Saturday, June 7, 2008

Coaching the Witness and Double Standards

Guido is getting a lot of abuse from the ConservativeHomies for objecting to Spelman’s Nanny on the State. Oh well, guess they won’t vote Guido a Conservative Movement Award this year. C’est la vie.

So here are four points her defenders need to answer:-

  1. The nanny’s latest statement (being distributed by CCHQ) matches almost word for word Spelman’s carefully drafted statement. Coincidence? All her own words? In Court that would be called “coaching the witness”, for obvious reasons judges don’t like it.

  2. If Spelman was doing nothing wrong, why did she stop the arrangement? If she later thought it wrong, why did she not pay back the money? Either it was proper and there was no need to stop the arrangement, or it was improper and she should have paid back the money.
  3. A lot of low income single mothers are jailed for fiddling benefits. A year’s salary for a nanny is a significant sum – circa £20,000 – more than a single mother gets on benefits. Why should this benefits fiddle at the taxpayer’s expense be treated differently? Why should a struggling single mother fiddling benefits go to jail, but a powerful, wealthy married mother doing the same be praised for her integrity?

  4. What kind of “constituency secretary” doesn’t type a single letter?

Answers in the comments please.

Spelman Goes for the Hain Defence

She has just given a door-step statement justifying herself saying she didn’t at the time think it was wrong. She also says she will refer herself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (after she has been caught). Come off it – this is a variation on the “Hain Defence” tactic – when you have been caught, turn yourself in. Why only now?

In 2003 she told The Observer “Sleaze was a particular turn-off to female voters and I can quite understand that. They also, in 1997, felt that the Conservative Party was out of touch and arrogant.” It would be a full four years before she took the first chance available to fiddle her expenses…

UPDATE : Those claiming that the children were at school in May 1997 so the nanny was free for six hours during the day should note that the youngest son was pre-nursery age (2 1/2 years old, born December 1994).

Tories are Making a Strategic Error

George Osborne on the Today show this morning defended the integrity of Tory chairman Caroline Spelman over the Nanny-on-the-State charges from Michael Crick. Does anybody believe the spin being proffered that the nanny was also the constituency secretary – who in that case was looking after the kids when she was supposedly performing her six-hours-a-day of taxpayer funded duties?

It is just not at all credible, stop pushing this line, it compounds matters.

Caroline Spelman will very likely have to answer to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, because if a complaint has not already been made by a Labour MP it will be made by one of Guido’s co-conspirators on Monday. Quite rightly.

Can Spelman credibly lecture wayward MEPs on their expenses now? Can she now credibly defend and advance Cameron’s genuinely hardline policy on expense fiddling? The answer is a resounding “no”. If senior Tories publicly defend her or make excuses, as Osborne has just done, they will re-contaminate the Tory brand.

Caroline Spelman should first of all admit the truth and apologise. Pay back the money defrauded. Accept that she can’t after this credibly be the public face of the Conservative Party’s anti-sleaze agenda. It was only three months ago that Cameron gave a keynote speech blaming the loss of public faith in political institutions on the loss of trust in politicians:

Our Parliament is scorned. Our parties are shrinking … Let’s be clear what they think of us: “you lie and you spin, you fiddle your expenses and you break your promises.” To describe this disengagement and cynicism as a ‘mood’ is to underestimate both the depth and the intensity of the breakdown

Dave needs to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk”. In Ireland in the mid-1990s the Progressive Democrats, a liberal centre-right party, came from nowhere to a decade of power on the back of a “clean hands, anti-corruption” platform. In the government coalition with Fianna Fáil they ended up turning a blind eye to Bertie Ahern’s personal financial fiddles. They were consequently wiped out electorally after voters lost faith in their “clean hands” brand. Don’t underestimate the danger here…

"Torygraph" European Coverage Attacked by Own European Correspondent

Guido went all out on European gravy affairs last week. Speaking to one of the most media-savvy players on these issues Guido ventured that the Telegraph’s coverage was surprisingly thin (in the dead-tree-version) – which given their hardline Euro-sceptic editorial stance seemed bizarre.

“Bruno was spiked” came the reply – which explains some of the more bizarre blog posts by Bruno Waterfield their Brussels correspondent. Guido is not referring to the four-letter flecked references to dick sucking or his identification of the actual high-speed Euro gravy train. It has been deleted now, but he actually complained on his own Telegraph blog about his story not appearing in the paper with words (from memory) like “what do you expect, it is the Torygraph”. Bruno clearly not a happy Brussels bunny…

Friday, June 6, 2008

Spelman Had Nanny on the State

Conservatives are supposed to be opposed to the Nanny State, but Caroline Spelman had the state pay for her nanny as soon as she arrived in parliament in 1997. She had not even been an MP for a year when she started fiddling the system according to Michael Crick. She had a tax free nanny provided by taxpayers by the simple expedient of claiming the nanny was her constituency secretary.

No messing about, as soon as she got elected to the trough she started pigging out. It is endemic in the political class regardless of what colour rosette they wear. Geoff Hoon fiddles his mortage allowance, Tony Blair too abused it (as Cherie implicitly confessed in her new book), Nick Clegg amazingly makes an expenses claim that – to the penny – matches the maximum legally allowed. Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper fiddle their combined allowances and lie about their primary residence. They are almost all at it, they see it as a perk of the job. None are prosecuted, so it will go on. Let us be clear about this, it is not another “technical breach of the rules”, Spelman was stealing from the taxpayers.

Stanley Johnson Seen Staring at Porno Pictures in Soho

As was Guido last night. We were both at the private view for Blue Period, an exhibition of pleasantly pervy artwork by Jonathan Yeo. Inspired by his famous Bush portrait Yeo has done some more portraits which look traditional, but on closer inspection are for top-shelf viewing only.

As Guido was leaving (early, before the booze had even run out) Yeo cheerfully said “thanks for all the old magazines”. Mrs Fawkes gave a look…

Third Tory MEP John Purvis Pathetically Tries to Blame His £110,000 Annual Fiddle on Lack of Clear Rules

John Purvis’ press officer has just called Guido with this official statement from him:
“I have asked the Quaestors to investigate the reason that I did not receive clarification from the European Parliament about my arrangements for paying staff, even though I specifically asked for it as far back as January 2007. I will not be commenting further until they get back to me.”

Blaming the authorities is just not good enough and won’t wash, so allow Guido to assist CCHQ’s Hugh Thomas and the European Parliament’s Quaestors in their respective investigations.

Exhibit A

Article (52) of the EU’s Financial Regulations clearly states:

1. All financial actors and any other person involved in budget implementation, management, audit or control shall be prohibited from taking any action which may bring their own interests into conflict with those of the Communities. Should such a case arise, the person in question must refrain from such actions and refer the matter to the competent authority.

2. There is a conflict of interests where the impartial and objective exercise of the functions of a financial actor or other person, as referred to in paragraph 1, is compromised for reasons involving family, emotional life, political or national affinity, economic interest or any other shared interest with the beneficiary.

So Guido asked him a few obvious questions this morning about his contract with Purvis & Company:

click to enlarge

Guido has found out some of the answers already, you can probably guess some of the answers yourself. (No doubt the mainstream media will finish the job.) He has essentially, just like Den Dover and Giles Chichester broken the rules. Lack of clarity? It is obvious to a 12-year old that what they have been up to is unethical. Paying taxpayers money to their family fiddles and/or gaming the rules for personal profit? Plain and simple crooked behaviour. Whoops-a-daisies “in good faith” don’t cut it with Guido…

+++ ConHom : Den Dover Sacked as Tory MEP’s Chief Whip +++

UPDATE : ConservativeHome has the scoop here.

Silence from Brussels

The Tories have just announced that they are sending an investigation team to find out what the hell is going on with Tory MEPs. Hugh Thomas is the Tory’s new Head of Compliance (a qualified barrister and an ordained minister in the Church of England) who previously held high powered compliance jobs in the City. Nobody in Brussels expects the Spanish Inquisition, but he is the nearest thing to it…
Dave says “Hugh Thomas has been tasked by me to do all that we can to reinforce the clear message I have sent on the issue of expenses. I have said very clearly that MEPs – like MPs – must meet the highest possible standards with accountability and transparency. MEPs do of course report to their own separate authorities in the European Parliament. But anyone who flies under the Conservative banner carries a wider responsibility to the reputation of the party.”

Hugh would do well to take a close look at Den Dover, who is clinging to some flimsy excuse that his wife and daughter are qualified to do their secretarial jobs. Guido wants to know for example where the public funds that went into his wife’s company, based in their home, that went on “property repairs” were spent. Why should public monies be spent on a secretarial service’s property repairs? If they went fixing the leak in the roof over his head he has to go.

Incidentally, Guido has emailed 10 questions to the third Tory MEP under suspicion at his parliamentary email address and his private office email address, faxed him at his constituency office, as well as in Brussels and Strasbourg. No reply as yet. If no reply is forthcoming by 5pm, Guido will be putting the information in the public domain for you to judge…

+++ Tories Send CCHQ Compliance Hit Squad to Brussels +++


Seen Elsewhere

‘Queers for Palestine’ | Milo Yiannopoulos
Tories Attack Labour on Tax | Mark Wallace
UKIP No Flash In Pan | Matthew Goodwin
12 Signs It’s Time to Get Out of Gaza | Slate
Mars Lawyers Slam Plain Packaging | CityAM
HealthCare.gov Construction Cost $840 Million | Wall Street Journal
Why Do Feminists Oppose Stay-at-Home Mothers? | Laura Perrins
Chris Cook’s “Excellent Journalism” | Iain Dale
The Deficit Hasn’t Gone Away | Tim Montgomerie
Doctors Against Burnham | Mail
Privatisation is Good for the NHS | John McTernan


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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:

“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”



TJ says:

And i’ve noticed that 100% of Guido Fawkes staff are men. Looks like Guido has a woman problem. Or is it an hypocrisy problem?


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