Thursday, December 8, 2011

Silence of the Pink ‘Un

Another day and another good secret camera sting. This time it’s the Telegraph catching out exam board officials briefing teachers, for cash, what will be in the exams in order for their pupils to up their grades. Nearly every other paper has picked up the scoop, except one. The FT…

It’s not their education correspondent Chris Cook’s ongoing grudge against Gove that is the issue this time, instead the answer lies significantly above his pay grade. Pearson PLC who own the FT also owns Edexcel – one of the the exam boards named in the Telegraph story. Move along people, nothing to see here…

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Exclusive: Labour Candidate’s Husband is Way Off Message

Here’s an afternoon pop-quiz for you… Who said:

“The intent of the government to help the UK balance its budget deficit and maximise the country’s position both at a European and global level is very sound.”

Guido will give you a clue, he’s going to be sleeping on the sofa tonight. That would be Sushil Saluja, the husband of Labour’s Heathrow by-election candidate Seema Malhotra, speaking to Management Today. Not only does she live in a £3m house, not only has she dropped her double-barrel name, but it seems her husband is a member of the reality based community.

The Tories should put this on their leaflets…

Ken Clarke, Europe and a Case of Tucker’s Law

If there was ever a perfect example of Tucker’s Law, then the front page of this morning’s FT would be it. With Cameron finally waking up to the fact that his position as leader of a Eurosceptic party is being openly discussed, he’s come out guns blazing in the Times, claiming he will not sign any piece of paper that threatens the City or British interests as Europe begins the process of treaty change. It will annoy the Europeans and it’s not far enough for most his party, but then Ken Clarke went and made it a whole lot worse:

“Ken Clarke has put himself at odds with David Cameron by saying Britain should focus on “how to maintain the financial stability of the western world” at this week’s European Union summit … Asked in a Financial Times interview whether the summit was a good moment to extract concessions … Mr Clarke said: “No, no.””

Guido thought the turn of phrase was “no, no, no”? This is the latest in string of grenades Clarke has been willing to throw. They would be gaffes if it was not so obviously deliberate. IDS is apparently on the warpath too…

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Breaking: Burnham Reported to Standards Commissioner

Details are sketchy and Guido is on the way to the pub, but he understands that Burnham, the loans and the ongoing mystery around the contracting of Lee Communications by the Labour Party has been reported by a Member to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyons tonight. These are the questions that Labour spinners have refused to answer all day:

1. Where was the job of Andy Burnham’s Political Adviser advertised and what are the exact specifications of the role?

2. How many people were interviewed for it?

3. Why was the job given to Mr Lee?

4. Was the somewhat awkward situation of the loans to the Burnham campaign discussed before he was employed?

5. What assurances were sought regarding Mr Lee’s private interests in the NHS? Is there anything in writing about him not lobbying while on the job?

6. How much is Mr Lee paid and is the job paid out of Short Money?

7. Why is Mr Lee’s company, Lee Communications Ltd, contracted by the Labour Party rather than Mr Lee being employed directly by the Party as is the norm with the other PAds?

The longer they don’t answer, the longer it looks like they cannot. C’mon Bob don’t make us angry…

Bell Pottinger Power Point Presentation

Bell Pottinger sources are emphasising that a pre-condition of the deal negotiations with the fictional “Azimov Group” set up by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism was evidence of a reform agenda in Uzbekistan. To be fair to the left-wing BIJ they do mention it tucked away in their report. But here is the introductory Power Point they gave in the now infamous meeting:

So they were telling the “Uzbeks” to reform…

UPDATE: This is what Bell Pottinger were offering to spin:

The Dark Arts

A good hit for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which they have handed to the Indy on a plate. While pretending to be representatives of the Uzbek government, they have stung lobbyists Bell Pottinger something rotten. The video is fairly cringe-worthy, not least because when the words weren’t put in their mouths, the promises seemed either implausible, or hardly worth the fees. They were clearly in full BS-mode, especially former Tory MP Tim Collins, who boasts that he was once Ed Llewellyn and Steve Hilton’s boss. Guido isn’t sure he’ll be getting calls from his one time minions any time soon though…

The BIJ got them:

“* Claiming they have used their access to Downing Street to get David Cameron to speak to the Chinese premier on behalf of one of their business clients within 24 hours of asking him to do so;

* Boasting about Bell Pottinger’s access to the Foreign Secretary William Hague, to Mr Cameron’s chief of staff Ed Llewellyn and to Mr Cameron’s old friend and closest No 10 adviser Steve Hilton;

* Suggesting that the company could manipulate Google results to “drown” out negative coverage of human rights violations and child labour;

* Revealing that Bell Pottinger has a team which “sorts” negative Wikipedia coverage of clients;”

“Sorting” Wikipedia? Guido hadn’t realised they had hired Johann Hari…

Friday, November 25, 2011

Simon McGee Going to Spin at Transport

Another day and another poacher turning game-keeper. Guido hears that Simon McGee of the Sunday Times is off to spin for the Department of Transport as their Head of News. This is the latest in a series of hack-to-government transfers that has included Gabriel Milland, formerly of the Express, going to Education and the Times’ Sam Lister going to Health. It also emerges today that Michael Tait, who was the sympathetic Political Editor of the Scottish Daily Mail, has gone to spin for Ruth Davidson, the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives. And which other Political Editor, very friendly with Craig Oliver, is desperate for a senior Head of Comms job at pretty much any big department?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Guido Fact Check – Ed Misled

It seems Ed Miliband misled the House when he said that “under 13 years of a Labour Government, youth unemployment never reached 1 million…” The Department of Education statistics for young people not in employment, education, or training show that the number of young people who were unemployed under Labour hovered below a million all through 2008/09. However you can guess what happened in the third quarter of 2009 – the number of young unemployed hit 1,074,000, when the Work and Pensions Secretary was one Yvette Cooper. An apology to the House is the usual form…

Friday, November 18, 2011

League Against Cruel Sports Sack Thieving Spinner

What a strange coincidence that the unpopular parts of the blogosphere have made such an effort today to try to spin a “Toffs-in-Turmoil” story about the head of the Countryside Alliance leaving their job. This comes the very same day that one of their own is up the creek – The League Against Cruel Sports Head of Comms Steve Taylor has been busted with his hands in the till.

Back in May, greedy Steve Taylor tried to compare hunters to burglars in a spoof video, adding:

“The hunters are the only group of criminals in society who flirt with this idea that they are in some way victims of the law, rather than transgressers [sic] of it.”

Who’s laughing now Steve?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

May Day

No let up for Theresa May. Brodie Clark helpfully brought a big bucket and a hand-held fan to his appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee. He’s sticking doggedly to his line that he introduced “no additions to the Home Secretary’s trial. I did not enlarge, extend or redefine the scope in any way.” As it stands it is his word against the Home Secretary’s, which does not bode well for him. There’s no paper-trail smoking gun though, just he said/she said...

Labour know this, which is why they are broadening their attacks to include private jets and airports today. Theresa May didn’t make it to the House, because of “an important meeting of the National Security Council”, leaving Damian Green to take the flak. Such unfortunate timing eh?


Seen Elsewhere

Speaker Bercow Defeated | BBC
Nigel Farage is Bigger Than Jesus | Speccie
Year of Sleaze | City AM
Top 10 UKIP Donors | London Loves Business
Tory Candidate Leaflet Blooper | Get West London
Why Aren’t Middle Class Voting Tory? | Sun
UKIP Do Not Have Monopoly on Fruitcakes | Danny Finkelstein
Ed Must Stop Dithering | Mary Riddel
Ed Cannot Rebuild Trust From Westminster | Rafael Behr
An Open Letter to Russell Brand | "Jo"
Merry Bin-Mas From the Greens | Speccie


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Labour insiders turn on Ed over Powell’s latest gaffe:

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