Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Elementary Level Watson

It’s no surprise that Tom Watson has taken to opposition so well, surreally Guido even got to collect an award on behalf of the attack dog last week. However Watson’s out of the blue claim that Coulson is off imminently is nothing but traffic grabbing bluster. Of course Number 10 dismissed the claim as such almost instantly, but then it’s still another day that village gossip is once again full of chatter. Job offers have apparently come Coulson’s way…

Stories concerning the government and Dave in the last few weeks show Coulson hasn’t had his eye 100% on the ball, and that’s before the silent war in Downing Street is even considered. There may not be a smoking gun, but no doubt Hilton and his “zen men” are enjoying the constant drip drip drip. Expert punters don’t agree with Watson and it’s going to take more than a letter with an exaggerated claim to push Coulson over the edge…

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Commons Committee to Investigate NOTW

As the phone “hacking” saga gets its debate in the House, and now a Standards and Privileges Committee investigation, new levels of hysteria have been reached. Tom Watson is demanding that Rupert Murdoch to be called before Parliament to answer for himself. Don’t hold your breath mate…

Given journalists left, right and centre are openly admitting, sometimes live on TV, that the practice of listening to other people’s answer-phone messages was widespread, you must wonder how papers like the Observer and the Mirror are justifying their Coulson onslaught. Back in 2002 a crowded room of showbiz reporters cheered and laughed as a Sun hack blamed Vodafone, who were sponsoring the event, for their lax security that enabled the Mirror to get their exclusives. When the Guardian wrote it up back then, they knew exactly what was meant and didn’t bat an eyelid.

Labour’s case is undone by only targeting News International and making this a big bad Murdoch attack. If they were really as concerned as they are pretending to be then they wouldn’t be focussing their fire on just one publication…

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Agreeing With Tom Watson

Well it’s taking some getting used to for Guido, but Tom Watson is certainly taking to his new role as chief-thorn-in-the-coalition-side. One of the benefits of going from government to opposition is you know where the bodies are buried. He knows his way around the Cabinet Office too. Though he seems to have been stonewalled on getting the government hospitality wine cellar list published, he is aiming slightly higher now…

First there was his report on government cars and who has actually given them up and who hasn’t, now this morning he has released his research into private offices and found Hague costs the taxpayer three times more than Vince Cable. Caveats like security and breadth of brief aside, it makes for an interesting read. No surprise that Caroline Spelman feels she needs twelve personal staff to assist her at DEFRA.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Temper, Temper Tom

This is from last night, but Guido was waiting for decent-quality footage to appear online of his old mucker Tom Watson losing it in the Commons and managing to break pretty much all established Parliamentary protocol in one sentence. It’s fair to say he doesn’t like Michael Gove very much:

Note the apology was only out of “deference” to Bercow, who for obvious reasons wouldn’t like the term pip-squeak.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Whining and Dining

Tom Watson has a new bee in his bonnet.  Like so many Labour MPs who are finding it deeply “unfair” that they are no longer in power, Watson has decided to try carry on the scorched earth-policy from the other side of the Commons chamber.  Because he no longer gets to quaff it, our old friend has started a justified campaign to have Government Hospitality, a unit that answers the Foreign Office, sell off their entire wine cellar. The mandarins are strangely stalling  at the first stage with the fairly astonishing excuse they get such a good deal on the wine that they couldn’t possibly reveal how much it costs. Offers too good to be true?

Tom and Guido have had their moments in the past but for once there is some common ground here, other than an appreciation for a good bottle. However for someone so willing to rebel against his own party in government, be it on the Digital Economy Bill or instigating a coup against their most successful leader ever, it’s mighty strange that only now that he finds himself in opposition is he willing to take up this new cause.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Support Gary Elsby!

For many years Gary Elsby was a regular contributor to the comments on this blog, much to the amusement of fellow co-conspirators. So it is without hesitation that Guido endorses his campaign “to do battle” and “carry the torch of socialism.”

The former Stoke Labour Party constituency secretary is standing as an independent, this is a bit of collateral damage in advance of the full-scale civil war that will come following a Labour defeat. Mandelson is trying to hold the line against the Whelan-Balls-Brown axis which is putting its placemen into upcoming seats using UNITE’s muscle with Tom Watson enforcing the faction’s advantage wherever he can. Mandelson in private sees the battle for Labour’s soul as his primary mission having calculated that Labour is likely to face at least one, if not two terms out of office.

The exit of so many Blairites has been a tawdry money-grubbing affair which has strengthened the Brownite / UNITE hand with ordinary disgusted Labour Party activists.  Mandelson has weakened his hand by misjudging matters and insisting that a “toff” like Tristram should be a standard bearer for his faction.

All in all, Stoke promises to be a foretaste of the chaos that will engulf the Labour Party following election day…

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quote of the Day

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

+ + + Libel Reform Blocked + + +

tom_wDetails are a little sketchy tonight, but Guido understands that there has been a last minute ambush of Jack Straw’s libel reform bill in the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments.

The ambush was apparently galvanised by Tom Watson, with the support of Chris Mullins, Peter Kilfoyle, Jim Sheridan and Julie Kirkbride.

It seems inexplicable, the reform carries widespread support across all parties. Cynics note that some of last minute opponents had in the past benefitted from Conditional Fee Arrangements (CFAs). Others point to the closeness to former speaker Michael Martin, who opposes the reforms in the Lords. Others note that some of the oppents have themselves been beneficiaries of CFAs . Solicitors Carter-Ruck are lobbying intensely against to keep the no-win-no-fee system. Carter-Ruck won £50,000 for Tom Watson on that basis. Coincidentally.

+ + + Developing + + +

Guido Fact : Carter-Ruck solicitors had a table at the Index on Censorship Awards.

UPDATE : Index on Censorship has more:

LIBEL COSTS REFORM STALLED BY LABOUR MPS’ REVOLT

30 Mar 2010

A Statutory Instrument that would have reformed costs in English libel cases was stalled at committee stage tonight after several Labour MPs voted against their party whip to bock a reduction of lawyers’ success fees from a 100 per cent mark-up to 10 per cent. Chris Mullin, Peter Kilfoyle, Tom Watson and Jim Sheridan and Julie Kirkbride voted against the move. Watson and Kilfoyle have both taken advantage of Conditional Fee Agreements in past court cases. Conservative MPs abstained from the vote.

The proposal will now go to a full parliamentary vote.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From the Green Bench to the Bench Press

A little birdy just told Guido the unlikely tale that his old sparring partner Tom Watson is opening a gym in his constituency tonight. Hopefully witnesses (or even avid blog reader Tom himself) will be able to provide another Kodak moment.

It is not clear at this point whether Watson will be taking up membership…

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Double Plus Good

Guido was somewhat surprised to hear high praise coming from his old sparring partner Tom Watson of all people. During the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee last week, Watson was quick to praise this blog and push an argument often put forward here: that diary editors are thieving magpies. The academic expert being grilled, Paul Bradshaw, Lecturer in Journalism, Birmingham City University even agreed:

O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his bearded face. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Blogger.

Watson 2009, after Orwell 1948, as Smith in “1984”


Seen Elsewhere

Boris is Right About Grammar Schools | Conservative Women
‘Obsolete’ Cable | Speccie
Why are Tories so Upbeat? | Alex Wickham
Clear Public Interest in Newmark Sting | Mirror
Boris Invites Farage to Join Tories | Guardian
RAF Too Run Down to Fight Islamic State | Con Coughlin
Osborne’s Personal Cuts Regime | Quentin Letts
Whoever Wins is Cursed | Janan Ganesh
Dave Will Never Be Forgiven if Ed Becomes PM | Trevor Kavanagh
What is Dave’s Big Message? | Tim Montgomerie
Voting UKIP Only Helps Ed | Boris


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cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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