Friday, March 23, 2012

Leaked Labour HQ Letter Shows Staff Anger Over Charles Allen
+ Row Set to Flare Up Again Over More Job Appointments
+ Labour Staffer Preparing Industrial Tribunal Against Leadership

Some of the  heat was taken out of the stand-off between the Labour high command and their unhappy HQ staff last week by a promise that all future jobs would be advertised internally. The row over the appointment of a new Labour Party Executive and a reorganisation of the party structure reached a peak with HQ staff calling in the unions to try find a solution. Guido has now got hold of a letter from the Joint Trade Union Committee (GMB and Unite), to the Labour’s General Secretary Iain McNicol outlining the complaints:

The new confused chain of command and  in particular the ex-Goldman Sachs adviser turned Labour Chief Exec Sir Charles Allen comes in for serious criticism, as does Ed’s leadership on this and his team’s handling of the whole process. Now the row looks set to boil over again. Despite a promise from Ed’s Chief of Staff Tim Livesey that all future jobs would be advertised, Guido can reveal this lunchtime that various senior positions have been filled without due process. Staffers claim that there were not even interviews for the following jobs:

  • Mr Paul Harrington – Head of Field Operations
  • Mr Joe Derrett- Head of Press for Ken Livingstone’s Campaign
  • Ms Veronica King – Press and Campaigns Officer for Ken Livingstone
  • Ms Anneliese Midgley – Head of Events and Visits for Ken Livingstone

Guido hears that at least one Labour staffer is preparing to take the Party to an industrial tribunal…

Wee Dougie’s New Number Watcher

Eyebrows have been raised by the replacement Douglas Alexander has chosen for his departed spinner Steve Van Riel. You would have thought that as shadow Foreign Secretary he would have brought someone in with some actual foreign policy experience, but instead the one time campaign manager to David Miliband has chosen Michelle Napchan. She’s a pollster…

Officially the line is that Napchan will be helping to craft Labour’s message by focus grouping on issues like Europe. However, given that Wee Dougie was one of the few figures able to flit between the Blairites and the Brownites, he is a key unity figure in Ed’s Shadow Cabinet and the slightest hint that he is on manoeuvres gets people talking. One Labour spinny-type suggests that he has studied how Brown did things from the shadows: “he’s building his own private operation, his own army”.  Another Labour source was not so sure though: “The only army I see Douglas Alexander building is one with Action Men”. If there is ever a move against Ed, Guido would put good money on the “unity” man being involved

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Miliband Hugs Ken Close
Labour’s Private Polling Shows Ed More Unpopular than Ken

Despite there being well over a month until polling day, it seems that Ken is going to new and extraordinary lengths to provide his gaffe-of-the-day. This morning he went all Al Gore on us and told the BBC that: “When I was leader of the GLC I said to Mrs Thatcher we needed broadband linking every home and City in the country.”  He must have kept his 1980s internet connection top secret…

After yesterday’s ‘rich Jews won’t vote Labour‘ gaffe, Ed has, once again, been forced to defend his candidate, claiming that Ken “doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body”. Guido hears from his sources that Labour’s own private polling is doing the rounds and shows that the only person more unpopular in London than Ken is Ed Miliband. At this rate they are going to go down together…

While the leadership and their cheerleaders in the unpopular parts of the blogosphere bury their heads in the sand, and least one Labour figure has found some balls: former MP turned GLA candidate Andrew Dismore has described Ken’s latest bile as “rather offensive”. It’s a shame others don’t have a spine…

Ken has also been rambling today:

“He told the Standard he will use “amazing charm and subtlety” to get New York-style independence for the capital. Mr Livingstone, 66, added: “I would actually declare independence and run the whole city. They can’t even run hospitals in London. Everything government does in London it gets wrong. If you look at the city of New York, the mayor runs the benefits system, some of the prisons even, and the healthcare and schools. I’ve watched all my life, irrespective of which government… ministers trying to run hospitals from Whitehall. It’s just too big, too complicated.”

Presumably he wrote his magic money tree manifesto with these changes in mind? Or was he on the sauce again?

UPDATE: Talking of Ken’s love of the sauce, this is rather good:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oops They Did It Again
BBC Budget Coverage Brings You David Miliband

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Labour HQ has ‘Lowest Morale in 20 Years’

Earlier Dan Hodges reported:

On Monday a meeting was held at Labour’s soon-to-be-vacated Victoria Street headquarters to which staff were informed of the latest stage of the party’s internal reorganisation. Descriptions of the event range from “disaster”, through “multi-lane pile-up”, to “carnage”. “I’ve never in all my life seen anything like it,” said one shocked observer. “Normally people are quite restrained. But it all came pouring out”.

Patrick Wintour also wrote up the disaster in the Guardian, calling it “stormy”. Guido had the leaked names of the new Directors of the Party last Friday and this went down very badly. Now it is clear why: the Party machine are not on board with the changes. According to one source in the room, Simon Jackson, whose policy role has been filled by Torsten Henricson-Bell took the invitation to “speak frankly” very literally:

“If you think that our problems are structural or organisational then you are kidding yourselves… If you think we are somehow divorced from the politics then you are being ridiculous…”

Cue much clapping from the staff. Another disgruntled staffer pointed Guido to the words of Hilary Perrin, a party figure for some two decades, who apparently claimed that in all her time in the party she had never known morale so low.

General Secretary Iain McNicol was apparently very apologetic that the news of the new directors had leaked before the announcement. He also said that no one was being sacked, but then in David Brent style, he could not promise that there would not be redundancies. Ed’s new Chief of Staff Tim Livesy gave the staff an ungodly dressing down for leaking to Guido: “this is not transparency, this is a breach of trust… this is a test.” A test he clearly failed given that the whole thing leaked in less than 24 hours…

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Something For Something Culture

What could be worse for a Labour leader than being busted missing a NHS rally, only to be spotted at the football? Well being photographed arriving in a Rolls Royce must be pretty high up the list…

Guido hopes that the £100,000 donation Ed tapped up from Assem Allam, the Hull AFC chairman, is worth these blushes. He’s isn’t sure what Ed’s fellow Leeds fans make of it all…

Monday, March 12, 2012

Exclusive: Boris: I Don’t Fiddle My Taxes
Says Ken is Lying, Ed Miliband Mistaken

This morning at his press conference Guido asked Ed Miliband specifically about Ken’s tax avoiding arrangements. Ed Miliband claimed that Boris used a “similar scheme” to that used by Ken – a claim first made by Ken Livingstone himself on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this Sunday. Boris is really not happy to be accused of tax dodging.

This afternoon we asked Boris specifically about his tax arrangements. Here is his angry answer in full:

Dear Guido,

You have asked about my business affairs and tax arrangements. Specifically do I have any company or other arrangements constructed to enable me to pay less tax and do I, as has been claimed by the Labour Mayoral candidate and the Opposition Leader, have the same arrangements as Labour’s Mayoral candidate.

The answer is simple and unequivocal in both cases. No.

My salary as Mayor is taxed as an employee of the GLA. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employee. Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved). No income earned by me has ever been paid to a “service” company, through which a person or person’s freelance earnings can be channeled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax.

To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication.

Of course the real point is not about my tax arrangements. It is about the hypocrisy of a man who for years has railed against those who use special arrangements to reduce their tax and who has then been caught – bang to rights – doing the very same thing himself.

Boris Johnson

Looks like Ed Miliband owes Boris an apology…

Labour Leadership Dodging Ken Tax Trouble

Guido just asked the two Eds about Ken Livingstone’s tax status at their joint press conference. Calling it a “desperate Tory smear” it was telling that Miliband had to stress it was all legal and pointed up that Boris was running a negative campaign. He might want to check some of the material being put out by his own party…

Nobody is suggesting that Ken has done anything illegal, just that he is a massive hypocrite. Guido even suggested that both the candidates release their tax returns, but it seems Labour are sticking to the blind eye approach on this one. Whether the public will be so forgiving of hypocrisy remains to be seen.

Following up, Guido asked Miliband about cancelling an appearance at an NHS rally on Saturday, citing illness, yet being spotted in the chairman’s box at Hull vs Ipswich that afternoon. Apparently it goes without saying that Ed loves the NHS more than football. You could have fooled the people of Hull…

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Baldwin’s Nose Worries

Ed tried the old Cameron trick of no notes and no podium for his manufacturing speech today. Opening with some cracks about where he came in the Sky News totty trumps rankings, he tried to pretend he didn’t mind jibes about his looks. It would have worked better if he hadn’t been sporting yet another variation on his seemingly un-controllable pillow-hair. Geeky Ed is dressing a lot better these days. He has a range of TM Lewin suits for ordinary days and an Ozwald Boateng whistle for high days and holidays. However there is one recurring problem…

It’s not just the usual car-crash radio call-in today that is worries Labour insiders, Guido hears that Tom Baldwin is worried about two things; being marginalised by the new Chief-of-Staff Tim Livesey and secondly, Ed’s nose. He’s said to have raised the fact that things have got worse since his operation last summer, both in look and nasal twang. Baldwin even went as far as to suggest cosmetic surgery, something Ed rejected indignantly. The recent Party Political Broadcast voiced-over by Ed sounded like he was speaking underwater…

Monday, March 5, 2012

Horse Jokes Enter the Chamber
Blenkinsop Wins With “Why the Long Face?”

Replying to Dave’s statement on Europe, Ed just had one of his ever best outings at the Despatch Box. Tight and funny without being too moany. His pay-off line that the PM should have just gone horse-riding was Guy Newsroom worthy, but not a patch on his colleague Tom Blenkinsop who quipped, as the PM sat down: “why the long face?” If you are already bored with Horse-gags, PMQs is going to be neigh on unbearable…


Seen Elsewhere

Does Europe Really Want Britain to Quit? | Nick Wood
Immigration Nation | Hopi Sen
Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


VOTER-RECALL
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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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