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. Embarrassingly though, he doesn’t seem to realise that Gordon was actually Prime Minister when he was trying to carve a position on the international stage…

This one can be classified as a genuine Awkward Ed Miliband Moment.

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. As soon as the senior civil servants in the department found out that this secretary was trying to get hired by the Labour party, they instantly moved him out of the job that he was doing — aware of what a conflict of interest it was.”

Forsyth doesn’t name names, but Guido isn’t so prudish. Take a bow Matt Gillespie who left the Department of Education to go spin for John Denham the Shadow Business Secretary. It seems Gillespie, who isn’t answering his mobile, was still loyal to Balls. 

As Forsyth points out, Gillespie’s, now hidden, Twitter feed was a storm of pro-Labour bile, even when Gillespie was meant to be an impartial civil servant:

And it seems he’s mates with Balls’s lackey Alex Belardinelli. He’s clearly learnt from the masters of the dark arts…

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. He lists a range of special interest groups from green technology to the anti-abortion lobby, raging that the government is “putty”. However he saves most of his venom for one area in particular – planning. Jenkins isn’t very happy about changes to the development policy that will affect rural areas:

“This coup was achieved by a deft alliance of private housebuilders, big retailers and the “affordable rural housing” lobby. They argued that, even though they were sitting on the largest land banks ever, rural land shortage was a constraint on growth. Environment ministers reeling from defeat over the fate of the Forestry Commission caved in, but were then baffled at the fury of green organisations outraged to see the end of 50 years of countryside guardianship. The lobby could not believe its luck”

Sir Simon’s love of the countryside is well documented in his many books, but could there be another reason why he is so angry about these changes? A professional reason perhaps? He clearly has some expertise in the area, probably due to the fact he is the chairman of a prominent special interest group – the National Trust. Given the frontline role the organisation played in lobbying the government over the forest sell off, you would think a man of Sir Simon’s integrity would have declared an interest…

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. Well surprise surprise, Lisa’s done it again…

In this morning’s reheated hatchet against Gove in the Guardian, Nandy is quoted as saying:

“This is definitive proof that this was a way of diverting taxpayers’ money to pay for a political agenda, at a time when the government was making huge spending cuts. Just shortly after that grant was announced they cancelled Building Schools for the Future – it’s pretty shocking.”

But should she really be shocked at at the cash being handed out without tender? When the story was run for the first time back in October 2010 David Bell, the Department for Education’s Permanent Secretary, replied to Andy Burnham’s complaint with a long list of the grants given out by Labour without tender. It included £107,000 handed out to the Children’s Society. Nandy was less outraged by this particular grant, given that she worked there at the time

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? And as Andrew Gilligan points out, what is the point of all this little medical references to how fit and healthy is? In that interview with Total PoliticsKen claimed “I still don’t need glasses.” But this just isn’t true now is it:

Why bother trying to pretend?

Hat-tip: Milo Yiannopoulos

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.[…]

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Dozy Ed and His Sleepy Spinners

It’s handbags and at dawn between the Murdoch empire and Ed Miliband. Hardly news anymore, but after Gordon’s hackgate blunders, you would think someone would check the facts before going into battle. People spotted that Ed Miliband had clearly dozed off for a moment during Yvette Cooper’s speech yesterday, and who can blame him.[…]

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Cameron's Irish Mercenaries

What the media in Britain isn’t telling you is how “the rebels of Britain approach Liverpool in hit-and-run battles with Cameron’s brigades and mercenaries from Ireland and Scotland.”

But then again perhaps Libyan State TV has better sources on the ground…[…]

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Ed Blames HQ For Balls Leak

When Ed Balls had his sneaky shafting of Blair splashed across the Telegraph in June, he was fuming. He even called in the coppers to try find the source of his humiliation and serious destabilisation. Guido imagines he was hoping they would find that the leak originated from the new holders of his old Education brief…

Well Guido would like to point the bruised Shadow Chancellor in the direction of a new clue.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Wants Coulson Cake But Ate It

The Mirror and Political Scrapbook, with more than a little help from the Labour Party press office, have gone big on the story that CCHQ did background checks on people they put on posters as part of the election campaign.[…]

+ READ MORE +

£4.2 Million To Change Labour's Mind

When the government announced that they were switching from the Retail to Consumer Price Index for pensions, Labour kicked off. Stephen Timms set out their absolute opposition to the move in the Commons, and Balls told the GMB union that the move one of the biggest hits “to the living standards of your members in a generation”. […]

+ READ MORE +



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