Putin takes the Michael out of Blair

Yesterday Putin relished taking the mick out of Blair (the mick of course being Lord Michael Levy). Asked what his message would be to Blair in view of implicit criticism by the British ambassador to Moscow of Putin’s governance, the authoritarian Russian leader started sly: “We carefully hear out all our partners,” he said. “We take into consideration their views on such issues but we take our decisions ourselves.” Putin then twisted the knife with a smile. “There are also other questions… Questions, let’s say, about the fight against corruption. We’d be interested in hearing your experience, including how it applies to Lord Levy.”

Psy-Ops in the War on Sleaze

The Scotsman reports that there is panic in Downing Street as Levy puts Blair squarely in the frame. Guido has been merrily emailing the cut out ‘n play Sleazy Sweepstakes gamesheet to SpAds and civil servants in a tactic borrowed from U.S. Army’s Central Command in the run up to the liberation of Iraq.

Psy-Ops units waged online warfare by sending emails and text messages to Iraqi senior officers telling them to surrender in advance of the U.S. Army’s Rolling Thunder operation. The effect of these messages on morale was telling, it showed the Republican guard that the enemy knew them individually, knew where to get them and how. The Republican Guard consequently put up no defence when the U.S. Army arrived. In advance of Yates of the Yard’s detectives’ Operation Ribble, Guido has borrowed some of those psy-ops tactics, after all, as concerned citizens we must each do our little bit in the War on Sleaze.

Email Guido for a gamesheet to print out, then email it onwards as appropriate or just cut out and play Sleazy Sweepstakes in your office. (Peerages not included.)

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Guido’s Levy Files

Unlike the Sleaze-Master General, Guido’s files have not gone up in smoke. Here for the assistance of some surprised journalists, is the story so far as told on this blog.

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Levy Does the Perp Walk! Guido Does a Jig!

As Guido predicted as long ago as March and pointed to on Saturday, the Sleazemaster General has been arrested.

It is going to get even bigger quicker than you might think.

Levy should have taken Guido’s advice when he had the chance, shouldn’t he?

So, where was Nick Robinson, the pundit who told us the police would go through the motions and the investigation would go nowhere, when the story broke? In Sheperds restaurant having a leisurely lunch…

Remember, Remember….

As Guido predicted as long ago as March and pointed to on Saturday, the Sleazemaster General has been arrested.

It is going to get even bigger quicker than you might think.

Levy should have taken Guido’s advice when he had the chance, shouldn’t he?

So, where was Nick Robinson, the pundit who told us the police would go through the motions and the investigation would go nowhere, when the story broke? In Sheperds restaurant having a leisurely lunch…

Mayor Boles?

Guido understands that Nic Boles plans to throw his hat in the ring for mayor of London. Hard to say if it is hubristic or not. His performance in Hove was not brilliant and he would himself admit he was disappointed. So what qualifies him to be mayor of London?
The Policy Exchange boss has done lots of worthy things on “localism” he even served as chairman of Westminster’s Housing Committee and a few years ago Nic was associate producer of the West End production of “The Mysteries“. Which is a good way of describing the Tory selection process for their mayoral candidate.

The Tories plan to let Labour party members choose their candidate (Guido kids you not). Francis Maude, the party chairman, reckons “We already have the loyal support of our membership, … But now we need to reach out to the wider electorate and get new people involved in politics.” Anyone on the electoral roll will be able to choose the Tory mayoral candidate.

Guido is only too ready and willing to support and campaign for the man who has done more for the joy of London than any other, the proud Thatcherite, successful entrepreneur, supreme cultural ambassador and mayor-to-be: Peter Stringfellow.

Fancy That…

Asked if Lord Levy was still the UK’s Middle East envoy, the PMOS said “yes”.

Is that an Office Under the Crown? What are the added legal ramifications?
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+++ BBC NEWS TONIGHT +++ LORD LEVY & RUTH TURNER

Guido has been tipped off that tonight Robert Peston* will flesh out details of the transactions between No. 10, Lord Levy, Ruth Turner and Gulaam Noon tonight on the BBC 10 O’Clock News. This is the nomination which was too much for the Lords Appointments Commission. The whole affair stinks and the smell isn’t curry.

The Beeb has been very wary about the whole Loans for Lordships saga, this signals that they are starting to realise that this corruption reaches into Downing Street.

UPDATE : Odd – in the version that was read over the phone to Guido, Ruth Turner was mentioned, in the broadcast she was not. She is mentioned in the online story.

Blunkett Sues, He Should Lose

Blunkett is suing the Sunday Times and The Times over their reporting of his expenses fiddle [as linked]. Steven Swinford wrote the articles about the disgraceful fiddle whereby MPs claim off the taxpayer for interest and furnishing costs even if they don’t have a mortgage (or new furniture). It is, they always say when challenged, “within the rules”.

But it is not honourable or justifiable, it is a blatant fiddle ripping off the taxpayer for non-existent expenses.

The article in question identified David Blunkett, Jack Straw, John Prescott, Geoff Hoon, Ruth Kelly and Margaret Beckett as fiddling between them hundreds of thousands of pounds in unjustified expenses. It is a joke at the taxpayers expense that they are allowed to get away with this.

Guido hopes the Sunday Times & The Times stick to their guns. It is not as if Blunkett has much of a reputation to defend – he is a proven liar who has been caught fiddling his expenses before and has had to resign from office in disgrace twice. Blunkett is feeling a bit cocky having won a couple of court cases recently. This one he deserves to lose.

Here is something of interest, of the mortgage fiddling men named in Swinford’s article – Blunkett, Prescott, Straw and Hoon – the first two have been exposed in the press for having illicit affairs, the latter two have not as yet.

See also :
Hoon Fiddles Expenses “In Accordance With The Rules”
Four Lords A-Fiddling

Gotcha! Ben Abotts Fakes It

Ben Abbotts claimed to have helped out in an orphanage during his gap year and put the photos in an election leaflet. Turns out he “helped out” for a few hours. In another leaflet he was pictured cleaning graffiti off a wall near the LibDem campaign office with the slogan “Crime Action Needed Now. It’s time to restore pride.” Ben is pictured taking action, proudly. An outraged constituent, Jaj, sent Guido these pictures. Full story here. Ben Abbott is a professional liar who works for the grubbiest spin merchants in Westminster – LLM (Lobbying, Lying and Mendacity) – so you would have thought that, as a pro, he would have realised he would be caught out faking photos. He didn’t do anything more than don marigolds for the photo op – the graffiti is still there…

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Sky’s Faisal Islam on the mood in Parliament at the moment:

“It’s a totally febrile atmosphere here. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards – and if you chuck in the Labour Party – Laurel and Hardy too.”

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