Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mandelson "Gatecrashed Microsoft Boss’s Yacht Party"Same Time Microsoft Appealing EC €497m Fine

Guido’s man on the high seas tells him about a party thrown by Steve Ballmers Paul Allen on his yacht last year in 2005. Peter Mandelson was brought to the party by a third person – uninvited.
He was not a welcome guest and was avoided by many of the other party-goers who were only too well aware that the European Commission had fined Microsoft a record €497 million on competition grounds. Microsoft was engaged in a bitter legal battle to have the fine overturned.

With billions at stake it was surely inappropriate for the trade commissioner to meet socially with the second largest shareholder in Microsoft when it was in a fierce battle with the Commission. Over to you Peston…

+++ Developing +++

PMQs Live Chat

By the Way

Lord Mandy of the Dark Arts’ permanent secretary is Sir Brian Bender KCB. Just thought Guido would mention that. No juvenile sniggering at the back.

Tail-End of a Labour Government, Pound Collapses

Government borrowing is at record levels, unemployment is heading towards two million, car workers are on a 3-day week, public sector workers are threatening strikes, nationalisation is back, Deripaska-owned Leyland is even in back the news and we are entering a recession. To complete the whole 70s era feel we have a sterling collapse. 6% last night, 20% since the beginning of the year.

The BBC’s business editor is focusing on political gossip. Guido will therefore have to take up the slack on the business reporting front…

Littlejohn Joins CCHQ Press Operation

Don’t get your hopes up too much. According to the Indy a chip off the old block, William Littlejohn, is working in Millbank. Has Guido told you about the time his father bitch-slapped Polly Toynbee?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pesto Payback

Why was Peston gunning, with Nick Robinson, for Osborne this morning on the Today show? Some speculate that it is payback for the generous tips of recent weeks that have come Pesto’s way. Guido suspects they are wrong.

Could it be something to do with the complaints to the FSA and the SFO from Tory MPs which, rightly or wrongly, Peston believes is being coordinated by Osborne’s office. Was there an element of personal animus? Surely not from the objective and impartial BBC….

+++ Source : Times Holding Back THIRD Rothschild Letter +++

Allegations that Rothschild changed his story a third time.

Pressure on Times to publish all versions of the letter….

Mandy Got Blair to Call Rothschild

Mandelson’s ability to get Nathan Rothschild, a Tory donor, to counter-attack Osborne over the “pouring poison” line is widely seen as a tribute to his powers of persuasion.

In reality Rothschild, who has long been enamoured with and in thrall to Tony Blair, acted after Mandelson got Blair to call Rothschild to encourage him to embarrass Osborne. M’learned friends are now being consulted as claim and counter-claim are spun. Isn’t it great to have all the fun of the circus with Mandelson back…

UPDATE : Tories say it was some time after the meeting that Rothschild called them to offer a donation on behalf of Deripaska. A Guido source laughed at the idea that Osborne and Feldman would personally solicit £50,000 – “that would get you to sit at the top table at a dinner maybe”.

CCHQ are calling Rothschild a liar:

The allegations made in Mr Rothschild’s letter are completely untrue.

Both Andrew Feldman and George Osborne deny absolutely that they attempted to solicit a donation from Oleg Deripaska. Nor did they suggest a method by which he could conceal a donation via a British company.

They spent a short period of time on Mr Deripaska’s boat at the invitation of Mr Rothschild. Donations to the Conservative party were not discussed with Mr Deripaska.

In a conversation on September 18, Mr Rothschild suggested to Andrew Feldman that Mr Deripaska wanted to make a donation to the party through one of his British companies. The offer was not taken up.

For clarity: the Conservative party has neither sought nor received any donations from Mr Deripaska nor any of his companies.

Looks like the lawyers will definitely be called in…

Oleg the Oligarch and the British Political Elite

It is a fascinating world inside the ruling elite isn’t it? Rupert Murdoch parks his yacht offshore from Nathaniel Rothschild’s sunshine estate and drops in. Mandelson and Osborne take a ride in the same billionaire’s boat when not dining together. All very cosy, enough to turn you into one of those crazy conspiracy theorists…

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Other Presidential Campaign

Believe it or not there is another Presidential election campaign running. The three candidates for President of the Liberal Democrats are Baroness Ros Scott, Lembit Öpik and Chandila Fernando. The ballot papers have been sent out and the race closes November 7.

Ros is the establishment candidate and is favourite to win. She is seen as a safe pair of hands.

Lembit is having another go after losing out to Simon Hughes last time. He has hardly any support from his parliamentary colleagues who see him as anything but a safe pair of hands. His campaign manager is hoping that his celebrity status will give him high name recognition with the membership that will translate into votes.

Guido wonders if the brief friendship between Ros’ daughter and Lembit gives an added twist to the competitive edge between them.

Chandila Fernando is the young outside candidate running an energetic campaign. He comes from the Orange Book faction and is very much the insurgency candidate. Expenditure limits are £7,500 per candidate, Chandila – as massively the lowest profile candidate – wanted to blow £5,000 of his budget on adverts in the party’s LibDem News internal newspaper, but bizarrely this was blocked by the party.

If only they were so choosy about taking that £2 million from Michael Brown into the party coffers…


Seen Elsewhere

Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times
Speaker Cornered | Times
Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft


new-advert
Westbourne-Change-Opinion hot-button


Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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