Gordon Plans to Water the Workers’ Beer

As sterling plummets against all currencies (apart from the Pakistani Rupee) Guido’s thoughts turn nostalgically to Jim Callaghan, a former Chancellor who became Prime Minister in 1976 and presided over a sterling crisis (what crisis?). He once sung a little ditty to the Labour Party conference that seems appropriate this morning –

I am the man, the very fat man,
That waters the workers’ beer
I am the man, the very fat man,
That waters the workers’ beer
And what do I care if it makes them ill,
If it makes them terribly queer
I’ve a car, a yacht, and an aeroplane,
And I waters the workers’ beer

The relevance of this is that the government is briefing that Gordon Brown will take personal charge of a package of measures to create a “cultural shift” away from the epidemic of binge drinking. Does the PM think this the priority issue facing the country or is it just Stalinist control-freakery?

There is to be a Downing Street summit. According to the Indy “Ministers are also contemplating moves to raise the tax on the most potent beers and mixers associated with binge drinking by putting duty on units of alcohol. Mr Brown is also being urged by Labour MPs to force supermarkets to raise the minimum price of drink to reduce the attraction of cheap alcohol.” Yes, Gordon’s the man, the tax man, that taxes the workers’ beer…

Kenya Travel Advice

About ten or so years ago there was an attempted coup in Kenya. Guido and his girlfriend were looking for a cheap holiday and the travel agent offered us an impossible to shift £2,000 a head safari holiday leaving the next day for £299. We grabbed it and had a fabulous time. Not a sign of a riot near the water-holes in the bush. So wait until this starts to die down and bag a bargain break…

Honour for Donor? Never Heard of Him, Oh I Proposed Him

The recently ennobled Lord Hameed’s companies have given £400,000 to the LibDems in the past two years. Lord Tim Clement-Jones is head of spin for DLA Piper’s public affairs and government relations practice as well as the LibDem’s party treasurer. (Incidentally, the LibDem’s voted to require lobbyists who were LibDem parliamentarians to withdraw from lobbying two years ago. Clement-Jones ignores the party ruling.)

When The Times asked Clement-Jones who it was who put Hameed forward for a peerage, he said that he had “no idea” who had proposed Lord Hameed. After The Times said it had evidence that it was him, he said: “I couldn’t remember that. That’s fine. I thought he was a very upstanding member of the Asian community and somebody who would make a very good peer.” An amazingly quick recall of why he proposed him when seconds earlier he couldn’t even remember proposing Hameed.

It gets worse, no declaration of the donations was declared to the Lords Appointments Committee. Lord Dholakia, the deputy leader of the LibDems and their representative sitting on the Committee knows Hameed but denies he knew he was the third biggest donor to the party. The party of course denies any link between the cash and putting Hameed forward for an honour. Stinks doesn’t it? Maybe Chris Huhne will write another letter to the police about it…

Stat-Porn : The Hits Keep On Comin’, 4,273,096 in 2007

This month Guido had 418,459 off 304,701 visits, pipping Iain Dale who had 412,459 off 235,869 in December. Not bad considering Guido had a week off last month. The stats for 2007 show over four million pageloads from three million unique visitors for the year. Using the stricter “absolute visitors” metric gives 561,352 different individuals* visiting this blog over the year.

The two most popular posts of the year were both video posts, something Guido will be trying to do more of this year. Expect a few GuyNews.TV specials…

*Strictly speaking, for the bore who always brings up the same point, individual computers.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Look Back on the Blog Year

Over a thousand articles were posted on the blog in 2007, here are just a few that provoked and amused:

Music to Wind-Up Guardian Readers
Brillo Berates Blinky Balls
What Miliband Bought His Godson for Xmas
The Dougie Alexander Caption Contest
Obscenely Hypocritical Guardian
Where’s Gordon?™ (picture is a classic)
Gordon’s Handwriting is Revealing
Floreat Etona
Where’s Gordon?™ – the Map
Tom Watson Breaks His Promise, As Predicted
“Oh F**k, It Is Harman”
Obama Girl
That “Feral” Blair Speech
Brown Bonks Bonce
E-Oh, Stand-Up, Speak Up

Shapps Caught Personally Astro-Turfing
Bogeyman Brown Nose Picking Video Re-Mix
Blog Today, Print Tomorrow (Again)
Contrarian? Crazy? Betting on the Tories at the Low
Competition Limericks for Gordon’s Conference Speech
Ali Campbell Complains About the Blogosphere
Nothing To See Here…Police Don’tWannaReferendum
Miliband : Ten More Years
Cherie on Gordon

Brown’s Vanity Publishing
Peter Watt Faces 12 Months on Conviction
GQ’s Powerful, Political, Unelected
Totty Watch : Hilary Not Humping Huma
Brown : “I Don’t Look at Polls”
Boris Bombs the Bass
OLR Win 90% of Government Contracts
359 Lords-a-Fiddlin’
Sunny’s Bitch Slappin’
British Jobs for British Workers
Total Politics, Totally Disconnected
Tories Call for an Inquiry into Balls’ Bung
Hain Fundraiser : “Small Problem With Donations”
Ashcroft Should Come Clean
Law Lords Rule Labour Party Guilty of Racial Discrimination
Daily Food Allowances : School Children, Armed Forces, Prisoners, MPs
Gordon’s Black Wednesday £11,169,591,442 on September 19, 2007
We Told You So…

Brown : “Cowards Afraid of Democracy”

So says the leader of the Labour Party (without a vote cast) and election-bottler-in-chief, of the murderers of Benazir Bhutto. Now may not be the time for petty political point scoring, what the heck, Christmas is over…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

St Tony Comes into the Light

Guido is trying to take a break from blogging and ignore the newsflow. Hard when the two main news items in Ireland today are Taoiseach Bertie Ahern being cross examined over corruption allegations and Tony formally converting to Catholicism. Blair always was upwardly mobile.

UPDATE : Fraser Nelson had a good piece anticipating Blair’s formal conversion last month. Guido’s struggle for the re-Catholicisation of England seems to be progressing well with the news that Catholic church-goers out number C of E church-goers.

Hain’s Suspiciously Slow Declaration

On the morning of December 3 earlier this month Guido called up one of Hain’s (until that day) undeclared financial backers to make enquiries. By that afternoon Hain had made a dash across to the Electoral Commission, allegedly entirely unrelated, to clear up a few omissions.

Sky’s Joey Jones wonders why Hain’s team is taking so long to get the information out into the open. Joey asks
So why the delay? – Is there a bigger can of worms than we had thought?

Hain’s team say they want to get their submission absolutely right. I know it may sound a bit cynical for this time of year, but I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the information got sneaked out once everyone’s headed off for the holidays…

Guido has his own suspicions. Don’t worry Peter, Guido will break away from his holidays to make sure it doesn’t go unreported. Don’t forget anything this time Peter, it would not look good if Guido had to point out an omission again…

Clegg Hires Brian Eno as “Youth Issues Adviser”

Brian Eno is a 60 year old ex-rock musician.

UPDATE : Clegg doesn’t believe in God. No word from God as yet on the future prospects for the LibDems, but you don’t expect miracles.

Boris Bus Beats Ken’s Killer Bendy Bus

Boris is backing the futuristic clean, low emission, hydrogen-powered wheelchair and pushchair friendly double decker bus. So us cyclists will have two good reasons to support it, less chance of being crushed to death by a bendy bus or having to choke on diesel fumes. Autocar commissioned this design. Of course we were told by Ken that “only a dehumanised moron” would get rid of the Routemaster. Ken got rid of the Routemaster in 2004.

Londoners want, and tourists especially expect, to see the famous red bus silhouette against the backdrop of the Capital of the World. Bizarrely Ken’s supporters now no longer able to object on disability legislation grounds now object on cost grounds. When have they ever worried about cost before? Boris is on to a populist vote winner here…

Failure to Follow-Up

Guido has been busy Christmas shopping, spending his Clegg bets winnings, which were not as much as they should be because Guido reduced his exposure as the campaign progressed, or rather as Clegg’s campaign failed to progress.

Meantime in the red corner of Guido’s blog comments a number of posters are complaining that Guido has failed to follow up the scandal of Cameron’s Dodgy Donors. Yet more evidence that Guido is, yawn, a Tory toady.

There is a back story here. When the Abrahams scandal blew up Guido got an anonymous call from a posh voice who seemed to be intimately familiar with Tory fundraising processes. It was inconceivable, the source claimed, that if Labour were following procedures they would be unaware of Abrahams. The Tories themselves checked donations against monthly updated electoral rolls. They returned donations regularly which checks discovered failed to meet the criteria, all donations above £200 were checked, above £5,000 they were scrutinised and at £50,000 they got to know everything about them. Labour were simply not doing this checking and Guido should get on to the Electoral Commission to discover how many donations Labour returned in comparison to the Conservatives. Not enough it now seems.

The Tories are being disingenuous saying they voluntarily forfeited the £5,900 and £1,500 donations. They had no choice, the 30 day grace period to discover mistakes was up. Unless by “voluntarily” they mean “we didn’t want to continue breaking the law” they only did what they had to do.

It is extra embarrassing that it is Cameron’s own constituency association. Is it on a par with Peter Watt, the Labour Party’s national general secretary, being party to a proxy donor scheme to cover-up the party’s third biggest donor? Well, you judge for yourselves…

Courageous Gordon to Use Alistair as Human Shield

The PM’s monthly news conference will be a laugh* in ten minutes. Notice it is called the PM’s monthly news conference, yet this month he is bringing Alistair Darling along to take the blame for the inevitable questions about Northern Crock. He couldn’t do his usual Macavity trick and disappear so he is going to try to hide behind his Darling Chancellor instead.

*Maybe not.


Seen at the LibDem leadership announcement. Not looking too spritely or cheerful…

UPDATE : Clegg won (no surprise) and gave a speech worthy of, errm, Al Gore. There were only 500 votes in it out of some 40,000 cast.

CCHQ Designated Party Poopers Tonight

CCHQ are having their Christmas party tonight. Somebody is worried that the boys and girls will get out of hand. Surely not, this isn’t the Bullingdon Club after all…

Dear All,

HR have just had a word with me regarding the CCHQ duty of care and tonight’s party.



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