Wednesday, March 12, 2008

+++ Spink Speaks +++

Bob Spink has just emailed this to Guido:
“The Party has failed to deal with local breaches of its rules and electoral irregularities, and with criminal activities over a long period and there are now corruption and other investigations, surrounding certain senior members of my local Association. It is with great sadness that I therefore felt compelled to resign the Party whip. I hope my action in resigning will bring the necessary changes and therefore be in both the public and the Party’s best interests.”

His email has a final paragraph:
Tories lose another MP at Westminster
MP Dr Bob Spink has resigned the Conservative Party whip because he is disappointed with the Party’s failure to address crime and corruption within the Party.

Dr Spink remains a committed and principled Conservative.

UPDATE I : Nadine Dorries reckons that Spink will, “given his strong anti-Euro views and Essex seat, join UKIP.”

UPDATE II : Bob Spink emails again with a press release setting out his side of the spin:

“For the Conservative Party to now imply they withdrew the whip from me is brass-necked dishonesty. This sort of low-political deceit is why the public hold politicians in such deep contempt.


The Chief Whip said my resignation would disrupt the Party Spring Conference this weekend and asked me to reconsider, or at least to delay announcement. I refused.


He also asked me to meet with him, the Party Chairman, Chairman of the 22 Committee, and Dominic Grieve MP a Tory solicitor, and I did so this morning when they sought to get me to change my mind. I refused and at 12 noon today I informed Sir Michael Spicer, the Chairman of the 22 Cttee, that I was irrevocably set on resignation. I announced my resignation on the floor of the House this afternoon.


I remain a committed and principled Conservative and will continue to sit on the Tory benches.”


Extracts of an Email sent by Bob Spink on 11th March 15.47 to the Chief Whip Patrick Mcloughlin


Dear Patrick, It is not in the public interest for me to remain within a party that supports improper and criminal actions against an MP or democracy. I therefore intend to resign the whip….


If you wish, we can discuss how to handle my resignation, including publicity and the withdrawal of facilities.


Yours ever


Bob 11/3/08


Extracts from letter dated 12th March from the Chief Whip to Dr Bob Spink MP:


Further to your letter of resignation received by email yesterday afternoon, and our discussion today, I am writing to confirm the removal of the Whip with immediate effect.


‘The Chairman has counselled you strongly to await the Executive Council next week….’ 12/3/08

Guido suspects that Spink is going in a huff because he faced deselection by his own constitutency association who were not happy about him employing his lover / wife / lover’s daughter etcetera. This promises to be an enjoyable bun fight…

+++ BOB SPINK RESIGNS TORY WHIP +++

His office confirmed rumours to Guido.

Scottish Presbyterians Hate Drinkers, Don’t They?

Quick, you have only until Sunday to get hammered before beer is up 4p a pint, wine 14p a bottle and spirits 55p. These Calvinistic bastards would tax smiling if they could…

MPs £5,000 Food Allowance Should be Taxed in the Budget

Guido first drew attention to the £400 food allowance given to MPs in 2005. Strictly speaking the allowance is £20 per diem. In reality this tax free allowance is worth some £33 to 40% tax rate payers. There is no real justification for it, it is equivalent an extra £5,000* or so a year on MP’s income.

There is no reason why this should not be abolished and a more honest and transparent picture of the compensation package of MPs given to the public. At the very least Alistair Darling should announce today that it will be taxed in the normal way as a benefit. Guido does not see why MPs should be treated differently from other self-employed business people who have to account for every penny to the revenue commissioners.

Some MPs claim to have been totally unaware of the allowance. Perhaps that is true. Guido would still like to know the details of who is claiming it.

*Guido is guesstimating, we do not know the details of the payment system and the authorities are resisting FoI requests.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Leaked Labour Party Document Shows Quality of FCO Analysis

The Foreign Secretary’s SpAd, Madlin Sadler,* put together a briefing on today’s European Union Bill Third Reading for Labour MPs. Brushing aside the fact that the taxpayer should not be paying Madlin Sadler to produce Labour Party briefings in breach of the Code for SpAds, it makes an extraordinary claim:

“The Tories are isolated in Europe. Their position is the biggest foreign policy failure since the 1930s.”

So the Tory plan to pull out of the EPP factional grouping arrangements is worse than Suez, Vietnam or the Iraq War? This is the view of the Miliband’s personal Special Adviser? Obviously Madlin has a deep sense of historical perspective…

You can download the full briefing here, Guido has digitally disguised the source of the leak because it has a warning on every page stating:

PLP briefings are the property of the Labour party. They are confidential and are for the use of registered members only. Any publishing or dissemination of PLP political briefing is prohibited and may be unlawful.

With New Labour’s characteristic inability to distinguish between party and state they seem to fail to realise that a document produced by a civil servant, in office hours at the taxpayer’s expense should by rights not be the property of the Labour Party. So sue Guido…

*Madlin is the daughter of Blairite MP Barry Sheerman. Another no doubt meritocratic appointment from the people’s party.

UPDATE : Guido accepts that there is a loophole provision in the Code permitting SpAds to produce briefings for MPs on government policy. This is not a briefing on government policy, it is a crib sheet on Tory policy and positions intended to be used to attack the Conservative position in media interviews and in the chamber. This breaches the spirit and the letter of the Code. There is in any case no way a taxpayer funded document produced by civil servants can become the exclusive property of the PLP. These type of briefing documents should be produced by Labour HQ at their own expense, not the taxpayers expense. If the PLP would care to test this proposition in court Guido is more than ready.

Lobby Lushes Get Blanko on The Taxpayer Too!

Is it any wonder that Guido’s four year campaign against politicians with their snouts in the trough got until recently so little traction in the media? Because the Lobby itself is full of expense fiddling drunks who rarely pay for their own drinks. The Billy Blanko parody of a Lobby hack is based on a composite of a few well known hacks. Guido has remarked on the drunken laziness of the Lobby many times but it is really a private affair between them and their Big Media shareholders. The BBC is different since law abiding television owners have no choice and are forced to pay for their output on pain of jailing. So Guido is keen to FoI what Nick Robinson drinks at the telly taxpayers expense…

Here is the news you won’t read in the papers or hear from broadcast by our fearless Lobby lushes:-

The total subsidy paid by the taxpayer to the press gallery bar and restaurant last year was £201,100. They drink at the taxpayers expense to the tune of a £1,000 every working day. They really are taking the piss getting pissed at the public’s expense.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Economic Incoherence

The Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Philip Hammond, gave an off-camera briefing ahead of the Budget yesterday lunchtime. Not quite sure how this squares with Dave’s commitment to the New Politics of openness and transparency or his boss George Osborne’sopen source politics 2.0 which he said would see a Tory government “become more accountable, more transparent and more accessible – and so bridge the growing gap between government and governed.” Having an off camera briefing in the Lobby room seems less than transparent and rather inaccessible to the governed.

Perhaps he has good reason to explain Tory economic policy out of sight, being too timid to put the case for tax relief for the struggling middle classes and reducing state over-spending. The Tories basically accept that because of the dire fiscal position Chancellor Osborne will stick with Gordon Brown’s tax and spending plans. As we tip towards worldwide recession and a global financial crisis the Tories are advocating “tax hikes on alcopops!” and the LibDems “tax cuts for smoothies!” Pathetically unambitious.

Guess Who

Q. Which party appoints a double-barreled, privately educated, graduate of Oxford and Stanford, ex-McKinsey turned City grandee and co-author of The New Capitalists as chief?
A. David Pitt-Watson of City fund managers Hermes is the new general secretary of the Labour Party.

He also gave £2,500 to Gordon’s leadership non-campaign.

UPDATE : If he has been brought in to clean-up Labour’s finances post the Abrahams scandal this will be tricky. Chris Grayling points out that he was a secret just-below-the-£1000 reporting threshold donor of £990 to Wendy Alexander’s campaign. He was with Peter Watt, the disgraced former Secretary-General of the Labour Party, director of a fund which has donated £110,000 to the Labour Party and a leading figure in an unincorporated association (LFIG) which has given hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Labour Party without revealing the original sources of funds – just like the Tory supporting Midlands Industrial Council. Does that fill you full of confidence that Gordon really means to be more transparent and straight about political funding?

The Chancellor’s Unfunded Spending Hikes

Back in 2005 Gordon boasted in his budget of “economic growth for the 50th consecutive quarter” in 2006. The next year he did not subsequently boast of 54 consecutive after Guido pointed out that he was taking credit for the five years of growth under the Tories following White Wednesday in 1992.

The point of Guido giving this background is to highlight that during all this long unbroken period of economic growth, Gordon failed to pay down the government debt – a truly prudent Chancellor would have done it at some strong point in the economic cycle. He did however forecast the budget surplus this year to be of some £9 billion, in fact the budget will probably be in deficit £9 billion. As Michael Fallon points out, despite many predictions to the contrary, the budget has never been in surplus* under this government. Gordon’s imprudence over the last 5 years alone has led to £69 billion in unplanned and unfunded spending hikes. The public sector has been bloated by a governing Labour party beholden to public sector unions for funding.

Who pays for this unfunded spending? Middle class taxpayers of course. The interest on the government’s ballooning debts consumes an ever increasing share of tax revenues. The nationalisation of Northern Rock further smashed the golden rule by £110 billion. We are now heading for G.F.T.** in a weakened fiscal position compared to other major economies. Alastair’s response? The word from the Treasury is that they plan to fiddle the statistics so that the golden rule will magically become unbroken. An illusion that will fool no-one.

Remember this when the new Chancellor talks about budgetary control or prudence in his budget speech. Treat any promises of future surpluses as a bad joke. Any “Green” tax hikes should be seen as what they really are, an excuse to tax the middle classes even more. The truth is Labour’s out of control unfunded over-spending hikes have added to Britain’s economic woes.

The budget should:

  • Focus on a growth-package to boost real incomes based on reducing the tax burden for those on low and middle incomes.
  • A boost for small businesses with reductions in corporation tax to Irish levels (12.5%).
  • A civil service recruitment freeze. We don’t need any more bureaucrats.

Instead we will probably get higher consumer taxes to pay for higher government spending.

*As pointed out in the comments, this is apart from the extraordinary 2001 windfall from the 3G bandwith auction bonanza. A one time bonus never to be repeated.

**Global Financial Turbulence in the vernacular of the Treasury.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View


Seen Elsewhere

NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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