Not in Front of the Voters

Peter Oborne pulled back the curtain showing us a little vignette of the political class on Marr’s show this morning. In the midst of a paper review he deliberately blurted out that Alan Duncan had just a few minutes earlier button-holed Marr in the green room, lobbying him not to ask questions about donations from a dodgy oil trader, citing legal issues. Marr look panicked and said in a revelatory moment “we don’t discuss what is said in the green room”. Actually the political class don’t like to discuss it in front of the voters at all…

Coulson Does Gordon Over Guido-Style

CCHQ have released a very entertaining annual report to coincide with Gordon’s first anniversary as PM next week. Some of it will be very familiar to fans of the “Twat Watch” and the “Jonah Brown” memes from this blog as well as Fraser Nelson’s “Brownies”* meme from the Spectator. It is sort of a “worst of Gordon” annual compilation. 

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.

Friday Caption Contest

Lifestyles of the Rich at Our Expense

The mortgage on the Winterton’s Belgravia flat purchased in the mid-nineties was paid by the taxpayers for a decade. However the generosity of the taxpayers wasn’t enough for them…
By 2002 they were the owners of a now mortgage free property in very good repair (we paid for the repairs) worth some £700,000, yet the Wintertons had a problem. There was no longer a mortgage to justify a housing allowance, meaning that tens of thousands of pounds that they had been claiming annually would no longer be claimable.

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…

See also Mr & Mrs Balls Cash In On Two Homes Loophole

Dark Force Recognised

The Mail this morning casts Gordon Brown as the Sith Emperor from Star Wars. The dark forces of the Smith Institute are still under investigation…

More Haltemprice Innuendo

Is there no end to the innuendo laden demeaning of politics? David Davis is calling on Gordon Brown to come out“: “Mr Brown likes to talk about Britishness – fundamental to Britishness is being free. He should come out and argue the case.” Something the co-conspirators have wanted Gordon to do for a long time.

A Love That Dares to Send Writ Threats

The mini-furore over Andy Burnham’s amusing innuendo-rich suggestion of some kind of seduction of Basher Davis after “late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with” Shami Chakrabarti is not something of which Guido would approve. Guido is responsible for Westminster innuendo and Burnham should stay off his turf.

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).

Shami is getting a bit up herself here, Guido is something of an expert in this area and can see that she does not have a leg to stand on. Any reasonable person can see Burnham was clearly teasing, not really suggesting they were having an actual affair. Shami should hit back with an attack on Andy’s mascara looks. Any way, good to see that the Guidoisation of politics has reached cabinet level…

UPDATE : Burnham’s office has released a statement “An interpretation has been placed on Andy’s remarks that he did not intend. His comments related to politics and nothing else. He regrets if any personal offence has been caused.”

Via : Brogan

"The Hitch" Meets Peter Hitchens

The Hitch has just called with news, he has met the object of his homage this morning outside the British Museum.

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

Downing Street Lisbon Treaty Referendum Update

As it stands this morning according to the Prime Minister’s own Downing Street website:

21,194 people have voted “No”


18 people have voted “Yes”

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Open Government in Practice

The Register tried to interview a senior Civil Servant about another IT related fiasco, a Home Office press officer called soon after to say that “I’m not impressed by that… you [The Register] do not do that, you

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Downing Street Offers Lisbon Treaty Referendum Today

If you wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as promised by Gordon, now via the Downing Street petition site* you can finally vote for or against ratifying the treaty. Who said Downing Street would never give the people a

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Egotistical, Moi?

His DavidDavisforFreedom.com campaign site has come in for some criticism for being “too white”, and his blog is without a facility for comments. That’s nothing, he is having an election without opponents.

UPDATE :

Fraser Nelson has an article

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Mary Creagh’s coded attack on Ed Miliband…

‘I want the country to be united behind a single vision, we aren’t going to do it by sort of having a Rubik’s Cube approach to politics’. 

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