Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tom Watson Resigns Over Falkirk Scandal

Dear Ed,

I said that I’d stay with you as general election co-ordinator within the Shadow Cabinet as long as I was useful. I think it would be a good idea for you, and me, if I stood down from the role now.

As you know, I offered my resignation on Tuesday and you asked me to reconsider. I’ve thought about it and still feel it is better for you and the future unity of the party that I go now. There are some who have not forgiven me for resigning in 2006. I fully accept the consequences of that decision and genuinely hope my departure allows the party to move on.

Yet it’s not the unattributed shadow cabinet briefings around the mess in Falkirk that has convinced me that the arrangement has run its course (though they don’t help). I believe that the report should be published – in full – and the whole truth told as soon as possible so that the record can be made clear. I’ve still not seen the report but believe there are an awful lot of spurious suppositions being written.

I wish to use the backbenches to speak out in areas of personal interest: open government and the surveillance state, the digital economy, drones and the future of conflict, the child abuse inquiries, the aftermath of the Murdoch scandal and grass roots responses to austerity.

Having resigned a couple of times before, I know how puckish lobby hacks might choose to misconstrue the departure. So to make it harder for them let me say this: I’m proud of your Buddha-like qualities of patience, deep thought, compassion and resolve. I remain your loyal servant. I’ll always be on hand to help you if you need me. I just don’t think you need me in the Shadow Cabinet any more. After nearly thirty years of this, I feel like I’ve seen the merry-go-round turn too many times. Whereas the Shadow Cabinet’s for people who still want to get dizzy.

You have it in you to be an outstanding Labour Prime Minister. The road ahead is always rocky but I will be with you all of the way, cheering you on from the backbenches. You’re my friend and leader, and I’m going to do all I can to make sure you win in 2015.

Here’s my parting thought:

John Humphrys asked me why you were not at Glastonbury this weekend. I said Labour leaders can’t be seen standing in muddy fields listening to bands. And then I thought how terribly sad that this is true. So: be that great Labour leader that you can be, but try to have a real life too. And if you want to see an awesome band, I recommend Drenge.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Watson

It was Hodges wot won it…

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Watson’s Chickens are Coming Home to Roost

A bad day for Tom Watson, as his role in Labour’s current woes emerges. Guido has been saying it for weeks. As the Telegraph points out this morning: “If Ed Miliband wants to become prime minister in 2015 he needs to sack Tom Watson.” They lift the lid on how toxic the Mafia-man works behind the scenes. When he takes time out of tweeting pictures from Glasto, that is:

“Part of Tom Watson’s problem is that he is a man in the right place at the wrong time – an old-school Brownite machine politician in an era when the political machines are grinding to a halt. “I was in the room at the first meeting Tom had with us after being appointed campaign coordinator,” says one party insider. “His first words were, ‘You’ve got to understand, I know more about political campaigning than any of you’. You just can’t do that. No one’s impressed by that talk any more.” Which isn’t strictly true. Ed Miliband was impressed by it, which is why Watson was given carte blanche to expand his influence over selections, campaigns and broader political strategy.”

The BBC’s James Purnell put it, Watson is a “cancer at the heart of the Labour Party”. As Rachel Sylvester says in the Times, Miliband “must prove that he is strong enough to stand up to the macho politics of fixing and back-room deals. The world has moved on. Labour must adapt too — or it will die.” A good start would be for Ed to release the full Labour inquiry into what went on in Falkirk. If Watson will let him…

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whittingdale Speaks Out Over Half-Brother’s Arrest

Media Select Committee Chairman John Whittingdale has spoken out about the arrest this morning of his half-brother Charles Napier, who was nicked by the Met investigating 80s abuse at Elm Guest House in Barnes:

“I am aware that my half-brother was arrested at our mother’s home. I have absolutely no idea about the claims but if allegations have been to police they should be investigated.”

So far Watson has refrained from attack, publicly…

Via Standard.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another Watson Ex-Staffer Sews Up Labour Selection

Guido hears that Tom Watson did not take too kindly to his story about the heavy support Labour’s campaign guru has been giving their prospective parliamentary candidates yesterday. Now another of Watson’s WAGs* has sewn up a selection. Former Phil Woolas staffer Mari Williams, who boasts that she used to work for Watson at Labour HQ, will run in Cardiff North. It’s becoming a meme…

* Women and girlfriend.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Watson’s WAGs*

Another day and another Labour selection overshadowed by the heavy hand of Tom Watson. Congratulations to Stephanie Peacock the trade unionist of no distinguishable career, who has managed to get selected in the marginal seat of Halesowen and Rowley Regis. Regular readers will remember that Ms. Peacock is romantically linked to Watson and at just 25 is on rather the young side, to be a candidate. Peacock will receive a lot of heavy support from Labour’s Vice Chairman for Campaigns, no doubt.

Elsewhere, the fallout from Watson’s attempt to get his close personal friend and staff member Karie Murphy the seat of Falkirk continues to unravel. The Mail didn’t name the “senior Labour figure”, though it’s clear Watson is in this one up to his waist. Not only have there been allegations of block buying membership for union heavies, now someone has been threatening the employer of Murphy’s rival:

“The Labour whistleblower told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I was shocked to be told a senior Labour figure told Blue State Digital that unless Poynton pulled out of Falkirk, the company could lose contracts with Labour.’”

He sent congratulations to Joan Ryan too; the expenses fiddler was selected in Enfield North in an equally dodgy selection process. Guess who visited the seat hours before the dodgy goings on began?

*Women and Girlfriend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stranger Things Have Happened…

… Though not many. The baronetcy heir apparent tests the effects on the working man of his 1p cut to the price of beer, pulling a pint for Tom Watson in parliament’s Strangers bar last night. Sampling the latest from his local brewery, called Pennies from Eleven apparently. Must not make eye contact…

Via @michaeldughermp

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tom Watson Fingered Over Plotting Dinner

Last month Guido reported that Joan Ryan, former Labour MP expenses piggy turned wannabe candidate in Enfield North, was trying to stitch up a seat for a pal in a neighbouring constituency. She brought along dozens of new members to Enfield Southgate CLP’s AGM in order to back Ibrahim Dogus, though for some reason didn’t want to answer Guido’s questions about the little trick.

Guido has now seen an official complaint from the secretary of the local party to Labour HQ alleging the new members had joined the party the previous day. Crucially the secretary suggests the fishy plot was dreamt up at a dinner with Tom Watson:

What’s going on, Tommy?

Monday, May 13, 2013

No Such Thing As a Free Lunch

As Guido reported in his Sun on Sunday column, the Labour triumvirate of Tom Watson, John Spellar and Michael Dugher are being remarkably tight-lipped about what was discussed over lunch with Lord Ashcroft last week, and who picked up the tab. A friend points out that “Tom Watson’s credit card hasn’t been seen in 25 years” and Spellar is a notoriously “careful with his money” Yorkshireman. Presumably that means Aschroft made his first donation to the Labour Party by footing the bill.

And it’s paying off: the flirting continues this morning, with Ashcroft gleefully retweeting Watson’s digs at Gove and Watson laying on the praise for Ashcroft’s polling. It seems Watson can be bought off with food…

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

One You Won’t Read About On ConservativeHome

No doubt Watson took the opportunity to ask Ashcroft awkward questions about his relationship with politicians, as he has been doing for the best part of a decade…

UPDATE: 

Guido hears lunch was at Gran Paradiso in Victoria.

Looks like one of the lunchers got some early brown-nosing in before they sat down.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tom Watson Backs Blog Off

There is now cross-party unity condemning the Hacked Off drafted attempt to regulate the blogosphere, as Tom Watson backs the Blog Off campaign against control of the internet:

“It is clear to all but the very stupid that the new system should only apply to big media -with print operations that might also have a digital presence. Maria Miller should urgently clarify how this will be achieved.”

As one of the guilty men leading the charge against the free press, it’s better late than never.

Good to have a “propa blogger” on board…


Seen Elsewhere

Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph
All Three Parties Mulling Leadership | Staggers


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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