Thursday, September 25, 2008

Enemy of State

The news that Derek Draper is organising a rapid rebuttal operation to combat bloggers does not exactly have Guido quaking in fear.

“PR Week can reveal that the Labour Party is exploring plans for an online rapid rebuttal unit, designed to kill off damaging stories circulating in the blogosphere. Former lobbyist Derek Draper will oversee the initiative, having recently been called in by Labour’s general secretary to advise on how the party can communicate its message. Labour strategists are keen to respond to the growing influence of right-wing blogs. The eventual system could resemble a modern-day version of Labour’s famous Excalibur unit, which was successfully used to kill negative stories by Tory-supporting newspapers in the run-up to the 1997 general election.”

It has long been Guido’s central proposition that unlike the Lobby and broadcast journalists in particular, Guido cannot be spun or manipulated by the promise of titbits from the party machines. Not needing access or talking heads to interview, the party machines have no sanction or lure with which to control Guido’s output. When Gordon became party leader there was a concerted effort to astro-turf the comments here, and on ConservativeHome and Politicalbetting.com with “I’m a lifelong Tory but Gordon is better than Cameron blah blah blah”. It was comically transparent that the comments were completely bogus. Guido simply pressed the delete button.

The reason most left-wing blogs are unsuccessful is because they are boring and crap. Draper is not going to change that fundamental truth.

"The Plan"

Last night Guido infiltrated a gathering of a clique of wonks determined to take over Britain and implement what they call The Plan“. Dan Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP are the authors of The Plan“. Guido hasn’t read it yet. Supposedly it is a blend of Thatcherite quango bashing and localism on steroids. Gove said some nice words by way of introduction, Dan referred to the EU as the “mother quango”.

Not convinced that quangos are reformable or that they can be effectively democratised. Most people are just not interested in getting involved, only busy body types are so motivated. Quite sensibly the rest of us just want to get on with our lives. Most quangos could be simply abolished. Trying to reform them is not worth the effort, the bureaucratic inertia is just too great. When does a bureaucracy ever recommend cutting its own budget or reducing the scope or size of the bureaucratic organisation? The Cameronians go on about the “post-bureaucratic age”, it remains to be seen if there will be hard manifesto commitments to do something about it. Don’t hold your breath.

Flashback : The Hubris of Sion Simon

It was a year ago today that Sion published this article in the New Statesman.
We Cannot Be Killed
‘Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority’

As Tories confidently prepare for their conference they should read the article and remember Sion Simon…

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Boulton to Brown : "Do You Think You Owe Osborne An Apology?"

Boulton to Brown : "Do You Think You Owe Osborne An Apology?"

Frightened Downing Street Pushed Ruth Resignation Story

It says something about the clumsiness of Team Brown that they had a 3 a.m. press conference in a hotel lobby to announce that Ruth Kelly was resigning to spend more time with her family. Could it be that they were scared that this was going to come out today (perhaps even in her conference speech) and other government ministers might co-ordinate their exits in order to further undermine Gordon.

Is there any other plausible explanation?

Totty Watch : Labour Looker Spotted

Just snapped this totty straight off the telly. Julia Toft actually looks glossy and well spoken enough to be a Tory girl. What is she doing in the Labour Party?

Reports from those returning from Manchester suggest the number of activist delegates was way down on previous years.

Government contractors, lobbyists, media and party staffers seemingly out-numbered the actual members….

UPDATE : Aha, turns out she is a lobbyist.

Press the Red Button Now Marr

Have just watched Adam Boulton’s interview with Gordon this morning. (Replay is available by pressing the red button on Sky News). Adam was firm with Gordon, calling him on his credit boom being responsible for the bust, effectively questioning his lying and twisting of Osborne’s words in his speech. Brown looked shifty and uncomfortable, quoting from his notes and saying that everyone has got it wrong except him. Boulton reminded Brown that in a previous interview he had told him explicitly no one would lose out over the abolition of the 10p tax rate – that was untrue. Brown glowered. Jeff Randall also gave Brown a tough interview earlier in the week on Sky News as well.

Andy Marr should watch and learn how it is done.

Who Reads Guido?

Guido did this a few years ago, not much has changed really this year – except the reader numbers have got bigger. Beeboids browsing, gossipy parliamentarians, bored brokers, lawyers loafing, accountants and lazy Lobby hacks are the most easily identified from the server logs. Students from the better universities, party HQ staffers and lobbyists make up the numbers.
Network Location Visits
1 houses of parliament 88628
2 british broadcasting corporation 21471
3 conservative central office 18631
4 oxford university 18419
5 university of cambridge 12788
6 news international 7040
7 associated newspapers ltd 6546
8 guardian unlimited* 6309
9 greater london authority 6108
10 university of manchester 5547
11 kpmg peat marwick 4985
12 telegraph group limited 4448
13 good relations 4305
14 trinity mirror group 4293
15 deutsche bank 4315
16 credit suisse group / canary wharf 3913
17 the university of bristol 3866
18 british sky broadcasting ltd. 3772
19 glaxosmithkline 3754
20 pccw limited 3735
21 clifford chance 3680
22 allsop 3659
23 pricewaterhousecoopers gts uk 3646
24 barclays capital 3582
25 european parliament 3441
26 university of leeds 3316
27 shell information technology int. 3259
28 imperial college london 3009
29 hsbc bank plc uk 3002
30 principal i.t. 2985
31 andrews & arnold ltd / Politicshome / ConservativeHome 2974
32 lehman brothers inc 2869
33 durham university local area network 2644
34 jp morgan chase & co 2599
35 japan network information center 2514
36 the liberal democrats 2512
37 parliamentary communications 2511
38 the university of st. andrews 2501
39 university of sheffield 2457
40 herbert smith 2455
41 independent news media uk 2455
42 british airports authority 2453
43 guardian.co.uk* 2580
44 first city insurance brokers ltd 2313
45 financial times interactive data 2330
46 london school of economics and political science 2330
47 the university of nottingham 2271
48 icap plc 2211
49 mccann-erickson inc. 2205
50 bloomberg financial markets 2130

Watching you, watching Guido…

*The Guardianistas have two servers (ranked 8th and 43rd), add them together and Guido turns out to be more avidly read on the Farringdon Road than in Wapping. Ranked 31st is Andrews & Arnold Ltd, who supply the internet connection to 18 Doughty Street, home of PoliticsHome and ConservativeHome.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gordon Lives – CCHQ Celebrates Prematurely

Guido has been telling anyone who would listen over lunch that the media are ready for a change in the Westminster narrative. Guido would point to the Tatler photo-shoot and the Andy Coulson midwifed Cameron on Cameron hagiography by Dylan Jones as the spin tops. The pendulum of the Lobby is ready, eager even, to turn against the too smooth, too cool Cameroons.

CCHQ will be pleased that Gordon has shored up his position, other fresher faces would knock 10 points off their poll lead, Brown is at least that much of a drag on the polls for Labour. The Conservatives are heading to Brum confident that they are on their way to government. The media, in particular the BBC, will be more than willing to throw a spanner in the works. As Dave said, “the deal is far from sealed”. The narrative is ready to shift. One thing Guido noticed about Gordon’s speech was that it borrowed more from McCain-Palin than from Obama. Experience versus change is the only viable line of attack for Gordon, they will use it. Will the media buy in to it?

UPDATE : Dave has just delivered a speech at the Carlton Political Dinner. According to a seasoned co-conspirator it was a good one and went down well with a friendly business crowd.

He started off by mocking Brown – said he was surprised that Sam Cameron hadn’t introduced him, then said she was “my wife, not a prop”. Dave joked about how the shadow cabinet were great because “they come up with loads of ideas and I take all the credit”. He also pushed the ‘no complacency’ ‘mountain to climb’ line quite hard. Last year’s Carlton speech was effectively a rehearsal for Dave’s conference speech. According to Guido’s source, the business crowd were in love with him.


Seen Elsewhere

Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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