Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Worth Its Weight In Gold

Given the Chief Secretary of the Treasury is himself somewhat lacking in financial expertise, you would think he would select his Special Advisor carefully for their financial prowess. Instead he has thrown yet another lifeline to a friend. Like he did with Willie Rennie in the Scotland Office, Danny Alexander has made another failed LibDem MP, Julia Goldsworthy, his SpAd. If the public wanted these people to stay in Westminster they would have voted for them.

Given her boss is in charge of reining in public spending it’s hardly reassuring to know a woman who spent over a grand of taxpayers’ money on a rocking chair is whispering advice in his ear.

Initially the position is unpaid since Goldsworthy had, with a lack of foresight, just taken a £30,000 MP’s resettlement grant which kind of disqualifies her from taking an immediate government salary. Though with her spending habits that can’t last long…

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Willie Free

There were raised eye-brows when former LibDem MP Willie Rennie was appointed as the Special Advisor to the Scotland Office just days after being rejected at the ballot box by the voters of Dunfermline. To his credit he did not ask for a salary as a SpAd, the parliamentary resettlement payment was quite enough. A close ally of Danny Alexander, it seems now his old boss has moved up the ministerial ladder the first SpAd is set to quit. He will be replaced by Ming’s old ginger speech-writer Euan Roddin.

Willie claims he wants to return to Scotland as he is separated from his family while in London. Coincidentally candidates are being picked for next year’s Scottish Parliament elections right about now…

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We’re All In It Together

Guido has been chewing over the numbers. Given that a lowly CCHQ researcher or press officer would have been lucky to be on around £35,000, the jump to government for the lower rungs of the SpAd list has come with an extremely handsome pay-rise. Nearly 100% rise for those now touching £60-70k.

Though Coulson & Co. at the top have in some cases taken a pay cut, the coalition has brought some serious pay rises for others. Take the MPs in the Cabinet for example, they have had a 107% rise from their standard MPs salary. Backbenchers who are now Junior Ministers have had a 50% rise, even after Dave decreed that they would all have a 5% pay cut. All sharing the pain.

Cameron pre-power promised a cut down on SpAds. The New Dawn of Politics has managed to reduce the number from 78 to 68. There are still vacancies yet to be filled though. In this age of austerity some SpAds will be glancing over the list shocked that their rivals in other departments managed to negotiate more. Meanwhile the voting taxpayers will be looking at the whole get up with utter scorn.

Coulson and the SpAd Pay

There will be some disappointment on the left as the news emerges that despite all the hype, their hate figure Andy Coulson is in fact earning less than the Prime Minister. But on £140k only just – £2000 a year less.  More than Nick Clegg though.

As Director of Government Communications Coulson is the best paid of Dave’s team but overall the Special Advisers are costing the taxpayer £1.9 million per year less than the last government. Despite this Tom Watson was trying to start the attacks just now in the House, moaning that Parliament hadn’t been told first. This is despite the list being published as a written ministerial statement:

Note Steve Hilton’s rather large pay gap with his rival.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Musical SpAds

A few re-jigs of the SpAd list after the weekend’s little upsets. With Danny Alexander moving, perhaps temporarily, to the Treasury, MP-turned-Special Advisor Willie Rennie keeps his job now becoming Michael Moore’s bag carrier in the Scotland Office. Alexander’s other SpAd, Alison Suttie, Clegg’s former Deputy Chief of Staff, appears to be out on her ear though as her old boss will no longer have time to mess about with Clegg in the Cabinet Office.

It could all change back though, the bookies reckon there is a 40% chance Laws will be back by Christmas

Friday, May 28, 2010

Susie Squire Slips in to Spinning at the DWP for IDS

Guido is particularly pleased to add Susie Squire (pictured here briefing a senior political journalist) to the list of SpAds, bag carriers and wonks going over to government. She joins Philippa Stroud working at the DWP for Iain Duncan-Smith.  Formerly at the Taxpayers’ Alliance she will now be part of the team exorcising / reforming the welfare system.

Additions to the list include Richard Parr who follows Andrew Mitchell to DfID, Poppy Mitchell-Rose who goes with Osborne to the Treasury.  Honor Fishburn, daughter of Dudley Fishburn the former Tory MP for Kensington and Chelsea, goes to Downing Street to do Andy Coulson’s bidding and Cameron’s speech writing team of Ameet Gill and Claire Foges follow him from CCHQ to become the PM’s speech writing team.

There are still a few more names left to be confirmed…

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Final Special Advisers List*

Guido’s list of the assorted SpAds, bag carriers and spinners is pretty much complete. He has yet to sub-categorise it into naughty and nice though. Thank you to all those who helped out with the tip-offs. One newspaper editor told Guido they had printed it off for reference in his newsroom. Guido has kept their mobile numbers to himself…

*Almost complete, subject to revision, not legally binding, do not swallow whole.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More LibDems Added to the SpAd List


The list includes a few more LibDem names, forinstance Giles Wilkes is tipped to move from the Centre Forum think tank to Vince Cable’s office.

Guido has had a few complaints that people on the list are not strictly speaking Special Advisers. Guido is using the term loosely, basically the people on this list are political appointments of various kinds doing the bag carrying for Ministers, some are not your usual wonky, spinning, greasy pole-climbing SpAds – clearly Sir Peter Ricketts heading up the National Security Council for Hague is not a teenage bag carrier.  Nic Boles for example is an MP but glides in out of the Cabinet Office helping the Implentation Unit in some unspecified and presumably unpaid way.  One way or another they’re on Guido’s list…

Monday, May 24, 2010

More SpAd’s

Further to the first list of special advisers earlier here are a few more:

Andrew Mitchell – Philippa Buckley. Guido never reveals sources, but someone got in touch who is very proud of his little girl!

Eric Pickles – Sheridan Westlake (who many thought would never leave CCHQ alive) and Giles Kenningham.

Philip Hammond – Sian Jones

Theresa May – Nick Timothy and Fiona Cunningham

Oliver Letwin – Martha Varney

Liam Fox – Luke Coffey and Oliver Waghorn

William Hague – Denzil Davidson, Arminca Helic and Chloe Dalton. Seems Hague didn’t get the memo about only having two SpAds.

Caroline Spelman – Simon Cawte. Let’s hope this time his pay is all in order.

Sir George Young – Robert Riddell

Jeremy Hunt – Sue Beeby and Adam Smith

Perhaps if the government open sourced their information as promised they wouldn’t need so many advisers, weren’t we all invited to join the government?  Keep it coming.

Mad SpAd Jostling Climax

Despite promising to clamp down on the numbers, the list of new Special Advisers is steadily growing:

David Cameron
Chief of Staff: Ed Llewellyn, Deputy Chief of Staff: Kate Fall, Strategy Adviser: Steve Hilton. Policy Advisers: James O’Shaughnessy, Oliver Dowden, Tim Chatwin. Head of Strategic Comms: Mark Flanagan

No surprises here really except the retention of Mark Flanagan, a hangover from the old regime, who famously shot “that video” of Gordon smiling.

Nick Clegg
Special Advisers and media: Sean Kemp, Jonny Oates, Lena Pietsch and Chris Saunders

Oates was poached back by Clegg from Bell Pottinger. Very new politics. When blonde bombshell Lena Pietsch and Clegg don’t want the media to know what they are talking about they converse in German.

William Hague
Chief of Staff: Arminka Helic. National Security Adviser: Sir Peter Ricketts

Michael Gove
Special Adviser: Henry De Zoete

Gove’s SpAd was expected to be Dominic Cummings but the story goes that Coulson vetoed this. The reason it took Gove so long to be announced as Education Secretary was due to the fact he was in a locked battle. He told Couslon if he couldn’t have Cummings he wouldn’t take the job. Cummings told Gove not to be so daft, and left.

George Osborne
Special Advisers: Rupert Harrison, Eleanor Shawcross. Media: Ramesh Chhabra

As expected really. Eleanor Shawcross, a fellow St Paul’s alumnus and head-turner made the jump, but anyone know what happened to Rohan Silva?

Vince Cable
Special Adviser: Will de Peyer

The long-term Lib Dem treasury man was rewarded. Gone very quiet since election day.

Iain Duncan Smith
Special Adviser: Philippa Stroud

The voters of Sutton made it pretty clear that they didn’t want to send Stroud to Westminster. Without The Observer retracting their “gay-curing” story her appointment would not have been possible. A source in the DWP said “it’s common for newspapers to get a story wrong when their source is either wrong or lying, but it’s pretty worrying when a front-page story is based on a source that doesn’t exist.” Legal action is apparently ongoing.

Chris Huhne
Special Advisers: Duncan Brack & Joel Kenrick

A real left-wing grouping here. Despite his hippy tendencies Kenrick used to advise the CBI on climate change. Long term wonk Duncan Brack is most definately of the beards and sandal variety of Lib Dem.

Danny Alexander
Special Advisers: Willie Rennie and Alison Suttie

So nice of the Scotland Office to rescue the failed career of former Scottish MP Willie Rennie. He lost his seat at the beginning of the month but is back at the levers regardless.

David Laws
Special Adviser: Katie Waring

This is in no way a complete list but these things are very slow to be confirmed. Know more? What do you know about this lot? Drop Guido a line.


Seen Elsewhere

‘Queers for Palestine’ | Milo Yiannopoulos
Tories Attack Labour on Tax | Mark Wallace
UKIP No Flash In Pan | Matthew Goodwin
12 Signs It’s Time to Get Out of Gaza | Slate
Mars Lawyers Slam Plain Packaging | CityAM
HealthCare.gov Construction Cost $840 Million | Wall Street Journal
Why Do Feminists Oppose Stay-at-Home Mothers? | Laura Perrins
Chris Cook’s “Excellent Journalism” | Iain Dale
The Deficit Hasn’t Gone Away | Tim Montgomerie
Doctors Against Burnham | Mail
Privatisation is Good for the NHS | John McTernan


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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:

“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”



TJ says:

And i’ve noticed that 100% of Guido Fawkes staff are men. Looks like Guido has a woman problem. Or is it an hypocrisy problem?


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