Friday, May 23, 2014

WATCH: Neo-Guido v McPangloss on Labour’s Campaign

Despite the fighting talk on Twitter, Guido suspects that John ‘Pangloss” McTernan’s heart is not really his spin. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dougie v Dugher: It’s a Deathmatch

The splits in Labour boiled over again yesterday, as Ed Miliband pointedly refused to call Farage a racist, only for Yvette Cooper to emerge on TV an hour later to do just that. Despite public assurances to the contrary, inside tension is still high as Labour realise they have the most to lose if this week goes badly wrong for them.

As revealed over the weekend, the fight between Douglas Alexander, who is running the election campaign, and Michael Dugher, who wants to run it, has reached a point where some colleagues can’t see a situation where they both survive. ‘It’s a pub car park fight and only one of them is walking away,’ says one. “That’s b*****ks” says Dugher, adding “the only fighting that’s going on is the election – and that’s against the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP!”

However, party sources claim the latest barney is over tonight’s episode of Newsnight where either Wee Dougie or Dugher will appear to talk about Labour’s campaign. It’s just they can’t decide who. Guido suggests they go discuss it in the street like gentlemen. 

 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Another Government Telly Hire

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun on Sunday, new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has shunned the luvvies and hired a telly person to be his media Special Adviser. Salma Shah, a former producer on The Wright Stuff, 10 o’Clock Live and latterly at the BBC, is the latest in a line of TV producers brought in by top Tories to guard their image, instead of the usual political insiders.  Following the appointment of Craig Oliver by Cameron and Thea Rogers by George Osborne, it’s fair to say this direction has had varying degrees of success.

The gig with Javid – a disciple of Osborne and destined for great things – was highly sought after in Westminster, and although Shah has previous experience working for the Tories, the impact of telly in the turn around of the Chancellor’s fortunes has clearly not gone unnoticed by his Padawan. The svelte new Osborne has recovered from the initial amusement about his new barnet and is rarely seen in public without a carefully crafted, visually on-message, backdrop. Though, as Craig Oliver proves, these telly hires are not always was a good thing. Simply obsessing about the News at Ten, whilst waging war with newspapers, does not an election win.

Friday, May 16, 2014

WATCH: UKIP Comms Chief Interrupts Farage LBC Interview

Nigel Farage’s LBC interview with James O’Brien went so badly that UKIP comms chief Patrick O’Flynn felt compelled to interrupt the presenter live on air to tell him he had gone over time:

Farage did not look impressed, presumably because he knew it would look absolutely horrific. 

Axelrod Can’t Even Spell Miliband

Was it revenge for calling him Alexrod? At least he didn’t call him David.

 UPDATE: He’s also following the wrong Miliband Twitter account:

What Exactly is Axelrod Here to Win for Labour?

20140516-085926.jpg

Labour have focussed on what really matters in this morning’s papers; briefing out every single detail of David Axelrod’s movements and first meeting with the Shadow Cabinet to the Times, FT and Guardian. However it is unclear from the spoon-fed lines whether his warning that “people are working harder and getting nowhere” is about the British people or Labour themselves.

All this begs the question, what is Axelrod actually here to achieve? Do Labour want him to win the election or merely the odd news cycle? Is this a gimmick that gets them a bit of coverage, or is he actually here to restructure their sprawling organisational mess and install some much needed discipline? This morning it looks like it is much more about PR than anything else…

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wee Dougie Not Letting Axelrod Out of His Sight

The Labour fan-boys will be pleased to know where they can spot their guru:

Given his hourly rate, would it not be more cost effective to send someone else to get his packed lunch?

Guido hears that it was actually Caxton Street branch near the St. Ermine’s Hotel and Axelrod was being escorted by Douglas Alexander and four others. Presumably they were worried he might try do a runner under the pretence of popping out for sandwich. “TAXI! …Heathrow please.” 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Labour Claims Austin Mitchell Has Apologised, He Says Not
Veteran MP Stands Firm Over Calling Pfizer “Rapists”

Austin Mitchell is unapologetic, saying he accidentally wrote “rapists” instead of “rapaciousness”.

But “roll up rapaciousness” makes no sense. What is it with MPs called Mitchell coming up with less than credible excuses?

He has told the Huffington Post that he has no regrets about using the word:

“He explained that he used the term “rapists” as he was referring to the rape “of a company”, warning that their prospective takeover of AstraZeneca would see a “dismantling of a company and the loss of jobs”.

“I don’t know why they want to defend the company. They object to the word so I’ll substitute rapaciousness – as they are a rapacious company.”

Asked if he had any regrets for using the word “rapists”, he replied: “No.””

Yet, a Labour spokesman tells Guido:

“The Chief Whip has made it clear to Austin Mitchell this tweet was unacceptable. He has now apologised for an obvious error of judgement.”

Where is this apology then?

UPDATE: Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women weighs in:

‘It is wholly inappropriate to use rape to make a political point in this way. Ed Miliband needs to show some leadership. He should make it clear to Austin Mitchell that this vile comment is unacceptable and demand an apology immediately.’

UPDATE II: Mitchell speaks to Grimsby Telegraph“Those wanting me to quit are daft and are too sensitive on the issue.”

UPDATE III: 

UPDATE IV: Nicky Morgan has written to Ed Miliband:

“People across the whole country will be appalled that anybody would try to link a proposed corporate takeover with the horrific crime of rape. I am sure you will agree with me that such a comparison is deeply offensive as it trivialises sex attacks and the horrific and traumatising effects such attacks can have on victims. I am clear that these comments are totally unacceptable and that Austin Mitchell must withdraw what he has written immediately and issue a full, unreserved apology. As the Leader of the Labour Party I look forward to hearing what action you intend to take in response to this totally unacceptable behaviour.”

UPDATE V:  He won’t stop. Mitchell tells the Guardian“I’m not going to apologise, don’t be silly. What about people who talk about the rape of the countryside – do they have to apologise?”

Monday, May 12, 2014

Knives Out for Wee Dougie as Insiders Pray For Axe Swing

Labour insiders have confessed that they are “confused and worried” about where the party’s message is going after last week’s PEB and poster. “We’re all over the place” says one, adding “our messaging is not working”. Staffers are questioning why the party are spending over £300,000 on Axelrod when such terrible ideas can be signed off. “None of this adds up.” And where was the yank campaigning genius when it was all going wrong? Finishing writing a book. Axelrod’s arrival in the UK is imminent for a two day briefing on British politics. Something tellingly required if you are from Chicago, compared to, say,  Australia. Only the Labour Party could end up paying for the pleasure of teaching their own guru rather than the other way round.

The finger of blame for last week’s clusterf**k is being pointed at Labour’s election coordinator Douglas Alexander for his stubborn refusal to “take the fight to UKIP”, instead focussing on the LibDems. Guido hears a row has broken out with attack dog Michael Dugher, who wants to train Labour’s fire on the party with 29% in the EU polls rather than the one on 9%. Dugher, speaking with unmelted butter in his mouth, tells Guido “we are beautifully aligned”.

Meanwhile, as revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Alexander’s enemies are wondering out loud why he got the top election job after losing two campaigns in Scotland, coordinating Labour’s loss in 2010 and then running David Miliband’s doomed leadership campaign. “Presumably he must have won his seat selection vote once” whispers a catty colleague.

As if by magic, Alexander was booked into yesterday’s Sunday Politics, where he was pummelled with a blunt instrument. Not only did he try to suggest that claims the Tories deliberately targeted disabled people were “factual” but also having a naked Nick Clegg eaten by a giant cat is not negative campaigning. His defence of the VAT poster fell apart pretty quickly too:

Alexander crumbled at the suggestion the VAT hike really has added £450 a year to average shopping basket. For that to be true the average family would have to be spending £21,600 a year on items that are 20% VATable. However average take home pay is less than £20,000 and an average family spends a large percentage of their income on zero rated food, travel, housing or low rated energy. It is inconceivable, even with welfare top ups, that an “average” family could spend £21,600 on 20% VATable goods. When Alexander was presented with this yesterday he moved the goalposts, suggesting that the cost would be over the course of the last Parliament. Which is not what his colleagues were saying:

You could forgive Axelrod for getting straight back on the plane and never coming back.

UPDATE: An sharp eared reader points out that at 3.19 in the above video Dougie himself says the £450 refers to a year before later attempting to say that it was “not an annualised figure”. Eek.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

AstraZeneca Lobbyists Confirm Labour Relationship

“We are standing up for good jobs in Britain, not Ed Miliband’s supper club cronies” says Tory MP Henry Smith after Guido revealed Ed Miliband received thousands of pounds in donations from an AstraZeneza board member. Ed Miliband should declare his interests before he starts political meddling” Smith continues. Which reminds Guido of a certain dinner we have still never had answers about…

Back in 2011 Ed promised to publish a list of attendees at a suspiciously “private and off the record” dinner held for him at the home of lobbyist-spinmeister Roland “Rat” Rudd:

Rudd’s Finsbury represent AstraZeneca and it’s no secret that he spins for Ed on less official terms. A spokesman for the firm would only confirm Guido that “Astrazenca have an ongoing dialogue with the Labour Party”So was there anyone from the pharma giants at that infamous dinner, and when did they last sit down with Ed?

UPDATE: A Labour spokesman stonewalls:

“The on-going bid for AstraZeneca by Pfizer raises serious questions about a key sector of our economy. It is absurd to suggest that Labour is raising this vitally important issue for any other reason than to represent and reflect the concerns of the tens of thousands of people who could be affected by any takeover.”

They don’t want to answer the questions…


Seen Elsewhere

Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester
Scotland Surges for Freedom | Times


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George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:

“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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