Gordon’s Little Secrets

Who does Gordon have over for dinner at Chequers? Shouldn’t be a state secret should it? After all you pay for it all, even Tony and Cherie allowed us to know who they had over for the weekend.

So why, when Gordon is supposedly committed to open government, are they stonewalling the Telegraph?

What is the Tory Treaty Referendum Policy?

Guido still doesn’t know what the Tory policy is on ratifying the EU Treaty. They want a referendum now, that at least is clear. Gordon is not going to “listen to the people”, that is also clear.

So what therefore would a Tory government do in power in 2010, two years after the treaty could be ratified? That Tory poster promising a Conservative government would hold a referendum was, we were told, incorrectly interpreted. Well that was the line last week…

Hague however said yesterday

“If we don’t succeed in forcing a referendum in this House and if we fail to win in another place (the Lords) and if all EU member states implement the treaty and if an election is held later in this Parliament, which is a lot of ifs … then we would be in a situation where we had a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. This would not be acceptable to a Conservative government and we would not let matters rest there.”

Now this could be a popular position, standing up to European meddling is always popular in Britain. So what if the continent is isolated from Britain? It would not be the first time that Britain has stood alone against a continental threat, would it?

Apart from Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine, no Tories that people have ever heard of would have a problem with this stance. So why not state the policy unambiguously? The Brownies are hoping to open up Tory divisions on this issue. The way to avoid that working is to clearly and decisively state that a Tory government will not be bound by a treaty not approved by the people. Ken and Hezza can be thanked politely for their opinion, they would no doubt still try to piss on the Eurosceptic parade, but so what? Ambiguity gives the press a story, clarity will kill the story and Brown’s divide and conquer plan will come to nought. Given that Cameron was elected to the leadership on a rock-solid Eurosceptic platform he can hardly be said to have given in to his Eurosceptic right-wing. He is a Eurosceptic right-winger…

Blair is Getting £400,000 a Year in Expenses

Just a teensy bit of help with office costs at the expense of the British taxpayer. Well he has two offices, one in Jerusalem and another in Mayfair. Handy for arranging those $500,000 speaking engagements in, errm, China.

359 Lords-a-Fiddlin’

Sam Coates in The Times has another research based snouts-in-the-trough piece. The evidence is that at least 359 Lords, that is the majority of the them, are fiddling their expenses. The evidence whilst circumstantial is particularly compelling. Can it be a coincidence that, according to the article;
  • 359 of the 550 Lords who claimed “day subsistence” — a £78.50 payment for meals and taxis — claimed the maximum on 95%of occasions or more.
  • 272 of the 406 peers who live outside London and claim “overnight subsistence” for hotels — worth £159.50 — claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more.
  • 338 of 514 Lords who claim office expenses, worth £69 a day, claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more. Unlike the House of Commons, secretarial costs are paid to the peer to distribute.
Essentially this is a tax-free fiddle with no receipts required. Guido has pointed to the prevalence of this fiddle before. Many of the same peers, particularly Labour ones, also get on a few Quangos as well to pad out their retirement as if the gold-plated, non-contributory pension benefits they voted themselves when they were MPs were not enough already. The gravy train flows thick and fast for many ennobled MPs.

What particularly irks and disgusts Guido, is that they claim £78.50 for “subsistence meals” per day and children in state schools get meals costing 40p per day. Shows their real priorities doesn’t it? They really know how to look after themselves don’t they?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Ronnie : Cameron Backs Entrepreneurs & Social Investment

Gordon will have bitten his nails to the quick after reading the Guardian this morning. Ronnie Cohen praises Cameron and criticises government policy – this from the man who has in the past given Labour £1.8m.

Asked what has gone wrong for Gordon, he is quoted as saying “All of a sudden what looked like a one-horse race is now a two-horse race.”

How does Ronnie feel about David Cameron becoming the next PM? “I am a businessman who supports a political party for two reasons: whether it supports entrepreneurship and social investment. If you said to me today, am I concerned about the possibility that a Conservative government would come back in and overturn the entrepreneurial system that we’ve worked so hard to do or seriously break the growth of social investment, I’d say no.” So Ronnie is now a swing voter.

Ronnie, who founded venture capitalists Apax Partners, doesn’t think much of Darling’s back-of-an-envelope plan to hike capital gains taxes 80% “Entrepreneurs need to recruit executives who know how to run a business. They’re on big salaries with big companies that offer pensions. A 10% rate enables someone with a big income to take a chance and work with an entrepreneur.” So will he actually be voting Labour this time?

Friday Caption Contest (Sunny’s Conspiracy Edition)

Co-operative Conservatives

Cameron gave a speech yesterday which he said was his “political philosophy in a nutshell”. So was it a vision moment? He said
“the co-operative principle reflects an important part of the vision of social progress that we on the centre-right believe in: the role of strong independent institutions, run by and for local people. That’s why Conservatives have always argued that free enterprise and the co-operative principle are partners, not adversaries. And now I want the Conservative Party to take the lead in applying the co-operative ideal to the challenges of the 21st century. So I am delighted to announce today the establishment of the Conservative Co-operative Movement. “

Over at LabourHome they have gone all “how very dare they” about Cameron’s Conservative Co-operative Movement. Guido had lunch with LabourHome founder Alex Hilton sometime ago, when Guido paid using a Co-operative Bank debit card he positively spluttered with indignation. “What is a capitalist like you doing banking with the Co-op?” The truth is co-ops are compatible with free enterprise, they can compete with profit-driven businesses and are a very welcome component of an enterprise culture. Guido tried to explain that for years he had worked in what was effectively a co-op. Hedge fund partnerships often work on the same principles as farmer’s co-ops, a few traders get together, share a pool of capital, share risks and share profits, just like members of an agricultural co-op do. Some of the swankiest property in New York is owned by billionaire members of co-ops. They do this because they are smart and don’t want a third party to profit at their expense. Co-ops have nothing to do with top-down state socialism.The chair of the Conservative Co-operative Movement will be Jesse Norman, the author of Compassionate Conservativism. In Latin-American countries political parties from across the spectrum often have a social-action wing that does good works. The thinking here is that state-controlled public services are too bureaucratic, too big and public service reform would be better served by harnessing the flexibility and dynamism of co-ops. Co-op schools would be a great start, with like-mind communities getting together to run schools responsive to the wishes of parents and pupils rather than Ed Balls’ diktats.

Labour Party Website Rips Off Taxpayer

This story might seem a bit trivial, but it neatly encapsulates the Brownie’s attitude to using taxpayers money for party political purposes. The most recent list includes; citizens juries making huge profits for Deborah Mattinson’s OLR so she can do “free” private polling for Gordon, the Smith Institute – Gordon’s private think-tank holding nearly two hundred meetings at No. 11 and the awarding to companies of over-priced government contracts whose directors coincidentally go on to do “free” work for the Labour party.

click graphic to enlarge
If you drill-down on pictures of Gordon on the Labour party website you find that they are attributed “Crown Copyright”.

click graphic to enlarge

It is possible that the Labour party has correctly paid for the pictures, Guido has been stonewalled on this, more likely somebody just used the official pictures paid for by the taxpayer for Labour’s private propaganda purposes. In the process stupidly forgetting to remove the “Crown Copyright” attribute. Separation of party and state is of course unnecessary when New Labour is “the political arm of the British people”. Nevertheless, somebody should ask Gus O’Donnell about this, since some taxpayers might object to paying for Labour’s photo ops…

Yawn, Gordon Visits a School

Gordon’s fondness for being pictured with and only taking questions from kids has oft been remarked upon. This week he is at it again:
  • Monday – Downing Street media grid photo op – visit a college, pictured with kids.
  • Thursday – Downing Street media grid photo op – visit a school, pictured with kids.
  • Don’t his media team have any better ideas? Shouldn’t Gordon be lying down in a dark room with calming music playing in the background?

    Chris Huhne’s campaign website had an article by the ex-Somerset Council leader, Sir Chris Clarke, backing Huhne and attacking Clegg as a crypto-Tory. It has now been edited out, but what is the betting that a quick-witted Labour staffer will have a copy to re-use at a later stage?

    Talking of betting, Guido is undecided, Betfair has Clegg as a massive favourite, Guido just to be contrarian has a few quid on Huhne at 3.8 as a value bet. Huhne could be the LibDem’s IDS, popular with grassroots activists, despised by the media and the parliamentary party. Nothing would surprise Guido from the LibDems.

    UPDATE : In the comments a co-conspirator quotes the deleted text thus “One candidate seems to want the Liberal Democrats to be another Tory party when most people in Britain don’t want the one there is already.”

    Hat-tip : Quaequam

    Blair : Peace in the Middle East?More Like a Piece of the Far East!

    Guido’s Hong Kong co-conspirator, David Chappell, tells him that Blair’s visit to talk to the the HK General Chamber of Commerce yesterday was not the only event from which he was banking an honarium. The topic of his keynote address being “global sustainable development and regional co-operation between business and government” or “how to pay the mortgage”.

    According to the Chinese website soufun.com, the powerful China Everbright Group also paid Tony $500,000 to take a VIP tour of its property site at Songshanhu. Tony, ever able to charm, thrilled his hosts by boasting that his sister-in-law is Chinese and his seven-year Leo is learning Putonghua. No doubt he tells them in Jerusalem the boy is learning Hebrew…

    A China Everbright staffer was reported as saying that Mr Blair will be given a Dongguan villa worth as much as 38 million yuan. Local financial gossip Lai See wonders what this might augur for the red-hot real estate market, “given Mr Blair’s notorious track record of buying at the peak and just before the fall.” How very dare they say that of our illustrious ex-PM…

    Is Gordon Cracking Up?

    Vaz – Brown Wants “Employment Apartheid”

    Keith Vaz, a former minister and now chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, is not at all happy with Brown’s“British Jobs for British Workers” slogan. In no uncertain terms last night he told the Commons:

    There has also been talk recently of the importance of British jobs for British people. I worry about that statement. It lacks credible arguments, and some have suggested that it appears to amount to little more than employment apartheid. It assumes that foreign workers are somehow stealing jobs from United Kingdom workers, an idea for which there is absolutely no evidence. It also raises the question: how do we ensure that jobs are going to British people and what do we classify as British? If someone has another citizenship but they have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, they have a right to work.

    Hopes are falsely raised whenever “British jobs” are mentioned. Every position that is filled will require justification and an account kept of how many British jobs there are. The fact is that, in this country, over the past century, we have entered into many agreements with European and Commonwealth countries, which means that we are obligated under treaties, rightly, to give jobs to people who are not British, based on merit… There are Indian and other citizens who came to this country to work hard and to help our economy, and they have been treated very badly.

    Guido’s father and grandparents came from India in the fifties*, it seems that if Brown had been in charge, they would have been made unwelcome and denied employment. Think what might have been the resulting loss to the future of political commentary…

    If a Tory MP had advocated“British Jobs for British Workers” he would have had the whip removed and been sacked from any party position. Yet Brown is prepared to mouth BNP slogans in order to win council estate voters in Dagenham back from the BNP. It won’t however play so well with Guardian reading Hampstead liberals…

    *That will have the obsessive Wikipedia editors even more confused.

    Dave Attacks Gordon’s Borrowed Slogans

    Dave touched on something today that (surprisingly) he hasn’t used before. Brown’s borrowing of an old NF/BNP slogan to blow a dog-whistle to Dagenham voters

    “Take the slogan the Prime Minister wheels out every week – ‘British jobs for British workers.’ If he could only see how embarrassed Labour MPs are, how they shudder whenever he says those words. Well, I’ve done of a bit of work on this slogan of the Prime Minister’s. First, let’s be clear what they want us to think. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has told us that there should be no doubt. It is – and I quote – ‘explicitly a British jobs for British people campaign…’… I did a bit more research to find out where he got his slogans from. Here’s one he borrowed off the National Front. Here’s another one he borrowed off the British National Party. Where was his moral compass when he was doing that?

    Knuckle-dragging barrel scraping politics aimed at winning back Dagenham council estate votes for Labour from the BNP. Labour activists are embarrassed by the slogan, Nick Griffin is flattered by it.  In reality it is meaningless, favouring Britons for British jobs is illegal. It is just a Deborah Mattinson focus-group tested dog-whistle slogan.

    UPDATE : Ben Brogan has just updated his blog with something Guido hadn’t noticed, Dave “waved a copy of the BNP’s May 2006 newsletter at Gordon Brown during their Commons exchanges earlier” the document was headlined “Keep British jobs for British workers”.

    Total Politics, Totally Disconnected

    Peter Oborne’s The Triumph of the Political Class anatomises a cross-party, tax-parasitical ruling class. The class is personified in the next generation of most likely leaders of the major political parties; Clegg, Miliband and Cameron.
    With views that are essentially interchangeably metropolitan liberal, all that differentiates them besides the colour of their rosettes is a bit of proportional representation, some income redistribution and a little Euro-scepticism.[…]

    + READ MORE +

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