Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Barred by the Blogosphere from Bars and Pubs

Cameron picked up on this at PMQs as has the BBC and the Telegraph. Guido first saw it on the Devil’s blog, he hat-tips the Reactionary Snob. The Wardman Wire has an amusingly po-faced audio report from the BBC. The Devil-designed A4 poster download is suitable for pub windows. The mandatory Facebook group is up here.

Guido will give a prize of a copy of John McCain’s new book Hard Call: Courageous Decisions by Inspiring People to anyone who comes up with a decent campaign sing along in a pub song. Entries in the comments…

Dave’s Spinning Cycle, New Labour’s New Slogan

On holiday Guido missed out on all the fun of Dave’s killer-bike-ride-of-crime last week. Have now caught up with it on the Daily Mirror’s website. Tory loyalists are shooting the messenger over this, accusing the Mirror of running a smear campaign* against Cameron. Guido begs to differ, this is what a free press is supposed to do – investigate our rulers, hold them to account, exposing their hypocrisy and shortcomings. That to Guido is good popular campaigning journalism.

Elsewhere in the Mirror today Maguire makes the point that the most revealing moment of “Cameron’s reckless ride to Westminster was the toff’s removal of his cycling helmet.” You can take the man out of PR, but you can’t take the PR man out of the photo-op.

Maguire went on to moan that the Brownies electorally “hoping that Tory toff Cameron cycles through one red light too many won’t work.” Quite. Guido learns from Kevin that Gordon has a new slogan: “New Labour, Your Britain.” Maguire helpfully suggests “with the government behind in the polls, what about: ‘Labour, Not As Bad As You Think’?

Guido twice in agreement with Kevin Maguire in a single day? Must lie down…

*Guido was taught at an early age that “a smear is not a smear when it is the truth”.

The Party That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Guido exceeded the age limit for the guest list for the launch of Liberal Youth last night on Brick Lane. The Liberal Jugend Führer, Mark Gettleson, wanted to rename LDYS because he wanted “a name that sounds like a youth movement rather than a sexually transmitted disease”. Which is as good a reason as any…

The logo and website have a Top of the Pops circa-1974 feel. Which is either knowingly kitsch or perhaps just like the Liberal Party of yore, outdated and retro. Groovy kids!

Hain’s Future Picture Cloudy

Guido previously suggested that Peter Hain could find an alternative career as a politico-celebrity endorser of commercial services.

Alas perhaps this is not to be, Hain’s ringing commerical endorsement of Picture Financial Services plc has not helped the business. It closed to new business in February as it got into financial difficulties and is now rumoured to be about to change hands in a fire-sale for 1p.

Not exactly the picture of success envisioned by Hain in his endorsement.

Elsewhere Morgan Allan Moore, the spin firm that ran Hain’s leadership campaign and secured his endorsements for clients who were donors, had lined up to be taken over in a multi-million pound deal. Alas as the company has become mired in an ethical standards inquiry that deal has been aborted. Hain has not brought good fortune to his friends.

Most serious of all, the ongoing police investigation has, it is rumoured, uncovered some interesting spending by Hain’s campaign that might not please the GMB brothers.

Guido suspects the union members will not appreciate the way their hard-earned subs were spent by the champagne swilling radical…

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Frankenstein Bill Free Vote

So Gordon has averted a car crash of a vote on the Bill in the face of a concerted campaign from Guido’s co-religionists. The prospect of three Catholic cabinet ministers rebelling when Gordon is double digits behind in the polls forced him to be flexible. Whatever possessed him to think of whipping this through?

Does make you think why aren’t more votes free votes. The party whip is too strong in Britain, in legislatures where laws are negotiated more pragmatically and in a less partisan fashion the laws are better made. To Guido it seems right that if it isn’t in the manifesto, every issue should be a free vote.

Chris Bryant on Gaydar

Chris Bryant MP is on More 4 News tomorrow talking about the wonders of the internet.

Here is his take on the benefits of progress through technology:

“30, 40 years ago most gay men and lesbians around the country and if you lived in a rural area or a district like mine in the South Wales valley as soon as they knew they were gay they would disappear off to Cardiff or one of the big cities and nowadays they can go online and find one another on the internet”

Before gayers would have to go nightclubs, now as Chris demonstrates here, they can just upload their photo online. Progress…

When Ken Met the Chinese

On a trip to Beijing in April 2006, Ken Livingstone shamefully compared the 1990 Poll Tax riots in Trafalgar Square with the massacre of hundreds of peacefully protesting students in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Not really a valid comparison is it? The Met Police didn’t shoot or kill anyone. The violent Poll Tax Riots were a response to the policies of a democratically elected government whereas hundreds of peacefully protesting Chinese citizens were murdered by a dictatorship in Tiananmen Square. Of all Ken’s many pitiful apologies for dictators like Chavez and Castro, this was just about the lowest.

The Olympic Torch will be in London on April 6. Guido will be supporting the Free Tibet Campaign’s Freedom Torch Relay in Argyle Square on that day. That burning Olympic torch should not pass through London unhindered while the flame of freedom is extinguished in Tibet.

F o I Me? No Hypocrisy Says Robinson

Nick Robinson has acknowledged Guido’s FoI request for his expenses on his own blog. He doesn’t get drawn on the whys and wherefores of the issue instead he just gives a politician’s answer referring readers to the BBC’s official reason for refusing. He doesn’t say why he thinks he shouldn’t tell his paymasters his expenses yet MPs should.

Your request falls outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act because the BBC and the other public service broadcasters are covered by the Act only in respect of information held for purposes “other than those of journalism, art or literature”

Well that argument seems flawed on two counts. Firstly the cost of a bottle of wine ordered by Nick at the telly taxpayer’s expense is not information held for the purposes of journalism. It is information held, by law, for the purposes of accounting. Guido has not FoI’d Nick’s notes of the lunch, he simply wants to know how many pound notes a bottle of wine poured down the throat of a politician costs the licence payers. Guido has not requested the names of his dining partners either. There is therefore no journalistic reason to keep the cost of a bottle of wine secret is there? It is public money after all.

Secondly the BBC has given dozens of FoI responses to requests about expense claim requests in the past. So why is this one different? There is a clear public interest in the voters and licence payers discovering how lavish are the contents of the trough that the politico-media nexus dines at – the public pays for the “trebles all round”. Guido revealed a few weeks ago that the Lobby’s journalists have their own bar subsidised by taxpayers to the tune of £1,000 every working day. Is it any wonder that for so long they have gone easy on MPs when they are guilty of sharing the same trough?

Not Emily, Not Cathy

Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis has emailed back to say that she hasn’t dined Chez Cameron and she isn’t the source of the Nancy Cameron story. Guido now paging Daisy McAndrew, Kirsty Wark, Martha Kearney….

Politico-Geeky Plea

Tom Steinberg is a very reasonable man but he has clearly pulled his hair out. He has had a hand in a few of those handy mySociety utility projects like TheyWorkForYou.com and WriteToThem.com. He not unreasonably wants the parliamentary authorities to publish bills in an internet-friendly format.

Not a partisan point, not a big budget issue. The geeks want it to be in a format that is fit for the 21st century… they have an online petition (of course). Guido usually ignores online petitions (like the government) however this one he has signed up to. Tell the bureaucrats to lose the quils and get with the XML. You can too here.

UPDATE : Oops, Tom says it is not a petition, it is an “action email list”.

UPDATE II : Cameron is backing the Free Our Bills campaign – see here.


Seen Elsewhere

Inside an Islamist Takeover Plot School | Newsnight
Ed Heads to Scotland | Sun
Assad’s New Chemical Weapon Attacks | National Review
Jason Groves New Mail Deputy Pol Ed | MediaGuido
Cocaine Conservatives | Standard
Jezza Browne Responds to LibDem Haters | LibDem Voice
Why Britain Needs to Leave the EU | Douglas Carswell
Who Tells Ed When He’s Wrong? | Speccie
Hands Off Our Cojones, Mr Clegg | Laura Perrins
London Live Averaging Just 2,400 Viewers | Forbes
Ed’s Constitutional Failure | ConHome


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Dan Hodges on Team Miliband:

“‘Poisonous’, was the picture painted by one former senior advisor. ‘Dysfunctional,’ said one shadow cabinet member. ‘A bunch of medieval courtiers, not an office,’ said another. The most positive description I could get was ‘It’s a work in progress. They’re learning. Slowly. But they are learning.’”



Nick Clegg says:

Do you want lies with that?


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