Ken Boston is opening up with both barrels on Ed Balls and his deputy Jim Knight. Boston was made the fall guy for the SATS fiasco, not so he writes in an explosive letter. Guido can’t help feeling that if Ed Balls spent less time plotting his leadership path and more time on fixing the state school system we might be better off.
Read the letter (here) Boston has sent to the Select Committee overseeing Balls’ department – it accuses Balls and Knight of spin, smears and deliberate falsehoods. In more honourable days this letter would mean the Minister’s resignation this afternoon. Fat chance with this dysfunctional cabal in Downing Street…
UPDATE : Gove is demanding an apology from Balls, Graham Stuart, Tory member of the CSF Select Committee wants him to resign:
“Ministers have been accused of misleading Parliament, Lord Sutherland’s official inquiry and the Select Committee. Millions of children were let down by the SATS exams fiasco and the response of Ed Balls was allegedly to smear a public official who was then forced into silence for months afterwards. If these allegations are proved true then Ed Balls will have to come before the House of Commons, apologise and consider his position.”
Nothing would make a lot of Labour MPs happier…
From : firstname.lastname@example.org
To : email@example.com
Further to my Freedom of Information Request and Subject Access Request made under the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998) on March 27, 2009, please can you assure me that you will be including all emails to and from Damian McBride and The Daily Telegraph in the days before he resigned.
Particularly but not exclusively the emails referring to myself (pseudonymously or not) or my blog which were sent to Andrew Porter.
Guido was at the PoliticsHome budget preview last night (opinion report here) where Vince Cable was the star turn. This report is written through the haze of a hang-over, so as best Guido can recall he didn’t really say much new except that he didn’t expect to be Chancellor in a Lib-Lab coalition government. Guido asked Vince to give an estimate of where he saw interest rates, inflation and unemployment levels in two years time. He said he didn’t do predictions and then predicted 3 million unemployed, he thought inflation and interest rates would go higher but stay in single digits. So fix your mortgage rate now.
Ian Gibson MP was the only person more drunk than Guido and he gave a trenchant analysis of the Labour Party’s political position; “We’re F****d so we might as well just let rip on public spending.” He also told Guido “what comes around, goes around”. Wonder what he meant?
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is having a crisis meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the continuing associate membership of Derek Draper. No one was available for comment when Guido called to contact the BACP. It is hard to see how someone who thought it “absolutely brilliant” to use mental health issues as a means of political attack can remain a member. It is hardly compatible with the high ethical standards required by the BACP.
The BACP can not say it had not been warned. Complaints had already been made to the association over his misrepresentation (in Berkeley, not at Berkeley) of his credentials. The BACP Ethical Framework [PDF] insists that
Particular care should be taken over the integrity of presenting qualifications, accreditation and professional standing.
Guido revealed last month that he had been expelled from the Wright Institute before completing the course of study. This second subject of concern makes it impossible for him to continue. Guido understands that the original complaints were rejected by the BACP on the grounds that they “politically motivated” and did not come from clients or other members of the association.
Guido has been unable to confirm if formal written complaints have been made by disgusted psychotherapists who fear he is bringing psychotherapy into disrepute. BACP committee members themselves are said to be concerned. The Wednesday meeting is likely to be a precursor to a formal Professional Conduct Hearing.
At last an expense fiddling politician is to face criminal charges for false accounting and money laundering, Tom Wise is the first MEP to face criminal charges over the abuse of Parliamentary expenses. The former UKIP parlimentarian was arrested in June last year after it was revealed that he had allegedly siphoned off nearly £40,000 of public money by claiming it was for a researcher’s salary.
Wise will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court next Monday on charges that carry a maximum term of 14 years. Guido would like to see Westminster Magistrates court kept busy with a few more cases of expense fiddling MPs from down the road.
Guido has uploaded a leaked internal Labour Party briefing document dated 21, November 2008 which states
To be successful requires development both the party’s official capacity – and the building of a variety of “extra” party, “independent” initiatives. But this hasn’t happened naturally and needs to be encouraged.
The “independent” Red Rag site was set up only three weeks earlier on November 4, 2008, the same day that Derek Draper held a blogger’s breakfast at Labour’s Victoria Street HQ. Funny kind of “independence” – gives away the Labour Party top-down mindset that they employed with LabourList and the now not-so-plausibly-deniable Red Reg websites. In fact the document shows how pathetically weak their whole catch-up strategy is to compete with ConservativeHome and Dale. Both of whom are directly referred to in the document. Anyway it reveals some of what Labour was thinking in November. Have a read of Labour’s “me-too” New Media Strategy here.
UPDATE : Guido has been calling Alex Belardinelli, Ed Ball’s SpAd, all day. Unfortunately he has been “in meetings”. Guido would like to ask him about his previous role in setting up an anonymous attack website to smear opponents. Give Guido a call when you are out of your meeting Alex…
Just before going on air today on the BBC’s Daily Politics, Guido was told that the show had received a faxed complaint about yours truly appearing on the show (clip here). The complaint came from the Labour Party.
Members of Damian McBride’s Finchley and Golders Green constituency Labour Party branch are to vote on whether to throw him out. The local Labour MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Rudi Vis, says:
What he did was scandalous, totally scandalous. Something like this is really important, especially when the Government is not doing very well. He has done the Labour party an enormous disservice. I don’t believe he is the sort of member we should have. I have never met him, never seen him at any meetings, never even heard of him before, so it won’t be any loss to us.”
Mr McBride’s future will be voted on at the next CLP executive meeting, on May 11. The group’s recommendations will then be accepted or rejected by the General Committee on May 27. Local party executive member Robinson said:
“I can’t say absolutely yes or no as it is not my decision to make. But I will say that he has not done the Labour party any favours. Lots of people are saying that what he did was stupid, but it was much more than that – it was wrong.”
That will teach McBride for spilling Guido’s pint.
Hat Tip : Hendon & Finchley Times
Guido has not yet seen the Channel 4 Dispatches about the Westminster Gravy Train produced by the excellent Heather Brooke. Will watch the 8pm repeat tonight. Francis Maude is exposed for abusing the expenses system to buy a second property yards away from the one he already owns. Something that didn’t come out in the broadcast (Guido had it on his to-do list) was confirmation of a persistent rumour that the property was rented out to Tory researchers, who are of course themselves paid out of parliamentary expenses. Double dipping in the trough…
UPDATE : Am told it is on at 2.25 a.m.- will record it instead.
Mirror Hacking: 50 Legal Action Claims | Press Gazette
Mandy’s £400,000 Tax-Free Loan From Own Company | Guardian
Why We Must Remember the Holocaust | Hugo Rifkind
“Adjustments” Not Cuts | Gary Gibbon
The New Puritans | Alex Wickham
British Minister in Watch Gaffe | Straits Times
New Tory, New Danger | Laura Perrins
UKIP Could Work With Dave If Price is Right | Douglas Carswell
Cops Catch Crims With B.O. Test | Techno Guido
Bashir’s “False Account” to His Own Lawyers | Times
Injustice of Tax Avoidance Hysteria | City AM
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.”