Friday, February 14, 2014

UKIP Beat Tories to Second in Wythenshawe

The Guy Newsroom is celebrating last night’s by-election result after wagering a four-figure sum on UKIP coming second. The result was never in doubt and Mike “I’m perfectly happy Ed Miliband is leader” Kane is Labour’s new MP.

Labour: 13,261, 55.34% (+11.21%)

UKIP: 4,301, 17.95% (+14.51%)

Conservative: 3,479, 14.52% (-11.03%)

Liberal Democrat: 1,176, 4.91% (-17.44%)

The Lib Dems lost their deposit for the eighth time since 2010…

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Labour’s One Nation Policy Review Went Well Then

Labour are so proud of their new One Nation policy document that they have snuck it out online with absolutely no fanfare or promotion on a Thursday afternoon. Skimming through the 63 pages of dry wonkery, Guido did stumble upon one line summing it all up:

Honesty is the best policy…

One other word of advice: if you’re going to come up with a policy on “English language learning”, you should probably try to spell it correctly:

That went almost as well as Ed’s big speech on Monday…

You can read the whole thing here, if you really want to.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stop Ex-MPs Turned Lobbyists Prostituting Access to Parliament

As regular readers will remember, disgraced former Labour Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has resurfaced as a lobbyist. Given that he was found guilty of electoral fraud after attempting to stir up racial tensions in his constituency, Guido would advise any potential clients of Wellington Street Partners to hold on to their money. The lobbying firm is the sleazy brainchild of three ex-MPs (Woolas, Tory Sydney Chapman and LibDem
love cheat Paul Keetch), and was set up to “provide our clients” services “based on our combined sixty years of Parliamentary and Government experience”.

Crucially, all three of the MPs have been given courtesy passes to Parliament as former MPs despite strict rules that ban lobbyists having unchecked access to the Commons. Time to remove this perk which allows ex-MPs to openly prostitute their easy access to parliament.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Staff Cuts are Not the Problem at the Environment Agency
Whistleblower: “Management Just Want to Expand Kingdom”

With slithering Chris Smith fighting for his job, the gloves are off and the cuts are being blamed for the fact that the Environment Agency is an over-staffed, badly managed graveyard for Labour figures of little note. 10% of the Environment Agency’s staff were cut, but that still leaves them with 11,200 pen pushers. Equivalent quangos in the rest of the world are much smaller, the Environment Agency for England alone has more staff than the Canadian, Danish, French, German, Swedish and Austrian equivalents. Combined. Only the US Environmental Protection Agency has more staff, (15,913 versus 11,200) hardly surprising given the US is some eighty times larger than the UK with six times the population. Last year this billion pound lefty-fest spent £395 million on staff (£592 million including pensions) compared to £219 million on capital projects, and just £20 million on maintaining rivers. More was spent on PR last year than on dredging – £2.7 million.

So what are the bosses up to? Well most of the board manage less than half-a-dozen days a month for their filthy lucre. Usually non-execs on boards have grey hairs and relevant knowledge and/or experience, yet this rule clearly does not apply to the EA. What is it that makes former Culture Secretary Chris Smith a suitable boss? When he’s not in charge of rivers and forests he’s a part time lecturer on the creative industries. Perhaps he could commission a play or a poetry reading to cheer up the people of Somerset. When he’s not wasting taxpayers money at the EA, he’s meddling over at the Advertising Standards Agency. Token Tory Peter Ainsworth was not a very good Shadow Defra minister and seems to be loitering around here while he holds out for that coveted Peerage. And what in Larry Whitty’s experience at the General Municipal Boilermakers & Allied Trade Union or as a former General Secretary of the Labour that qualified him for his seat on the board?

What exactly do all these staff do? One whistle-blower claims:

“it doesn’t help that 99% of the staff, mostly Environment and Flood Officers, refuse to do standby or volunteer to assist with flooding emergencies. This is despite it being in their contract. It leaves us undermanned and ill prepared, but managers won’t do anything about but claim they need to employ more staff. Really, management just want to expand their kingdoms”

As the Speccie leader this week says:

“Steadily, the Environment Agency has become a law unto itself. The idea behind its creation was to allow it to operate free from political interference. They now form a deeply politicised government in exile, with an incompetent but self-revering hierarchy that voters cannot dislodge. Nothing has more vividly conveyed the failure of the Environment Agency during this crisis than the lamentable public performances of its current chairman, the former Labour culture secretary Lord (Chris) Smith. His weak, half-shifty, half-arrogant interviews have shown him up to be a man wholly out of touch with the reality of the havoc his agency’s policies have wreaked. His blatherings about a choice between protecting ‘front rooms or farmland’ sums up his failure to understand the countryside, and the fact that most people have looked after both for generations. He is due to step down shortly, which is a shame: he ought to be fired for rank incompetence. But the reckoning should not stop there. It is now clear that the Environment Agency has become a threat to the countryside it was set up to serve. It ought to be dismantled, and its responsibilities shared out among smaller bodies which are much more obviously fit for purpose.”

It’s the drip, drip, drip that will get him.

Jamie Reed Channels Expenses to Private Health Firm

The delightful Jamie Reed wasted no time getting down and dirty after hearing that Owen Paterson was facing emergency surgery for a detached retina. When Downing Street said they did not know if Paterson had gone private for the op, Reed bleated that the Tories “clearly don’t value (the NHS) and shamefully refuse to use it”. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, that would be the same Jamie Reed who recently charged taxpayers £150 for the services of a private physio company on his expenses. Shamefully refusing to use the NHS?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Reverse Ferret! Yasmin Qureshi Says Sorry

Someone has finally had a word. Yasmin Qureshi’s statement, out at 5pm on Friday evening:

“The debate was about the plight of the Palestinian people and in no way did I mean to equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust.

 I apologise for any offence caused.”

 That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Labour MP Refuses to Apologise for Holocaust Slur

LabourList demanded that Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi apologise for comparing Israel-Palestine to the Holocaust this afternoon, but she ain’t doing so. A Labour spokesman said:

“These remarks were taken completely out of context. Yasmin Qureshi was not equating events in Gaza with the Holocaust. As an MP who has visited Auschwitz and has campaigned all her life against racism and anti-Semitism she would not do so.”

As you can see, it very much is in context. The context being the surrounding sentences:

“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land – everything – were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished.

It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.”

Oh dear.

WATCH: Chris Smith: I Will Not Resign

That went well then…

Chris Smith Threatened With Bog-Washing

Bridgewater MP Ian Liddell Grainger is doing his best to organise of lynching of Environment Agency boss Chris Smith during his visit to flood hit areas today. Liddell Grainger has got a load of farmers with pitchforks and two by fours together:

“I’ve got all my farmers, we’re waiting for him. I want to get this ruddy man. If I just have to stick his head down the loo and flush, I will.”

11 jobs Smith rakes in a six figure sum to run an agency for which there is nothing in his past to suggest he has any knowledge or competence in. Before parliament he worked for a housing charity. His only government job was at DCMS. No wonder things are going so swimmingly…

Via @jameskirkup

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Farage Accuses Labour of “Intimidatory” Tactics
Complains to Electoral Commission Over Battle for Wythenshawe

UKIP’s battle to challenge Labour in Wythenshawe and Sale East is turning nasty. Farage has written to Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, complaining that the current system of postal voting is biased in favour of UKIP’s opponents. He argues:

“I do not think democracy is being well served and fear that the voting process is now actually undermining the ability of constituents to hear and weigh-up the alternatives being offered in a considered fashion.

The problem is most acute when it comes to parliamentary by-elections. Our recent experience is that where the Labour Party is responsible for moving the writ, it has taken to condensing a campaign into the shortest legally-permitted time frame.

This means postal votes arrive in households within a few days of candidates being selected – often well before the mid-point in a campaign. In our experience people, for their own convenience, fill out and send off their postal votes swiftly…

So in practice in by-elections up to half the total turnout may have already voted by the halfway point in a campaign.

That cannot be healthy for democracy. Clearly it is also a development that biases the outcome in favour of the incumbent rather than parties, such as my own, that seek to place fresh alternatives before the electorate.”

He is also unhappy about electoral fraud and “intimidatory” tactics used by Labour doorsteppers.

“Very recently concerns have also been expressed to me about the work of an organisation called the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation which has allegedly been transferring the addresses of postal vote applicants that trade unions have processed directly onto the Labour Party computer system.

I am also hugely concerned about the growing practice whereby canvassers representing the Labour Party arrive on doorsteps a very short time after the delivery of postal votes, offering to collect them. Such actions in my view can only be construed as mildly intimidatory, especially where the voters concerned are from vulnerable groups.”

One week to go…


Seen Elsewhere

Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph
All Three Parties Mulling Leadership | Staggers


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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