Friday, October 24, 2008

"Shoot to Kill" News Management

Guido said that Labour would take a tougher line with news management now that Mandelson is back and Alistair Campbell is lurking about in the background. Rami Okasha, Labour’s head of communications in Scotland, was in charge of handling Sarah Brown’s visit. He threatened unruly hacks with heavies from Special Branch, “There will be six or seven guys with guns who will keep you away from her. You may be shot and then it won’t be my problem.” This boy could go far…

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Foreign Donors Row, Compare and Contrast

Over at the New Statesman Martin Bright lists three foreign donors who routed £50,000 each via British companies to the Tories. The Daily Mail has hit on Robin Saunders, the foxy City financier, paying for a table at a Tory fundraiser with a personal cheque for £6,600, which the Tories returned (because she is an American) and she replaced it with a company cheque. Compare the total of £156,600 given by four foreign donors via British companies to the Tories with the £4,125,000 given by Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian national, to Labour.

Mittal even managed to get Blair to do PR for his company as part of the deal…

Labour’s attack is being marshalled by a re-invigorated spin and smear operation and nobody should under-estimate the powers of the returning Dark Lord. The Tories now have a real fight on their hands, the playing fields of Eton and St Paul’s clearly have not equipped them to deal with Mandelson. This is going to be a long dirty fight.

Icelandic Terrorrists Identified

Those Icelandic fundamentalists even have their own propaganda site. Gordon saved us from the Icelandic terror threat by cutting off their funding and freezing their assets. Err, except now he intends to lend them £3 billion of British taxpayers money… doh!

Government of the Spinners, by the Spinners for the Spinners

click to enlarge
The House of Lords Communications Committee had the head of the civil service Gus O’Donnell in for a hearing yesterday (video). One of the reasons the chief mandarin gave for the doubling in “communications staff” over the last decade was that there were mounting demands on government communication officers to deal with the increase in political blogs and the growing number of journalists.

“Be very careful what these numbers mean. [There are] 3,000 journalists in the BBC alone – that’s just one institution,” said O’Donnell, “You could easily turn the statistics round and ask ‘why has it gone up so little’.” Well he could ask that, but taxpayers would ask the opposite.

Guido has in four years only twice been contacted by a government spin merchant unprompted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Times Push Polling to Push Osborne Out

A Guido co-conspirator who is a Conservative District Councillor has just been contacted by the Times about whether they think that Osborne should “go”. The Times hack said they were phoning round the Tory ‘grass roots’. The journalist then said that

Most of the Conservatives I have spoken to have said that Osborne should leave by the weekend. What do you think?’

Nothing leading in that line of questioning at all.

UPDATE : The manufactured headline as required Tory grassroots: ‘George Osborne should resign’.

Mandelson "Gatecrashed Microsoft Boss’s Yacht Party"Same Time Microsoft Appealing EC €497m Fine

Guido’s man on the high seas tells him about a party thrown by Steve Ballmers Paul Allen on his yacht last year in 2005. Peter Mandelson was brought to the party by a third person – uninvited.
He was not a welcome guest and was avoided by many of the other party-goers who were only too well aware that the European Commission had fined Microsoft a record €497 million on competition grounds. Microsoft was engaged in a bitter legal battle to have the fine overturned.

With billions at stake it was surely inappropriate for the trade commissioner to meet socially with the second largest shareholder in Microsoft when it was in a fierce battle with the Commission. Over to you Peston…

+++ Developing +++

PMQs Live Chat

By the Way

Lord Mandy of the Dark Arts’ permanent secretary is Sir Brian Bender KCB. Just thought Guido would mention that. No juvenile sniggering at the back.

Tail-End of a Labour Government, Pound Collapses

Government borrowing is at record levels, unemployment is heading towards two million, car workers are on a 3-day week, public sector workers are threatening strikes, nationalisation is back, Deripaska-owned Leyland is even in back the news and we are entering a recession. To complete the whole 70s era feel we have a sterling collapse. 6% last night, 20% since the beginning of the year.

The BBC’s business editor is focusing on political gossip. Guido will therefore have to take up the slack on the business reporting front…

Littlejohn Joins CCHQ Press Operation

Don’t get your hopes up too much. According to the Indy a chip off the old block, William Littlejohn, is working in Millbank. Has Guido told you about the time his father bitch-slapped Polly Toynbee?

Seen Elsewhere

Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Labour Will Lose Commons if Scotland Votes Yes | Times
Miliband Blanked Gordon | Damian McBride
Cameron Surrenders Keys to Union | Rachel Sylvester


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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