Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Sun’s Warning Shot

As the Downing Street machine spends the week rescuing the Big Society, The Sun have given Bob Roberts and Tom Baldwin an opening to whack Dave from the right.

After two years of slagging off Murdoch’s papers, it seems Labour have remembered that people actually read them. In a piece purporting to be by Ed Miliband on crime, broken Britain is being wrestled from under the government’s nose. Never would have happened under Coulson…

Cats or Cuts?

In the stuff of sketch-writers dreams, the Downing Street rats were blighting television news coverage and looked like something out of House of Cards. And what better a way to distract from all those nasty cuts. Look, look, something cute.

Enter stage left Larry, the Cameron’s new kitty, who is arriving from Battersea today. The race has begun for the first picture, so don’t expect any other political news today.

UPDATE: Downing Street saucers have confirmed there will be a photo op at 1pm.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dave Poaches Ronnie

Old blog favourite Sir Ronnie Cohen’s political journey is almost complete. Having gone from keeping Gordon Brown in his pocket and throwing wads of cash at that disaster, he has warmed to Cameron and is coming on board with the Big Society bank. Having donated some £1.8 million to Labour, Guido highlighted that Ronnie was caught spinning for Dave on a BBC Four program about the big society a couple of weeks ago:

It’s going to be tough for Baldwin to find a line to bash this particular dodgy non-dom city donor.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yew Turn If You Want To

The government has decided to back down and retreat on their radical and bold idea to sell some trees. The benchmark has been set. If around 0.7 percent of the country sign a petition complaining it seems the coalition will happily boot something into the long grass to make the headache go away.

Brave stuff.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mr Oliver Snr.

Michael Crick said last night that Craig Oliver came with no baggage. This is almost true about the previously apolitical “workaholic”. In 1998 his father was forced out of his job as one of Scotland top coppers after a bungled investigation into a child’s murder by a paedophile. Dr Ian Oliver, the former Chief Constable of Grampian Police quit after he was busted shagging someone else’s wife in a rural car park. For three grand you can book the disgraced copper for an after dinner speech.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gabby Goes Favourite

Westminster Wobbles

After growth flat-lining and Labour going ten points ahead in one poll there is a distinct wobble being felt around Westminster about the cuts. The usually unflappable Speccie have today drawn in their breath about the NHS:

“Barack Obama may have been right to push healthcare reforms, but may nonetheless suffer for the timing and way he did it. The same may be the case for David Cameron.”

While Ben Brogan is quick to point out that Ed Balls is hurting Osborne and:

“…just because Mr Balls is wrong does not guarantee that Mr Osborne is right”

The keep calm and carry on coming from Downing Street is falling on increasingly deaf ears. The coalition are losing their lead in the blame game too. Guido is a little confused at how a £100m sale of some trees has become such a big story in comparison to the much larger swings Osborne has taken with his axe. Maybe it’s the imagery of literally cutting trees, or perhaps this is being allowed to flare up as a distraction for the more radical measures.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Front Runners to Replace Coulson

Back in September (GPW Hotly Tipped for Post-Coulson Downing Street) Guido put a few names forward as potential successors to Andy Coulson. The same names are in the frame again. Former Indy deputy editor Ian Birrell seems to be Steve Hilton’s preferred choice, he is apparently liked and trusted by Cameron. George Pascoe Watson, the former Sun man now spinning at Portland, is mentioned, however  replacing one former Murdoch man with another could be problematic.

Ben Brogan, despite much speculation, insists he is not in the running.  Another name mentioned is Guto Harri, currently spinning for Boris, he is known to fancy going to Downing Street. The BBC’s James Landale shouldn’t be ruled out – he is an Old Etonian after all – don’t be surprised if you next see him in No. 10 rather than reporting from outside it. Modesty forbids Guido suggesting another combative tabloid-tuned, right-winger who likes taking the fight to Labour…

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warsi Cut Loose

Those No. 10 sources have been whispering about Sayeeda Warsi to James Forsyth again:

“…there was a ‘general awareness’ that Baroness Warsi was to give a speech on faith, they did not know the specifics of what she was going to say. They say that no text was cleared by Downing Street. They claim that the first they knew of the controversial lines in the speech was when they were informed that Warsi’s team had briefed them out to the Telegraph.”

Given it was Forsyth that got the “disaster waiting to happen line”, there is a clear pattern emerging here. Perhaps if Warsi had thought to get her speech checked out then someone might have spotted the huge wedge she has driven through the middle of her party. The speech criticises those that frame the debate about Islam into moderates and extremists:

“It’s not a big leap of imagination to predict where the talk of ‘moderate’ Muslims leads; in the factory, where they’ve just hired a Muslim worker, the boss says to his employees: ‘Not to worry, he’s only fairly Muslim’. In the school, the kids say: ‘The family next door are Muslim but they’re not too bad’.

People like Michael Gove? Look what he said in 2007:

“…we cannot effectively champion the interests of moderate Muslims and of our pluralist, tolerant and liberal society, unless we show a determination to tackle extremism. It is the extremists who, in the past, have crowded out from the debate the moderate voices in the Muslim world.”

Despite a reshuffle on the horizon, Cameron is going to find it hard to be able sack the first female muslim in the cabinet, but that isn’t stopping the negative briefing. At the end of the day her competence should be the only deciding factor on whether she keeps her job.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cameron Celebrated Christmas With Rebekah Brooks

Guardian hacks were very excited to have discovered – and were planning to splash on – the fact that the Prime Minister celebrated one evening this Christmas around at the home of the Chief Executive of News International. This is set against a background of the Guardian waging war on News International and Downing Street’s spin chief Andy Coulson over the News of the World’s phone hacking. There is also the slight matter of the government imminently taking a crucial decision about the Murdcoh takeover of BSkyB. Is it a shocking revelation? Dave and Sam have socialised with Rebekah and her husband “Champagne Charlie” Brooks before they were even at the couple’s wedding party. In the eyes of the Guardianistas this is yet more evidence of the unhealthy closeness of the Tories to News International. Never mind that Gordon Brown was also at that same party…

It is not the first time they have socialised, Sunday lunches at Chez Cameron are not unknown, because in truth they are near neighbours in Oxfordshire, the Camerons are in Witney and the Brooks’s are in Chipping Norton, some ten miles away. Wonder what shared concerns they could possibly have discussed?


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