Friday, June 27, 2014

WATCH: Daily Politics on Third Sector Mafia Stitch-Up

Two weeks ago Guido revealed how former Labour apparatchiks from the taxpayer-subsidised charity mafia were trying to pull of a concerted media hit against Tory MP Conor Burns. The Daily Politics today took a look at the close links between Labour rhetoric and that of some sections of the third sector:

Burns is still blocking the path of the outrage bus:

“We have government giving unrestricted grants to charities, and then those charities using that money to lobby the government to change policy. That is, I think, an abuse of taxpayers’ money and one that should come to an end. As I say, I’ve got no issues with charities campaigning, that’s part of their role. But I think the person that supports their local Oxfam shop or supports Save the Children gives money on the assumption that that’s going to alleviate poverty in some of the poorest parts of the world, not that it’s going on political campaigns in the United Kingdom.

If you look at the list of some of the so-called charity leaders who attacked me in the Times newspaper recently, a good number of them had stood for the Labour Party in general elections, a number of them had advised Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in senior positions in Number 10 and in other government departments. They are then coming into these charities and using their position to campaign against what were their political opponents.”

Oxfam has already been reported to the Charity Commission, who could do worse than looking at some of the other patently politically partisan charities peddling Labour spin…

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Parliament Spends £500,000 on Software They Could Get Free

New figures released by the House of Commons Commission today reveal that parliament is spending £500,000 of taxpayers’ money on basic computer services that could be provided for free elsewhere. ‘Office 365′ is a service offered by Microsoft which hosts cloud versions of Word, Excel, and Outlook, as well as “some new tools accessible once a user’s e-mail box has been migrated to Microsoft 365″. Initially only 12 MP signed up to the new system, with some tech-phobic members confused by the changes:

“We have received some negative feedback about the colour scheme of Outlook 2013 and about the new location of file/print/save buttons in Office 2013; similar feedback was received from House staff. In response PICT have produced guidance for staff on how to darken the colour scheme in Outlook and have been assured by Microsoft that they are working to address the interface issues in future upgrades.”

What Guido cannot understand, however, is why parliament is spending half a million pounds of taxpayer cash on Microsoft’s word processor, spreadsheet software and email service, when the equivalent services are all provided free elswehere. Many MPs already use other software that offers everything that Office 365 does, all online, free of charge. The men in tights are claiming spending all this money will save them over £2 million in the long run. But they needn’t be spending any money on it at all…

UPDATE: Parliamentary staff who have been forced to use the new system agree that it does not provide value for money:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tory MEP Troughers Try to Shut Down Dubrovnik Junket Story

Fourteen Tory MEPs took the gravy train to Croatia last week, recovering from the gruelling Euro election campaign by spending £30,000 on a taxpayer-funded “study day” at Dubrovnik’s luxury 5-star Imperial hotel, enjoying posh nosh and being entertained by world-renowned, and often lingerie-clad cellist, Ana Rucner. Though this time Ana managed to keep her mini-skirt on for her performance. As Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday, Syed Kamall, the new leader of Tory MEPs in Brussels, only dashed back to London a day early from his “studies” so as not to miss seeing the England-Uruguay match in London. Now the MEPs who went on the jolly have been told to stonewall hacks investigating them living it up on the taxpayer, sending this email to the junketeers:

From: HOLTUM James
Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:23 AM
To: CALLANAN Martin; ANDREASEN Marta; ATKINS Robert; KIRKHOPE Timothy; VAN ORDEN Geoffrey; FOX Ashley; MCINTYRE Anthea; CAMPBELL BANNERMAN David; FOSTER Jacqueline; ASHWORTH Richard; MCCLARKIN Emma; DUNCAN Ian; FORD Victoria Grace
Cc: FURBISHER John; HOLTUM James
Subject: Study days

Dear Members, you may have seen that you are mentioned as one of the attendees at ECR study days this week.

Our advice is to avoid any unknown numbers for a day or two, but in case you are caught off guard or doorstepped, here is the line that we gave the Mail…

Shutting down stories about wasting taxpayer cash, clearly Brussels has taught them well…

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Third Sector Mafia Tantrum
Labour’s Charity Allies Attack Tory MP 

oxfam-burns

Back in 2012 Fraser Nelson warned that Brown was putting his people into the Charity third-sector. Sure enough the usual suspects from the taxpayer-subsidised charity mafia will tomorrow try to pull off one of their coordinated outrage media hits. They will have a pop at Tory MP Conor Burns for having the cheek to suggest that charities like Oxfam, who take a significant chunk of public money for their international efforts, should butt out of domestic politics. The well-heeled public affairs team at Friends of the Earth have got a collection of Labour sleepers to sign a letter to the Times which will be published on Monday morning. They will claim that they are all very ‘concerned’ that attempts are being made to ‘stifle charities’. They deliberately miss the point that this is ‘concern’ about the government awarding money to organisations that then use that cash to lobby the very same government. 

Guido was particularly amused when  he had a little look at the signatories to Monday’s letter. Just how independent is Joe Irvin from the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action? Well he used to be a Special Adviser to John Prescott and a member of the Number 10 policy unit under Labour…

Kate Allen of Amnesty International? Well she was sleeping with Ken Livingstone for long enough…

How about Alexandra Runswick from Unlock Democracy? Proud Labour member. 

Surely Tony Dykes, from those UK-based experts Action for Southern Africa, is alright?  Nope, the former Leader of Camden Council. (Labour).

Guido feels he is being a bit unfair labelling all these concerned do-gooders as Labour supporters. At least Jon Nott, the General Secretary of the Woodcraft Folk, is a Green. The same cannot be said of Martin Drewry  from Health Poverty Action who is another proud Labour supporter.

Leaked emails reveal that the now much maligned Oxfam have had a hand in making this letter happen. Their Policy and Communications Manager, Richard Pyle, has been encouraging old friends, colleagues and fellow travellers to sign up. Let’s have a peek at some of his ‘likes’ and interests on Facebook, shall we?

- Wes Streeting for Ilford North (Labour PPC)
- Derek4Europe (Derek Munn a Labour MEP candidate for Scotland)
- Pam Duncan (who ran for Labour selection in wait for it…Falkirk)
- Kirsty4Europe (Kirsty O’Brien, a Labour MEP candidate for Scotland)
- LGBT Labour
- Luke Pollard (Labour PPC in South West Devon in 2010)
- David Miliband
- Peter Mandelson
- Tony Blair

And, lest there be any doubt:

- I’m supporting Labour at the General Election

You have to wonder how switched on Oxfam’s Policy Manager really is when he ‘declares war on unemployment’ in the same week that employment reaches a record high. It’s worth noting who is really driving this hysterical outrage bus. Hint: it’s party political.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Select Committee Chairmen Revolve the Door Early
Lee, Leslie, Wollaston & Tredinnick Running For Health

Select Committee Chairman are dropping like flies. First James Arbuthnot quit Defence, and now Stephen Dorrell is standing down as chief Health Department overseer. Both of these MPs are quitting parliament after the election in 2015, so why would they not want to keep the coveted posts, as well as the extra pay, for their 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.

The latest runners and riders to replace Dorrell include NHS reformer Charlotte Leslie, her close friend Dr Philip Lee, Speaker’s pet Dr Sarah Wollaston and homoeopath David Tredinnick. There is also a rumour doing the rounds that Spelman is interested.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Unions Buy Labour’s Support in London Taxi Wars

Guido’s London readers will know that the capital’s rival taxi firms have descended into open warfare in recent weeks. Militant black cab drivers are having a hissy fit about being priced out of the market by Uber, who use an app to calculate the journey distance and fee, relay the information to the driver and usually offer a considerably lower fare for the punter in a much nicer car. It is an example of the market working to provide the best price for the consumer. As the Institute of Directors points out:

“When the tide of new technology is coming in fast, it’s unwise to stand still and hope it stops at your feet. It’s all well and good to say that companies such as Uber must fit into the UK’s regulatory framework, but there’s a powerful case to make that the UK’s regulatory framework has been overtaken by digital innovation and, in some areas, is no longer fit for purpose.”

Guido understands that the GMB union has infiltrated the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, the black cabbies’ trade union, to lobby politicians against Uber. Indeed it was a GMB-sponsored Labour MP, Graham Morris, who tabled the Westminster Hall debate on this issue in April.

To little surprise, Labour have sided with a closed shop producer’s protection racket against consumers. Today, Labour have officially adopted the black cab position. Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh, who is also sponsored by the GMB, has launched an attack on Uber this morning:

“Labour welcome Transport for London’s decision to seek a High Court ruling on taximeters. Apps like Uber which involve a contract for vehicle hire must conform to the same high standards of safety, licensing and insurance as the rest of the taxi and private hire industry. It is neither black cab nor minicab, which is why it is vital that a court decides if it fits into the UK’s regulatory framework. The safety of the travelling public must not be put at risk.”

A Labour Shadow Secretary of State going back to the bad old days of formulating party policy based on the demands of her union paymasters. Not only that, Creagh is prioritising the vested interests of a party donor over the interests of the hard-pressed consumers her party is supposed to represent. Uber tell Guido that they go ‘above and beyond other operators in the industry in terms of safety’ and are confident that the High Court will agree with TFL. Guido thinks the rest of the industry should work out how they can bring their service up to scratch rather than trying to run a more competent rival out of town.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Andy Burnham is a Millionaire

Andy Burnham has written to Nigel Farage to complain about a UKIP leaflet suggesting he was a millionaire. Which is true.

Burnham owns at least two properties, and estimates by local estate agents say his house in the nice leafy bit of Warrington would fetch at least £350,000. Then there is his flat in Kennington, which he rents out. Flats round there don’t go for less than £350,000 at a very conservative estimate. 

After nearly two decades on the public teat, Burnham’s pension assets will push him into millionaire territory.  Not only does he have 13 years of absurdly generous MPs’ pension, he also spent four years as a SpAd and five years as a government minister. The public sector pays.

The elder Burnham will have pension of at least £30,000 per annum and this asset, along with the property, easily pushes him over the mark. He may be ashamed of his wealth, but he can’t just ignore it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mili-onaire Ed’s Cost of Living Crisis

In touch Ed claimed that his family of four spent “probably £70, £80 a week on groceries a week, probably more than that” when ambushed with the perfectly reasonable question on ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

EM: We probably spend, er, you know, 70, 80 pounds per week on groceries at least, probably more than that. The point is that different families will have different costs they face. What I am clear about is that there is a crisis facing so many people.

ITV: The average weekly bill for a family of four is more than £100. So you are going to spending significantly more than £70/80. People would say that one of the problems with politicians is that they are actually talking about something but out of touch with the reality, and the reality is much higher than you’ve just quoted.

EM: Sure. 

A conservative estimate puts the mili-onaire Miliband’s joint income at around £400,000 per year, meaning they are bringing in at least £7,500 per week. The idea that they spend just 1% of this on groceries is ridiculous. Once again Ed’s mask slips on the ‘light and easy’ breakfast shows. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hintze Gives Dave £1.5 Million

Back in February the Mail got very excited about the billionaire philanthropist Sir Michael Hintze ‘pulling the plug’ on Dave. Sebastian Shakespeare might wish to go back to his top Tory source, who told him:

“Michael is fed up with David Cameron and George Osborne and doesn’t see why he should prop up the party any longer. He is deeply upset with the party’s promotion of gay marriage; it grates with his Catholicism. And as a tax-cutting free marketeer, he’d hoped to see a more radical economic agenda.”

Hintze was so “deeply upset with the party” that he gave the Tories their largest single donation under David Cameron. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun and official figures will show on Thursday, at the time the Mail’s new diarist was writing that he was no longer supporting the Conservatives, the philanthropist was actually writing a cheque for a cool million and a half quid – effectively clearing the party’s debts. Shakespeare’s whole story was a figment of his imagination, not for the first time…

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Europe Day!

UKIP will be delighted that the slogan for today’s Europe Day celebrations is “EU Open Doors”. Guido has yet to see the bunting be rolled in street parties across Britain, though according the EU’s website they are rather bizarrely marking the occasion in Venezuela, Mozambique and Swaziland. The whole thing is costing taxpayers €2 million, though for what only Herman van Rompuy knows. Alan Murad of Get Britain Out ain’t wrong:

“It is a slap in the face for taxpayers that the EU is wasting their money on vanity propaganda campaigns in places as far away as Venezuela, Mozambique and Swaziland! There is some irony the EU is now so unpopular in Europe that they have to go to a South American dictatorship to celebrate its very existence.”

Guido is off for a rioja…


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


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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!


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