Gove v Clegg Proxy War
Free School Meals a “Rubbish Gimmick”, Part of Deal with Dave

Dominic Cummings, the ex-Gove adviser formerly known as @ToryEducation, has piled into Clegg’s unravelling free school meals policy on the World at One. He confirms it was part of a deal between Cameron and Clegg involving the Tory conference marriage tax break, that Gove told them it was “rubbish” and that DfE were only told about it an hour before it was announced:

“Clegg’s team tried to persuade us to do it in 2013. We refused. So Clegg said to Cameron in secret before party conferences, ‘you give me this and I’ll give you your marriage tax announcement for Tory conference, Gove refuses to do it so you’ll have to force him.’ The DfE wasn’t told until about an hour or so before the announcement. No policy work was done in advance. Officials in DfE were unanimous that it was a bad gimmick and introduced in a way that makes it hard to avoid implementation chaos. Officials were obviously right. 

It was a back of the fag packet number by Clegg’s spin doctors. We told them it was rubbish. It is based on a supposed DfE underspend that did not exist and they were told it did not exist. Because Clegg only thinks about politics – and starts every meeting saying ‘I haven’t been able to read the policy papers but let’s talk about the politics’ – he assumed that our opposition was because it was a Clegg idea but it wasn’t. Our opposition was because it is a dumb idea badly executed that shows why politicians should have less power over schools, and although I had many disagreements with Whitehall officials and the methods of the civil service, this is very firmly the fault of Clegg.”

Not like Dom to sit on the fence about something…

Workplace Bullying in Miliband’s Office

Readers will remember Torsten Henricson-Bell, the Miliband adviser who famously misdirected a revealing email about Ed Balls being anightmare to a Tory MP. Things haven’t gone much better for Torsten since fellow Miliband aides discovered a student dalliance he had with the Young Conservatives.

They have affectionately nicknamed him “Tory Bell-end”.

WATCH: Daily Politics on the Lesser Spotted SpAd

Everything you ever wanted to know about ever-growing number of increasingly highly paid advisers who have never had a career outside politics and will probably end up as the Cabinet ministers of tomorrow:

See who they all are here.

Don’t Mention the Day Job

Talking of Downing Street aides… LibDem council candidate Matthew Hanney’s record is there for all to see on this leaflet he has been handing around in Lambeth. Lives locally, check. A LibDem for years, check. Customary slap for Lambeth Labour, check. Just the one thing is missing. For some reason Hanney makes no mention of the fact that he has been a Special Adviser to Nick Clegg since he became Deputy PM, and a close aide for years before. Does Hanney not want voters to know about his vital role at the heart of government?

Goldsworthy OUT of Treasury

After Guido revealed last week that Danny Alexander’s SpAd Julia ‘rocking chair’ Goldsworthy was seeking to become an MP again while still being paid by the taxpayer, she has parted ways with her boss over the weekend:

“After 4 years as a Special Adviser to Danny Alexander at HM Treasury I am moving on with immediate effect so that I can stand as a Parliamentary Candidate at the next General Election in 2015.”

Seems Julia is bullish about her chances, despite the cloud of controversy under which she was booted out in 2010.

Goldsworthy Campaigning on the Taxpayer

Former LibDem MP Julia ‘rocking chair’ Goldsworthy has been shortlisted in her old west country seat, which is selecting a candidate at the moment. The Treasury Special Adviser’s Twitter feed has suddenly remembered all sorts of local issues recently and she’s promising ‘a record of action, a promise of more’. That record included a ‘£999 television, £1,500 of furniture in House of Fraser, a £1,111 sofa bed and a £1,200 rocking chair’. According to Public Whip Julia Goldsworthy ‘voted moderately for a transparent Parliament.’ 

When she lost in 2010 to George Eustice, Julia actually got a taxpayer funded payrise as a £74,000pa SpAd –  a job she has not resigned from despite now seeking selection. It seems she’s trying to string out her dependency on the public teat for as long as she possibly can.

Bright Blue Director’s SpAd Blocking Temper Tantrum

Over Christmas dripping wet Tory pressure group Bright Blue launched a blistering attack on the Conservative Party’s messaging. The group’s director Ryan Shorthouse slammed the Dave for “pandering to prejudice, uncertainty and anger”. Though now it appears it was Shorthouse who was the angry one – he was blocked by Downing Street in December from becoming a SpAd to David Willets at BIS. Revenge is a dish best served on a slow news day.

SpAd Average Pay Now £73,470 SpAds Paid More Than MPs

spad

Matt Chorley has been crunching the numbers in an effort to overcome the lack of political news. To no-one’s surprise he has discovered that in two decades the official number of SpAds has tripled to 98. Despite Cameron’s promise to reduce the number of SpAds their numbers have increased. Their pay is on average at £73,470 now higher than it is for MPs. This will only further fuel the venality of politicians.

Twigg Adviser to Spin for Free Schools

Labour’s education policy has been a mess since 2010, not least because of union puppets like Lisa Nandy constantly undermining Stephen Twigg. In the clearest signal yet of what the old Shadow Education Secretary really thought about academies and free […]

That Clegg SpAd Hypocrisy in Full

SpAd turned politician Nick Clegg’s pre-election promise to stop advisers being paid for by the taxpayer looks even emptier than ever today. Fun-loving Emma Gilpin-Jacobs becomes his 20th taxpayer-funded SpAd, appointed Clegg’s director of communications. The LibDems now have an […]

Updated SpAd List

Yet more Special Advisers announced today. You can read Guido’s updated list here.

The SpAd pay bill for 2012/13: a cool £7.2 million.

UPDATE:

[…]

SpAd Movements: Osborne Aide on Maternity Leave

Guido hears Treasury SpAd Eleanor Wolfson, better half of former Osborne adviser and Tory donor Lord Wolfson, is off on maternity leave. Jennifer Donnellan is being drafted in as cover. Walking the well-trodden path from the Conservative Research Department to […]



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Quote of the Day

Adam Spiegel, producer of Nazi themed “The Producers” musical says…

“Margate seemed a perfect place to start the promotion. I’m disappointed but not entirely surprised to see that UKIP are trying to hitch a publicity ride on the back of the show.”

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