Monday, November 19, 2007

"Miliband Visit Relatives on Settlement" FCO Panic

Guido was listening to the news from the Middle East on Radio Galatz* (he finds it has a more balanced approach to Israel/Palestine issues than the BBC), when he heard the news that David Miliband had dinner with his relatives who live in a settlement near Jericho.
The UN declared “illegal” settlements being visited by the Foreign Secretary foreign minister? That would be a bit of a breakthrough change in British policy. The Jerusalem Post has followed-up the story.

Not true says his office – and the British Embassy in Israel is desperately trying to kill the story.

UPDATE : Miliband did give profuse thanks to the Israeli football team on his visit. “Every Englishman is a friend of Israel today, an even greater friend of Israel. We thank you very, very much. It’s amazing after our partnership in science, in politics, in education — we have a partnership now in sport and in football especially. I think it’s wonderful. So I give the foreign minister the personal credit for the performance of the team yesterday”. English football supporters will be even more grateful if Gordon Brown stays away from the England-Croatia game. It has not gone unnoticed that the Brown match-jinx hit Scotland as well. Every match Brown attends England loses…


*Israeli Army Radio

Boris Bombs the Bass

Those who say he is nowhere to be seen just aren’t listening. You can hear his just released homage to FatBoy Slim here.

Hat-tip : BorisBorisBoris.com

Security Confusion

Basher Davis doesn’t miss a trick. He is now putting the boot in to Lord West, the wild GOAT is clearly unaware of “the line to take” sent out daily by Labour HQ. Lord West always seems to be prone to saying the opposite of what the government wants him to say. It is government policy to frighten the beejesus out of us to justify ID cards, locking you up without trial etc.
The head of MI5 was given the green light to give a speech to the Society of Editors on just this subject, warning us that there are some 2000 Al Qaedas under the beds. Davis contrasts this with what the simple sailor Security Minister said on the weekend –
“On 5 November, the Head of MI5 publicly set out the ‘growth’ in the domestic security threat, saying ‘I don’t think that this problem has yet reached its peak’, explaining that ‘we will not be able to cover every potential threat’. Lord West says we face ‘a steadily declining threat’, claiming that our counter-terrorism defences are ‘ahead of all countries in the world on the protection front’. It is not likely to enhance public confidence when the head of the Security Service and the Security Minister give such inconsistent assessments.”

The government’s inconsistency is everywhere, this odd apology (click to enlarge) from the Home Office to Greg Hands MP bemused Guido. It goes some way to increasing our understanding of how we have 2,000 Al Qaeda terror suspects in the country.

The Home Office is sorry it is taking so long to process Hany Youssef’s application for permanent residence.

Given that MI5 says Hany Youssef has been involved in terrorism “at the highest level”, and that he appears on the list of Al-Qaeda suspects at the UN and the EU, is his application for indefinite leave to remain in Hammersmith that much of a priority?

Guido has a suggestion for this joined-up-government: “Don’t rush”…

Iain Dale Wins Party Selection

Here he is boasting about it on his blog.

At last a little bit of excitement has developed in the LibDem leadership contest. The Huhnie monsters released a campaign briefing entitled “Calamity Clegg”. Guido (of course) has a copy of the now withdrawn document for you to download here.

It sparked a thoroughly enjoyable bit of a clash on the Beeb and a complaint from Clegg to the returning officer that “the older boy is picking on me.” Having read the document it actually makes Guido more inclined towards Clegg and his public sector choice agenda.

UPDATE : Huhne’s lot are now saying Sorry and asking the returning officer for permission to publish the document. Eh?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Northern Rock CEO Sold Millions in Shares Before Collapse

Adam Applegarth did pretty well out of Northern Rock shares in the year before it collapsed. He has trousered many millions over the years, allowing him to enjoy an Aston Martin with a Ferrari for his missus parked in the driveway of his mansion. His confidence in his bank’s business model long term is demonstrated by his selling of £1.5 m of shares in two days. (25 Jan 2006 sold 52,253 at 957p for £500,061.21 and the next day he sold another 111,426 at 957p for £1,066,346.82).

His faith in the business was shown by his purchase last April of just 262 shares worth a little under £3,000. Not a lot of faith in the business from the boss was there?

Enron’s crooks were massive financial supporters of the Republican party. Northern Rock gave half-a-million to Labour’s favourite think-tank, the IPPR. It also employed Gordon’s personal pollster, Deborah Mattinson, as an adviser. Of all the pollsters to seek advice from, why her? Why give money to that think-tank? Nowadays it is very rare for publicly quoted companies to make politically partisan donations.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blinky Balls is the Problem in the Brown Bunker

Matin Kettle joins the lengthening list of left-of-centre pundits now bemoaning the Brownies, he reveals this morning that bad-tempered Brown’s control freakery is asserting itself, that Miliband despairs of him and that Gordon has even fallen out with Bob Shrum. The article is worth reading in full, this extract get to the heart of the the problem with the Brownies;
One thing on which there is a lot of agreement is that Brown has got to widen the circle soon. Brown promised a different sort of government, but many of his worst and most controlling habits have reasserted themselves since things started going wrong. Cabinet still has some good discussions, but in No 10 the bunker is back. Brown, Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander talk every morning by phone at seven, meet every day at 10 to decide priorities, and are running the whole government. And, judging by the record, running it pretty badly.

The inner circle may have called off the general election but in their heads they are still positioning not governing, and thus letting Cameron off the hook. Relations between the key players at the top are worse than in the summer. Brown’s long hours and short temper – he lost his cool with Bob Shrum, his American adviser, the other day – shape a bad mood inside No 10. Some staff are leaving already. Others are having second thoughts about staying. Good people feel excluded. The animus against Balls in particular is very great. He should concentrate on being a better minister, they say. Michael Heseltine was right, says one veteran. The problem isn’t Brown. It’s Balls.

Balls and the rest of the second-raters in the bunker don’t govern in the national interest, they just position and spin for short-term political gain. Tactics that succeeded in leveraging Blair out are not an effective strategy for actually governing…

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gordon’s Favourite Banker Resigns

Adam Applegarth, chief executive of Northern Rock has finally resigned as has non-executive director, Derek Wanless (pictured), Gordon Brown’s favoured and most trusted banker.

It turns out that the chief-exec sold over £2.6m of shares at peak prices while still urging thousands of employees and investors to buy shares when the company was facing trouble.

Sir Derek sits, like so many other of New Labour’s great and the good, on various government quangos; the Statistics Commission and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. More importantly he chaired Northern Rock’s Risk and Audit committees. If anyone should have known what was coming, it was Gordon’s favourite banker. He had to sign off on all strategic risk management issues. Guido called for his resignation right at the start

Incidentally, Schillings (lawyers who boast of being able to cover-up the truth) are huffing and puffing furiously to Guido about that Investment Memo on behalf of Northern Rock. Guido, they will find, is a little bit more resilient than a blogger in a bedroom in Guildford…

Friday Caption Contest (Malloch Brown Edition)

Now Indy Plagiarises Entire Blog Concept

Guido has just noticed that the Indy has a new blog, Open House. The distinctively chocolate coloured blog has a certain familiarity about it, running a daily “pick of the commentators”. It is early days but it must be somewhat disappointing that the posts are comment free. Post after post has “0 Comments”. Clearly nobody is reading the blog.

Why should they? The Open House blog is a complete rip-off of the format of Danny Finkelstein’s Comment Central blog, which lists comment from The Times and then comment from other papers. His team do it somewhat better and more comprehensively, which might explain why one of their posts got 1000 comments. The Indy is really going through a poor patch, cutting ‘n pasting government press releases for the front cover and stealing ideas from rivals which it then executes inferiorly. Sad…


Seen Elsewhere

Cocaine Conservatives | Standard
Jezza Browne Responds to LibDem Haters | LibDem Voice
Why Britain Needs to Leave the EU | Douglas Carswell
Literally No One is Watching London Live | MediaGuido
Who Tells Ed When He’s Wrong? | Speccie
Hands Off Our Cojones, Mr Clegg | Laura Perrins
London Live Averaging Just 2,400 Viewers | Forbes
Ed’s Constitutional Failure | ConHome
UKIP Poster Girl’s Naked Photos | Sun
Miliband’s Radical Old Labour Agenda | Fraser Nelson
Meet Team Miliband | Dan Hodges


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A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Nick Clegg says:

Do you want lies with that?


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