You Read It Here First

The Tory Press Office has now released this extract from the speech in advance “This is a new Conservative Party with new priorities. There’s been a lot of talk about lurching, so let me make it clear – no lurch to the right, no lurch to the left. There’s only one direction for me and that’s forward to the future. A clear balanced programme of change for the long term, optimism about what Britain can be, hope for the next generation. That means understanding that we live in a new world and that the old politics isn’t working.”

++ EXCLUSIVE ++ Cameron’s Speech

It will be “purposeful” inside sources indicate, “everything we do now is predicated on the assumption that we could be fighting an election in three weeks… we are at battle stations”.
  • The speech will emphasise that there is to be no new direction, no lurching to the right or the left.
  • Cameron is sticking to his change agenda.
  • He will say that Brown claims to have similar aspirations to the Conservatives, but the evidence is that he has failed to deliver after 10 long years.
  • The country has a choice between optimism versus pessimism.
After Gordon’s “I am the son of a preacher” speech last week, Cameron will relate some of his personal experiences and how they drive his aspirations for the country.

There will be no gimmicky claims on sunshine this time, it will it was emphasised to Guido, be a serious speech.

Osborne Demands Explanation Over Civil Service

Last night’s employment of Treasury Civil Servants in the production of a rapid rebuttal Labour party press release by Alastair Darling has not go unnoticed by George Osborne. He has written a complaint dressed up as a query;

Dear Permanent Secretary,

On 30th April 2007, the then Economic Secretary, Ed Balls MP told the House of Commons, “Information is not held on overseas income and gains that do not give rise to a tax liability in the UK.”

As the then Paymaster General, Dawn Primarolo MP told the House on 8th March 2007, this is because non-doms are not required to disclose this information: “In general, individuals do not have to inform HMRC of their foreign income or gains unless this is relevant to their UK tax liability.”

Last night, the Labour Party distributed a press release which stated: “The Treasury’s initial estimate, on best information available, is that just 15,000 current non-domicile residents have foreign income in excess of £62,000.”

I am writing to ask you to explain why it is the case that information which the Treasury refused to give to Parliament appears to have been given to the Labour Party. Or, will you confirm that the statement made to Parliament this Spring remains the case.

As I am sure you agree, it is essential that the principle of civil service impartiality is not jeopardised, particularly during this period of speculation about a forthcoming general election.

I would be grateful if you could reply to me with an explanation, by this evening.

Yours sincerely

George Osborne
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

Darling’s Treasury Rebuttal Breaks Civil Service Code

Alastair Darling had a reputation as a safe pair of hands, but the more you see of him under pressure, the less safe he seems.

At the start of the Northern Rock crisis he at first claimed all was well, then dithered, waffled and eventually promised the government would guarantee everything. A promise he has now gone back on – as Northern Rock shares fell even more today.

Unsettled by the finesse of Osborne’s tax policy announcements he seems to have completely lost the plot yesterday, claiming the Tory figures don’t add up whilst simultaneously acknowledging they don’t know how many non-doms there are or what income they have. But the Labour party press release is even more extraordinary:

“Today George Osborne made a £3.5 billion tax commitment. Treasury analysis shows it is impossible for him to raise the money he needs to pay for this commitment from his proposals on residence and domicile. Initial costings by the Treasury show that George Osborne’s proposal would raise a maximum of £650m, leaving George Osborne at least £2.9 billion short.”

It is a sacking offence for civil servants to engage in party political work. Darling has just press released a confession to a fundamental breach of the Civil Service Code. In reality politicians often pressure civil servants to cross the partisan line, discretely behind closed doors where they would be unlikely to be caught, certainly not with the work press released during the opposition’s party conference. Gus O’Donnell, who heads the Civil Service, will not be impressed with this at all.

In more honourable times, a Minister would have been expected to resign if he was found to have pushed Civil Servants to break the rules. New Labour are increasingly unable to separate their private party interest from the interests of the state…

Hat-tip : Benedict Brogan

Raving Tories Play the Bass to the Base

The Tories got all Eeeed-up with this video to the conference hall. What with Thatcher becoming (as exclusively predicted here) cool again and now the Tories leading a rave revival it is all giving Guido a warm nostalgic feeling. Acieeed!

Raving Tories

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Stormin Rennie is Ready!

Lord Rennard has just emailed Guido:

I am writing you this email from our newly created “election war-room” in Cowley Street. We have just had back-to-back meetings of our Shadow Cabinet and Federal Policy Committee to put the finishing touches to our general election manifesto.

Of course, I can’t tell you the details just yet. [TOP SECRET DOUBLE HUSH HUSH] But it will be a very strong document setting our distinctive values with a strong emphasis on the environment.

Throughout this week the General Election Management Team has been planning things like our press conferences and Ming’s extensive tour across the country. [CALL HELP THE AGED]

The reports from constituencies this weekend are very good. We have had thousands of party members knocking on doors and making telephone calls as part of “community canvass week” Ming himself was out canvassing earlier this week in Scotland.

Whether Gordon Brown calls the election next week, the following week, or at any time in future – we will be ready ! [LIKE THE BOY SCOUTS]

With best wishes

Chris Rennard
Chief Executive, Liberal Democrats

Odd…

Friday Caption Competition (Reds Edition)

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Opinion Polls versus Actual Votes

Guido just stuck even more money on the Tories being the biggest party post-election. Note the bet terms carefully – the biggest party. The prices have admittedly moved further against the Tories since last month when Guido stuck £50

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Breaking News

Nick Robinson breathlessly informed us yesterday on his blog that “The BBC has learnt that over the past 24 hours the Labour Party has begun recruiting key staff to work on an election campaign.” Nick is a brilliant investigative reporter

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Blears Gets a Cookie-Monstering

[…]

+ 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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