Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Speaker Watch: Bercow Plays Ball With Bryant

Chris Bryant has the sixth question at PMQs. Phone-hacking has been of some mild interest to him over the years and he gets on famously with Dave. However, Coulson’s trial continues over at the Old Bailey and the judge got very cross yesterday at politicians talking publicly about the partial verdict. As did Coulson’s Scottish lawyers…

Unsurprisingly, Mr Speaker has been accommodating to Labour and will allow Ed and Chris their big moment:

Let the butchery begin.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Charlie Brooks on Dave: We Can Still Be Friends

Speaking to LBC’s Kay Burley in 2012, the cleared husband of Rebekah Brooks has revealed he still wants to be friends with the Prime Minister, despite the disappointment felt when the PM spoke out against his wife:

“We were at school together and our families have known each other for a long time I suppose, decades. I’m getting old now. And he’s also our MP at home and our neighbour so we know each other pretty well. We obviously don’t see each other at the moment and that’s his decision and probably his advice and I don’t really blame him for that. He’s got a job to do and if his advisors say there should be a bit of clear water and distance between him and Rebekah and myself at the moment I certainly don’t hold that against him. I just you know think that’s life.”

The interview continues:

KB: Are you content with his behaviour because you were close weren’t you. You played bridge together, he came to ride the horse, we’ve read a lot about that.

CB: I was a little bit disappointed when he commented in Parliament on whether Rebekah should resign or not because I didn’t really feel he had all of the facts at his finger tips to comment on that. When this is all over, I’m sure he’ll explain, ‘I’m sorry but I was, these are the pressures I was under on that particular day’. He also has pressures in this whole thing as well. So I don’t feel any anger towards him at all.

KB: Do you think you can be friends again?

CB: Yeah I do yeah.

The Chipping Norton set are almost reunited.

WATCH: Miliband: “This Taints Cameron’s Government”

“I think David Cameron has very, very serious questions to answer because we now know that he brought a criminal into the heart of Downing Street. David Cameron was warned about Andy Coulson, the evidence mounted up against Andy Coulson, David Cameron must have had his suspicions about Andy Coulson, and yet he refused to act.

I believe this isn’t just a serious error of judgement, this taints David Cameron’s government because we now know that he put his relationship with Rupert Murdoch ahead of doing the right thing when it came to Andy Coulson. I think David Cameron must do much more than an apology, he owes the country an explanation for why he did not act on these allegations against Andy Coulson, why as the evidence piled up he didn’t do anything, and he’s got to explain.”

Roll on PMQs tomorrow…

WATCH: Cameron: “I am Extremely Sorry”

“I take full responsibility for employing Andy Coulson. I did so on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking and those turned out not to be the case. I always said that if they turned out to be wrong that I would make a full and frank apology and I do that today. I am extremely sorry that I employed him. It was the wrong decision and I’m very clear about that.

I asked him questions about if he knew about phone hacking and he said that he didn’t and I accepted those assurances and I gave him the job. I would say that no one has made any complaints about the work that he did for me either as Leader of the Opposition or indeed here in Number 10 Downing Street, but knowing what I now know and knowing that those assurances weren’t right it was obviously wrong to employ him. I gave someone a second chance and it turned out to be a bad decision.”

Interesting interpretation of “full and frank”…

Cameron Says Judge Only Him For His “Friend” Coulson

In July 2011 David Cameron said:

“I decided to give him a second chance and no one has raised serious concerns about how he did his job for me … But the second chance didn’t work out. The decision to hire him was mine and mine alone and I take full responsibility for it. People will decide whether it is right to give someone a second chance or not. I do think it is right to judge an individual by the work he did for me. I accept he was an editor of a newspaper where some very bad things happened. Because he’d resigned … it was reasonable to offer him a second chance … People will judge me on that, and I fully understand that. When you work with someone for four years as I did and you work closely, you do build a friendship and I became friends with him … so, yes, he became a friend and is a friend.

Guido imagines they’re now preparing to drop Coulson from a very great height.

But Cameron cannot undo those words.

Although he tried at the Leveson Inquiry, a year later:

“I was reliant on his word but I was also reliant on the fact that the Press Complaints Commission had accepted his word, the select committee had accepted his word, the police had accepted his word, the Crown Prosecution Service had accepted his word.”

Guido imagines that will be the line today…

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WATCH: Dave Goes Down Fighting on Juncker

BB: “How is his campaign going to stop Mr Juncker?”

[LAUGHS]

DC: “It’s a simple issue of principle, much more connected to the principle than the name. The principle is this –  and I think it will be shared on every side of the House – that the members of the European Council, the elected Prime Ministers and the elected Presidents, under the treaties, we should choose who runs the European Commission. And I don’t mind how many people on the European Council disagree with me, I will fight this right to the very end. And what I would say to my colleagues on the European Council, many of whom have expressed interesting views about both this principle and this person, if you want reform in Europe you’ve got to stand up for it, if you want change in Europe you’ve got to vote for it. That is the message I will take, and that is the right message for our country.”

Warning other EU leaders to do in public what they are saying about Juncker in private…

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ed Smashes His Negative Polling Record, Slumps Below Clegg
Osborne’s Shock Positive Approval Rating Grows

Ed Miliband has hit his lowest ever personal rating by gold-standard pollsters ICM for the Guardian. The Labour leader has dropped 14 points in the last month to -39, below even Nick Clegg, who has a rating of -37. Cameron has lost last month’s positive rating of +2, dropping to -5, though Osborne has seen an increase in his own rating from +5 to +6.

The force is strong in that one.

Rouhani is a Good Sport
Iranian President Recreates Famous ‘Dave of the People’ Shot

In a further sign of diplomatic warming between Iran and the West, Hassan Rouhani has recreated the famous “David Cameron watching the sports like a real man” photograph. A far more significant move than opening any embassy.

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Is Dom Cummings #Winning?

The last tweet from the once prolific parody @SteveHiltonGuru account, four days ago, was a generous response to former Gove SpAd and social media connoisseur Dom Cummings:

An appointment made even more unlikely by Cummings piling into No.10 in the Times this morning, not least calling the PM’s chief of staff Ed Llewellyn “a classic third-rate suck-up-kick-down sycophant presiding over a shambolic court”. Who else has been the author of some similarly colourful criticism of Llewellyn over the years?

What a remarkable coincidence. Hashtag winning…

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sham Tory Europe Bill Back

Here we go again. Having sacked him at the last reshuffle, the luck of the draw means that Dave is going to be very nice about Bob Neill now. The Bromley MP has agreed to take on the Wharton Bill mantel as the highest ranking Tory in the Private Members Bill ballot:

“One of the first votes I ever cast was on EU membership  in the 1970’s . Now as I pick up my bus pass I am getting the chance to work with colleagues to  secure a referendum for the British people. Britain needs a new deal with Europe and the Conservatives have a plan for change in Europe – renegotiate, reform and put the deal to the British people in an in-out referendum by the end of 2017. Parliament now has the chance to pass my backbench bill and guarantee that the British people have the final say.”

If Cameron had really wanted to lock a referendum into law he could have exercised his authority over the LibDems and put it in the Queen’s Speech last week, forcing the other two parties to vote against it. Nick Clegg is hardly in any position to complain after his Europe-specific drubbing at the ballot box earlier this month. Let the spin begin.


Seen Elsewhere

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
No.10 Ambushed by EU Prosperity Tax | Times


VOTER-RECALL
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Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”



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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