Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Who Wrote O-Patz’s Big Speech Tonight?

Miliband Slammed for “Shameful”, “Disgraceful” Attack on Freud …But Welfare Minister Offers Grovelling Apology

Interesting that Labour’s Anne Begg admitted on Sky News that she had not been told the context of Lord Freud’s comments by party spinners, heavily caveating her criticism accordingly. The Adam Smith Institute have come out in support of Freud, condemning Labour for misrepresenting what he said:

“Lord Freud has been shamefully mistreated by Ed Miliband. His point was that the market value of some people’s wages is below the minimum wage. This is often true of the severely disabled and can have appalling consequences for their self-esteem and quality of life. Fixing this problem was the justification for Remploy, a government-funded firm that gave jobs to disabled people who could not find work elsewhere.

To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings. Freud’s point was that we should help people in this situation by allowing them to find jobs paying below the minimum wage and topping up their pay directly to make up the difference.

Even if you don’t agree with this method, it is motivated by compassion for the disabled and an understanding of the unpleasant side-effects of our minimum wage laws. Freud’s only crime was to speak bluntly: it is disgraceful to use his words against him in the way Miliband has.”

Not like a spinner to take something out of context…

UPDATE: Freud mea culpa:

“I would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. I was foolish to accept the premise of the question. To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else.

I care passionately about disabled people…. I am profoundly sorry for any offence I have caused to any disabled people.”

Classic Labour Ambush: Welcome to Election Season

Notable that Labour have got their press operation in gear on this one. DWP minister Lord Freud’s comments about disabled people have been sat on for two weeks then released five minutes before PMQs. No coincidence that Esther McVey was on the Daily Politics and forced to give an off-the-cuff response. No leak, tape ready to go, solid ambush…

Cameron told the House “these are not the views of anyone in the government”, perhaps forgetting Lord Freud remains a minister. McVey said afterwards “Those words will haunt him”. Apology in 5,4,3,2…

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finding NiMo Another Special Adviser

Nicky Morgan hid in her office while she had the three SpAds she inherited from Michael Gove sacked back in July. Now she has finished replacing them. Guido is told Morgan has hired up Holly-Lee Davis from the Centre for Social Justice – which is becoming the government holding pen once embodied by PX. The LSE-educated brainbox who also works with an “initiative aimed at promoting peace amongst school-aged children in the Middle East”. Davis joins gay rights activist Luke Tryl and Lynton Crosby’s former assistant Chris Wilkins at DfE. She should be able to spot a Trojan Horse plot a mile off…

Long Old Rochester Slog Begins

Incoming kitchen sink. The Tories are offering a massive choice to the people of Rochester: which Kent(ish) female councillor would you like to be their candidate?

“Kelly Tolhurst is a life-long resident of Medway and was elected to the council in 2011. She is the cabinet member for school improvement. She now runs her own marine survey business in Rochester and has served as a local councillor for over three years. In a statement, the Conservative association said she had “seen the strain that excessive immigration has put on housing and our local services.” Anna Firth lives in Sevenoaks with her husband and three children and was brought up in Essex. Formerly a barrister, she now serves on the Sevenoaks council. She was shortlisted for the Thanet South constituency but lost out to Craig Mackinlay. She is a governor of Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls.”

While every voter in the seat will be invited to take part, the pool is somewhat limited. Labour already have a female candidate in place and knocking on doors.

Dates for your diary:

October 23 – candidate announced.

November 20 – polling day.

November 21 – panic stations for someone.

UKIP remain bookies’ favourite but plenty of time for the wheels to come off…

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tories Love Bomb Irish
Northern Ireland Corporation Tax Cut a ‘Done Deal’

Quietly and with a sense of purpose the Tories are making plans for a hung parliament.

A key part of the contingency plans include an increased effort to woo the Unionists. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, promises are being made and the outlines are being drawn of a deal to be struck should the eight MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party hold the balance of power next May.

One canny senior unionist cheerfully tells Guido that he thought a cut in corporation tax for companies in Northern Ireland was a done deal. The rate would be cut from 20% to “12% or 13%” to compete with the lower tax rates offered by Dublin. “Anything but 12.5%, we’re not harmonising with the Republic. No!”

Friday, October 10, 2014

If the Tories Lose in 2015, Blame Cooper Not Farage

andrew-cooper

Matthew D’Ancona once quoted a “Cameron ally” dismissing the long-term threat posed by UKIP. D’Ancona’s soothsaying source predicted Farage’s party “should reach its peak in the European elections on May 22″, leading the Telegraph columnist to urge Dave to “forget UKIP”, warn “too much time is still devoted to soothing those who might jump ship” and profess “UKIP will not be Cameron’s biggest problem”. 

The ill-fated “peak UKIP” analysis adopted by Downing Street up until recently was based on the fatally flawed insight of Cameron’s über-modernising gay-marriage architect and pollster Andrew Cooper, who told the Prime Minister two years ago that UKIP would just be a “flash in the pan”. He once argued via Powerpoint slides in a presentation to Tory MPs that UKIP’s rise was down to “mid-term grumbles” rather than anything more serious. Since then UKIP have stubbornly maintained their position in the polls, two Tory MPs have defected, thousands of true blue activists have joined the purple army and they have just taken a formerly safe Tory seat in a by-election. If the Tories lose in 2015, Cooper is the man most to blame – he may well go down in British political history as the worst adviser/pollster of the modern era…

Huge Tory Swing in Bath

Carpet-bagging wannabe MP and renowned bon viveur Ben Howlett has been getting to know his constituency, sampling the delights of Bath’s night-life. These photos were taken at the Po Na Na club, which Guido can confirm from personal experience is a dive. A fellow reveller reports:

“He was wasted and bumping into people, he even said ‘don’t you know who I am’. This was only at 11pm. Lightweight.”

One way of swaying the voters…

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oliver Dowden Finally Finds a Seat

Congratulations to No. 10 Deputy Chief of Staff Oliver Dowden who has, after many years of trying, finally found a seat. Hertsmere has a majority of 17,605, which should be UKIP-proof for even the ultimate political class lobbyist turned government spinner. Croydon South’s loss is Hertsmere gain.

Tories Demand Investigation Into Speaker’s Spokesperson
Bercow Spinner Accused of “Serious Breach” of Impartiality

The Tories are very angry about the Speaker’s official spokesperson going native and accusing them of “aim[ing] to buy the election”, a story followed up by the Mail and the Times this morning. Guido understands Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi has written to John Bercow accusing Justine McGuinness of “a serious breach of the guidance on Speaker’s impartiality.” Zahawi demands that an investigation is carried out by “one of your deputies” because of Bercow’s “close working relationship with Ms McGuinness”, so that “full confidence and transparency and upholding the integrity of your esteemed office” can been guaranteed. As Zahawi writes:

“The guidance on Speakers impartiality is clear: “The Speaker must be above party political controversy and must be seen to be completely impartial in all public matters. All sides in the House rely on the Speaker’s disinterest, and understand that he or she must stand aside from controversy.””

He concludes: “I’m sure you will agree with me Ms McGuinness’ actions constitute a serious breach of impartiality and must be urgently investigated.” Perhaps Eleanor Laing could take a look. As someone once said, when the spokesperson needs a spokesperson…


Seen Elsewhere

Rise of Angela Merkel | New Yorker
May SpAd Removed From Candidates List | ConHome
Clodagh’s Law | Press Gazette
Whitehall Bosses Ban Christmas | Sun
Meanwhile, in Russia… | Media Guido
Christmas TV Tips | Laura Perrins
Labour Marginal Fright | Lord Ashcroft
Osborne’ Real Deficit Reduction Record | ConHome
Blameronism | Peter Oborne
Everyone Can Lose | Staggers
Splintering of the Left | Tim Montgomerie


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