Tuesday, October 9, 2007

+++ EXCLUSIVE +++ Oona Going to Downing Street

It is going to be officially announced tomorrow that Oona King will be joining the Downing Street Political Office to work on “engagement and diversity”. She will able to get a lot more of that “better than sex” excitement that she feels whenever she hears Gordon speak.

Some people have the weirdest preferences….

Snouts in Trough : "Do You Know Who I Am?"

So much for equality in the people’s palace. The political class really does have airs and graces:

Access to Services
Before the recess the Speaker approved the Administration Committee’s recommendation that Members should have priority access to services throughout the Commons part of the Parliamentary Estate.

With effect from today, staff and other users should be prepared to give way to Members when queuing for retail and catering services, the post office, travel office or when using other facilities such as lifts, photocopiers, telephone cubicles, etc.

When using parliamentary facilities, please bear in mind whether there is, or is likely to be, a heavy demand from Members and, if so, try to amend your own plans or schedule.

Peter Grant Peterkin
Serjeant at Arms

Sue Harrison
Director of Catering Services

Sith Cancel Scheduled Downing Street Meeting

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope is reporting that the Smith Institute has cancelled the meeting it was having at No. 11 Downing Street and moved it to a different central London location – the British Academy.

He says the Smith Institute refused to say where it originally planned to have the meeting – despite it stating clearly in the original invitation that it was being held “with the kind permission of the Chancellor of the Exchequer”.

Hope has picked up on the use of “Fair” by Gordon yesterday at his press conference in reference to tax, and the seminar’s “Fair Tax” title. Could they somehow be related?

Anti-sleaze campaigner Chris Grayling MP agrees; “It looks like an amazing coincidence that the Smith Institute is riding once again to the rescue in areas where Gordon Brown is having political problems.”

Yesterday the Labour Party Realisedthe New Boss is the Same as the Old Boss

What must have been depressing about yesterday, from the point of view of Labour MPs and activists, wasn’t that they lost the non-election, wasn’t that they had got their hopes up to crush Cameron only to see them dashed, it is the dawning collective self-realisation that nothing has changed with New Labour’s new leader.

Of course Brown’s enemies have always said that, but Labour activists wanted, even believed, that Gordon and his moral compass would change their party’s direction. When Oliver Letwin heckled Brown yesterday in the chamber for “pure spinning” the dejected government benches did not react. Usually there would be growling and baying back at him. Nothing. They knew it was true.

The Lobby, when Brown told the press conference that the polls were not the reason he had bottled it, in the words of Ben Brogan – a journalist well plugged into the Brownies - “no-one in the room believed him”.

The voters, uninterested as they are in the goings on in the Westminster village, were half expecting an election this month, only to see a battered Brown back off. The strong man looks weakened.

Labour activists themselves are starting to feel uncomfortable, the poll lead has melted, the gloss has come off their self-anointed leader and the nagging suspicion must be growing given the blatant bold-faced lying we saw yesterday, that nothing has changed besides the name on the door. He has even started doing that inane grin thing. The new boss is the same as the old boss…

LibDem Woes Surely Demand Tory Silence

Guido is surprised at those two Tory bloggers, Dizzy and Dale, rubbing their LibDem opponents noses into the polls. Surely the best thing for the Tories is to keep silent and hope Ming remains in situ?

Speaking of Tory bloggers, Ed Vaizey promised Iain Dale he would make a blog post every day if Iain publicised him. He broke his promise the same day. How unusual for a politician. He has also managed to cross everything on his blog out. Doh!

Monday, October 8, 2007

+++ EXCLUSIVE +++Tax Policy Emergency : "Call in the Smith Institute"

The non-political charity known as the Smith Institute, which is in no way a front for the Brownies, is having a Downing Street seminar on Wednesday next week.

The subject? “Fair Tax” – which is the political hot-issue of the moment for the Brownies. Is this what Gordon meant this morning when he said he wanted more time to “forensically” take apart Osborne’s proposals?

Judging by the copy of the invitation Guido has obtained, it looks like the Smith Institute is being tasked with developing a political response strategy for dealing with the non-domicile and inheritance tax proposals – Osborne has pushed Brown into uncomfortably defending tax-free billionaires. Something the Brownies would not have been expecting…

No wonder Smith Institute director Wilf Stevenson is inviting people to 11 Downing Street “with the kind permission of the Chancellor of the Exchequer”they need a new tax philosophy and fast.

UPDATE : The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies is distinctly unimpressed at the claim that the event is part of a jointly held seminar series. Bonnie Brimstone the events organiser at the IFS told Guido she had not heard anything about it, Robert Chote the Director of the IFS was more diplomatic, when Guido put it to him that Wilf’s invite said it was a joint seminar he demurred “I wouldn’t describe it that way”.

The Daily Labourgraph

The Telegraph is a shadow of what it used to be, it was the unofficial house journal of the Conservative Party. Of late it has changed complexion, it is seems no longer a critical friend but a hostile enemy of Dave’s party. ConservativeHome is now the unofficial house journal of the Conservative party. The Telegraph has no distinctive voice anymore, it seems (with some exceptions) instead to have a number of left-wingers who hate Cameron plus, for balance, some right-wingers who despise Cameron. Could it have something to do with this explanation by Stephen Glover?
A new understanding was broached. Mr Brown was keen to end the air of hostility. The Telegraph political side was full of Tories and the odd Blairite. Brownites were thin on the ground, if there were any at all. The Prime Minister proposed a fresh start that would lead to the paper being within a loop from which its unsympathetic attitude had previously excluded it. This means, we may assume, that it would be given stories.

We would be very rash to link this or any other exchanges with the subsequent appointment of Mr Porter, a political journalist on The Sun, as the Telegraph’s political editor in place of George Jones. It is very possible that Mr Porter had already been identified and hired. Mr Jones was certainly due to retire. We should note again, though, that Mr Porter is well known to Damian McBride, as he is to Ed Balls, Mr Brown’s right-hand man. And we cannot overlook the fact, as I mentioned last week, that the Telegraph’s political coverage has recently been friendlier to Mr Brown than it used to be, though it is by no means ecstatic.

Here is another extraordinary fact. The Daily Telegraph was organising a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference, on whether there should be a referendum on the new European Treaty. The meeting had been publicised. Speakers, including the Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who is in favour of a referendum, had been lined up. Then, at the last moment, the event was cancelled by Mr Lewis.

Again, we would be unwise to jump to conclusions. It is nonetheless a plausible theory – I will put it no stronger – that Mr Lewis was persuaded by the Brown camp (the Prime Minister being adamantly opposed to a referendum) that any debate on the issue at a Labour Party conference would be unhelpful, and at odds with the understanding Mr Brown had arrived at with Mr Lewis. What other explanation could there be?

Well?

Rich and Mark’s Monday Morning View

Media First, House Second

Even Nick Robinson is taking the piss out of the Bottler-in-Chief. He is asking readers of his blog for suggestions as to what he should ask Gordon at today’s press conference. He also explains why old Brown pants would rather face the press pack than the opposition.
The truth is that he would far rather do this at a news conference than in the bear-pit of Parliament or a round with the media’s toughest interviewers. It isn’t that difficult when you get to choose the questions (allowing you to say “the lady at the back with the headscarf” if the going gets tough and you fancy a detour into the Middle East) and you disallow follow-ups and when you stand up in the state rooms of Downing Street looking prime ministerial.

Is that “toughest interviewers” jibe a dig at Marr? Apparently Robbo only found out about the Marr audience with Gordon second hand. Brave Brown is not coming to the House first today (has he forgotten about “the new politics”) he is going to face the Lobby first. Revealing isn’t it that he would rather face the likes of Andrew Marr than MPs. Incidentally, Robbo asking his blog readers for help? He’ll be offering them T-shirts next…

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tom Watson Pays Up After Losing Bet to David Cameron

The “Proppa Blogga” was out-blogged by Dave and by his own admission had to take his medicine. Tom Watson has paid up after losing his bet to David Cameron, he has (with a little prodding) now donated £100* to the Acorn Children’s Hospice Trust.

He hardly had any choice, but it gave Guido a chuckle to see him proved so vaingloriously and publicly wrong.

(Dizzy and Guido matched him with donations to Scope.)


Seen Elsewhere

Labour’s Plan to Attack Part-Time Boris | Standard
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times
Another Spare Room Subsidy Cut Success | Harry Phibbs
Rich Now Have Less Leisure Than Poor | Economist
UKIP’s Immigration Policy Promotes Migrant Entrepreneurs | Breitbart
Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome


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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.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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