Monday, April 18, 2011

State of the Race

Alan Johnson is alive. In his first trip back into the political limelight since his “problems”, he joined the Yes campaign rally with Miliband and Cable, but no Nick. Somewhere in a cupboard in Cowley Street, the Deputy Prime Minister is desperately  trying to break out and campaign for his beloved voting reform. It’s quite hard to spin that this isn’t referendum on Clegg when you ban him from the stage. 

The Yes campaign’s tactics have come under attack even from their own side today. Total Politics carries a raging piece from industry experts who accuse Yes of re-running the failed Euro campaign of the nineties:

“‘Yes’ has run a classic establishment campaign. Lots of prominent places for Westminster insiders; a nice smattering of the usual (boring) B-grade celebs who bang on about politics between filming reality shows, and ads in comfortable shades of pastels that look like every second Department of Health campaign or those posters the council puts on bus shelters up to tell you which day to put out your recycling.”

Meanwhile twenty minutes later Cameron popped up with Lord Reid. The former Labour Home Secretary accused the “moaners and losers”  in the LibDems of wanting AV purely for political reasons. Well someone had to say it…

Elsewhere No2AV head Matthew Elliot put the boot into Clegg this morning:

“he claimed that we are having this referendum “because of the expenses crisis”. Given Nick’s role in the coalition negotiations, this is a frankly bizarre lie. We are having this referendum for the one and only reason that the Lib Dems demanded it.”

Guido has already commented on the IPPR push poll and their squiffy results. Yesterday’s balanced and professional ComRes poll said that only 37 per cent of people backed AV. With 43 per cent against. 17 days to go…

UPDATE: Nick Robinson is wondering where Nick is too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Clegg Shows an Ankle

Clegg’s Staggers interview was clearly designed to try win back some of wavering LibDem supporters in time for the locals. He tells Jemima Khan about his feelings and life as a “punchbag”. All very moving stuff.

Buried in the interview though was an interesting concession. When asked if he is in politics for life Clegg said:

“I think that’s deeply unhealthy. I look at those people that got into politics when they were 16 and are still at it in their late 60s and think, ‘My heavens above!’”

Well Clegg went in at an early age and is in his forties. Is this the first hint from the horse’s mouth that Sheffield LibDems might be looking for a new candidate next time round?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cowley Street’s Army of Interns (Unpaid)

The government is this morning encouraging us to blow the whistle on unpaid work placements. Social mobility is apparently being hindered by unpaid internships and Nick Clegg is clamping down. Allow Guido to blow the first of such whistles.

Co-conspirators have pointed out that yesterday the LibDems published their internship scheme online:

“Our internships are short, intensive volunteer placements that offer you the opportunity to gain experience of the practical and professional side of Party politics, giving you the chance to join the team at Liberal Democrat HQ and parliament and experience life at the heart of Westminster.”

Guido’s emphasis. And it’s not just a couple of kids helping out with stuffing envelopes, there are graduate interns in the following departments:

“Campaigns, Policy (x3), Media, Fundraising, Chief Executive’s Department, Diversity, Liberal Youth, Membership and Development, Parliamentary Whips’ Offices (x3 Commons and Lords).”

Guido has asked for confirmation of just how many of these “volunteers” are in Cowley Street at anyone time. So everyone else has to pay the minimum wage for their staff, except the LibDems who run their party machine for free?

UPDATE: Cowley Street squirmed a little on the line before doing a quick headcount. Apparently there is only one intern in the office today, and though they are not on a wage the spinner was quick to stress they are getting expenses. Which makes everything ok.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nick Agrees With Dave

For his weirdie beardie critics in his own party this little slip-up will symbolise Clegg getting too close to Cameron. Oh well…

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Caption Contest (Blue On His Hands Edition)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Clegg Fails to Recall His Manifesto

Nick Clegg has just said during DPMQs that the power to recall MPs isn’t going to be granted anytime soon. He said he didn’t want to aid “vexatious and unjustified” complaints and was very vague about when such a procedure will be put in place, or how it will work.  Quite a blow for the Yes to AV headbangers and their attempts to steal the anti-politics message.

They say voting reform – in connection with other reforms – would make MPs more accountable, responsive and harder working. Yet their standard bearer Clegg has knifed them in the back by stopping the only real measure to allow recourse against MPs between elections. Not only that, but recall powers were promised in both the governing parties’ manifestos…

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Clegg Set To Be Humiliated by the Miner’s Daughter

The deputy Prime Minister (when he remembers) is set to be humiliated in the Barnsley by-election because, according to a survey in the Mail, the LibDems are looking likely to come fourth after coming second in the general election.

UKIP’s Jane Collins was ‘born and bred’ in Yorkshire, raised in Pontefract, the daughter of a miner and is the blonde who is set to land a bombshell on Clegg’s party.

Dan Jarvis (Labour) will cruise home with a wacking 63%, James Hockney (Conservative) will stay in double figures on 13%, Jane Collins (UKIP) on 9% could push Dominic Carman (Liberal Democrats) into a humiliating fourth place next to the BNP and other assorted loonies. The survey data shows the most former LibDem voters switching back to Labour. This will give Clegg party management problems with the left of the LibDems…

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No 2 Nick

It was heavily recommended last week that the No2AV campaign take the fight to Nick Clegg.

That should do the trick…

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cowardly Clegg : AV “Nothing To Do With Me”

Nick Clegg just told the Today programme this morning that the AV referendum was “nothing to do with me”. Strange, Guido was at the Liberal Democrat Party conference where he launched the campaign for AV.

That sounded pretty cowardly and reminded Guido of one Gordon Brown, whenever trouble was around Gordon could not be found. Clegg argued for AV on the radio this morning and he is going to give one speech today, after that he is disappearing from the Yes to AV campaign. Last night his local Sheffield radio station, Hallam FM, were chairing a debate. Fellow Sheffield MP David Blunkett was tp argue the case for “No to AV” against Clegg, yet despite being invited in January, Clegg was nowhere to be seen. He is keeping out of the Yes campaign because of fears it will become a “No to Nick” referendum.

Despite the “Yes to AV” side being largely staffed by LibDem activists, funded by LibDem donors and essentially a LibDem campaign to keep them in power, Nick Clegg is keeping a low-profile. This is because the Yes side want to portray themselves as anti-politics, despite AV being the ultimate politicians fix. Under AV Clegg will be able to cut a political deal to save his skin behind closed doors with whomever gets the most votes, never mind the manifesto promises…

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rich and Mark’s Monday Morning View


Seen Elsewhere

What Ruffley Standing Down Tells Us About Gove | James Forsyth
Tories Say They Could Sack Ruffley | Buzzfeed
Ruffley Supporter Provokes Outcry | HuffPo
Mirror Readies Pennies for Hacking Payouts | Media Guido
How to Win a Twitter Argument | Hopi Sen
Sign Petition Calling for Ruffley to Resign | Change.org
People’s PMQs Would Divide Politicians and Public | Dan Hodges
Morgan Hires Gay Rights Campaigner as SpAd | Telegraph
Don’t Underestimate Philip Hammond | Nick Wood
Labour Council Collaborates With Pro-Hamas Group | Breitbart
Qatar Sugar-Daddies of Islamist Financing | Left Foot Forward


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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