What Does a Property Developer Secretly Buy for £400,000?

Durham Green Developments Limited had a planning application for a business park development alongside the A1 motorway blocked by the Department of Transport.

Raymond Ruddick and Janet Kidd are directors of the company. Details of their directorships here [PDF]. They donated some £400,000 to the Labour party, secretly on behalf of David Abrahams, the owner of Durham Green Developments Limited.

In October last year the objection to the massive development was dropped by the Department of Transport. What a coincidence…

UPDATE : BBC reporting that Labour’s general secretary Peter Watt has resigned.

“Mr Watt told a meeting of officers of Labour’s National Executive Committee that he had known about the arrangement.”

So who else knew? Douglas Alexander was the Minister responsible for the planning objection…

CIA : BAE Bribed Hungarian and Czech Politicians

The New York Times is reporting this morning that the CIA discovered that Hungarian and Czech politicians received millions of dollars in bribes from BAE. The U.S. Department of Justice is stepping up its investigation into BAE.

The British government is not cooperating with the investigation. Hardly surprising when Blair blocked the BAE/Saudi corruption investigation on security grounds. Will they try that line again?

Does Newsnight Know What Day It Is?

Last week Andrew Marr had a go at Sky News for being less accurate than BBC News and Current Affairs. So two days of misreporting from Newsnight gives us a good laugh.

On Thursday, BBC Newsnight reported that the “Dow Jones was substantially down amidst more credit crunch fears”. That inaccurate insight and analysis was based on what? Based on bollocks.

It was made up. There were no credit crunch fears spooking the markets. The market was closed for the Thanksgiving day holiday. The economics editor Stephanie Flanders has ‘fessed up that it was “unforgivable and embarrassing”. Peter Barron contritely said on the Newsnight blog on Friday afternoon that it won’t happen again because they will check the U.S. market is trading. So Emily Maitlis was much more careful with Friday night’s market report:

“…the FTSE 100 share index closed up, sadly we can’t show the exact figures, um, holiday season as you know in the US, so the Dow Jones remains unchanged. Against the Euro, the currencies here, the pound up, against the dollar the pound was down. You’ll just have to take my word for it. We’ll get you some figures by Monday.”

The market was actually open and up 181 points closing at 12,981 (according to Sky News). So did they actually check the market was trading? Doh! Can they get it right tonight or will it be three days in a row?

Hat-tip : Biased BBC

UPDATE : Newsnight editor Peter Barron responds “I despair! We are having a complete revision of the way we collect and check the markets information.” The producer of that piece protests (anonymously) that s/he didn’t make it up. S/he just copied it wrongly from the BBC’s business wire. Guido’s advice : first check what they say on Sky News.

High Flying LibDem MEP Joins Tories

Sajjad Karim, Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West of England is joining the Conservative Party.

Saj is a free trader, helping to negotiate for an EU-India free trade treaty, in 2005 he was named as “a high flyer of British politics” by The Times in its Who’s Who of 2005.

The news will shake LibDems who are polling very shakily in the mid-teens. Saj, who was the first ever Muslim member of the European parliament, will be welcomed by Dave with open arms.

UPDATE : Why didn’t the Tories wait until the day of the LibDem leadership election result? Than they could have made him say “Tweedledee is not the right man blah blah blah…”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Brown : "I Don’t Look at Polls"

Brown has just told Sky’s Adam Boulton that he doesn’t look at opinion polls. An absolutely blatant lie.

He even has a personal pollster – Deborah Mattinson – who must now dread telling him the bad news. After Mattinson told him he would lose the marginals, he bottled having an election. When he told the press pack that they weren’t a factor they were incredulous. When he told Cameron the same at PMQs the Tory benches fell about laughing. He is like most politicians, poll obsessed.

Facts :

  • Labour is polling at levels not seen since the nadir of Blair.
  • The News of the World tomorrow will report that on “economic competence”, Labour has finally lost the positive poll differential it has enjoyed over the Tories ever since the 1992 ERM debacle.
  • The Mail on Sunday has a poll rating Brown as less competent than John Major and Darling as less competent than Lamont.
  • If Blair were leading Labour they would be neck and neck with the Tories instead of 5% behind according to the same BPIX poll.

Maybe it would be better for his state-of-mind if he doesn’t look at the papers tomorrow…

Cameron : “We are Libertarians”

Dave is in Prague this morning to address the party conference of ODS, the future European parliamentary partners of the Tories. Founded by Thatcherite ideologue Václav Klaus, the party is receptive to what is a very rare message today from a politician – “fight for freedom”.  His speech has more ideological content than his normal stump speeches:-

“So there are many battles we must fight together, and my message to you today is a simple one – a message that I know you will understand more than most. The battle for freedom and opportunity is never finally won. In each generation, those of us who believe in freedom, in human potential, in the idea that the strength of our society comes from the energy and industry and creativity of our people; those of us who believe in these things must be ready to fight for them because the enemies of freedom are never finally vanquished. They always live to fight another day. Today we can see the enemies of freedom preparing a renewed assault on our liberty. They do not mean to harm us. In fact, they mean to help us. But their ideas are out of date, their methods have failed and their advance must be derailed. I am speaking of the politicians and public officials who believe that they know best how to organise our lives. That they are the experts, so they must have the power. You can find them everywhere – in my country, in your country and in the EU itself. They are the last defenders of the bureaucratic age, an age before the information revolution and our new world of freedom that makes it possible to put real power in people’s hands. But in their desire to control, to regulate, to direct, the defenders of the bureaucratic age have over-reached themselves. They have gone too far. They have tried to do too much. And it has exposed the historic error of their ways.

In Britain, bureaucratic over-reach has seen the Labour Government creeping further and further into the lives of British people. Millions of families sucked into a complex system of tax credits. An army of tax collectors that is now almost as big as our actual army. Fingerprinting children at school. And this week we saw a shocking consequence of this bureaucratic over-reach: a scandal where the government has lost the names, addresses and bank details of almost every family in the country. Are they learning the lesson? Do they accept that bureaucracy has gone too far? Of course not. They are stuck in the bureaucratic age. So they now want to take personal information about everyone in the country and store it on a national identity register. We are seeing this bureaucratic over-reach in the EU too. The desire for harmonisation and homogenisation – on tax, on regulation, on so many aspects of public and private life. It is the last gasp of an outdated ideology, a philosophy that has no place in our new world of freedom, a world which demands that we fight this bureaucratic over-reach and lead Europe into the hope and potential of a new, post-bureaucratic age.”

Dave is no Churchill, or even a Reagan, but it is refreshing to hear a politican talk optimistically about freedom. Amidst all the fear-mongering about security that is peddled in the war-on-terror, what we are fighting for, rather than against, is forgotten. The government is far too willing to trade real liberty for fake security.

Bottler Gives Remaindered "Courage" Book to African Kids

In an attempt to shift remaindered copies of his vanity published book on Courage Gordon is today giving away copies to Ugandan school children.

Whose brilliant idea was that? The travelling press pack are laughing at him. As many co-conspirators have pointed out in the comments, what is it with Gordon and photo-ops at schools. Do his media team have any other ideas? It just looks awkward, him smiling away at the kids and forcing his book on them.

What did the kids do to deserve this treatment?

Fox News

Liam Fox just came out with a great line about Des Browne; “He spends more time fighting the SNP than the Taliban”. Stinging…

UPDATE :

Former Labour defence Minister, Lord Gilbert, told Channel 4 News that the troop’s families

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Friday Caption Contest (Why Me Edition)

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Boris Ups His Work Rate

Londoners tuned into Capital Radio this morning to hear Boris on with Johnnie Vaughn, not sure if it was to do with his new single release. Wednesday he gave a speech on housing, yesterday he was banging on about

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Browne’s Part-Time Priority

Gordon Brown is treating British troops with “contempt” by appointing a part-time defence secretary says Admiral Lord Boyce. Troops feel insulted by the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Des Browne as Scotland Secretary as well as Defence Secretary. Boyce, who

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cameron tells MPs after voting:

“Wouldn’t miss this for the world. Secret ballots very important. Remember the Chartists.”

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