Friday, April 24, 2009

Will a Million Voters Tell Gordon to Go?

Resign

Guido never links to Downing Street online petitions because they never achieve anything.  However dozens of people have emailed about this petition.  Guido has spoken to Civil Service types who confirm that under the rules of the petition service this petition is valid and permissable since it is non-partisan.  It has already attracted hundreds of petitioners in support.

Something tells Guido this could be big, really big.

Over two million people watched Dan Hannan on YouTube crush Gordon in a speech.  If half of them can be bothered to tell Gordon to go, it will be a huge symbolic protest against the unelected Prime Minister.  If you want Gordon to go tell him via his own website:  click here.

Friday Caption Contest (Bend It Like Edition)

Bonkers Brown Bruising in the Bunker

The financial newswire Bloomberg is not known for sensationalism, it has an in-house rule that unattributable reports have to be double-sourced.  So bunker watchers can be confident that this report from inside the Prime Mentalist’s bunker is more than just hearsay:

The strain shows, say current and former Brown aides: Among other things, it has inflamed a temper that has always been the subject of gallows humor among those who work with him, they say.  The prime minister, 58, has hurled pens and even a stapler at aides, according to one; he says he once saw the leader of Britain’s 61 million people shove a laser printer off a desk in a rage. Another aide was warned to watch out for “flying Nokias” when he joined Brown’s team.

The ‘News Sandwich’
One staffer says a colleague developed a technique called a “news sandwich” – first telling the prime minister about a recent piece of good coverage before delivering bad news, and then moving quickly to tell him about something good coming soon.

Michael Ellam, the PM’s spokesman told Lobby copy-takers on April 14 that the news of Smeargate had made the Prime Mentalist “furious”. Guido wonders if they noticed any signs of bruising on the spokesman?

The Heirs to Blair Should Fight Labour on Tax and Spend

Matthew Parris yesterday called on the Conservatives to come out of the closet, and behave like conservatives, Guido would be happy if they just behaved like Blairites. The symbolic 63.8% tax rate* should be opposed. Everyone can see that for the government to take more than half your income is not social justice, it is ritually sacrificing the successful on the altar of socialist dogma. Blair would never have countenanced it, he ruled it out in every manifesto that he signed.

Heir to BalirThe Cameroons have yet to shake off their awe of Blair, who was admittedly a political genius when it came to strategy. Brown is not Blair, when it comes to strategy he is a political idiot, he may be half blind but his bigger handicap is that he is tone deaf to popular feeling. Guido will frame his argument in terms that may resonate with the Cameroons better than Tim Montgomerie’s obituary for New Labour.

Osborne should ignore the siren calls from the likes of Polly and the Fink for acquiescence, there is no need to draw close to Gordon’s dividing line. Labour in government has once again ended in national financial disaster. Think what would Blair do in this situation?

The New Statesman’s James Macintyre, who often takes his copy straight from Mandelson’s friends with whom he has had a close relationship, says that Mandelson wants to fight on a programme of “prioritisation”. Mandelson wants to change the narrative to accept cuts in spending, in this he is supported by the surviving Blairites including Purnell. The Cameroons must not cede this territory to the Blairites in government. Mandelson knows the time for tax and spend is over, buried in debt and deficits.

So accept Gordon’s dividing lines. Think strategically “what would Blair do?” Now is the time for a clear message of fiscal conservativism and sound money.

*That is what the top marginal rate really amounts to when you include the combined NI of 13.8%.   Feudal serfs had to work 3 days a month for the barons.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Iain Martin Leaving Labourgraph

Iain MartinDon’t know why or if he even has somewhere to go, but source is reliable.   Maybe Iain is too Conservative leaning for the newspaper’s political team.  The political team has just been strengthened by importing Ben Brogan from the Daily Mail.  On the other hand it has been weakened by the loss of contributing editor Damian McBride, who supplied stories to the chief copy-taker, Andrew Porter.

Guido is also all too well aware that there are internal recriminations at The Telegraph over how it has handled Smeargate.  The Guardian this morning is reporting something of the story.  The Telegraph’s official line is that they aren’t bothered, a TMG spokesperson told the Guardian “As you might imagine, we did not entirely buy [Guido’s] version of events. But we are relaxed about it, to be honest.”

Well perhaps they might like to explain their version of events after everyone has seen this:

From : Christopher Hope
To : Guy Fawkes

Date : Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 6:09 PM
subject :  Non-disclosure agreement
mailed-by telegraph.co.uk

…This is to confirm that we, the Telegraph Media Group, are happy to give you our assurance that anything that you show to us tomorrow (April 3) will be in confidence, for our information, and will not be published in any form without your explicit and prior agreement.

Yours sincerely

Christopher Hope
Whitehall Editor
The Daily Telegraph
111 Buckingham Palace Road
London
SW1W 0DT

SmokescreenAs far as Guido is concerned they have behaved abysmally. They tipped off Downing Street with details of a politically serious story, publishing a spoiler that might as well have had Damian McBride’s byline (it didn’t mention him), they then alone of any newspaper in the world published a hatchet job of a profile. So if you are a source with an important political story, best you give the Telegraph a wide swerve.  They can’t be trusted.  They are likely betray your confidence and reveal you as the source…

UPDATE : Iain Martin has not responded to Guido’s emailed request for comment. So read into that what you will. Also have just noticed that Michael Ellam told the Lobby in the first briefing in the aftermath of Smeargate that the first Downing Street knew about Smeargate was when they were contacted on Friday night (by “national press” aka The Telegraph.)

Potty Priorities

The tabloid headline driven drug laws in Britain are a mess. The next Prime Minister of Britain spent his days at Eton smoking dope, the current Home Secretary says she only smoked “weak” dope, as if that makes a material difference.   If they had been caught and convicted they would probably not have got where they are today.

It is a mad situation where you get a lighter sentence for raping someone than you would for selling them a joint.  Which do you think is worse?

According to the government’s sentencing guidelines study in 2004, the average custodial sentence imposed for rape of an adult was 79.7 months and for GBH was 50.1 months.  For dope dealing the average was 84.0 months.

Why does “intent to supply” a relatively harmless, though wrongly categorised class ‘A’ drug like Ecstasy, attract a stiffer sentence than “attempted rape”?

UPDATE : Just noticed that Peter Wilby in the New Statesman is saying the contemporary left is too timid to be rational on drugs. The centre-right is too, given that a fair share of the Shadow Cabinet have enjoyed recreational drug use, isn’t it time we stopped kow-towing to Dacre and had a grown up attitude to drug addiction? It is a public health problem, not a criminal / judicial problem.

Hat-tip : UK Drug Policy Commission

Bailout : Gordon’s £1.4 Trillion Fail

giltsHere is the futures price chart for the generic Gilt.  All that is stopping that chart going further south faster is that the Bank of England is printing money (though printing isn’t the way it done nowadays, the Bank just changes amounts in the electronic ledger).  Some of that money is recycled into mopping up gilts.  It won’t work for ever.

Gordon has convinced fellow members of the IMF to sell the fund’s gold reserves, this visibly holds down the gold price as the relative value of paper money is destroyed.   There will be an awful day of reckoning.

The gilt market will revolt sooner or later.   Darling’s fantasy forecasts will be rejected by those of us in the reality-based financial markets.   The numbers are horrific.  Bloomberg’s Andrew MacAskill has totted up the cost of the bailout as £1.4 trillion.  That is over 100% of GDP.

Public Hearings on MP’s Expenses


Sir Christopher Kelly has this morning announced the terms of reference for the The Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Inquiry into MPs’ Expenses.  He says:

The aim of our Inquiry is to reform the system of MPs’ expenses to create a new set of rules which are trusted by the public, and which give MPs the support they need to do their jobs.

There will be public hearings, Guido intends to attend those hearings and make a submission through the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics.*

Over the last five years of investigating MP’s fiddles it is fair to say that Guido has become something of an (unwilling) expert on the system and the abuses of the system by which MPs enrich themselves.

Broadly speaking there are some simple principles which need to underpin any new system.  Firstly and most importantly transparency.  We need a completely transparent system of financing.  The best protection we have against shady behaviour is sunlight.

Secondly we need full accounting.  Every single penny must be accounted for, it is public money and the public are entitled to know where it goes.  If politicians don’t like it, maybe public life is not for them.

*Full disclosure, Guido financially supports the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics.  If you want to intern for the Centre (next month) email your resume to team@sunlight-cops.org.uk.

Nadine Ambushed Gordon at PMQs

Yesterday, prior to PMQs, Nadine Dorries asked the Speaker to call her in order to ask the Prime Mentalist for a personal apology over Smeargate.  The Speaker declined her request claiming that he could not use PMQs for personal special requests. Which is untrue because he can and does.

Nadine DorriesIf you watch yesterdays PMQs you will witness a successful ambush.  When Nadine stood up to ask the question her backbench colleagues mysteriously sat down.  The Speaker had to call someone from the Conservative benches, he was left with no choice but to call Nadine. Gordon was thus forced  humiliatingly to make a direct apology.  Never, ever underestimate Nadine Dorries, she is a Tory Tigress…

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reporting from the Guardian

IndexGuido was at the Index on Censorship Awards ceremony last night, deep in the bowels of the Guardian’s new fancy offices. The purpose built modern building will make a great museum when the paper eventually goes bust.

The event was packed to the gills with media luvvies and Islington’s finest. David Hare gave a splendidly acerbic speech. Chairman Johnathan Dimbleby raged against the “censorship” of the BBC’s Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen, who was mildly criticised for his blatant anti-Israeli bias by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee. Guido thought it a gentle rebuke to Bowen given how biased his broadcasts from the supposedly impartial state broadcaster seem. Hardly makes him a dissident, does it? He has been given no punishment, no demotion, nothing. Wonder if he had been criticised for anti-Palestinian bias would the room have been so concerned?

Václav HavelStereotypically the auction fundraiser saw a week in a Tuscan villa get the top bid from the assembled Hampstead liberals and Guardianistas. No, it really did. Guido was very pleased to win the auction for a copy of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto signed by Václav Havel himself. The dissident playwright was imprisoned multiple times during the Soviet era by an authoritarian socialist Czech regime, his plays were banned and he was reduced to working in a brewery. After the Velvet Revolution he ended up being President of the freed Czech Republic. It went for a tenth of the price of that week in Tuscany. Guardianistas really do have different values…


Seen Elsewhere

Liz Kendall For Leader | Indy
Bashir Booted Out By Respect | Respect
Americans Try Haggis | Guardian
Page 3 and the Art of the Self-Pity Statement | Guardian
Steven Woolfe For UKIP Leader? | Asa Bennett
Mohammed — in Pictures | Speccie
Leon Brittan’s Accusers Must Show Their Evidence | Dan Hodges
New Saudi King Renames Roads While Body Still Warm | TechnoGuido
In Davos, Carrying a BlackBerry is a Status Symbol | Business Insider
New Labour in Peep Show Quotes | Telegraph
Here is What a 7 Way Debate Sounds Like | BBC


Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


George Galloway says of his former Respect candidate the UKIP MEP turned Tory, Amjad Bashir…

“Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment, only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us.”


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