Saturday, August 23, 2008

Microsoft Shifting Party Allegiance?

Iain Dale, who is bravely going to all the party conferences, asks what facilities are being offered to bloggers by the U.K. parties this conference season? In the U.S. they are being feted by the parties to some degree. Guido believes that Microsoft is providing free internet connections at both the Labour and Tory conferences – which is a sign that they must see power moving since they have usually kept close to New Labour and the Tories had more of an affinity with Google. (Obviously both corporation’s public affairs teams will deny it, pointing out the diverse backgrounds of different individuals.)

Not sure what special facilities bloggers really require. You can blog from your laptop with a 3G card, or at a push your Blackberry* or iPhone. Is it worth the parties making any effort to offer special access or have briefings for bloggers? Maybe if they want to shape the reporting. To be honest briefings tend to be worth very little, bloggers would be best advised going and getting their own stories rather than just regurgitating the spin handed out. That is what the lobby is for…

Guido is going to hit the bright lights of Birmingham for the Tory conference but is frankly unable to face going to all the conferences, even declining one corporate titan’s invitation to join his table at the Labour gala dinner – unarmed.

*Sony Ericsson press office please note: after years of loyalty Guido is switching back to Blackberry when the new Bold comes out next week. It has a 3G connection that can be piggybacked via a laptop, Qwerty keyboard, MP3, camera and GPS – a pretty hard to beat package. Of course you could still send over an ultra portable…

"The One" Chooses His Two : Biden Kinnock Copycat Windbag is VP Candidate

Guido laughed this morning, Obama has chosen the man who admired Neil Kinnock’s oratory so much he copied Kinnock’s speech – word for word. This will be Biden’s second try for the White House, the first ended badly in 1988 when he was caught lifting lines from Kinnock’s speech. Obama broke his promise to supporters who registered for text messages that they would “Be the First to Know” who was his VP pick. CNN reported it was Biden late last night. Hesitant Obama campaign managers decided they had to send the $3 million dollar text message and sent it at 3 a.m. EST, waking a lot of East Coast liberals from their dreams.

Biden dropped out of the 2008 race for the Democratic presidential nomination after a poor finish in the Iowa caucuses, but not before saying “I am not running for vice president, I would not accept it if anyone offered it to me. The fact of the matter is I’d rather stay as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee than be vice president.” That quote will not hurt as much as other quotes McCain’s campaign will be replaying extensively – Biden gave a hard-hitting TV interview during his abortive 2008 run where he laid into Obama as too inexperienced to be President.

UPDATE : This just in from McCain ’08:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Caption Contest ("I’m the Leader of the Gang I am" Edition)

UPDATE : This has just come in over the wire from China following his meeting with Chinese Premier Hu Jintao. The Frankie Howerd impersonator is a national embarrassment…

Even Hamid Karzai Thinks Gordon is Weak

Gordon stopped off en route to curse the British Olympic team in Kabul. Benedict Brogan reports that
the visit had a routine flavour for Gordon Brown, livened up only by Hamid Karzai, who was evidently bemused by the way British broadcasters all asked questions about the PM’s troubles without even a mention of Afghanistan or the British effort there. “Cabinet ministers plotting is nothing new. We have that in Afghanistan too. But not my foreign minister,” he told us. Ouch.

Gordon apparently managed to mumble something about “getting on with the job”. Sky’s Jon Craig notes that after his pep talk to the troops, delivered facing the press and away from them “rather oddly, I thought, the PM wasn’t applauded by the soldiers at Camp Bastion”. Humiliating though it was, this is how it will be from now on. Gordon is a weak leader, too weak even to risk trouble from a reshufle despite a desperate need to refresh his cabinet. The only question in British politics is: “How and when will Gordon Go?”

Picture stolen from Downing Street website. Guido’s taxes paid for it after all and it is not like they respect anyone else’s copyright, is it?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Downing Street Website Fails To Meet Government Guidelines

Why Did Tim Parker Really Quit Team Boris?

Tim Parker surprisingly resigned as head of Transport For London and deputy mayor. The spin was something about Boris needing to take on this important job as he was elected to sort out London’s tranpsort system. Obviously bollocks.
They knew all that when Boris appointed him. Parker said when he started in June: “Throughout my business career I have been accountable to exacting shareholders. In my new role, my shareholders will be the taxpayers of London.” He took a symbolic £1 in pay. 24 hours after he quit TFL and TubeLines caved in to a ludicrous London Underground pay deal. Hence the RMT’s Crowe cancelling the strike. Do you think that perhaps Parker, a famous cost cutter, quit for this reason? Can it be a coincidence? Could Boris have hoisted the white flag because he was petrified of “Tory Cuts” rhetoric?

European Union v Empire


Hat-tip : Donal Blaney

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Courageously Risk Your Life Undercover and Downing Street Digital Team Will Put Your Picture Up

When not stealing other people’s creative products and passing it off as their own the Downing Street digital team ignore 50,000 petitioners to make funny videos. No one is laughing tonight.

So pleased are they with the functionality of their Flickr photo album they had pictures of flowers from the garden up today – oh and a picture of an undercover police officer. Doh!

Dizzy has the scoop.

UPDATE : Guido knows the identity of the officer (blurred in the picture above), his commendation was related to him receiving a baseball bat beating when on surveillance .

Could We See Boulton & Co in Boxers and Bikinis?

Dale has done his annual list and the results are in for the “media” section:

Top 10 Media Blogs
1. Spectator Coffee House
2. Ben Brogan
3. Three Line Whip
4. Boulton & Co
5. Nick Robinson
6. Comment Central
7. Paul Linford
8. David Cornock
9. Peter Hitchens
10. Melanie Phillips

Guido draws your attention to the promise made on the Sky News website:

Any votes for Boulton & Co. would be greatly appreciated and we promise, if we get into the top 10, that there will be semi-naked photos of all our political correspondents made available on the blog.

Well?

"We Are All In Relative Poverty" According to Osborne

Guido popped down this morning to the Demos Ikea showroom / think tank to hear what the 18th (to be) Baronet of Ballintaylor in the County of Tipperary and heir to a fortune had to say on “fairness”. George Osborne’s pamphlet is here and the speech echoed the charges that inequality has increased under New Labour. Strangely Guido thinks that New Labour is too afraid to defend itself on this issue.

Relative poverty has increased only because we have generally got richer. Absolute poverty has not increased. The problem for those who put equality before liberty is that they are too embarrassed to say that whilst we have all in aggregate got richer, some have got even richer, even faster. So What? Essentially if you believe in the conceptual value of the idea of “relative poverty” you believe that if Warren Buffet moved to London poverty would increase. Britons would after all now be relatively poorer compared to the average. If George when he becomes Chancellor succeeds in driving rich, non-domiciles away from British shores he will be able to claim he has reduced relative poverty. Not one single poor person’s absolute circumstances will have changed (apart perhaps from a few more unemployed domestic staff ). Splendid, Polly Toynbee will be pleased.

There was a moment of comedy when an extremely bedraggled looking Derek Draper piped up with a question from the back. Osborne congratulated him “on his new role as psychological consultant to the PM. Good luck with that.” Osborne was also quizzed about the ideological incoherency of all this cross-party triangulation on poverty and social justice. He said something wonkish about there being a continuum of political thinking from himself through Alan Milburn to Brown with the same long term goal.

Osborne took the opportunity to praise Alan Milburn. Mischievously saying, to much laughter, that he also shared with Milburn “his short term goals”


Seen Elsewhere

Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft
5 Tips for Tory Moles | LabourList
Time for a Labour Speaker | ConservativeHome
Austin Mitchell Shows Why People Hate Politicians | LabourList
Commons Should Reject Aussie Rules | Telegraph
Galloway Interviewed By Police | Standard


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion hot-button


Labour MP Austin Mitchell discusses female MPs on Newsnight:

“Are they more leadable? I don’t know, I think they probably are.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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