Friday, December 19, 2014

WATCH: Lucy Powell Gets Brillo’d

Poor Lucy Powell did her best on the Daily Politics not to reveal whether she was responsible for Labour’s disastrous immigration strategy, described as “bollocks” by her colleagues. Eventually she ‘fessed up: “I take responsibility for what goes out in my name”. A penny for the thoughts of Labour MPs watching this interview…

Video via @liarpoliticians.

Going Nowhere – Fast

Sponsored post.

Ready for Christmas? Ready for the tailbacks, delays and cancellations?

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As part of its 2020 Vision programme, the Institute of Economic Affairs is focusing on Fast Tracking UK Transport.

The think tank says Britain could soon be on the move again – if politicians took a back seat and allowed private enterprise to develop our roads, railways and airports.

Otherwise, the UK will just be Going Nowhere – Fast, as this stylish new short from ieaTV shows. Watch it here:

Clegg’s Facebook Q&A on Education Goes As Well As Expected

For some reason the DPM thought it would be a good idea to hold a Q&A session on Facebook about education today. The results were entirely predictable:

Anyone would have thought Nick Clegg was a masochist…

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Oborne v Maguire

Today’s Mirror splashes on “heartless” George Osborne giving his SpAd Rupert Harrison, apparently “one of the chief architects” of the “cruel austerity drive”, a 19% pay rise.

The story very much upset Man of the People Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire, who Peter Oborne has the temerity to speculate is on rather more than Rupert:

Kerching!

WATCH: Farage Defends Candidate’s “Chink” Comment

Asked on LBC about UKIP candidate Kerry Smith’s use of the word “chink” while under the influence of sedatives, Nigel Farage gave a robust defence:

“Kerry Smith is a rough diamond. He’s a council house boy from the East End of London, left school early, and talks and speaks in a way a lot of people from that background do. We can pretend if you like… If you and your mates are going out for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?”

UKIP sources stress Farage was defending freedom of speech for a word “a lot of people” would use. In North London they say Hakkasan…

General Election Campaign Officially Starts Today

vote

Today is the day election spending rules kick in and the campaign for 2015 officially begins. Here are the key dates for your diary:

  • December 19: Long campaign begins. Candidate spending limited to £30,700, plus 9p per voter in county (rural) constituencies, and 6p per voter in borough (urban) constituencies.
  • January 5: House returns from Christmas recess.
  • February 12-23: February recess.
  • March 18: George Osborne delivers the final budget of the parliament. He only has a few working days to get it through before…
  • March 30: Parliament dissolves. Short campaign begins. Spending restrictions tightened to £8,700, plus 9p per voter in county constituencies and 6p per voter in borough constituencies.
  • May 7: Election day.

138 days to go…

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WATCH: I’m So Ronery

After Sony cancelled the release of The Interview – a film about the assassination of North Korea’s leader – amid threats from hackers that they would target the company further, now Paramount has ordered US cinemas to cancel screenings of Team America, famous for its homage to Kim Jong-Il. Don’t let the cyber-terrorists win…

Read more about the Sony hacking story here.

UPDATE: The scene from The Interview the hackers didn’t want you to see:

Ebenezer Grayling Threatens to Cancel Christmas

Every year in Epsom, Chris Grayling, the local mayor and assorted council dignitaries put aside their political differences to sing carols and raise money for charity. This year, the organisers booked a local church organist and qualified musician named Robert Leach to play the piano. Robert routinely plays at churches, schools, hospitals and old folks homes, but Ebenezer Grayling can’t get over the fact he is also the UKIP candidate in the seat for next year. The Tory MP has emailed the organisers threatening to pull out:

From: GRAYLING, Chris 
Sent: 16 December 2014 22:53
To: 
Cc:
Subject: Saturday

Dear xxx

I note that you have departed from the norm and invited the UKIP parliamentary candidate to take part in the carol singing this weekend. In the past this has been an event purely for the Mayor and the Member of Parliament. I wonder what has prompted this change and if indeed you have extended the invitation to take part to one candidate, I would like to be reassured that you have done so for all parliamentary candidates. If you have not done so, then I will have to consider whether it is appropriate for me to take part – given how close we are to the election.

Yours

Chris

Not exactly embracing the festive spirit in this season of goodwill, especially since Grayling happily sang along while Kipper Robert played the keyboard a few years back. This year’s carol singing is on Saturday, so hopefully Grayling will don his Santa hat and stop being such a Scrooge. Bah, humbug!

Pic via Legal Cheek.

Reckless Crowdfunds Defence Against Tory Legal Action

“It is almost Christmas: a time for caring, reflection, and forgiveness,” Mark Reckless tells UKIP supporters in a mass email this afternoon, before asking for festive donations to fund his defence against the Tories’ “sour grapes” legal action against him:

“The fact that the Tories are bickering over £3,000 when we all know they may have a £78m election war chest put together by their secretive clubs, and dodgy donors shows that this is just another cynical attack on democracy, on UKIP, and on the British people. It’s time for us to stand up and fight back, don’t you think?”

Judging by UKIP’s recent online fundraising success, E-kippers will cover his costs in no time…

UPDATE: A local Tory association source points out: “Given Mark is a trained barrister and this is a small claims case, we rather assumed that, like us, he would be representing himself. We’re surprised he’s lawyering up.”

What the Helic? SpAd Bill Soars to £8.4 Million
+ + + No. 10 Stuffed with 27 Special Advisers to the PM + + +

£8.4 million of taxpayer cash was spent on 103 SpAds in the last year, a 17% rise on the year before.

Chasing headlines in 2010, Cameron made a big deal of cutting the number of SpAds from 82 to 61. He now personally has 27. Twenty-f**king-seven spin doctors, bag carriers and wonky strategists. No. 10 now has almost half the number of SpAds as served the entire government just five years ago.

Nick Clegg now has twenty special advisers. Nearly double the amount that Jesus got by with.

Why does Esther McVey need a Special Adviser beyond a reshuffle consolation prize, and why is she paid more than dozens of others on the list who report to real cabinet ministers?

Why does the Chief Whip have three advisers at a cost of around £150,000? What are they doing – because there’s no real legislation going through the House?

And finally, Guido cannot fathom why, in his new role as Leader of the House, William Hague still needs three SpAds costing us almost £200,000. Bizarrely Arminka Helic is retained as his adviser on £70,000-a-year, despite recently being ennobled and therefore allowed to claim a £300-a-day allowance in the House of Lords.

What a bloody racket.

UPDATE: Hard to disagree with Angela Eagle:

“Another day, another broken promise from David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

“David Cameron promised to get the cost of politics down but under him the number of Special Advisers spirals ever upwards – the public are now picking up bill of over £8m to pay for his appointees.

“This also shows how you can’t trust a word Nick Clegg says. The Lib Dems used to say that Special Advisers shouldn’t be paid for by the public but as soon as he got his feet under the Cabinet table he broke his word. The cost to the public of Lib Dem Special Advisers is over £1.7million – Nick Clegg alone has more advisers working for him than he has female MPs.”

UPDATE II:


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