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.

Twelve years ago a friend of mine went out with a woman called Natalie and they had a child together.

I met them together occasionally in the autumn of 1993, and it soon became clear that my friend had started to use drugs.

He became more and more addicted and I saw his life fall apart.

With his other friends I tried to persuade him to seek treatment.

Eventually he did and after a long time in rehabilitation he has now recovered and put his life back together.

I am very proud of the battle he has fought and won. 

That is, and always has been, the sum total of my connection with this woman.

It was a stark lesson to me at a young age of the destruction which drugs bring to so many people’s lives. 

Ever since then I have believed that tough, realistic policies to tackle the evil of drugs should be one of the top priorities of any government.

I now want to respect the privacy of my friend who is now happily recovered and working full-time abroad, and the privacy of his young child.

For the sake of that child I think we should leave them alone.”

He’s up in the House at 15:30. First one to shout “Louise” gets a spanking…

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? The CPS are being meticulous before they pull the trigger – going backwards and forwards to Essex Police. If they charge him it will all be by the book…

UPDATE: He’s got some cheek too:

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. A protege of Ed Balls and his Muttley like SpAd Alex Belardinelli, who knows what else Gillespie was up to…

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.

The implication and actual stated paragraph on the site under the title “what this could all mean” is that there will “no longer be a National Health Service”.

Paragraph 2 of the opinion by another junior counsel states that “Currently, the duty in section 3(1) has been delegated to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). However, this is pursuant to statutory powers of delegation (for example under section 7 of the NHS Act 2006), and these powers can be exercised in a different way, or not exercised at all, if the Secretary of State so chooses.”

As the opinion makes clear there is going to be no significant change.

The 38 Degrees slant and their opinion simply do not match up. The opinion finishes by saying: “thus, there is no change at all in section 1(1).”

To argue that the “the government washes its hands of the NHS” based upon and arising out of these opinions would be laughable if it was not such a serious and flawed accusation. It is unsurprising that one barrister has not signed or acknowledged authorship of their opinion, given how it has been so abused. “

Guido is awaiting comment from 38 Degrees who haven’t returned his call yet. And this is all a bit embarrassing for “evidence based” blog Left Foot Forward, who rather than look at the facts, decide to reprint 38 Degree’s copy to attack Guido. Counsel’s advice is they’re all full of it…

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. One MP has seemingly had enough of  it. Stephen Phillips, a QC turned MP, decided to take a look at the “independent legal advice” that 38 Degrees are currently pushing around, concerning the NHS bill. His damning reply is well worth a read in full:

Funnily enough there hasn’t been a reply from 38 Degrees to the accusation they are misrepresenting legal advice in order to fit their agenda…

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. While yesterday there was silence from the BBC, today they have leapt all over one line about bankers:

“My worry was that they (the bankers) were so arrogant and stupid that they might bring us all down”.

Search as he might, Guido’s man can’t find this quote anywhere in the book. There could well be some Beeboid red faces next week if it turns out to be nonsense. Guido isn’t sure how lifting a blog story fits in with their triple sourcing lock, but they wouldn’t want anything to get in the way of a good banker bashing now would they?

Their print cousins also seem to have got things a little wide on the mark. Compare their article from November with their one yesterday:

Don’t believe everything you read in the papers…

UPDATE: The BBC get in touch to point out they did run the Darling story yesterday. On the website

They also say that they checked out yesterday’s quotes with the publisher. But are “attributing today’s to Labour Uncut”. Read into that what you will…

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 +

Sir Simon's Special Interest Silence

Sir Simon Jenkins rallies against special interest groups in his Guardian column this morning.

“The coalition government, which started in a spirit of reformist radicalism, is proving one whose inexperience and shaky majority leaves it vulnerable to lobbyists.”

Jenkins argues that the maths and the make up of the government renders it weak.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Oops She Did It Again

Labour’s rent-a-quote queen Lisa Nandy knows all about slagging someone else off in the papers without engaging her brain first. Guido’s favourite time was when she had a go at the Prime Minister for having a personal photographer, yet had charged the taxpayer for the very same thing just days before.[…]

+ READ MORE +

You Can't Hide Those Lying Eyes

Time and time again Guido finds himself asking why Ken Livingstone bothers to open his mouth. What was the point of that silly Boris is Hitler reference? What was the point of the silly in joke of putting Boris’s house on his website?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Gove Poaches Another High Profile Spinner

Former Express hack turned Policy Exchange wonk-spinner Gabriel Milland is off to the Department of Education to be their Head of News. This is their second high profile recruitment from “the movement”, with former Taxpayers’ Alliance / Westbourne PR man James Frayne going to head up the Department of Education spin operation in February.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Ken Backtracks, Blames Guido

The Livingstone campaign have backed down and are taking down the photo that they posted of Ken’s activists grinning and laughing outside the Mayor’s family home. The majority of the Labour twitterati did their utmost to try to defend the picture, probably because they were in on the “Winning in Islington” joke too. […]

+ READ MORE +

Labour's "Groundbreaking New Initiative" In Spin

Labour breathlessly declared a “groundbreaking new initiative” this afternoon. Ed has “personally” invited thousands of members of the public to Labour party conference for an “open day”. Another wonderful engagement strategy and of course absolutely nothing to do with the fact that conference applications this year have hit a new low.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Owen Smith backs one hour contracts but wants to abolish zero hours contracts:

“You need to give people a contract to say, ‘here’s what you will be working’. It could be one, but I’m saying it shouldn’t be zero, we should invert that emphasis.”

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