM’s Spokesman had a bottle of beer in his hand during the briefing. Your taxes at work….

+++ Parliament Evacuated +++

Enemy of State

The news that Derek Draper is organising a rapid rebuttal operation to combat bloggers does not exactly have Guido quaking in fear.

“PR Week can reveal that the Labour Party is exploring plans for an online rapid rebuttal unit, designed to kill off damaging stories circulating in the blogosphere. Former lobbyist Derek Draper will oversee the initiative, having recently been called in by Labour’s general secretary to advise on how the party can communicate its message. Labour strategists are keen to respond to the growing influence of right-wing blogs. The eventual system could resemble a modern-day version of Labour’s famous Excalibur unit, which was successfully used to kill negative stories by Tory-supporting newspapers in the run-up to the 1997 general election.”

It has long been Guido’s central proposition that unlike the Lobby and broadcast journalists in particular, Guido cannot be spun or manipulated by the promise of titbits from the party machines. Not needing access or talking heads to interview, the party machines have no sanction or lure with which to control Guido’s output. When Gordon became party leader there was a concerted effort to astro-turf the comments here, and on ConservativeHome and Politicalbetting.com with “I’m a lifelong Tory but Gordon is better than Cameron blah blah blah”. It was comically transparent that the comments were completely bogus. Guido simply pressed the delete button.

The reason most left-wing blogs are unsuccessful is because they are boring and crap. Draper is not going to change that fundamental truth.

"The Plan"

Last night Guido infiltrated a gathering of a clique of wonks determined to take over Britain and implement what they call The Plan“. Dan Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP are the authors of The Plan“. Guido hasn’t read it yet. Supposedly it is a blend of Thatcherite quango bashing and localism on steroids. Gove said some nice words by way of introduction, Dan referred to the EU as the “mother quango”.

Not convinced that quangos are reformable or that they can be effectively democratised. Most people are just not interested in getting involved, only busy body types are so motivated. Quite sensibly the rest of us just want to get on with our lives. Most quangos could be simply abolished. Trying to reform them is not worth the effort, the bureaucratic inertia is just too great. When does a bureaucracy ever recommend cutting its own budget or reducing the scope or size of the bureaucratic organisation? The Cameronians go on about the “post-bureaucratic age”, it remains to be seen if there will be hard manifesto commitments to do something about it. Don’t hold your breath.


Seen Elsewhere

Don’t Underestimate Philip Hammond | Nick Wood
Labour Council Collaborates With Pro-Hamas Group | Breitbart
Qatar Sugar-Daddies of Islamist Financing | Left Foot Forward
Guido’s Column | Sun
Miliband Drawing Attention to His Mistakes is Madness | Lord Bell
Another Renewable Myth Goes Up in Smoke | Matt Ridley
Ed’s Problem is His Policies | Trevor Kavanagh
Ed’s Image is All He Has Going For Him | Boris
Labour a Risk to the Economy and Jobs Growth | Leo McKinstry
UKIP Will Make Miliband PM | Tele
Tories: Ruffley Critics are ‘Minority Feminist Groups’ | Buzzfeed


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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