“One British-based businessman with foreign connections came right out and asked how much the going rate was for a peerage. He was willing to pay several million pounds for the privilege, Drucker believes.”
This is of course all in the past since the Industrial Research Trust is no more. Today Gordon has another vehicle for the financing of his ambitions – the Smith Institute. This charity effectively constitutes Gordon’s secretariat. It hosts events at Number 11, graced by Gordon, where he glad hands supporters and as a result ever increasing funds have been raised.
Access to Gordon can be had by donors via the Smith Institute. It is always around when Gordon needs a favour done. Hosting an event for Bill Clinton – get the Smith Institute to give him a platform to share with Gordon. Ed Balls is feeling a bit skint after standing down as Gordon’s SpAd before being parachuted into Normanton – get the Smith Institute to give him a well-paid sinecure. Fancy a bit of back slapping with Gore? Gordon gets the Smith Institute to arrange a screening of his new movie. Gordon doesn’t trust the Labour party’s internal polling – so get the Smith Institute to put Bob Shrum, the U.S. pollster on its payroll as “a senior research fellow”. A highly paid pollster as a fellow – now why ever would a charitable think tank need one of those?
Even though Wilf Stevenson, the Institute’s director, is happy to facilitate Gordon’s whims, the Smith Institute are very evasive about their Brownite links, Guido asked them how many events they had held at No. 11, they came over with amnesia; “Smith Institute events are private high-level guests only events.” Guido explained that, for research purposes only, he had attended one of their high level events. (Security isn’t so tight as they think). The Smith Institute did not deny that the number of events hosted at No. 11 by Gordon was in double figures. No other charity is so privileged, isn’t this bordering on abuse of office?
The question for Yates of the Yard is, isn’t Gordon repeating his old trick? Whereas he once used the Industrial Research Trust to further his ambitions, he now uses the Smith Institute to do the same. All the time claiming that he is “Mr Clean” in comparison to Tony’s sleazy money grubbing ways. “Blind trust” or “educational charity”, the cash was always for the greater glorification of Gordon. Guido reckons Yates should follow the money: who gave what and when? What did they get in return? Yates will find it was more than just canapes on offer at No. 11…
Michael White is scoring the fight this morning-
The war of Prezza’s stetson is not over yet. But the political bloggers have lost the first round.
Remember, round two doesn’t start until the cowboy is running the country. Guido has seen Prezza shadow boxing, and the shadow won.
UPDATE : Boxing must be the theme of the day, this morning the wonks at the Adam Smith Institute say that Guido has John Prescott and “the government reeling on the ropes, if not down on the canvas. He has in effect taken on the role of official opposition, which is fine for the Conservatives because it leaves them free to rebuild their brand and prepare to take over. Political and media figures devour his blog every day, and it’s easy to see why. It’s compulsive reading.”
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Francis Elliot reports on No. 10 strategy meetings:
“When discussion veers to subjects that Mr Crosby thinks of concern only to the political and journalistic classes, he treats the offender as a pub bore with a tart request to “pass the beer nuts, mate”.”