If the Tories Lose in 2015, Blame Cooper Not Farage

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Matthew D’Ancona once quoted a “Cameron ally” dismissing the long-term threat posed by UKIP. D’Ancona’s soothsaying source predicted Farage’s party “should reach its peak in the European elections on May 22”, leading the Telegraph columnist to urge Dave to “forget UKIP”, warn “too much time is still devoted to soothing those who might jump ship” and profess “UKIP will not be Cameron’s biggest problem”. 

The ill-fated “peak UKIP” analysis adopted by Downing Street up until recently was based on the fatally flawed insight of Cameron’s über-modernising gay-marriage architect and pollster Andrew Cooper, who told the Prime Minister two years ago that UKIP would just be a “flash in the pan”. He once argued via Powerpoint slides in a presentation to Tory MPs that UKIP’s rise was down to “mid-term grumbles” rather than anything more serious. Since then UKIP have stubbornly maintained their position in the polls, two Tory MPs have defected, thousands of true blue activists have joined the purple army and they have just taken a formerly safe Tory seat in a by-election. If the Tories lose in 2015, Cooper is the man most to blame – he may well go down in British political history as the worst adviser/pollster of the modern era…

SpAd Movements: Truss Takes PX’s Porter to Defra

Liz Truss has landed a big name from wonk world as her new media SpAd. Guido understands Policy Exchange brainbox Ruth Porter will be shopping for a new pair of wellies as she heads off to Defra. It’s a strong move all round, Ruth’s media handling experience will help boost the public profile of ambitious Liz, while another PX graduate moving into the heart of government bolsters their reputation as a feeder club for top Tory talent. Politically-ambitious Porter herself must be in line for a decent seat next time round. She will be replaced at PX by former Bank of England economist Steve Hughes. White Dee cruelly overlooked for the job…

Donors, Aides, Cronies: New Peers in Full

Conservative Party

  • Karren Brady CBE – Vice-Chairman of West Ham FC; Senior Non-Executive Director of the Syco and Arcadia Brands; Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party; and member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Women in Sport Advisory Board
  • Martin Callanan – former Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England; former Leader of the Conservative MEPs and of the European Conservatives and Reformists group
  • Carlyn Chisholm – senior volunteer in the Conservative Party; Co-Chairman of the Conservative Candidates Committee; former nurse
  • Andrew Cooper – former Director of Political Operations to the Conservative Party; founder and Board Director of Populus
  • Natalie Evans – Director of New Schools Network, an independent educational charity established to provide free advice and support for groups wanting to set up free schools
  • Michael Farmer – Founding Partner of RK Mine Finance Group; Trustee of the Kingham Hill Trust; Treasurer of the Conservative Party
  • Dido Harding – Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC
  • Arminka Helic – government special adviser to William Hague; leading adviser to government on preventing sexual violence in conflict
  • Nosheena Mobarik CBE – businesswoman; former Chairman of CBI Scotland; founder and convener of the Scotland Pakistan Network; Chairman of the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum
  • Sir Stuart Rose – former Chief Executive and Chairman of Marks and Spencer PLC
  • Joanna Shields OBE – leading technology industry executive and entrepreneur; the Prime Minister’s Digital Adviser; Chair of Tech City UK; and Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange
  • Ranbir Suri – businessman; former General Secretary of the Board of British Sikhs

Labour Party

  • Michael Cashman CBE – Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands constituency; equality rights campaigner; former actor
  • Chris Lennie – political strategist; former Deputy Secretary General of the Labour Party
  • Dame Gail Rebuck – businesswoman, publisher, chairman of Penguin Random House UK

Liberal Democrat Party

  • Chris Fox – Director of Group Communications for GKN; former Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats
  • Cllr David Goddard – elected Member of Stockport Metropolitan Council; former Leader of Stockport Council; former Member of the Greater Manchester Police Authority; former Non-Executive Director of Manchester International Airport
  • Cllr Barbara Janke – elected Member and former Leader of Bristol City Council; former teacher
  • Cllr Kath Pinnock – elected Member and former Leader of Kirklees Council
  • Paul Scriven – managing partner for Scriven Consulting; former elected Member and Leader of Sheffield City Council; former senior NHS manager
  • Cllr Dr Julie Smith – elected Member of Newnham City Council; Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at Cambridge University; Fellow of Robinson College

There are now over 850 peers in the House of Lords…

From Cummings to Cupcakes at the DfE

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Right now over at the Department for Education members of the civil service blob are eating cupcakes with the new Secretary of State Nicky Morgan’s SpAds in her office. Quite a change from when Dominic Cummings took a flame thrower to the educational establishment’s blob under Gove…

Former Crosby Deputy Lands SpAd Role

Former lobbyist Chris Wilkins has been hired as Nicky Morgan’s SpAd, after she hid in her office as Gove’s old spinners were booted out. According to Wilkins’ old employers, Populus:

“Chris started life as policy adviser and speech writer at Conservative Central Office for successive Conservative Leaders (2000-05) and other senior Conservatives including David Davis, Andrew Lansley and Theresa May. During the 2005 election campaign he served as Head of Brand and Advertising”

He was also claims – though no one seems to remember him – to have been the Assistant Campaign Director to one Lynton Crosby in the 2005 election. Whatever happened to that guy?

Ex-May SpAd Cunningham Joins Centre For Social Justice

Ousted Theresa May SpAd Fiona Cunningham has joined the Centre for Social Justice – the think tank set up by IDS:

“The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) is delighted to announce the appointment of Fiona Cunningham. Fiona is joining the CSJ’s senior team as Associate Director for Modern Slavery.  Fiona worked at the Home Office as a Special Adviser to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, for over four years. During her time at the Home Office, she was heavily involved in police reform, immigration reform and bringing forward a Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Europe.”

When Cunningham was forced out post-terror row, Labour’s Frank Field told the Commons that Cunningham was an ‘immediate hero’ for her work on getting the the Modern Slavery Bill on the Home Office agenda. A cynic would say it’s a useful resting post for a SpAd whose work with their boss is not yet done…

 

Year of Code’s Lottie Dexter is Matt Hancock’s New SpAd

Lots of people were very mean about the Year of Code when its director Lottie Dexter admitted that she was unable to code on Newsnight, but was learning. Well it turns out that the campaign’s mantra – that learning to code is a ticket to higher places – really is true. Just 4 months ago Lottie told Paxman:

“Over this year I’m going to see exactly what I can achieve, so who knows I might be the next Zuckerberg in 12 months time.”

Not quite, but Guido hears she is off to fill the newly appointed position of Matthew Hancock’s special adviser…

Former Miliband Insider Defects to the Government

In yesterday’s Sun on Sunday column Guido exclusively revealed that Ed Miliband’s former speechwriter Phil Taylor has sensationally defected to the government, becoming a political adviser to LibDem justice minister Simon Hughes. Taylor, who worked at the heart of Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010, tells Guido he believes it would be “a disaster” if his old boss Ed wins a majority in 2015, because Labour’s economic policy is “nonsense”. Lifting the lid on the divisions at the top of the party, Taylor says Labour is still blighted by “Gordon Brown type leadership”, warning that “Miliband­-Balls is just as bad as the Blair-­Brown era, everything has to be agreed by both of them and signed off by both of them. Miliband is too weak to stand up for himself.” Taylor is an experienced Westminster operator having advised ministers in the last Labour government and serving in opposition as a spin­doctor for shadow cabinet minister Maria Eagle until earlier this year. He blames the Shadow Chancellor for Labour’s woes: “I fell out with Ed Balls because Labour’s economic policy is nonsense. I tried to push through policies on cuts but Balls blocked them.

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Elsewhere, it’s a Code Red Save Ed situation in the rest of the weekend papers. The Sunday Times is particularly brutal, quoting one of Miliband’s inner circle, when asked what they would do if he became PM, as replying: “I’d get the hell out of there as fast as I could“. A Labour frontbencher twists the knife: “We communicate in a language most people neither speak nor understand“. Meanwhile in the Express a Labour MP reports “It is back to the Michael Foot era, if not worse, in terms of capability and the ability to lead” while in the Guardian a frontbencher warns “We are at the mercy of Brown people who lost it for us last time“. Labour spinners like John McTernan are insisting in a panglossian way that Miliband is the victim of “bullying” from his enemies in the press, despite the most damaging quotes coming from Labour insiders…

Daily Mail Offer Cummings £5,000 For Gove Tell-All

Guido understands that Andrew Pierce has let it be known that the Mail is offering Dominic Cummings £5,000 for a tell-all op-ed for the Saturday paper.

They want 2,000 words from Gove’s former SpAd, who the PM last night attacked[…]

+ READ MORE +

Ex-Cameron SpAd: Cummings is Right

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Following Dominic Cummings’ latest grenade/intervention yesterday, a former Special Adviser to the Prime Minister has added his voice to criticism of the No. 10 operation. Sean Worth, who spent two years advising Dave, writes this morning that “Downing Street lacks […]

+ READ MORE +

Is Dom Cummings #Winning?

The last tweet from the once prolific parody @SteveHiltonGuru account, four days ago, was a generous response to former Gove SpAd and social media connoisseur Dom Cummings:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Quote of the Day

Former Gove SpAd Dom Cummings, on David Cameron:

“As Bismarck said about Napoleon III, Cameron is a sphinx without a riddle. Everyone is trying to find the secret of David Cameron but he is exactly what he appears to

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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