Apparently the Dark Lord is in Marakesh, this tip-off has just arrived in the inbox:
My sister just txted me from Marakesh. Mandy spotted with a young boy. Unfortunately she is not politically nerdy enough to have followed up the spot so the trail is cold. Not much of a tip-off but it may be the start of a trail.
Anyone out there got a camera-phone?
It was at the height of the Blair destabilising cash for honours investigation that Guido was sent a document outlining the use of 11 Downing Street by the Smith Institute and the role of that “charity” in furthering Gordon’s ambitions. The note was passed to Guido by an über-Blairite close to No. 10. This was hardly surprising since No. 10 suspected (rightly) the Brownies were stoking the flames of cash for honours, this was essentially a sleaze counter-attack. The note outlined how Gordon got private polling and personal consultants flown in from the States. How they were paid for by cash-for-access meetings in No. 11 involving Brown and his aides under the auspices of the Smith Institute. Balls himself was paid an £89,000 bung by the Smith Institute and is now under scrutiny with the Tories looking to link this payment and others to the unlawful furtherance of Brown’s political ambitions.
“First global superhero and now Moses… Labour and Peter Mandelson should spend more time getting a grip on the country’s problems and less time heaping praise on their failed leader. We face massive issues. The automotive sector is grinding to a halt, the payment chain between companies is freezing over and insolvencies are rising fast. Labour has all but bankrupted Britain and as a result we are now badly placed to stave off the recession.”
Britain does need a miracle worker…
UPDATE : Charlotte Corday, the co-conspirator with the most cutting wit in the comments: “The only thing that Gordon Brown has in common with Moses is that they are both basket-cases.”
Hmmm. Guido is suspicious, you don’t think he has been got at? It was after all only a few days ago that Mandelson said he wanted to be on the show….
UPDATE : Mandy has, this really is genuine, released a statement “John Sergeant should not bow out… He has become the people’s John Travolta and he should be a fighter, not a quitter… “. The Guidoisation of politics continues.
We know, as Trevor Kavanagh reminds us, that Mandelson is a proven liar, however he is not an idiot. He no doubt has heard the rumours of tapes and boasts by oligarchs that they have western politicians in their pocket. So perhaps the explanation for his reticence in answering the question, and uncharacteristic aversion to risking a lie to deny ever discussing tariff cuts worth billions to Deripaska, is the fear that he will be contradicted.
Paul Waugh reckons “the only sensible conclusion to draw is that Mandelson did indeed discuss the tariffs.” He is surely right.
With billions at stake it was surely inappropriate for the trade commissioner to meet socially with the second largest shareholder in Microsoft when it was in a fierce battle with the Commission. Over to you Peston…
It’s Time to Speak for England | John Redwood
It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
England Must Have Self-Government Too | Mark Wallace
Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:
“Sunday, May 10, 1998
Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.
After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.
I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.
They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].
I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”