Henry de Zoete, the former DfE SpAd who was Michael Gove’s media man, has founded and runs an energy switching campaign called The Big Deal. It’s pretty clever – essentially a mass lobby organisation for lower energy prices. Interestingly Osborne had barely sat down by the time The Big Deal had sent out a press release “respond[-ing] sceptically” to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement that he would freeze the Carbon Floor Price, saying it “won’t help consumers” because of the Big Six and their nefarious ways. Gove wasn’t on the frontbench today, but lurked behind the Speaker’s chair instead…
James Forsyth’s Speccie column this week is getting a lot of follow up in today’s papers, he reports on a blue on blue between Boris and Gove over the Education Secretary apparently telling Rupert Murdoch he sees Osborne as the next Tory leader. One minister is quoted as saying:
“Michael is licensed to sink his teeth into Boris’s ankles in a way that neither the boss nor George can.”
Another Tory adds:
“It’s like Blair-Brown with them. A journalist calls them up and says: “They’re saying this about you.” They respond with some ridiculously over-the-top-quote.”
With all this attention on Boris, Gove and Osborne, Mandrake at the Telegraph reckons one minister is slipping under the radar. Michael Fallon is holding an “open session” for Tory MPs in the ministerial conference room:
“This is the sort of thing only the PM or somebody who wants to be the PM would do. I’ve been hearing an awful lot lately about how great Michael is and how rubbish everyone else is.”
Will all due respect to Mandrake, surely this is more likely to do with Fallon wanting the Tory chairman job…
Dominic Cummings, the ex-Gove adviser formerly known as @ToryEducation, has piled into Clegg’s unravelling free school meals policy on the World at One. He confirms it was part of a deal between Cameron and Clegg involving the Tory conference marriage tax break, that Gove told them it was “rubbish” and that DfE were only told about it an hour before it was announced:
“Clegg’s team tried to persuade us to do it in 2013. We refused. So Clegg said to Cameron in secret before party conferences, ‘you give me this and I’ll give you your marriage tax announcement for Tory conference, Gove refuses to do it so you’ll have to force him.’ The DfE wasn’t told until about an hour or so before the announcement. No policy work was done in advance. Officials in DfE were unanimous that it was a bad gimmick and introduced in a way that makes it hard to avoid implementation chaos. Officials were obviously right.
It was a back of the fag packet number by Clegg’s spin doctors. We told them it was rubbish. It is based on a supposed DfE underspend that did not exist and they were told it did not exist. Because Clegg only thinks about politics – and starts every meeting saying ‘I haven’t been able to read the policy papers but let’s talk about the politics’ – he assumed that our opposition was because it was a Clegg idea but it wasn’t. Our opposition was because it is a dumb idea badly executed that shows why politicians should have less power over schools, and although I had many disagreements with Whitehall officials and the methods of the civil service, this is very firmly the fault of Clegg.”
Not like Dom to sit on the fence about something…
Whoever made this chart of government special advisers for public affairs agency MWWPR is either having some fun or has landed the SpAd movement scoop of the year. Finally an explanation for all those random Observer splashes, Toby was after their jobs…
With his lopsided grin, easy manner and tousled hair Tristram ‘Hereditary’ Hunt, did his duty impeccably, providing public school leadership to his dogged, working class party this afternoon in the Commons. He treated the sortie with the casual grace of a subaltern in vicarage garden, and ignored the terrible casualties around him.
Disdaining the enemy’s firepower, he went elegantly over the top to launch his deadly question – how many Free Schools had been approved against official advice?
The answer: “None.” Bang, one leg taken off.
Undeterred, he threw himself forward. “Was Al Madinah school approved against official advice?” The same answer took his other leg off.
Lying there in the mud but full of pluck, he waved his troops forward. Labour MPs threw themselves into the raking machinegun fire one after the other and met the same fate. Same question, same answer.
These young class warriors in the Battle of Education. Magnificently unprepared for life. You can’t help but admire their lionlike behaviour, whatever the donkey qualities of their generals.
But what arrogant, out-of-touch elite is sending them out equipped like this? What incompetent strategist has conceived their anti-Free Schools campaign – motivated by sheer loathing of the enemy and unconcerned with massive educational casualties among their own people?
Back behind the lines, as the guns pound on: Ed Balls pours himself a brandy and broods on the destruction of his enemies.
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:
“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.
Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).
Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.
I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”