Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy Christmas, Public Sector

At last some government good news:

“Hospitals and fire services will be run “outside the public sector” as the Conservatives dramatically shrink the state and cut costs, a senior minister has disclosed. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, told The Telegraph that services could be handed over to mutual companies owned by employers and other non-state bodies. Mr Maude, who is drawing up plans for £20 billion of Whitehall savings by 2020, said that with the exception of defence and policing, every function of the state could potentially be done outside the public sector.”

Excellent. 

Honesty Fix for Labour’s New Slogan

immigration-labour-not-cont

Ed Miliband is about to take the stand…

This will be the result:

pandering

Credit for diagram: Tom Freeman

Going, Going… Wrong

“Good evening everybody and welcome to Sotheby’s,” said Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman at a fundraising auction last week… At Christie’s.

The real joke was the fact a signed copy of Cameron’s flop of an immigration speech went for £45,000.

Mystery of Who Taped UKIP Race Row Phone Call

24 hours before a tape of UKIP candidate Kerry Smith’s drug-induced race row rant was mysteriously leaked to the Mail on Sunday, the wife of the man he replaced in the Basildon selection tweeted:

Curiouser and curiouser…

Read Labour’s Leaked UKIP Strategy in Full

As Miliband ‘gets tough’ on immigration, good timing for Labour’s UKIP strategy document warning MPs not to talk about immigration on the doorstep to be leaked. Amusingly Labour are denying all knowledge of this document, which as you can see looks pretty genuine:

Unless someone has mocked up 33 pages of Labour strategy, Team Ed need to come up with a better line…

Labour Proposal Would See Ed Miliband Criminalised

Screenshot_2014-01-28-08-39-44

Ed Miliband is giving a speech:

“Today, I am announcing that the next Labour government will go further still: making it a criminal offence to undercut pay or conditions by exploiting migrant workers. We are serving notice on employers who bring workers here under duress or on false terms and pay them significantly lower wages, with worse terms and conditions. This new criminal offence will provide protection to everyone. It will help ensure that, when immigrants work here, they do not face exploitation themselves and rogue employers are stopped from undercutting the terms and conditions of everyone else.”

The Guardian reported back in June 2011 on Arnie Graf’s hiring by Ed Miliband:

“It was an unusual commission: “‘Ed Miliband – would like you to do a piece of work for him?'” Chicago community organiser Arnie Graf recalls being asked back in November. “But because of our immigration rules and the type of visa you’re on,” the veteran activist quotes the Labour leader’s aide as continuing, “you can’t do anything ‘productive’.”

Arnie Graf admitted to working with Ed and “hundreds of Labour party members and staff throughout the UK.” He told Guido that he was working for free – though Labour HQ told us he was being reimbursed for expenses. Either way it was undercutting unemployed British political campaign gurus like John McTernan. Lucky for Ed exploiting migrant workers by undercutting pay is not criminal yet, or he would be in big trouble…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Read Guido’s Column in the Sun on Sunday Online

harman

In Guido’s Sun on Sunday column today: the silence of Harriet Harman over a string of sexist outbursts from Labour MPs. Claim your free one month trial and don’t miss out on:

shapps

  • Rapping proof that Grant Shapps don’t stop, the rock it to the bang, bang boogie.

greens

  • Are Green Party candidates a bunch of trustafarian posh kids?
  • Russell Brand slammed as “diva” and nicknamed “his majesty” by Question Time producers
  • Who really is the inspiration for George Osborne’s haircut?
  • Ed’s wallet-wounding supper with mysterious short male companion
  • Fast food fight in parliament

Click here to read Guido’s column for free with a free 30-day trial…

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Friend of Ed Selected for Holborn & St Pancras
Rules Bent to Get Keir Starmer Safe Seat

starrmer

Sir Keir Starmer had the rules bent for him so that he could take the plum seat of Holborn & St Pancras in the epicentre of Labour’s North London luvviedom. There was one small problem – he only joined the Labour Party last November and under the rules candidates for parliament must have been a member for a year. For a friend of Ed this can be fixed – Labour HQ delayed the selection process until this month, when Sir Kier will have been a party member for the required 12 months. Progressive Prosecco for the Public Prosecutor all round…

De Re Commentari

Guido will soon be winding down for Christmas and the team would be faced with the tedious job of comment moderation over the holidays or to decide to just let anarchy prevail. For the last few months we have as an experiment adopted an even more laissez faire attitude to comments. Animated GIFs, YouTube videos, tweets, images and the like were allowed. The result was gay porn, racist videos and it generally getting worse. We have now after ten years tested the “no pre-moderation” model to destruction.

During the run up to the election this site’s readership will probably top-out at some quarter-of-a-million hits per day, comments will be in the thousands daily. The post-moderation system is just not viable, the team would have to spend all day reading the comments instead of doing the writing that provokes them.

This graph from this article on the economics of blog comments summarises the situation:

comment moderation costsGuido has over the last decade copped a lot of criticism for the generally laissez faire attitude towards the comments – remember Derek Draper calling the comments “a sewer” on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics? In some ways it was easier for Guido to take a laissez faire attitude, counter-intuitively it provides some degree of legal protection to not pre-moderate.

Comment moderation costs a fortune, we occasionally have to spend time with lawyers and the police as a result of comments we have not written or often even read. It is expensive in time, every day the Guido team deletes a load of comments which have, in our rather arbitrary judgement, just gone too far. The software algorithm modbot blocked as much racist, scatological and gynecological nonsense as could be predictable. The truth is that we were happy to tolerate profanity and such like directed at the political class, we were not so keen on the repetitious and tedious stuff about minorities.

Picture credit : GQ

Some get very worked up about online comments because they are so often rude and abusive. We’ve taken a “sticks and stones” view to a large extent, particularly with regard to prominent public figures, it is actually pleasing that Ed Balls gets angry about the abuse dished out here, that self-important politicians hate it so much, that thin-skinned journalists don’t like a taste of their own medicine. The comments and the blog itself perform the role of a cyber-stocks, you can say almost whatever you like about leading political figures and it will go unchecked, however say something gynecological about a lowly intern, it is likely to get deleted (if it is noticed).

Originally when this blog started and had readers numbering only in the tens, rather than the tens of thousands, some of the regular comment makers were very witty and brought actual gossip. In the last decade millions of comments have been made, the signal to noise ratio and average quality of the comments has declined. That is an inevitable consequence of having among the tens of thousands of readers a fair number of moronic, window licking, certifiable loonies for whom this is their preferred outlet. Mostly it is people just venting about their bugbears and commenting on the character and parentage of politicians, with a few gems to be found. Guido has no problem with readers swearing at politicians. That has its place, and that place is for better or worse here.

Things are changing, you will still be able to say what you like (within somewhat arbitrary inconsistent limits) without pre-moderation or registering. That privilege will be removed from people who cross the line, they will be blocked from commenting. We’re not known for political correctness, we believe in freedom of speech, exercise it elsewhere if you want to post porn or abuse people witlessly. Will the obsessive who posts “Vote UKIP” all day be blocked? Maybe. Will we lose traffic? Not as much as those obsessive comment makers think. Will it work? That is up to you.


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