CCHQ get immensely annoyed when stories leaked from Millbank appear on this blog. Before Christmas George Osborne told a staff briefing that they may enjoy “ten minutes of fame” but leaks (and he named Guido in particular) could blow the whole election campaign. Guido took that as a compliment.
The minor revelation on this blog that ballot papers will not have “David Cameron’s Conservatives” on them, a much mooted and trialled idea, has resulted in chief whip Patrick McLoughlin wading in. At the Ashcroft / Cameron Tory PPC get-together this weekend the Chief Whip took the stage. He displayed the story on an overhead projector during a talk about loyalty. They’ll have to try harder than that to silence Guido, several PPCs got in touch to laugh about it…
Guido always protects his sources. The proof: when Downing Street threatened a security investigation, they got nothing. Injunctions get filed in the bin, Court Orders get flouted, mole hunts end up in a hole. To quote Rick Astley, Guido is “never gonna give you up.”
You make this blog happen. Sources are always anonymous (unless you want credit). If you know “the line” is a lie, ask yourself why you got into politics; was it to cover up the truth, or tell it? You may even get a conspiracy member T-shirt for your troubles…
Guido relies on you for information.
Voicemail : 0709 284 0531
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Email : guido.fawkes@Order-Order.com
Fax : 0709 201 2337
Email : guido.fawkes@Order-Order.com
Sion Simon standing down from parliament is a great loss for this blog, he has provided so much material in all our favourite categories. Who can forget the unintended political comedy of his classic New Statesman article? The radical feminism of his “be quiet woman” interview on Sky, when we first realised that perhaps the pressure was getting all a bit too much. The little things, his tweeted bad taste insult of SuBo’s mental health which led to him apologising “wholeheartedly for any distress or embarrassment caused..” More seriously getting caught fiddling £40,000 in expense payments to his sister to pay her mortgage in breach of the rules probably damaged his political prospects. That, plus owing his promotion entirely to Brown rewarding his treachery against Blair, meant that even with his failing eye-sight he could see the political end was coming.
Knowing that Labour will be out of power after the election, Sion is looking for power elsewhere. As mayor of Birmingham. Brummies surely have more sense than that…
When Guido reads articles about how powerful and influential this blog is he laughs because it was set up on a whim and primarily for his own amusement. The insight that perhaps makes this blog successful was that political gossip and tittle-tattle is far more compelling than people will admit. Now bearing in mind that the readership of this blog is heavily concentrated in the media, parliament, political parties, the law and the City, which story do you think was most popular yesterday?
The critical analysis of the political paralysis surrounding the fiscal situation? The report back from the Shadow Chancellor’s benchmark launch? The highlighting of the hypocrisy of a senior political journalist?
No of course not. Kirsty Wark’s Prada skirt wardrobe malfunction topped the lot and was easily the most popular story yesterday, followed up by the Telegraph and the Mail this morning. Which is why this is the blog you love and they hate. Happy 55th Birthday Kirsty!
George Osborne said:
“I am delighted that Lord Stern has agreed has agreed to advise us on the creation of this Green Investment Bank.”
In response, Lord Stern issued a statement saying:
“I should stress that I am not, and have no plans to be, an advisor to any political party.”
Doesn’t the government own enough banks already without creating a ‘Green Investment Bank’?
Guido has just got off the phone with our Kev after reading his column in Public Affairs News about hacks failing to declare other work in the register of journalists’ interests. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner recently ruled Martin Bright, Melissa Kite, Andrew Neil and Fraser Nelson should have declared their outside interests while in possession of Lobby passes. Maguire was quick to have a go at them in his column, and Guido thought he better check Kev’s own glass house was in order.
Despite being the Daily Mirror’s political editor Magure isn’t afraid to take the Murdoch shilling – appearing on Sky News almost every day and regularly reviewing the papers at £150 a pop with a limo back to his Richmond mansion thrown in. These have all been properly noted, but before he went on the attack you would have thought he would have registered his very obvious outside interest – his column in Public Affairs News that he admitted, with a raucous cackle, having had for two years.
In true Labour style Kev says he is going to report himself after being caught out. He better be quick to beat Guido’s complaint faxed over…
Guido just got back from the British Museum for the Tories “Eight Benchmarks for Britain” speech. Half the shad cab and Dave trundled out to another new and exciting speech location. Presumably these random venues are envisaged by Steve Hilton to make them look cool. The Lobby didn’t look too impressed at having to leave the safe confines of Westminster this early in an election campaign.
Osborne’s “New Economic Model” made a lot of the right noises and he was on much better form than he has been in the last couple of weeks. Osborne urged the public to judge the success of a Tory government on whether Britain’s credit rating is dropped on their watch. A brave gamble, especially if Britain is shown to have re-entered recession in April on the eve of the election. Clearly fired up by yet another mauling from Mandy yesterday Osborne was quick on the attack. In retaliation Mandelson has just accused him of plagiarism of his own speech from last month. This little battle is set to get very nasty again very quickly.
Guido could only see Nick Robinson’s bald spot but he imagines he was rather red-cheeked when Boy George stuck the boot in with a pithy put down. Robinson stated that £1.5 billion in cuts wasn’t very much, to which Osborne responded “Well obviously I know the BBC salaries are huge, but a billion pounds is still quite a lot of money.” The naughty kids at the back made sure a stifled laugh from the audience turned into a round of applause.
As ever with the Tories at the moment the problem lay within the detail. In the entire twenty-four page document, packed full of statistics about how rubbish the legacy they will inherit is, there is no detail, or crucially any facts about how the Tories will fix things. Two months before an election, if you are going to summon great audiences and the nations media, you need to be providing them with more than a promise to give “every household an entitlement of up to £6,500 worth of energy efficiency investments.” The other development was that Stelios is backing the Tories economic plans. Will union baron Tony Woodley be tearing up his e-tickets like he did with The Sun?
The news agenda yesterday oscillated between Phil Hammond saying that the Tories had only identified £1.5 billion of cuts and Labour seizing on Cameron’s shift of emphasis saying that there would be no swingeing spending cuts, just a start on cuts in 2010. Mandelson claimed that the Tories would pull the rug out from under the recovery by cutting £11 billion this year when he himself said only last month that we need to cut £80 billion-a-year within 4 years. The government is even legislating to that effect. It is like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party:
`Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone. Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked. `There isn’t any,’ said the March Hare. `Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,’ said Alice angrily.
Meanwhile, back in fiscal reality, Britain is the most indebted nation in the industrialised world. McKinsey released research yesterday which puts the “billion here, a billion there” political squabbling in perspective.
Have the politicians grasped the magnitude of the deep hole Britain is in? The Tories have publicly identified spending cuts equivalent to less than ¼ of a percent of GDP. The government is overspending by some hundred times that amount. This is “through the looking glass” economics.
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
We can’t go on like this…