Friday Caption Contest (Charlie’s Invisible Bottle Edition)

Sir Phil’s Top Chop Know How

It seems that new government appointee Sir Philip Green is enjoying the pressures of the new job. He apparently phoned up City AM to tell them their political editor was “a f***king tosser” for asking about his tax status. Surely a legitimate question given his new elevation to being the the Top Chopper of Whitehall costs. Green made the once failing Arcadia retail chain a huge success not just because of his eye for fashion. He did it by overseeing the removal of a huge amount of non-essential costs and he undoubtedly knows how to save on taxes.

Perhaps he will recommend the government move financial interests offshore and transfer it into Mrs Government’s name.

Tory Taylor Tipped for Trial

Lord Taylor of Warwick is due at Westminster Magistrates Court today on six charges of dodgy accounting. Though a barrister, he is going to find it hard to wriggle out of charges of claiming expenses for living outside of London when that seemingly wasn’t true. Mysteriously the addresses he claimed he lived in don’t really check out. If it wasn’t for eagle-eyed co-conspirators, Taylor would probably have some role in government right now.  

As with the investigation into Jim Devine, he would have got away with if it wasn’t for those pesky bloggers…

UPDATE 14.19: Taylor pleads not guilty and is remanded on bail until 17th September.

“I’ll Have What Dave’s Drinking”

Interviewers love nothing more than illustrating how out of touch politicians are with reality and their constituents by asking questions like “How much is a pint of milk”? only for them to answer £2 to our amusement.


Graphic lifted from Political Scrapbook

Yesterday, in an unforced error, Dave told the Manchester Evening News “I think if what you’re trying to do is stop supermarkets from selling 20 tins of Stella for a fiver, that’s what we’ve got to go after” in his relentless quest to punish the poor drinking classes. As it happens Guido has been known to drink the odd Stella and would really appreciate knowing where Dave gets his for 25p a can, it is more like 50p or more from Sainsbury’s on special offer.

As it happens Channel 4’s FactCheck says you can get own-brand equivalents for as little as 22p. Anyone know if they are drinkable? Just askin..

The Trappings of Office

Given his beach-ready build, Guido feels able to comment that the Prime Minister and his deputy seem to growing in stature, and that isn’t a metaphor for their careers. First it was Dave, but now it seems all those ministerial cars and dinners are taking their toll on Nick too.

Well that’s one way for the government to tighten its belt.

Sunday Times Runners and Riders

There is no denying that the Sunday Times Political Editor’s job is much coveted. Since the news that Jonathon Oliver was heading to spin-land, there have been all sorts of rumours flying around of hats in rings and silent campaigns. Names that have come across Guido’s desk include The Guardian’s Nick Watt (denied from the beach) The Times’s Sam Coates, the Standard’s senior and junior, Joe Murphy and Paul Waugh (denied flatly, though Waugh said it was “nice to be thought worthy of such a plum job”) Guido wasn’t expecting any other response…

Word is that current Deputy Political Editor Isabel Oakeshott is digging in and has her heart set on the job. She’s had a successful run of scoops and ghosted former Labour Party General Secretary Peter Watt’s grenade of a book before the election. An insider says she is greatly respected Wapping way….

DCLG Sith Intrigue

Eric Pickles has received plaudits from across the spectrum for being the first Secretary of State to publish his department’s spending over £500 for the last year. While much fun can be had today hounding the previous government’s cavalier disregard for the taxpayer, Pickles would be a fool to think the new wave of transparency won’t make his job tougher this time next year. Good.

Finally the public have the chance to hold all spending to account, and what a varied mix of wastage just one department has thrown up. Aside from hotel bills, corporate massage (happy-ending undisclosed) and clothing, this really caught Guido’s eye:

Why exactly was Gordon’s slush fund given £7,500 for strategic consultancy to the DCLG. If they were giving them cash, you can bet other departments were too…

UPDATE: The Mail have gone to town on the spending and the TPA are running a rolling blog.

Money Money Money

The latest batch of donations to the Labour leadership candidates has just emerged. Perhaps most surprising is that millionaire novelist Ken Follet gave Ed Balls £100,000 toward his campaign. And still he won’t pay his interns for their hard work.

David Miliband now has a war-chest of over 320k. Little brother Ed has been buoyed by £28,000 from the GMB but is still way behind his brother and Balls.

Developing…

UPDATE: Andy Burnham had a donation got ten grand from footballer Jamie Carragher.

UPDATE II: Ed Miliband is spinning that he has an additional £60k to play with that has come in small donations that did not need to be declared to the Electoral Commission.

Taxpayer Funded Lobbying of Dave Pays Off

Dave has come out in full support for minimum pricing on booze. He told the Manchester Evening News yesterday, and reaffirmed this morning, that he is “very supportive” of the campaign to have a 50p per unit minimum that Guido […]

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Where’s the Cut?

Last night John Redwood flummoxed Kirsty Walk on Newsnight (here) when he said that the government was not cutting public expenditure. She didn’t really know where to go with her line of questioning since it was so off […]

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Champagne Socialism

So while Tony is selling off limited editions of his book at £150, (but don’t even think about taking a photo,) Labour HQ look keen to get in on the money-making act. Apparently they will be raffling off VIP packages […]

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Government Funded Lobbying Firm Lobbies Government

Last week Eric Pickles pledged that the ‘corrosive and wasteful’ hiring of lobbyists by councils and quangos would be stopped. A welcome saving to the taxpayer, but is the use of private firms really the worst problem? What about those […]

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