Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gordon Brown’s Unhappy Anniversary

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Caption Contest

Prize of John Laughland’s A History of Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein to the wittiest comment – which is not going to be the most obvious comment.

Trouble at the Labourgraph

Today sees another round of sackings at the loss making Telegraph. Rumours abound that Heffer is off to the Daily Mail affronted by the spiritual decline of the paper – as well as an unsympathetic attitude to his hero Enoch Powell from the editor Will Lewis. The £10 million loss last year was they claim due to the move to the Victoria newsroom and the website’s multi-media revamp.
This year’s losses should be more limited – though the website is still not making money for anyone except ITN who supply content. Morale is low, even the Barclay Brother’s consigliere, Andrew Neil, was reported in the Indy on Sunday saying “The bloodletting at the Telegraph has gone on too long. After any takeover there is an element of blood on the carpet, but you have to go forward then and take your staff with you.” Admininstration staff on the foreign desk were fired Wednesday, 8 more staff hacks face the sack.

The paper’s editorial line is confusingly mixed, for a paper that was once considered the house paper of the Conservative Party it harbours a number of hacks who are determined enemies of Cameron. It is seeking to gain readers from the Daily Mail by emulating the Daily Mail. The only problem being the Mail does it so much better.

The other problem is the problem faced by all newspapers worldwide. Office based readers increasingly read their paper online and do not buy the inky dead tree version for the commute. They are also more promiscuous in their reading choices. The better the website, the less attractive the paper. Guido spoke last night at the journalist’s Frontline Club on a panel with digital hacks from the Press Gazette, Guardian and the Telegraph. As digerati they were a bit more clued up than most hacks – so they were very pessimistic. Guido of course cheerfully reminded them that he was the only one on the panel from a profitable publisher…

Downing Street Rat Dashes for Cash

As Guido pointed out yesterday, the captain is taking down the Labour ship with him and as this email from Fiona Gordon (his Downing Street political secretary) shows, the rats are doing the proverbial:
Dear Colleague,

Tomorrow will be my last day as Gordon Brown’s Political Secretary. It has been a privilege to work for Gordon and the wider team here at No 10 and I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity. It has been a fascinating and hectic year.

I have also been lucky to work closely with you, not only in my current post but as the first women PLP Secretary. I will be taking away very many happy memories, particularly of the evening we gathered in the Chamber for the photograph to mark the Centenary of the PLP.

My next venture is to start my own communications business which I am very excited about.

My mobile number will remain the same xxxxxxx, my new email address is xxx@xxx.com Joe Irvin has been appointed to replace me. Joe has for the past year worked as a special adviser to the Prime Minister on trade union, employment and housing issues.

He is a lifelong Labour Party member and previously worked as special adviser to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott 1996-2001, and was for many years a trade union official. I know you will give him all your support.

With my best wishes
Fiona

She is obviously going to try in cash in over the next year before her contacts become worthless…

Labour Lose Deposit, Lib Dems Make No Progress

The Lib Dem’s once fearsome by-election machine stalled in the face of the blue tide sweeping the South East of England. They will be horrified at their inability to make real progress in this kind of constituency with, objectively, a better campaigner as their candidate. The truth is that the detoxification of Cameron’s “Liberal” Conservatives means that the anti-Brown swing vote is as likely, or even more likely, to go to the Tories than the Lib Dems. That is a terrifying prospect for Lib Dem MPs. The Tory vote went up despite the loss of the charismatic Boris. Currently Tories could pin a blue rosette on a donkey and win.

There are by-election losses and there are by-election losses, Labour coming fifth behind the BNP and Greens made losing their deposit that much worse. Backbench MPs will be studying Charles Clarke’s doomsday list (download here) a little more intensely. They will be looking at the crumbling Gordon and wondering to themselves how the party might fare without the millstone of a voter repelling weirdo up front.

UPDATE : A co-conspirator points out that Chris Rennard’s post match spin is ambiguous:

“We increased our vote…”

  • LibDem Henley vote 2005 General Election – 12,101
  • LibDem Henley vote 2008 By Election – 9,680

An increase of minus 2421 votes!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spelman "Only Stopped Paying Nanny When Secretary Reported Her"

Michael Crick on Newsnight is going to reveal more details tonight that really will cap it for Spelman – essentially she only stopped fiddling payments to her nanny when her real secretary grassed her. It really does mean the end now. She fiddled and stopped only when she was reported and she lied about the whole thing when exposed. That is not a tenable position.

There is a ridiculous whispering campaign to make this a mother versus misogynists issue. It is actually an anti-corruption issue. The Spelmans are a wealthy couple, they could easily afford a nanny – they chose to fiddle the cost from the taxpayer. Plenty of low income mothers on benefits have gone to jail for fiddling the sums we are talking about here…

UPDATE : Two-thirds of grassroots Conservatives polled by ConservativeHome say Spelman should quit.

Henley News

Was this one of the most unexciting by-elections going?

Guido gave a former senior LibDem apparatchik 9/1 on the LibDems winning. So they are still optimistic…

Brown’s Speech Writer Quits

Decade long Brownie Beth Russell is reportedly quitting Team Brown next month to return to the Treasury. She will be the third member of the mobile phone target team to quit Number 10. She was the official speechwriter, though it is understood that Gordon is the one who inserts the lists of statistics that make his speeches so special.

Downing Street’s Jeremy Heywood has written to Whitehall’s mandarins euphemistically seeking someone for ‘a high profile and demanding post involving daily contact with the Prime Minister… I would be grateful if you could each put forward the names of one or two individuals who would particularly excel in this role.’ An ability to duck under fire would be useful.

Fiona Gordon has already given her notice, Spencer Livermore went in March. The captain will be alone when the ship goes down…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ironic Speech

Dave’s former speechwriter, Danny Kruger is a bit of a have-a-go-hero crime fighter according to his article in the Speccie this morning:
My wife and I were coming out of a house in Camden where we had been viewing a flat to rent. Standing on the steps with us, the owner of the flat suddenly saw the retreating rear of his moped, two boys aboard and half a dozen of their friends pelting along behind.

Like the pair of prats we were, the owner and I tackled youth crime. When we caught up with the pedestrians, we received between us a black eye (owner) and cut lip (me), and no moped.

My main memory of this incident is rather horrid: the spit-filled mouth of the little rat-faced boy who punched me. Short, white, in a grey hooded tracksuit, he shouted at me with all the rage of Cain: the most astonishing indignation.

Shame about that split lip, Kruger is a thoroughly decent chap. He was also the author of the “Hug a Hoodie” speech…

Inflated Expenses

In 1997 the total maximum expenses claimable by an MP was £50,213. Yet during this prolonged period of low inflation (for which Gordon likes to claim credit) the maximum amount claimable has risen to £159,720.*

A rise of 218% in ten years.

*Not including travel, source: Select Committee on Members Estimate Committee Third Report


Seen Elsewhere

David Ward’s Holocaust Denier Friends | Harry's Place
Grayling: Bercow Faces Questions | Sun
Paul Flynn Could Learn a Lot From a Trip to Israel | Breitbart
50 Shades of Grayling | Speccie
Bercow’s £12,000 of VIP Sporting Freebies | Sun
Aldous Huxley v George Orwell | FatPita
Blinkered BBC is Ripe for Reform | David Keighley
Calls for Bercow to Face Inquiry | Mail
Labour Mad to Fight Tories on Tax | Dan Hodges
Right to be Forgotten is a Disaster | Padraig Reidy
Dave Could Be Finished Before 50 | James Forsyth


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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:

“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”



TJ says:

And i’ve noticed that 100% of Guido Fawkes staff are men. Looks like Guido has a woman problem. Or is it an hypocrisy problem?


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