This is undoubtedly the work of Andy Coulson, when he moved in to CCHQ in May 2007 Guido welcomed it, predicting he would “bowl bodyline. Coulson is a player, not a gentlemen, he could be their Larwood, they have far too many Jardines already.”
Guido suspects this will signal a much needed change in the tone of Tory propaganda. Trying, as Osborne recently did, to frame Gordon Brown as a leftie won’t work. The approach to Gordon has to chime in with the truth that people instinctively sense. He is an unpleasant, difficult to work with, psychologically flawed, malevolent, grudge-bearing control freak. These aspects of his character are even more of a negative than his tax and spend, big government, micro-managing policies. Going with this grain of truth will resonate popularly.
In January this year Guido advocated (Finishing the Project : Making 2008 Dangerous for Brown) this full-frontal personal assault on Brown because
policy detail was irrelevant, what mattered was character, because Gordon Brown is a deeply flawed personality. Those flaws inform his tactics and political outlook. To defeat Gordon Brown his opponents should focus on him personally, something that Steve Hilton and CCHQ (prior to the arrival of Andy Coulson) were reluctant to do. Now, with the election put off for two years, 2008 should be about irreversibly breaking Brown’s reputation once and for all.
The Letwin / Gove / Willets policy based approach of 2006-07 was all very well for winning over columnists on the broadsheets, but the Coulson effect reaches the voters. Destroying the reputation of Gordon was easy once they tried – because he had a false reputation. Now the public knows him and his flaws they hate him, as the polls now show.
UPDATE : Labour are whinging that it is “character assassination“.
*Brownies as in “he is telling a Brownie” are a form of words which is a statistical or legalistic misrepresentation of the truth involving selectivity or occasionally outright mendacity. It was Fraser Nelson who coined the phrase “Brownie”. It was Andy Coulson who hired Fraser to write a column for the News of the Screws.
The Wintertons transferred the property to a trust to avoid £280,000 inheritance tax – a not unusual arrangement – however their arrangement had a twist. They themselves are the trustees, their children are the beneficiaries. The trustees (the Wintertons) charged the tenants (the Wintertons) £21,600 a year rent, which was paid by the taxpayer (you).
That arrangement over five years would, by Guido’s estimation, net
them the trust £108,000 tax free, equivalent before tax to £180,000 to an ordinary taxpayer. The Standards and Privileges Committee has ruled that those payments are against the rules.
So will the estimated £108,000 paid to their own trust be repaid to the taxpayer? If not, why not?
Ed and Yvette Balls are Labour’s equivalent to the Wintertons. Mr and Mrs Balls are paid by the taxpayers quarter-of-a-million a year between them to ride around in ministerial limos, yet so hard done by are they that they still need to claim tens of thousands extra in mortgage subsidy on top. The cabinet pair have registered their North London house as a ‘second home’ under parliamentary rules, entitling them to allowances of up to £43,200 a year to subsidise their £438,000 mortgage.
The home in Yorkshire nearer to their constituencies was previously called their second home. But by simply declaring their more expensive London house to be their secondary residence, they can claim more money from taxpayers. The rules state that their primary residence, against which they cannot claim, is the home in which they are ordinarily resident. They spend most of their time in London at their “second home” and their kids go to schools locally. When Andrew Neil recently challenged Ed Balls about this live on television, Ed said “it is complicated”. No it isn’t, it is a fiddle to extract more pork out of the taxpayer. They are defrauding the taxpayers by lying as to where their primary residence is actually located. Shamelessly.
They have in the past done the now commonplace ruse of re-mortgaging a home that has had the mortgage paid down by the taxpayers subsidy to realise profits as well. By lying that their main home is actually their second home they are now entitled to hit up the taxpayer for any appliances they can buy in John Lewis, household repairs, kitchen re-fits and even groceries.
The Wintertons and the Balls are just two everyday examples of plain and simple wholesale looting by the political class. Why are they allowed to get away with it, unpunished even on the rare occasions when they are found to have broken the very lax rules? Why shouldn’t they be asked to pay back the monies by the Parliamentary authorities? The Standards and Privileges Committee, made up of MPs, has ruled that the Wintertons broke the rules and were not entitled to the payments. What is the punishment? They will continue to be paid the rule breaking payments for another three months. They won’t be asked to repay the payments, they will continue to receive the payments from the Fees Office for another three months to allow them make alternative arrangements. Does that strike you as taking the piss?
Compare the treatment of the troughing Wintertons to the treatment of an unfortunate researcher working for an MP (Guido knows her identity). She was over-paid an extra month after she terminated her employment with David Ruffley MP. She thought it was her termination bonus. Some months later she was contacted by the very same Fees Office asking for re-payment. She explained she thought it was her bonus, and that she had spent it and could only afford to repay it in installments. The Fees Office refused to accept her offer and are currently taking her to Court for a mistake not of her making. A very different kind of justice for her…
Shami is not happy either, here is her letter to Andy:
I am writing in relation to your recent article in the ironically titled “Progress” magazine. In that article you set out to smear my dealings with the former Shadow Home Secretary. I must say that I find this behaviour curious, coming as it does from a Cabinet Minister; let alone someone with a partner and family of his own.
By your comments you debase not only a great office of State but the vital debate about fundamental rights and freedoms in this country. Indeed you seem reluctant to engage in that debate except in this tawdry fashion.
I look forward to your written apology as I’m sure does Mrs Davis. If on the other hand you choose to continue down the path of innuendo and attempted character assassination, you will find that the privileged legal protection of the parliament chamber does not extend to slurs made in the wider public domain. The fruits of any legal action will of course go to Liberty(the National Council for Civil Liberties).
Via : Brogan
Having spotted his hero he, of course, asked him for an autograph.
The not-at-all-bonkers Hitchens produced a grubby biro from his pocket, apologised for not having a fountain pen and proceeded to sign, just as he reached the letter “H” the Hitch said “I think I owe you an apology”. He immediately stops and asks “Why?”
As the Hitch recounts
“I’m the one who called himself Peter Hitchens on the Guido blog.” His chin hits his chest, a look of righteous indignation spread across his face followed by the screwing up of the autograph and his saying “In that case you aren’t having my autograph.”
I proffered my apology saying that as soon as I realised not-at-all-bonkers Hitchens had been hurt by my homage, I stopped doing it, this apparently wasn’t enough for the committed Christian. A frank exchange of views was then exchanged. Despite having told him it had all been in good spirit, Hitchens replied “If you really believe that then you are an even bigger aperture than you look”. To which I then retorted with a sub-Wildean flourish “And you are even more of a pompous w****r than I ever imagined, and you have a fat arse, now f*** off!”
The Hitch reports that his not-at-all-bonkers namesake then did just that, affording him a fine view of the Hitchens posterior as he wandered off a broken man. The Hitch is a disappointed, autograph-less man this morning…
See also the infamous blog post Peter Hitchens Stalking The Hitch