Sunday, February 22, 2009

Who Wants to be a Millionaire MEP?

No one is really surprised by MEP’s expense fiddles. The Taxpayers’ Alliance has got a leaked copy of the confidential Galvin Report into Euro-fiddles. The Galvin Report, named after Robert Galvin, the EU Internal Audit Official whose name is on its front cover, was written at the end of 2006 as an audit of the expenses and allowances claimed by a sample of more than 160 MEPs.. Some of the brazen fiddles are just complete p*ss-takes. The Taxpayers’ Alliance shows how it is possible to become a millionaire in a single term as an MEP with shrewd claiming of expenses and allowances. See the summary here [pdf]. British MEPs will be taking home 47% more after June 2009, nice work if you can get it…

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sunday Sleaze

Sunday SleazeThe Sunday Mirror has been digging all week into the Shadow Cabinet trying to find someone on the Tory frontbench “doing a Jacqui”. To do that they would need to find someone claiming a lodging as their main home. If they have found a Tory frontbencher “doing a Jacqui” they deserve everything they get. Guido is willing to bet they have found them almost all claiming the mortgage subsidy. The question is have any of them done a scam as brazen as Jacqui’s fiddle?

UPDATE : Rumour is that Chris Grayling has claimed over £100,000 in expenses over 7 years for an ex-council flat in Victoria costing just over £100,000. It might be within the rules, but it don’t smell good…

Dougie Follows Hazel in Attacking Infighting

With Alan Johnson, Harriet Harman and Ed Balls now openly raising their own profiles and jockeying for position, Gordon looks increasingly like a lame duck PM. Dougie Alexander has used the same trick as Hazel of a “speech in his constituency” to release to the press his rebuke to the increasingly sharp elbowing by potential candidates;
“The many party staff I have met this week who, with our members, will be on the front line of that campaign, want the direction and focus of the Cabinet’s efforts to be getting Britain through the downturn and working together to secure a Labour victory. All of us should remember the words from our party’s constitution, on the back of our membership card: ‘By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone.’ When the general election comes, securing a fourth term will be difficult but do-able. The task of securing that fourth term will require unity, effort and innovation.”

It is becoming increasingly likely that the Labour Party is readying itself to dump Gordon, if they do, they will have to have an immediate general election. We can’t have two successive Prime Ministers foisted on the country by the Labour Party without any mandate.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Caption Competition

N.B. Derek is watching, Guido is going to lunch. After last week, please be nice and don’t wind him up. Have asked him if he would stand in for Guido and do comment moderation. No reply so far.

UPDATED : Derek has not vetoed any of the comments today.

13:05 Request to moderate comments sent.
17:07 All comments approved with no objection from Derek Draper.

All timings confirmed by T-mobile.

Hazel’s Honestyl

Hazel Blears has used the time honoured device of a “speech to her constituency” to deliver an uncomfortably honest message to her party.

My message to my colleagues is simple: get a grip. Our first loyalty is to the British people. If they think that we are more interested in our own jobs than theirs, they will not forgive us. If the mindset is all about what happens after some future election defeat, then the game’s up... All this political positioning just helps the Tories … I don’t detect a serious clamour for a Conservative election victory, people have not made up their minds, but they will if we fail to focus on protecting decent hard-working people. They will rightly think that we’ve let them down. We’ve a big job ahead of us – on the economy, on reforming the public services, on the environment. Divided parties don’t win the trust of the people.

Over on the grassroots site LabourHome there are more and more articles like Does anyone seriously expect Gordon to win?Meanwhile on the Downing Street approved LabourList, there is zero self-analysis of Labour’s problems, just tired articles by Ed Balls with headlines likeBritain is not Broken. When the Tories were in difficulties, ConservativeHome was a source of renewal and honest critical self-examination.

This lack of internal honesty when Labour is 20% behind in the polls is not going to do them any good. The fish rots from the head, with Gordon unable to admit that he did not abolish boom and bust, or in fact make any mistakes, Labour will remain on course for annihilation. Privately Labour ministers admit this, publicly apart from Honest Hazel, they pretend otherwise.

Happy Birthday Gordon Brown

58 years old today. We would have got you a card, but Woolies seems to have closed down. Was going to get you a DVD as a present, the collected speeches of Obama seemed like an inspirational idea. Unfortunately Zaavi was boarded up too. Instead Guido has decided to throw a party for you at McDonalds, with credit crunch friendly £1.99 Happy Meals for everyone, bring the kids. At least they won’t have gone bankrupt. Thanks to you Ronald McDonald is a better credit risk than Britain.

Happy Birthday from Bankrupt Britain, we are all forever in your debt…

Bethell Pops Up at PoliticsHome

James Bethell, the former Portland PR spinner, left Policy Exchange after less than three months, flouncing out after failing to get the top job when Neil O’Brien became the think-tank’s director.

Former Google PR Amy Fisher replaced Bethell in December as Policy Exchange’s director of communications. Previous to Google she was a CCHQ press officer.

He has now joined PoliticsHome as director. The site has become a useful utility for a lot of people in politics and the media. Bethell is going to try and commercialise the loss-making site, a tough task at a time when rival ePolitix.com is cutting back.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Matthew Taylor is Ruining the RSA

A few months back Guido was invited to speak on a panel at the Royal Society of Arts. The enthusiastic American staffer on the phone was more than a little taken aback when told that Guido wasn’t interested.

Expanding further on the subject (it was after lunch), Guido told her that essentially Matthew Taylor was ruining a great institution by turning it into just another left-of-centre think-tank – sort of like Demos with a better designed Adam Brothers HQ building.

Matthew has subsequently been a bit defensive with Guido, pointing to the fact that they invited George Osborne to speak and venture capitalist Luke Johnson is the incoming new chairman. Good. Luke is good at kicking ass and Matthew Taylor needs his ass well and truly kicked.

The RSA has a fabulous history of achievements in public life, it was founded as the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce. Past members have included Benjamin Franklin, Adam Smith, William Hogarth, Charles Dickens and Guglielmo Marconi. It was founded to “embolden enterprise, enlarge science, refine art, improve our manufactures and extend our commerce”.

Now Matthew Taylor is turning it into a Blairite third-way think tank “to remove the barriers to social progress”. Well we have enough of those think-tanks already. He spends his days indulgently expounding on the “new progressivism” like some self-appointed high-priest of the chattering classes. Taylor seems to forget he is no longer the “Downing Street Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to Tony Blair” but the CEO of the RSA off the Strand. No wonder the number of paying RSA Fellows is dropping.

Obama’s Online Guru : "I Don’t Think We Could Win the Re-election for Brown"

So says Blue State Digital’s Thomas Gensemer in The Times today. His firm helped Obama raise $300 million online. If anyone can do it, he can. Yet, with Brown in front, he thinks it is mission impossible. Labour are trying to fight back, but so far their only online campaign that has escaped from the politico-geek ghetto is John Prescott’s campaign against banker’s bonuses. That broke out of the few hundreds and made it into the tens of thousands signalling their support.
Putting aside the comedic value of Derek Draper, Labour’s efforts are undermined by the rivalries, whereas the Tories have one successful community site, Labour has four or five not very successful attempts to match ConservativeHome. They also don’t seem to have realistic expectations.

What is the point of Alastair Campbell’s videos? Nobody watches them:

Compare the number of views Campbell got to the two videos produced in the same week mocking Derek Draper and LabourList. Tens of thousands of views versus a couple of hundred views for Alastair’s efforts. Alistair got lots of press coverage for his efforts – even though hardly anyone actually watched them – because he understands how to manipulate the Dead Tree Press. The anti-Labour video guerillas understood what would play well on the web: humour.*

Prescott is doing a far better job of reaching out using authenticity, humour and his own celebrity. He has real box-office appeal and is better advised. Draper has, like Campbell, not really got a feel for online.

The coming general election is going to be fought online more than ever before. Labour are going to lose that fight badly if they don’t learn fast.

*The various Gordon Brown nose-picking videos have been watched three-quarters of a million times on YouTube. By far the most watched YouTube videos of any British politician.

Comedy Candidates

The London Standard is pushing a story claiming that a cabinet minister is urging Yvette Cooper to stand as a “Stop Harriet” candidate. Very amusing. If you believe the papers the list of candidates could see Miliband major versus Miliband minor as well as Yvette Balls versus Ed Balls. The list of runners for Gordon’s succession is said to even include Andy Burnham. Some of this press speculation can only be for the purposes of satire…

UPDATE : Ben Brogan points out that Cruddas is backing Harman in the Indy.


Seen Elsewhere

Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power
Guido’s Column | Sun
Elite’s Obsession With Climate Change Alarmism | David Keighley
Charities Should Not Demonise Freud | ConHome
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


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


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.


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,534 other followers