Usually the rule in politics is: don’t ask a question you do not know the answer to. It goes without saying that you do not ask a question when you have already been told the answer in writing. That would be a waste of time and money.
Gordon Brown MP has tabled a rare written parliamentary question about a constituency issue in a belated attempt to catch up on a growing concern of his electors. The written reply doesn’t convey the full contempt…
Radioactive Waste: Dalgety Bay
Mr Gordon Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his planned visit to Fife in the week of 30 January 2012, if he will visit the sites at Dalgety Bay now under scrutiny for radiation contamination.
Mr Robathan: I am, this day, at Dalgety Bay and am visiting these sites. My office notified the right hon. Member’s office of my visit on 19 January.
Gordon tabled the question on January 26. He isn’t really paying attention is he?
Guido’s critique of Miliband’s handling of the first days of the Libyan uprising upset some of his apologists, who dispute the fact that the Labour Party are losing an ally today. In order to put this to rest once and for all, Guido thought he would take a last look at Gaddafi, his family and the key players in the last government.
In September 2009 Gordon Brown told the Andrew Marr Show “there was no deal” to have the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi released early on compassionate grounds. Two years later the convicted terrorist was seen cheering on Gaddafi from the comfort of sunny Tripoli. “So if you’re suggesting there was any deal, there was no deal. There was no conspiracy, there was no attempt to make anything conditional on anything else” Brown promised. The line was pushed the next day by Ed Balls, when he told the Today program“none of us wanted to see the release of al-Megrahi.” However we know now that this is just not true…
Far from it in fact. A Cabinet Office report in July 2010 revealed that the Labour government did “all they could” to get Megrahi released. And it wasn’t just the Cabinet Office blowing Gordon’s line out of the water. Guido brought you leaked emails from former Blair adviser John McTernan that explicitly mentioned a deal. Jack Straw let slip that British trade had been a major factor in the release. As Guido reported back in February, the Scottish nationalists tried to line their pockets too.
“Scot’s justice was bought and the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s price was £100 million. The Labour government in Westminster brought forward legislation to get the SNP government in Scotland off the Somerville judgement hook in June 2009, two months later Megrahi was released.”
Far from Gordon’s line that the decision was made in Scotland and that he couldn’t of possibly have had anything to do with it, a dirty deal was concocted at the heart of the British government. It involved Downing Street, the British intelligence services and BP. In September 2009 Guido brought you the players:
“Nick Butler is the Economic Adviser brought into Downing Street when Gordon became Prime Minister. Prior to that he was a senior strategist for BP. He joined the firm in 1977 and helped to develop close links between BP and New Labour in the 1990s.
Incidentally Butler is a mate of Peter Mandelson who has also been treasurer of the Fabian Society for more than 25 years. He helped to bring close to half-a-million into Brown’s coffers from his city chums.
“Sir Mark Allen is a Special Adviser to BP. Before that he was the senior MI6 officer who negotiated with Saif Gaddafi to end Libya’s international isolation in 2003-04…”
It was these two men, one ex-BP then at the heart of government, the other ex-MI6 and then at the heart of BP, who conspired to give Gaddafi what he wanted for access to Libya’s oil. Less than twenty-four hours after Guido revealed the cast more details began trickling out. Allen had called Jack Straw twice in November 2007 to put pressure on him for a deal. Despite initial denials, BP also coughed that they had lobbied the government over the slow progress of the deal, highlighting that there would be “negative consequences for UK commercial interests”. And what was Peter Mandelson’s disingenuous take on these allegations? “It’s not only completely wrong to make such a suggestion it’s also quite offensive…”
No doubt Mandy had plenty of time to make up his mind as to what is offensive whilst he spent a shooting weekend with Gadaffi’s son and Nat Rothschild. A tight and close gruesome threesome. There is no denying the closeness of the upper echelons of the last government to the murderers currently being hounded out of Tripoli. Just last year Gaddafi was asking the Libyan people to “pray for Gordon Brown”, but it’s the hand of Gaddafi’s “good friend” Tony Blair which is never far away. The deal was concocted on Tony’s watch and he even approved the training of Gaddafi’s special forces by the SAS. So close were they that it was Blair that Gaddafi phoned to seek advice on how to deal with the uprisings. Mandelson was keen to help out too – speaking of Saif Gadaffi’s chilling threats to slaughter the rebels, Mandy thinks he could have spun it better:
‘I’d rather have had a couple of minutes with him beforehand to say that you know this sort of performance in a very clumsy and ham-fisted way is not going to get you anywhere.’
Even Douglas Alexander, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary who was so keen to talk down the threat of No-Fly Zone, took to the airwaves to claim Blair was right to make friends with Gadaffi, even after he had begun slaughtering his own people. With such a shameful past you would think the “next generation” of the Labour Party might have been more careful to keep their distance from the Mad Dog of the desert. But no…
As the crisis kicked off in February Guido brought you the Miliband family’s own connections to Saif Gaddafi. LSE Professor David Held, who is seemingly in charge of desecrating Ralph Miliband’s memory, welcomed Saif to LSE as a “representative of the Miliband program” - a series of lectures in memory the Labour leader’s father. Held failed to mention the £300,000 he had taken off Gaddafi in his sycophantic introduction. Showing his trademark judgement, it turns out Ed is a very big fan of Professor Held.
As Gordon left the Commons chamber yesterday Tory MPs quipped…
“Bye, bye, see you next year… Have a nice Christmas.”
When back in November 2006 The Sun ran the “Brown’s baby has cystic fibrosis“ story sympathetically, Guido believed it had been planted by Gordon’s spinners. Why? Because they knew that on the very same day the Charity Commission would announce it was investigating the Smith Institute to discover if Brown’s tame think-tank/slush fund had broken the law in hiring Ed Balls and furthering Brown’s political objectives. This was a neuralgic problem for them (since confirmed in pollster Deborah Mattinson’s memoir and those recently leaked Balls memos). At the time News International was in bed with New Labour and The Sun was forthright in backing Tony and Gordon.
George Pascoe-Watson had the byline on the Sun’s story. Guido has spoken to friends of GPW, he put it to them that far from being hacked, the story was planted to generate sympathetic coverage for Brown. The reply that came back was that it was nothing as exciting as hacking or spin from Damian McBride, it came from “a visitor” to the hospital. It has gone unremarked that the original story also includes what seems to be a birth card given out by the Brown’s themselves. The source is unlikely to be a hacker, more likely it is someone known to the Browns themselves.
UPDATE: You read it here first:
Breaking News; Sun sources claim they got the story on Fraser from a Brown family friend. So now it looks like all out war.—
tom bradby (@tombradby) July 12, 2011
The Telegraph has published a cache of documents illuminating the internecine plotting of the Blair-Brown era. They literally have Ed Balls’ fingerprints all over them, hard evidence of what all of Westminster believes, that he was at the heart of the malign “forces of hell” which blighted New Labour. The Wednesday meetings of the Brownites were chaired by Balls in Downing Street to plot the downfall of both their internal and external enemies and ultimately Tony Blair. Balls has always denied the allegations, explicitly here to Andrew Neil who held his feet to the fire for five minutes during which Balls lies and lies:
Some will say this is a matter of only historical interest, they are wrong, the relevance to today is what it reveals about the character of Ed Balls, who still harbours the ambition to lead the Labour Party.
It is with some satisfaction that Guido notes references to the Smith Institute and its then boss Wilf Stevenson’s role in the plotting at the Wednesday meetings. All of which was denied at the time and resulted in Guido getting his own taste of the forces of hell unleashed from 11 Downing Street. Unfortunately for them Guido fought back and ultimately the Smith Institute was struck off by the Charity Commission and Damian McBride was fired. Browse the documents to see on paper Balls and the Brownites in all their cynical, malign, politically cancerous glory.
Gordon Brown finally admits making a big mistake…
“We set up the FSA believing the problem would come from the failure of an individual institution. That was the big mistake. We didn’t understand just how entangled things were… I have to accept my responsibility.”
There is a rumour going round Westminster that the deficit-denier-in-chief will descend from Kirkcaldy to speak in the budget debate. No doubt he will wish to offer his support to the Eds, they are after all his political sons.
That loud braying sound you can hear in Westminster is the sound of cheering emanating from the Treasury…
The appointment of Ed Balls as shadow chancellor means that deficit denial becomes the central economic policy of the Labour Party. In essence both the Eds intend to argue that it was the banking crisis and only the banking crisis that caused the deficit. In taking this policy direction they repudiate the more sensible realistic policy followed by the last Labour Chancellor, Alistair Darling.
It also flies in the face of statements made by Tony Blair in his memoirs and as recently as last Friday at Davos. Since Balls isn’t an idiot we have to ask ourselves: why is he trying to deny reality? Does he think the voters can be convinced that overspending wasn’t a problem until the banking crisis? Here he is telling Andy Marr there was no structural deficit under Labour:
Clearly both the Eds think they can blame it on the bankers, popular understanding of the deficit is hazy. The huge one-off costs of bailing out the banks and the constant government-debt-bloating-deficit are confused in the popular consciousness. Even the debt and the deficit are confused in many people’s minds. Whenever Ed Miliband is cornered on spending or taxes he reaches for the banker bogeyman – tax them more and it will sort everything out. None of this adds up to anyone with any financial literacy, which unfortunately is a minority of voters, the majority of voters do blame and detest the bankers.
For this argument to make sense of course requires Ed Balls to deny that there is, or ever was, a structural deficit that had to be tackled. Which is exactly what he did on the Marr show today.
Denying the deficit and blaming the government’s debt crisis on the bankers is an attempt to absolve Brown, Balls and the Labour Party of the blame. It thus allows Balls to claim that, since there is no structural deficit, the cuts are unnecessary and ideological. Which is exactly what he does.
The problem for Balls is that the public senses innately that the government under Brown’s chancellorship and premiership was overspending. If Osborne can keep that national memory alive over the next three years the public will forgive him doing what is necessary. If they forget, or prefer to believe Ed Balls’ claim that cuts are not really necessary, they will blame the government for the coming hardships. The deficit blame game will have to be played until the next election.
Bob Crow’s penchant for organising transport strikes gets up commuter’s noses. This picture in the News of the World taken on a carribean holiday shows that the £133,183 agitator even gets up his own nose. Remind you of someone?
Licence Fee Should Not Be a Criminal Matter | Mail
Let’s Have a Tory-UKIP Pact | Norman Tebbit
Vote Labour and Don’t Have a Say | Sun
Bob Crow Leaves Behind Broken Union Movement | Mary Riddell
Bob Crow: An Unlikely Capitalist | Telegraph
No Referendum Under Labour | FT
PICTURE: Nick Robinson’s Tribute to Bob Crow | MediaGuido
7 Days To Budget, It’s Not Too Late To Tell George | MessageSpace
Weirdest Government Decision of the Year | Speccie
Ed Miliband Should Call for a EU Referendum | John Mann
LibDems: Baby Snatchers | Laura Perrins
LibDem Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael:
“Chris Huhne was the man who had put the ‘t’ into ‘Cancun’.”