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 to leadership election results evening in September.

Chosen members will be treated to 5 star, ever so socialist trip, with seats to the announcement, a hotel and meet-the-leader reception. Tickets are a tenner. Guido isn’t sure thais is going to cure the Labour Party’s crippling debt. Nice to see them trying to keep up with their former leader’s entrepreneurial flair though.

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 that skip using private companies all together?

Last week also saw the news that Greater Manchester local councils are attempting to set a 50p-per-unit minimum alcohol price. As the BBC quoted at the time:

Andy Walker, of wellbeing and health organisation Our Life, said he hoped a by-law in Greater Manchester would be passed and create a “domino effect” nationally.”

So who are “Our Life”? According to their website they “passionately believe that people have a fundamental right to better wellbeing and health”. Generic buzz words. Essentially they are a health lobbying group seeking to have a minimum price put on alcohol, though they don’t want to call it that. Instead it’s a “campaigning membership organisation”. So who are their members and where are they getting their money from?

With a total budget in 2010/11 of £1,632,690, they are carrying over £850,000 of funds from 09-10. This is no two-bit operation. Once you deduct that, their income for 2010-11 is £782,690. Guess who is picking up the tab? £300,000 of that is a “grant from NHS North West”. A £209,000 is from that “membership” mentioned before. And who are their members? Well twenty-four NHS Trusts of course, oh and “SmokeFree North West”… a NHS Trust funded organisation.

That means that £509,000 of their £782,690 income this year is from the public money – not including the £107,480 they are bringing in from other consultancy, where the clients are unnamed, but Guido would put good money on them being public bodies too.

A minimum 65% of their income this year is from the taxpayer, how is this any better than the NHS using private lobbying firms?

Labour’s Legacy Love In

Well it wasn’t quite the Rose Garden, but Chris Huhne and Sayeeda Warsi’s joint press conference this morning was certainly surreal. Gone are the days of their Question Time spats. Today they were united in one cause only – slamming Labour:

They are demanding that the Labour leadership contenders who were in the last cabinet give back their severance pay, turning Labour’s banker-bonus-bashing rhetoric on its head. The odds of this happening are minimal, but it makes for a nice grenade to lob into the leadership election. Bouncing questions on whether these gigs would be a permanent fixture if the two parties moved toward some sort of electoral pact, it was very much a love in, but both were constantly reminding the audience that they were two parties coming together in the national interest to fix the mess created by one party.

Talking of elections, Guido was most upset not to have been given the chance to put to Chris Huhne the questions he has been avoiding for the last few weeks. Mainly why his election expenses are full of invoices from one “company” based in his constituency office, for leaflets produced and printed by a completely separate company. Still no reply from him or his agent…

Shock From the Soothsayers

Guido is working on some troublemaking, but worth noting the pointless announcements today. The Bank of England said growth will be 3.4% in 2011 while Osborne’s OBR say it will be 2.3%. Low economic growth and inflation rising. Fun times.

Douglas Carswell hits the nail on the head:

“Government prints off vast quantities of new money and gives it to the big banks. Banks then start to make vast (paper) profits again, while inflation rises. I’m not sure we needed a Bank of England forecast to tell us that would happen. The soothsayers should instead be telling us what happens when polices based on stimulating over consumption and running up more debt fail to solve an economic mess caused by over consumption and debt.”

Slightly more cheery news that unemployment has fallen again in the last quarter, by 49,000. The Beeb don’t seem too happy about this, and can barely contain their frustration that job market is “yet to weaken”The Treasury is spinning that this is the fastest rise in employment since 1989.

Agreeing With Tom Watson

Well it’s taking some getting used to for Guido, but Tom Watson is certainly taking to his new role as chief-thorn-in-the-coalition-side. One of the benefits of going from government to opposition is you know where the bodies are buried. He knows his way around the Cabinet Office too. Though he seems to have been stonewalled on getting the government hospitality wine cellar list published, he is aiming slightly higher now…

First there was his report on government cars and who has actually given them up and who hasn’t, now this morning he has released his research into private offices and found Hague costs the taxpayer three times more than Vince Cable. Caveats like security and breadth of brief aside, it makes for an interesting read. No surprise that Caroline Spelman feels she needs twelve personal staff to assist her at DEFRA.

Goodbye GOD

So Cathy Newman got the scoop tonight that Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell isn’t quitting. Yet.

Well more intriguingly the king of the mandarins wanted to go straight after the election, but given the circumstances, it is easy to see how he would have been persuaded to stay on in these unchartered waters for a little longer.

Now the battle starts for who Dave and Nick want to put in GOD’s shoes…

Silly Season (Caste Edition)

It seems that these PM Direct events are giving hacks endless copy over the quieter months of the summer. Asset rich David Cameron declared earlier that he is “middle-class” (despite the Eton education and blue blooded wife.) Cue a mild flurry of gasps and stifled laughs.

Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull, a long way from Cunard these days, once said “we are all middle class now”. Has the Prime Minster finally found something he can agree on with his lingering old tormentor? When these two place themselves in the same band, surely it is the end of the class system as we know it.  Either way, expect this one to trigger far more column inches tomorrow than need be…

Dave’s Sponge Avengers

So Dave has finally done it, he is actually lifted a government policy from the first episode of the Thick of It with the creation of the Snooper Force, or is that Sponge Avengers? However noble the pursuit of hunting scroungers, the end does not justify the means. The government trawling any private data should immediately start to ring alarm bells.

Just months ago Dave and Nick were singing from a very different hymn sheet at their infamous Rose Garden press conference. What did they offer?

“…a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government and roll back state intrusion.”

It seems like only an election ago that Clegg and Cameron were promising to end ID cards and the enchroachments of the database state. Where does snooping on innocent people’s credit card transactions fit into that?

Oona’s Open Invite

It seems struggling London Mayor wannabe Oona King is deploying a last ditch open-bar strategy. She tweets enthusiastically:

“YOU are invited to a party at campaign HQ on Wed 11, 6-8pm! Come down and meet me and the team and

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Band of Brothers

As if the Labour leadership contest wasn’t exciting enough already, just as it comes to its natural conclusion we learn this morning that More4 will be making a docu-drama about the Mili-brothers. The “light-hearted” look at their bitter rivalry that […]

+ READ MORE +

Charlie Kennedy Chooses Booze Over Family

Charles Kennedy is separating from his wife Sarah Gurling “entirely amicably”, and “with great sadness” according to a statement released by their lawyers.

It is fair to say that Kennedy hasn’t managed to kick the bottle, despite it costing […]

+ READ MORE +

The Fable Digs In

In a first since the formation of the coalition, Vince Cable has had what could be described as a good day. Well he seems to have got his own way for once at least. Despite the idea being “Miltoned” previously […]

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

The Donald asks what America wants from a President…

“I spent less, I won the most. Isn’t that what you want from your President for a little time?”

Top Posts This Week

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

CAT SMITH EXPENSES COVER UP CAT SMITH EXPENSES COVER UP
ETHNIC MINORITY BRITS BACK BREXIT ETHNIC MINORITY BRITS BACK BREXIT
REMAIN TAKES PROJECT FEAR TO CHURCH REMAIN TAKES PROJECT FEAR TO CHURCH
SOUBRY’S BIG NISSAN-DERSTANDING SOUBRY’S BIG NISSAN-DERSTANDING
JIM SHANNON ORDERED TO REPAY £14,000 EXPENSES JIM SHANNON ORDERED TO REPAY £14,000 EXPENSES
PAY “ONLY REAL RED LINE” FOR BMA JUNIOR DOCTOR LEADERSHIP PAY “ONLY REAL RED LINE” FOR BMA JUNIOR DOCTOR LEADERSHIP
NET MIGRATION UP 20,000 TO 333,000 NET MIGRATION UP 20,000 TO 333,000
POLICE INVESTIGATING TESSA MUNT ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING TESSA MUNT ELECTION EXPENSES
LEAVE.EU ON HOOK FOR £500,000 BREXIT GIG LEAVE.EU ON HOOK FOR £500,000 BREXIT GIG
TRUMP SINGS “WE’RE GONNA BUILD A WALL” TRUMP SINGS “WE’RE GONNA BUILD A WALL”
OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID
EDDIE IZZARD’S HOTEL BILLS NOT LAWFULLY DECLARED EDDIE IZZARD’S HOTEL BILLS NOT LAWFULLY DECLARED
POLITICAL PARTY RICHLIST POLITICAL PARTY RICHLIST
EU PLOTS TAX ID NUMBERS FOR EVERY EUROPEAN CITIZEN EU PLOTS TAX ID NUMBERS FOR EVERY EUROPEAN CITIZEN
MUNT ADMITS SHE DIDN’T DECLARE LOCAL CAMPAIGN TRANSPORT MUNT ADMITS SHE DIDN’T DECLARE LOCAL CAMPAIGN TRANSPORT
OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID
“Fat Cats For EU” “Fat Cats For EU”
“CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS “CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS
CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL
CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS
CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE
TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY
CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE
OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES
TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA
ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN
STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION
NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE