Bada Bingle, Bada Boom

On Thursday Bell Pottinger closed down their “Special Projects” division and sacked everyone involved. This division specialised in murky foreign projects – advising governments in lovely places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Somalia, South Africa, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Yes, Zimbabwe.

We’re expecting an official announcement at midday that the one and only Peter Bingle is going as well. Restaurant owners across Westminster may have to make further redundancies as a result…

All this is ahead of a management buy-back by Lord Bell himself of the firm he founded. The troubled outfit ironically has a reputation as being closest to the Tories..

UPDATE:

Bryant Apologises to the House

After Guido brought you the news that Bryant had apologised to Lord Justice Leveson for his leaky ways, yesterday he apologised to the House:

“On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On 25 April, I told the House that the Leveson inquiry had published certain information regarding meetings that had been held between Rupert Murdoch and the Prime Minister. I believed at the time that that was the case, but it has subsequently turned out not to be true. I have, of course, apologised to Lord Justice Leveson, but I thought I should take this opportunity to apologise to the House as well. I hope the apology will be accepted. I had no intention of misleading the House; that was purely inadvertent.”

Naughty boy.

Eagle eyes blogger Alex Andreou has picked up at least one extra meeting revealed in Coulson’s evidence yesterday, but it seems the Cabinet Office amended their “full” list last December to include the New York meeting. It’s all rather vague though…

Spelman Attacks Government’s “Vanity Ministerial Project”

Just in case the Queen’s Speech was not a big enough clue that the government is losing its way, take a look at what the Cabinet Office are up to:

“For years taxpayers’ money was thrown at expensive branding exercises. We are now doing this work in house so it does not cost the taxpayer a single penny. We have developed a new consistent approach to our identity which comprises the royal crest alongside the relevant organisation name.”

Guido is a little worried if the they genuinely believe that because the work is done in house, it does not cost anything. It took him about thirty seconds to find this gem from the Tory 2009 press release archive:

“Caroline Spelman, shadow Communities & Local Government secretary, said: “This is a Whitehall farce at taxpayers’ expense. Taxes have gone through the roof under Labour, and examples like these show how the public’s money has been squandered on vanity ministerial projects and a corrosive culture of spin. Advertising and marketing expenditure across Whitehall will be cut back under Conservatives.”

That didn’t take long…

Ed’s NHS Sickie

Miliband told the people of Harlow yesterday:

“We should be totally intolerant of people who are skiving off. I want a health service where if people aren’t doing their jobs properly, they aren’t doing their jobs any more. We should find a way to crack down on this and stop it happening. If people aren’t really sick then something should be done about it.”

Quite. A bit rich though from the man who pulled a sickie to avoid a “24 hours to save the NHS rally” and went to a football match with a millionaire donor instead…

Boris Spinner Guto Harri Lined-Up for News International

Boris spinner Guto Harri is poised to accept a position as Director of Communications at News International on a salary of £250,000-a-year. Guido understands that he promised Boris some weeks ago that he would not accept the position until after the election. Guto is telling the truth when he says he has not signed a contract, he is due to formally sign on with News International next week.

Guido sources at News International say that Sara Argent, currently Head of Operations at the GLA, will also go with him. She is a former CCHQ staffer who worked on the Boris 2008 election campaign.

Guto has also been a name regularly in the frame for a job at Downing Street. If Dave really wants him, he’ll have to move fast…

Guardian Attacks the Tax Status of the Guardian

While mentioning his race-baiting, tax avoidance and warning that if he wins he will be on “probation”, the Guardian has held its snooty nose and endorsed Ken. In an attempt to give some lukewarm covering fire today they claim that Boris has been using campaign office space donated by Lycamobile who have not paid corporation tax – a brave line of attack given Ken’s voodoo accounting.  Lycamobile did not pay tax because they haven’t made any profits yet. HRMC don’t tax companies on their losses. Which is lucky for the Guardian…

Guardian News & Media, which publishes the Guardian, doesn’t pay tax because it makes a loss every year. GNM is subsidised by its investment funds and its joint-ownership of AutoTrader. The joint-ownership is with, of course, a private equity firm. Some may consider the Guardian, on this basis, to be appalling hypocrites…

Silence of the Pink ‘Un III

Once is chance, twice coincidence, but three times just looks like poor form from the FT’s Education Correspondent Chris Cook. Once again a story that is awkward for his proprietor – Pearson “the world’s leading learning company”– has failed to make the pages of the pink ‘un. After years of denials, Ofqual have finally ruled that exams are getting easier – a pretty big story it seems:

  • Sun: GCSE is too easy
  • Independent: Exams are easier now, report finds
  • Mirrror: Exams now easier than 10 years ago
  • Telegraph: Exam system ‘undermined after decade of dumbing down’
  • Mail: The proof that exams really have got easier
  • Guardian: A-level exams have become easier, says regulator
  • Times: A-levels have got easier, says exam chief

And nothing in the FT. Surely that pious and righteous bastion of journalistic integrity would not suppress the truth because of its commercial interests?

WATCH: Watson Dodges Questions on Committee Leak

Fearless campaigner for transparency Tom Watson signed a commercial contract with a Allen Lane to co-write a book that will generate earnings, but he has not declared this contract to Parliament. Since the book’s subject matter relates directly to his work as a member of the Culture Select Committee, this lack of transparency is doubly odd. Watson is profiting while quoting Bob Dylan and grandstanding on the Committee…

When Guido raised this earlier Watson went on the attack, forcing the Chairman of the Committee to rein him in. One thing for was clear – Watson didn’t want to talk about it:

Dial M for Murdoch came out well before today’s report, yet page 312 explicitly states that the Committee would find that News International had misled Parliament – it was a leak from a position of privilege with commercial implications. John Whittingdale, the Committee chairman, said he did not know of any breach committed by Watson – well now he does. Not only has Watson undermined Parliament, but he did so to line his pockets. A fit person for the committee?

Leaky Bryant Attacks Hack Leak

Predictably the contents of the Culture Select Committee report into phonehacking has leaked, despite it being printed overnight at heaven knows what cost, in order to avoid this exact situation. Ahead of this morning’s press conference we already know that […]

+ READ MORE +

Vote Kennock!

That well known vote winner Neil Kinnock has ridden to Ken’s rescue today by signing a letter demanding Labour fall into line and vote for him. He seems to have changed his tune from 2000 when he lashed out at […]

+ READ MORE +

Margaret Moran’s £80,000 Sick Note

PA reports:

Dr Philip Joseph said Moran, 56, was suffering

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Leaked: Diane Abbott’s Question Time Preparation Notes

It’s amazing what you can find in a photocopier in SW1:

Drafted by Abbott’s staffer Gabe Trodd a former government spinner it is incredibly patronising given that Diane has been a TV professional since Gabe was wearing nappies.

Guido particularly […]

+ READ MORE +



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Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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