What No SpAd List? Cock-Up or Conspiracy?

Is there some reason why an up-to-date list of SpAds post-Blair has still to be produced?

Guido needs to have a handy list of targets, is this tardiness government incompetence, cover-up or what? What is Konrad Caulkett’s exact role?

Hain Loses Another SpAd

Hain can’t seem to hold a SpAd down since Phil Taylor’s departure. Robert Philpot has gone back to Progress. Who are Hain’s SpAds nowadays? Why did Philpot leave so soon? Hain could get a Basher Davis type reputation for staff turnover at this rate…

Sith’s Konrad Rewarded with Downing Street Job

Guido can reveal that Konrad Caulkett, the former Smith Institute “charity worker” who was responsible for organising the nearly two hundred events at 11 Downing Street which proved so controversial that the Charity Commissioners launched a statutory investigation into the affair, has become a Downing Street Special Adviser.

The Smith Institute, a charity widely seen as a front for Gordon Brown, who seemed to be the only beneficiary of the charity, acted as an integral part of his long campaign to become PM. By law it was supposedly a non-partisan, non-political organisation, yet it hosted a how to beat Cameron event to which the Conservatives formally objected.

Wilf Stevenson, the director of the institute claimed, somewhat implausibly, that there was no direct link to Gordon Brown. Guido revealed that Sarah Brown got Konrad Caulkett the job at the Smith Institute. Despite Konrad being at the centre of allegations that the Smith Institute broke the law, Sarah Brown has once again stepped in to help him get a job, this time as her SpAd. So despite him being suspected of various breaches of the Charity laws, despite denials of links to Gordon, he has been brought onto the No. 10 payroll. Downing Street sleaze clearly didn’t end with Blair.

See also Sith attempt to cover-up use of No. 11, Mrs Brown recruits Konrad as the Sith apprentice, The back story to the Sith’s Konrad, The public charity which refuses to talk to the public, Non-political charity does policy at No. 11, Sith’s Konrad paid by charity to campaign for Balls’ election, The Charity Commission announcement, The Sith and the Statesman.

Shop-a-SpAd : Gus O’Donnell Warns “No Ifs, No Buts”

Guido has been in touch with the Cabinet Office, and a few cocky SpAds should watch their step – you know who you are – the boss of the civil service seems to agree:

Gus O’Donnell has reiterated the ground rules for civil servants, including special advisers, on their conduct during the subsequent election campaign.

This note also provides guidance to ministers in relation to the requirements of the Ministerial Code.

Ministers
During the leadership/deputy leadership election campaign, ministers remain in charge of their departments. Government business continues as normal.

All costs associated with the leadership/deputy leadership campaign – travel, accommodation, printing and so on – should be met by the individuals or the Party not the taxpayer.

Under the terms of the Ministerial Code, ministers must not use government resources for party political purposes. They must uphold the political impartiality of the civil service and not ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code.

So off the office computer, desist from using the taxpayers’ Blackberry and take your leave. Guido is being sent more and more examples day-after-day that show SpAds breaking the rules.

Ethics and Propriety for Beginners

Howls of outrage and denial from some on the public payroll about Guido’s denunciation of those who want to fight the internal political battles of the Labour party at the taxpayers’ expense. The anonymous blog that is produced out of Tom Watson’s office even tried a bit of mockery mixed in with a quote from the Special Advisors’ Code of Conduct. The clause that cheating SpAds (when caught) hope to use to get them off the hook states that “if, with the approval of their Minister, they wish to assist with other party political matters such as a leadership campaign, they may do so while on paid or unpaid leave or at times which do not interfere with their normal duties, for example, out of office hours.”

On leave or out of office hours with their minister’s approval. That excludes, by definition, being sat at your desk all day toiling endlessly to get the candidate elected, shooting off emails to all and sundry and running up the national debt on the phone for hours. The whole purpose of the restriction was to prevent the situation we have now. Dozens, and Guido means dozens, of SpAds doing little else but plot and conspire to further the private interests of party candidates in an internal party election. They are not acting to further the political interests of the government minister, the job the taxpayer pays them to do, they are acting to further the interests of the private individual climbing the greasy pole.

That is not appropriate activity for civil servants, which is what SpAds are, and that is the reason why the Code of Conduct exists. Clause 7 in the model contract for Special Advisers states bluntly:

Special Advisers should not use official resources for Party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.

So when Blair McDougall emails all and sundry from his FCO email account on behalf of the Benn4Labour campaign he is doing precisely what the Code was established to prevent. He is not paid to run party political campaigns using official resources, he is a paid public servant who is supposed to advise the government on relevant political matters.
Everyone in Westminster knows that all the SpAds of ministers campaigning for the Number 2 position are doing little else but organise their minister’s campaign. Just as everyone in Westminster knew that peerages were for sale. Guido could be accused of being naïve, but he is appalled by sleazy SpAds who think nothing of diverting public money to private ends. If a single-mum did a bit of cleaning-work on the side and claimed benefits at the same time, the government advertises warnings that it will bring criminal charges, “no if, no buts”. Likewise, if a Special Adviser does a bit of work on the side for a minister while claiming public money, they should be fired and the expenses repaid, no if, no buts.

Shop-a-SpAd : Gotcha! Team Benn SpAd Bang to Rights

Guido has got his hands on a private campaign briefing prepared a few days ago for supporters of Hilary Benn’s campaign for the deputy leadership. It details how popular Benn is polling with activists (pdf version here) and how they should use this information to pressurise their MPs to nominate Benn. The Benn campaign desperately needs 44 nominations to get him beyond the hat-in-ring stage.

The author of this document is Blair McDougall, he is Ian McCartney’s Special Adviser (SpAds). Ian is Hilary Benn’s campaign manager and a minister at the FCO. SpAds are not allowed to campaign under the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers at the taxpayers expense for their masters in internal party matters. In fact they are supposed to take unpaid leave – see the recent example of Peter Hain’s ex-SpAd Phil Taylor.

Since Guido has started on his mission to catch SpAds cheating the taxpayer and breaking the ministerial code, some have quite properly taken leave. Guido has just spoken with McDougall about the briefing. He didn’t claim, nor can he retrospectively pretend, that he was working on his own time. The document was prepared on his desk computer at the FCO, sent from his email address at the FCO, during office hours. Pressed by Guido that this was a breach of the Code he refused to answer, invited to deny that he had produced the document at the taxpayer’s expense, he declined to deny it. How does this differ from benefit fraud?

Looks like a job for the Cabinet Secretary…

Call the national Shop-a-SpAd hotline on 0709 284 0531.

Shop-a-SpAd : Maguire Grasses Blears’ SpAd

Hazel Blears’ taxpayer-funded aide is working a little too hard on the motorbiker’s campaign says the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire.

Fresh from flogging campaign T-shirts from a sweatshop, her SpAd Paul Richards is working on her leadership campaign on the taxpayer’s time.

Maguire suggested he improperly emailed him about a political issue on his government computer, Richards replied: “I will check with the Propriety and Ethics Team of the Cabinet Office. But I’m sure this is legitimate activity for a special adviser.”

No if, no buts, it isn’t.

H4L : SpAd Split Looks Permanent

Hain was recently overheard saying “Phil needs to grow up”…

Looks like the decline and fall of Phil Taylor is permanent.

Meantime Hain is scaremongering on the campaign trail that the Tories could be back in government in Wales. Now this Thursday is going to be bad for Labour, but not that bad…

Where’s Batesy?

Has anyone seen John Reid’s attack dog, Steve Bates, lately? He wasn’t seen in the Westminster Arms today. Maybe he is deep in discussion with Simon Wren?
Wonder why?

+ READ MORE +

Reid “Deplores Leaks”

Guido wonders how John Reid’s media advisers managed to keep a straight face issuing that statement yesterday. Perhaps the police looking into the source of the leak should start here?

+ READ MORE +

Hain SpAd’s Unpaid Leave Becomes Unemployment

Peter Hain’s former Special Adviser, Phil Taylor, who resigned or took unpaid leave from Hain’s office (the story changes) to ‘run’ the perma-tanned boy-racer’s deputy leadership campaign has quit the campaign.

Taylor and Hain parted company last week due ‘irreconcilable differences’.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

New SpAds Please

Robert Philpot, director of Progress and editor of their magazine has just been appointed as the new SpAd to Peter Hain, replacing the departed cheating Phil Taylor.

All his hard work turning an admirably Blairite organisation into a Hain journal has clearly paid off.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Oh What a Tangled SpAd

Cheating Phil Taylor, Peter Hain’s SpAd, campaigned for his boss at the taxpayer’s expense and against the rules. He told Guido last Thursday that he had already told the permanent secretary he was resigning*, he even had the audacity to explain that this noble sacrifice would cost him his SpAd termination payment.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Phil Taylor Has Overnight Change of Plan

Yesterday he told Guido that he was resigning, that he had told the permanent secretary he was intending to resign and that he had already emailed his NIO colleagues telling them of his intentions. His trembling voice told Guido that as a result he’d be sacrificing his termination pay-off.
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Shop-a-SpAd : Peter Hain’s SpAd Has Resigned

When Guido finally tracked down the elusive cheating Phil Taylor, he told Guido that it was already his intention to resign, that he had informed the permanent secretary that he was intending to resign and that it didn’t therefore matter. He was going to work on his boss’ campaign and had emailed the rest of the NIO that he was going already.
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Shop-a-SpAd : First Cheat Identified

Guido asked readers this morning to watch out for breaches of the Ministerial Code by SpAds working for Labour deputy leadership candidates. A few tips have come in and a co-conspirator has even sent Guido documentary evidence of blatant SpAd cheating.[…]

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Boris campaign team member Jake Berry not taking well:

“There is a very deep pit reserved in Hell for such as he. #Gove”

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