As Polls Plummet New Labour Control Freakery Returning

Michael Dugher was until recently Ed Miliband’s PPS, he wants to beEd’s Mandelson and is clearly keen on enforcing “the line”. However implausible it may be.

Yesterday’s Post-PMQs collective head-in-hands moment by the left-wing commentariat really has upset the dwindling Miliband true-believers. LabourList editor Mark Ferguson, who yesterday implicitly called for Ayesha Hazariki to be sacked (PMQs Verdict: Cut the Gags, Ed), is only reflecting what the Labour grassroots are saying in private. According to YouGov only 8% of Labour voters think Ed Miliband is a natural leader. Enforcing New Labour style discipline on propaganda isn’t going to change that fact.

The Wit and Wisdom of Adam Werritty

With Liam Fox back on the Christmas party scene, his old chum Adam Werritty has popped up in this week’s Speccie, speaking about the whole saga for the first time. Apparently “one man’s ‘clandestine’ meeting is another man’s informed and fascinating discussion”. The whole thing is well worth a read, and there are other gems such as “I’m all for a free press and responsible journalism. But…” Apparently the whole thing was a “storm in a teacup” and  he will spending New Year’s Eve with Liam, and his wife…

Werritty’s side of the story, while interesting, does not really take in the gravity of the situation:

My story starts on an evening in Dubai six months ago when my then girlfriend and I ended up in an American steak house called Ruth’s Chris. Out of the many thousands of eateries in the city, we couldn’t have made a worse choice. Five minutes after we sat down, a British expat businessman named Harvey Boulter arrived on the table opposite us. I’d met him once before, but I had no intention of meeting him on this trip. However, out of politeness I said hello. The rest is history — and a history which I very much regret.

We stayed on after dinner as Boulter wanted to talk to me about Cellcrypt, his mobile phone encryption software technology. When we first met several months earlier, he’d discussed making it available to British troops in Afghanistan, free of charge, to enable them to make free ‘welfare’ calls home. A worthwhile idea, I thought, and one worth supporting. I mentioned to him that I was meeting my friend Liam Fox the next day — he asked if he could talk to Liam about Cellcrypt over a coffee. I passed on his request, and the next day the meeting went ahead. Big mistake. I ought to have left it firmly to official channels to handle. They exist for a reason — specifically, to ensure that full and accurate records of conversations and meetings can be kept.

I’ve been asked on several occasions why I didn’t apply to be a special adviser. The answer: I actually know very little about defence policy and have never pretended otherwise. Why should I be paid by the taxpayer for an expertise I didn’t possess?”

That’s not what it said on his business card…

Heads in the Sand at Labour HQ

The role of Deputy Party Chairman seems to be forcing Tom Watson further and further from the reality based community. When he’s not paying special close attention to candidate selection, he’s in full spin mode. With the Tories regaining the lead with every major pollster, today was going to be a tricky one, but you can’t fault him for his effort:

Careful you don’t get splinters while you scrape that barrel Tommy…

Miliband’s Media Grid Shelved After PMQs Mess

Ed got the inevitable thrashing at PMQs, though it was clearly worse than they expected. Yesterday Labour media grid was leaked, yet today we can see that they’ve had to throw it out of the window after a dire morning. The faces lined up for the media today were Harman, Chuka Umunna and Ed Miliband, yet Balls had to be sent to Millbank to clean up immediately after Ed’s defeat. How bad must it be when Blinky is the mop-up man… 

Miliband’s Amateur Grid

Credit where credit is due, so kudos to Sam Coates of the Times for getting hold of Ed’s media grid for this week. Much has been said about the amateur feel of Miliband’s media operation, but nobody had quite realised how bad it was until the written proof emerged. The same message is hammered everyday without deviation, but with plenty of repetition. An opposition needs more than one vacuous, non-costed, promise a day. Only a handful of faces are allowed a look in, though Guido is looking forward to who the “weekend guests” might be.

One thing that did amuse was the assumption that Labour will win on Thursday’s Heathrow airport by-election. The visit is already planned in for the next day. It somewhat undermines the whole “every vote counts, not taking anything for granted” message. An all round PR disaster. 

Où est Clegg?

It seems Clegg is taking this fake row thing a little too far…

UPDATE: Cleggies tell the Sun that Nick doesn’t “want to be a distraction”. Yeah right…

Another Sorry Chapter in the Cable Fable

When doorstepped this morning, Vince Cable ruled out resigning saying: “I’m just getting on with my job as I always do.” So he limps on to fight, and lose, another day, but that’s not to say he hasn’t been banging his steel mug against the bars of his cell this weekend. With Clegg initially saying he was behind the national interest, Cable’s voice on the outside, also known as the spectacularly irritating Matthew Oakeshott, was deployed to stir things up.

The Observer reported: “One of Vince Cable’s closest allies, Lord Oakeshott, has refused to rule out a possible resignation by the business secretary. Cable’s comrade Will Hutton had clearly had a direct earful too: “He will speak out aggressively against Cameron’s veto; his decision is whether to resign to do so or say so in office, courting his sacking.” Will Hutton being wrong about something comes as no surprise, but him making something up would. Yet again Cable has clearly threatened that often cited nuclear bomb, yet failed to push the button. When push comes to shove, he’s yellow to his core…

What Leveson Won’t Let You See – The Fake Sheikh Unmasked

The Leveson Show Trials have a busy day and first up it’s notorious former News of the World stinger Mazher Mahmood:

He’s been given the full black-out screen for his evidence today. Not round these parts though…

Crisis Management, Guardian Style

What does the Guardian do when it gets a story wrong? Not just any story, but one so embellished that it forced the closure of a rival newspaper, yet has now unravelled completely. The detail that sealed the fate of […]

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Lobbyists’ Umbrella Group Splits

We have in the past covered the lobbying world’s attempts at self-regulation. The most ardent opponent of a statutory register was Francis Ingham of the widely discredited PRCA trade body, he was instrumental in getting rival lobbying and spin trade […]

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Bald Spin

Chris Blackhurst is bragging in spin-trade-mag PR Week how the Indy (circulation 133,449) is ‘flying the flag’ for British journalism by, err, re-publishing someone else’s story on lobbying. It could have been very different. Instead of the Indy editor basking […]

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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 […]

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Quote of the Day

Labour candidate Clive Lewis tells the Staggers:

“I mean, in the multiverse there’s still three universes in a hundred where there’s a Green MP in Norwich, so anything could happen. I could be caught with my pants down behind a goat with Ed Miliband at the other end – well, hopefully that won’t happen.”

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