Thursday, March 27, 2014

LibDem Poll Spin: Clegg Actually Lost 65%-28%

LibDem press office is trying to spin its way out of last night’s 22 point thumping, selectively quoting three lines of YouGov pollster Peter Kellner’s methodology to suggest the results were unfair on Clegg:

Yet if you look at Kellner’s reasoning in full rather than the heavily edited LibDem version, if YouGov had done what the LibDems wanted and not “skewed” the poll Farage would have actually beaten Clegg 65% to 28%:

“An alternative approach would have been NOT to have corrected the political skew among our original 3,000 sample. The argument for doing this is that any assessment of audience reaction should take the audience as it is – in this case, accepting that UKIP supporters were much more likely to watch or listen to the debate than supporters of other parties. Had we done this, I estimate that the verdict of the audience would have been Farage 65%, Clegg 28%. Those who prefer to cite this figure, rather than to adjust for the UKIP-rich nature of the audience, are of course free to do so.”

A spectacular trajectory of toys from pram.

Monday, March 17, 2014

BBC Spin Machine Lobbying MPs on Licence Fee

The BBC are using their team of expensive in-house lobbyists to cajole MPs into rejecting plans to decriminalise not paying the TV Licence Fee. In a briefing seen by Guido, smooth talking BBC lobbyist Alice Dickerson told MPs that “the BBC does not want people to go to prison,” before reminding MPs that 51 people were locked up for not paying their TV licence fines in 2012. She goes on to threaten that the move would mean the they would lose £200 million every year which “would lead to substantial cuts in BBC content and services”, and says she wants to delay any debate on the issue until 2016. Guido has a better idea of where the axe could fall: why not scrap Auntie’s army of PR types and lobbyists who use millions of licence fee payers’ money every year to lobby against our interests.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gove v Clegg Proxy War
Free School Meals a “Rubbish Gimmick”, Part of Deal with Dave

Dominic Cummings, the ex-Gove adviser formerly known as @ToryEducation, has piled into Clegg’s unravelling free school meals policy on the World at One. He confirms it was part of a deal between Cameron and Clegg involving the Tory conference marriage tax break, that Gove told them it was “rubbish” and that DfE were only told about it an hour before it was announced:

“Clegg’s team tried to persuade us to do it in 2013. We refused. So Clegg said to Cameron in secret before party conferences, ‘you give me this and I’ll give you your marriage tax announcement for Tory conference, Gove refuses to do it so you’ll have to force him.’ The DfE wasn’t told until about an hour or so before the announcement. No policy work was done in advance. Officials in DfE were unanimous that it was a bad gimmick and introduced in a way that makes it hard to avoid implementation chaos. Officials were obviously right. 

It was a back of the fag packet number by Clegg’s spin doctors. We told them it was rubbish. It is based on a supposed DfE underspend that did not exist and they were told it did not exist. Because Clegg only thinks about politics – and starts every meeting saying ‘I haven’t been able to read the policy papers but let’s talk about the politics’ – he assumed that our opposition was because it was a Clegg idea but it wasn’t. Our opposition was because it is a dumb idea badly executed that shows why politicians should have less power over schools, and although I had many disagreements with Whitehall officials and the methods of the civil service, this is very firmly the fault of Clegg.”

Not like Dom to sit on the fence about something…

Monday, March 3, 2014

Where have the Conservative Friends of Russia Gone?

The Conservative Friends of Russia re-branded into the Westminster Russian Forum in 2012 after allegations of homophobic smear campaigns, string pulling from the Russian embassy and Moscow gold. When exposed by the press, the Embassy accused the British press of playing ‘a critical part in engineering the unnecessary Crimean War’ in a long winded statement.

Fast forward 18 months and the new impartial forum for those interested in ‘Russian politics, business, history and culture’ were quick to tweet all about the Sochi Winter Olympics, and announce their new committee line up. Yet they’ve gone very quiet in the last week. And their website is down. How odd…

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ed Accused of Rigging Special Conference Vote

Miliband’s party reforms are meant to democratise the Labour Party and end the culture of back-room deals and stitch ups. Ed wants to ‘let people back into politics’, so it’s amused Guido no end that not everyone in the party is very happy at how preparations for this weekend’s Special Conference are going. Accusations are flying around that the leadership is trying to rig the rubber stamping of the new voting and affiliation rules for the party and the unions. The conference will have delegates from all over the country, representing constituency parties – so far so good – normally these would be ordinary local committee members of Constituency Labour Party branches.

This time around, in a highly unusual move, Guido understands that a significant number of these ‘constituency reps’ are in fact the local MP. Labour Press have had all day but are yet to give an exact figure. While perhaps not being against the rules, this goes very strongly against the spirit of them – which is to make sure grass-roots get a say in any party reforms. As one source said today “Ed thinks they’ve got away with it and that no-one’ll notice.”

That new politics in action, once again!

EU’ve Got to Be Kidding
Botched Spin Job Lets Cat Out of Bag

Well done Bjorn Kjellstrom, Head of the UK Office of the European Parliament, for helping the Eurosceptic cause no end. While berating British journalists in a letter for not correctly reporting EU matters, the grumpy Swede has let the cat out the bag: “not all citizens are aware that possibly a majority of the laws that have an impact on their daily lives are decided on by MEPs in the European Parliament.” Something swivel-eyed Europhiles always try to deny…

Via @jonwalker121

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Harman: “No One Should Be Complacent” About Historic Abuse

In 2012 Harriet Harman was very clear about not letting old sex abuse issues rest:

“no one should be complacent and believe that sexual abuse by people in positions of power at the BBC happened then, but could not happen now? The BBC should proceed now to review all its policies and processes on the protection of children, sexual harassment and whistleblowing, in order to be sure that the right policies and processes are in place and are properly enforced.”

She told the Commons that “there are still countless young women and men who have been abused but have never complained because they bear a great burden of shame, guilt and disgust, and fear that they will not be believed.”

And what to do?

“Should not our strong and clear message to them today be “Come forward now, seek the support that you need to address the wrong that has been done to you, and, in doing so, not only secure the justice that you deserve but protect others in the future”?”

Suddenly, when the wolves are at her door, it’s all a smear to dredge up history.

When is a Speech Not a Speech?

It’s safe to say this morning’s ‘speech’ by Grant Shapps and the multi-millionaire wheeler dealer Sir John Major has been a bit of a clusterf**k. In fact there is zero evidence so far that it even took place. There are a couple of quotes in the Mail and on PA but why was no one invited?

This is the press release that went out. Did these mythical candidates even say anything?

As the Tories thought it fit to not invite any press to the event, we have to rely on a stream of verbal diarrhoea from @CCHQPress as evidence it ever happened. Surely they can’t be so worried about a few questions that they would go out of their way to shoot themselves in the foot like this? It’s going to be a long campaign at this rate.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Labour MPs Revolt Against Miliband’s “Sloganeering”

With just a few days to go before Labour’s special conference, two Labour MPs have used interviews with Total Politics to hand Miliband a big public slap over his messaging. Simon Danczuk was victim to red on red revenge last time he criticised Ed, though that hasn’t deterred him:

“Some [slogans] have a shelf-life, others don’t… so ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ is probably coming to the end of its sell-by-date, isn’t it? People get turned off by it. I read the other day ‘One Nation Social Security’ – what the hell is that? Andrew Neil asked me on the Daily Politics about ‘One Nation Banking’. ‘One Nation Banking’? For goodness sake! If I went round talking like that on the doorstep, I’d get short shrift. You’d see doors being slammed in your face.”

Meanwhile head girl Stella Creasy wades in, deriding Ed’s ‘One Nation':

“If you ever met people from Walthamstow you wouldn’t tell them anything like that because they’d quite quickly put you in your place.”

Which all bodes well for Saturday…

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mehdi’s Corporate Paymaster Censors Critics

In a change from side-boob and upskirt shots, Mehdi Hasan is frothing about ‘corporate welfare’ (geddit) over at the Huffington Post. He’s attacking the media for being complicit with large companies and banks:

“They are aided by their friends, allies and outriders in the right-wing media echo chamber, who have never had to endure the indignity of turning to payday lenders or food banks in order to survive.”

Which is odd given that Mehdi is aiding his corporate paymasters by censoring comments about the tax status of the Huffington Post’s parent company directly below his rant. Guido has been trying to leave the following comment all day:

“AOL turned over £56,801,000 last year yet manage to pay only £9,000 in corporation tax. How so? Could it be because HuffPo is losing money or that its UK owner, AOL Limited, repatriates profits to escape paying its dues in the UK to the Luxembourg-registered AOL Europe Société à responsabilité limitée. If Mehdi cared about the millions in corporate profits being exported by multinational corporations he wouldn’t work for one of the worst exemplars”

Sadly that inconvenient truth does not fit Mehdi’s agenda.


Seen Elsewhere

The School That Proves Michael Gove Was Right | Toby Young
Full Jenkin/Beckett/Straw Letter to PM | Politics Home
The ‘Buckingham Bonaparte’ is Cornered | Speccie
Coalition: The Movie | Indy
Lefties Moan About Messina Working For Cameron | MSNBC
Karen Danczuk V Louise Mensch: Round 48 | Sun
Jack Straw Slams Bercow | Sky News
Putin Shuts Down Red Square McDonalds | Telegraph
Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times


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Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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