A Masterclass in Miliband Spin


How convenient that “fascist” Di Canio gave David Miliband the perfect chance to loudly leave his £25,000 job at Sunderland Football Club on a matter of principle. How convenient too, that the former Labour-leader-in-waiting is getting away just at the time widespread anger is boiling over in Africa at the club’s sponsor: a sponsor that David Miliband secured. Regular readers will remember Tullow Oil.

According to the Guardian, David played a vital role in forging the Sunderland deal with Tullow, the African oil firm who have been humiliated this week after accusing the Ugandan President of being involved in a $50 million bribe, leading to the company making a grovelling apology.

This sort of hiccup cannot have gone down too well with Miliband’s other employers – he is an advisor to African leaders through Tony Blair’s African Governance Initiative. Along with his escape to New York, a cynic would say Miliband saw a perfect excuse to spin this one…

“Digital Bennism” Dragging Labour Down

Rachel Sylvester has coined a useful term in this morning’s Times to describe the hard-left online wing of the Labour Party: “Digital Bennism”. She says Miliband is facing his biggest challenge yet in standing up to his very noisy lefty critics:

Unite, is threatening to withdraw funding amid a vitriolic campaign on Twitter and blogs from leftwingers who oppose the Shadow Cabinet.

LabourList has been inundated with comments calling for Mr Byrne to resign or be sacked. “Byrne should burn,” said one, while others condemned him as “delusional”, an “idiot” and “the weakest link”. Mr Miliband was accused of abandoning Labour’s core principles by failing to stand up for “those who are being victimised” and allowing his party to be “hijacked by new Labour or Tory lite”. At one point John Reid, the Blairite former Cabinet minister, intervened in the online discussion to ask: “Is this a Labour Party website or have I clicked on a SWP one by mistake?”

Blogs, Twitter and Facebook give this deluded faction a much stronger platform than they used to achieve with a banner and a crap chant. It’s worth noting that most of the leading left-wing blogs are “proudly sponsored” by union gold…

Labour Blows £150,000 of Taxpayers’ Cash to Help Out Pals

Ed BallsEven in opposition, Ed Balls is still finding ways to waste taxpayers’ money. New figures show a group of senior Labour MPs have claimed £151,474 on expenses paid to Gordon and Badley Communications, a PR firm run by two party acolytes. Fiona Gordon is the partner of Labour MP Steve McCabe and was the Prime Mentalist’s political secretary, Caroline Badley was a party press officer. Guido wonders how many other non-Labour affiliated PR firms were considered.

The 16 senior Labour MPs using taxpayer cash to help out their old pals include Balls, Yvette Cooper, Liam Byrne, Jon Cruddas, Tom Watson, Bridget Phillipson, Diana Johnson, Emma Reynolds, Gisela Stuart, Ian Austin, Jack Dromey, Julie Hilling, Khalid Mahmood, Lyn Brown, Robert Flello and Shabana Mahmood. Cronyism plain and simple…

Rent-Swap Victory: Expenses Piggy Linda Riordan Sells Up

Regular readers will remember how Guido has been on the case of shamed Labour rent-swapper Linda Riordan. In October last year it was revealed how this expenses piggy rented out her London flat to another MP and skimmed off an extra £1,000-a-month in profit from the taxpayer, charging a rent of £1,560 on a property where her mortgage costs her some £500-a-month. The other MP in question, Iain McKenzie, amusingly insisted he had never heard of Riordan. Nonetheless, Riordan admitted that she had been caught red-handed and promised to kick McKenzie out, sell up and pay back the profits.

In the last few weeks Riordan has finally flogged her London property, putting an end to the whole dodgy arrangement. Whether her constituents will forgive her in 2015 is another matter…

Hain’s African Adventure
Appointed Director at Major Mining Firm

Peter Hain’s trip to open a school in Sierra Leone last week seems to have gone well: he managed to land yet another job along the way. He’s just been appointed as a non-executive director at Amara, a major mining company that has subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Mali and the Ivory Coast. Sounds like a nice little earner…

Tim Loughton’s Taxpayer Funded Retirement Fishing Trip

When he’s not being questioned by the cops for being rude to gypsies, former DfE minister Tim Loughton is dreaming up new ways to embarrass his old boss Michael Gove. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, Loughton has sent in 87 awkward written questions to the department since he was given the chop. He is right to have a go at the police for wasting taxpayer cash, but given that it costs on average £164 to answer each question, FoI data estimates DfE have spent £14,268 on Loughton’s retirement fishing trip. Revenge is a dish that does not come cheap.

Sugar to Miliband: You’re Hired!

As revealed in Guido’s Sun column yesterday, Lord Sugar has a new hire in Ed Miliband’s office. The pair have had their differences over the last twelve months, most amusingly when Sugar suggested Labour voters ignore Ed Miliband and ditch Ken at the London mayoral election. That hasn’t stopped the Apprentice host from forking out £51,000 towards the staffing costs of Ed’s office for the coming year. Guido makes that the biggest single donation directly to Ed.

Party Funding Figures Out

cashParty funding figures for the last quarter are out. Excluding public money, between October and December last year the Tories received £3,309,109 in donations, Labour £2,592,885 and the LibDems just £570,959. The three biggest donors were Unite, Unison and the GMB, who funnelled over £1.5 million of their gold to you know who. Things don’t change…

Hague Zim Diamond Dilemma

It is sounding increasingly like Hague could abandon the long-term British foreign policy position and ease sanctions against Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s cronies. EU sanctions will lapse on Wednesday and the Belgians are putting a spanner in the works thanks to […]

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Come Fly With Gordon

Last year the jet-setting Prime Mentalist came under fire for blowing taxpayers’ cash on flights from Scotland to London. Though most Scottish MPs take the train south of the border, Guido learns that over just a three-month period last summer […]

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Labour MP Reported Over Cash Questions Concern
Phil Wilson Goes Off the Rails

The man who succeeded Tony Blair as Labour’s MP for Sedgefield is facing some pretty searching questions over his donations today. Phil Wilson has brought up Hitachi’s new factory in the House on no less than 22 separate occasions, coincidentally […]

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Ashcroft Cash Funds Labour Candidate

Lord Ashcroft’s cash is finding its way to some unlikely beneficiaries. Owen Jones wouldn’t accept the £3,000 prize from the disaffected Tory donor when he won the Ashcroft sponsored ‘Young Writer of the Year’ award last week, instead he split […]

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