Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pickles Crackdown on Town Hall Pravdas

Most of the government is either on holiday or has ground to a halt, but Eric Pickles is still hard at work fighting taxpayer-funded propaganda newspapers in rotten boroughs. The Communities Secretary has given Greenwich Time, Hackney Today, the Newham mag, Waltham Forest News and the infamous pro-Lutfur Rahman Tower Hamlets paper East End Life two weeks to explain why they shouldn’t face action:

“It is scandalous that bloggers have been handcuffed for tweeting from council meetings, while propaganda on the rates drives the free press out of business. Only Putin would be proud of a record like that.”

Who could he possibly have in mind?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tory Code of Conduct Cop Out

The Tories’ new code of conduct for their MPs is entirely voluntary, with the party distancing itself from having to deal with any complaints by making clear staff grievances are “entirely a matter for you to handle”. Which means if a staffer complains about their boss, the complaint is dealt with by… their boss.

Appendix A: Conservative Members of Parliament (as employers) and their employees: Code of Conduct

Rights and responsibilities of employees

Rights
All employees, whatever their role or level, are entitled to:
 be treated with dignity, respect and courtesy by their employer, colleagues, House
staff, contractors, visitors and members of the public;
 be valued for the work that they do;
 be free from any form of discrimination, victimisation, harassment or bullying;
 work in an environment free from unwelcome behaviour and inappropriate language.

Responsibilities
All employees should:
 conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner;
 be fair and just in all workplace dealings;
 listen to the views of others;
 understand the difference between normal work disagreements and
harassment/bullying.

All employees are responsible for ensuring they understand what behaviour is required of
them and that their conduct does not cause offence. Everyone shares a responsibility for
understanding the sensitivities and feelings of others and avoiding behaviour that could cause
offence or distress. Equally, all employees should be free to carry out their duties free from
unfounded allegations of discrimination, harassment or bullying.

Rights and responsibilities of Conservative Members of Parliament (as employers)

Rights
All Conservative Members of Parliament (as employers), like their employees, are entitled to
be treated with respect and dignity. They have the right to:
 expect to carry out their parliamentary business free from unfounded allegations of
discrimination, harassment or bullying;
 expect employees to be as helpful as possible, to act with honesty, probity and so
uphold the reputation of the House and of the Member as a member of the
Conservative Party.

Responsibilities
In return, Conservative Members of Parliament (as employers) are expected to:
 interact with their employees in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner;
 use appropriate channels should issues relating to delivery standards arise;
 fully co-operate with the Conservative Pastoral Care Team (CPCT) should a
grievance procedure be instigated;
 ensure their employees act in accordance with the spirit and ethos of this policy in
their dealings with House staff;
 lead by example to encourage and foster an atmosphere of respect and tolerance;
 not use their position to bully, abuse or harass employees or assume a threatening or
intimidating style or discriminate against them.

If anything, this leaves staffers who are victims of handsy MPs in a weaker position than before…

Via Channel 4 News.

Tony Grew Misses the Scoop of His Career

Last night’s Channel 4 News investigation found that young men working in parliament were more likely to be sexually harassed than women, and specifically that there were a group of gay MPs who preyed upon men in Westminster. Back in January Guido publicly tipped off one journalist to the story on Twitter, he didn’t want to investigate, instead PoliticsHome’s Tony Grew said the allegations were untrue:

Today the story is on the front pages of two newspapers, has been heavily followed up by the rest and is dominating the airwaves on 24 hour news channels and radio, yet gets only a fleeting mention on PoliticsHome. They should have a word with their Lobby correspondent about his news values…

Sexminster Exposed


A Channel 4 News investigation finds that one in three people working in the sleazy booze-fuelled world of Westminster have experienced some form of sexual harassment at the hands of pervy MPs. One in five had witnessed some other poor young staffer being sexually harassed and over half said they had first or second-hand experience of hands-on politicians. Today’s Mail and Independent splash on the story.

The Tories have responded by ordering their MPs to sign a new code of conduct and implementing a grievance procedure for staff:

The code of conduct acts as a basic statement of what should be best practice in the workplace for Conservative Members and their staff. It explains the rights and responsibilities which are expected of both the employer and the employee.

The grievance procedure is available for staff to use if a grievance arises with their MP as employer. It protects both parties involved, brings with it consistency and fairness, and in doing so upholds the reputation of the Party and of Parliament. It is based upon a three stage process of mediation, grievance hearing and appeal. The process conforms to relevant employment law, ACAS guidance and HR best practice and is added as a schedule to the contract of employment.

They should get everyone at Number 10 to sign it too

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guy News Musical Special: So Long, Farewell Maria

Goodbye…

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Miller Drowns Out Osborne’s Good Economic News

George Osborne must be furious that because of Maria Miller no one is talking about the IMF’s forecast that Britain will be the fastest growing leading economy this year. They have today announced their prediction that UK growth will reach 2.9%, the fastest in the G7, and then 2.5% in 2015. Also endorsing Osborne’s strategy for future growth:

“the government’s efforts to raise capital spending while staying within the medium-term fiscal envelope should help bolster recovery and long-term growth”

Yet because of one Cabinet minister grabbing all the headlines, this will go unnoticed by the vast majority of the public. As ConHome’s Mark Wallace points out:

“Ministers need to be able to get on with communicating the central messages that have the potential to deliver victory in 2015. If their interviews are constantly sidetracked into the question of Miller’s expenses, or their arguments are undermined by the presence in the cabinet of someone who demonstrably didn’t deliver the best value for the taxpayer, that becomes a serious problem.”

If Number 10 let this go on into recess it’ll be the only talking point on the doorstep for weeks…

UPDATE: Interestingly, Guido understands the IMF are refusing to let Olivier Blanchard, their chief economist who famously warned Osborne was playing with fire“, be interviewed by Sky News. Surely they aren’t worried about him putting his foot in it again…

WATCH: “Are You Going to Resign, Maria Miller?”

Great stuff from Sky’s Sophy Ridge, who has spent the day standing outside Number 10 shouting at Cabinet ministers. Miller’s face…

Shine Light on the Standards Committee

John Mann has used his urgent question to not unreasonably request that all recordings of Standards Committee meetings are made public. How did the Committee come to the decision to give Miller such soft censure? Which members of the troughers’ union fought her corner? Shining the light on the processes of the Standards Committee is the very least that can be done to improve transparency. Worth noting that Leader of the House Andrew Lansley warns there could be more pre-2010 expenses scandals still to come…

Zac Goldsmith, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Peter Bone are also using Miller to raise the issue of recall once again. Which begs the question what do Basingstoke residents think of the claim by Miller’s former constituency campaign manager Phil Heath: “whenever we had a meeting there was no family so that was definitely her second home.”

Two Thirds Say Standards Committee Should Be Abolished

69% of the public agree with Guido that MPs should not be allowed to sit on the committee that judges whether politicians are guilty of fiddling their expenses, according to a Survation poll for Breitbart London. 47% say Maria Miller makes them less likely to vote Tory in 2015, 55% say Dave has handled it badly and the same number say Miller is the worst expenses cheat since 2009. But you keep on fighting for her, Prime Minister…

Tory Official Quit After No. 10 Raised “Historic Complaints”

Tory official Iain Corby resigned as director of the Tory controlled Parliamentary Resources Unit after Downing Street called the Chief Whip about a series of allegations against him, Guido understands. PRU’s chairman, Tory MP Henry Bellingham, then convened a board meeting and Corby was out four hours later.  Bellingham insists that Corby was always planning to leave in the summer and is getting married to his male partner next month, although he has now left early. Bellingham stresses that he has “not seen any complaints about [Corby's] conduct” since taking over in November 2012, and that “any complaints are historic”. The previous chairman, Oliver Heald, is having an “urgent X-ray” and his office say he is unavailable for comment…


Seen Elsewhere

Ed’s Constitutional Failure | ConHome
UKIP Poster Girl’s Naked Photos | Sun
Miliband’s Radical Old Labour Agenda | Fraser Nelson
Meet Team Miliband | Dan Hodges
Run Boris Run | Times
Tories Pledge to End Onshore Windfarm Subsidy | Telegraph
Labour’s Plan to Attack Part-Time Boris | Standard
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times


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A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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