However there are a lot of clients paying cash-for-access to lobbyists and pseudo-wonks. Is it corrupt? It’s a little sleazy, and some of the clients are being conned. Business clearly needs to put its case to politicians, for example a company like Capita, a quasi-parisitical business almost entirely reliant on the state bureaucracy and the taxpayers. Capita is going to spend lot of money keeping in with those that could influence contracts.
It’s not bribery, it ranges from the trivial sponsoring of a party conference fringe meeting which provides a platform for a minister to bore on about public service reform whilst you flatter him, to hiring ex-special advisers to lobby their former bosses. SpAds are prone to becoming lobbyists, Quangocrats and MPs, they therefore are keen to trade favours. New Labour types understand what is required without getting a memo. It’s just spivvy, rather than outright corruption, so it would be hard to convict anyone like Jack Abramoff. MPs fiddling their expenses hardly matches the Washington-style six-figure campaign donations which are used to fund US politician’s lifestyles.
Brussels is a different story…
Murdoch’s “vicar on earth” (never understood that title, shouldn’t he be his “neo-con rabbi”?) has been let loose to demand tax cuts and the rolling back of the state in The Sun and The Guardian. In the blogosphere the Thatcherite comments over at ConservativeHome.Com and from the libertarians over at Samizdata are full of talk of “sell out” and “blue Labour”. “We don’t want Blair’s heir” is the cry from people who just don’t get it, the voters do want that. Hence Cameron is ahead in the polls. The Conservative party’s right thinks the Tories are heading towards a Neo-Heathite government, but that is just a Hefferesque fantasy. Irwin was almost on to it in his article today:
After the disastrous defeat of the scary conservative Barry Goldwater in the 1964 elections, America’s conservatives realised that it takes a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. So we found Reagan, whose geniality made the curative powers of conservative medicine – lower taxes, less regulation, unambiguous defence of the realm – go down.
Guido doesn’t ‘get’ Ming Campbell, he looks like a LibDem version of Malcolm Rifkind, how could he be an improvement on Kennedy? He certainly would look like a retro step to the public in the face of young Dave. With Simon Hughes apparently ruling himself out of the running, a cynic might think that the job isn’t worth having for a couple of years. So best keep Kennedy at the helm, presiding not leading, as someone stingingly described. Better the liberal you know.
In a telling sign that Murdoch is shifting his support, Jonathan Collett, ex-spinner for Michael Howard, is to take over handling political relations for News International, replacing Alison Clark – who was plugged into New Labour. A connection which is becoming less and less valuable.
UPDATE: Irwin Stelzer does the bad cop half of Murdoch’s good-cop, bad-cop routine. Putting the boot in to any lefty nonsense from Cameron in The Sun. No. 10 will no doubt invite him round again..
The Tories owe Stringy, they should put his name forward for a gong – meantime the Campaign for a ‘Sir’ Peter Stringfellow petition to the Queen needs your signature. Do it, and right this wrong.
Previous Campaign for a ‘Sir’ Peter Stringfellow stories.
UPDATE:Alex Drake in Australia emails to point out that the Hon. Warren Truss MP (really, I know the name sounds like a kinky sex position but it is his name) gave permission for Santa to over-fly Australia. Guido’s mother points out that the Irish government did the same. Why this should be the necessary when we know that Santa uses quantum effects to travel through time and space beats Guido. You didn’t think he really came down the chimney?
Labour Must Act or Lose Election | Dan Hodges
Game, Set and Match for Osborne | Iain Martin
Both Balls and Osborne Are Wrong | Peter Oborne
Questions For Harding Over Savile | Speccie
Remarkable Recovery for Osborne | Ben Brogan
Osborne’s Bragging | Janet Daley
Jihad Jenny At it Again | Trending Central
Osborne Confounds Balls | Ben Brogan
War in Whitehall | James Forsyth
Osborne Must Pave Way For Tax Cuts | Trevor Kavanagh
Tory Plan For Victory | Peter Oborne
Nigella on her coke use:
“I don’t have a drug problem, I have a life problem.”