Monday, December 3, 2007

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Bad In Westminster, Worse in Scotland

The press is having a field day with Donorgate, nobody believes that knowledge of the Labour party’s illegal funding operation was restricted to Peter Watt. Jon Mendelsohn says Abrahams was lying when he said Mendelsohn knew about it, and is suing the Evening Standard, Guido doesn’t believe Mendacious Mendelsohn (send writs to the usual address Jonny).
Guido has been trying to get hold of Roy Kennedy, who was the Director of Finance and Compliance when the illegal funding operation was under way, to ask him when he knew about it, with no luck. Presumably the investigating officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Minerva will have more luck.

In Scotland the situation is even worse, Wendy Alexander has broken the law, apologised, then lied, immediately been caught lying and is only still in position because Brown fears that if she goes others will be toppled. Westminster hacks are not really focusing on the Scottish aspect yet. Guido is because he believes she will be charged, grasp this, the leader of the Scottish Labour party will face criminal charges based on documentary evidence. Brown is so scared of the domino effect of his protege Dougie Alexander’s sister resigning, that he is resisting internal party pressure for her to go. Mad, it will be worse if she is charged in office.

Labour is trying to spread the blame, with “we’re all at it” spin lines. They keep referring to Lord Ashcroft, who makes all his donations to the Tories above board and has actually given less money than Labour’s Lord Sainsbury.

They also keep referring to “a breach of the rules”, no these are criminal acts, a breach of the law is not the same as cheating at Scrabble. They are now hiding behind the “we’re not going to give a running commentary on a police investigation” line (© T. Blair).

Another line they are using is that they have “given the money back”. They haven’t as yet. It is in any event likely to be confiscated by the Electoral Commission.

There is no real need for new laws or reviews, there is a need for politicians to simply not break the existing laws. If Labour figures had not circumvented the existing laws they would not be in trouble. The idea that this situation is just the result of one publicity shy donor is nonsense, it has nothing to do with Wendy Alexander’s problems or Harman’s second problem.

Harman’s re-mortgage of £40,000 is an illegally undeclared loan – made against her home’s presumably joint mortgage – to her leadership campaign. Technically the loan is in equal part her husband’s loan. Her husband is Jack Dromey, the Labour party Treasurer, so he has permitted an undeclared loan to be made to the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, a loan from him. That is prima facie an illegal loan by two of the very highest ranking officials. She broke not only the spirit but letter of the law – in two instances – the loan and the proxy donation. Harman, the former Solicitor General, should face charges as a consequence.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stat-Porn : Give Guido the Crown Back Iain

Normal service has returned, Guido has got the crown back from Iain, with 305,624 unique visitors making 423,598 page loads last month. More people visited Guido than any other comparable political website.

The biggest referrers are (in order) Iain, ConservativeHome and PoliticalBetting. As Big Media becomes more blog-centric it is interesting to see how they are faring comparatively – it implies their relative traffic. The BBC is the biggest source of Big Media traffic from their politics pages and the Newsnight site. They are followed by the Times and the Speccie courtesy of Comment Central and Coffee House.

This suggests that Ben Brogan, Sky’s Boulton & Co and the Telegraph political blogs are critical but not box office successes – yet. For what it is worth, Guido suspects the Telegraph is making the same mistake that the Guardian made with CiF – too many bloggers. Successful blogs need strong personalities and a clear voice. Readers faced with multiple authors and too many choices of variable and unknown quality decide to click on what they know best, rather than waste time clicking on the unknown. There is a time cost to information overload even when “comment is free”.

The other pressing question is, are these blogs commerically sensible? Paying journalists to write on low traffic blogs is not a commercially sustainable model. Politics is not popular outside the political elite, far more people watch Sky Sports than Sky News, Murdoch runs the latter as a loss leader. With losses at the Guardian, Telegraph and Indy’s online operations continuing to mount without end, the penny will drop with proprietors eventually. Big Media can do it, can do it well even, but who will pay the elephant to dance?

On that note, Guido would like to thank his advertisers this month for their support and contribution to profits.

Amazon – The Bumper Book of Labour Sleaze will fit in a Christmas stocking.
Anne Summers – Get your sexy Christmas stockings, and something for her as well.
Argos Online – They deliver toys.
Backlash – Kinky libertarians.
Betfair – Clegg or Huhne? Place your bets.
18 Doughty Street – See you next year in your new form.
eBay – For everything.
Hamleys – Forgotten that present for your Godchild?
La Senza – Christmas is coming.
Laithwaites – Booze to the door.
Lastminute – Go Ski, go Caribbean.
Norwich Union – Socially responsible, unlike Guido.
Total Recall – That Alastair Darling ad was the best of the month.
War on Want – Have a right on, ethical winter festival.
Westminster Live – Studios overlooking Parliament.

To advertise on this and many other fine political sites contact MessageSpace.co.uk on 020 7107 2280.

The Day Heffer Nearly Donated His Brolly

This anecdote from Simon Heffer is worth recounting in full:-

It was a Labour Party conference in Brighton a few years ago. It was pouring with rain. I was leaving a restaurant and asked for my coat and umbrella.

The latter was a shockingly expensive, black wooden-handled model, bought deliberately so I would remember not to lose it. Instead, I was given the sort of floral collapsible one sold by Italian street vendors for a quid. I then saw a woman leaving the same restaurant with my umbrella. She protested it was hers. I protested it wasn’t.

I pointed out that a brass collar on the shaft bore my initials. At that moment, a waiter said, “Madam, here is your umbrella”, and handed her the Italian floral job. Flustered, Harriet Harman (for it was she) said that she thought she had borrowed the gamp from her sister who, being called Sarah Jane Harman, had the same initials as me.

Looking at the two brollies, I said I could see how easily she might have confused the two. She failed to appreciate the joke. Am I surprised that she is up to her neck in effluent about dodgy donations? Am I hell.

This is the reality of Harriet Harman. Too stupid to successfully steal an umbrella.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Abrahams Says Mendelsohn Knew, Mendelsohn Says He’s Lying

This is now becoming farcical. Like ferrets in a sack, things are becoming desperate.

The mendacious Mendelsohn is in a hole, there is no way out for him now. On LabourHome activists are calling for him to go. He was Gordon’s choice to raise funds for Labour…

The Party is Over…

Word is that the Harriet Harman party on Wednesday has been cancelled.

No word on ticket refunds…

Hat-tip : First Post

Good Week, Good Night

Guido is looking forward to going off to the panto with young Ms Fawkes tomorrow, which should be almost as much fun as UK politics.

It has been nice to see Vince Cable openly attacking the leader of another party, as opposed to attacking his own for the last few year(s). According to GMTV he has the ambition to dance on Strictly Come Dancing, expect to see Bruce Forsyth staggering with a stab wound soon…

It has also been great fun to see Yates (and Guido) get a second round of Labour funding sleaze to go after. This time with a bit of luck somebody will do time. It is fascinating to see it being blamed on Levy and Blair by Labour MPs. Labour MPs who only a few months ago were denying Levy and Blair were guilty of any wrong doing.

Enjoyed the new Telegraph blogs, one of which bemoanedwhere are the bloggers on Donorgate?, before elsewhere cutting and pasting Guido’s copy of that Wendy letter without attribution. You saw it here first, there later, so the answer to their question is, “ahead of the Telegraph”.

Mad Mel and others now talk darkly of anti-semitism. When Guido was kicking Prescott when he was down it was blamed on class snobbery, mocking Melissa Kite was misogyny – so what was Guido guilty of when he was slagging Blair? Sorry, in reality Guido is an equal opportunities piss taker.

Predictions for next week; more people will be discovered to have been “in the know”, therefore more people will have been part of a cover-up, we will re-focus on the fact that at £30 billion and rising the taxpayers are in for £1,000 each to Northern Rock as the property market goes south. Can it really get any worse for Brown next week? It will if Guido has a hand in it…

Poll : 70% of Labour Activists Think Harman Should Go

Source : LabourHome

+++ BBC Confirms Wendy Letter Genuine ++++

BBC 15.48 “Mr Green said he had received a personal letter from Ms Alexander thanking him for his contribution.”

Exclusive : Wendy Alexander Thank You Note Proves She Knew

click to enlarge
This letter should mean Wendy Alexander is toast. This personal note (dated October 5) to Paul Green shows that her telling the media that the first time she knew about the personal donation from Paul Green was 1 pm yesterday, is completely untrue.

Paul Green has also admitted that he gave two personal cheques of £950 which would have put him over the £1000 barrier and shown he was an impermissible donor.

Tom McCabe, her campaign manager, also said on Newsnight Scotland last night that David Whitton MSP was the treasurer for Wendy’s campaign. Yet it was David Whitton who put this statement out on Wednesday night:

“Paul Green was invited by one on the Campaign Team to make a donation as a longstanding Labour supporter. As required by the rules we made inquiries about permissibility and indicated to him that only a UK resident or UK registered company could donate. The registered donation was a UK corporate one. The allegation that a donation was accepted and returned is untrue. We acted in good faith at every stage. The Electoral Commission has been kept appraised.”

The Treasurer would have surely seen the personal cheques and Wendy could not have signed this without noticing the address was Jersey…

N.B. There is no wriggle room. She is on the hook completely;

4.3 It is the legal responsibility of a regulated donee, when receiving a donation to take all reasonable steps forthwith to satisfy themselves that the source of a donation is permissible within the relevant PPERA rules.


Seen Elsewhere

Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome
UKIPers Will Come Home in 2015 | Sun
Tories Set for Thrashing | Sun
Boris Announcement Imminent | Sun
The Case for Splitting Up CCHQ | ConservativeHome
Why UKIP Should Join a ‘European Union’. | Anna Raccoon
Dave’s Brush With Bed Bugs | Speccie
Farage: No Briton Could Be My Secretary | BBC
Dave and George Can Now Be Seen Together | Ben Brogan


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Francis Elliot reports on No. 10 strategy meetings:

“When discussion veers to subjects that Mr Crosby thinks of concern only to the political and journalistic classes, he treats the offender as a pub bore with a tart request to “pass the beer nuts, mate”.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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