Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So Much for Becoming an "Insider"

In a step which Guido self-consciously saw as a bit too “Westminster insider”, the producers of Westminster’s answer to the Oscars, the Channel 4 Political Awards, asked him to pre-record some pithy comments about the nominees. The idea being presumably that when Jon Snow says “and the nominees are…” they go to video with the names, plus a few talking heads handicapping the runners and riders before the envelope is finally opened and the announcement made followed by gushing luvvie acceptance speeches.

Despite generously taking the time out to doing the filming, Guido is clearly too far below the salt to be invited to the actual ceremony itself. Or possibly it is because he said in one of the intros something like

“I have known John Bercow for 20 years, he is ambitious, articulate, a talented performer in the chamber, there is only one problem with him – he is a shit.”

The Channel 4 producer nearly choked, Guido’s invitation to tonight’s cermony never arrived…

+++ Crosby Resigns from FSA +++

PMQs Depression Edition

UPDATE : Not a mention of MPs expense fiddles. Anyone would think they are all at it…

Memo to PMQs Briefing Team

If today Dave doesn’t bring up the issue of MP’s expense fiddles, many ordinary viewers of the TV highlights will take the conspiracy of silence as a clear signal that “they are all at it”. The silence of the house on tackling abuses by rogue members is shameful.

Most people are disgusted by the venal money grubbing fiddles that MPs get up to. Figure out how to channel that disgust and you are on to a vote winner. Sleaze and incompetence dispatched the Major government. They can once again lubricate the exit of this government as well. Incompetence has already been established. Making “Labour” and “sleaze” synonymous will make voting for Labour distasteful.

Up the Khyber TV

The Miliband led foreign policy has taken a quirky turn. Britain used to send navy gunships to foreign lands that were becoming troublesome. Now the Foreign Office buys local television advertising space pleading “don’t attack us.” Soft power versus hard power. Does it make more sense to advertise on Pakistani TV than do as the Americans are doing and bomb them? Perhaps.

Guido is an advocate of a new cultural offensive against medieval Islam. The weapons should be Playboy magazine, MTV (in particular the Pussy Cat Dolls latest video), Coca Cola and iPods.

When it comes to convincing disaffected young muslim men of the superiority of the West, girls in mini-skirts will trump girls in burqas every time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Second Complaint Over Jacqui Smith to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner told the Centre for Open Politics he can’t accept the evidence of a newspaper article alone. Well how about Jacqui’s own words?

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…

Jacqui Says

From Jacqui’s own website (www.jacquismithmp.labour.co.uk/biography):

Can the taxpayers have their £116,000 back please?

Hat-tip : Old Holborn

Ed Balls "Talks Down the Economy"

“I think that this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s…” says Ed. Not exactly little Miss Sunshine is he?

Michael Trend Precedent is Worrying for Jacqui Smith

Sir Michael White reckons that Jacqui Snith will get away with it. Guido, ever the optimist, is not so sure. The atmosphere currently is very unsympathetic to expense fiddles by politicians, particularly fiddles on this scale. The Michael Trend precedent is not encouraging for Jacqui, nor is is the precedent established by Mr & Mrs Balls.

You may wonder how that is so – after all Ed and Yvette got away with their fiddle. Yes they did, but only after arguing that their constituency home was their main residence. They claimed that they spent more time at the constituency home and therefore that was their primary residence, allowing them to claim expenses for their more expensive London home. That argument was accepted by the authorities.

Jacqui wants us to accept the opposite. That her main home is her sister’s London home where she lodges, so she can claim for her more expensive constituency home. She will have to show that she spends more time at the London flat than seeing her own kids. Crucially, is it three or is it four days a week that she spends away from her kids? The Balls’ argued successfully that in the recess and school holidays they spent the majority of the time away from London, it is hard to believe that Jacqui would stay in London when parliament is in recess and remain away from her family. Why would she do that when she was previously a whip? There would be no reason to stay away from her family and constituency.
That recent Balls precedent is going to be a difficult obstacle. However the Michael Trend precedent is even more worrying for Jacqui. In 2003 the Tory MP was found guilty of abusing the allowances system and ordered to repay £90,277, he was also suspended from parliament and stood down in disgrace at the following election. His crime was to claim the same allowance as Jacqui has when he was staying with a friend in London. Trend claimed he “believed that I could properly continue to designate London as ‘home’ for the purposes of ACA, even though, in domestic terms, Windsor had become my “main residence”.” This is apparently Jacqui’s position. It was not accepted. There was no doubt in the Standard’s Committee’s minds that there was no “real scope for doubt that the words “main residence” were intended to have other than their natural meaning.”

The Committee ruled that “Mr Trend should have recognised that, by claiming Additional Costs Allowance in relation to his Windsor home, the taxpayer was meeting some of the core running costs of what was in reality his main residence. He should have realised that this was wrong. Accordingly, we agree with the Commissioner that Mr Trend was negligent and has breached the Code of Conduct by making improper use of the Additional Costs Allowance and by failing strictly to observe the administrative rules relating to the Allowance.”

It is hard to see how, in these parallel circumstances, Jacqui Smith should not suffer the same fate. Ordered to repay the fiddled £116,000 and suspended from parliament. In which case she will have to resign as Home Secretary.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Draper’s Champagne Socialism : Do the Union Members Approve?

Guido approves of the decadent way DraperList hands out champagne willy nilly to encourage readers to comment and sign up for Derek’s twitterings. Co-conspirators here are lucky if they get a T-shirt. Just hope the poor credit-crunched minimum-wage-paid members of the union which funds his ego trip – Unite – are as understanding. As these Twitters show, Draper is literally p*ssing their money away for his own egotistical reasons:

just before i go to bed i have decided to give a bottle of champagne to my 1000th follower.
did i really decide this last night? must have been a bit pissed. oh well, a promise is a promise

Hard to see how it serves the workers interests to pay out their dues to Draper’s fans in the form of champagne…


Seen Elsewhere

Compassionate Left in Action | Mark Wallace
Sainsbury’s Distance Themselves From Sick Cam Tweeter | Speccie
Elites Pay Price for Killing Grammar Schools | Jago Pearson
Thornberry Makes Burnham Leadership Favourite | Matthew Norman
Guido’s Column | Sun
BBC Still Ignoring Savile Evidence | Telegraph
Politicians Brought Down by Twitter | CityAm
Ed the Biggest Loser in Rochester | Trevor Kavanagh
A Just Way to Manage Migration | Mats Persson
Farage is Right | Lord Ashcroft
Give Miliband a Darwin Award | Boris Johnson


Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


Boris on his fellow Islingtonista Emily Thornberry:

“It was an entirely run-of-the-mill English townscape, with some straightforward words to go with it. There was no obvious insult, no abuse, no overt sneering. She might have got away with it entirely, had some alert blogger not spotted it. He instantly detected the coded message that Emily Thornberry was sending to all her right-on, bien-pensant, Labour-luvvie friends in Islington, or wherever else it is that they follow her on Twitter.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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