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 as a “career psychopath”.

Could the Daily Mail be attempting to make mischief at the expense of their leading columnist’s husband?

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 grip, direction and calibre” and that “beneath the theatre” of Cummings’ attack “is a kernel of truth”.

“It’s certainly the case that Number 10 hasn’t given the machinery of government anything like the political steer of either the Blair or Thatcher administrations, for example.”

Dr. Worth adds that the current model of coalition is to blame, arguing it has been “tested to absolute bankruptcy“. He concludes:

“Forming a coalition in 2010 that would share power on every front of decision-making will, I believe, come to be viewed as a serious mistake – one not to be repeated if we end up with another coalition next May.”

This is becoming a theme…

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:

An appointment made even more unlikely by Cummings piling into No.10 in the Times this morning, not least calling the PM’s chief of staff Ed Llewellyn “a classic third-rate suck-up-kick-down sycophant presiding over a shambolic court”. Who else has been the author of some similarly colourful criticism of Llewellyn over the years?

What a remarkable coincidence. Hashtag winning…

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 be. There’s no mystery to him. He had a picture of Macmillan on his wall — that’s all you need to know.”

On Dave’s chief of staff Ed Llewellyn:

“a classic third-rate suck-up-kick-down sycophant presiding over a shambolic court”

On the No.10 comms chief Craig Oliver:

“He’s just clueless.”

May SpAd Drove Dre Mad

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It’s increasingly rare that Craig Oliver has anything to smile about, but he’ll be happy with the exit of Fi Cunningham, who vocalised what most of the SpAds think about the Downing Street Director of Comms. One ‘pal’ told this morning’s Sun: “She thought he was an idiot.” Another described Mr Oliver as “a Grade A ****”.’ As someone with all the authority of a boy scout, who struggles to command respect at the best of times, Cunningham’s attitude drove poor Craig round the bend.

In Sunday’s Sun Guido recounted his favourite tale involving Cunningham repeatedly fobbing off his orders to report to Downing Street for a bollocking. Seeing the No. 10 switchboard number when her phone rang again, she answered: “Sorry, Craig, I’m really busy.” “Get… here… now!” said a voice. She replied: “Right away, Prime Minister.”

Rich’s Monday Morning View

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Theresa May’s SpAd Fiona Cunningham Quits Over Gove Spat

You can buy the original artwork here.

Cabinet Fall Out Over SpAds Campaigning in Newark

Guido hears there was a bit of a barney at the political cabinet last Tuesday. The PM made it perfectly clear that he expects all of his colleagues to pull their weight in the Newark by-election and one claims that Dave “lost his rag” about taxpayer funded special advisers refusing to campaign.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Gove Outrider Attacks Osborne’s Budget

Henry de Zoete, the former DfE SpAd who was Michael Gove’s media man, has founded and runs an energy switching campaign called The Big Deal. It’s pretty clever – essentially a mass lobby organisation for lower energy prices. Interestingly Osborne had barely sat down by the time The Big Deal had sent out a press release “respond[-ing] sceptically” to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement that he would freeze the Carbon Floor Price, saying it “won’t help consumers” because of the Big Six and their nefarious ways.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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’.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

George Osborne paraphrases Boris, telling the FT:

“If the ball came loose at the back of the scrum, I wouldn’t fumble it”

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