Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Goodbye GOD

So Cathy Newman got the scoop tonight that Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell isn’t quitting. Yet.

Well more intriguingly the king of the mandarins wanted to go straight after the election, but given the circumstances, it is easy to see how he would have been persuaded to stay on in these unchartered waters for a little longer.

Now the battle starts for who Dave and Nick want to put in GOD’s shoes…

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bending the Laws

Not only did David Laws have the shortest, though admittedly bright, of cabinet careers, it now looks like he is going to serve the shortest of penances on the backbenchers. James Forsyth who is rather plugged in to the Downing Street media operation has suggested toes are being dipped in the water and media soundings taken about the prospect of a post-spending review return. The idea would be more popular with the Tories than the left of the LibDems so it is no surprise to see ConservativeHome tacitly welcoming such a move this morning.

The punters are pretty split. 48% believe Laws will return before the end of the year, lots of  money on 2011 too. That could all change if Downing Street are looking to make it happen. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned though is the fact John Lyon, still the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, is yet to report on Laws’s little £40,000 problem. No.10 must be fairly confident he won’t be getting hauled over the coals but that’s not to say a spanner won’t be put in their plans with anything more than a rap on the knuckles.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Freedom is Too Messy

It seems that your freedom really does have a limit with this government. For all the talk, the majority have once again been silenced by the minority. Along with the “crowd-slicing” spending cuts consultancy project, the government web-watchers have shut down the debate on Your Freedom because of a few nutters. As Guido said the other day and will say again now – freedom is messy - It doesn’t matter so long as we find some diamonds in the mud.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lobby’s Cosy Downing Street Drinks with Dave

With an unusually early start at a gentlemanly 5.30, Dave is getting ready to meet and greet the darlings of the Lobby for a summer drinks party tonight for the first time as Prime Minister. On the charm offensive with his oh so fearless Lobby critics, drinks will be served in the Downing Street Rose Garden, favours curried and jokes shared. All in it together…

Dave will try to lay the charm on to make it more difficult for the gentlemen of the media to stab him in the back at a later date. At a recent event the PM strolled up to Kevin Maguire and introduced himself as “Druggy Dave”. Maguire blushed…

Strangely Guido’s invitation was lost in the post. Oh well…

Labour General Secretary Wannabe Advising Cameron

Eyebrows were raised when Brown-era hire Mark Flanagan was not “thank-you-and-goodbyed” out of the Downing Street media team after the election. Instead he was forced upstairs to a strategy role when the Coalition arrived. As a civil servant Flanagan is impartial, but there is no hiding his obvious Labour past.

It is well-known that Flanagan very nearly became the Labour candidate for the Bromley by-election in June 2006. However what he describes as another “well known fact” might actually come as a surprise to those outside Labour circles. Flanagan applied to be General Secretary of the Labour Party. He was pipped to the post by Peter Watt back in January 2006, and the rest is history.

You can bet Flanagan has kept that one quiet in the last few months…

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Palin Coming to the Party

A flurry of articles this morning have picked up on Sarah Palin’s very excitable Facebook declaration that she was coming to London meet “one of my political heroines, the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher.” The Guardian is predictably sneering. The Mail on Sunday had the scoop first and raised the question of whether Cameron would meet the former Vice-Presidential nominee and potential Presidential candidate of the American sister party.

In Downing Street you can imagine the battle lines being drawn already. This is the stuff that Steve Hilton’s nightmares are made of, yet Palin has an obvious glitzy appeal to the right of the party and tabloid media, something Andy Coulson will know instinctively. As PM it would be extremely discourteous for Dave not to meet and be photographed with Palin if she was in town, a coutesy British PMs have extended to lesser known American politicians. Guido’s transatlantic sources indicate that she could be over on this side of the pond in the Autumn, perhaps around the time of Conservative Party conference, just when Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell will be launching their Direct Democracy version of the American Tea Party movement.

Another headache for the Cameroons will be what the Deputy Prime Minister has to say about all this, since Clegg was perhaps expecting to be invited to be the surprise speaker in Birmingham

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We’re All In It Together

Guido has been chewing over the numbers. Given that a lowly CCHQ researcher or press officer would have been lucky to be on around £35,000, the jump to government for the lower rungs of the SpAd list has come with an extremely handsome pay-rise. Nearly 100% rise for those now touching £60-70k.

Though Coulson & Co. at the top have in some cases taken a pay cut, the coalition has brought some serious pay rises for others. Take the MPs in the Cabinet for example, they have had a 107% rise from their standard MPs salary. Backbenchers who are now Junior Ministers have had a 50% rise, even after Dave decreed that they would all have a 5% pay cut. All sharing the pain.

Cameron pre-power promised a cut down on SpAds. The New Dawn of Politics has managed to reduce the number from 78 to 68. There are still vacancies yet to be filled though. In this age of austerity some SpAds will be glancing over the list shocked that their rivals in other departments managed to negotiate more. Meanwhile the voting taxpayers will be looking at the whole get up with utter scorn.

Coulson and the SpAd Pay

There will be some disappointment on the left as the news emerges that despite all the hype, their hate figure Andy Coulson is in fact earning less than the Prime Minister. But on £140k only just – £2000 a year less.  More than Nick Clegg though.

As Director of Government Communications Coulson is the best paid of Dave’s team but overall the Special Advisers are costing the taxpayer £1.9 million per year less than the last government. Despite this Tom Watson was trying to start the attacks just now in the House, moaning that Parliament hadn’t been told first. This is despite the list being published as a written ministerial statement:

Note Steve Hilton’s rather large pay gap with his rival.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What Were they Thinking?

Bad Al Campbell is cock-a-hoop this morning, Downing Street refused to put up a minister against him on Question Time. Admittedly this is not a strategic error of the order of Suez, but it does provide comfort to a demoralised enemy.  Campbell feels all self-important and Downing Street looks scared, arrogant or amateurish depending on your viewpoint.

It might only be a Westminster Village story, but it seems like an unforced error.

Michael Howard shows how easy it is to effectively crush Campbell:


Ken Clarke could have done the job with ease…

UPDATE : In the comments most co-conspirators reckon Guido is wrong, typical comment (from Angelnstar)

Alastair Campbell is a discredited political figure who degrades debate. Why should anyone give this rubbishy person air time? He should be kicked off every programme, not just Question Time. …

Why should any sensible person have to waste time correcting his deluded spin, and sick fantasies, and why should they pander to his overdeveloped ego? If more people refused to appear with him, his TV time would be severely restricted. He is trash.

That may be true, nevertheless Bad Al was on television all the time during the general election and he probably cost Labour votes. He appeals to Labour’s activist headbangers and appals voters. Guido reckons the more voters see him, the more they remember why they dislike Labour…

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Who Got the Jobs…

Guido’s latest list of government SpAds, wonks, “chief of staff” and assorted bag carriers is here. Compiled so Guido knows who to go to when shit happens…

You’ll no doubt see this republished in the papers and by scummy lobbyists public affairs firms as original research later this week.

Rumours of a battle over job titles between Rohan Silva (backed by Osborne and Hilton) and James O’Shaughnessy are denied by all. Ex-CCHQ / Policy Exchange über-wonk O’Shaughnessy reckons he was promised and is in line for the Downing Street policy chief role. Informed sources say he will have a long-term policy role and Rohan a more political / tactical role.

The list is a work in progress, but one Downing Street staffer told Guido it is the only one he’d seen…


Seen Elsewhere

From the IRA to Windsor Castle | WSJ
Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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