Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Prize Competition : Whodunnit Quiz

Yesterday’s competition to win a copy of the book of the film Taking Liberties drew plenty of entries. Some demonstrated great wit and inventiveness. Most, although emotional, failed to wish Prezza to “get well”. Which was what was requested.

Stroppycow wished him well, as did Lord Elpus, but that was it out of 78 entries. On balance Stroppycow takes it (particularly after noting her other two entries). Email your address and the book will be in the post.

Today’s prize is more of a whodunnit quiz and will go to the first person who correctly answers all 4 questions.

(A) Who helped Nick Robinson get his scoop that brought about an injunction?

(B) Who is her partner?

(C) What firm does he work for?

(D) Name a prominent client of that firm.

In the comments please – first winner announced tomorrow morning.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Prescott Rumours

Unconfirmed rumours going round that it is more serious than just a mere “chest infection“.

Letter to Miliband

The names have been deleted to protect the cheeky:

Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

16 May 2007

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the “not rearing pigs” business.

In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these?

As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven’t reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is – until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100?

I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?

Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don’t rear?

I am also considering the “not milking cows” business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.

Yours faithfully,

XXXXX XXXXXXXXXX

Is the Cruddas Campaign a Covert Operation?

A co-conspirator spent a morning last week trying to get hold of the Cruddas campaign – don’t ask – the campaign website gives no phone numbers. His constituency office said they were not allowed to give out that information and it being recess the office in parliament was unmanned, with the voicemail saying it was full.

Both Cruddas’s and Benn’s campaigns are based in the same serviced offices near Lambeth Bridge. At the time of writing Team Cruddas hasn’t managed to empty the pigeonhole since it has had it (about two and a half weeks). Strikes Guido this is exactly the sort of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party the country needs: one who makes scarey left-wing noises for public consumption but has the organisational acumen of a vegetable marrow. Cheaper to run than Prescott, too.

His price on Betfair makes him third favourite after what most judge was a better and certainly more authentic performance on Newsnight. Despite a little excitement that this has brought to in the beating hearts of the Labour Left, Guido suggests you bet against him rather than on him. He is not going to win…

On Betfair Alan Johnson has overtaken Benn as favourite following a weekend poll putting him ahead with Labour members.

Prize Competition : Compose a Political Haiku or Limerick

To coincide with the movie release this Friday, Guido is giving away a copy of the book of the film Taking Liberties every day this week – one of which will have actually have been thumbed by Guido himself!

A good read it was too – not too dry or too ranty, with a little dose of humour as well. But the message was clear, since 1997 the British have lost too many of their most cherished liberties. Just how many will shock you, as will all the administrative and regulatory means of taking our liberties.

Guido will send today’s book prize to whomever amuses him most with a haiku or limerick wishing Prezza to “get well” following his recent hospitalisation.

In the comments please – first winner announced tomorrow morning.

Another £10,000 Taxpayer Subsidy Bung to the Smith Institute

When the Food Standards Agency wanted to find out about the Effects of Nutrition in School Attainment who should they have asked?

Well apart from Jamie Oliver and everyone’s mother, they could have gone to one of the various centres of excellence in the academic world; The Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University, the Nutrition Research Review team from the department of biochemistry at UCL, the Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research at the University of Dundee would have been particularly appropriate. Maybe the Medical Research Council’s Collaborative Centre for Human Nutrition Research at Cambridge University. These are well known and authoritative centres.

What did the highly politicised Food Standards Agency quango do instead in the aftermath of the Turkey Twizzler scandal? They called those well known experts in child nutrition, Konrad Caulkett and Wilf Stevenson at the Smith Institute. The Sith got Jon Snow in to chair the event, with Dame Deidre Hutton from the Food Standards Agency presiding.

Other seminar contributors included New Labour’s favourite headmaster Gary Philips (Lillian Baylis Technology School), Dame Suzi Leather – who was at the time at the Schools Food Trust. Paul Kelly from the contract caterers Compass Group chipped in – Compass are the firm which shoves chips down the throats of kids.

Funnily enough one of the conclusions they came to was that Mum’s packed lunch was not nutritious and the kids would be better off scoffing Compass Group’s nosh. For this conclusion to the gathering the Smith Institute was paid £10,000 of the taxpayer’s money. The actual benefit to child nutrition was zero. Subsidy value to Gordon’s charitable think tank – £10,000. Isn’t it amazing that once again it costs the taxpayer £10,000 for the Smith Institute to organise one seminar for a government quango, yet costs the Sith nothing to hold nearly 200 hundred seminars on government property at No. 11? The discovery of this latest bung follows last week’s revelation of a last-minute cover-up of another £11,750 bung to the Smith Institute direct from the Treasury. The whole thing stinks.
Even more disturbing is that Dame Suzi Leather, who attended this seminar, is a long-time Labour Party activist who now heads up the Charity Commission, which is conducting the investigation into the Smith Institute for breaches of the Charities Act. No conclusion has been reached in that investigation yet, which is in itself very worrying…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Boris : Cocaine Does Nothing For Me

Iain Dale manages to report on Boris Johnson’s interview in GQ with Piers Morgan without mentioning his claim that when he tried cocaine “it achieved no pharmacological, psychotropic or any other effect on me whatsoever.” Hmmm. Cocaine makes you over-confident, prone to babbling nonsense and as randy as hell. Are you sure it had no effect Boris?


He admits to smoking dope in his school days. Was everybody at Eton stoned in the 80s?

Stat-Porn for May

A below average 347,499 pageloads from 264,598 unique visitors. Iain Dale managed to overtake Guido’s traffic with a record (for him) 388,935 from 231,901 visitors this month. He will be chuffed.

After Guido-related search terms the most popular search phrases were in order:

gordon brown rocking horse
“gordon brown gay”
“katy taylor-richards”
“the hitch blog”
“sir michael white”

What is it that some 600 people want to know about Katy?

The biggest easily identifiable readership groups (in order) come from:

Oxford University
Houses of Parliament
Cambridge University
BBC
CCHQ
News International
Associated Newspapers
Good Relations
University of Bristol

Loafing layabouts the lot of you…

Sony : Don’t Make Guido Beg

Somewhere an abandoned Blackberry is gathering dust. Guido long ago switched to a Sony W810i sleek little black phone which allows him to check his email and listen to the Today programme whilst walking into lamp-posts on the way to the office. As well as being an FM radio it has a decent digital camera and built-in MP3 player. It also occasionally makes phone calls.
Guido is a Sony loyalist, his laptop is a lightning-fast Vaio dual-core, his digital camera is a Cybershot. Handily the memory sticks are interchangeable, so the latest pictures of Baby Fawkes can be emailed to Grandad Fawkes from his laptop or mobile.

Having just seen the Sony UX ultra-mobile-pc Guido desperately wants one. It is the smallest, lightest, fully functioning high-end PC ever. It has the power of a desktop workstation, plus a 32 gigabyte flash drive, 4 1/2 inch touch screen, full keyboard, built-in Bluetooth, wi-fi and two cameras. All this fits into the palm of your hand – if you grease Sony’s palm with £1,999.

This is hard for Guido to claim he needs in addition to the Sony Vaio laptop and the all singing, all dancing-to-the-mp3, mobile phone. The sexy gadget comes somewhere in between them and can barely be justified by the demand for blogging on the move.

So if Sony’s PR people are reading this, well, you know, could you, please, oh go on…


Seen Elsewhere

Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times
Speaker Cornered | Times
Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion hot-button


Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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