Monday, May 12, 2014

Knives Out for Wee Dougie as Insiders Pray For Axe Swing

Labour insiders have confessed that they are “confused and worried” about where the party’s message is going after last week’s PEB and poster. “We’re all over the place” says one, adding “our messaging is not working”. Staffers are questioning why the party are spending over £300,000 on Axelrod when such terrible ideas can be signed off. “None of this adds up.” And where was the yank campaigning genius when it was all going wrong? Finishing writing a book. Axelrod’s arrival in the UK is imminent for a two day briefing on British politics. Something tellingly required if you are from Chicago, compared to, say,  Australia. Only the Labour Party could end up paying for the pleasure of teaching their own guru rather than the other way round.

The finger of blame for last week’s clusterf**k is being pointed at Labour’s election coordinator Douglas Alexander for his stubborn refusal to “take the fight to UKIP”, instead focussing on the LibDems. Guido hears a row has broken out with attack dog Michael Dugher, who wants to train Labour’s fire on the party with 29% in the EU polls rather than the one on 9%. Dugher, speaking with unmelted butter in his mouth, tells Guido “we are beautifully aligned”.

Meanwhile, as revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Alexander’s enemies are wondering out loud why he got the top election job after losing two campaigns in Scotland, coordinating Labour’s loss in 2010 and then running David Miliband’s doomed leadership campaign. “Presumably he must have won his seat selection vote once” whispers a catty colleague.

As if by magic, Alexander was booked into yesterday’s Sunday Politics, where he was pummelled with a blunt instrument. Not only did he try to suggest that claims the Tories deliberately targeted disabled people were “factual” but also having a naked Nick Clegg eaten by a giant cat is not negative campaigning. His defence of the VAT poster fell apart pretty quickly too:

Alexander crumbled at the suggestion the VAT hike really has added £450 a year to average shopping basket. For that to be true the average family would have to be spending £21,600 a year on items that are 20% VATable. However average take home pay is less than £20,000 and an average family spends a large percentage of their income on zero rated food, travel, housing or low rated energy. It is inconceivable, even with welfare top ups, that an “average” family could spend £21,600 on 20% VATable goods. When Alexander was presented with this yesterday he moved the goalposts, suggesting that the cost would be over the course of the last Parliament. Which is not what his colleagues were saying:

You could forgive Axelrod for getting straight back on the plane and never coming back.

UPDATE: An sharp eared reader points out that at 3.19 in the above video Dougie himself says the £450 refers to a year before later attempting to say that it was “not an annualised figure”. Eek.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

AstraZeneca Lobbyists Confirm Labour Relationship

“We are standing up for good jobs in Britain, not Ed Miliband’s supper club cronies” says Tory MP Henry Smith after Guido revealed Ed Miliband received thousands of pounds in donations from an AstraZeneza board member. Ed Miliband should declare his interests before he starts political meddling” Smith continues. Which reminds Guido of a certain dinner we have still never had answers about…

Back in 2011 Ed promised to publish a list of attendees at a suspiciously “private and off the record” dinner held for him at the home of lobbyist-spinmeister Roland “Rat” Rudd:

Rudd’s Finsbury represent AstraZeneca and it’s no secret that he spins for Ed on less official terms. A spokesman for the firm would only confirm Guido that “Astrazenca have an ongoing dialogue with the Labour Party”So was there anyone from the pharma giants at that infamous dinner, and when did they last sit down with Ed?

UPDATE: A Labour spokesman stonewalls:

“The on-going bid for AstraZeneca by Pfizer raises serious questions about a key sector of our economy. It is absurd to suggest that Labour is raising this vitally important issue for any other reason than to represent and reflect the concerns of the tens of thousands of people who could be affected by any takeover.”

They don’t want to answer the questions…

Pfizer’s Fixers
Axelrod Hamstrings Another Labour Attack Opportunity

Pfizer are turning out to be just about as well-connected as you would expect a major multinational pharmaceutical corporation to be. They are well in with Downing Street having paid No. 10 director of external relations Gabby Bertin £25,000 when she worked with Adam Werrity at Liam Fox’s struck off Atlantic Bridge ‘charity’. Dave’s pollster Mark Textor also used to work for Pfizer ten years ago.

Normally Labour would make a fuss about this, so why so quiet? Perhaps because Miliband strategist David Axelrod’s old firm AKPD ran attack ads for Big Pharma in the States, a coalition that included the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, whose chairman is Pfizer CEO Ian Read. Lining the pockets of advisers from both parties can’t hurt when you need their support for your takeover…

Friday, May 2, 2014

McTernan the Tables

A downbeat John McTernan didn’t think much of Labour’s chances in the European elections when asked by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics today:

Brillo: “Are we inevtivably heading to European elections in which UKIP is a clear victor, Labour not a great second and the Tories a poor third?”

McTernan: “It’s got that feeling at the moment, hasn’t it. They’re certainly setting the terms of the debate and they have to be derailed by the other parties.”

Yet just two weeks ago the former Labour spinner claimed it was in the bag. In an effort to cheer up Labour supporters with little faith in Ed Miliband’s leadership he listed a “dozen reasons to be cheerful” to the Blairite faithful at Progress, McTernan boasted:

“Labour is set to win the European elections.

Now he admits that is unlikely, what changed?

McTernan also asserted in that same article that Labour would “storm London in the borough elections.”

More bad news for McTernan, Guido’s top campaign source at CCHQ told him yesterday that he was getting more confident that the Conservatives will do better in London, where economic growth is already resurgent, than might be expected. That storm is looking to blow an ill wind for Miliband…

Thursday, May 1, 2014

GUY NEWS: Ed Isn’t Listening to a Word His Gurus Say

First David Axelrod destroys Ed’s flagship energy price freeze by saying controls will lead to blackouts, now Lord Glasman offers his advice on rent caps:

“We’ve really got to get out of this idea that capping something is going to solve a long-term structural problem.”

It’s almost as if Ed only listens to those around him who never tell him he’s wrong…

Labour Reverse Ferret Over RICS Cock-Up

Ed Miliband is ignoring questions from broadcasters on whether the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors supports his rent caps policy following Guido’s story this morning. They have however rowed back considerably in a statement to Guido. Clarifying their earlier claim that RICS is “examining what an appropriate benchmark might be”, Labour now admit:

“RICs are developing proposals on long term tenancies and rent reviews linked to inflation or market rents as part of their Code of Practice for the Industry. We will look to build on their conclusions as we work with the industry to implement this policy in government.”

Which, RICS point out, does not mention benchmarking. They say “We do not recommend that a government introduce a ceiling on rent increases” and that rent caps are “not a solution”. That went well then…

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Balls’ GDP Nightmare

The shadow chancellor’s Ed Balls Day hangover has not been helped by this morning’s positive GDP figures. One phrase stood out in his response to the news:

“Now that growth has finally returned, the question is whether ordinary working people will properly feel the benefit and we have a balanced recovery that’s built to last… 

And with business investment still weak, infrastructure output down and housing demand outstripping housing supply, this is not yet a recovery that is built to last.

Labour’s plan will ensure we earn our way to higher living standards for all, not just a few at the top, and secure a strong and balanced recovery that is built to last.”

“Built to last” was the phrase used by Balls that led to Miliband advisers Torsten Bell and Greg Beales calling him a “nightmare” in those awkward leaked emails last year. This morning he used it three times in five lines…

Monday, April 28, 2014

WATCH: Gogglebox Verdict on Axelrod

The British public meets David Axelrod:

“I don’t care if they brought over the bleedin’ showgirls of Vegas they’re not gonna make him any more popular…”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

GuyNews Axelrod: Energy Price Controls Will Lead to Blackouts

Back when Ed’s new strategy chief David Axelrod was in Illinois, his lobbying firm set up a front group, Consumers Organised for Reliable Energy (CORE) on behalf of energy corporations, which ran a series of attack ads warning that attempting to control energy prices would result in blackouts and a “California style energy crisis”. Guido has got hold of them. Axelrod claims it is because he shares Miliband’s values that he will campaign for him, yet Ed wants to freeze energy prices in Britain, the very same policy that across the Atlantic he said would result in disaster…

The two CORE ads are available in full below:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Traditional British Welcome for New Ed Guru David Axelrod

Miliband has snapped up Obama’s campaign chief David Axelrod to be his strategic adviser for 2015. It didn’t take long for Wikipedia to report the move:

What he must think of his Twitter timeline Guido can only imagine:

So it’s Graf out and Axelrod in, a win for wee Dougie. He’ll be on a six-figure salary landing cash-strapped Labour in something of a cost-of-guru crisis. Remember to sort the work visa out this time, right chaps?

H/T @laurencereade

 


Seen Elsewhere

Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

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Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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