Memo to PMQs Briefing Team

If today Dave doesn’t bring up the issue of MP’s expense fiddles, many ordinary viewers of the TV highlights will take the conspiracy of silence as a clear signal that “they are all at it”. The silence of the house on tackling abuses by rogue members is shameful.

Most people are disgusted by the venal money grubbing fiddles that MPs get up to. Figure out how to channel that disgust and you are on to a vote winner. Sleaze and incompetence dispatched the Major government. They can once again lubricate the exit of this government as well. Incompetence has already been established. Making “Labour” and “sleaze” synonymous will make voting for Labour distasteful.

Up the Khyber TV

The Miliband led foreign policy has taken a quirky turn. Britain used to send navy gunships to foreign lands that were becoming troublesome. Now the Foreign Office buys local television advertising space pleading “don’t attack us.” Soft power versus hard power. Does it make more sense to advertise on Pakistani TV than do as the Americans are doing and bomb them? Perhaps.

Guido is an advocate of a new cultural offensive against medieval Islam. The weapons should be Playboy magazine, MTV (in particular the Pussy Cat Dolls latest video), Coca Cola and iPods.

When it comes to convincing disaffected young muslim men of the superiority of the West, girls in mini-skirts will trump girls in burqas every time.

Second Complaint Over Jacqui Smith to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner told the Centre for Open Politics he can’t accept the evidence of a newspaper article alone. Well how about Jacqui’s own words?

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…

Jacqui Says

From Jacqui’s own website (www.jacquismithmp.labour.co.uk/biography):

Can the taxpayers have their £116,000 back please?

Hat-tip : Old Holborn

Ed Balls "Talks Down the Economy"

“I think that this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s…” says Ed. Not exactly little Miss Sunshine is he?

Michael Trend Precedent is Worrying for Jacqui Smith

Sir Michael White reckons that Jacqui Snith will get away with it. Guido, ever the optimist, is not so sure. The atmosphere currently is very unsympathetic to expense fiddles by politicians, particularly fiddles on this scale. The Michael Trend precedent is not encouraging for Jacqui, nor is is the precedent established by Mr & Mrs Balls.

You may wonder how that is so – after all Ed and Yvette got away with their fiddle. Yes they did, but only after arguing that their constituency home was their main residence. They claimed that they spent more time at the constituency home and therefore that was their primary residence, allowing them to claim expenses for their more expensive London home. That argument was accepted by the authorities.

Jacqui wants us to accept the opposite. That her main home is her sister’s London home where she lodges, so she can claim for her more expensive constituency home. She will have to show that she spends more time at the London flat than seeing her own kids. Crucially, is it three or is it four days a week that she spends away from her kids? The Balls’ argued successfully that in the recess and school holidays they spent the majority of the time away from London, it is hard to believe that Jacqui would stay in London when parliament is in recess and remain away from her family. Why would she do that when she was previously a whip? There would be no reason to stay away from her family and constituency.
That recent Balls precedent is going to be a difficult obstacle. However the Michael Trend precedent is even more worrying for Jacqui. In 2003 the Tory MP was found guilty of abusing the allowances system and ordered to repay £90,277, he was also suspended from parliament and stood down in disgrace at the following election. His crime was to claim the same allowance as Jacqui has when he was staying with a friend in London. Trend claimed he “believed that I could properly continue to designate London as ‘home’ for the purposes of ACA, even though, in domestic terms, Windsor had become my “main residence”.” This is apparently Jacqui’s position. It was not accepted. There was no doubt in the Standard’s Committee’s minds that there was no “real scope for doubt that the words “main residence” were intended to have other than their natural meaning.”

The Committee ruled that “Mr Trend should have recognised that, by claiming Additional Costs Allowance in relation to his Windsor home, the taxpayer was meeting some of the core running costs of what was in reality his main residence. He should have realised that this was wrong. Accordingly, we agree with the Commissioner that Mr Trend was negligent and has breached the Code of Conduct by making improper use of the Additional Costs Allowance and by failing strictly to observe the administrative rules relating to the Allowance.”

It is hard to see how, in these parallel circumstances, Jacqui Smith should not suffer the same fate. Ordered to repay the fiddled £116,000 and suspended from parliament. In which case she will have to resign as Home Secretary.

Draper’s Champagne Socialism : Do the Union Members Approve?

Guido approves of the decadent way DraperList hands out champagne willy nilly to encourage readers to comment and sign up for Derek’s twitterings. Co-conspirators here are lucky if they get a T-shirt. Just hope the poor credit-crunched minimum-wage-paid members of the union which funds his ego trip – Unite – are as understanding. As these Twitters show, Draper is literally p*ssing their money away for his own egotistical reasons:

just before i go to bed i have decided to give a bottle of champagne to my 1000th follower.
did i really decide this last night? must have been a bit pissed. oh well, a promise is a promise

Hard to see how it serves the workers interests to pay out their dues to Draper’s fans in the form of champagne…

In Defence of Some Banker’s Bonuses

Brokers and Traders have contracts like everyone else, they usually have performance related pay. When Guido was a trader he was recompensed with a share of the profits. There was no basic salary, no pension plan, no company car, no expense account, medical plan, per diem allowance, subsidised bar, subsidised restaurant, mileage allowance, staffing allowance, additional costs allowance, John Lewis list, nothing but a share of the profits and losses. No complaints, Guido ate what he killed and mostly ate well.

If the mortgage traders and derivatives traders have lost billions for an investment bank and the stock brokers and commodity traders have made millions, than why should the winning traders be punished for the losses of the losing traders? Are politicians now in favour of some form of collective punishment?

Do any of the politicians currently bashing the bankers really think banks can break contracts with traders just because politicians says so? The banks would be sued in court and lose. Cameron says “it is insulting to take money from taxpayers to use for their bonuses” – the taxpayer would be worse off if the profitable traders left and reduced the banks future profitability or, worse still, sued. He should know better, he probably does, yet he is just reflecting populist rage. Not his finest moment of leadership.

UPDATE : Given the state of the economy for which they are responible, presumably Hector Sants of the FSA, Mervyn King of the Bank of England and the numerous Treasury mandarins who monitor our economic well being will forgo the millions in bonuses due to be to be paid to them this year? Go on set an example, Gordon has it in his power to order it so.

Anti-Corruption Group Calls for Investigation of Jacqui Smith

The Centre for Open Politics has written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards making a formal complaint regarding Jacqui Smith’s expense fiddles:

Jacqui Smith Complaint to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

Interesting dilemma: if there is any question of a police investigation

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Web 1.0 v Web 2.0

Just had a “why didn’t you reply” exchange with someone whom Guido really did not intentionally mean to ignore. This may seem very Web 1.0, but email really is best. Despite now getting some 800 emails a day, this is

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Sleaze : Lord Moonie’s Cash for Questions Northrop Grumman Paid Peer £30,000 for 23 Questions

The Sunday Herald has got more trouble for Lord Moonie, who is already under investigation for Cash for Laws. He is paid £30,000 to act as a consultant to Northrop Grumman Corp., the U.S. arms manufacturer, distasteful but legal.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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

Quote of the Day

Ken Clarke tells the Ben Fellows trial:

“The idea that I would go strolling off in order to grope a man in an office is highly unlikely.”

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

GMB UNION SUE UBER GMB UNION SUE UBER
Who Will Be UKIP’s Mayoral Candidate? Who Will Be UKIP’s Mayoral Candidate?
Meanwhile, in Venezuela… Meanwhile, in Venezuela…
TWITTER EMPLOYEES JUMP FROM SINKING SHIP TWITTER EMPLOYEES JUMP FROM SINKING SHIP
Times Trolls Burnham Times Trolls Burnham
CHAMPAGNE SOCIALISTS BACK CORBYN CHAMPAGNE SOCIALISTS BACK CORBYN

SINN FEIN SHOULD “TAKE INSPIRATION” FROM ARMED UPRISING SINN FEIN SHOULD “TAKE INSPIRATION” FROM ARMED UPRISING
ALL CHANGE AT GREEN PARTY HQ ALL CHANGE AT GREEN PARTY HQ
I Can’t Believe He’s Not Tory! I Can’t Believe He’s Not Tory!
UBER DESTROYING RACIST TAXI INDUSTRY UBER DESTROYING RACIST TAXI INDUSTRY
Could Labour Fall Apart Under Corbyn? Could Labour Fall Apart Under Corbyn?
Hilarious Prankster Hilarious Prankster
GREENPEACE LIVID GREENPEACE LIVID
Did Labour Leadership Candidates Smoke Dope? Did Labour Leadership Candidates Smoke Dope?
Another Andy Flip Flop Another Andy Flip Flop
Clegg Whores Himself Out Clegg Whores Himself Out
RETURN OF THE FRACKERS, CUADRILLA TO APPEAL RETURN OF THE FRACKERS, CUADRILLA TO APPEAL
FLASHBACK: TORY WHIP ON SCANDAL INVOLVING “SMALL BOYS” FLASHBACK: TORY WHIP ON SCANDAL INVOLVING “SMALL BOYS”
“Owen Jones is the 1%” “Owen Jones is the 1%”
Jedward Told to “F**k Off” By Indy Staff Jedward Told to “F**k Off” By Indy Staff
CLIMATE LOBBY DRAFT ARNIE CLIMATE LOBBY DRAFT ARNIE
MOD FORCED TO FIGHT RUSSIAN AGGRESSION… WITH TWEETDECK MOD FORCED TO FIGHT RUSSIAN AGGRESSION… WITH TWEETDECK
Mental Marxists: Tories Will Gas the Poor Mental Marxists: Tories Will Gas the Poor
MONEYBAGS BURNHAM TRAILS DESPITE SIX FIGURE FUNDING BONANZA MONEYBAGS BURNHAM TRAILS DESPITE SIX FIGURE FUNDING BONANZA
ROLL CALL OF LABOUR ‘MORONS’ ROLL CALL OF LABOUR ‘MORONS’
YOUGOV: CORBYN 17% AHEAD FIRST PREFS YOUGOV: CORBYN 17% AHEAD FIRST PREFS
BBC In Shocking Ice Revelation BBC In Shocking Ice Revelation
BBC Avoids Questioning Janner BBC Avoids Questioning Janner
TORY MP: SNP DON’T KNOW THEIR RS FROM THEIR ELBOW TORY MP: SNP DON’T KNOW THEIR RS FROM THEIR ELBOW