Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Facts are Sacred: Guardian Grovel For Polly, Again

The Guardian have been forced into a humiliating climb down and apology to former Sun man Richard Caseby, yet again, after Polly went off on one about the new Director of Comms at DWP:

The following correction was published on 15 April 2014: A Comment article about the treatment of disabled people by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stated: “Forget civil service factual information: Duncan Smith has just hired a Murdoch managing editor from the Sun and Sunday Times as DWP communications director. Perhaps he helps hone Duncan Smith’s terminological inexactitudes.” We are happy to accept that Richard Caseby, the strategic director of communications at the DWP, carries out his duties in a thoroughly honest, diligent and professional manner. He was not hired by Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state for work and pensions, but works as a civil servant. We apologise for any misunderstanding. In addition, the writer of the article said that “PIP replaces the disability living allowance” (DLA). To clarify: DLA is still available for children up to the age of 16.”

If you can’t trust the Guardian or the Mirror, who can you trust these days?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Unite Annual Report Mocks Ed’s “Seismic” Reforms

In February Ed Miliband promised “seismic changes” to Labour’s relationship with the trade unions, vowing that reforming the unions’ grip on the party would be “bigger than Clause IV“. Red Len’s baby mama Jennie Formby, Unite’s meritocratic political director, explains how that is going in their political report for the last year. Firstly she calls Ed’s reforms “a distraction that nobody wanted”, before confirming that it’s business as usual for Unite.

Describing the Labour politicians in the union’s pocket as “Unite MPs”, Formby reveals how Unite have successfully lobbied Labour MPs to raise issues in the House, going as far as influencing voting:

“Chair of the TU Group of MPs, Ian Lavery, secured time for a 10 Minute Rule Bill on the Bedroom Tax and we worked hard both with Ian and with the Labour Party to get them to impose a three line whip on this.”

She admits “we have been involved in discussing a number of other issues with MPs in order to build support for key issues” including welfare, the NHS and low pay. And, ironically, the Lobbying Bill. 

In a section titled “parliamentary selections” Formby reports target seats are now nearly completed” but “we wait for retirements in other seats”. There is also a new “candidate training programme”, where “successful candidates will be expected to give a commitment to participate in all the training modules” and will be “judged” on their suitability to be an MP on important issues to constituents such as “commitment to working class values of the Trade Union” and “active membership of the union”How’s that seismic change-y thing working out for ya, Ed? 

* Do nothing.

Brides-Ed Revisited: Labour’s Gene Pool Problem

“The last Labour leadership challenge was a battle between brothers,” writes Tim Stanley. “The shadow chancellor is married to the shadow home secretary – a former leadership candidate wedded to a future one. The deputy leader is married to the shadow minister for communities and local government. The shadow secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs is sister of the shadow leader of the House of Commons.”

And when they’re not related or sleeping with one another, they all come from the same narrow educational gene pool:

Ed Miliband: PPE, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
David Miliband: PPE, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Angela Eagle: PPE, St John’s College, Oxford
Maria Eagle: PPE, Pembroke College, Oxford
Ed Balls: PPE, Keble College, Oxford
Yvette Cooper: PPE, Balliol College, Oxford

Guido supposes the fact that Harriet Harman only made it to York after St Pauls is why Labour feel they can get on their high horse about the make up of their Shadow Cabinet.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Final Straw

Gary Gibbon points out that Miller was pushed after her PPS’s multi-vehicle pile up on Sky News. MacLeod went to pieces when confronted with her text message, revealed exclusively by Guido, citing a Leveson witch-hunt:

“I was told by one government source that Maria Miller’s PPS’s appearance on Sky News and her text message to Tory backbenchers saying the attacks on Maria Miller were a media witch-hunt were “the final straw.” This “should never have been said,” another government source said.”

The wheels were off by the time discipline had collapsed and anger led to leaking.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Miller SpAd Tries to Dump MacLeod Post Interview/Text

That “source close to Maria Miller” is undertaking another round of her own particular brand of crisis management. The new suggestion is that Mary MacLeod – PPS to the Culture Secretary – was acting on her own back when she texted MPs asking them to support her boss while citing Leveson and appeared in a crash interview with Kay Burley on Sky News:

MacLeod was confronted on air with Guido’s text scoop and resorted to smears and innuendo about Miller’s kids, and claimed that Miller had been cleared on all counts. Which is just a blatant misspeak.

“She wasn’t acting under instruction” says Special Adviser Jo Hindley, adding mystically “lots of MPs have gone on the telly to support Maria”. Guido must have missed that.

Are we seriously expected to believe that MacLeod went out to bat via text and telly on a whim? Hindley has not replied when asked if her, or Maria, had spoken to MacLeod today.

Guido is just going flag up that he thinks this is BS.

EXCLUSIVE: Miller Hits Back Claiming “Levesen” Smears

Once again Maria Miller has tried to use the threat of the post-Leveson age to shut down her expenses scandal. Mary Macleod, PPS to the fatally wounded Culture Secretary, today texted Tory MPs begging for support. Again Miller’s people have cited threats to press freedom. Mary Macleod said:

 

“I believe there is a media witch-hunt on Maria due to Levesen [sic]. How do you feel about it? Happy to answer any questions you may have. She would really appreciate your support. Many thanks Mary”

Too little too late, Guido fears.

Left Eagle Doesn’t Know What the Right Eagle is Doing

Readers will be well aware of Labour’s hypocrisy when it comes to gambling – last year alone two-faced Chuka bashed bookies before taking their cash, Tristram Hunt did exactly the same thing and Stephen Timms also went each way. Now one of the Eagles is going all in, hiring a gambling lobbyist as her new Political Adviser.

Ex-Blair press secretary Michael Stephenson previously worked for Miliband’s bargain basement strategist Bruce Hawker‘s lobbying firm, where he used his connections to lobby the Labour government on plans for 16 super-casinos across Britain. A former Co-op general secretary, his sound judgement and experience at keeping on top of the finances no doubt made him the stand out candidate to be Maria Eagle’s new political adviser. In other news Maria’s sister Angela is laying it on thick attacking the government’s Lobbying Act for “letting vested interests off the hook”…

Friday, April 4, 2014

Clegg Brings Yet Another Lobbyist into the Heart of Government

Ssssh no one mention lobbying reform! Clegg has replaced his not-up-to-the-job Comms Director with Edelman’s public affairs managing director Stephen Lotinga. It’s a bit of a slap to Edelman considering the spin-merchant had only been there for a few weeks after signing from those paragons of virtue Bell Pottinger.

Fresh from spinning for the likes of ATOS, Russian banks and Kazak private equity firms, Lotinga’s only other job recorded on his CV seems to be working for the LibDems. Hiring a communications director who has never had a job outside politics or PR is sure to help the party connect to voters. Clegg will be hoping this one lasts more than two months…

Craig Oliver: “Gallagher is Talking Rubbish About Me”

Craig Oliver is in full denial mode after former Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher went after him on the Today programme, suggesting that the Downing Street spin boss cited Leveson when trying to shut down the Maria Miller story:

“It is entirely false to suggest that I tried to threaten him with Leveson in any way. The conversation I had with him was about the inappropriate doorstepping of an elderly man (Maria Miller’s father).”

Gallagher has hinted to the Daily Politics that he has a tape.  Craig emailed the show live to say “Tony is talking rubbish about me, and you can use that”.

This is getting serious…

UPDATE: Gallagher has hit back: “it’s almost as if Craig wants to make the story about him. It isn’t. He is a human shield for Miller. He adds “Incidentally, I note there is no denial coming from Jo Hindley.”

UPDATE II: No tape.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Clegg Using Taxpayer Funded SpAd for Secret Debate Trick

Desperate to draw blood tomorrow, Nick Clegg has cracked out the Student Debating Playbook. The Deputy Prime Minister’s taxpayer-funded Special Adviser Adam Pritchard is secretly approaching bosses from household name firms to try get them to sign this pre-drafted letter to be placed in a paper tomorrow morning:

Dear Sir,

Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage will this week hold their second debate on the question of Britain’s future in Europe. As leading transport companies representing all sectors, we are clear that the UK should remain in the European Union which has delivered unparalleled benefits for the British transport and freight sector by allowing our companies to cross borders and enter markets across Europe. The dismantling of trade barriers has been responsible for cheaper prices for consumers and a dramatic increase in the choice of destinations at the fingertips of holidaymakers across the country. 

It is crucial that we do not cut ourselves off from the rest of Europe and that we defend the future health of the transport sector and the hundreds of thousands (or millions?) of jobs it supports. Leaving the EU would take us from economic certainty to huge uncertainty with the potential for extra costs and burdensome barriers impeding freight flows and harming passengers, businesses and employees alike. 

The EU needs reform. The full potential of the single market is yet to be fully realised and we must break down the final barriers to transport and trade. However, to seize these opportunities, the UK needs to be in Europe leading reform, working with other countries and delivering the changes that will boost our trade within the EU and beyond.

Yours

Clegg will then brandish this letter from the podium as if he had nothing to do with it. Well that was the plan anyway…

Last week we had Clegg’s office admit that the DPM was being briefed by taxpayer funded civil servants for his robotic ‘fact’ barrage at Farage, now this week his taxpayer-funded gofers are attempting trickery. It’s as if Clegg is scared… 


Seen Elsewhere

What Will Happen if Scots Leave? | David Aaronovitch
Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester


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George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:

“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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