Monday, October 20, 2014

Craig Oliver Faces “Smear” Misconduct Hearing

Craig Oliver is facing a misconduct hearing as smears return to the heart of Downing Street. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Labour have reported him to the Cabinet Office for breaking the Special Advisers Code of Conduct after he accused Peter Oborne of being “tired and emotional” on Newsnight. The rules prohibit any adviser from the “preparation or dissemination of inappropriate material or personal attacks.” Labour MP Sheila Gilmore has written to Jeremy Heywood calling for an investigation:

“It is disgraceful that such a senior adviser to David Cameron has behaved in this way. This shows Craig Oliver to be as nasty as the rest of the Tory party. Jeremy Heywood should treat this incident with the utmost seriousness. The taxpayer should not be paying the wages of someone so unprofessional.”

When the spokesperson needs a spokesperson…

Friday, October 17, 2014

POLL: Who’s Right, Peter Oborne or Craig Oliver?

Peter Oborne went on Newsnight on Wednesday to express a rarely vocalised view in Westminster, namely that Craig Oliver is a “particularly grubby individual”:

No.10′s Super Spinner has responded in a letter published by Ephraim Hardcastle this morning, accusing Oborne of being drunk:

Dear Peter

I just wanted to check you are OK. Some BBC people have been on to me worried you were a bit tired and emotional last night.

Let me know if I can help.

Best wishes,

Craig Oliver.

To which Peter replies:

“I am absolutely astonished that an official working for the Prime Minister would use such terminology. It is offensive and inaccurate. I hope that when he has taken time to consider it he’ll withdraw these remarks which are unworthy of a Downing Street Director of Communications.”

Who was right?

Let the people decide…

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mencap Called for Disabled to Be Exempt From Minimum Wage

This Guardian article from February 2000 reports calls for an “urgent revision” of the rules to enable “low output” disabled workers to be exempt from minimum wage legislation. The proposal said some disabled workers should be classified as “special provision” and as a result be exempt from statutory provision, thus allowing employers to pay them less than the minimum wage. This was not an off-the-cuff remark from a Tory peer, but a detailed proposal from Mencap, Britain’s leading charity for disabled people. 

Mencap said at the time that while they otherwise support the minimum wage, an exemption should be allowed because “Most people with a learning disability want to work and we urge the government to give them that chance.” Which is almost exactly the point Lord Freud was making. On the News at Ten last night the only mention that the entire Freud row was contrived at best came in the last line, so regardless of the rights and wrongs it’s a Labour win…

UPDATE: Sentiment below speaks for itself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Miliband Slammed for “Shameful”, “Disgraceful” Attack on Freud …But Welfare Minister Offers Grovelling Apology

Interesting that Labour’s Anne Begg admitted on Sky News that she had not been told the context of Lord Freud’s comments by party spinners, heavily caveating her criticism accordingly. The Adam Smith Institute have come out in support of Freud, condemning Labour for misrepresenting what he said:

“Lord Freud has been shamefully mistreated by Ed Miliband. His point was that the market value of some people’s wages is below the minimum wage. This is often true of the severely disabled and can have appalling consequences for their self-esteem and quality of life. Fixing this problem was the justification for Remploy, a government-funded firm that gave jobs to disabled people who could not find work elsewhere.

To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings. Freud’s point was that we should help people in this situation by allowing them to find jobs paying below the minimum wage and topping up their pay directly to make up the difference.

Even if you don’t agree with this method, it is motivated by compassion for the disabled and an understanding of the unpleasant side-effects of our minimum wage laws. Freud’s only crime was to speak bluntly: it is disgraceful to use his words against him in the way Miliband has.”

Not like a spinner to take something out of context…

UPDATE: Freud mea culpa:

“I would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. I was foolish to accept the premise of the question. To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else.

I care passionately about disabled people…. I am profoundly sorry for any offence I have caused to any disabled people.”

Classic Labour Ambush: Welcome to Election Season

Notable that Labour have got their press operation in gear on this one. DWP minister Lord Freud’s comments about disabled people have been sat on for two weeks then released five minutes before PMQs. No coincidence that Esther McVey was on the Daily Politics and forced to give an off-the-cuff response. No leak, tape ready to go, solid ambush…

Cameron told the House “these are not the views of anyone in the government”, perhaps forgetting Lord Freud remains a minister. McVey said afterwards “Those words will haunt him”. Apology in 5,4,3,2…

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cable Doubles His Spin Team and Charges Us £120,000

It must be tough spinning for the curmudgeonly old Vince Cable. So hard in fact that he’s had to hire not one but two media handlers at a cost of over £120,000 to the taxpayer. BIS are seeking “two highly motivated, strategic and news savvy and politically astute” deputy heads of news to fill what was once a single job. Cable polishing skills essential for your £56,000…

Friday, October 10, 2014

If the Tories Lose in 2015, Blame Cooper Not Farage

andrew-cooper

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…

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Speaker Greatly Weakened By Loss of ‘Key Enforcer’

Intriguingly, the now sacked Speaker’s spokesman Justine McGuinness was the only other person who was present at every meeting regarding the abortive appointment of a new Clerk of the Commons.

She’s described by parliamentary sources as “a key internal enforcer” for the Speaker.

He’s thrown his right-hand woman to the wolves.

UPDATE: The Tories have asked the Speaker to donate McGuinness’ payoff to charity:

Tories Demand Investigation Into Speaker’s Spokesperson
Bercow Spinner Accused of “Serious Breach” of Impartiality

The Tories are very angry about the Speaker’s official spokesperson going native and accusing them of “aim[ing] to buy the election”, a story followed up by the Mail and the Times this morning. Guido understands Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi has written to John Bercow accusing Justine McGuinness of “a serious breach of the guidance on Speaker’s impartiality.” Zahawi demands that an investigation is carried out by “one of your deputies” because of Bercow’s “close working relationship with Ms McGuinness”, so that “full confidence and transparency and upholding the integrity of your esteemed office” can been guaranteed. As Zahawi writes:

“The guidance on Speakers impartiality is clear: “The Speaker must be above party political controversy and must be seen to be completely impartial in all public matters. All sides in the House rely on the Speaker’s disinterest, and understand that he or she must stand aside from controversy.””

He concludes: “I’m sure you will agree with me Ms McGuinness’ actions constitute a serious breach of impartiality and must be urgently investigated.” Perhaps Eleanor Laing could take a look. As someone once said, when the spokesperson needs a spokesperson…

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Speaker’s Spokesperson: “Tories Will Aim to Buy the Election”
Bercow’s Spinner Abandons Impartiality in Extraordinary Rant

Justine McGuinness is the official spokesperson to the Speaker of the House of Commons and a key member of Speaker’s Office, which is bound by strict impartiality rules dictating: “The Speaker must be above party political controversy and must be seen to be completely impartial in all public matters”. Today McGuinness addressed LibDem conference, waiving her impartiality with an extraordinary attack on the Tories, Labour and UKIP:

“The Tories will aim to buy the election with the millions of pounds donated to them by their hot money hedge fund friends. Labour will seek to steal the election, relying on an electoral system so biased in their favour that 35% of the vote could deliver them 55% of seats. UKIP will try and hijack the election by turning it into an argument about Europe and immigration as Nigel Farage swans around suburbia selling himself as some sort of suburban saloon bar Socrates.”

She was a LibDem candidate in 2005. This is going to kick up a big fuss…


Seen Elsewhere

BBC: It Was Guido Wot Won It | MediaGuido
Nick Robinson’s Britain First Selfie | Metro
Dyson: Leave German Dominated EU, Join EFTA |
How UKIP Won Rochester | Seb Payne
Labour’s Islington Problem | Harry Phibbs
Ed Lost More Than a By-Election | Labour Uncut
Labour the Biggest Losers in Rochester | Speccie
Thornberry a Gift to Farage | Nick Wood
Is Left Finally Turning Against EU? | Dan Hannan
Labour Votes Going Green | Guardian
UKIP Winning Class War | Tim Stanley


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Ralph Miliband on the English…

“The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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