Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cover Up : The Sith’s Use of No. 11 Questioned Again

Iain Dale alerted Guido to this PQ a few days ago:
Mr Keith Simpson (Con, Mid Norfolk): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which charities have held meetings at 11 Downing Street since December 2005.

Mr Keith Simpson (Con, Mid Norfolk): On how many occasions since December 2005 the Smith Institute has held meetings at 11 Downing Street and who attended each.

John Healey (Financial Secretary to the Treasury): I will let the Honourable Member have a reply in due course.

Perhaps Guido, as always, can be helpful here. Previously when a similar question to this was last asked, the Sith and No. 11 went into a minor panic. Konrad Caulkett, events coordinator for the Sith, compiled a comprehensive list of all meetings and events held at No. 11. When the Sith realised that confirmation of over a hundred events being held by a “non-political” charity on Gordon’s premises at the taxpayers expense would look bad, they decided on an outrageous cover-up. The official response made was that the information was not available – despite the Sith having already compiled the now readily available answer. Guido presumes that the civil servants were kept in the dark, no civil servant would lie, would they? So if any of Gordon’s civil servants really want the to obtain the answer this time, Konrad is only a call away. He won’t talk to Guido, maybe he will talk to you…

Incidentally as any political lobbyist or campaigner will tell you, hiring a prestigous address in Westminster for a seminar, providing coffee and croissants for the attendees is no cheap affair. It can easily work out at £50 per head per day. Smith Institute events at No. 11, like the one Guido infiltrated, can have in the region of a hundred attendees. How much do the Sith pay for holding events at No. 11?

I feel a few Freedom of Information requests coming on…

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Birds of a Feather

The Smith Institute, that non-political charitable think-tank which has nothing to do with Gordon Brown, is holding a seminar later this month on “economic opportunity”. Despite being currently under investigation (for the second time) by the Charity Commissioners over all-too-close links to Gordon Brown and allegations of blatant political activity, the event is being held at No. 11 Downing Street.

Guido has in the past suggested that the Sith is basically a platform for the greater glorification of Gordon, which allows him to rub shoulders with plutocrats and corporate CEO titans whilst simultaneously providing photo opportunities leading to donations.

True to form, the keynote speaker will be a CEO of a U.S. multi-national, Lewis Booth, the Chairman of Ford Europe. He will tell the iron chancellor how to “shape global policy for economic opportunity”.

Globally Ford lost $8.5 billion last year and has announced that it aims to close 12 plants and cut 40,000 jobs. Like the UK public sector it has massive “legacy costs” of pensions and lifetime healthcare, expensive deals with unions and ever-increasing debts.

Its share price has dived from $18 to a low of $6 just as Labour has recently polled the lowest since 1992. So he is obviously the best person to guide Gordon, they have so much in common…

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Dave : Brown is the Dark Side

The Smith Institute exposés last month evoked from the co-conspirators an analogy with the evil Sith cult in Star Wars. It’s catching, Dave’s New Year statement too uses the imagery of the force;
“2007 will be the year that Labour’s dark side comes to the fore. With Blair going and Brown coming, we need to prepare ourselves for an onslaught of negative campaigning and the politics of fear and division.

The real battle for Britain’s future begins: Labour’s state control versus Conservative social responsibility.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Surprise! Smith Institute Plans More Meetings at No. 11

On Friday Gordon complained about smears in a statement where he denied that the Smith Institute had any formal link to him. Sure he is not on the board, but the board is Brownite.

Remember Wilf Stevenson, the institute’s director, both denies it is political (which would put it in breach of charity law) and that it is a Brownite front. Nevertheless we discovered recently that Gordon pushed to have Wilf made a working peer.* That would have meant that Brown had made him a Labour working peer for his Smith Institute work. How in any sense therefore is he non-political and non-Brownite?

This is all a “Mandelson smear” the Sunday papers were briefed. Guido has no formal link with Mandelson, but he has been digging into “the Sith” sleaze for months. When is a smear not a smear? When it is the truth.

Guido has obtained this list of events being held by the Smith Institute. You have just missed “Shaping Global Policy” – which seems an odd subject title for a non-political public charity. Isn’t policy formation a bit political?
Are these meetings open to the public in line with the charity’s charter? No. Are they anything to do with Brown’s current imperative to repaint himself as Green? They are all being held at No. 11, what do you think?

*So, yes, he would actually have become the Dark Emperor’s very own Sith Lord.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ferret Watch : Brownites V Blairites

When Guido read the headline about the “Shambles” memo on Iain’s blog on Saturday his first thought was “Gould”. Gould tried to work with Brown some months ago as part of the perparation for an “orderly transition”, but the short-lived co-operation fell apart in mistrust.

On Friday the Brownites believed the weekend would see a smear operation on Brown, Gordon’s spin-meister Damian McBride put out an extraordinary statement dealing with three issues – Gordon’s knowledge about loans, his lobbying for peerage on behalf of his two cronies, Ronnie Cohen (whom he secured a knighthood) and Wilf Stevenson, director of the Smith Institute, which serves as Gordon’s private political secretariat.

The “McSnide” statement:


Rather than respond in piecemeal fashion to these unfounded allegations and smears, we wish to make the Chancellor’s position absolutely clear – on the public record:

Neither is there any formal position for the Chancellor in the system of nominations for Labour working peers. And the Chancellor has never made any such submissions nominating an individual or individuals in letters or statements.

When asked to give his opinions informally about potential working peers to be nominated by the party, the Chancellor has, of course, been happy to give them on the basis that eligibility should naturally be based on service to the community and country, present and in the future.

Mr Stevenson, former director of the BFI and now director of the Smith Institute, and Sir Ronald Cohen of the Portland Trust are known by the Chancellor and he respects their service to public life and has no hesitation in saying they would have made valuable working peers.

But the fact is that no nomination has been made for either individual to the political honours committee, nor has the Chancellor ever submitted any letter or statement of nomination. In Sir Ronald’s case, it is understood anyway that Sir Ronald has made it clear he would not wish to be considered.

We understand that neither Mr Stevenson nor Sir Ronald has ever made loans to the Labour party.

We also know that if any donations have been made they are anyway a matter of public record under the rules and neither individual has ever discussed any such donations with the Chancellor.

And, as the register of Members’ interests confirms, at no time in Opposition and, of course, never subsequently have either of them made any donations to Mr Brown’s political office.

And in respect of the Smith Institute, set up in memory of his friend, the late John Smith, Mr Brown welcomes and encourages the work they do and their contribution to the intellectual and policy debate of the country but Mr Brown has no financial nor any formal relationship with them.

Guido thinks Brown really wasn’t involved in the Loans for Lordships scam, but McSnide does not really deny that Gordon lobbied for Ronnie and Wilf to get peerages to become working peers. Odd because Wilf protests that he is non-political and has no relationship with Brown, who in turn claims no formal relationship with the Smith Institute. A patently false claim, since we all know that it is a Brownite operation and that if Gordon had his way his friend Wilf would now be a Sith Lord…

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Caption Contest (Sith Edition)

This is a picture taken at a closed meeting held by the “non-political”, tax subsidised, “public educational charity”, the Smith Institute. In the middle is Wilf Stevenson, the institute’s director, on the left of him is James Purnell, Minister for Creative Industries. On the right of Wilf is Eric Nicoli, Chairman of EMI group, a business regulated by the Minister. Around the table are industry lobbyists and vested interests.
At the meeting, according to a transcript obtained by Guido, Eric Nicoli told Wilf “We have the problem that the political agenda is, on average, about two years out in terms of the time horizon because of elections and so on, yet we are here trying to develop something for the longer term. So I agree, not least because prime ministers and chancellors seem to last a bit longer than the average minister, that we should go after them and be relentless in our pursuit of our objectives.

Wilf, who says the institute is non-political and “has no direct relationship with Gordon Brown”, told Eric at the meeting “What you are going to say will have a great impact on the government’s thinking”.

EMI then paid £29,375 to the New Statesman, owned by Geoffrey Robinson, the former paymaster general. The Gordon Brown backing New Statesman rents office space to the Smith Institue at below market rates. EMI has also made undisclosed*, but substantial donations to the The Smith Institute. Nor is this the only Smith Institute/New Statesman event organised by Konrad Caulkett and sponsored by EMI over the last two years.The Smith Institute held a seminar on copyright reform at No. 11 just before Gordon’s big PBR speech last week. It was a happy affair. Later, in his PBR speech Gordon went outside his usual brief to announce reform of copyright legislation.

So co-conspirators, what was Eric Nicoli really saying to the Smith Institute meeting?

*Neither EMI or the Smith Institute were willing to make a comment.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

C4 Tonight : Gordon "Cash for Honours"

Guido has just been tipped that C4 News is going to do a “Gordon in Cash for Honours” story tonight.

Co-conspirators and readers of this blog will have heard about Ronnie Cohen months ago.

Tomorrow :

Guido will be exposing evidence of how the Brownite Smith Institute’s “Cash for Access” machine became a “Payments for Policy” racket – with Gordon Brown delivering the policy.

Guido will name the the donor the institute’s director, Wilf Stevenson, told at a Smith Institute meeting “what you are going to say will have a great impact on the government’s thinking” – two months before Gordon announced the policy change wanted.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Konrad is Not Speaking to Guido…

… and no-one else at the Smith Institute is answering questions, so Guido will just pass this one straight to the Charity Commissioners for their investigation into if the Smith Institute has crossed over into “politics”.

Konrad:

  • During the 2005 election campaign when you went up to the Normanton constituency to help Ed Balls’ election campaign, were you still being paid by the Smith Institute?
  • Was it in your capacity as “events coordinator” for the Smith Institute that you blew up balloons for Balls?
  • Who does actually pay your salary? The salary sums don’t add up.

Isn’t it odd that a public charity, subsidised by the taxpayers through the treasury, refuses to answer questions about funding?

What has Gordon’s little helper got to hide?

Friday, December 8, 2006

Comrade Konrad, the Sith Apprentice

Eagle-eyed co-conspirators will notice the line-up on this regular feature’s Smith Institute banner has changed, out goes Gordon’s pollster Shrum, in comes curly haired Konrad, the man who could not remember how he got his job. Guido had no idea how widely disliked Gordon’s little helper is until he mentioned him earlier this week.

Now bear in mind that according to Wilf Stevenson, the director of the institute “it has never had and does not currently have a direct relationship with Gordon Brown.” (Incidentally, how does Wilf, never in the office, run a Westminster focussed think-tank from the Lake District?)


Some of the comments about Konrad were just unprintable so Guido has stored them in his files. Essentially Konrad is said to revel in the cloak and dagger aspects of running Gordon’s slush fund and the proximity to power it provides. He enjoys being the secret Sith apprentice to Gordon’s Emperor Palpatine.

To understand how Konrad joined the independent, we-are-not-political, never-heard-of-him-gov-honest-institute, we need to go back to 1999 when New Labour was just starting to look less whiter-than-white. Sarah Macaulay was part of Hobsbawm Macaulay, the PR operation that was the spin-shop of choice for New Labour, and as such had as its client the then struggling New Statesman. Struggling to some extent because the owner (Gordon’s paymaster general at the time) Geoffrey Robinson was paying £100,000 to the future Mrs Brown’s firm. This caused some outrage at the time. As PR to the magazine she became friends with the lowly marketing and promotions employee – Konrad Caulkett. He was forever complaining to Sarah about his low pay and she supported his demands to the managment for a raise. Alas, the till was empty explained the management. Sarah suggested to him that he come work for the Smith Institute for more money, she would have a word and arrange it.

Konrad moved his desk from one side of the New Statesman’s office to the other side. This is the bit they call the independent Smith Institute.* Not so independent that it doesn’t still share the tea kettle with the New Statesman.

Hopefully this will jog Konrad’s memory as to how Sarah Macaulay got Konrad his job. Hobsbawm Macaulay went bust and Sarah became Mrs Brown. Guido wonders if she has a “direct relationship” with whomever she “had a word” with?

UPDATE : The press interest is on Ed Balls’ £100,000 bung for 8 months “work” in 2005. However a co-conspirator points out that if in 2004 the Smith Institute’s 100% owned S.I. Events Limited paid no remuneration to employees, and the S.I. charity only had a wage bill of £48,278 they must have been getting below minimum wage. Four staff; Wilf Stevenson, Konrad Caulkett, Ben Shimshon and assorted £7-per-hour interns presumably had to be paid. So where did the money come from? Over to you Konrad…

More next week.

*Guido’s co-conspirators have renamed the institute “the Sith” after the evil cult devoted to the dark side of the Force. In Star Wars they attempt to overthrow the legitimate elected political leader and replace him with an unelected dictatorial emperor Gordon Brown Palpatine. It is a fantasy.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Sarah Who?

Guido called up the Smith Institute this afternoon to get an invite to go to a Bob Shrum talk he had heard they were hosting. The S.I.’s Konrad Caulkett was a bit evasive.

KC “No.”
GF “Why?” ,
KC “You’ve missed it” he said gleefully, “we had it this morning”.
GF “Oh, was it at No. 11?”
KC “No” (defensively)
GF “Is it a secret where it was?”
KC “Westminster”
GF “Where in Westminster?”
KC “RUSI”
GF “Nice.”

GF “How did you get your job Konrad?”
KC “Errr, can’t remember.”
GF “Was it advertised?”
KC “Can’t remember.”
GF “You can’t remember how you got your job? Did Sarah get you the job?”
KC “Sarah who?”
GF “Macaulay”
KC “I don’t have to talk about my friends”
GF “No you don’t…. Did Sarah Brown get you the job?”
Silence.

The Smith Institute is not a Brownite political front they repeatedly protest to the press and the Charity Commissioners. But Wilf Stevenson, editor of Brown’s yawn inducing collection of speeches, who had Gordon as his best man at his wedding, is the boss. The number two got his job through his relationship with Brown’s wife. Bob Shrum advises Gordon on polling (and is also on the S.I. pay-roll), Ed Balls got bunged £100,000 for 8 months to tide him over when he stopped working directly for Brown at the Treasury. The whole thing is run out of Brown-backing Geoffrey Robinson’s New Statesman offices. It smells.

Over a hundred events have been held by the Smith Institute at No. 11 at the taxpayers expense – Gordon Brown himself often attends the regular Wednesday morning seminars. Who knows how much the Smith Institute gets in kickbacks* from the Treasury as rebates for “charitable donations” from secret donors. There is nothing wrong with Gordon having a slush-fund for his political ambitions, but it is wrong that it is subsidised by the taxpayer with the details kept secret from the public. The Smith Institute is legally supposed to be a charity for the education of the public, not a secretive cabal for Gordon with meetings held behind closed doors at the public’s expense.

If it isn’t a secret cabal why won’t they openly say who gives them the money? (Over £2 million). Guido has been given a few tips, and if correct he suspects it is because they do a lot of business with the Treasury and in some cases have been ennobled. Why stay in the shadows if you have nothing to hide?

*Legal, but not exactly transparent or a good example of open government.


Seen Elsewhere

Guido’s Column | Sun
NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV


new-advert
Guido-hot-button (1) Guido-hot-button (1)


Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads