Pollster’s Answers Lead to More Questions

Opinion Leader Research have got back to Guido and they say nobody paid for that research. They just asked questions slanted to favour Gordon for no particular reason. They also say they won their lucrative HM Treasury contract and the Bank of England contract in a competitive tendering process.

They won’t say why the Treasury needs pollsters, what they poll about, or how much they have been paid.

Guido could understand if the Treasury needed statisticians, but pollsters? Perhaps the Bank of England would be interested in measuring, say for example, people’s inflation expectations, but their opinions? If public money has been spent by the Treasury on pollsters who have asked questions that assist Gordon in his personal political ambitions, that would be a massive breach of the Ministerial Code bordering on corruption. If it were to be proved that the payments to do something innocuous were effectively a hidden subsidy covering the costs of doing polling on issues of interest to Gordon Brown for no particular reason it would be scandalous.

Since Gordon’s personal pollsters won’t give Guido answers, maybe Gordon will answer Stewart Jackson’s parliamentary questions?

  • To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the decision to engage Opinion Leader Research to undertake polling for HM Treasury was subject to a competitive tendering process and will he make a statement.
  • To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent in each year since 2001 by HM Treasury on polling services provided by Opinion Leader Research and will he make a statement.
A co-conspirator points out that they also had no identifiable paying client for their “What it means to be British” research in 2005. Shortly afterwards Gordon began loudly banging his Britishness drum. Opinion Leader Research has helped Gordon on “Britishness” issues before, their research was used extensively in “New Britain” a 1999 publication produced by the Smith Institute. The pamphlet was itself singled out and explicitly criticised by the Charity Commission as being party political in the first 2001 investigation into the Sith.

Guido sees a pattern here; the Treasury hosts over a hundred of the Smith Institute’s seminars – rent-free, simultaneously the Treasury pays the Smith Institute to hold seminars. The Treasury pays Deborah Mattinson’s Opinion Leader Research generously, Deborah Mattinson sits on the Smith Institute’s board and does “polling” that is helpful to Gordon – for free. She also writes hagiographical press articles about Gordon, based on her own polling research, whenever negative independent poll findings come out.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the taxpayer has been paying, via the Treasury, for Gordon’s polling and spin, all tightly coordinated via the Smith Institute to promote the Brownite political agenda. This is abuse of office.

Yippee Aye-Ay

Outriders coming… If you believe all that guff about Milburn and Clarke having a friendly chat with Brown about the “need for a debate” and emailing the PLP for just that reason, you’ll believe the tooth fairy took all the WMD in Iraq away. Them darn Outriders is gettin’ themselves a possee together tomorrow…

Scottish Question

Could someone point Charlie Kennedy in the right direction. He was just seen by a co-conspirator heading towards the Chamber via all four walls.

Blears’ SpAd is on Holiday

Paul Richards is a strange lad. He chooses to spend his holidays working on the boss’ deputy leadership campaign and ringing Guido to tell him he was on leave yesterday and today “in accordance with the Code of Conduct”. Wonder why he panicked and bothered changing his Facebook entry this morning, after Guido’s story, in that case?
It will be September by the time the campaign is over – if he is going to help the boss and stick to the Code of Conduct, he better take unpaid leave. The co-conspirators will be watching…

If you see any other greasy pole climbing SpAds helping their principal’s campaign at the taxpayer’s expense, email Guido. Photos especially welcome.

Sith Launch “Operation Bluewash”

As the Charity Commission looks increasingly likely to deal with the Sith firmly they have launched a transparently obvious attempt to rope in Tories to provide cover for them. One problem – they don’t know any.

So they have taken to advertising in the Speccie in the hope of finding Tories interested in what Margaret Beckett has to say in a John Smith Memorial Lecture. Not that attractive a subject to Tories Guido thinks. No doubt when the Charity Commission rebukes them for their Brownite partisanship they will point at the Speccie ad and say “we tried”. Guido has magnanimously RSVP’d.

Now it is a public charity event being held on public property (No. 11 as usual). Since Guido is a member of the public they can’t have any reason to refuse to allow him to attend…

Hat-tip : Border Reiver

Spin Cycle : Caine Off to Bell Pottinger

Jonathan Caine, a former Tory Northern Ireland SpAd for Mayhew is going back to spinning. He has had previous with the Communications Group and is until next week still a SpAd on NIO & DCA until he joins Bell Pottinger.

More stories of Tories off to spin merchants welcome.

Do email Guido names of newly minted Tory lobbyists…

Facebook F***-Up – Blear’s SpAd Admits Misconduct

The whole Facebook fad has passed Guido by, the many invitations go unanswered.

Paul Richards should have done the same, or at least have been more careful before he advertised online his breaches of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers. Unless he is currently on leave, the above is a prima facie admission of misconduct. My thanks to a supporter of a rival candidate for the above. No doubt someone more public spirited will make the appropriate complaint.

UPDATE : He has hurriedly changed his entry this morning. You know Guido might just be motivated enough to make a formal complaint. He is after all wasting taxpayers money on Blears’ private interests.

Crick is on the Venture Capitalist’s Case Tonight

Tonight he is taking a look at Ronnie Cohen’s generosity. Crick is brilliant isn’t he, where does he get his story ideas?

Incidentally, talk is that Newsnight are going to try out a hot, hungry, new investigative reporter soon…

Leeds Lackeys Not Lovers

Guido hates following up other people’s stories but this one appeared too juicy to miss. The Observer’s Pendennis claimed that James Mckenzie, George Osborne’s new researcher, was sharing a flat with Sarah Mulholland, Blinky Balls’ new researcher.

So Guido calls up Osborne’s office looking for Mckenzie. He is not important enough to be allocated his own phone and desk Guido is told, but they will pass on the message. A few minutes later…

Ring, ring…
JM “How did you get my number?”
GF “I didn’t, you called me”
JM “Oh”
GF “It’s about the Pendennis story”
JM “Did you write that?”
GF “No, I write the Guido Fawkes blog”

After that confusing start he vehemently denies living with Ed Ball’s new assistant. But strangely he gets agitated when Guido asks has he met the lady concerned.

JM “I will have to call my office and find out if I should be talking to you”
GF “They told you to call me didn’t they?
JM “I’ve got to go”

So Guido Calls Blinky’s office…

Ring, ring
SM “Hello Sarah here”
GF “Hello it’s Guido Fawkes here, I’m calling about this story”
SM “It is rubbish”
GF “So you have never met him”
SM “I have because he is on the same course as me in Leeds”
GF “But you aren’t, haven’t..”
SM “No!”
GF “Give my regards to Blinky.

So that is that, isn’t it?

Smith Institute’s Mattinson Spins Poll for Brown

The Brownites are obviously getting increasingly desperate about his bad personal poll ratings versus Cameron. The Guardian/ICM survey last week showing Brown 13% adrift of Cameron (worse than Blair) shook Labour MPs at a vital time and led to renewed calls for Labour to skip a generation with Miliband.

A week later comes the Brownite response, today’s Guardian reports on a survey of a hundred “opinion leaders” which shows Gordon outperforming Dave on a whole range of indicators – scoring a modest 92% on integrity.

Who conducted this highly scientific “survey”? None other than Opinion Leader Research run by Deborah Mattinson, the long time Labour Party consultant who is now Gordon Brown’s unofficial pollster and sits on the advisory committee of the Smith Institute – alongside the veteran U.S. pollster Bob Shrum. It was Shrum’s anti-Cameron advice to the Sith that forced the Charity Commission’s official investigation. Guido wonders why a non-partisan, non-political, educational charity has so many pollsters involved?

Mattinson has plenty of previous, she was wheeled out by the dark forces of the Sith the last time Brown’s negative ratings caused rumblings. Popping up in the Times with an article claiming, ironically, that it was all spin and that Gordon is in fact a popular guy.

Of course surveying “opinion leaders” is completely subjective and easily manipulated to give the required answers. Mattinson’s clients know it, but since her clients include Defra, the Department of Education and Science, the Department for Work and Pensions and coincidentally HM Treasury, you can be sure she knows where her bread is buttered and what they want to hear.

Is Guido the only one who has noticed that in times of need, Gordon’s pollster conducts polls with dubious methodologies which she then writes up in hagiographical pro-Gordon articles? Is Guido the only one who thinks there might, in the circumstances, be a serious conflict of interest in her not only sitting on the board of the Smith Institute but also having HM Treasury as a paying client? Who commissioned and paid for this survey of “opinion leaders”? How did she get the HM Treasury contract? Was it by competitive tender?

Guido has asked them repeatedly this morning who commissioned the poll, but nobody at Opinion Leader Research seems to know…

UPDATE : Guido has just noticed that The Sun this morning headlines Deborah’s “survey” Brown is back in poll victory. Will that do Gordon?

The Labour Capital Party

The GMB’s anti-private equity campaign against venture capitalism is gaining traction as anger over job losses at the AA and Birds Eye spreads across the unions.

Venture capitalist, Ronnie “PFI” Cohen, Gordon’s moneybags backer, has a direct debit paying the equivalent of £20,000 a month to the Labour party. Nigel Doughty and Jonathan Aisbitt are another couple of red blooded capitalists happy to chip in a quarter of a million a year to the party formerly known as the worker’s party. Peter Hain said he wanted City slickers to give up their bonuses, but this week he doesn’t mind them giving their bonuses to the Labour party. He who pays the piper calls the tunes.

Last week Hain wanted City slickers to give their bonuses to “charity or invest it in regeneration schemes for unemployed kids”. Now he says “private equity funds provide a very good vehicle for start-ups, for rescue operations and for investment to grow” – which they do – with a tapered relief 10% tax rate on liquidation and tax deductible debt costs to offset against profits. Gordon of course ultimately makes the rules, is he going to side with his millionaire backers, or the workers?

Blair Breaks His “Last Conference” Pledge


“The next party conference in a couple of weeks will be my last party conference as party leader.” Tony Blair, Thursday, 7 September, 2006
He also attended the Labour youth wing’s national conference in Glasgow last week. Can Gordon really believe he’ll stick to the deal?

Croke Park, National Anthems, England v Ireland

On 21st November 1920, British troops, infuriated by the IRA’s assassination that morning of 14 British agents, retaliated by firing wildly into the Croke Park crowd during a Gaelic football match between Tipperary and Dublin. They killed 11 spectators and a player, Michael Hogan, while two other people were trampled to death. Later that night two IRA officers and a sympathiser were shot in the cells of Dublin Castle in shameful circumstances. Two subsequent British military courts of inquiry into the massacre were held. They found that the shooting “was carried out without orders and exceeded the demands of the situation.” Major-General Boyd, the officer commanding Dublin District, added that in his opinion, “the firing on the crowd was carried out without orders, was indiscriminate, and unjustifiable”. It was the first Bloody Sunday.

Lansdowne Road is being refurbished and so, for the first time, Croke Park, a place of Irish nationalist symbolism, is being used for international rugby. The location of today’s rugby match has acute political significance, Sinn Fein are trying to stir up trouble with a protest at the ground. It will therefore be an extremely emotional moment when the overwhelmingly Irish crowd hears the band play God Save the Queen.

Guido’s view is that this is rugby, and rugby fans will want to enjoy it without the historical politics. There is however a rumour going round that Peter Hain will lay a commemorative wreath at Croke Park. That would only serve to further politicise the event. It would reflect well on the crowd if the British national anthem was respected. But remember this is the ground where British bullets once reigned down on Irish civilians, there is not a hope in hell that they will like hearing Send her victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us.

The Irish national anthem is no less militant, in fact it is implicitly anti-British, and tells of despots from “a land beyond the wave”. It is explicitly a soldier’s song In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal, ‘Mid cannon’s roar and rifles’ peal” the Irish Rugby team will sing, in Gaelic, that they are sworn to be free.

Guido won’t be booing the British national anthem this afternoon, but he will be cheering O’Driscoll to victory…

UPDATE : 43 – 13 and the proper respect shown for the national anthems. Ireland can be proud.

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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