Thursday, August 21, 2008

Downing Street Website Fails To Meet Government Guidelines

Why Did Tim Parker Really Quit Team Boris?

Tim Parker surprisingly resigned as head of Transport For London and deputy mayor. The spin was something about Boris needing to take on this important job as he was elected to sort out London’s tranpsort system. Obviously bollocks.
They knew all that when Boris appointed him. Parker said when he started in June: “Throughout my business career I have been accountable to exacting shareholders. In my new role, my shareholders will be the taxpayers of London.” He took a symbolic £1 in pay. 24 hours after he quit TFL and TubeLines caved in to a ludicrous London Underground pay deal. Hence the RMT’s Crowe cancelling the strike. Do you think that perhaps Parker, a famous cost cutter, quit for this reason? Can it be a coincidence? Could Boris have hoisted the white flag because he was petrified of “Tory Cuts” rhetoric?

European Union v Empire


Hat-tip : Donal Blaney

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Courageously Risk Your Life Undercover and Downing Street Digital Team Will Put Your Picture Up

When not stealing other people’s creative products and passing it off as their own the Downing Street digital team ignore 50,000 petitioners to make funny videos. No one is laughing tonight.

So pleased are they with the functionality of their Flickr photo album they had pictures of flowers from the garden up today – oh and a picture of an undercover police officer. Doh!

Dizzy has the scoop.

UPDATE : Guido knows the identity of the officer (blurred in the picture above), his commendation was related to him receiving a baseball bat beating when on surveillance .

Could We See Boulton & Co in Boxers and Bikinis?

Dale has done his annual list and the results are in for the “media” section:

Top 10 Media Blogs
1. Spectator Coffee House
2. Ben Brogan
3. Three Line Whip
4. Boulton & Co
5. Nick Robinson
6. Comment Central
7. Paul Linford
8. David Cornock
9. Peter Hitchens
10. Melanie Phillips

Guido draws your attention to the promise made on the Sky News website:

Any votes for Boulton & Co. would be greatly appreciated and we promise, if we get into the top 10, that there will be semi-naked photos of all our political correspondents made available on the blog.

Well?

"We Are All In Relative Poverty" According to Osborne

Guido popped down this morning to the Demos Ikea showroom / think tank to hear what the 18th (to be) Baronet of Ballintaylor in the County of Tipperary and heir to a fortune had to say on “fairness”. George Osborne’s pamphlet is here and the speech echoed the charges that inequality has increased under New Labour. Strangely Guido thinks that New Labour is too afraid to defend itself on this issue.

Relative poverty has increased only because we have generally got richer. Absolute poverty has not increased. The problem for those who put equality before liberty is that they are too embarrassed to say that whilst we have all in aggregate got richer, some have got even richer, even faster. So What? Essentially if you believe in the conceptual value of the idea of “relative poverty” you believe that if Warren Buffet moved to London poverty would increase. Britons would after all now be relatively poorer compared to the average. If George when he becomes Chancellor succeeds in driving rich, non-domiciles away from British shores he will be able to claim he has reduced relative poverty. Not one single poor person’s absolute circumstances will have changed (apart perhaps from a few more unemployed domestic staff ). Splendid, Polly Toynbee will be pleased.

There was a moment of comedy when an extremely bedraggled looking Derek Draper piped up with a question from the back. Osborne congratulated him “on his new role as psychological consultant to the PM. Good luck with that.” Osborne was also quizzed about the ideological incoherency of all this cross-party triangulation on poverty and social justice. He said something wonkish about there being a continuum of political thinking from himself through Alan Milburn to Brown with the same long term goal.

Osborne took the opportunity to praise Alan Milburn. Mischievously saying, to much laughter, that he also shared with Milburn “his short term goals”

CCHQ Admits Cawte Declaration Errors Blames "Administrative Oversight"

When you are Chief-of-Staff to the Conservative Party chairman and she is under investigation for expense fiddling to pay for her nanny constituency secretary there is bound to be some scrutiny of your status. Simon Cawte has not yet satisfactorily explained how when she was in charge of the Tory local election campaigns he, as her Chief-of-Staff, was performing a non-partisan role paid out of her Parliamentary Staffing Allowance by the taxpayers.

Off the record and in the comments here CCHQ insiders say “everyone does it”. That is not a defence, that is an admission of guilt.

The Centre for Open Politics has been digging into Spelman’s expenses and discovered that, according to the register, Cawte was not being paid by CCHQ even though he was working at Millbank in the Party Chairman’s office (shaded in blue on the timeline graphic above). After two days of stonewalling by Cawte, CCHQ gave Guido an official response to his questions:

“Simon Cawte has previously declared to the House of Commons Registrar that he is paid for by Conservative Party funds. Whilst this declaration was made in January 2008 it has come to our attention that the declaration should have been made by August 2007. This was an administrative oversight and the registrar has been informed accordingly.”

CCHQ insist, despite the evidence of the register, that Cawte was actually paid by them since July 2007 for doing clearly partisan work. He was also paid by them in 2005 for doing partisan work. In 2006 he wasn’t paid by them, even though he was doing the same job, because it suddenly became a non-partisan job. Guido suspects that it is more likely that CCHQ was only willing to pay for one CCHQ staffer when Spelman was Local Government Shadow – Sheridan Westlake was seconded to her staff as the Local Government portfolio expert. Given that Spelman is about as popular as rabies with activists and donors she was, unlike other members of the Shadow Cabinet, unable to get private funding for her Chief-of-Staff so, in breach of the rules, she slipped him back onto the Parliamentary Staffing Allowance temporarily. She does after all have previous for expediently getting the taxpayer to pay for her private staff…

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Your Taxes at Work in Downing Street

We would actually rather have Jeremy Clarkson as PM…

Fact : more people voted for Clarkson to be PM than Gordon.

Gold Medal for John Major, Nil Points for Richards

Steve Richards is supplanting Polly Toynbee as Guido’s favourite comedy commentator. Today he has a piece not quite as good as his genius three word summary of Brown in four words. Nor is it up there with his only stupid people will vote for Boris. Whereas Guido can guess and probably even write a Polly column, Richards is so much funnier than Polly, his ideological eccentricities are unpredictable.Today he makes the claim that Britain’s gold medal tally at the Olympics proves that we need higher government spending. Does it?

The Fabians took the lesson of World War II and the centrally controlled state war machine’s victory and drew the wrong conclusion. They thought a centrally controlled economy and centrally planned health and education would triumph. Ignoring that it was the free market economy of the U.S.A. that was the arsenal of democracy which brought victory over the totalitarian and rigidly controlled Nazi war economy.

Higher investment in sports training has brought results. The money raised was raised without resort to taxation, did not end up in Whitehall or in the hands of state bureaucrats. John Major loved sport and it is his strictures that have produced the golden results. Higher spending on education and health will produce better results, but not productively if the spending is made in state controlled schools and hospitals. Blair realised that eventually, the Tories single best policy is to encourage Swedish-style “Free Schools“. That policy will do for aspirational parents what council house sales did for aspirational tenants – free them from the failing clutches of the state.

Richards’ tax and spend thinking would not result in gold standards, just more government waste.

UPDATE : John Major has just made the point on the Today show that the government has been diverting money away from sport towards New Labour’s pet projects.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Don’t Know About Guardian Polling

Fresh from underestimating how much their editor makes (the paper reported Alan Rusbridger making £143,000 less than £544,000 the annual report stated) they have just reported the polling intentions of 101% of the population.

Ladies and gentlemen, the ever reliable Grauniad…


Seen Elsewhere

Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott
Cameron Faces Vote of No Confidence or Rebellion | FT
Cameron Faces Revolt Over ‘Vow’ | Sun
It’s Time to Speak for England | John Redwood
It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
England Must Have Self-Government Too | Mark Wallace
Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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