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Despite the fact that he had the line written on his hand, John Prescott still managed to go violently off message on his campaign stop. Prezza promised a joint English and Scottish football team, and laid into the evil Tories, echoing SNP attack lines. At least he didn’t punch anyone. It was negative and messy, and pretty much summed up the whole campaign.
Senior Labour source: 'John Prescott is a f****** moron.' #indyref
— Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon) September 10, 2014
Despite today’s unprecedented flap and the cancellation of PMQs, the blame game has already begun. ConservativeHome point out that Better Together – which was meant to be Tory cash and Labour troops/faces – has failed to deliver:
“The problem came when Labour over-promised and under-delivered on Better Together. Citing their own grassroots strength, their many senior Scottish figures and their supposedly deep understanding of Scottish culture and politics, they asked for Tory funding in return for providing the strategy and the boots on the ground. The money, and the agreement to let Labour lead the charge, was forthcoming. But they haven’t really delivered their part of the bargain. YouGov polling suggests Better Together haven’t been as effective as the Yes campaign in contacting voters – be it through leaflets, letters, door-knocking, posters, stalls, email or social media. Where are the army of activists Labour promised?”
It’s Labour voters that are shifting over to Yes.
Joey Jones: "Even Labour voters here are generally hostile to Ed Miliband"
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) September 10, 2014
While things will be incredibly rocky for Cameron should Scotland choose freedom, Ed is hardly in a position to crow. No wonder he said resignations were beside the point…
John Prescott’s son David is running to become the Labour candidate in Greenwich and Woolwich, replacing the sitting Labour MP Nick Raynsford. With a 10,000 majority it’s a highly sought after selection. With Will Straw chosen to fight a seat last weekend and Euan Blair sniffing around for one, Prescott is weary of the charge of nepotism, telling Guido he’s ‘too old’ to be a Red Prince. He’s had a career outside of politics at least, and points out in his announcement that he’s not he’s not some Oxbridge PPE drone:
“I like to feel as a 43 year-old dad working with businesses, I have real life experience. I left school at 18 and worked my way up through the ranks as a journalist from a local press agency to an Assistant Editor at the BBC. I now work in public relations helping companies grow and become more successful. … I built my own career.”
Who could he be talking about? Guido was more worried about plans to re-nationalise the railways. A Prescott and transport. Again?
John Prescott taking time out of his busy schedule to direct traffic in Hull. How the mighty have fallen.
Of all the departments that make up Her Majesty’s government, Guido would have thought the one that doesn’t need to blow huge sums of taxpayer cash on foreign junkets would be the Department for Communities and Local Government. Somehow the department have spent £217,130 on visits abroad since 2010, no signs of a trip to a Sydney casino though. When Guido put it to them, DCLG sources pointed to the fact that the department has made savings of over half a billion pounds over the current spending review period and most of the travel was for mandatory trips to the EU. A useful figure to keep handy…
Powerful stuff from John Prescott in his Sunday Mirror column where he frothed about Maggie one last time. Prezza went off on one about the Tories hijacking her funeral:
“Even in death, she is spinning from her grave. She claimed she never wanted a state funeral, but she planned to give herself the same ceremonial one as the Queen Mother. And her “children”, the out-of-touch Tory Boys Cameron and Osborne, are getting YOU to foot the £10million bill for the biggest political propaganda exercise this country has ever seen. This is what “Operation True Blue” is about. It’s not a remembrance. It’s a rebrand.”
So what does he have to say about the news that the full funeral plan, including scale and therefore price-tag, was signed off by both Tony Blair (who Prezza was Deputy to) and Gordon Brown? The biggest political propaganda exercise this country has ever seen” – devised under his Labour government.
There’s one silver lining for the Tories…
Well at least he didn’t hit him…
Back in July John Prescott claimed he was the victim of an elaborate plot by the Tories to smear him over dodgy government credit card purchases. Central to Prezza’s conspiracy theory was a redacted letter from Gus O’Donnell, with Hull’s next top copper demanding an investigation into the apparent cover-up. The story was run by Political Scrapbook, and even the Observer weighed in. Now there is egg-on-face all round as the whole theory was debunked this morning, with an answer to Prezza’s Parliamentary Question in the Lords revealing the letter in question was censored simply to redact factual errors:
“A factual error in the Cabinet Office reply of 18 November 2011, incorrectly suggesting that departmental civil servants had been disciplined for the use of the Government Procurement Card under the previous Administration, was removed from the version of 21 November. In fact, the fraud stemmed from seven transactions on a cloned credit card. A second paragraph was also deleted from the version of 18 November in error. The Cabinet Secretary has written to the noble Lord to explain the background.”
Prezza can take off his tin foil hat…
Lord Prescott explains to the Yorkshire Post…
“The House of Lords is a bit like a job centre, you have to go down there to get paid expenses, and it just gets totally tiring”.
Guido has a sore head from Political Scrapbook’s drinks last night. As revenge he has some bad news for them. They thought they were on to a winner earlier this week with a story claiming that John Prescott was the victim of a vicious Tory smear campaign. It was claimed that a series of questions over Prezza’s use of public credit cards were placed in MPs’ names without their knowledge. However, the Table Office have now conceded that the entire mess was down to a simple admin error by them, as the Tories insisted all along:
Dear Mr Elphicke,
I can confirm that the questions were wrongly recorded as being in the name of Sir Alan Beith due to an administrative error in this office. We took steps to correct this shortly after they were tabled, when we realised the error had been made. Unfortunately, when the questions were answered, some were returned under the original wrong name of Sir Alan Beith, which overwrote our correction. We have since corrected this again and I have just checked the Parliamentary records and confirmed that they all now appear correctly in your name.
I am very sorry for this error and the inconvenience it has caused you – please do get in touch if there is anything further we can do to assist.
Clerk, Table Office
House of Commons
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Mandy Rice-Davies (R.I.P.) on Lord Astor’s denial of their affair….
“Well he would, wouldn’t he?”