Sith Cancel Scheduled Downing Street Meeting

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope is reporting that the Smith Institute has cancelled the meeting it was having at No. 11 Downing Street and moved it to a different central London location – the British Academy.

He says the Smith Institute refused to say where it originally planned to have the meeting – despite it stating clearly in the original invitation that it was being held “with the kind permission of the Chancellor of the Exchequer”.

Hope has picked up on the use of “Fair” by Gordon yesterday at his press conference in reference to tax, and the seminar’s “Fair Tax” title. Could they somehow be related?

Anti-sleaze campaigner Chris Grayling MP agrees; “It looks like an amazing coincidence that the Smith Institute is riding once again to the rescue in areas where Gordon Brown is having political problems.”

Yesterday the Labour Party Realisedthe New Boss is the Same as the Old Boss

What must have been depressing about yesterday, from the point of view of Labour MPs and activists, wasn’t that they lost the non-election, wasn’t that they had got their hopes up to crush Cameron only to see them dashed, it is the dawning collective self-realisation that nothing has changed with New Labour’s new leader.

Of course Brown’s enemies have always said that, but Labour activists wanted, even believed, that Gordon and his moral compass would change their party’s direction. When Oliver Letwin heckled Brown yesterday in the chamber for “pure spinning” the dejected government benches did not react. Usually there would be growling and baying back at him. Nothing. They knew it was true.

The Lobby, when Brown told the press conference that the polls were not the reason he had bottled it, in the words of Ben Brogan – a journalist well plugged into the Brownies - “no-one in the room believed him”.

The voters, uninterested as they are in the goings on in the Westminster village, were half expecting an election this month, only to see a battered Brown back off. The strong man looks weakened.

Labour activists themselves are starting to feel uncomfortable, the poll lead has melted, the gloss has come off their self-anointed leader and the nagging suspicion must be growing given the blatant bold-faced lying we saw yesterday, that nothing has changed besides the name on the door. He has even started doing that inane grin thing. The new boss is the same as the old boss…

LibDem Woes Surely Demand Tory Silence

Guido is surprised at those two Tory bloggers, Dizzy and Dale, rubbing their LibDem opponents noses into the polls. Surely the best thing for the Tories is to keep silent and hope Ming remains in situ?

Speaking of Tory bloggers, Ed Vaizey promised Iain Dale he would make a blog post every day if Iain publicised him. He broke his promise the same day. How unusual for a politician. He has also managed to cross everything on his blog out. Doh!

+++ EXCLUSIVE +++Tax Policy Emergency : "Call in the Smith Institute"

The non-political charity known as the Smith Institute, which is in no way a front for the Brownies, is having a Downing Street seminar on Wednesday next week.

The subject? “Fair Tax” – which is the political hot-issue of the moment for the Brownies. Is this what Gordon meant this morning when he said he wanted more time to “forensically” take apart Osborne’s proposals?

Judging by the copy of the invitation Guido has obtained, it looks like the Smith Institute is being tasked with developing a political response strategy for dealing with the non-domicile and inheritance tax proposals – Osborne has pushed Brown into uncomfortably defending tax-free billionaires. Something the Brownies would not have been expecting…

No wonder Smith Institute director Wilf Stevenson is inviting people to 11 Downing Street “with the kind permission of the Chancellor of the Exchequer”they need a new tax philosophy and fast.

UPDATE : The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies is distinctly unimpressed at the claim that the event is part of a jointly held seminar series. Bonnie Brimstone the events organiser at the IFS told Guido she had not heard anything about it, Robert Chote the Director of the IFS was more diplomatic, when Guido put it to him that Wilf’s invite said it was a joint seminar he demurred “I wouldn’t describe it that way”.

Rich and Mark’s Monday Morning View

Media First, House Second

Even Nick Robinson is taking the piss out of the Bottler-in-Chief. He is asking readers of his blog for suggestions as to what he should ask Gordon at today’s press conference. He also explains why old Brown pants would rather face the press pack than the opposition.
The truth is that he would far rather do this at a news conference than in the bear-pit of Parliament or a round with the media’s toughest interviewers. It isn’t that difficult when you get to choose the questions (allowing you to say “the lady at the back with the headscarf” if the going gets tough and you fancy a detour into the Middle East) and you disallow follow-ups and when you stand up in the state rooms of Downing Street looking prime ministerial.

Is that “toughest interviewers” jibe a dig at Marr? Apparently Robbo only found out about the Marr audience with Gordon second hand. Brave Brown is not coming to the House first today (has he forgotten about “the new politics”) he is going to face the Lobby first. Revealing isn’t it that he would rather face the likes of Andrew Marr than MPs. Incidentally, Robbo asking his blog readers for help? He’ll be offering them T-shirts next…

Tom Watson Pays Up After Losing Bet to David Cameron

The “Proppa Blogga” was out-blogged by Dave and by his own admission had to take his medicine. Tom Watson has paid up after losing his bet to David Cameron, he has (with a little prodding) now donated £100* to the Acorn Children’s Hospice Trust.

He hardly had any choice, but it gave Guido a chuckle to see him proved so vaingloriously and publicly wrong.

(Dizzy and Guido matched him with donations to Scope.)

Time To Pay Up Tom

Tom Watson MP, caught bang to rights – more details on www.PayUpTom.com.

Marr as Brown’s Journalist Poodle

Many of Marr’s journalist colleagues are irritated with him but some are laughing at him. The Brownies called in Marr yesterday for the usual exclusive self-declamatory love-in with Gordon that they book whenever he is in trouble. Remember when he

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Gordon Has Bottled It

The author of a book on Courage, the genius tactician, has bottled it. Gordon marched his troops to the top of the hill, and then he ran away.
The Brownies* will claim that they are “getting on with the

[…]

+ READ MORE +

UPDATED : Election Fever – Who Says When

Dateline : 5 October

The Telegraph’s Daniel Hannan has been in touch to point out that Peter Riddell first ruled out any prospect of a 2007 poll back in June, “that’s what first persuaded me it was likely.” He also

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+ READ MORE +

Friday Caption Competition

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+ 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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