Brown Gives Bollocking to Hain

Brown has “expressed anger and disappointment at Peter Hain’s failure to disclose the full extent of donations to his deputy leadership campaign” according to the Guardian.

Gordon gave Hain a telephonic bollocking for ruining Brown’s New Year re-launch and blunting the intended counter-attack to Cameron’s welfare reform plans as announced by Chris Grayling. Grayling stingingly responded to Hain’s “Tory sums don’t add up” line with “Someone in Peter Hain’s position should be very careful about accusing anyone else of getting their sums wrong.”

Hain’s prospects in any cabinet reshuffle now look bleak. His department is obviously suffering from having a distracted Minister, a press release put out by the Department for Work and Pensions today has the headline “Brits struggle to make ends meet in the New Year”. The release contains their own polling figures showing that more than half of people in the UK (55%) spend more than they can afford and are “struggling”. Hardly the official message Brown and Darling are spinning of national economic strength. Perhaps if more Britons took out a loan from Picture Financial Services plc, sponsors of Peter Hain…

Gordon Boredom

Gordon Brown’s press conference is going on now. The political press pack is coming to dread Gordon’s repetitious droning. Iain Martin in the Telegraph said Gordon Brown’s speech on the NHS yesterday “went on, and on, and on… The content is very much downtown Havana and the presentation style also has Cuban echoes, like one of those speeches by Castro it goes on, and on, and on.”

John Harris in this morning’s Guardian reckons it is hard to distinguish Brown from a crypto-Stalinist parody –

“We will strengthen the democracy and unity of our country. Our priority at all times, our guiding purpose: one Britain of security and opportunity … With unbending determination, we will steer a course of stability through global financial turbulence … with firm conviction and resolve, we will make the case for the United Kingdom … I pledge my resolution to continue the work of change.”

Simon Hoggart criticises his descent into into verb-free sentences. Most Lobby journalists are bored with Gordon already, his colourless technocratic rhetoric. The automatic repetition of phrases and keywords such as “change”, “long term”, “tough decisions”, “my vision” and “getting on with the job” seems to be orally excreted on an endlessly looping tape. It going to be a long time until the next election…

UPDATE : Ben Brogan seems to have become bored and disenchanted with the Brownies as well. He even calls Gordon dishonest.

More Steve Morgan Anecdotes Please

Peter Hain’s sleazy lobbyist fundraiser, Steve Morgan, told Radio Wales this morning that he had been brought in to the campaign to “bring order to chaos”. A source retorts “bollocks”. Every donation, they insist firmly, was properly accounted for up until the moment Phil Taylor walked out after falling out with Morgan. The documentation Guido got hold of in May seemed very precise and backs this up.

Hain’s allies are furious at Morgan’s audacity. Guido hears so many bad things about Mr Morgan. Do email more to Guido.Fawkes@Order-Order.com.

Credit Crunch Over Hain’s £5,000 from Loan Company CEOHe Gave Ringing Commercial Endorsement to Backer

Carol Vorderman charges a fortune to advertise debt consolidation company FirstPlus. Peter Hain got a donation of £5,000 from rival debt consolidaton company boss, Neville Allport, his Picture Financial Services plc offers easy credit – “You can even borrow up to 125% of the value of your home” says the website “something that traditional lenders won’t consider.” They won’t consider such gearing because it is financially reckless.

Prominently displayed all over the company website is Hain’s ringing commerical endorsement. Guido can’t recall a serving minister’s endorsement ever being used to advertise a company in this way. Guido is sure that Hain’s endorsements and the £5,000 donation are entirely coincidental.

The 10.9% APR charged to credit maxed out debtors is very profitable, which probably explains why Ronnie Cohen’s Apax Private Equity is the biggest investor in Picture Financial Services plc. Remind Guido again where Hain stood on the Private Equity issue during the deputy-leadership campaign…

UPDATE : Looks like Hencke and Wintour on the Guardian are joining the chase this morning, with a front-page splash on Hain’s missing declarations. They are (rightly) fingering sleazy lobbyist Steven Morgan, identified by Guido in May 2007 as responsible for raising the cash.

The story points vaguely to an undeclared circa £10,000 from “City or business people”. Hain is said to be personally auditing the figures. Don’t forget the benefits-in-kind Peter…

BBC Interviews Al Jazeera’s Bin Laden Tape Guy

Brown came in promising an end to spin yet six months later he is appointing Stephen Carter, head of the PR firm Brunswick, to be his “Principal Political Adviser”. So a spin doctor is now in charge of all SpAds including (the unpopular with the Lobby) Damian McBride. Carter will be in overall charge of political strategy and communications.

He had been at Brunswick for only a year after failing to get the job of ITV chief before leaving the media industry regulator Ofcom. Spinning for Brown will keep him very busy.

So looks like the Smith Institute’s Wilf Stevenson has missed out on the rumoured chief-fixer job. Matthew d’Ancona, the Daily Mail and the Indy seemed to think he was the front-runner. Or has he? Ah well…

UPDATE 17:22 : The Tories have just sent out a press release pointing out that Carter told the Guardian last year: ‘I’m not thinking of politics. I made that decision a long, long time ago’. A statement that is clearly untrue and inconsistent with reality, so he is perfect for Gordon. They also allege that Stephen Carter is being paid a salary of £137,000 to be “Gordon Brown’s spinner-in-chief”. Memorable phrase that…

Electoral Commission "Still in Contact with Mr Hain’s Office"

The new Register of Members Interests for Peter Hain shows a £5,000 donation belatedly registered on December 18 from Bill Bottriell. Hain registered it with the Electoral Commission as well on the December 12. However he still hasn’t registered Mendolsohn’s donation with the Electoral Commission but has put it on the Register. Incompetent or deceptive?

Guido has asked Hain’s office what is going on to no avail. The Electoral Commission says only that it is still in contact with Hain’s office, could that be because they are now being a little bit more rigorous? So the issue remains unresolved and incomplete to put it kindly. Is there a problem? Guido thinks so…

UPDATE 23:30 : The Pink ‘Un’s George Parker re-hashed Guido’s story and got a quote this evening from Hain’s office. Hain will provide the information “very shortly” but “aides have refused to explain why it was taking him so long, other than to say he wanted to be sure he got the facts straight. They said it was “ludicrous” to suggest he had something to hide.”

Outed

The Indy’s John Rentoul has got things a little mixed-up. There is a dark secret in Guido’s political past from his youth…

He was indeed a paid up member of the SDP, as was Liberty’s Shami Chakrabarti (she was always a cutie). Guido was on the national-executive of the youth wing no less.

It was apparently an incubator of political talent, or maybe not…

Will Be Blogging Westminster, Not Washington

Does the British Commentariat really know what it is talking about? They seem awfully ready to provide analysis of the local psephology of states they have never even visited. Dale is off to Washington at least, almost every British hack

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Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

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Finishing the Project : Making 2008 Dangerous for Brown

In the early days of the Cameron regime change, the Tory party’s recidivist right charged Dave with being policy-lite, all mood music and photo-opportunity. Privately the Cameroons explicitly agreed that they were about “changing the aroma”. Many of the

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Gordon Plans to Water the Workers’ Beer

As sterling plummets against all currencies (apart from the Pakistani Rupee) Guido’s thoughts turn nostalgically to Jim Callaghan, a former Chancellor who became Prime Minister in 1976 and presided over a sterling crisis (what crisis?). He once sung a little

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