Friday, March 22, 2013

The Many Faces of Emily Thornberry

Well worth taking a look at Michael Gove skewer Emily Thornberry on last night’s Question Time just for her facial expressions, from 40 minutes in. She didn’t fare much better on the Daily Politics today either, accusing the government of “starving out” cancer sufferers from their homes:

Thornberry: I met a guy in Lancashire, right, and he lives in a three bedroom house. His wife has recently died, wife has recently died and he has cancer. He is in a three  bedroom house, and they have written to him and they have said unless you move you’re going to lose £80 a month. I am not saying that in the long term it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to move. But basically, to starve him out is not right, and…

Brillo: You’re accusing the coalition of starving him out?

Thornberry: I mean I think this is what happens.

A strong nomination for an Order of the OTT…

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Budget Doesn’t Unravel, Budget Spin Does

24 hours later and Osborne’s budget has yet to unravel, though both sides are having quite a set-to over the Help to Buy mortgage scheme. This morning Labour spinners got very excited by Osborne’s refusal to deny that the scheme would help wealthy homeowners to buy second homes, having the cheek to call it the “spare home subsidy”.

Both Osborne and Cable again did not deny it in the House at lunchtime. A Tory spokesman insists to Guido: “this is a very technical area. We have said that we are going to consult in order to get this right, instead of rushing into decisions or knee jerk reactions”. Yet Housing minister Mark Prisk seems to have made his mind up, telling Wato second homes would not be included.

Labour aren’t having a much better time of it: yesterday two-faced Chuka Umunna told Radio 4 he liked the policy, today he’s against it. If it turns out the spare home subsidy doesn’t exist and the policy is as he thought yesterday, that leaves him in a rather awkward position…

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hacked Off Donors: #6 Billionaire Labour Lord Sainsbury

Last but not least of the cabal of millionaires who have donated to Hacked Off is Lord Sainsbury. A life peer with a net worth of £1.3 billion, Sainsbury has been a major financial backer of the Labour Party, forking out many millions to Blair. He acted through his Gatsby Foundation to finance the Media Standards Trust through which his money help set up and support Hacked Off. In passing it should be noted that he was a big backer of the SDP and also has his fingerprints on other politcal organisations such as the Social Market Foundation, Progress, David Miliband’s Movement For Change and the Institute for Government, the last of which Guido thinks is the most serious threat to freedom in Britain since the Communist Party. Through Hacked Off, Sainsbury has surpassed himself…

Here are the other Hacked Off donors Guido has revealed today:

Labour Blows £150,000 of Taxpayers’ Cash to Help Out Pals

Ed BallsEven in opposition, Ed Balls is still finding ways to waste taxpayers’ money. New figures show a group of senior Labour MPs have claimed £151,474 on expenses paid to Gordon and Badley Communications, a PR firm run by two party acolytes. Fiona Gordon is the partner of Labour MP Steve McCabe and was the Prime Mentalist’s political secretary, Caroline Badley was a party press officer. Guido wonders how many other non-Labour affiliated PR firms were considered.

The 16 senior Labour MPs using taxpayer cash to help out their old pals include Balls, Yvette Cooper, Liam Byrne, Jon Cruddas, Tom Watson, Bridget Phillipson, Diana Johnson, Emma Reynolds, Gisela Stuart, Ian Austin, Jack Dromey, Julie Hilling, Khalid Mahmood, Lyn Brown, Robert Flello and Shabana Mahmood. Cronyism plain and simple…

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dave v Nick and Ed Leveson Showdown in Full

Click on Dave to see his proposals for the future of the British press, click on Nick and Ed to see their statutory alternative…

Eric Joyce Barred, Martin Brown Free to Booze

Bar brawler Eric Joyce has been banned from buying alcohol on the parliamentary estate, only a few years too late. The Commons authorities have confirmed to Guido that Martin Brown, Joyce’s researcher who is accused knocking a female researcher to the ground, is still free to drink in Parliament. Since complaints about staffers go through the MP before they reach the Commons, as yet no action can be taken. Parliamentary bag-carriers: don’t say Guido didn’t warn you…

Rent-Swap Victory: Expenses Piggy Linda Riordan Sells Up

Regular readers will remember how Guido has been on the case of shamed Labour rent-swapper Linda Riordan. In October last year it was revealed how this expenses piggy rented out her London flat to another MP and skimmed off an extra £1,000-a-month in profit from the taxpayer, charging a rent of £1,560 on a property where her mortgage costs her some £500-a-month. The other MP in question, Iain McKenzie, amusingly insisted he had never heard of Riordan. Nonetheless, Riordan admitted that she had been caught red-handed and promised to kick McKenzie out, sell up and pay back the profits.

In the last few weeks Riordan has finally flogged her London property, putting an end to the whole dodgy arrangement. Whether her constituents will forgive her in 2015 is another matter…

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tom Watson: Your Sex Is on Fire

Watson belted out the Kings of Leon classic last night alongside Labour songstresses Luciana Berger and Gloria De Piero. All for charity of course. You can donate to his Comic Relief page here

Labour and Tories Square Up Ahead of Monday Showdown
Pairing Withdrawn With No Exceptions

Looks like we’re heading for a big old showdown on Monday. Guido understands Labour have withdrawn all pairs for select committee delegations on Monday. Removing the slips revokes permission not to be in Parliament for the crucial Crime and Courts bill wrecking amendment. The Tories have “reluctantly” followed suit, with no exceptions. Business will run beyond 10pm – it’s going to be a long day…

Poll: Public Support Spare Room Subsidy Reforms

Liam Byrne calls it a “hated tax”, Jim Murphy says the government should “listen” to the public. Most damning of all, Owen Jones warns of the disastrous electoral consequences of the government’s changes to the spare room subsidy:

“A warning to Number 10. You calculate your attempt to demonise benefit claimants has paid off, removing all potential empathy. But – unfortunately for you – most are decent people. When the electorate realise you are inflicting misery not on “scroungers”, but on some of the most vulnerable in society, your campaign will fail. You bank on the suffering remaining below the radar, and you will be proved wrong. We will hammer you with the consequences, and, in time, you will be defeated.”

Apparently not content with peddling the bedroom “tax” lie, a YouGov poll shows Labour aren’t being entirely truthful about what the public think, either. Awkwardly, 49% of the public support the government’s reforms, compared to just 38% against. Even 34% of Labour voters support the policy. They won the battle on how the debate was framed in the media, but despite what Owen says the “decent people” he talks of recognise that the reforms make sense…

UPDATE: At least one Shadow minister is finally listening to the public:


Seen Elsewhere

Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome
UKIPers Will Come Home in 2015 | Sun
Tories Set for Thrashing | Sun
Boris Announcement Imminent | Sun
The Case for Splitting Up CCHQ | ConservativeHome
Why UKIP Should Join a ‘European Union’. | Anna Raccoon
Dave’s Brush With Bed Bugs | Speccie
Farage: No Briton Could Be My Secretary | BBC
Dave and George Can Now Be Seen Together | Ben Brogan


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Francis Elliot reports on No. 10 strategy meetings:

“When discussion veers to subjects that Mr Crosby thinks of concern only to the political and journalistic classes, he treats the offender as a pub bore with a tart request to “pass the beer nuts, mate”.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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