Monday, August 18, 2008

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trouble and Strife, Holiday Plans

Mrs Fawkes has put up with Guido for five years today, so you will have to cope without me for a couple of days during a romantic intermission. She not unreasonably feels that a little disconnection from the internet would be a good idea.

Guido will be back later next week for a few days, than he is off to the West of Ireland for a week. Not sure what to do that week – shall we have a blog holiday or shall we try having guest bloggers? Should the inmates be allowed to take over the asylum? Can you entertain yourselves? Do you feel you can entertain 10,000 to 20,000+ political junkies every day for a week?

Guido will be back full of vim for September and is planning on making it to the Conservative Party conference at the end of the month, where he is due to be speaking on the fringe, subverting the conference media centre* and drinking the bar dry. No reasonable invitation refused.

*The Tory press office ASBO’d Guido for that hacking of the press list lark. Guido had to promise to behave (in writing) before they would only now allow him back on the Lobby list (no haven’t actually joined the Lobby, am better than that). So fear and loathing in Birmingham it is…

She Didn’t Get the MP’s Job Dunwoody Still Unemployed

It is nearly five months since Tamsin Dunwoody lost the Crewe & Nantwich by-election. Apologists for politician’s troughing ways claim that the taxpayer needs to pay three times the national wage to MPs to attract high calibre candidates. Guido argues that there is no shortage of candidates, vacant safe seats attract hundreds of ambitious applicants, the market price for wannabee MPs is clearly lower, demand already far outstrips the available supply of constituency seats.

MPs and their apologists claim that they could earn far more in comparison doing other things – to which Guido retorts if they are in it for the money, they should do something else. The modern political class largely comprises of ex-party HQ staff, SpAds, spin merchants with a smattering of lawyers, ex-trade union officials and polytechnic lecturers. Life-long political insiders since their university days with little real world experience outside politics do not have great skill sets for the private sector (outside becoming lobbyists). It is no surprise therefore that Tamsin is still unemployed

She tells the Telegraph “I’ve not been able to find a job since losing my seat in the Welsh Assembly a year ago and I don’t have a pot of gold, so I can’t just go off and do what I want. People don’t like to employ ex-politicians, especially Labour ones like me who might unionise.” After the general election there are going to be a hell of a lot more Labour ex-MPs, SpAds , bag carriers and their hangers on. Nowadays lobbyists don’t even want them, they are alos handicapped by speaking an incomprehensible verbless language: New Labour-speak. They will have to be re-trained to become socially useful, to learn new modes of speaking… “Would you like fries with that, sir?”

Gordon Fell Oz Over Brit

This is late news, but still worth recounting because it is relevant to his upcoming book on “Britishness” as well as funny:
At the launch of the Courage book Gordon Brown spoke to one of the survivors of the 7/7 attacks who had lost her legs in the bombings. ‘You epitomise perfectly the British heroic spirit’ said the Prime Mentalist. ‘But Prime Minister I’m an Aussie’ said the woman. Exits a befuddled Brown not able to think of anything to say or hide his embarrassment.

If he is writing a book on Britishness he needs to be able to identify Brits as well as the qualities he wishes to inculcate in them. Doh!

Hat-tip : Havering On

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Media Jonah

Number 10 started using Twitter, the popular text messaging social media application, a few months ago.

Yesterday Twitter discontinued the free service in the UK. Thanks Jonah Brown…

Friday Caption Contest

Wilf Rumoured to Be Headed to the Downing Street Bunker

The Telegraph is floating the perennial rumour (it has been going around for years) that Wilf Stevenson, the disgraced former head of the Smith Institute, is to go to Downing Street in a policy role.
A couple of years ago when Guido first started exposing the Smith Institute’s links to Gordon Brown – that it was an illegal slush fund for Gordon Brown’s ambitions, acting as his all-but-in-name campaign HQ – a canny observer of Westminster told Guido that “You don’t realise how much of a favour you have done Gordon. If it weren’t for you Wilf would be in Downing Street and he is a walking disaster”. Now he as at a loose end it is more feasible that Wilf could shift to Downing Street, moving from Brown’s policy engine room to join his captain on the ship before it sinks.

Excellent. Wilf’s time as head of a think tank was distinguished only in that it was mired in controversy, was twiced investigated for breaches of the law, was found by the Charity Commission to have broken the law and is now facing the possibility of a third investigation for other breaches of the law by the Electoral Commission. The Smith Institute was not exactly a font of vote winning policies – if it had been any good Brown would not be reduced to desperately nicking Tory policies. If Wilf does move to Downing Street he will only be formalising his role as adviser Gordon. It is somehow fitting that he will be joining his former Smith Institute deputy Konrad Caulkett in Brown’s Downing Street bunker at the end…

Thursday, August 14, 2008

iPod President Top Tens

Here are the top ten favourites of the Presidential candidates as revealed to Blender.com:

BARACK OBAMA
1. Ready or Not Fugees (1996)
2. What’s Going On Marvin Gaye (1971)
3. I’m On Fire Bruce Springsteen (1985)
4. Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones (1969)
5. Sinnerman Nina Simone (1965)
6. Touch the Sky Kanye West (2006)
7. You’d Be So Easy to Love Frank Sinatra (rec. 1961)
8. Think Aretha Franklin (1968)
9. City of Blinding Lights U2 (2004)
10. Yes We Can will.i.am (2008)

JOHN McCAIN
1. Dancing Queen Abba (1976)
2. Blue Bayou Roy Orbison (1963)
3. Take a Chance On Me Abba (1977)
4. If We Make It Through December Merle Haggard (1973)
5. As Time Goes By Dooley Wilson (rec. 1942)
6. Good Vibrations The Beach Boys (1966)
7. What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong (1967)
8. I’ve Got You Under My Skin Frank Sinatra (rec. 1956)
9. Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond (1969)
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters (1958)

Dale will be voting for McCain on the basis of his #1 choice alone. The One’s #10 choice of will.i.am is a bit mastubatory – it consists of excerpts from his speeches set to music.

Which set Guido thinking, what do Gordon and the other Labour leadership candidates have as their Top Ten on their iPods currently? A prize of a George Bush Cut Out and Dress Up Doll’s Book to the best entry (courtesy of Cowley Street’s LibDem HQ – don’t ask). In the comments please…

Charts via Toby Harnden

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gordon Is Not Writing a Book on Britishness

Contrary to reports earlier this week, Gordon is not writing a book on “Britishness”. He is contributing a chapter only. Matthew d’Ancona is editing the volume and has insisted on total editorial control. There will Guido understands also be chapters from Tories in the book.

The Speccie editor told Guido “The original idea was the PM’s and he will write a substantial chapter. But a condition of my involvement was that I take complete charge of the project.”

The book, due out next year, was originally going to be Brown’s with his choice of contributors, after asking d’Ancona to edit it the direction of the book has changed. The new editor is not taking any payment for his efforts – the book is for charity. Just as well since all of Gordon’s previous books have ended up being remaindered by their publishers. Signed copies of “Courage” are attracting no bids on eBay.

SNP 44% versus Labour 25% Biggest Ever Recorded Lead

The latest poll (conducted 6-8 August) carried out in Scotland by YouGov recorded the biggest ever poll lead for the SNP with the party gaining a 19% lead over the Labour.

The poll is the first since John Mason sensationally won the Glasgow East by-election and shows the SNP on 44% with Labour trailing on 25%. On the basis of these figures all three prospective Scottish Labour leadership candidates would lose their seats to the SNP.

Scottish Parliament constituency vote [change from May 2007 in brackets]:

SNP: 44% [+11]
Labour: 25% [-7]
Lib Dem: 14% [-2]
Con: 13% [-4]
Other: 4% [+2]

Applying these figures to the Weber Shandwick Scotland Votes model, the SNP would win 58 of Scotland’s 73 Holyrood first-past-the-post seats.

SNP – 58 constituency seats (plus 37)
Labour – 8 constituency seats (minus 29)
LibDems – 6 constituency seats (minus 5)
Tories – 1 constituency seat (minus 3)

The SNP would gain the seats of all three Labour leadership contenders – Iain Gray, Andy Kerr and Cathy Jamieson.

Source : SNP

Normally a 51% constituency majority would be impregnable…


Seen Elsewhere

What if a Hamas Rocket Hit a BA Plane? | Richard Littlejohn
Sunday Sport Swearing Style Guide | Popbitch
Tory MP’s Love of Astrology | BBC
No.10 Shouldn’t Get Excited at Growth Figures | Mark Wallace
Feminist Lobby Killing Meritocracy | Kathy Gyngell
David Ward is a C**t | Iain Dale
Britain Should Follow Kansas’s Tax Cutting | Jeremy Warner
Dave’s Chums Who Made Millions From Putin | Mail
Now Osborne Must Cut Taxes | Mail
Britain’s Recovery Outstrips the World | Times
Ruffley Could Be Suspended From Commons | Telegraph


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion Guido-hot-button (1)


New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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