Slippery as a Silverfish

Dizzy got a nice scoop* yesterday. Basically Silverfish TV have bought up gordonbrown4leader.com and similar sites. So what? Well Gordon doesn’t officially have a campaign and when he does he will be expected to list cash donations and donations in kind. The Electoral Commission is taking a tough line on this sort of stuff. Silverfish rushed out an explanation that they had bought the domain merely as a speculative punt to make money (something – as Dizzy points out this morning – is prohibited by the internet authorities). Guido frankly finds it unbelieveable that Silverfish really were going to try and make a quick profit out of Gordon Brown.

Silverfish.TV are Labour’s preferred new media / video producers, doing most recently Scottish and Welsh Labour’s Party Political Broadcasts. They also did the “Dave the Chameleon” video for Labour, for free. Obviously it costs quite a lot to do an expensive CGI animation, but they didn’t charge the Labour party a penny. They do however have a number of juicy contracts awarded by Labour cronies and paid for by the taxpayer.

Do you see a pattern here? The Smith Institute is paid thousands of pounds to organise seminars for HM Treasury at the taxpayers expense. The Smith Institute gets to use No. 11 Downing Street for seminars for free. Opinion Leader Research is paid huge amounts to do polling for HM Treasury. Opinion Leader Research does polling for the Smith Institute for free. Silverfish are paid by Downing Street at fat rates, subsidising them to do “Dave the Chameleon” attack videos and coincidentally buy campaign websites on Gordon’s behalf for free.

It is a corrupt practice, Gordon’s campaign bills are being picked up by the taxpayer indirectly. In a secretive, behind closed doors, third-world style, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours way”. He is running an undeclared campaign, it is funded, and no declarations are being made to the Electoral Commission because the funding is covert. Donors get tax relief from HM Treasury on donations to the Smith Institute, which is a charity of which Gordon is the only identifiable beneficiary. His pollster gets HM Treasury contracts and produces positive push polling for him. Labour’s friendly new media production outfit similarly wins Whitehall contracts and does work for Labour and Gordon for free. It has come to something when Nigerian newspapers are running stories about political corruption in Britain which feature the Smith Institute.

*Notice how despite Channel 4 News and the Times running with it, no credit was given to Dizzy. They say bloggers are parasitical leeches on the Dead-Tree-Press etc.

Beermatters

Not a photoshop job, genuine campaign beermat from Blears. Wonder where they were when thought up that idea?

The Sun to Set on Tony

Rumour has it that Tony Blair has arranged an interview with George Pascoe-Watson at The Sun to run the day before Local Election polling day (2nd May). This could well be the day we get firm news as to Tony’s departure date – some think he might announce it to be immediately after polling day to fit in with the assumption that the Labour leadership campaign will run for 7 weeks until the start of July. Would this help Labour in Scotland? Is Gordon any more popular than Blair? Guido still has money on Q3, but it is looking less certain that Blair has the will to to exit the stage as late as possible.

Hilary Benn’s Arms Length Viral

Just as the anti-Hilary attack ad made by an “independent” supporter of Obama turned out to not be so independently made after all, this independently made ad will, Guido has no doubt, have the blessing of Hilary Benn’s team.
Why not run the ad officially? Because firstly it breaches Zephyr Film’s copyright, it is also a little bit risky in that humour can often have disastrous and unexpected consequences. Gweirdo (James Mason) carefully takes responsibility for it in case Benn’s team need to avoid getting any backwash. Humour has hitherto been sadly lacking in political videos, now that anyone with a laptop and a digital camera can make one, that is going to change. This one works and won’t harm Hilary Benn at all, but as Sion Simon’s anti-WebCameron debacle proves, it can backfire badly.

See the Benn viral on Guynews.

Hutton v Brown? What has he got to lose?

He has recently sorted out his contact lenses and started getting his hair done more fashionably. He hasn’t endorsed Brown and he is careful in interviews not to do so using a word formula that is in itself revealing. He was challenged in an interview and repeatedly asked if he thought Brown needed a “cabinet-level” challenger. He basically did not say no. Evasive. Unlike Miliband he has not gone on bended knee before Brown and publicly repented for his Blairite sins. He is more Blairite than Blair.

He famously told Nick Robinson that “Brown would be a fucking disastrous PM”.

As a result he is not going to feature in a Brown cabinet. After Reid and Johnson he is the next favourite, ahead of Miliband and Hilary Benn. He is surely worth a few quid on Betfair?


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Quote of the Day

Mary Creagh’s coded attack on Ed Miliband…

‘I want the country to be united behind a single vision, we aren’t going to do it by sort of having a Rubik’s Cube approach to politics’. 

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