Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vote for Owen Jones!

Vote!owen

People always assume there is a lot of animosity between Owen Jones and Guido. This is far from the truth. As Twitter personalities we clash, offline we have been known to break bread together. So it is without hesitation that Guido recommends his readers vote for Owen to win “Twitter Public Personality”  in the public section of the Comment Awards.  It would be nice to see Owen at the champagne breakfast ceremony collect the prize from the sponsors – Barclays and Vodafone…

Monday, March 11, 2013

Overseas Aid Backers’ Spin King Connection

27 executives put their names to a letter in the FT this morning praising international aid. The names were gathered by Brendan Fox, former SpAd to Gordon Brown and current Save the Children policy director, where he works with Justin Forysth, another ex-Gordon spinner. So do the signatories have anything in common? BP, Pearson, BT, Xstrata and Reckitt Benckiser all signed the letter, all either are or have been clients of top City spinners Brunswick. Brunswick are in turn run by Alan Parker, a friend of Gordon who is also in charge of Save the Children. Surely all just coincidence…

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

SpAd-flation Breaks Coalition Agreement

The Coalition Agreement is frequently referred to as the government’s “sacred text”, if that is the case it is guilty of sacrilegious behaviour with Special Advisers. The document promised “We will put a limit on the number on Special Advisers”, the last government had 80 SpAds, yet according to figures released yesterday this government now has 81 up from 69 in the last 2 years since the election. The wage bill has risen some 30% as well…

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guto: “I Never Claimed Downing Street Offered Job”

At an ungodly hour this morning Guto Harri calls from New York to correct the claim that he was ever offered a job – or ever claimed he that he was offered a job – by Downing Street. Guido has previously raised eyebrows at the claim.

He says that articles suggesting he was were not his doing – the Telegraph’s Mandrake was not briefed by him and that he specifically told the Guardian that he had offers from a  “luxury manufacturing company and a large public affairs firm” not Downing Street. He told Guido that he didn’t go to spin for News International for the money – he could have gone to a bank for more money however that would be boring. He also said Guido seemed to know where he was going before he had made up his own mind…

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bada Bingle, Bada Boom

On Thursday Bell Pottinger closed down their “Special Projects” division and sacked everyone involved. This division specialised in murky foreign projects – advising governments in lovely places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Somalia, South Africa, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Yes, Zimbabwe.

We’re expecting an official announcement at midday that the one and only Peter Bingle is going as well. Restaurant owners across Westminster may have to make further redundancies as a result…

All this is ahead of a management buy-back by Lord Bell himself of the firm he founded. The troubled outfit ironically has a reputation as being closest to the Tories..

UPDATE:

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Staite v Sunday Times

Ed Staite is not taking the coming Sunday Times sting lying down. He has this morning published the written proposal he made to the undercover journalists posing as “Global Zenith”. He pitched £40,000 for an “Issues and Crisis Preparedness Plan” which looks pretty standard spinner’s stuff. The way Staite is handling the sting with his pre-buttal shows he is good in a crisis…

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Debate Tonight:
“Lobbyists Are Paid to Thwart the Democratic Will.”

Tonight Guido and Tamasin Cave from Spinwatch are proposing the motion for debate that “Lobbyists Are Paid to Thwart the Democratic Will”. Mark Adams from Stand Up 4 Lobbying and Justin Fisher from the The Magna Carta Institute are opposing.

The event is taking place in Smith Square, Westminster and the audience will probably be riddled with lobbyists. So if you want to attend tonight and bolster the forces of democracy, email debate@StandUp4Lobbying.org, There is free booze courtesy of Ellwood and Atfield.  Full details here. See you later…

Monday, October 17, 2011

Controversial Lobbyist at the Heart of Downing Street

In those heady days of spring 2010 Nick Clegg told the ITV leadership debate that he wanted “something I’ve supported all my adult political life, which is a complete clean-up from top to toe of politics.” This included an end to murky lobbying and he subsequently convinced the Conservative coalition negotiators of the need for a compulsory register of lobbyists. So it is odd then that the lobbyist Olly Grender has gone to spin for Nick Clegg out of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. Grender is in Downing Street covering the maternity leave of Clegg’s gatekeeper Lena Pietsch, which means she will be back on the outside practising the dark arts very soon….

After spinning for the Liberal Democrats in the run up to the 1997 election, Grender turned to the dark-side of lobbying at Neal Lawson and Jonathan Mendelsohn’s scandal ridden and now defunct LLM Communications, which became notorious for their level of access to the Blair government. Eventually she moved on to PLMR – Political Lobbying and Media Relations. Leaving the quack green energy companies represented by the firm aside,  the organisation boasts that they represent Frankenstein doctors  like PLMR client Reneuron who experiment with stem-cells taken from new-born children, and pro-puppy-torturing and mouse-probing animal research organisations like UAR. PLMR also spin for the Brazilian Beef food processing industry, which George Monbiot accuses of “deforestation, slavery and murder”. Classy stuff…

Given the unfettered access that Grender now has and that her appointment is only temporary, what measures have been taken in Downing Street to make sure that her firm’s clients, who until very recently were paying her to represent them, do not have undue influence? The Cabinet Office can instigate a cooling off period after officials leave the government before they can jump through the revolving door. Will this “two years in the cooler” apply to Grender and her corporate lobbying career? With Nick Clegg leading the charge against the spinmeisters, what has he done to get his own house in order?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ed Meets Predators for Dinner

image
Guido just asked Ed Miliband at his Labour HQ press conference (with Ed Balls) if the lobbyist Roland Rudd is a producer or a predator? He waffled on about meeting business people all the time but didn’t answer the question. He did promise to reveal who he met at last night’s dinner held off-the-record at the lobbyist’s home. So we will find out if he dined with producers or predators.

Should be noted that Roland Rudd made his millions representing financial service companies as well as predators and prey in takeover battles. Are spinners producers?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bi-Comms Disaster

After his story earlier in the week about pro-Israel lobby group BICOM, Guido was tipped that their CEO Lorna Fitzsimons, the former Labour MP, was in some serious trouble. He was tracking down an email that was accidentally sent out on Monday to some of BICOM’s media list instead of the intended recipients – the donors. Annoyingly Ephraim Hardcastle beat him to it this morning and reveals how Lorna blurted to the world that she has been:

“…liaising with BBC and Sky to ensure ‘the most objectively favourable line was taken…I briefed Jonathan Ford, the Financial Times leader writer for his upcoming leading article… BICOM had regular contact with the Editor at Large of Prospect magazine, David Goodhart, helping to inform him about the forthcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood…”

We have put the whole email online here. It’s standard lobbyist boasting, but Guido imagines the FT editors will take a dim view of any sign of them being influenced by a PR operation. A BICOM source tried to play down the story as “mildly embarrassing”, but it was the comment given to the Mail that really tickled Guido: “A BICOM spokesman denies that Ms Fitzsimons is to lose her job.” If you have to say it…

It is clear that all is not well at BICOM. The cock-up has apparently gone down rather badly, with some wondering how long Fitzsimmons can cling on. Two respected spinners have recently moved on after very short stays at the organisation – the LibDem Ed Fordham lasted just a month as their public affairs chief, and soon to be Head of Press at the Department of Education, Gabriel Milland, just six weeks. What can you spot in such a short space of time to make you run for the hills like that?


Seen Elsewhere

Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Now Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Labour Will Lose Commons if Scotland Votes Yes | Times
Miliband Blanked Gordon | Damian McBride
Cameron Surrenders Keys to Union | Rachel Sylvester
Boris Not Moving to Uxbridge | Scrapbook


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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