Monday, October 24, 2011

Clegg SpAd James McGrory Accused of Leaking Cam Kids Story

A good rule of thumb when feeding negative stories to the press about a Prime Minister, whose administration you work in, is not to do it from the office phone. A mighty row has blown up in Downing Street after a leak hunt has found the Deputy Prime Minister’s spokesman up to his neck in it after giving the Mirror a story about the Cameron and Osborne children playing in the Rose Garden. The Mail on Sunday reported the row yesterday without naming James McGrory as the leaker…

Cameron hit the roof and his staff got in Scotland Yard to trace the leak. McGrory’s study looks out over the Rose Garden and his phone made three calls to the Mirror just before they put a call in to Downing Street for a comment. On the day that Clegg announces that he is going to spend half a million on seven new LibDem SpAds across Whitehall, he should probably start thinking about an eighth…

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Clegg’s Other Lobbyist

With the LibDems trying to have their “told-you-so-moment” over a register of lobbyists, Guido drew your attention yesterday to the controversial spinmeister Clegg has brought into the heart of his operation – Olly Grender. Overnight many a co-conspirator also pointed out that Clegg’s Chief of Staff Jonny Oates is another flesh presser…

Starting at Westminster Strategy in the nineties, Oates worked his way up to become a director at Bell Pottinger in 2004. With a host of international and UK clients that would put any sandal-wearing LibDem member off their lentils, Bell Pottinger are the largest UK firm to refuse to take part in any of the voluntary regulation schemes that are around. Their chairman Peter Bingle has been at the forefront of defending the industry this week. Almost a lone public voice…

So two of Clegg’s closest advisers right now are former lobbyists. His promised clean up of the body politic clearly doesn’t start at home…

Monday, October 17, 2011

Controversial Lobbyist at the Heart of Downing Street

In those heady days of spring 2010 Nick Clegg told the ITV leadership debate that he wanted “something I’ve supported all my adult political life, which is a complete clean-up from top to toe of politics.” This included an end to murky lobbying and he subsequently convinced the Conservative coalition negotiators of the need for a compulsory register of lobbyists. So it is odd then that the lobbyist Olly Grender has gone to spin for Nick Clegg out of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. Grender is in Downing Street covering the maternity leave of Clegg’s gatekeeper Lena Pietsch, which means she will be back on the outside practising the dark arts very soon….

After spinning for the Liberal Democrats in the run up to the 1997 election, Grender turned to the dark-side of lobbying at Neal Lawson and Jonathan Mendelsohn’s scandal ridden and now defunct LLM Communications, which became notorious for their level of access to the Blair government. Eventually she moved on to PLMR – Political Lobbying and Media Relations. Leaving the quack green energy companies represented by the firm aside,  the organisation boasts that they represent Frankenstein doctors  like PLMR client Reneuron who experiment with stem-cells taken from new-born children, and pro-puppy-torturing and mouse-probing animal research organisations like UAR. PLMR also spin for the Brazilian Beef food processing industry, which George Monbiot accuses of “deforestation, slavery and murder”. Classy stuff…

Given the unfettered access that Grender now has and that her appointment is only temporary, what measures have been taken in Downing Street to make sure that her firm’s clients, who until very recently were paying her to represent them, do not have undue influence? The Cabinet Office can instigate a cooling off period after officials leave the government before they can jump through the revolving door. Will this “two years in the cooler” apply to Grender and her corporate lobbying career? With Nick Clegg leading the charge against the spinmeisters, what has he done to get his own house in order?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Huhne Not Hanging About for Clegg’s Leader Speech

Sunday, September 18, 2011

LibDems Question Clegg’s Long-Term Leadership

Andrew Rawnsley is one of the pundits who has found it more difficult than others to cope with the change of regime since May 20101. His contacts at the highest level in the Labour Party were unrivalled, Guido suspects he is not such a popular dinner party guest in government circles. This morning he takes a look at the LibDems in the Observer and tells us that:

One senior Lib Dem says delicately that “there is a question for the longer term” about whether Nick Clegg will be the right face to lead them into the next election.

The “longer term”? That has a familiar ring to it, it is the kind of term that an economist would use. A quick Google reveals it to be a favoured phrase of Vince Cable:  “Economic growth must be about long-term commitment…  a sustainable solution for the long-term…  long-term issue…  A Long-Term Focus for Corporate Britain… in the long term”. So Guido thinks we can safely say Cable was the “senior Lib Dem” who briefed Rawnsley as to whether Clegg will be leader in the “long term”.

A few days ago Chris Huhne told Prospect magazine that Nick Clegg in Brussels would indeed “be a tremendous commissioner.” The position becomes available in 2014. That appears to be the long-term…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Gifts For Nick

Life is hard for Nick Clegg, but Guido hadn’t realised things had got this bad. As government departments quickly declare all their meetings and gifts for Ministers and Special Advisers, poor Nick’s entries look a little sparse:

Even lowly SpAds have had more bestowed upon them. No doubt this is the same as the News International “didn’t want to go the party anyway” situation…

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Nation of Shareholders

As the LibDems linger around the 11% point in the polls, Nick Clegg has come up with his latest idea to try and make people like him – giving every taxpayer shares in RBS and Lloyds, the banks they own. Individuals could sell their stake once the price of the 46 million shares rose above the cost of bailing out the banks. The idea was originally mooted by the CPS, and Guido is intrigued, but also a little worried it could cost at least £250 million to administrate. It’s going to take a while for any fruition, given the government is currently down nine billion pounds. Clegg will be hoping people will be able cash out at a convenient time…

Sometime around spring 2015 would be ideal.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clegg’s Pointed Jibe

Saturday, June 4, 2011

“Nicked” – Clegg the Musical

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turkeys Make Pre-Christmas Clucking Sound

Is anyone actually surprised by the fact that 81% of peers are opposed to reforming the House of Lords? Ironically that’s the figure that will end up being elected if the Coalition Agreement is implemented.  The Times thundered this morning that Clegg’s plans were facing a revolt. What did they think was going to happen?

With only four hundred peers actually doing any work, or even turning up, regardless of whether you think they should be elected or not, it’s time for a cull. In other news, public sector workers don’t like spending cuts…


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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