Monday, February 24, 2014

Government of the Etonians, by the Etonians for the Etonians

tory-etonian-manifesto

The FT has a great spot this morning:

“There are six people writing the manifesto and five of them went to Eton; the other went to St Paul’s,” one Conservative MP in a marginal constituency told the Financial Times. A senior minister said the make-up of the prime minister’s team was a bad advertisement for social mobility.

The authors of the next Tory manifesto are, according to the FT; Cameron himself, Jo Johnson, Ed Llewellyn, Dave’s old school friend and chief of staff; Oliver Letwin, minister for government policy and Rupert Harrison. The male-only team are all former Etonians, except in a nod to social mobility George Osborne, who was educated at St Paul’s in London, has been allowed to join the Eton Fives team. Floreat Etona!

Warsi Wars: Questions for ‘Senior’ Minister of State and Chum
“It’s a Tale of Dodgy and Dodgier”

Once again there is a growing list of questions for Sayeeda Warsi over one of her friends. The bitter former Tory Chairman has been keeping schtum after eyebrows were raised when her ally got a lucrative contract from Department of Local Governement that was not publicly put out to tender. The Curzon Institute’s sole director is Afzal Amin and was awarded £120,000 last year, despite him being the Tory candidate in Dudley. It was covered by Warsi’s patch as Minister for Faith and Communities.

As Guido revealed in the Sun yesterday, mysteriously, no minutes were kept of three meetings Amin attended at the DCLG before the contract was awarded last summer so we have no idea how or why the decision was made to award his company the cash.

“It’s a tale of dodgy and dodgier,” whispers one Tory source, weary of yet another scandal involving the bungling Baroness, “but no doubt this one will be scrubbed from her upcoming diaries.” Amin has since endeared himself to the party leadership by accusing the Tories of not doing enough for ethnic minorities, in a very public attack that insiders say has Warsi’s fingerprints all over it.

All of this leaves Guido wondering:

  • What were the criteria for awarding the Curzon Institute the contract?
  • What experience did the company have providing government services?
  • How many times did Warsi meet Mr Amin privately before meetings at DCLG?
  • How many staff does the Curzon Institute employ to implement this government contract, and who are they?
  • By how much is Tory candidate Mr Amin renumerated Curzon Institute?

If anyone can find the ‘Senior’ Minister of State, perhaps they might like to have a word…

Friday, February 21, 2014

Labour’s Women Problem

Miliband has been up in Leeds today talking about his favourite subject of late: the Tories’ apparent ‘women problem’. Yet as Hazel Blears announces that she too is standing down, how true is it that the Tories are proportionally losing more women than Labour? A Guido FactCheck investigates.

There were 48 female Tory MPs in 2010.

Lorraine Fulbrook, Jessica Lee and Laura Sandys are not seeking re-election, Louise Mensch stepped down in 2012, and Anne Mcintosh has been deselected.

That means in this parliament female Tory MPs have a casualty rate of 10.4%.

Labour meanwhile had 81 female MPs in 2010.

Nine have said they will be off in 2015: Ann Clwyd, Dawn Primarolo, Tessa Jowell, Glenda Jackson, Joan Ruddock, Anne McGuire, Joan Walley, Meg Munn and Hazel Blears.

That means in this parliament female Labour MPs have a casualty rate of 11.1%.

Filling your front bench with women in a stage-managed attack is all well and good, but the truth is Labour are losing more women than the Tories…

UPDATE: Following some complaints on Twitter about the graph above, Guido is happy to issue the following clarification:

UPDATE II: 

Tory Women Problem Update

It would look pretty bad for any Sports Minister to suggest that “unfeminine” girls should do “ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating”, but Helen Grant’s comments are particularly bad given that she is also the Equalities Minister.

Meanwhile Phil Hammond managed to call Liz Kendall “Rachel” not once, but twice, on Question Time last night. While this is a damning indictment of the impact Kendall has made in her Shadow Health role, it’s easy opposition from Labour. Video to follow…

UPDATE:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Whine From God

Foodbanks? Check. Benefit sanctions? Check. Boring snoring? Check. On first glance you would have thought Rachel Reeves had written the letter from 27 bishops to the Mirror this morning. It is worth pointing out that the letter itself does not even mention Cameron, Osborne or IDS, let alone directly criticise them, so it is hardly a case of turbulent priests. In fact, it doesn’t even criticise the government all, simply arguing:

“We call on government to do its part: acting to investigate food markets that are failing, to make sure that work pays, and to ensure that the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger.”

Which is exactly the point. Awkwardly for Labour the bishops’ solution to the nation’s ills are making work pay and reforming the welfare state so it provides only a safety net “last line of defence”. If they keep on like that Guido for one won’t be bashing the bishops…

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dave Makes a Mug of Himself

As if the mirrors in the toilets at the new CCHQ carrying the cringeworthy slogan You’re looking at the face of change were not bad enough, the PM has revealed another painful Tory motivational tactic:

Please, no more.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Non-Public School Tory MPs Slam ‘Tit’ Bercow
“Mr Speaker is trying to distract from his domestic troubles”

It’s safe to say that the Speaker’s comments about PMQs have gone down badly with the Tories: “Bercow allows questions that are nothing to do [with] policy,” one payroll MP ranted to Guido, “letting Miliband go on and on and on, when it’s not actually questioning the PM on policy, just party political pops. So what does he expect?”

Guido contacted some non-public school Tories, who seem particularly incensed by Bercow’s allegations of “yobbery and public school twittishness”:

“He really is a tit. Calling us all public schoolboys shows [how] out of touch he is with his old party because most of us really aren’t. I’m surprised he can walk straight with that massive chip on his shoulder and he really needs to get over his little man syndrome.”

Another takes a subtler tone:

“PMQs is boisterous and passionate, and I would take passionate politics over bland politics any day. The idea that it is ‘male’ and ‘public school’ is obvious nonsense – I’ve never noticed a difference in behaviour from female MPs or non-public school MPs. These are just lazy accusations to lob into the discussion. MPs sometimes shout because they care passionately. That’s not a bad thing.”

The claws are out though, with one Cameron uber-loyalist really putting the boot in:

“Obviously Mr Speaker is trying to distract from his own domestic troubles.” 

Most MPs contacted refused to give quotes due to the way in which they feel Bercow has “politicised his office” and they want to be able to “ask a question this side of the election”. It has not gone unnoticed though that Bercow waited for a week when all the MPs were all away before he dropped his comments attacking them. That should only delay the whispering campaign…

Monday, February 17, 2014

Miller Protests Innocence

When asked if their boss was planning on quitting, a spokesman for Maria Miller tells Guido:

“We have always been clear that Maria’s claims are entirely above board. The inquiry is still ongoing.” 

The Commons’ Standards Committee will be the judge of that one actually.

Sleazy Warsi Ally Kicks Back After Dodgy Dealings Digging

A close ally of the ‘Senior’ Minister of State at the Foreign Office has gone tonto on the Tories this afternoon. Former soldier turned Dudley North Tory candidate Afzal Amin claims that “the general perception is that the party remains a racist party”. Which should endear him to the party leadership who are already rather concerned about the alarming ways in which Amin’s name keeps popping up.

Last month the excellent Ted Jeory exposed the links between Amin and the walking disaster zone that is Sayeeda Warsi, who stands accused of bunging her buddy a government contract without opening out the process to anyone else. As Labour said at the time:

“It would be a scandal if a Tory Minister has given a Tory candidate a public contract worth thousands of taxpayer pounds without advertising it fairly. There are serious questions to answer here and people expect David Cameron to urgently investigate these claims to see whether one of his Ministers is guilty of misuse of public funds.”

Warsi and Amin have known each other since 2008 and the word is that there are further messy developments to come here. Is Amin feeling the heat? Now Guido is never one for conspiracy theories, but the timing looks awfully like a warning shot…

Maria Miller Makes Six Figure Profit on Second Home
Claimed Double the Amount David Laws Did for Mortgage 

Maria Miller is set to be condemned by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for claiming £90,000 in expenses for the mortgage payments of a second home lived in by her parents. This was an open shut case as IPSA rules require second homes to be used exclusively by MPs. Claiming for a property lived in by an MP’s parents is “specifically prohibited”. 

miller2

Back in 2012 Guido revealed that Miller has two properties in her name: a cottage in her Basingstoke constituency, and the property pictured above in Wimbledon. The Wimbledon property was purchased by Miller and her husband in 1996 for £234,000. A quick browse of the Zoopla property website values similar houses on the same street at between £400,000 and £1,000,000. If Miller was to sell the property, for which she has charged the taxpayer for the mortgage payments, she would make a profit well into six figures.

Miller’s defence is that her parents moved to the home to help her look after her children. It is worth considering that David Laws was kicked out of Cabinet for claiming less than half the money Miller has, and was found, incorrectly in Guido’s view, to have not benefited personally by a Standards and Privileges Committee investigation. Miller’s case is arguably more serious. Cabinet ministers have gone for far less, but will being one of only four women save her?


Seen Elsewhere

Guido’s Column | Sun
NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV


new-advert
Guido-hot-button (1) Guido-hot-button (1)


Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads