Friday, January 16, 2009

If They Have Nothing to Hide, They Have Nothing to Fear

Whatever your views as to the rights and wrongs of another runway at Heathrow, Guido can see no reason why it should not be discussed in parliament. John McDonnell’s constituency will be blighted by the project, schools will be closed, green acres will be lost, homes will be demolished.

These pictures of McDonnell picking up the mace were not originally* broadcast and have come out from the raw video feed – much to the annoyance of the parliamentary authorities. Why the parliamentary authorities think it is up to them to censor what the people see going on in their parliament is beyond Guido. They work for you, the workings of parliament are not for them to reveal when they choose, it is the right of the people in a democracy to see into the democratic forum. An open democracy does not hide its workings from the voters.

Elsewhere the parliamentary authorities are suppressing full disclosure of MPs expenses. Jacqui Smith has (without reference to parliament) given herself the right to read Guido’s email without a warrant, yet MPs in contrast are changing the Freedom of Information laws to allow them to obscure our view of their petty fiddles. There is no other credible explanation. They claim that it would be too expensive to account for all expenditure – try putting that on your tax return. Some MPs are taking it upon themselves to voluntarily publish ALL their expenses, some will not, draw your own conclusions. If they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide…

*Guido stands corrected. It appears that the BBC has (online at least) put the video up. There was a row yersterday because under the terms of the contract drawn up by MPs the BBC is not supposed to broadcast this type of disruption.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Early Election? Don’t Think So…

Propellor-Head Wonk Watch: the appointment of Douglas Alexander to oversee preparations for the next general election might be seen by some as Brownite genius. Guido thinks that depends on how you view his overseeing of the recent election campaign where Labour lost control in Scotland for the first time in generations. Some think it could have been worse.

Guido remembers attending a Demos event last year where the new campaign commissar was giving his thoughts. With all this talk of an early election in the air the boys and girls at CCHQ and Cowley Street would do well to dig out his Serving a Cause, Serving a Community Demos pamphlet from last year. In it he urged the Labour party to work in partnership rather than parallel with like minded organisations including trade unions. Gordon is spinning today that he wants to reduce the power of the unions through one man, one vote.

He wrote about the party to becoming a “community hub” creating space for shared discussion with social interest groups who will have input into local party campaigns using blogs and chat rooms to encourage debate with those preferring not to go to formal party meetings. LabourHome is their best semi-unofficial attempt at this, and it still shaded by ConservativeHome.

He also claimed he wanted to throw off the control-freak shackles and loosen the rigid party structures to allow issues to be discussed informally and he wanted to decentralise professional party staff resources from national to local level. Once again the Tories have the edge here, they are far less control-freaky and they already have their Northern call-centre operation with regional offices benefiting from Lord Ashcroft’s cash.

If the Demos pamphlet was Douglas Alexander’s job application it will take time to achieve his goals for Labour. That together with their cash crisis, makes Guido doubtful they will go for an early election.

Friday, March 16, 2007

White Coat Demo

Tomorrow morning doctors from all over the UK are having a protest march from the College of Physicians in Regents Park to the College of Surgeons in Lincoln Inn Fields; it is not often that doctors give up a Saturday at the golf club, so they must be pretty exercised.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Demos Calls in Two-Brains

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The new director of Demos, Catherine Fieschi, seems to be steadying the ship and pointing it in a new direction after the short-lived captaincy of Madelaine Bunting produced a mutiny of the wonks.
Catherine Fieschi is respected as a real academic wonk who hails from the soft liberal school (she is on the editorial board of Prospect, the bible of Hampstead liberals). Essentially, unlike Bunting, she has a Phd and knows how to use it.

So it is interesting to see that Demos have arranged a Valentine’s day lunchtime love-in with David Willets on the New Tory buzzwords social responsibility. Not sure who is wooing who here – the brand decontaminating Tories, or Demos who want to distance themselves from their Blairite New Labour heritage. The important thing is not so much what they are saying, as who is saying what to whom as the tectonic plates shift.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Sith’s Wilf and Gordon’s New Policies

From: Guido Fawkes

To: FoI Unit HM Treasury

7 February, 2007

Dear Sirs,

This is an FoI request concerning an email sent by Wilf Stevenson, of the Smith Institute, last month to a number of persons based at at HM Treasury. The email was also addressed to staff at some leading think-tanks including the the Smith Institute, IPPR and Demos. In it I understand that Wilf Stevenson explained that Gordon Brown was interested in gathering in policy ideas for his administration and that he would like to co-ordinate this activity.

I believe that Ed Balls and John Healey were also recipients of the email.

The activities of the Smith Institute with regard to policy formulation at HM Treasury are of great public interest. Please could you, in the first instance, provide me with a copy of this email and any other emails sent by Wilf Stevenson to persons based at HM Treasury.

Regards,

Guido Fawkes Esq.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Guido is Giving Yates a Book for Christmas

Demos think-tank founder Geoff Mulgan was Tony Blair’s chief policy guru from 1997 to 2004. He has a book out Good and Bad Power – The Ideals and Betrayals of Government.
The title is apt – flick to page 84 for an interesting admission from a man who, when he was at the centre of government, is known to have seen the odd honours list in his time “In later years the scarcely concealed sale of peerages to wealthy party donors, and the appointment of the party’s top donor – Lord Sainsbury – to ministerial office, did little to restore the British public’s confidence.” Oh really?

Clearly a copy of this admission should be sent to Scotland Yard sharpish. Any other suggestions for books for Yates of the Yard? Guido sent him the The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze months ago. Now what is Yates going to give Guido in return?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

You Read It Here First

As reported here yesterday, it is official today:

“Madeleine Bunting has decided to resign as Director of Demos. Since it has emerged that her vision for Demos is incompatible with that of the trustees.”

She was appointed 4th September 2006 and resigned today (19th October). Demos wonks should feel free to Email Guido anonymously with gems from her 45 day reign of madness.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hang Out the Bunting

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The new Director of Demos, Madeleine Bunting, is leaving Demos to go back to the Guardian. If this story seems familiar it is because she has only just arrived from the Guardian.

Don’t expect much of a whip-round for a leaving pressie Madeleine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This is the Cultural Tipping Point

It is all over for Labour, even the gayers hate them now. Popbitch (Guido thinks of her as his eMother) is a cultural phenomenon, it is was originally a music press chatboard with a heavy gay slant and some of the wittiest wordplay in cyberspace. Now it is something more than that. Guido’s City mates luv it, media wannabees worship it, journos waste time on it, webmongs laugh at it, it influences our media culture. Self-loathing and satire is mixed in with tales of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll pop-culture gossip.

The banner changes daily to reflect the cultural zeitgeist and today’s banner is above GUIDO TRUFAX! In a change from normal programming the Popbitcher’s took time out from analysing Garth Brooks’ sexuality and critiqued the waste of paper that is Demos’ latest publication. Read the bitchiness and weep.

Demos Downhearted

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: Guido went along last night to Demos’ launch of Serving a Cause, Serving a Community by Douglas Alexander. Labour really are fumbling around trying to figure out how to do politics online and to re-engage with their activists. (Hint : try honesty and drop the control freakery.)

Douglas was speaking NewLabourSpeak most of the time so Guido read the pamphlet, which amusingly talks about Popbitch in awestruck terms. Why is it so popular? (Clue : it is funny and gossipy.) They touched on blogs briefly.

Noticed that all the furniture at Demos is Ikea. The leftie crowd was very demoralised. Guido almost felt sorry for them. Almost.


Seen Elsewhere

Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay | Techno Guido
Insurgent Parties Plunge Labour Into Crisis | Alex Wickham
Mind-Bending Politics of Drugs | Mark Wallace
PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian
Drug Laws Don’t Work | Times
Our Moral Duty to Cut Taxes | David Cameron
Greens Ahead of LibDems | Guardian
Channel 4 to Spoof UKIP Election Win | Guardian


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