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.
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.
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.*
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 FT reports Gordon’s fantasy that the tripartite regulatory system worked and is being copied around the world. Osborne clearly could not bite his lip, retorting that Gordon is “still living in his Walter Mitty world where his system of banking regulation didn’t fail, where boom-and-bust had been abolished and where Britain is best placed to withstand the recession”.
Just say it straight : Brown is Bonkers.
Incidentally, yesterday on the day that Obama authorised funding for international abortion groups, the Pope called on politicans to defend the unborn. It is the custom of the Holy See to deny visiting Catholic politicians a photo-opportunity if they do not take the orthodox Catholic line. As a non-believer who supports abortion it is probable that Gordon will get his publicity shot.
At his monthly press conference this morning he sent best wishes to Jade Goody. As if she isn’t suffering enough.
UPDATE 21:00 : This just in: “Angry drivers are urging Mini to recall almost a quarter of a million cars following a spate of sudden power steering failures“. Guido thinks he knows the cause.
She is going with the “it was all approved” line. Guido very much doubts she told the Fees Office she was going to spend most nights of the year with her family rather than at the “main home” (actually her sister’s spare bedroom).
On the basis of the Trend ruling, where the Tory MP in parallel circumstances had to pay back £90,000 and the precedent established ironically by Mr & Mrs Balls, she has a prima facie case to answer. (The Balls’ argued successfully that in the recess and school holidays they spent the majority of the time away from London at their constitutency home, therefore on the basis that they spend more nights there, that was their main home). The Standards Committee needs to take a hard look into the evidence of where she spent most nights.
UPDATE : Isn’t there a huge conflict of interest here? The best independent source of evidence for where Jacqui spent her nights will be the records of the police protection unit. Who oversees the police?
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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”