Definitely not ripping off Bill Bailey, Radio 1 DJ Greg James says he “realised the full potential” of the BBC News theme as “a massive club banger”. Hereford was on one (o’clock news)…
What do you get in a Tory Black & White Ball goodie bag? Despite the pricey £15,000-a-table tickets, you get tat…
A tea-towel emblazoned with “The problem with socialism…” quote from Maggie, a Conservative Foundation paper bookmark seeking a cheery mention in your will, a plastic pen, Tory drinks coaster, a “securing a better future” blue piggy bank (hint), a bumper sticker and a canvas bag with election slogans on them. Not forgetting the auction catalogue… Sadly Guido was outbid on the chance to go shoe shopping with Theresa May…
Green leader Natalie Bennett hesitated just a little too long under the forensic questioning of LBC’s Duncan Barkes this lunchtime:
DB: “Are you a drug user?”
NB: “Um, er, I… have a glass of wine most evenings…”
Natalie revealed she used to smoke dope but insisted she doesn’t “dabble” any more. Could have fooled anyone who has read her manifesto…
Word reaches Guido that there is serious consternation amongst a number of senior Tories over the way in which last week’s surprise announcement about plain packaging was squeezed out like an awkward fart. Usually reliable sources suggest Osborne is set to raise it at Cabinet this morning, with Jeremy Hunt in the sights for a proper going over. In an increasingly rare moment of agreement between the Chancellor and the Home Secretary, Guido hears Theresa May is pretty annoyed too about how the move was snuck out with little or no wider consultation of Cabinet colleagues. Big Phil Hammond is also said to be against the Labour-backed measure, sceptically telling the BBC last week that he “will want to look very carefully at the evidence.” The consensus is ‘bat sh*t’ Jane Ellison has gone ‘totally native’ and will do anything to please the do-gooders and pen-pushers that choke up the Department for Health…
A sad day in libertarian circles as it emerges young campaigner Christina Annesley has died while on holiday in Thailand.
The one time Tory turned ‘Kipper turned vocal free spirit was a regular on the young right-wing scene and was just 23 years old.
Guido’s thoughts are with her family and many friends this morning.
UPDATE: Foreign Office statement:
“We can confirm the death of a British National in Thailand on 21 January 2014. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”
CONFIRMED: As Guido predicted, Jane Ellison just announced the government will go ahead with standardised packaging. They have the votes…
You read it here first.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has been out and about this morning pushing Labour’s public health manifesto. It basically amounts to yet another series of caps – the usual series of nanny state, anti–business policies.
It wasn’t the detail which interested Guido – more then timing of the announcement. As part of the policies, Burnham has reiterated his pledge to introduce plain packaging on tobacco (despite dismissing it back in 2008 when he was Health Secretary). Such a move could result in a future government facing an £11 billion compensation bill to Big Tobacco, according to a report by analysts at the BNP Paribas and other legal experts.
Guido wonders why the future Labour leadership hopeful chose today of all days to make his announcement? Could it be because Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is in the US – that he decides today to announce what is effectively a £10 billion deficit busting new spending pledge?
UPDATE: A co-conspirator shrouded in smoke reminds Guido that in government when he was Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham wrote in a November 2009 letter to Tessa Jowell:
“No studies have shown that introducing plain packaging of tobacco products would cut the number of young people smoking, or enable people who want to quit, to do so. Given the impact that plain packaging would have on intellectual property rights, we would need strong and convincing evidence showing the health benefits of this policy before it would be acceptable at an international level.”
What has changed?
Guido presents a special readers’ screening of CITIZENFOUR, the new film starring Edward Snowden from Academy Award nominee Laura Poitras, next Wednesday, 6.30pm, December 17 at the crumbling old Guardian HQ on 119 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3ER. Come and