Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cabinet Office Spy’s “Specialist Policy” Mission

Yesterday’s poorly worded/suspicious Cabinet Office statement on Prince Charles’ spy in the heart of government had the distinct whiff of a cover-up. Just who is the mystery man, or lady, seconded from the Royal Household? Why is he, or she, there? What exactly is he, or she, doing? Guido has learned that the representative from the Household of the Prince of Wales’ remit centres around a “specialist policy role”. He has reason to believe it is a lady as well.

Despite the obvious implication that someone with close links to the Royal Family is working on government policy, a Cabinet Office spokesman insists that is not the case and they have no role in legislation. The official kick back still refuses to reveal the staffer’s identity, this time on the rather tenuous grounds that it would not be fair since he/she is in a “relatively junior”. Senior sources in the department are now emphasising to Guido that the unnamed person’s role is unrelated to their work with the Prince of Wales and that high-security clearance is not “required”.

So why not just be completely transparent about the arrangement?

Maybe Dave could phone up that shady royal benefactor who got him his job, so we could get to the bottom of this once and for all…

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Speaker Says Bye Bye to £1.5 Million Barber

Outgoing TUC fat cat Brendan Barber is still hanging around like a bad smell. Guido understands that last night the Speaker held a leaving party in his taxpayer-funded state apartment for the £100,000-a-year union baron. The drink was flowing as the usual union thugs like Ian Lavery and John Bercow’s old pal Jack Dromey said goodbye to their strike-happy former boss. Tories are spitting feathers this morning that union-lover Rob Halfon was also in attendance. As if Barber’s £1.5 million golden goodbye was not enough…

Whips Warn MPs Helicopter Crash No Excuse

This went out moments after the news broke:

From: Government Whips Admin Unit (HOC)
Sent: 16 January 2013 08:47
Subject: Travel disruption

Following a helicopter crash in Vauxhall this morning colleagues should be aware there will be serious travel disruption in the area.

You may need to leave earlier in time for the deferred division.

Robert Goodwill
Government Pairing Whip

What a charmer.

“Useless” Eustice’s Campaign Against the Media Grows

George Eustice, seemingly one of the few people who has ever defected from UKIP to the Tories and the PM’s former Press Secretary, has upped his war against the media.  The man who wants the state to regulate/gag hacks now says that journalists should trust politicians more and he’s coming for the broadcasters:

eustice-devil“The truth is that no democracy can work without political parties, making their case, having robust arguments with one another. The current broadcasting rules meant that broadcasters had too much power. That has led to, I think, an over-emphasis on process, on political strategy, rather than actually giving politicians the credit for doing what they do do most of the time, which is to say what it is that they actually believe.”

If politicians didn’t spend so much time committing horrendous process foul-ups, let alone failing to devise any coherent political strategy whatsoever, perhaps the press would not be so scathing. Political parties have their own websites from which to broadcast in unedited form. As Eustice’s own colleague Douglas Carswell put it last night: “The law should be changed to allow political parties to communicate directly with voters? Really?! Try blogging or twitter instead…” If the Tories want more airtime on their own terms then they should deregulate political advertising on TV… 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Collective Responsibility Has Been Suspended Before

Dave and Nick have taken the politically extraordinary step to “set aside” collective responsibility over the boundary reform vote. The move will allow LibDem ministers to rebel against the government without having to resign. This has raised all sorts of constitutional discussion among politicos, but it’s not the first time this has happened.

erskine

Previous governments have suspended collective responsibility before in slightly differing ways, for example the 1930s National Government over tariff reform, Harold Wilson over Europe in 1975, and Tony Blair’s failure to sack Claire Short over Iraq. With this hardly being an issue of conscience, however, it is hard to argue against the claim that our – albeit uncodified – constitutional commitment to collective responsibility is being severely eroded under the Coalition. What would Erskine May say…

Dave Haemorrhaging 2010 Support to UKIP

ukip2

No pressure for Friday Dave. A damning new poll has found that one in three Conservative voters in 2010 would currently vote UKIP in the Euro elections. The YouGov poll has the Tories in second place but still haemorrhaging support to UKIP. ComRes had them in second over the weekend.

If anything it seems like an under-estimate…

Friday, January 11, 2013

Daybreak Host Slams Hancock’s Extra Half Hour In Bed

Some pretty damning tweets from Daybreak presenter Matt Barbet over Matthew Hancock’s late arrival to the show yesterday morning:

matt

What was that about the shirkers staying in bed with the curtains closed…

Screenshot via LabourList

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

George Osborne’s Benefits Swindle

George Osborne has been getting it in the neck after the Daily Politics unearthed this old footage of the Chancellor allegedly advocating tax avoidance back when he was a mere MP and Brillo’s “parliamentary doctor”. Not quite, George was actually advising hard-up Bill on personal care, a benefits swindle rather than tax dodging. Once again Labour deliberately confusing benefits and tax. And as for the eyebrows…

Vid via @liarpoliticians

Patrick Rock – Dave’s Quiet Bat Person

Another direct hit for Downing Street snapper Steve Back of Political Pictures. You will remember his handiwork involving Oliver Letwin, government papers and a park bin. His photos have let the Telegraph put a nice spanner into the Coalition Review, with Cameron’s fixer Patrick Rock getting snapped flashing embarrassing documents showing just how stage managed the whole relaunch is. The news getting out that “problematic areas” will lead to “unfavourable copy” for “broken pledges” is an unusual public cock up for the most powerful Cameron adviser most people have never heard of…

Rock and Dave go back to the Home Office under the progressive days of Michael Howard. The story goes that on the day John Smith died they went drinking in the Two Chairmen, where they “both agreed that Blair coming meant that we [Conservatives] would be f**ked.” Guido understands that Rock was behind the vetoing of  former Policy Exchange Director Neil O’Brien joining the No.10 team, resulting in O’Brien going to No.11 to work for Osborne instead. Rock has been working under the public radar in Downing Street since spring 2011 and after this nightmare, he will likely keep an even lower profile… 

Damian Green: Dominic Grieve Threw Me Off a Bridge

drown

When Damian Green was infamously arrested in 2008 as part of a Home Office leaks investigation it was Dominic Grieve who led the Tory backlash. The duo go back a long way having both attended Oxford University together, but there could be a more mysterious reason as to why Grieve felt the need to repay his old acquaintance.

Back in 1977, when current police minister Green was the president of the Oxford Union, he was threatened with legal action after accusing a group of fellow students – including former OUCA president Grieve – of throwing him off a bridge at Magdalen College. Budding young reporter and future sleuth Michael Crick, who edited the Cherwell student newspaper at the time, reported:

“The whole affair started at the end of the Magdalen guest night dinner on Sunday, where Green and Ceiri Roberts, this term’s Union returning officer, were guests of Peter Laing. Green was grabbed by about a dozen Magdalen undergraduates and some of their guests, and forcibly carried to the bridge over the Cherwell at the back of the College. There Green was dropped from a height of about twelve feet into one and a half feet of water. In his fall he missed being impaled on some rusty spikes by only a few inches. Fortunately it was his shoulder which hit the stony bottom first, but as Green told Cherwell: “I could easily have hit my head on the bottom, been concussed, and drowned.”

The rest, as they say, is history…

H/T @jimwaterson

Seen Elsewhere

Jason Groves New Mail Deputy Pol Ed | MediaGuido
Cocaine Conservatives | Standard
Jezza Browne Responds to LibDem Haters | LibDem Voice
Why Britain Needs to Leave the EU | Douglas Carswell
Who Tells Ed When He’s Wrong? | Speccie
Hands Off Our Cojones, Mr Clegg | Laura Perrins
London Live Averaging Just 2,400 Viewers | Forbes
Ed’s Constitutional Failure | ConHome
UKIP Poster Girl’s Naked Photos | Sun
Miliband’s Radical Old Labour Agenda | Fraser Nelson
Meet Team Miliband | Dan Hodges


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Dan Hodges on Team Miliband:

“‘Poisonous’, was the picture painted by one former senior advisor. ‘Dysfunctional,’ said one shadow cabinet member. ‘A bunch of medieval courtiers, not an office,’ said another. The most positive description I could get was ‘It’s a work in progress. They’re learning. Slowly. But they are learning.’”



Nick Clegg says:

Do you want lies with that?


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