Guardian Apologises to Bryant

Ros Taylor has been humiliated, the Guardian has apologised. I am Chris Bryant.

Only the homophobic Iain Dale is resisting apologising. We shall see about that. I’m going to scream at him.

Crisis, What Crisis?

Matthew Taylor, Tony’s chief adviser on political strategy and the former IPPR head wonk is on his way out of Downing Street. By way of a farewell speech today he tells us he fears the internet could be fuelling a “crisis” in the relationship between politicians and voters.
“We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government”.

The über-arrogant wonk alleged to an audience of teenagers that people are incapable of self government. Is it any wonder we despise this regime and the way that it infantilises the voters.

“a conspiracy to maintain the population in a perpetual state of self-righteous rage… It seems to me this is something which is worth calling a crisis… The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands…

What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.

The internet is being used as a tool of mobilisation, which is fantastic, but it only adds to the growing, incommensurate nature of the demands being made on government.”

The problem Taylor reckons is the online culture itself, rooted in libertarianism and “anti-establishment” attitudes. Since when has liberty been a problem?

Guido intends to be a thorn in the side of corrupt politicians for a long time. There is nothing the vermin can do about it, no media proprietor for them to brandish baubles to, no job you can offer, no bribe we will accept. They deserve everything they get, the crisis has been brought about by their lies. In an age where all can be journalists and information is freely available they have lost control of the media. That is their crisis and our victory.

Blair Confessed to Offence of Loans for Lordships

If Ann Black’s report of Blair’s remarks to the March 2006 NEC meeting is verified (Blair said the donors “preferred the confidentiality” of a loan) Blair is in deep trouble. He made the remarks before the police investigation started. According to Ann Black –
“Tony Blair said that he understood members’ concerns and took full responsibility for everything done in the name of the party. Anyone giving to Labour was trashed in the media and so potential donors preferred the confidentiality of a loan.”

The cynics at the Evening Standard didn’t believe the Blair spin. They contacted donors to find out if they really demanded confidentiality – the donors denied it. So it seems the loans scheme was an initiative of Downing Street to hide the identity of donors in defiance of laws his own government introduced to make party funding more transparent. It wasn’t because the donors preferred not to be trashed in the media, it was because Blair didn’t want people to see the blatant disregard for the law his peddling of peerages* showed. Give a million to Labour, get a peerage. It looked bad, the link was too obvious. Give a “loan” and no declaration had to be made, no one need know about it apart from a few Downing Street insiders. When donors got their peerage no money would have have been seen to change hands, apart from a worthy donation to an Academy School perhaps. Some time later that loan to the Labour party could be quietly written off and converted into a declared donation. Well the donor is a Labour peer now, they would give money to their party, wouldn’t they?

The Standard says Sir David Garrard and Barry Townsley would have been happy to be named. They claim the only reason the arrangement was kept silent was because the letter confirming the loans stated: “You do not need to disclose this.”

It is already known that property developer Sir David, who lent Labour £2.3million, and stockbroker Townsley, who lent the party £1million, were both nominated by Blair for peerages. Chai Patel has said he offered £1.5million as a donation but was told by Sleazy Levy that Labour would prefer the money as a loan. He was later nominated for a peerage. Sir Gulam, who lent Labour £250,000, also offered a donation but was advised to make a loan. “My position is that I was very happy to contribute as a donation but that I was asked to give a loan”.

Combined with the above denials by donors that it was their idea to disguise donations as loans, what Blair told the NEC is an admission of guilt, he would be guilty of an offence in disguising a donation as a loan. Expect Ann Black’s account of the March 2006 NEC meeting to be trashed by Downing Street.

Blair says he accepts full responsibility for the Loans for Lordships scam, if Ann Black is telling the truth he and others in Downing Street are open to being charged under Part 4 of the PPER Act 2000:


Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

PART IV, CONTROL OF DONATIONS TO REGISTERED PARTIES AND THEIR MEMBERS ETC

Evasion of restrictions on donations
Offences concerned with evasion of restrictions on donations. 61. – (1) A person commits an offence if he-

(a) knowingly enters into, or

(b) knowingly does any act in furtherance of,

any arrangement which facilitates or is likely to facilitate, whether by means of any concealment or disguise or otherwise, the making of donations to a registered party by any person or body other than a permissible donor. (2) A person commits an offence if-

(a) he knowingly gives the treasurer of a registered party any information relating to-

(i) the amount of any donation made to the party, or

(ii) the person or body making such a donation,

which is false in a material particular; or

(b) with intent to deceive, he withholds from the treasurer of a registered party any material information relating to a matter within paragraph (a)(i) or (ii).

Guido is often asked does he really believe that Tony Blair will face charges? If Ann Black’s account is accurate it amounts to an admission of guilt, the treasurer is on the record as saying he was kept in the dark about the loans. How can Blair not have a case to answer?

*Blair has created an unprecedented 292 peers.

Howard Dean Is Coming!

The news that Howard Dean has been drafted in to advise Labour for the May elections probably means we will get to hear the scream in Westminster.

What Was Sainsbury Implying?

Co-conspirator Mirthios points out in the comments this parting gem from Lord Sainsbury :
“I have had a peerage for eight or nine years, so there is no question of buying a peerage.”

Is he saying he got his before Lord Levy started stacking ‘em high and selling ‘em cheap?

Miliblogger V Guido

Cost to the taxpayer:
£8,150* v £0.00

Average Monthly Readership**
15,000 pageloads v 270,000 pageloads

Entertainment Value
Not fit for purpose v Fit for purpose

What They Say About Each Other
“Recycled Westminster gossip” v “Boring, jargon-filled wonkery”

Guido thinks that the Miliblog is partisan, therefore it should not be financed by the taxpayer and administered by civil servants. It should be paid for out of Labour party funds and run by them, not on government servers at the taxpayers expense. Or maybe he should just concentrate on sorting out the mess he is making at DEFRA instead of wonking off on his blog with unreadable drivel?

Hat-tip : SpyBlog


*The £8,150 figure is dubious and widely presumed to be a fiddle, most informed sources put the figure nearer £50,000 to which has to be added his six-figure salary. According to a parliamentary response “It is estimated that around 10 hours of staff time per month is spent administering the Secretary of State’s blog the cost of which is estimated at £300. In addition, technical support costs around £900 per year. It is expected it will cost a similar amount to administer the blog in 2007-08.” Note the weasel word “estimate”, a Sir Humphrey get out in case they are caught out.

**Sources: parliamentary answer and Guido’s audited traffic figures.

Balls to the City

Ed Balls is usually described as Gordon’s crazed acolyte, sometimes he is more politely described as Labour’s “Minister for the City”. So the Times’ Power 100 Panel Poll of City businessmen and CEOs makes interesting reading:
Q. Would David Cameron make a better Prime Minister than Gordon Brown?

A. 62% YES, 19% No

Lost his seat, lost his legal challenge, lost the City’s support. Excellent work Ed…

Is this Why Bernard Jenkin was Sacked?

What Yates Should Ask Gordon

Yates of the Yard wants to know what Gordon Brown knew about the £14 million in loans to the Labour party made in 2005. Gordon will no doubt have credible answers for him. Yates’ questions would be better directed back

[…]

Cash for Peerages : "The Fix" is Falling Apart

Guido has long believed that Lord Levy and others would face trial. That opinion was until recently very much a minority opinion, as late as this spring Nick Robinson and Michael White were telling us that the police would only

[…]

TV Evangelist Christian Neo-Con in Rent-Boy Gay Sex and Drugs Shocker

[…]

Chad’s 17 Doughty Street

[…]



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Quote of the Day

Tim Shipman to Adam Boulton on the TV debates…

“If Cameron gets in a car to go to the debate, Lynton Crosby will stage a car crash.”

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