Friday, December 21, 2012

Guardian Live Blog Their Own Demise

The morning after we learn that the Mail Online now has almost double the reach of the Guardian, Kings Place’s finest are pouring precious resources into Live Blogging the ‘end of the world':

Guido is sure that those facing the chop in editorial this Christmas find the whole thing hilarious.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Priceless Plastic: 59% support Shelbrooke’s Welfare Card

Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke’s 10 Minute Rule Bill to introduce a welfare cash card for benefit claimants, especially those on JSA (but excluding disability payments and the basic state pension,) has gone down like a cup of cold sick with the left this afternoon. The food stamp 2.0 would see restrictions placed on booze, fags and Sky TV et cetera, and ensure the safety net was just that. Shelbrooke told the House earlier:

“This is about benefit distribution and spending, not benefit allocation. It encourages responsible spending by welfare claimants; ensuring taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and for the purpose it is intended. Delivering Beveridge’s vision of a temporary security net by using benefits to create a society of strivers”.

A poll commissioned by Demos found that 59% of the country support the move

Don’t Yeo Forget It

yeo4

Conflicted Energy and Climate Change select committee chairman Tim Yeo is at it again today:

“Lumbering the economy with a centralised power system largely reliant on gas would be like running an office using a fax machine in the age of the iPad. I think the choice facing Britain is clear. We can embrace the technology of the future, set a target to reduce our present heavy dependence on fossil fuels and upgrade our electricity system, or we can cling to the combustion-based technologies of the past, gamble the future on assumptions about the availability of abundant cheap gas and slow down the process of decarbonising our economy.”

Tim Yeo’s green interests in full:

  • Chairman of AFC Energy, company developing alkaline fuel cell technology. Wage: £4,340-a-month.
  • Chairman of TMO Renewables, which develops and supplies technology for second generation biofuels. Wage: £5,832-a-month.
  • Director of ITI Energy, manufacturer of environmentally friendly ‘clean’ gasification technology.

Let it never be forgotten…

Monday, December 17, 2012

David Miliband and the Ugandan Tax Row

milibandDavid Miliband’s links to a controversial oil company that makes its billions in Uganda are back in the news today. The £500,000-a-year globe-trotter has faced scrutiny for his role in securing sponsorship for Sunderland FC from Tullow Oil, an oil giant that has in the past been accused of driving villagers from their homes and bribing officials. Today the Ugandan government is alleging that they have taken huge sums of money out of the poverty-stricken country by allegedly not paying an 18% tax imposed on its mining machinery. Tullow is requesting that the dispute be referred for arbitration.

Maybe a certain former Foreign Secretary can use his diplomacy expertise to help them reach a resolution…

New Statesman Internship Auctioned for £1,000
Intern Aware Say Staggers Should be “Ashamed”

At the recent Olympics Ball raising money for Britain’s young athletes, the New Statesman, that paragon of equality of opportunity, auctioned off internships £1,000-a-pop. A great scoop from Dave Lee this lunchtime. “You will have the chance to contribute your ideas and writing to their hugely popular website” gushed Lot 75 with a starting bid of £1,000. Guido is currently trying to find out exactly how much the slave ship ticket actually went for.

Seeing as the Staggers would be getting the free labour from whichever champagne-swilling parent that coughed up for their lucky child’s week of work experience, would they be contributing anything to the deal? “No travel included”.

Last year Helen Lewis gleefully reported on Tom Watson’s attack on the Tories when they tried a similar wheeze:

“The Labour MP Tom Watson told the Mail: “This is a crass example of rich Tories buying privilege. Most young people could only dream of this opportunity. The Conservatives flog them like baubles and fill their coffers with the profits. It is obscene.”” 

Though perhaps it is Laurie Penny, naturally writing in the Staggers, who put it best:

“The Telegraph reports that across the country hundreds of placements are being sold or brokered, often at similar auctions for the wealthy, where the fact that proceeds go to charity gives the new nobility yet another reason to be smug about giving themselves the life chances that previous generations enjoyed for free. For the few of us who are wealthy enough to finance ourselves through work placements, only a firm push is needed to force open the doors of opportunity. Without a co-ordinated effort to reverse this regressive trend, the years to come will be littered with wasted potential and filled with disappointment for young people with nothing to bring to the table but talent, creativity and ambition.”

Intern Aware have slammed the Staggers this afternoon:

“Most people can’t afford to work for free and even fewer people can afford to pay thousands of pounds for the privilege of interning. The New Statesman should be ashamed of operating a practice than puts opportunities out of the hands of hardworking and talented young people.”

They also estimate that “around 1/3 of the editorial staff at any one time are unpaid. Not only do they readily do all the necessary drudgework, they help to depress the wages of paid journalists there.” Shame on them.

Read Dave Lee’s original posting here.

UPDATE: A source tells Guido that the internship went for close to £1,250.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moran Given Two-Year Treatment Order

Expenses cheat Margaret Moran was “too depressed” to attend court to hear her sentence this morning, but she faces a two-year supervision and treatment order as ‘punishment’ for her £53,000 swindle. This expenses piggie was found to have committed 15 counts of false accounting. The judge says some will say “she got away with it”Moran isn’t the first expenses cheat to dodge jail, and she won’t be the last…

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Miller Car Crash Interview Raises More Expenses Questions

Maria Miller has been well and truly skewered by the Standard this afternoon during an interview in which she tried to play down allegations about her expenses. Did Sir Thomas Legg, the man who carried out the first independent audit into her second home claims, know that her parents lived in the property? “I obviously spoke to the Fees Office about my claims and they were happy that everything was in order”. Hardly a yes.

Who was the second independent auditor? Joe Murphy reports that “The Culture Secretary replied that it was the Conservative Party which “audited all Conservative MPs’ expenses”.  Her definition of independent may raise some eyebrows as the Tory panel was headed by the then Chief Whip and David Cameron’s chief of staff”. Most suspect of all was Miller’s answer to the charge that her decision to stop claiming just as the expenses scandal broke was more than coincidence:

“”I think there was a lot of concern about the rules and, er, a lot of concern about, you know, the whole issue, and it’s something I felt that I didn’t want to be, sort of, mixed up in, the fact that I …”  Mrs Miller finally stopped trying to explain herself, and simply said:  “I just made that decision.””

She will have to do better than that when John Lyon comes calling…

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Labour MP Reports Miller to Standards Commissioner

Labour rent-a-quote John Mann has this afternoon registered a complaint with John Lyon, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, over reports that Maria Miller breached expenses rules by claiming £90,000 for a second home lived in by her parents.

“Maria Millar’s (sic) circumstances are identical to those of Tony McNulty who allowed his parents to live in his second home rent free and the Committee on Standards and Privileges ruled that he had broken the rules.”

People close to Miller point out that her arrangements have been cleared twice as being wholly proper, as well as pointing out that it’s not her parents home, stressing that it’s her own property that her parents live in, with her, and have done for 20 years. Could it be a strange case of breaking the letter of the law but not the spirit? Mysterious…

Why Is Tim Yeo Backing Fracking?

If Tim Yeo is doing the rounds in television studios professing his support for an idea, it’s usually not unfair to assume there must be a vested interest in there somewhere. This morning the conflicted chairman of the Energy and Climate Change select committee decided he was backing fracking, so Guido crowd-sourced his possible financial interests. The results were hardly shocking.

yeof

ITI Energy supplies equipment for a variety of methods of producing energy from gases. Add that to his other interests in energy investment, energy efficient vehicles and fuel cell technology, and you get the picture. Whiffy once again…

£90,000 Question For Maria Miller
Suspicious Timing and Suspicious Arrangement

A busy day for Maria Miller today, and not least because this morning’s Telegraph reports that the Culture Secretary has claimed £90,000 in expenses for the mortgage payments and other costs of a second home lived in by her parents. IPSA rules require second homes to be used exclusively by MPs.

Claiming for a property lived in by an MP’s parents is “specifically prohibited”. 

Guido can reveal that Miller has two properties in her name: a cottage in her Basingstoke constituency, and the property pictured above in Wimbledon.

miller2

The Wimbledon property was purchased by Miller and her husband in 1996 for £234,000, and will be worth at least three times that now. Although expenses rules clearly state that second homes must be lived in exclusively by MPs, Miller’s parents lived in the property while she spent most of her time in Basingstoke main home between 2005 and 2011. She stopped claiming in 2009, days before the expenses scandal broke.

The Telegraph story coming out on this day of all days is surely nothing more than coincidence…


Seen Elsewhere

Does Europe Really Want Britain to Quit? | Nick Wood
Immigration Nation | Hopi Sen
Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,544 other followers