Dave’s Copenhagen press conference is perfectly placed…
Yesterday Britain Stronger in Europe sent out a press release describing a new Institute of Economic Affairs report on the EU as a “work of fiction”. Quite a hostage to fortune…
The BSE briefing claimed: “Matthew Elliott CEO of Vote Leave is a former Director of the IEA”. Er, no he isn’t. Elliott has never been a director of the IEA.
BSE then claimed the Elliott (non)link meant: “The Institute for Economic Affairs, Business for Britain and Vote Leave are a revolving door”. About as much as Stuart Rose and Marks and Spencer. Or, indeed, not, since Elliott was never at the IEA.
BSE have now privately apologised to the IEA for the error, they tell Guido: “We do regret any confusion caused”. Though they haven’t sent out a correction. They are instead waiting for journalists to call up before they tell them their briefing was, to coin a phrase, “a work of fiction”.
Downing Street have cleared the grid for the next two weeks so Cameron can sell his renegotiation deal to the public. Eurosceptic ministers are furious that he will have two weeks’ “free reign” to make the pro-EU case, while they remain gagged. Ministers who want to campaign to Leave are barred from doing so until the conclusion of the post-EU council Cabinet meeting, which will take place after February 19. This is from Cameron’s letter to ministers:
So in the 18 or so days between today and that Cabinet meeting, Cameron is free to defend his deal without opposition from Eurosceptic ministers. They are seething…
This is the new Tory attack poster on Sadiq Khan released this morning, ramming home the line that Labour’s mayoral candidate is “Corbyn’s man in City Hall”. Sadiq nominated Corbyn for leader and has since been attempting an unconvincing differentiation strategy. So he won’t be thrilled to see Ken Livingstone has just helpfully parroted the very same Tory attack line in the Standard.
In an article headlined “London needs to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of a better city”, Ken tells voters that “Corbyn has the right economic policy” and “he is the last chance we’ve got to create a fairer world”. The former London mayor agrees with Zac – Sadiq is Corbyn’s man in City Hall. Good news for Khan is at least Ken isn’t backing his old mate George Galloway…
It appears our old friend Damian McBride couldn’t resist sticking the knife in to Ed Miliband’s shambolic media operation. McBride was happy to recount the following anecdote about a grim-faced Tom Baldwin, the ex-Times hack who became Ed’s press guru.
“Tom Baldwin was in a very dark mood at a party one night. I told him ‘Tom, what have you got coming up, what are you looking forward to?’ And he just stared at his shoes for 15 seconds. And then he walked out to have a cigarette as though I’d deliberately tried to say something to offend him. I just thought he’s clearly got no good answer to that question. If you’ve got no good answer to that, if you’ve got no plan to turn it around, you can’t survive in this. When Gordon got himself deep into that territory I always kept him out of the hole by saying, ‘the next speech will turn it around’ or ‘I’ve got this great stuff we can leak about the Tories. Ed Miliband got himself into a place where just to get himself some good press he’d just deal with the Guardian and Observer and all the exclusives were given to them. It was crazy, it was just so Tom could walk around and say ‘Oh we got a good splash in the Observer.’ Who cares?”
Jeremy Corbyn told the Today programme that he did not know which member of his team briefed the press that he intended to sack Hilary Benn: “I’m not sure where the briefing came from”. Seumas Milne is widely believed to be responsible for the first two anti-Benn briefings that appeared, in the Telegraph on Christmas Eve and in the Sindy three days later. Yet when rumours persisted on the Monday of the reshuffle that Benn was set for the chop, a furious Corbyn ironically tasked Milne with identifying the source. He reported back that it was John McDonnell’s office which was responsible. So Corbyn was spinning about the spin of his spinners this morning…
Just when you thought today couldn’t get any worse for John McDonnell, he decided to tweet out a video of his response to the Autumn Statement. Yet mysteriously, when he starts his section on China, the film oddly fades to black and then skips forward a couple of minutes. McDonnell’s team wiped his Little Red Book section from their official record. Forget Mao, that’s more Stalinist…
There has been consternation in Labour circles and at the Guardian over Seumas Milne being allowed to work for Jeremy Corbyn while “on leave” from King’s Place. The bizarre arrangement suggests he still has his column waiting for him if and when things go south with Jezza.[…]
As ‘anarchist’ rioters (who want a bigger state) rampaged through London last week, setting a police car ablaze and blinding a horse with a firework, it’s worth asking what Team Corbyn think. Here is Seumas Milne speaking after the London riots.[…]
Speculation is swirling in Labour circles that Corbyn is about to appoint New Economics Foundation chief and hardcore ex-Socialist Workers Party member James Meadway as his new economics adviser. This won’t be the last time you hear his name if it becomes official…
Just like Andrew Fisher, Meadway has openly backed non-Labour candidates in a number of elections, writing for the SWP splinter group Counterfire after George Galloway defeated Labour in Bradford West:
“All those who oppose austerity and war should be walking a little taller this morning… The gap between Britain’s corrupt and squalid political class, and those they claim to represent – already large – yawns wider as a result.”
He endorsed Tower Hamlets First (then independent) candidate Rubina Khan, who fought against Labour:
Meadway is an apologist for the disgraced wrong ‘un Lutfur Rahman.[…]
Corbyn’s new policy chief Andrew Fisher has made headlines over his punchy Twitter feed – at the weekend Guido revealed he dropped the F-bomb at Vinnie Jones and Ray Winstone. He was also telling moderate Labour MPs to “join the Tories” well before the Corbynista trolls made it a lefty internet meme:
Speaking on Putin propaganda channel Russia Today just two weeks ago, Labour’s new strategy chief warned:
“… There will be some shake-up in the existing Shadow Cabinet – this is a kind of stabilisation Shadow Cabinet… There are a whole lot of progressive people who came in in the May election, young MPs who are fully supportive of Corbyn.