Osborne on “Revolutionary Marxist” Paul Mason

“The fact that the Labour Party is now getting its advice from Yanis Varoufakis and the revolutionary Marxist broadcaster Paul Mason does not suggest to me that they’ve got an answer to economic security. Presumably they chose those two because Chairman Mao was dead and Mickey Mouse was busy.”

Too easy.

Tory Grassroots Poll: Boris Beats Osborne, Remainers Sink

If it’s a straight fight between Boris and Osborne on the Tory leadership ballot paper there is only one winner. The Telegraph have polled the heads of 50 Conservative associations and Boris is the preferred choice, though almost half are undecided. May is down on four after she backed Remain, and Sajid Javid languishes with just one association head supporter after his flip flop. Tory associations back Leave over Remain by 12 points, so Boris’ bravery is paying off and the Remainers are paying the price…

How the Parties Have Changed Since 1975

EU GRAPH 5 pie

In 1975, Labour MPs thought the EEC was a bosses’ union, a capitalist conspiracy, while the Tories were overwhelmingly in favour of a common market. 41 years on and the parliamentary parties have almost entirely swapped positions…

Michael Cockerell’s short film on the 1975 referendum is well worth a watch.

Introducing Minister Media Monitor

Pundits and political producers have complained since the election that Downing Street is refusing to put up ministers on television. Craig Oliver has an iron grip on broadcast appearances, implementing  a “one minister a day” policy where a single, reliable minister reads out the lines to take on whatever issue. Our Minister Media Monitor charts ministerial broadcast appearances throughout the day, everyday.

From the Today programme to Newsnight, we monitor which ministers appeared answering questions in interviews. Note this will not include doorsteps, only scheduled appearances. Our league table ranks ministers by their number of appearances, showing who is the flavour of the month in No.10, and who has been kept away from the cameras. This resource empirically illustrates No.10’s strict broadcast grid, their reticence at sending ministers out to be held to account, and how this is being challenged by the referendum. Here is the spreadsheet with the data from February and here is the league table…

MMM February the ministers

The referendum sees three Leave ministers make the top ten, with Chris Grayling by some way the most vocal. Philip Hammond is No.10’s flavour of the month to give the government’s line, followed by the ever-reliable Matt Hancock. Jeremy Hunt was under the spotlight over junior doctors and government spinners obviously think it is important to get as many women on screen as possible – Greening, Rudd and Soubry are high up the list. It is notable that there were just 53 ministerial broadcast appearances in February, and a considerable number of these by off-the-grid Outers not authorised by Craig Oliver. George Osborne is keeping away from the cameras, the submarine Chancellor appeared just twice in 29 days…

Electoral Commission: We Can’t Stop Expense Fiddles

Crick Electoral

The impotent Electoral Commission have pleaded for greater authority to investigate election spending fiddles in the wake of the Tory overspend exposed by Michael Crick:

“The Electoral Commission has called again today for greater fairness and clarity around the current regulatory framework for candidates at elections. The law currently stops short of giving the Commission the power to enforce candidates’ spending rules and only the police can investigate if there’s a problem. It’s time to end that anomaly and give us the power to investigate and sanction.”

So they are effectively saying they can do nothing as the current rules stand. Does this mean the Tories have got away with it?

Self-Declared “Lifelong Eurosceptic” Swaps Sides

Local Tories in Hornchurch and Upminster have expressed dismay that their MP Angela Watkinson, who spent decades campaigning against the EU, is backing Remain. Watkinson caused considerable anger when she emailed her local association members explaining her volte-face:

“As a lifelong Eurosceptic, I have surprised myself by concluding that we can influence our future better from within.”

This is the same Angela Watkinson who in 2001 was one of three MPs forced to leave the ultra-Eurosceptic Monday Club. She caused a major Tory row in 2002 when she put her name to a strongly Eurosceptic pamphlet condemning the EU and calling for the abolition of the European Parliament. Such was her hardline opposition to the EU that she was even touted as a potential defector to UKIP…

euro-map-uk

Her constituency is in Havering, which according to YouGov research is the most eurosceptic place in Britain, it has the first council in Britain to vote to leave the EU, so you can imagine how her change of mind has gone down locally. Angela is already a Dame, will she land a peerage next?

Twist in Tory Suicide Case

A twist in the Elliott Johnson suicide story on Friday night as Newsnight asked his father Ray why he never mentioned his son’s previous mental health issues. On Sunday Elliott’s lover Andre Walker said he had not revealed their relationship because he didn’t want to upset the family. Walker says he has been accused of bullying because “fat people from the North of England in politics are always called bruisers”.

The coroner’s inquest begins on Wednesday…

Blue on Blue: Grayling-Soubry Debate Cancelled

Downing Street had optimistically hoped for an unspoken convention whereby ministers would not appear in public disagreeing with each other on the EU. Unsurprisingly that ain’t gonna last – Chris Grayling and Anna Soubry are going to face off in a debate chaired by Jeremy Vine at Church House in Westminster on March 15. It’s all for a good cause though, and tickets are available through the children’s charity Variety here. Will they be friends or will Super Soubs revert to her usual inimitable debate style

UPDATE: Cancelled!

It was billed as “a lively debate which will see ministers clash over whether Britain should leave the EU”Did No.10 get in touch?

Duncan Strikes Oil! £100,000-a-Year From Scandal-Hit Oil Firm

Duncan Oil

Alan Duncan has signed a lucrative £96,000-a-year deal with a controversial oil firm linked to dictators and war criminals. The Tory MP has been appointed non-executive chairman of Fujairah Refining, the jewel in the crown of global energy company Vitol. […]

+ READ MORE +

Boundary Review Puts Tory Outers Under Pressure

boundary 2

Essex is the most Eurosceptic region of the country in terms of Tory MPs – according to Guido’s referendum list there are 12 Essex MPs who will be backing Brexit. Coincidentally, Essex is expected to be a major loser in […]

+ READ MORE +

Crick Reveals More Tory Expense Fiddles

Channel 4 News last night exposed more allegations about Tory overspending in South Thanet. Michael Crick’s investigation revealed:

  • More hotels booked that were not declared.
  • CCHQ Campaign Specialist Marion Little personally booked hotel rooms in her name, registered to her

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Is Jesse a Burkean?

Burke Jesse 2

Jesse Norman, Tory MP and author of Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politician, Prophet, Edmund Burke: The Visionary Who Invented Modern Politics, and Edmund Burke: The First Conservative, has announced on his blog that he will be ducking the EU […]

+ READ MORE +



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