Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PMQs Cancelled

Guido’s sympathies are with the Camerons. However cancelling PMQs is not the right response. The show must go on, every week the names of sons who have fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq are read out and sympathies are offered. Democracy does not halt for those sons.

Perhaps the politicians felt uncomfortable continuing with “Punch and Judy politics” as normal when one of the main protagonists, David Cameron, has suffered such a deep personal loss. Perhaps PMQs just isn’t that important.

We are told that instead Brown, Cable and Hague will read statements to the House.

UPDATE 12:05 : Having heard the condolences perhaps it was for the best, the mood of the House was clearly not for “business as usual”.

UPDATE 12:35 : The scheduled unveiling of Margaret Thatcher’s portrait in Downing Street has also been postponed.

+++ Lord Ahmed Get 12 weeks for Dangerous Driving +++

+++ Ivan Cameron Died Overnight +++

Labour Civil War Silences LabourList

Over one hundred and forty Labour MPs have signed a motion opposing goverment plans to part-privatise the Post Office, three Cabinet ministers are known to be opposed, former cabinet ministers like the disgraced Peter Hain are campaigning against the plan and even lowly SpAds are threatening to quit carrying bags. The government could lose the Commons vote without the support of Tory MPs. Unions are threatening to defund the party over the issue. Dramatic stuff. Guido went where “Labour minded people come together” – LabourList – to shed light on the internal debate. Silence.

Total silence on the subject. Caught between the need to placate union sponsors and the demands of those who pull his strings in Downing Street, Draper has had as his lead story all day since yesterday morning a review of Chris Mullin’s book A View From The Foothills. Tragic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scottish Dead Tree Scribblers Flee the Press

Guido doesn’t usually do local, particularly not local Scotland. However this is a bit too fun to ignore. Some thoughtless council official has made the mistake of putting this minute on the North Lanarkshire council website and it has put into the public domain the entire short list of applicants for the job as their Head of Spin.
Looks like there is a rush to get out out of the Dead Tree Press and into the safe harbour of the public sector with easy hours and gold plated pensions to accompany the job security.
  • “J. Allardyce” must be Jason Allardyce, associate editor of the Sunday Times Scotland.
  • “A.F. Carlin” could be Tony Carlin, Group Content Editor of Herald newspapers
  • “J.B. Currie” could be Brian Currie, former Evening Times’ political editor and now group political editor of Herald newspapers
  • “S. Dalgety” is probably Susan Dalgety, a former Labour councillor and aide to First Minister Jack McConnell and formerly of publishers Holyrood Communications.
  • “T.J.J. Little” must be Tom Little, Scotland on Sunday columnist
  • “S. Penman” is almost certainly Stephen Penman, currently Deputy Editor, Sunday Herald
  • “K.C. Symon” sounds like Ken Symon, currently with public affairs company McGarvie Morrison Media

One surprise, “J.P. Murdoch” – surely things can’t be that bad….

+++ Source : Spelman Report Not Officially Released Today +++

The Standards and Privileges Committee has received the report this morning from John Lyon, but is not expected to issue anything official until later this week.

UPDATE : Jonathan Isaby is reporting over on ConservativeHome that the committee could not come to a consensus conclusion and that the chairman, “Sir George Young, intends using the next week to take soundings from among the committee with the aim of forging a consensus by the time the committee meets again next Tuesday.”

UPDATE II : The feeling is that Spelman is in trouble. If she was only going to get a slap on the wrist, why the delay?

Spelman Should Pay Back the Nanny Cash

Whatever the Standards and Privileges Committee rule today (Guido has the whitewash removing solvents ready) Spelman should have to pay back the cash she fiddled from her parliamentary expenses to pay the nanny.

If, as Spelman has been spinning, the Lyon inquiry reports that there is no evidence of deliberate wrongdoing or a breach of Commons rules, this will infuriate many parents like Mr & Mrs Fawkes, who have to pay for childcare out of post-tax income. To pay a nanny costs middle-class parents some £40,000 a year in pre-tax income. We are expected to believe that Spelman’s nanny was actually her constituency secretary* thus paid for by the taxpayer and that in return for her childcare duties her only compensation was room and board. Who really believes that the money was not payment for her childcare duties? Unbelievable, it simply does not wash.

If anyone knows of a nanny willing to work for only room and board can you please let Mrs Fawkes know, because we have never heard of such a deal. This was a complete and utter p*ss-take out of the taxpayer. Here is the acid test – if it really was completely above board and as she claims – why did she stop the arrangement? This benefits fiddle was too much, Spelman should pay back the cash even if the Committee rules it was “not deliberate”.

It Started with Gordon!Government Offered 100% No Deposit Borrowing to Low Earners

Back in the autumn of last year, on the transatlantic flight back from his trip to New York and Washington, Gordon briefed the Lobby in the back of the plane (not that they would bother to tell you this) that there was no sub-prime problem in Britain. Not only did sub-prime start in America, it ended in America, according to the Prime Mentalist.

Now the Bank of England estimates that there are a million homeowners in negative equity, they forsee the possibility of that number reaching two-million. Gordon says he will bolt the lock now the Lloyds TSB horse has bolted and he is going to stop banks offering 100% mortgages.

Who offered 100% mortgages to low income-earners in the first place? Gordon did. He had a sub-prime lending scheme of his own called Home Buy Direct. No deposit was required, and it didn’t matter if you could not afford to repay the full cost of a mortgage for the property. Low-income earners were effectively encouraged by the government to buy over-priced new builds. Repossessions are now running higher than in the 1990s, with low income earners are trapped in negative equity as unemployment heads towards 1980s levels…

Glenrothes : Electoral Commission Questions "Transparency"

More hanging chad type issues in Glenrothes where surprisingly Labour, against trend, held the seat with a 6,737 majority against a strong SNP effort. Guido has previously reported on suspicious levels of postal ghost votes and the subsequent disappearance of the register despite the legal requirement to keep the register for a year.

Now the Electoral Commission is weighing in with a report :

“We do have some concerns that the count was not as transparent as it could have been, due to the layout of tables in the hall. One table where votes were being counted was not clearly within the view of candidates, agents or other observers.Also, the central tables where the votes for each candidate were collated were situated behind the returning officer’s platform and obscured from view.”

The report also said the first opening of returned postal votes were not opened until the day before polling day meaning a problem with the electronic scanning equipment used to adjudicate postal votes could not be resolved in good time. That by-election was very fishy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hilton on Morphine, Making as Much Sense as Usual

Have just spoken with Alex Hilton (the blogger formally known as Recess Monkey). He seems to be optimistic he will be home for the weekend. Clearly Draper will have to smear him with something more lethal than bacterial meningitis.
Do not worry too much for him on his hospital sick-bed, at one point it was surrounded by his girlfriend, his mother and three ex-girlfriends. According to his updated Facebook status -
Alex Hilton wonders if inspiration can be drawn from drug and pain induced hallucinations.

Do you think perhaps the socialist simian will dream an opiate laden fantasy that Margaret Thatcher has died? Again.


Seen Elsewhere

Double Standards of Police Leaks to Guardian | Mail
My Year in Court | Charlie Brooks
Legalise Pot | NY Times
Spooks Recruited IRA Paedo | Mirror
How Police Hack Phones and Email | Times
Labour’s Minimum Wage Pledge Not Ambitious | Alan Milburn
Lord Freud’s Comments | Ryan Bourne
Obama’s Credit Card Rejected in Restauarant | Washington Times
Reckless Was Shifting In July | Rob Hutton
Unions Given Free Office Space Size of Kremlin | Harry Phibbs
Feminism to Blame for Nursing Decline | Kathy Gyngell


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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