Friday, May 3, 2013

Tory and Labour Spinners’ Lines to Take in Full

The Tory and Labour spin machines are out in force this morning. You don’t need to watch the TV, Guido has their lines to take.

Tories:

We’ve lost some excellent councillors last night, and we’ll lose more today. 

However, only a handful of councils have declared so far, and we’re still in the dark about the majority of results.
 
Of course we understand why some people didn’t vote for us – we need to focus even more on the things that matter to hardworking people: turning the economy around, fixing welfare, helping with the cost of living and controlling immigration.
 
We’ve always been straight about the scale of the task facing this country: there are no easy options, and there’s still a long way to go. But on the issues people care about we are on the right track. The deficit is down by a third. Crime is down. Net immigration is down by a third. And we’ve capped welfare.
 
As we move towards a General Election – the true choice will be between a Conservative Government that will deal with the deficit and control welfare and immigration – and the same old Labour Party who want more borrowing, more spending and more debt.
 

Over the next two years we are even more determined to continue to change this country to put hardworking people at the centre of everything we do.

Labour:

One Nation Labour is making good progress. Ed Miliband is determined to ensure Labour keeps changing, keeps working hard, listening more and doing politics in a different way. This is obviously a damning verdict of the Tories and Lib Dems and their failure in Government – they say this morning that they “get it”, but they only offer more of the same.

In South Shields we’ve had a strong result with over 50% of the vote. Council results will take time to come in but Labour’s seen good progress overnight. Winning battleground seats that are crucial for 2015: topping the poll and returning Labour councillors in Harlow, Stevenage and Hastings as well as making 4 gains in Cannock.

Picking up some surprise gains including 5 gains in Weymouth in Dorset and 5 gains in Gloucestershire. Across the country UKIP has taken significant votes from the Tories. The Tories have lost control of heartland councils like Lincolnshire, where UKIP have gone from none to 16 councillors overnight.

UKIP have pushed the Conservatives into a distant third in South Shields. If the Tories lose more than 244 seats they will have seen all the gains they made in 2009, when these seats were last contested and Labour had its worst result in decades, wiped out.

This has been a bad night for the Lib Dems, with their worst ever by-election result in South Shields, coming seventh with less than 2% of the vote. They’ve also lost 5 seats in Hampshire to UKIP.

This is what you will be hearing from the Tory and Labour MPs touring the studios today.

Backlash Begins

Defeated Tory councillors are already laying the blame firmly at Dave’s door this morning. Lifelong Tory and now former Hampshire councillor Alexis McEvoy has written a scathing attack for the Telegraph:

“There is a problem with the people at the top of our political parties. They just don’t listen. They don’t listen to ordinary people or our concerns. The European Union referendum is a good example. They all promise a referendum, but come the time, they change their minds and say ‘You don’t need a referendum”. David Cameron says he’ll have a referendum, but no-one believes a word he says. I don’t believe a word he says, and I’m a lifelong Conservative…

The Ukip messages chime with everybody, but they have done the Conservatives most harm, and I think that’s our own fault in a way. For some unknown reason, David Cameron and his advisers seem to think that a lot of Conservative voters’ values are out-of-date and need to be modernised and thrown out. These are values that we have held true to for years, and now they are being ditched. We stood up for things in the past. We don’t stand up for anything any more.”

Expect more of the same throughout the day…

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Plain Packs Whacked

Good news reported in the Sun this morning: Dave is ditching the nannying plans for plain cigarette packaging. Like minimum pricing, it was probably doomed from the start; plain packs would have cost the Treasury billions, alienated the half a million who said “hands off our packs” and was opposed by MPs of all parties. March’s Guardian scoop on the subject, will remain an exclusive…

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tories and Guardian v UKIP, Staggers and a Delingpole

It takes something pretty special to unite the Tories and the Guardian, and then have UKIP and the New Statesman team up against them. UKIP candidate Dick Delingpole’s photoshop of himself with Hitler and subsequent Telegraph blog “confessing” to a non-existent Nazi past were so obviously a joke surely no one could fall for it. Step forward Simon Geraghty, Delingpole’s Tory opponent in Worcester, to bore us all with a cringeworthy sense of humour bypass:

“I find it absolutely sickening and abhorrent. I think the vast majority of British people will find this shocking – it’s not funny at all, it’s dreadful and I can’t believe he’s done it.”

The Guardian‘s Nick Watt even managed to bring himself to write the non-story up in full high-minded glory, apparently using the headline “Ukip in fresh Nazi row after candidate Photoshops Hitler image” without irony. You knew the whole thing had reached farcical proportions when the Staggers came out in defence of Delingpole this afternoon. CCHQ, a Tory candidate and the Guardian versus UKIP, the Staggers and a Delingpole – roll on Friday.

Tory MP Demands Ed Sacks Ken For Boston Bombing Slur

24 hours after Guido reported that Ken had blamed America for the Boston bombings on Iranian state television, and still he has escaped reprimand. Tory MP Brooks Newmark has now written to Ed demanding he be sacked from Labour’s NEC:

“I find it wholly reprehensible for Mr Livingstone to link the Boston bombings to Western intervention in the Middle East. In doing so, he suggests that the actions of the two Boston bombers were justified and excusable. I am sure that both you and the Labour Party agree that terrorism, which in this case killed three innocent people and injured many others, is never justified and never excusable.

He also intimates that America itself was responsible for the bombings. I am sure that you will also agree with me that the only two people responsible for the bombings were the terrorists themselves.

As a member of Labour’s NEC, Mr Livingstone has been placed in a position of responsibility and influence within your Party. As leader of the Labour Party, I call on you to condemn these disgusting remarks and remove Mr. Livingstone from your NEC. I know you will want to do so as soon as possible to make clear that neither you nor the Labour Party condones such beliefs.”

Your move, Ed…

Voters Still Blame Labour For Economic Woes

Tory strategists could be forgiven for worrying that after three years of little or no growth and a £120 billion spending black hole this year alone, Dave and George’s reliance on blaming Britain’s economic slump on the last Labour government might be wearing thin with voters. Apparently not.

A study by media agency OMD of over 2,000 adults from across the UK has found that 53% still blame the previous Labour government for Britain’s ongoing economic problems, compared with just 39% blaming the coalition. 39% say Gordon is the main culprit, with just 27% fingering Cameron and 23% Osborne. Numbers Downing Street will be clinging onto…

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Exclusive: What Really Happened With Priti Patel’s Dad

So Priti Patel’s father was publicly a candidate for UKIP for approximately an hour and a half today before it was announced he was standing down. So what happened?

Needless to say that senior UKIP figures were rather excited about securing Mr Patel as a candidate, so much so that one of their senior comms people couldn’t help but cough it to a BBC journalist in the Marquis of Granby, Westminster last night. Unfortunately for the spinner he failed to check who said Beeboid was drinking with – a government special adviser – who promptly went round the corner and immediately called the story in to CCHQ. By the time it broke this afternoon, the Tories were well prepared to kill it and the rest they say is history…

UPDATE: He’s still a candidate say UKIP:

Mr. Patel remains the UKIP candidate for the Bushey South Division in the Hertfordshire County Council elections. He is currently convalescing from a recent serious operation and is unable to conduct any further interviews. Mr. Patel said,  “I am proud of being a UKIP candidate and very proud of the achievements of my daughter who represents the people of Witham in an exemplarily fashion.  My views are my own and I am astonished that there has been quite so much interest in my candidacy”.

UPDATE II: UKIP sources keen to stress no names mentioned in pub and pressure from CCHQ on Mr Patel only came this afternoon, after James Forsyth’s Tweet. Phone call came during photoshoot, there was a minor wobble but Sushil Patel is on ballot and is a candidate.

Tebbit Goes Tonto
“Can Hardly Blame” Tories Voting UKIP

Lord Tebbit has accused the BBC and CCHQ of colluding to smear UKIP. While that is going a bit far, his words for Cameron are worth the box office treatment. Writing on his Telegraph blog, Norm has given Dave both barrels:

“The intentions of many one-time Tory voters will have been reinforced by Ken Clarke’s singularly ill-judged rant calling them “clowns”. That has to be as stupid a way of persuading defectors to return to the Conservative fold as Cameron’s rant about closet racists and fruitcakes. If Thursday is a bad day for Mr Cameron, he should have no doubt where the responsibility lies. Certainly, the rest of us will all know who to blame if  it is an even worse day for the Conservatives that it need have been.”

Tebbit points out that he will be voting Conservative on the basis of his local council’s record, but is very sympathetic to those without an excuse:

“Of course it may well be that many former Conservative voters are so fed up with the Cameron Coalition that they will turn to Ukip as the party which comes closest to a traditional Conservative agenda, and a reasoned position on the European issue. One can hardly blame them for that.”

You can tell the truth when you are above the law.

Independent Fraud Investigation Finds Wandsworth Wanting

Regular readers will recall that last year Guido was leaked huge amounts of paperwork regarding a fraud carried out by Justine Greening’s agent in Putney between 2006 and 2010. Robert Morritt had since got himself elected on to Wandsworth Council and local Tories saw fit to put the report in the drawer and pretend £50,000 had not gone walkies. You can read the full story here.

In the wake of Guido’s exposé, that revealed the full extent of the theft and the cover up, an independent investigation was set up; apparently to dispel concerns that the author of the first report was in some way “biased”. Cllr Ray Puddifoot, the leader of Hillingdon Council, chartered accountant and all round upstanding citizen, has now produced that second report and, guess what? It confirms what Guido was saying. Hard copies of the report have been seen by council figures to avoid it leaking, but Guido has spoken to sources familiar with its content. Puddlefoot is said to have identified even more problems with Cllr Morritt’s time at the Wandsworth Conservative Group.

CCHQ are, as one might expect, having kittens and have made it known to officers of Wandsworth Conservatives that either they deal with Morritt or the Party Board will. Yet silence so far. The report was published over a week ago and meeting after meeting has been held to persuade Morritt to resign from Wandsworth Council and trigger a by-election. He is refusing. A source at the heart of all this tells Guido: “Morritt is clinging on for dear life, desperately hoping that a small clique of followers in Putney and a few unsubstantiated claims about how all of this is a conspiracy will save him. It will not. Nothing can save him and if he had the slightest interest in the good of the party, he would do the honourable thing.” What’s the one about honour and thieves?

Soubry’s £5 Billion Plainly Packaged Surprise for Osborne

“Super” Anna Soubry, as she is ironically known by embittered Tory colleagues, hasn’t fared too well in her ongoing spat with Ian Paisley Jr. Twice she has failed to answer his questions on the possibility of the Department of Health having to buy intellectual property rights from tobacco companies in order to pass plain packaging legislation. Apparently she has “an open mind” and is looking at the evidence, though for some reason is being coy about how much it would cost. Perhaps Guido can help her. Rewind back to the 2008 consultation and a Citigroup analyst warned that the government could end up having to give tobacco companies up to £5 billion in order for plain packaging legislation to be lawful. Soubry has the figures, for some reason she is keeping them quiet. She might want to mention this detail to the Chancellor…


Seen Elsewhere

Bercow ‘Wounded’ | Speccie
This Goes Further Than Rotherham | Simon Danczuk
Bercow Mocked | Times
Indy Deletes ‘Jewish Lobby’ Headline | MediaGuido
Cracknell v Boris | Sun
British Muslims are Failing to Integrate | Dan Hodges
Dear Sarah Wollaston… | ASI
Treatment of Ashya King’s Family Authoritarian | Brendan O'Neill
Stop the War Should Disband | Rob Marchant
State Should Not Act as Parent | Kathy Gyngell
Guido’s Column | Sun


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Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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