The Fink Spots Shrum Hand

Tomorrow’s Times will highlight the input of Bob Shrum into Gordon’s conference speech. It turns out to have been a formulaic re-hash of old Shrum speeches. Danny Finkelstein spotted the similarity this afternoon and the paper has since confirmed it to be the case. Shrum is understood to have been given a desk in Downing Street.

Guido need hardly remind readers that Bob Shrum was paid by Gordon’s think-tank, the Smith Institute, to advise him on political strategy. It was documentary evidence of that blatantly illegal activity (provided by Guido) which triggered the ongoing Charity Commission investigation. Ed Balls also berthed at the Smith Institute between leaving his job as a Treasury SpAd and becoming an MP – he was paid a little short of £100,000 for writing a couple of pamphlets.

With the transfer also of Konrad Caulkett from the Smith Institute to Downing Street as well, it is abundantly clear that the Smith Institute has served its purpose – preparing the ground for the Brown premiership. All unlawfully subsidised by the taxpayer…

Cultured Celebrity

Gordon did a light-hearted, well light-hearted by his standards, Q & A session with husky voiced, liberal-thinking man’s crumpet, Mariella Frostrup. It seems like it was only yesterday that he signaled his disapproval of aspects of Britain’s celebrity culture: “It is a remarkable culture where people appear on television and are famous simply for the act of appearing on television.”

Mariella is, errm, a famous TV presenter…

What No Scotland?

The Lobby is jumping all over Fraser Nelson’s interview with George Osborne in the Speccie tomorrow where he appears to distance himself from the über-modernisers.

Of more interest to Guido was the information that in CCHQ

“a new map hangs in George Osborne’s office, showing the latest parliamentary boundaries for the next general election. It could have been designed to soothe the nerves of a Conservative party election co-ordinator, for it is dominated by Tory blue. A few tricks have been used to achieve this optical illusion. There is no Scotland“.

Perhaps George is hoping that Scotland will be coloured yellow…

UPDATE : The Scottish press are very interested in this point of detail. Consequently Osborne’s spin-doctor has been on to Guido claiming that the office does not belong to his boss. “So whose office is it?” Guido challenged, “Errr, I don’t know.” Guido called Fraser Nelson, he certainly thought it was Osborne’s office – opposite Dave’s own. Indeed at one point in the interview Dave walked in “Ah, so that’s where all the booze is kept” he said, “nodding to the bottles of Château Village 2003 in the corner of Mr Osborne’s office”, according to Fraser. Where is Osborne’s Millbank office? We were spun recently that an election-ready campaign team had moved into CCHQ Millbank from their parliamentary offices. Osborne is the campaign manager…

Ali Campbell Complains About the Blogosphere

“The blogosphere is very right wing at the moment. We need more voices out there to counter it” he told 200 mugs who had paid hard cash (£15) to hear Campbell plug his book – “perfect for Dad for Christmas” at a fringe event last night.

Chris Hope in the Telegraph agrees: it is the right-wing blogs that are shaping coverage in the dead-tree-press.
We know the ususal Tory suspects he is talking about – Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale and Tim Montgomerie’s. There are left-wing blogs like LabourHome but they seem to lack the spikiness and must-read edge of Guido, for example.

After a lot of thought about this, Guido has come to a simple conclusion as to why British left-wing blogs are unsuccessful. It is not because Labour is in government. It is because they are boring.

Nothing To See Here…

Bournemouth police just happen to trot along in line abreast over IWannaReferendum slogan outside Labour’s conference…

Time for Tactical Decisions from CCHQ and Cowley Street

The LibDems are getting pummelled in the polls – this morning a YouGov poll has them down another 3% to 13% with the Tories unchanged on 33%. Guido finds it hard to believe the accuracy of this poll – with Labour at 44% that makes them more popular than in 1997 when they scored 43%. Not very likely is it?
A hung parliament is still the most likely outcome of the next election whatever the polls currently say. The only way to ensure that outcome is to take seats off Labour, swapping Tory and LibDem seats will not change the government.

Is it time for them to consider tactical voting? Mike Smithson over at PoliticalBetting.com has made the case for this before, if you want to get rid of this government, vote for the party best placed to beat New Labour in your constituency. In Scotland that seems to have happened already, the business community has switched from the no-hope Tories to the SNP. In return the SNP has begun to talk more about “Enterprise Scotland” and is now polling even stronger than during the recent local elections.

The problem is that LibDem and Tory activists hate each other. They would not countenance any explicit instruction to vote for the other party. Often at each others neck in local government, the idea of a non-aggression pact is unpalatable. Rather than going into any protracted negotiations the Tories should just direct resources away from LibDem incumbents and into the battle in Labour seats. The LibDems political antennae would detect the shift, they would consequently be able to shift their more limited resources away from defending LibDem seats against Tory insurgents and towards attacking Labour incumbents.

Encouraging Tories and LibDems to work together is not easy, but there is one issue that is heartfelt by LibDems and Tories in their libertarian hearts – ID cards. Pushing ID cards up the political agenda would place Tories and LibDems on the same side of the barricades against an authoritarian government. Psychologically a useful pre-cursor to a post-election deal. If Tory and LibDem activists worked together on the NO 2 ID campaign they might even find their rivals more likeable. As Brown begins to sound more and more authoritarian, emphasising “Strength”, “Britain” and “British jobs for British workers” the Liberal Democrats may realise they have a lot more in common with Cameron’s liberal Conservatives than with Brown’s ideology of state power. Ming may lean towards Brown, but the next LibDem leader is less likely to do so…

Picture Imperfect

To pick up a media pass for the Conservative conference in Blackpool they specify that you have to bring photo-ID. Your face is not good enough?

Basher Shoots Another Staff Member

Guido hasn’t found the body, but there is circumstantial evidence that yet another David Davis staff member has bitten the dust. Does anyone have an explanation for this puzzling phenomenon?

Don’t Miss Dispatches Tonight on C4 at 8pm

Have just finished reading Peter Oborne’s new book The Triumph of the Political Class. It is a brilliant anatomisation of the reality of the contemporary situation. Guido is therefore looking forward to tonight’s exposé of the venality of our

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Ten More Years of the Same?

David Miliband said on the weekend that he wants another ten years of New Labour rule. Looking through today’s speech from Gordon about his aspirations for Britain, it struck Guido that it is all more of the same. After ten

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Lost Count

Guido lost count of the number of times Gordon said “Britain” or “British”. Don’t think he mentioned Scotland once…

UPDATE :

The Fink makes a snappy point, Gordon “pledged that unless contract cleaners in hospitals meet the highest standards

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Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

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Quote of the Day

Labour candidate Clive Lewis tells the Staggers:

“I mean, in the multiverse there’s still three universes in a hundred where there’s a Green MP in Norwich, so anything could happen. I could be caught with my pants down behind a goat with Ed Miliband at the other end – well, hopefully that won’t happen.”

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