Monday, November 26, 2007

CIA : BAE Bribed Hungarian and Czech Politicians

The New York Times is reporting this morning that the CIA discovered that Hungarian and Czech politicians received millions of dollars in bribes from BAE. The U.S. Department of Justice is stepping up its investigation into BAE.

The British government is not cooperating with the investigation. Hardly surprising when Blair blocked the BAE/Saudi corruption investigation on security grounds. Will they try that line again?

Does Newsnight Know What Day It Is?

Last week Andrew Marr had a go at Sky News for being less accurate than BBC News and Current Affairs. So two days of misreporting from Newsnight gives us a good laugh.

On Thursday, BBC Newsnight reported that the “Dow Jones was substantially down amidst more credit crunch fears”. That inaccurate insight and analysis was based on what? Based on bollocks.

It was made up. There were no credit crunch fears spooking the markets. The market was closed for the Thanksgiving day holiday. The economics editor Stephanie Flanders has ‘fessed up that it was “unforgivable and embarrassing”. Peter Barron contritely said on the Newsnight blog on Friday afternoon that it won’t happen again because they will check the U.S. market is trading. So Emily Maitlis was much more careful with Friday night’s market report:

“…the FTSE 100 share index closed up, sadly we can’t show the exact figures, um, holiday season as you know in the US, so the Dow Jones remains unchanged. Against the Euro, the currencies here, the pound up, against the dollar the pound was down. You’ll just have to take my word for it. We’ll get you some figures by Monday.”

The market was actually open and up 181 points closing at 12,981 (according to Sky News). So did they actually check the market was trading? Doh! Can they get it right tonight or will it be three days in a row?

Hat-tip : Biased BBC

UPDATE : Newsnight editor Peter Barron responds “I despair! We are having a complete revision of the way we collect and check the markets information.” The producer of that piece protests (anonymously) that s/he didn’t make it up. S/he just copied it wrongly from the BBC’s business wire. Guido’s advice : first check what they say on Sky News.

High Flying LibDem MEP Joins Tories

Sajjad Karim, Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West of England is joining the Conservative Party.

Saj is a free trader, helping to negotiate for an EU-India free trade treaty, in 2005 he was named as “a high flyer of British politics” by The Times in its Who’s Who of 2005.

The news will shake LibDems who are polling very shakily in the mid-teens. Saj, who was the first ever Muslim member of the European parliament, will be welcomed by Dave with open arms.

UPDATE : Why didn’t the Tories wait until the day of the LibDem leadership election result? Than they could have made him say “Tweedledee is not the right man blah blah blah…”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Brown : "I Don’t Look at Polls"

Brown has just told Sky’s Adam Boulton that he doesn’t look at opinion polls. An absolutely blatant lie.

He even has a personal pollster – Deborah Mattinson – who must now dread telling him the bad news. After Mattinson told him he would lose the marginals, he bottled having an election. When he told the press pack that they weren’t a factor they were incredulous. When he told Cameron the same at PMQs the Tory benches fell about laughing. He is like most politicians, poll obsessed.

Facts :

  • Labour is polling at levels not seen since the nadir of Blair.
  • The News of the World tomorrow will report that on “economic competence”, Labour has finally lost the positive poll differential it has enjoyed over the Tories ever since the 1992 ERM debacle.
  • The Mail on Sunday has a poll rating Brown as less competent than John Major and Darling as less competent than Lamont.
  • If Blair were leading Labour they would be neck and neck with the Tories instead of 5% behind according to the same BPIX poll.

Maybe it would be better for his state-of-mind if he doesn’t look at the papers tomorrow…

Cameron : “We are Libertarians”

Dave is in Prague this morning to address the party conference of ODS, the future European parliamentary partners of the Tories. Founded by Thatcherite ideologue Václav Klaus, the party is receptive to what is a very rare message today from a politician – “fight for freedom”.  His speech has more ideological content than his normal stump speeches:-

“So there are many battles we must fight together, and my message to you today is a simple one – a message that I know you will understand more than most. The battle for freedom and opportunity is never finally won. In each generation, those of us who believe in freedom, in human potential, in the idea that the strength of our society comes from the energy and industry and creativity of our people; those of us who believe in these things must be ready to fight for them because the enemies of freedom are never finally vanquished. They always live to fight another day. Today we can see the enemies of freedom preparing a renewed assault on our liberty. They do not mean to harm us. In fact, they mean to help us. But their ideas are out of date, their methods have failed and their advance must be derailed. I am speaking of the politicians and public officials who believe that they know best how to organise our lives. That they are the experts, so they must have the power. You can find them everywhere – in my country, in your country and in the EU itself. They are the last defenders of the bureaucratic age, an age before the information revolution and our new world of freedom that makes it possible to put real power in people’s hands. But in their desire to control, to regulate, to direct, the defenders of the bureaucratic age have over-reached themselves. They have gone too far. They have tried to do too much. And it has exposed the historic error of their ways.

In Britain, bureaucratic over-reach has seen the Labour Government creeping further and further into the lives of British people. Millions of families sucked into a complex system of tax credits. An army of tax collectors that is now almost as big as our actual army. Fingerprinting children at school. And this week we saw a shocking consequence of this bureaucratic over-reach: a scandal where the government has lost the names, addresses and bank details of almost every family in the country. Are they learning the lesson? Do they accept that bureaucracy has gone too far? Of course not. They are stuck in the bureaucratic age. So they now want to take personal information about everyone in the country and store it on a national identity register. We are seeing this bureaucratic over-reach in the EU too. The desire for harmonisation and homogenisation – on tax, on regulation, on so many aspects of public and private life. It is the last gasp of an outdated ideology, a philosophy that has no place in our new world of freedom, a world which demands that we fight this bureaucratic over-reach and lead Europe into the hope and potential of a new, post-bureaucratic age.”

Dave is no Churchill, or even a Reagan, but it is refreshing to hear a politican talk optimistically about freedom. Amidst all the fear-mongering about security that is peddled in the war-on-terror, what we are fighting for, rather than against, is forgotten. The government is far too willing to trade real liberty for fake security.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bottler Gives Remaindered "Courage" Book to African Kids

In an attempt to shift remaindered copies of his vanity published book on Courage Gordon is today giving away copies to Ugandan school children.

Whose brilliant idea was that? The travelling press pack are laughing at him. As many co-conspirators have pointed out in the comments, what is it with Gordon and photo-ops at schools. Do his media team have any other ideas? It just looks awkward, him smiling away at the kids and forcing his book on them.

What did the kids do to deserve this treatment?

Fox News

Liam Fox just came out with a great line about Des Browne; “He spends more time fighting the SNP than the Taliban”. Stinging…

UPDATE : Former Labour defence Minister, Lord Gilbert, told Channel 4 News that the troop’s families would find it very hard to understand when their loved ones were risking their lives in Afghanistan, why the Secretary of Defence was opening a Scottish golf course.

Friday Caption Contest (Why Me Edition)

Boris Ups His Work Rate

Londoners tuned into Capital Radio this morning to hear Boris on with Johnnie Vaughn, not sure if it was to do with his new single release. Wednesday he gave a speech on housing, yesterday he was banging on about Heathrow and the execution of De Menezes. Earlier in the week he did a photo-op down Portobello Road.

He has now visited every one of the 32 boroughs in London, a campaign source tells Guido he has also completed a month long immersive education in the details of policy. The grid for the campaign kicks off in earnest in January. Ken’s policy response is a proposal to nationalise all trains coming into London. With the LibDems choosing the PC PC, Brian Paddick, it is all going to be fun…

Incidentally, the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh have Boris as guest speaker next Thursday night. If you want to attend and see if he can make it through dinner without upsetting another nationality, email Jane, (tickets are £15).

Seen Elsewhere

Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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