Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pickles Trolls Thornberry

Earlier in the week Eric Pickles responded to Hilary Benn’s vain attempt to find waste at DCLG by sending him a signed photo and one of John Prescott’s 20,000 vanity pens, for which the former Deputy PM billed the taxpayer £3,450. Today he’s winding up Emily Thornberry by flying the flag of Lancashire:

“Whatever one’s class, colour or creed, flags like the St George’s and the Union flag are unifying symbols for our nation. We should also champion the great diversity of local flags. Let’s fly them all with pride, because this sense of shared identity is one of the things that binds communities together.”

No doubt Emily has never seen anything like it…

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

UN Special Envoy Slams Miliband’s Mansion Tax

United Nations Special Envoy and High Commissioner of the UNHCR, Angelina Jolie, has voiced her concerns about Ed Miliband’s mansion tax:

“I’m quite responsible about money. That could put me off [moving to London].”

Wonder who could have put her up to that…

Clip via Channel 4 News.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dorrell Exits Through Revolving Door

When Stephen Dorrell stood down as chairman of the Health select committee back in June, Guido wondered:

“Why would [he] not want to keep the coveted post, as well as the extra pay, for [his] last year in the Commons? Nothing to do, Guido is sure, with the fact that anti-corruption Cabinet Office rules state that politicians have to spend a year ‘cooling off’ before they a can go to work in the lucrative private sector in an area they have acquired expert knowledge in through their position in public office. Any six-figure consultancy contracts and directorships they take up after the election would more than compensate them for their temporary short-term loss this year. A coincidence, no doubt.”

Sure as night follows day, Dorrell today announced he will be quitting parliament at the election to take a job as a health consultant with KPMG. Giving him time for a nice summer holiday before his cooling off period expires and he can start putting all that experience to good use. Kerching!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dave’s Out of Touch-Lamp

Guido is always one to shine a light on shady deals in dark corridors of power, so watt’s this one all about? The two desk lamps in David Cameron’s Downing Street ohm retail at an austerity-busting £749. “Hand-assembled in Oxford from the finest aluminium, chrome and bone china”, the lamps were a freebie from Witney-based company Original BTC, lamp provider to stars such as Gordon Ramsay and Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. Guido found this whole story rather illuminating…

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

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? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mills and the Missing Paperwork
$30,000 Mystery Hangs Over Bercow’s Favourite

The Canberra Caterer is covering herself in glory again down under. Speaker Bercow’s preferred choice to be the next Clerk of the Commons has once again been hauled in front of a scrutiny committee of the Australian parliament to explain her actions.

“I feel that the standards in the department have not met the expectations that I would’ve had coming into the department nor have we been able to fix them as quickly as I would’ve liked,” says Carol Mills in regard to why the records of $30,000 worth of photographs that she commissioned from a photographer, who happened to be her neighbour, have gone missing. “It’s regrettable that we still have gaps but we’re certainly striving hard to improve systems and we’ll take any learnings… very seriously,” claimed Mills in pure management speak.

What was it about this incompetent pen pusher that so captivated the Speaker’s attention?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Unbeleafable! Operation Yew-Tree Leaves Parliament Stumped

The poor saps at parliament’s press office will want poplar Telegraph hack Chris “Chopper” Hope arrested for high tree-son after he branched out from his normal coverage and lumbered them with a series of questions that left them stumped. Hope got to the root of the issue when he o-pined on Twitter that a shady lady on a ladder was pulling the leaves off trees on the parliamentary estate. A ash-en faced spokesman insisted he was barking up the wrong tree:

“The leaves are removed each winter as a more time-efficient alternative to raking fallen leaves. The House of Commons employs a gardening service which covers maintenance of more than 145 trees on the Parliamentary estate as well as all grassed areas, planted areas, indoor plants, containers and window boxes. It is not possible to separate the cost of removing leaves from the trees in New Palace Yard from the wider cost of the gardening contract the leaves are removed each winter as a more time-efficient alternative to raking fallen leaves.”

You’d have thought they would have saw this one coming. Guido is becoming increasingly sycamore and more of these flagrant examples of government waste. The real question is how much the taxpayer willow. Facepalm…

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Labour Candidate Up Half a Million After Expenses Scandal
Shamed Ex-MP Creams Off Huge Taxpayer-Subsidised Windfall

Labour’s candidate in Enfield North is in line for a taxpayer-subsidised windfall of more than half a million pounds, after ‘doing a Maria Miller’. Joan Ryan, who held the seat until she was booted out in disgrace in 2010, claimed tens of thousands of pounds in mortgage interest payments on her Enfield second home between 2004 and 2008 under her Additional Cost Allowance. She also famously claimed £4,500 doing up the property, including redecorating the living room. The semi-detached Enfield house was bought in 1999 for £249,000. Properties on the same road now typically go for over £750,000, some half-a-million more. The taxpayer subsidised Ryan’s mortgage payments while the price of her home was sky-rocketing, leaving the shamed ex-MP in line to cream the profit.

That’s not all. In 2008, Ryan then flipped her first and second home, designating a flat in Kennington as her new second home. Expenses records show that Ryan went on to claim for second home mortgage interest payments well into 2009. The palatial apartment at Imperial Court was bought for £192,000 in 2004. It is now estimated to be worth over £400,000. Generously subsidised by the people she now hopes will re-elect her…

Monday, November 10, 2014

Red Prince Vows “End to Tory Privatisation of NHS”…
…But Takes Donation From Boss of Top Private Contractor

“We have a chance to stop the Tory privatisation in its tracks,” Will Straw told voters in Rossendale as he launched a petition calling for “an end” to private firms making profit in the NHS. Labour’s Red Prince even invited Tessa Jowell along for the photo-op where he vowed to “remember, remember the NHS this November”. One thing Straw didn’t remember was a £5,000 donation he trousered from his dad’s best mate via his local CLP. The donor, Patrick Carter, just happens to have made his millions as the £799,000-a-year boss of McKesson UK, which is one of the primary NHS contractors. Labour’s star candidate in Rossendale is against private businessmen making money from the NHS, except when he’s taking cash from them…

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lord Barnett R.I.P. : Bury His Formula With Him

Lord Barnett has passed away. His formula outlives him, something of which he did not approve. Giles Dilnot’s interview makes Joel’s view clear…


Seen Elsewhere

How Avoidable Scandals Destroy Stupid Politicians | Alex Wickham
UKIP Mosque Confusion | The Week
Let’s Ban the Word Internet | Padraig Reidy
Are the Broadcasters Ready For the Election? | Specccie
Moral Bankruptcy of the BBC | David Keighley
UKIP’s ‘Starsky and Hutch’ | Total Politics
Innocent Sun Journo Just Doing Her Job | Sun
Boris Sent Up North | Times
The Only Way to Mend the EU | Leo McKinstry
Northern Labour Tearing Party Apart | David Aaronovitch
Osborne is Son of Brown | Peter Oborne


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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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