Burnham Muddled and Cook's Motives Revealed

With Burnham going on the attack over the Department of Education email leaks all day, he’s managed to get himself in a right muddle. Firstly he suggested that when in government he used his departmental email address for everything including, we must presume, political activity, which would be against the rules. And this evening one of his spinners has told the BBC‘It’s pretty hard to separate purely party political issues when in government’. Well that somewhat dampens the attack.

With the Tories expecting other leaks to surface in Chris Cook’s FT copy, Guido is wondering quite what this former Tory education advisor is up to. The Information Commissioner has confirmed that they are not running an investigation, contrary to Cook’s report this morning and the whole story has unravelled rather quickly. Toby Young thinks he might have worked it out

Huhne's Brass Neck

Chris Huhne is about to lecture you about the economy, suggesting that it’s evil “Tea Party” Tories who are threatening the economic recovery by calling for less tax and a look at our position in Europe. Of course his own raiding of the already stretched bank accounts of hard working families in order to fund his green vanity projects is perfectly legit.

It always worries Guido at how Huhne goes off on these tangents with a straight face. Whether it’s lying to the police or cameras, Huhne coolly sticks to his line with an almost psychotic calm. Not content with comparing the Tories to Nazis, Huhne is clutching at straws for a figure the LibDems hate even more – Palin. It’s all in the national interest of course… 

Before you take a lecture from him on the economy though, have a look at what Huhne said to the Guardian in 2002:

“The ‘no’ campaigners said the euro was doomed to failure, but all their predictions have been proved wrong”, and “The euro is living up to the highest expectations of the economists who advocated it, and Britain is missing out.”

Oh dear, a one off perhaps? Nope = have a look at the Indy in 2003:

“The freedom to set interest rates merely according to domestic needs is a cruel mirage. Monetary union protects economies from the vagaries of speculative capital flows, enabling more stable growth and investment.”

The rest they say is history…

UPDATE: Paul Waugh has a couple of intriguing snippets – not only was he singing their praises on the fringe, but Huhne will be attending next week’s Labour Party conference in Manchester.

Back to Spin School for Belardinelli

The spinning antics of Ed Balls’ minion Alex Belardinelli are a continual source of amusement in the Guy News room. Sometimes his cavalier attitude to the truth is outdone by a spectacularly poor effort. This morning he was tweeting about “the head of world’s biggest investment fund” saying the government “can and should change course” in a reference to PIMCO – the Pacific Investment Management Company. And who is their European chief? One Andrew Balls. Very much a relation.

Guido would normally say “leave the family out of it”, but it’s Belardinelli that has thrown that rule out of the window. As “Fiscal Gerrymandering” points out in the comments, it’s worth having a look at how Andrew Balls is rated: “Andrew ranks 172nd out of 241 fund managers for one of his bond funds and 68th out of 82 for the other one.” So not only biased, but below par. It must be a family trait…

Vince Attack Shafted By History

The most memorable sound-bite from Vince Cable’s speech will be his attack on his coalition partners and the right in general:

“What I will not do though is provide cover for ideological descendents of those who sent children up chimneys.”

Like his attack on “spivs” last year, this one will stick for all the wrong reasons. Who was it that brought an end to children being sent up chimneys? Lord Shaftesbury and his 1864 Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers. Shaftesbury was a Tory. You would think Vince would remember voting on it…

Huhne's Greek Fears

After being probed by Andrew Neil yesterday, Chris Huhne squared up to Brillo again on the Daily Politics. He accused the Greeks of making false statements to the authorities about their economy. Guido agrees that such false statements are indeed as he says “outrageous”. It must be an issue close to Huhne’s heart though – the last thing that the embattled Secretary of State would want was for a Greek to make a false statement to the authorities…

He’d want them to tell the truth, right?

Bi-Comms Disaster

After his story earlier in the week about pro-Israel lobby group BICOM, Guido was tipped that their CEO Lorna Fitzsimons, the former Labour MP, was in some serious trouble. He was tracking down an email that was accidentally sent out on Monday to some of BICOM’s media list instead of the intended recipients – the donors. Annoyingly Ephraim Hardcastle beat him to it this morning and reveals how Lorna blurted to the world that she has been:

“…liaising with BBC and Sky to ensure ‘the most objectively favourable line was taken…I briefed Jonathan Ford, the Financial Times leader writer for his upcoming leading article… BICOM had regular contact with the Editor at Large of Prospect magazine, David Goodhart, helping to inform him about the forthcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood…”

We have put the whole email online here. It’s standard lobbyist boasting, but Guido imagines the FT editors will take a dim view of any sign of them being influenced by a PR operation. A BICOM source tried to play down the story as “mildly embarrassing”, but it was the comment given to the Mail that really tickled Guido: “A BICOM spokesman denies that Ms Fitzsimons is to lose her job.” If you have to say it…

It is clear that all is not well at BICOM. The cock-up has apparently gone down rather badly, with some wondering how long Fitzsimmons can cling on. Two respected spinners have recently moved on after very short stays at the organisation – the LibDem Ed Fordham lasted just a month as their public affairs chief, and soon to be Head of Press at the Department of Education, Gabriel Milland, just six weeks. What can you spot in such a short space of time to make you run for the hills like that?

Centre Stage Hain, Cheryl on a Train

With a disaster on his doorstep in the Swansea Valley Peter Hain, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, has been hogging the airwaves all morning. Though he is the local MP, he seems to be trying to make  capital out of the Welsh mining tragedy. Guido understands that Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan is on her way to the site from London, feeding lines to the media on the way. She’s on a train. Presumably not a fast one though…

UPDATE: Hain’s office insist he was only part of the press conference at the specific request of the police.

Flashback: "The Paper's Reputation Was Left In Tatters"

If they’d fired Hari this story would have gone away, instead the Indy’s mad decision to welcome him back in 2012, so long as no more significant revelations emerge, has poured more fuel on the fire. In many ways Hari is no longer the issue and fingers are being pointed above his head:

http://twitter.com/#!/indy_hack/status/114117651902631936

Guido had to chuckle when he had a look at the Indy’s  coverage of the sacking of the New York Times fantasist Jayson Blair:

“It was a byword for journalistic integrity, a beacon of truth and one of America’s proudest institutions. Then, in 2003, The New York Times was brought to its knees. A 27-year-old reporter, one of the newsroom’s brightest stars, was exposed as a plagiarist who fabricated stories and concocted quotes. The fall-out was epic: the editor quit, staff mutinied and the paper’s reputation was left in tatters.”

Sound familiar?

FLASHBACK: Osborne Statement On Natalie Rowe Allegations

George Osborne said in October 2005:

“The allegations are completely untrue and dredging up a photo from when I was 22 years old is pretty desperate stuff.

This is merely part of a smear campaign to divert attention from the issues that matter in this leadership contest and I am confident people will not be distracted by this rubbish.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Huhne Ally Grasping at Straws

The Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle diary had an interesting snippet about Huhne this morning. It appears his defence lines are already being acid-tested. A source said:

“It’s very rare for a minister, while in office, to be charged with a crime. It’s also a very unusual case in that the man accused – and the wife accusing him – might both be prosecuted.”

It’s rare for a man purported to be of noble standing to hide behind his family in such a way, so Guido is unsure of the point there…

However it was the final line that really caught his attention:

“Huhne’s lawyers could argue there was an abuse of process in the way the case was brought to court.”

Er, how exactly?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Tories Come After Labour Leaker

Last week Guido outed Labour’s mole in the Department of Education who was leaking to his old boss Ed Balls. Well the Tories are coming after Matt Gillespie, who now spins for John Denham the Shadow Business Secretary. Backbencher Chris Skidmore is flying a kite a little writing to Sir David Bell, the DofE Permanent Secretary, but it’s awkward none the less:

He’s also going after Denham’s office:

You never know what might fall out of the tree.[…]

+ READ MORE +

More Trouble for Left-Wing Lobbyists 38 Degrees

Since Guido published Stephen Phillips damning tirade against 38 Degrees this morning, another MP – Guy Opperman – has waded into the debate. He too is a former barrister and provides another comprehensive take-down of the deceitful misinterpretation of legal advice that the astro-turfing group are using to attack NHS reforms:

“The 38 Degrees website says: What our lawyers have identified within the Health and Social Care Bill: 

“The bill will remove the duty of the Secretary of State to provide or secure the provision of health services which has been a common and critical feature of all previous NHS legislation since 1946.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

38 Degrees Off Course

If you fancy a laugh, mention the left-wing astro-turfing operation 38 Degrees to a government MP, or their staff. Their email list encourages people to spam MPs with the same email over and over again on whatever issue is bugging the left at that moment.[…]

+ READ MORE +

The Darling of the BBC

So another good day for Labour Uncut, with a second round of leaked extracts from Darling’s “Back from the brink: 1000 days at No 11” this morning. Guido’s literary eyes-and-ears, who have seen a copy of the book, reckon yesterday’s snippets were bang on the money and deserved the follow-up coverage that they got. […]

+ READ MORE +

The Son of Brown Strikes Again

Adopting his old hero’s modus operandi, Ed has called for a coordinated G20 response to the latest financial crisis. Apparently it’s time for a “global Plan B”. Not content with being out of touch in the UK, Ed seems to be trying to tell every elected global leader that they are wrong too. […]

+ READ MORE +

Labour's Leaky Civil Service Mole Now a Spinner

Newly married James Forsyth has some further information about yesterday’s rubbish Guardian rehash about taxpayers’ money going to the Free Schools Network. He points out:

“Gove’s office has been acutely aware of how many people in Whitehall can read their emails since they found out that a secretary to Gove’s advisers with access to their computers was applying for jobs with Labour MPs.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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