Dave apparently did his usual 15 minutes of smiling, showing his face to friends thing, before heading back to Notting Hill (Guido arrived late, so that is second hand, possibly even completely untrue). Coulson was chatting cheerfully to some totty. The co-conspirator’s sweetheart – little Jenny of the Bank of England – was inquiring as to her permanent successor on the Daily Politics - still no news. Melanie Philips actually looked jolly, Simon Hoggart looked lost, Katy Taylor-Richards was wearing a short skirt.
It was as packed as the proverbial tin of sardines. Guido experimented with the cocktail of the night – sponsored by the Ardbeg whisky firm – it was a very strong sort of a whisky sour with Grand Marnier. Guido thinks he will be snoring on the sofa through Diane and Brillo tonight…
The IEA’s example spawned think tanks around the world and spread the Thatcher-Reagan Revolution worldwide. In the New Labour era it has been eclipsed, first by the IPPR, then as the Tories march to power by Policy Exchange.
It spends a million pounds a year, more than even Policy Exchange, yet makes little impact. The IEA’s publishing seems focused on reprints from the glory days. The director, John Blundell, is low profile, and never seen on broadcast media. He has successfully raised £1.4 million for the Ralph Harris Fellowship, mainly from the late Dorian Fisher (the founder’s widow). He himself is the fellow and it consolidates his own position – some 20% of the IEA’s income pays for the compensation of John and Christine Blundell.
The low profile and high cost of Blundell is beginning to concern the trustees. The complete lack of influence on the Conservative Party agenda on the eve of government is a big disappointment. One IEA insider lamented to Guido that the fledgling IEA off-shoot in Ghana got more media coverage than the half-century old former intellectual power house.
Blundell has long wanted to take up a think tank position in the U.S. In comparison to Cato and Heritage in Washington the IEA has contracted as they have grown in the last decade. Some trustees think that his fellowship could be a cheap price to move him sideways across the Atlantic, taking a step back from the day-to-day operations, letting him concentrate on fund raising from U.S. foundations with a new grand title. A fresh director could take his place and re-energise the IEA.
The IEA Founder’s party tonight will be a scene of much gossip and gentle jostling for succession. Possible successors to Blundell in the running are said to include; Tim Evans from the Stockholm Network, Matthew Elliott from the Taxpayers Alliance, City A.M’s editor Allister Heath, the IEA’s own Roger Bates and Julian Morris from the International Policy Network. If they want to influence the agenda of the next government, there needs to be a change at the top soon…
Various pleadings are being made:
Others earn more. GPs for instance. Well if you want to make more money go do something else. Study at medical school and cure people rather than tax them.
We deal with hundreds of letters. No they don’t, their staff do.
We work 70 hours a week. Oh, please.
We need to attract the best and the brightest. Why? Are the best and the brightest motivated by money?
We are so hard done by. Come off it. Long serving MPs amass massive pensions and property portfolios paid for by taxpayers. Never has a class of parasites complained so loudly about the generosity of the host.
None of them mention that their current package is already worth over £130,000, they all prefer to refer disingenuously to the basic salary of £61,820. The existing basic package including accommodation allowance is worth £98,670, add on the £30 per diem allowance and the pension and you have a clearer picture of the total £130,000 package. The trough is filled with honourable snouts…
The chopper in question was G-ELTE (pictured). Dave apparently went to stay with his father-in-law for the night. Plenty of room to land a chopper on the estate…
*This is not including the opportunity to boost household income, as many of them do, by paying their wife, mistress, husband, lover and children. Don’t forget they also claim for all transport, have a gold plated pension, subsidised bars and restaurants on top of the daily food allowance. In total they can claim up to £159,720 in expenses, in 1997 the total maximum expenses claimable by an MP was only £50,213 so that is a rise of 213%. Millionairess Barbara Follett gets her windows cleaned at the taxpayers expense, Margaret Beckett has her gardening done at the taxpayers expense. We buy them new kitchens, dishwashers, washing machines and widescreen plasma TVs. We bought lunch for Prescott to vomit up, and we paid to clean it up as well. We paid Caroline Spelman’s nanny, the Speaker’s wife’s taxi bills, Nick Clegg’s household renovation, enough mileage allowance for Janet Anderson MP to drive twice around the world. We even paid for first class tickets for Blunkett’s dirty weekends away with someone else’s wife. We also paid £7m for a refit of the parliamentary wine cellar. Cheers!
Jonah Brown strikes again…
In a landmark ruling yesterday the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the British government’s scheme of external surveillance was not “in accordance with the law”. Of course the British government tacitly allows the Americans to do the same to you.
14.57 Just in from a co-conspirator :
Some poor fellow was just walking along Great Smith Street ahead of me, just outside of the Department for Children, Schools and Families. A car zoomed up outside and the door was flung open in a “I’m important and busy” manner - hitting the poor pedestrian. The moron responsible eventually shouted a token “sorry”, but not before those standing about (including me) had spotted that the culprit was the popular Ed Balls.
The door was opened just ahead of the pedestrian who walked into it, although was protecting himself with his hands as he must have seen it coming at the last second.
It was the reason why he eventually shouted an apology. He also had his team with him (3 or 4 people), and there were another two or three bystanders.
Source is pukka.
16:12 UPDATE : Another co-conspirator is prompted to email:
A couple of years ago I was at the dentist in Victoria Street. Ed Balls was there with his daughter. When they left, Ed was on the phone being incredibly busy and important. He walked out of the heavy swing door letting it fall back on his daughter who got properly squidged. She must have been no more than about 8 years old and the valiant little soul put her whole body strength into squeezing the door open again and followed her dad out into the street where he was still on the phone completely oblivious.
Not the most recent of events granted, but shows he has got form…
How is Miliband’s ‘New Politics’ Working Out? | Speccie
State Should Send More Poor Children Private | Sam Bowman
£1 Million Cost of Ed Balls’ Ego | Laura Perrins
William Hague’s Sausage Fest | Rochdale Online
Public Doesn’t Prioritise Housing | Mark Pack
Mysterious Case of Ruffley’s Missing Letter | Speccie
All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie
Left-Wing Anti-Semitism is Nothing New | Dan Hannan
Coe Pulls Out of BBC Trust Race | Mail
Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…
“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”
Christie Malry @fcablog
Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops