Going Down With Gordon Brown

Gordon : No Change on Iraq

He told a US interviewer “I take responsibility, as does the whole of the cabinet, for decisions we made on Iraq. There will be no sense in which we seek to walk away from decisions we made.” That should be worth a few votes for John McDonnell.

Lynne Spends £22,000 on Stationery in March

LibDem MP Lynne Featherstone’s office was exposed trying to beat a new budget deadline for stationery by ordering £22,000 of supplies in March. When an email leaked out what did the campaigner for Freedom of Information do? She got the Liberal Democrat’s chief whip to take up the matter of the leaked e-mail with the Speaker’s Office. She is blaming it all on her staff – surely she must have noticed the forest’s worth of paper?

WebCameron 2.0

“And frankly, there are many aspects of our society today which are hardly inspiring – the drinking, the drug-taking, the rudeness and incivility, the lack of consideration for others, anti-social behaviour…” So says Dave, not about the Bullingdon Society, but about British society, on his new Webcameron site.

The new site gets rid of that innovative Ask Dave feature – which although over-run with cranks going on about 9/11, did get Dave to answer questions from ordinary webmongs. Out too goes the ability to upload your own videos and images, and in comes a forum – which will generate some traffic because people love to argue.

It is not exactly cutting edge, in fact the old site was more advanced. Maybe that doesn’t matter, they just want to get more traffic than Guido or Iain. Perhaps they should try some totty? Maybe a CCHQ girl/ boy of the week. Are you reading this CCHQ?

MyTorygraph

If you thought blogging had already gone mass market before, what do you think of the Telegraph offering free blog hosting? It is technically far ahead of the Guardian’s Comment is Free “blog”. Which always struck me as
(a) not a blog
(b) a mish-mash of variable quality writers.

Interesting to see how it develops and what the Telegraph thinks it will achieve by offering free MyTelegraph branded blogs to the masses. They get traffic, extra advertising revenue and you get a simple and restrictive blog in their gated community. Not sure how appealing that is as a proposition. Probably a place to start. Readers will have to invest a lot of time in finding writers they want to read and the noise to signal ratio will inevitably be high.

Until now the Telegraph’s blogging journalists have not been overwhelmed with comments and although Little and Large seems occasionally interesting, most of the blogs seem dead. (The giveaway is those digg et al voting buttons gathering dust and merely serving to emphasise that nobody diggs them.)

If an amateur citizen journalist blogger on MyTelegraph becomes a hit, how will the journos react? They are not exactly setting a tough standard to beat…

Here’s Gordon…

The Dead-Tree-Press in the shape of the Guardian’s Martin Kettle and even the Daily Mail have hopped on the Where’s Gordon?™ Meme. Particularly enjoyed this morning’s Where’s Gordo game featuring a naked Gordon- which seems to have been pulled from their website this afternoon. Did it displease Dacre?

The shiny all new GordonBrown.org and GordonBrownforBritiain.com* websites will launch tomorrow. Remember the denial put out by Silverfish, about buying domains on behalf of Gordon? Silverfish’s Mark Lucas claimed it was speculative, nothing to do with Gordon, they were building up a portfolio of internet domains and flying pigs etc.

In truth they were acting on the direct instructions of Gordon’s charmless spinmeister Damian McBride, to buy up websites for Gordon’s campaign. All will be revealed tomorrow. Guido hopes Silverfish come up with something better than “Dave the Chameleon” this time. Gordon needs all the help he can get…

UPDATE : ConservativeHome is reporting that the bogeyman will be doing photo-ops in Stevenage and Basildon tomorrow, the seats of Labour MPs Barbara Follett and Angela Smith respectively.

*There are a few others as well. Silverfish bought some of them off lucky owners for substantial sums.

New Labour is Washed Up

Official Logo Change Signals New Labour is Dead

Here is Labour’s refashioned logo to go with the new Labour party website launched today. Nowhere on the website will you find the old New Labour logo.

The Red Terror begins…

Why No Reporting of Prezza’s Resignation Statement?

He has made one y’know…

“To have been deputy leader and the longest serving deputy prime minister is a matter of great pride to me. This government is testament to the fact that it is possible to apply traditional Labour values in a modern setting. I passionately believe that it will continue to do so under a new leader and deputy, and that we have the values to convince the British people that we deserve a fourth term in government.”

No mention of all the perks he’ll miss…

Bad News Burial Attempted

Nick Clegg has pounced on the announcement that ID cards will cost hundreds of millions more than budgeted. The announcement was held back until today for some reason…

The Speech He Should Have Given…

GuyNews : Blair’s Speech

After his barnstorming party conference speech maybe Guido’s expectations were too high. A whimper rather than a bang?

The speech he should have given is on GuyNews.TV.

LabourHome 2.0 Re-Launches

That process of renewal for New, New Labour is all about us. The frankly, until now, faltering LabourHome site has re-launched. Last time Guido looked it still had Labour Beta 0.0 policies and articles advocating socialism. How so very 80s…

They do make the point today that they are the only open-access tool for grassroots activists. ConservativeHome and LibDemVoice allow user comments but have editors. Anything goes on LabourHome and anybody can put up articles. The new site allows some editorial intervention in that better articles can be bumped up front and centre by the editors. This might spare online political junkies the necessity of wading through endless articles on “bringing back socialism” for more current issues.

Not sure the best way to relaunch is to put a picture of yesterday’s man on the front…

UPDATE : 16:30 GMT site crashed. Didn’t something like this happen on the first launch day?

Ethics and Propriety for Beginners

Howls of outrage and denial from some on the public payroll about Guido’s denunciation of those who want to fight the internal political battles of the Labour party at the taxpayers’ expense. The anonymous blog that is produced out of Tom Watson’s office even tried a bit of mockery mixed in with a quote from the Special Advisors’ Code of Conduct. The clause that cheating SpAds (when caught) hope to use to get them off the hook states that “if, with the approval of their Minister, they wish to assist with other party political matters such as a leadership campaign, they may do so while on paid or unpaid leave or at times which do not interfere with their normal duties, for example, out of office hours.”

On leave or out of office hours with their minister’s approval. That excludes, by definition, being sat at your desk all day toiling endlessly to get the candidate elected, shooting off emails to all and sundry and running up the national debt on the phone for hours. The whole purpose of the restriction was to prevent the situation we have now. Dozens, and Guido means dozens, of SpAds doing little else but plot and conspire to further the private interests of party candidates in an internal party election. They are not acting to further the political interests of the government minister, the job the taxpayer pays them to do, they are acting to further the interests of the private individual climbing the greasy pole.

That is not appropriate activity for civil servants, which is what SpAds are, and that is the reason why the Code of Conduct exists. Clause 7 in the model contract for Special Advisers states bluntly:

Special Advisers should not use official resources for Party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.

So when Blair McDougall emails all and sundry from his FCO email account on behalf of the Benn4Labour campaign he is doing precisely what the Code was established to prevent. He is not paid to run party political campaigns using official resources, he is a paid public servant who is supposed to advise the government on relevant political matters.
Everyone in Westminster knows that all the SpAds of ministers campaigning for the Number 2 position are doing little else but organise their minister’s campaign. Just as everyone in Westminster knew that peerages were for sale. Guido could be accused of being naïve, but he is appalled by sleazy SpAds who think nothing of diverting public money to private ends. If a single-mum did a bit of cleaning-work on the side and claimed benefits at the same time, the government advertises warnings that it will bring criminal charges, “no if, no buts”. Likewise, if a Special Adviser does a bit of work on the side for a minister while claiming public money, they should be fired and the expenses repaid, no if, no buts.

Brown Friday

The dark shadow now being cast over the land signals that the dreaded day will soon be upon us. Guido will be doing his best to ruin unveil some of the surprise planned for Gordon’s big day. They are playing their cards close to their chest, but a few details have leaked out. More tomorow…

Where’s Gordon?

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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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