Friday Caption Contest (Prat Petition Edition)

New Labour’s New Generation

With polling now showing that the Tories are seen as more competent on the economy than Labour, Gordon’s last ace looks to have been trumped. In 1992 the Tories lost their reputation for superior economic competence and it has taken a decade of stealth taxes for Gordon to lose his. Coupled with the fact that he is just not likeable, even in comparison to Blair, Labour MPs in marginal seats must be beginning to wonder about their chances. Frank Field may have an axe to grind but he is vocalising what many in the PLP are thinking, ask yourself why are emails going round attempting to guage support for Miliband? It shows the depth of despair in some quarters about the prospect of Gordon leading Labour into opposition.
In the last three months punters have backed Miliband from 40/1 down to 15/1, discounting his unambiguous declarations of his non-intention of running for leader. Heseltine said much the same a decade or so ago. But with Gordon facing only joke candidates from the left of the party, the centre and pragmatic wing must be thinking about the next generation. Don’t forget Hutton either…

Spin-Cycle : Cash for Conservatives

One of the sub-plots in the dire but compelling Party Animals show is the need for lobbyists to get on track with the Tories as the smell of power gets stronger. It is accurate, Guido hears name after name falling into the clutches of spin-merchants.
So Guido is going to do a series on those principled individuals who now that their party is in the running for office, make a run for the money.

First up is one of Dave’s babes, Sophie Pimm. According to the press release from Fleishman-Hillard she was the former operations manager for David Cameron; “Pim was press and campaign manager for David Cameron’s leadership campaign, where she oversaw the country-wide media tour, and previously fulfilled a similar role for Michael Howard during the 2005 general election.” Guido thought she did Dave’s make-up for the telly.

Do email Guido more names of newly minted Tory lobbyists…

Gordon’s Shadowy Henchmen

Guido has been told by sources that the Smith Institute is the tip of the iceberg for Gordon’s secretive ways. Guido’s attention has been directed towards the Political Research Taskforce (PRT) run out of 39 Victoria Street. This is the shadowy nerve centre of the Brownite party-within-a-party.

Ex-alumni of the PRT include its former leading light, Spencer Livermore*, who is now Gordon’s chief political and strategy adviser.

Sources tell Guido that Gordon’s dozen SpAds (compared to the usual ministerial 2 and not forgetting the 8 civil servant support staff) cost the taxpayer well over a £1 million a year. The SpAds liase closely with the PRT team at 39 Victoria Street. Brownite ministers even have their spin lines co-ordinated by the PRT. Wary ministers will nervously check with the PRT to find out what the correct Brownite, as distinct from party, line is on an issue before going on Newsnight to parrot the approved formula. Such is the paranoia of the Brownites and the fear of his wrath amongst junior ministers.

Strangely the cost-cutting redundancies at Labour HQ have left the PRT largely unscathed…

++ Developing ++

*Spencer knew about the Loans for Lordships scandal during the 2005 election period. A memo emailed to him and obtained by the Observer in November outlined the situation. So presumably his master, who was running the election campaign, also knew about the secret loans.

Remember, Remember….

Centuries of anti-Catholic discrimination could come to an end if John Gummer gets his way. Not often that Guido lines up behind Cornerstone, but with this bill the headbangers should prevail.
Gummer’s speech moving the bill was good, very gently listing some of the slights against the Catholic church still on the statute books. He neglected to list the terrible suffering of Guido’s co-religionists under protestant tyrants. That may be history, but in truth it is shameful that today a purportedly modern liberal democracy discriminates against one specific faith.

Somebody said to Guido that it was indeed a terrible shame that Baby Ms Fawkes could not become head of state or even marry one. Wrong on both counts Guido told them, the presidency of Ireland is hers for the taking…

Team Cameron’s Required Reading

Frank Luntz’s new book Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear has a strong message for political operators. It is a message that Gordon Brown would be wise to heed. Luntz is becoming a bit of a Cameroonie guru, it was his Newsnight poll that many think helped tip a lot of Tories into Dave’s camp.

Writing in this morning’s Speccie he warns the Brownites that “Gordon Brown may have much to teach David Cameron in the ways of governing, but Cameron is proving to be a better student of language.”

Guido’s English mistress told him that “words are but wise men’s counters and the money of fools.” How Guido laughed…

++ SKY : RUTH TURNER WAS QUESTIONED AGAIN ++

UPDATE : She reported to the police yesterday under the terms of her bail. She was re-interviewed, which technically is re-arrest methinks.

Iron Lady No More

Fear not, she lives, and now she has been cast in bronze. A full size statue of Baroness Thatcher will be placed in the Members’ Lobby today. The statue was commissioned by the Advisory Committee on Works of Art in 2003 from sculptor Antony Dufort.

The statue’s position means that every politician who passes by will have to look up to her. Rightly so.

C4 News on Political Bloggers

Prezza Takes the Biscuit

The cost of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office has risen by 30%. If you thought Prescott was bad value for money when it cost £2m to keep him on the croquet lawns and perform his various roles, then a 30% cost overrun to £2.6m is outrageous.

All he has to do nowadays is consume tea and biscuits, keep his trousers up and his hands off the secretaries, how can this cost us £2.6m?

What the hell is he spending the money on?

Miliband’s Blog-Rolls

New additions to Miliband’s taxpayer-funded blog-roll include Iain Dale, Omar’s Blog, Recess Monkey, Ellee Seymour, Labour Home, Conservative Home, LibDem Blogs, and guess who?

He obviously didn’t get the memo from the Boycott-Guido-Coz-He-Is-Evil crowd that hang out at Tom Watson’s place. That will be proof to the Brownites that the Miliblogger is definitely the new enemy now Reid is done in. Maybe he just secretly likes Guido’s 2005 prophecy?
Comparing his blog to this blog shows that it costs the taxpayer 50p for every reader he gets per month, whereas here in the creative part of the economy, Guido’s blog is forced to contribute to Gordon’s coffers. Therefore Guido won’t be reciprocating with a blog-roll link to the Miliblogger until he buys lunch…

Unions to Gordon : End Ronnie’s Tax Breaks

Ronnie “PFI” Cohen is Gordon’s moneybags backer. His Apax Partners is Britain’s biggest Private Equity finance house. The Private Equity sector is one of the hottest areas of profitability in the City and demonstrates the continuing adaptability of capitalism. Apax does the traditional sweat or strip the assets plays of financial engineers of yore and is also a “stakeholder” in New Labour’s PFI deals. Apax, through various subsidaries, is a huge “stakeholder” with multi-billion exposure to Gordon’s off-the-balance-sheet PSBR dodge.

The unions don’t buy into the “stakeholders” and Public Private Partnership (PPP) language of New Labour, they see it as old fashioned profiteering by the private sector vultures of venture capitalism at the expense of the workers. The GMB is calling for 100% windfall taxes and an end to tax relief on debt financed Private Equity deals. So who will Gordon listen to, the unions who oppose him or the PFI-profiteering venture capitalist who backs him?

Don’t hold your breath, it was after all Gordon who secured Ronnie his knighthood and later tried to get him a peerage…

Happy Birthday GordonTories Poll 40% Against Blair / 42% Against Brown

As Gordon celebrates his 56th birthday this morning, we learn that an ICM poll in the Guardian puts Cameron’s Conservatives on 40 (+3), Labour 31, LibDems 19% (-4). A gap only seen three times since Margaret Thatcher’s day. Labour hasn’t polled as badly as this since Michael Foot. On a 40% share the Tories could achieve a parliamentary majority.

When ICM compared Cameron’s Conservatives vs Brown’s Labour vs Ming’s Lib Dems – it got even worse for Labour. The margin widened further to Conservatives 42% (+2): Labour 29% (-3%): LibDem 17% (-3). Happy Birthday Gordon…

Blair : I’m Not Listening

The Downing Street e-petitions exercise tells us something fundamental about Tony Blair and his government. They are not listening, your opinion is irrelevant. They view the e-petitions project as a means by which they can put their case to opponents. Tony doesn’t take note, a million signatures against road pricing merely means that they will have to explain it again and again until they get their way. As soon as the anti-ID cards petition closed, signatories got an email telling us why ID cards would lead us to Nirvana. Consultation in New Labour’s dictionary means “to seek approval”.

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