Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Day to Bury Bad Poos

If Guido were to com-pile a list of really sh*t press releases dumped out by the government, this would probably come in at number two.

Apparently:

“Thousands of people every year will be asked by their GP or other healthcare professional to give a stool (poo) sample for testing. A lot of people find the idea of this unpleasant and the pot is small so how do you fill it?”

The definition of government waste.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TORY WARS: May / Oliver Airwaves Briefing Spat

As you read in last week’s Sun on Sunday or this morning’s Times, Theresa May is on the war path with the Number 10 operation, again. Rachel Sylvester reports:

‘Theresa May got into an argument with No 10 over the timing of a policy announcement. She wanted to reveal the government’s plans in the House of Commons, observing parliamentary propriety, but the prime minister’s office pressed her to give an interview to Radio 4’s Today programme instead. If she did not do so, she was told: “We will lose the next three hours.’

Now which expert spinner could that have been? 

As Guido reported ten days ago, “tension boiled over recently with Oliver going shouty-crackers and demanding the Home Secretary show him some respect.” It seems May’s idea of showing him some respect was briefing Rachel Sylvester.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Burnham B*****king Falls on Deaf Ears

Team Ed are getting increasingly irritated by Burnham’s less than subtle leadership posturing. “Burnham has been told to shut up”, says a Labour source, “but there is no telling him”. As Guido reported in yesterday’s Sun, there has been particular anger aimed at the Shadow Health Secretary after his over-dramatic scaremongering about NHS privatisation was leapt upon by Salmond and the Yes campaign, leaving Darling spluttering and almost defending the Tories. Guido is amazed anyone still cares what Burnham even says after his “24 Hours to Save the NHS” shtick fell flat when hospitals remained open and free at the point of use…

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Miliband Fails to Land Big Hitting Telly Spinner
Former Mandelson Protégé Joins Team Ed

Ed Miliband has failed to secure a much needed broadcast news expert to help his struggling TV presence. Having doubled the initial offering of around £45,000, made back in March, Labour have had to settle for a former One Show, Politics Show and Westminster Hour producer whose previous image making skills honed Gloria Hunniford. Perhaps it was his experience on “Rip Off Britain” that tipped the balance in his favour. Labour were ideally seeking the services of a frontline broadcast news expert. Friends describe Matthew Laza as a ‘good New Labour man, through and through.’

Slipped in under the cover of the Scottish chaos and a royal baby six months late and hardly a hire to set conference season alight. One of the biggest obstacles to finding someone for the gig was that no one wanted to risk ruining their reputation for less than a year in one of the toughest jobs in politics – making Ed look normal eating:

Laza does have some image issues of his own, having recently gone a bit Bullingdon in an upmarket Manchester restaurant popular with BBC luvvies:

degrees-restaurant

Laza’s appointment comes on the back of his ‘old mate’ Gloria De Piero joining Labour’s election team. The two are said to enjoy a shared curiosity in German socialism. Though his bona fide New Labourism does not end there. The former NOLS activist is alumni of the Blairite €uro-loving campaign group Britain In Europe, Guido understands that Peter Mandelson took a special interest in personally tutoring a young Laza in every aspect of the dark arts…

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gravy Train Stops at No. 10 for Transport Super Salary
No. 10’s Head of News Heads to Siberia

Three weeks ago Guido reported:

“DfT are offering a budget-busting £770-a-day to their new Director of Communications, which, if he or she works 240 days a year, puts the successful applicant on £184,800. Making them considerably better paid than the Secretary of State. Talk about jumping on the high-speed gravy train…”

Well all aboard for Scot Marchbank, one time Deputy Spokesman to the PM and latterly N0. 10’s Head of News. It’s one heck of a promotion in cash terms and into the Whitehall wilderness in terms of power. Guido is suspicious of the timing. Jumped, or pushed? You choo-choose.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Beeb Cliff Spin Mystery

Earlier today, the BBC’s “head of newsgathering” sought to counter speculation about how the Beeb managed to get camera crews down to Cliff Richard’s apartment in time to film the police walking in:

This afternoon, South Yorkshire Police released this statement:

“When a media outlet contacted SYP with information about an investigation, we took the decision to work with them in order to protect the integrity of that investigation.

“Since the search took place a number of people have contacted the police to provide information and we must acknowledge that the media played a part in that, for which we are grateful.”

‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, what’s all this then?

THE CHOICE: Tories Draw Level With Labour

At the end of July Labour launched their summer offensive, drawing up the battle lines for next year with the catchy slogan: “The Choice: The Labour Future, The Tory Threat”. Well, after three weeks of shadow cabinet speeches up and down the country outlining “the choice” faced by voters, the people have spoken. YouGov’s poll for the Sun today sees the Tories draw level with Labour for the first time in three months, both parties on 35%. This confirms yesterday’s Ipsos Mori poll which also had both parties level. Labour are telling voters what “the choice” is, and the voters are making it…

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Burnham ‘Owes’ Tax Efficient Lobbyist Aide £20,000

The Times and Mail are on the case of Andy Burnham’s health lobbyist aide Kevin Lee over his tax arrangements, a story Guido broke over two years ago. Readers will remember how back in 2011 this blog revealed how Lee was being paid as Burnham’s spinner not on a normal PAYE contract, but through his company, Lee Communications. Since Labour advisers are paid for by taxpayer-funded ‘Short Money’, this seems particularly creative. And the murkiness doesn’t end there.

When Burnham was Health Secretary, Lee Communications raked in hundreds of thousands of pounds in NHS cash, which is somewhat ironic given Burnham’s apocalyptic warnings about the Tories privatising the health service. Lee also splashed himself all over the internet boasting about his connections with Burnham and his expertise in public affairs. He was a health lobbyist with NHS clients.

As if Burnham employing Lee’s company and giving him a parliamentary pass permitting a health lobbyist access to parliament was not suspicious enough, Lee also “loaned” £20,000 to Burnham’s failed leadership campaign. Burnham has never managed to explain why he gave a lobbyist donor unfettered access to the parliamentary estate. As for that £20,000 loan, did Burnham ever pay it back? Let’s see if he can clear it up once and for all two years on…

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

O’Flynn It to Win It

Once upon a time, a cynical silver-haired Lobby correspondent like Patrick O’Flynn would have been first to take the mickey out of a politician announcing that they would be making an announcement:

And so, this morning we had the big UKIP selection news that everyone was waiting for. Paddy will seek the support of his local party to be UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Cambridge. He will be trying to unseat weirdy beardy LibDem Dr Julian Huppert, who has a majority of 6,792. Again UKIP are sticking to their policy of running local candidates, O’Flynn went to a Cambridge comp and made it to Cambridge University. Huppert will be praying the student vote doesn’t completely collapse or else he’s in real trouble. Still no news on whether UKIP have managed to convince anyone to take Paddy’s widely-touted old job as head of comms…

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Spinners “Hit Hardest” By Labour’s Unimaginative Slogan Crisis

Labour’s uninspiring Shadow Treasury minister Shabana Mahmood didn’t really have her heart in it when she gave the government a limp-wristed slap today: “While millionaires have been given a huge tax cut families with children have been hit hardest…by the cost of living crisis.” Where has Guido heard that before?

Lazy Labour spinners have thrown the “hit hardest” line into just about every quote they have sent out recently. It isn’t just families with children who have apparently been “hit hardest”, but also: the self-employed, mothers, women, Londoners, ethnic minorities, the elderly, the disabled, the north-east – and Guido’s personal favourite – Women in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. Make your mind up…


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