If You Go Down to the Lords Today…

If you go down to the Lords today,
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the Lords today,
You’d better go in disguise.
For every Lord that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the Lordships claim their allowances.

My thanks to a very diligent co-conspirator who not only found the fabled whereabouts of the Lords’ Queue, but sent a map too. The legendary Lords’ queue is where they get their day (and overnight) allowance. The sight of all those Noble Lords queuing every day to claim their allowances, having spent precious little time in the Lords Chamber and even less time contributing to Lords debate is truly something to behold. Even without fiddling their expenses they can make £150 a day just for joining the queue – and many do just that.

The noble Lords queue up once a day in the evening at their Fees Office (administered by Black Rod) near the Pugin Room on the ‘red benches’ side of the Palace of Westminster. An MP or a Commons researcher with a Category 10 Pass could legitimately encounter the Noble Queue by taking a short cut from the Pugin Room through the Lords Library corridor back to Commons territory. Guido would like a picture of that queue – this is a covert mission, surreptitious use of the camera-phone will be required. In return for undertaking this risky mission there will be a prize of a copy of bestselling The Bumper Book of Government Waste* to the person who first emails or texts Guido the picture.

Don’t forget to nominate politicians with their “snouts in the trough” to : Pork Busting, giving the name of the politician and the reason. Guido is compiling from the emails a list of politicians with their snouts deep in the public trough and will then organise a readers poll to find our piggiest politician.

*Prize courtesy of publisher Stephen Eckett at www.harrimanhouse.com

Women’s Choices

Health minister Ivan Lewis told the Today programme on Friday “that we have to trust and respect women. Give them the information and then allow them to make the best choice for themselves.”

Guido wonders how much he trusts and respects Maggie Gibb, a councillor in his constituency who has been reported to the Standards Board for England after allegedly giving the finger to a teacher at a local school due to be closed.

According to a pupil’s mother who witnessed the incident “after Maggie Gibb said something [to the teacher] and he had turned around, she stuck her finger up and smirked at Ivan Lewis” the Bury South MP.

Is that really why she was smirking at Ivan Lewis?


UPDATE : Lobbying for Olympic Profits in Downing Street

Apologists for Sleazy Levy have been on to Guido to try to deny that any influence could have been bought by Lowy’s Westfield for his A$300,000 bung. The Olympic Delivery Authority was set up precisely to to prevent that kind of thing they claim. Overlooking the fact that the relevant planning permissions for Westfield’s retail mega-development were given prior to the setting up of the ODA.

As Guido’s co-conspirator Sero points out, the ODA is far from independent of Downing Street. The board is stuffed with Tony’s cronies, not least of whom is Baroness Morgan, formerly Sally Morgan, late of the Cabinet Office. Up until June last year she was Director of Government Relations, a job which involved closely liasing with Lord Levy. Her successor as Director of Government Relations, Ruth Turner, is already under investigation in the Loans for Lordships scandal as a result of her own dealings for and with, you guessed it, Lord Levy.

From 1995 to 2002 David Higgins was the Chief Executive of the Lend Lease group in his native Australia, a company in which Frank Lowy’s Westfield holds a major shareholding. In an amazing coincidence, David Higgins was appointed by Tessa Jowell last year to be the Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

So was it Lord Levy or the former Director of Government Relations, Baroness Morgan that invited the head of Westfield’s British operation, Peter Allen, to attend more than one Labour Party event at Downing Street?

Lord Levy claims that the A$300,000 was for him to “advise on the UK retail market, to flesh out the shape of that market and to identify business opportunities that might suit Westfield’s scale of operations”. So which large scale business opportunities did Lord Levy identify for Lowy’s Westfield if not the Olympic Village?

Levy Gets Off Lightly, But Troubling Questions Remain

Levy was not quizzed on the real deal yesterday by the Constitutional Affairs Committee for fear of messing up the police inquiry into the affair if anything leaked out.

However some interesting information has reached Guido from Australia about Lord Levy and foreign cash. Aussie billionaire Frank Lowy’s Westfield Group has bought the company with the contract to build the 2012 Olympic Village in London. Buying out the 50% stake held by billionaire Iranian brothers (and foes of Ken Livingstone) David and Simon Reuben. Lowy also grabbed the 25% owned by the property group Stanhope, giving his Westfield 100% of Stratford City Development.

Guido understands that Lowy wants to build a mega 2 million sq ft shopping mall in the middle of the Olympic Village. This of course needed difficult to obtain planning permission consents from government ministers in various departments in what is a politically sensitive matter.

Guido is therefore curious about the A$300,000 retainer paid to the Sleazemaster General in 2002 by Lowy. Since Sleazy Levy has no particular experience in shopping malls, being merely a former manager of Alvin Stardust and Blair’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, what possible reason is there for the billionaire to pay A$300,000 to Lord Levy for advice?

Gore for Beginners

Since losing his day job Al Gore usually speaks to audiences of depressed left-wingers and sometimes higher up the food chain to school children. Tonight he is speaking at a Smith Institute organised bash. For those of you without an invite to the Gordon/Gore fest tonight Guido presents “Gore for Beginners.”

Hat-tip : Milky Bar Kid

Sing-Alonga Sleazy Levy

Lord Levy is giving evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee today in closed session. In an effort to be helpful*, here is Guido’s musical legal advice to the Sleazemaster General…
click above to listen
Co-conspirators can help the Committee by suggesting suitable questions to be put to his Sleazeship in the comments below.

*Have you noticed the scandalous total blogging blackout from the likes of Recess Monkey and Bloggers4Labour? Downing Street is being investigated by the police, the Labour party’s chief fundraiser is set to face charges, the man with responsibility for their flagship Academy Schools policy has been arrested and what do they have to say? Not a thing.

Webmonging Miliband Stretches Guido’s Blog Story

Minister and blogger David Miliband is an avid reader of this blog and has even been known to post in the comments. It appears his webmonging has finally paid him dividends. He has picked up on Guido’s story from last month (and here) about the Tories obscurely (and possibly in most cases unknowingly) voting to make British law take primacy over EU law. The boy Miliband has managed to twist it into an article for the Guardian claiming that the Tories are all anti-EU extremists.
Bill Cash’s amendment to the Regulatory Reform Bill was supported by 130 Tory MPs, including most of the front bench. This seemingly obscure proposal is a dagger pointed at the heart of Britain’s EU membership: it means withdrawal.

Tory daggers leading to withdrawal? No it doesn’t mean that David, it would mean that the British would make their own laws and the Commission would have to like it or lump it. What are they going to do, throw the third biggest economy out of the EU because we won’t regulate the bends in bananas to EU standards? Come off it.

We have heard all this silly scaremongering before regarding not joining the Euro. Miliband was at that time putting it about that this could spell the end of the world for the City and bring on the collapse of the British economy. His latest dire warnings should be taken with a pinch bucket of salt. In reality Italians today look at the free floating pound jealously whilst hedge funds in Mayfair and St James’ alone control more capital than the Paris and Frankfurt combined Euro-Finanzplatz which was supposed to crush the Square Mile. The mighty Deutsche Bank has humiliatingly even moved most of its trading activities from Frankfurt to London…

See The Pattern?

Gordon and Gore are going to the NFT tonight at a Smith Institute organised screening of Gore’s film of his bonkers book An Inconvenient Truth. Described as a “passionate and inspirational look at one man’s commitment” – not words usually associated with Al Gore – “to help save the planet from irrevocable change”. The blurb continues “Gore is funny, engaging, open and downright on fire”. Al Gore on fire? If you believe that you’ll believe anything.

Gore is advising Gordon, who is also being advised by Bob Schrum (pictured), the famed Democrat pollster who masterminded Gore’s presidential run. Schrum advised Kerry as well. Gore lost, Kerry lost, and in truth Bob Schrum’s clients have a habit of losing expensively. Schrum was blamed for a lot of the chaos in Kerry’s presidential campaign. In fact in the eight presidential elections he has been involved, he has won precisely none. Great choice, go for it Gordon!

Sleazy Levy Secret Testimony Thursday

The BBC is reporting that the Sleazemaster General himself will give evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee on Thursday in closed session. Extraordinary. Guido is sure information will leak out…

You make this blog happen. Sources are anonymous (unless you want credit*). If you know “the line” is a lie, ask yourself why you got into politics; was it to cover up the truth or tell it?
Guido’s blog relies on you for information.

Voicemail : 0709 284 0531
Fax : 0709 201 2337
Email : guido.fawkes@Order-Order.com

*You may get a “Conspiracy Member” T-shirt.

Elite Titles

“Snouts in the Trough”Get Your Nominations In!

Don’t forget to send Guido your nomination for the politician with his or her snout deepest in the taxpayer’s trough. A number of you have nominated Cherie Blair – alas Guido has decided she is in a different category since she claims her hairdressing and travel expenses from charities and Labour party members. Strictly the nominees should be MPs, MEPs or Peers.

Email nominations to : Pork Busting, giving the name of the politician and the reason. Guido will compile from the emails a list of politicians with their snouts deep in the public trough and then organise a readers poll. There will be a prize of a copy of bestselling The Bumper Book of Government Waste to the person who makes the best nomination.

Ann and Nick Winterton, the husband and wife couple who are both Tory MPs have been nominated for their sterling work in double claiming their mortgage allowances to a total of £33,351 last year – just to show it is a bi-partisan thing they were beaten by Labour MPs Ann and Alan Keen who were nominated for scrounging a tax-free £35,338 off the taxpayers to allow them to enjoy their Covent Garden pied a terre conveniently close to the Opera House – equivalent to over £1,000 a week in subsidy if it were taxed.

More than enough to pay the interest on a £1 million mortgage, no wonder they are laughing…


Coincidences

George Schultz, secretary of state under Ronald Reagan, was chairman of the Neo-Con Committee to Liberate Iraq, he also sits on the board of Bechtel Corp.

Riley Bechtel, billionaire boss of the war-profiteering corporation has gained hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to rebuild Iraq, has also won big transport and nuclear contracts in Britain. After making a killing from the Iraq war he was secretly awarded a CBE in 2003. His award was for “services to UK-American commercial relations”.

Bechtel is represented in the UK by LLM, the sleazy PR firm set up by New Labour insiders which boasts to clients it can get them in front of anyone in government. Wonder if these facts are related?

Holiday Shop

Jane Hogarth Departs the Labour Party

Guido wrote back in March that Jane Hogarth was being set-up to take blame for some of Levy’s Loans for Lordships shenanigans. Much safer if she takes the flack because she worked for the Labour party not Downing Street. At all costs the blame must be kept well away from Tony, although as we all know in reality it was his fund-raising operation run out of Downing Street.

Is it really so surprising that she has taken “voluntary” redundancy now?

Guido understands that the Labour party is due to repay some £3 million over the next 3 months. Will these supposedly commercial loans be rolled over or written off? We were assured when the story first broke that they were to be repaid on a commercial basis. Whatever happens we will find out now that the Electoral Commission has belatedly got tough on loans. Lord Sainsbury may yet again be called upon to prop up the party which he has supported to the tune of £15 million, not counting the money he gives to New Labour supporting groups.

It is going to be a long, hot sweaty summer for a lot of Labour party apparachtiks. Yates of the Yard is conducting interviews with witnesses and suspects. Guido has received mixed messages about the timing of any action, some say it will be before the party conference, some say after. It willl overshadow September’s conference deliberations. C’mon coppers, give us the perp walk…

N.B. The above image of a handcuffed Levy doing the “perp walk” is, Guido has been advised by media lawyers and concerned journalists, potentially defamatory. Guido thinks not. Sleazy Levy would have to be innocent with a good reputation to damage.

LibDem Radioactivist

Ming is asking a lot of anti-nuclear questions of Blair to highlight the LibDem’s green credentials, he has even written a letter to Blair complaining that Tony, gasp, fibbed to him at PMQs. Ming could save himself a lot of time by asking these anti-nuclear questions of Kingston LibDem councillor Simon James. Simon was a staffer for Paddy Ashdown when he was leader and until recently worked for Ed Davey.

He now spins for the Nuclear Industry Association. Nukes are “climate friendly” says the LibDem with the mission to promote the commercial performance of the UK nuclear industry by assisting and supporting member companies to develop their businesses in the UK and internationally”. Guido hears Iran is a growth market.

LibDem Press Releases More On Message

Ming’s call to regulate less, legislate less and tax less seems to be seeping through to his frontbench. Whereas there were six press releases from his frontbench team on the day of the re-launch contradicting his slogan, today only two frontbenchers call for higher government spending. Baroness Miller actually opposes some over-regulation and Nick Clegg opposes another useless piece of legislation in their respective press releases. Guido makes that a 2-2 score-draw.

Best Odds

Nominate MPs with Snouts in the Trough

Two years ago when this blog got started one of the main motivations was how much Guido detested the venality of politicians politicising all aspects of our lives at our expense. They talk about the public interest when really they are more concerned with their own self-interest. This applies to them all, George Osborne as much as Gordon Brown. In the U.S. über-blogger Glenn Reynolds regularly highlights examples of politicians with their snouts in the tax trough. Guido is sure therefore that he won’t mind the borrowing of his Pork Busters logo for a good cause.

So nominate a politician with his “Snout in the Trough”, perhaps Prezza with his grace and favour homes springs to mind, or maybe Michael Foster, the MP who wasted £3,818 on an unwanted annual report to constituents.*

Email nominations to : Pork Busting, giving the name of the MP and the reason. Guido will compile from the emails a list of MPs with their snouts deep in the public trough and then organise a readers poll. There will be a prize of a copy of bestselling The Bumper Book of Government Waste to the person who makes the best nomination.

*The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Sir Philip Mawer criticised the Worcester MP Michael Foster for using free stamps and stationary when he wrote to tell people on a mailing list that his office address had changed. The free postage is not meant to be used for circulars of any kind and Mr Foster later used his expenses allowance to pay for the letters. MPs on the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee cleared him, but the parliamentary authorities are going to ask him to repay some of the money. MPs increasingly use the allowance for publicity mailshots rather than casework.

SMF Renounces Blair

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The Social Market Foundation was the creation of SDP Owenites financed by Lord Sainsbury. With the election of Blair it became Blairite after losing a few wonks like Danny Finkelstein to the Tories. It was never as “in” as the IPPR and Demos, only producing worthy dull stuff on the welfare state.
[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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