Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: Ed the Unready
Uncounselled, Ill-Advised, a Leader Surrounded by Fools

Up he stood with one prepared earlier by nitwits unknown.

Faced with prolonged Tory cheers, the ones he gets every week, he said, “Let’s see if they’re still cheering on Friday!” (Laughter)

The Rochester by-election is set to give the Tories a rollicking. That much we have known for a fortnight, all through Ed’s leadership crisis.

But it’s usually a mistake to chaff the prime minister. “I make one prediction,” he said in his easy, Eton house-room way, “the people behind me will still be cheering HIM on Friday.”

True.

The news on Friday morning may be shocking enough to revive Labour panic. What happens if they poll 15 per cent? Tory failure has been priced in – has Labour melt-away? How will the 100-odd Labour MPs feel when their vulnerability is dramatised for them? When they look ahead to the loss of their precious seat?

Because it’s all about Ed. Presidential Ed. The teeth of the campaign. The big brain behind it. The single greatest weakness of the party is given the greatest prominence. Who thought that was a good idea?

Ed!

It isn’t a confection of the right wing press: voters look at Ed and shudder.

(more…)

WATCH: Live Stream of Student Protest on Parliament

“What do we want?” “Water cannons” “When do want ‘em?” “Now!”

 UPDATE: The moment things turned violent:

Oz Senator Accuses ‘Canberra Caterer’

An antipodean co-conspirator draws Guido’s attention to Australian Senator John Faulkner’s damning assessment yesterday of John Bercow’s choice for the next Commons clerk. Carol Mills was up before a scrutiny committee to explain why the records of $30,000 worth of photographs that she commissioned from a photographer, who happened to be her neighbour, have gone missing. Now Faulkner is accusing Mills of telling porkies, telling the Australian parliament:

“The Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services has stated at estimates that she knew the photographer—Anne Zahalka—and in fact they live in the same street. At the most recent estimates round, I asked the DPS secretary, Ms Mills, whether this raised the obvious question of either a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest?’ In response, the secretary informed the committee: “I did not interfere, involve myself or influence in any way any of that process.”

…Last night, the committee was informed by DPS, despite Ms Mills’s earlier assurances, that she was involved in the final decision to contract Anne Zahalka. Despite her October statement to the committee that she ‘did not interfere, involve myself or influence in any way any of that process’, she actually signed off the contract offered to Anne Zahalka. According to evidence from DPS officers to the committee, the secretary was being briefed and kept in the loop about the photography contract. The secretary also signed off on a decision relating to some of the commercial aspects of the arrangements with Ms Zahalka.”

Faulkner says this “raises very serious questions about the probity and transparency” of Mills’ actions. How did this person even come close to taking over Parliament? 

Labour Struggle to Defend Using Howard’s Lines

Emma Reynolds – one of the few Labour members of the Reality Based Community – came unstuck on the Daily Politics earlier when confronted with her party’s double standards on immigration. As reported by the Spectator yesterday, Yvette Cooper directly lifted Michael Howard’s words from 2005 as part of Labour’s immigration crackdown. At the time they said suggesting “it’s not racist to talk about immigration” was a “scurrilous, right-wing, ugly tactic”. Squirm…

Another Happy Reader…

The PM clearly got his daily dose yesterday, referencing the pay-off line from the Scottish poll story Guido ran:

“More people believe in the Loch Ness monster than believe in his leadership.”

Not the first time Dave has done one of Guido’s lines…

PMQs LIVE: Who is Asking the Questions Today

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Graham Jones (Hyndburn)

Q2 Mr Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow)

Q3 John Glen (Salisbury) 

Q4 Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central) 

Q5 Mr Gareth Thomas (Harrow West)

Q6 Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay)

Q7 Stephen Mosley (City of Chester) 

Q8 Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) 

Q9 Mr Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) 

Q10 Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) 

Q11 David Mowat (Warrington South) 

Q12 Dr William McCrea (South Antrim)

Q13 Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)

Q14 Michael Ellis (Northampton North) 

Q15 Mr Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk) 

Comments in the comments please…

Labour Candidate Wants to Deport Myleene Klass

Talking of “the language of repatriation” that Labour are up in arms over this morning, it’s not just a UKIP candidate who is in hot water over their comments about sending people packing. Meet Paula Sherriff, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the very winnable seat of Dewsbury and Mirfield:

Freedom campaigner Myleene was born to an Austrian father and a Filipino mother, while Sol Campbell’s parents are Jamaican. Classy.

UPDATE: 

Eurosceptic Tory Rebel Sets Off UKIP Rumour Mill

A Eurosceptic, rebellious Tory MP snapped smiling with Nigel Farage last night, two days before the Rochester by-election, has got tongues wagging:

Despite fevered speculation overnight, it is unlikely Mark Pritchard will be the next man to jump ship. Especially judging by his recent, previous thoughts on UKIP:

… As someone once famously said before…

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tories Want Long Term Economic Plan, and Eat It

The Tories are hoping the voters will swallow their “Long Term Economic Plan” slogan, though one adviser is literally stuffing it down throats. Last week saw Downing Street staff recreate the Great British Bake Off, with civil service boss Sir Jeremy Heywood playing the role of Mary Berry and judging the contest.

Raising money for Magic Breakfast – who provide 8,500 brekkies to school children every day – SpAd Daniel Korski’s entry was a cake emblazoned with the slogan, though that lost out to the elaborate gingerbread reconstruction of No 10 Deputy Head of Press Alan Sendorek.

Insiders blame rigid civil service impartiality for the the decision – Sir Jeremy’s loyalty must always be to the office and institution rather than the party in power. “I was robbed” says a source close to Korski.

Today in Court: “I Was Ill-Tempered” Says Mitchell
But Top Tory Denies “Just F**king Plebs” Jibe

Andrew Mitchell told policemen at the Downing Street gates they were “just f**king plebs” who should “best know your f**king place”, a court heard today. Giving evidence against Mitchell, PC Toby Rowland claimed he did not know what the word “pleb” meant when the then Chief Whip allegedly called him one in September 2012. Rowland also told the court: “I didn’t have a clue who the Chief Whip was. I knew he’d changed recently. I needed to confirm who he was”. Describing Mitchell’s behaviour as “completely inappropriate and offensive”, Rowland insisted: “All my evidence has been the truth”.

Earlier, Mitchell concluded his evidence by admitting “I was ill-tempered” but “didn’t lose my temper”. He described as “completely wrong” suggestions he had changed his story, also insisting “I’ve always told the truth about this incident”. After leaving the gates that night, Mitchell phoned Bob Geldof and told him he had had a “row”. The following day Mitchell had two meetings with Craig Oliver, telling the court “He still is… [Downing Street Director of Communications]… I think”. He then had a telephone conversation with No. 10 Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn, who informed him “Houston, we have a problem”. The case continues…


Seen Elsewhere

Uber Needs to Mind Its Manners | CapX
Sun Victory in Court | MediaGuido
UKIP Gains Coming at Labour’s Expense | Elections Etc
Farage’s Migrant Muddle | Indy
Tristram Should Stop Bashing Independent Schools | Toby Young
Journalists in the Dock | David Banks
Let Them Eat Gay Cake | Laura Perrins
May v Javid | ConHome
Politicians Never Safe From Being Recorded | Stephen Pollard
Superstar Carney | Alex Brummer
Gulf Dividing Labour | Mary Riddell


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Tony Blair threatens Ed:

“If you had a strong political lead that was combining the politics of aspiration with the politics of compassion, I still think that’s where you could get a substantial majority…  If I ever do an interview on [the state of the Labour Party], it will have to be at length…”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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