Let Them Surf Net

Foxy go-getter and entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, the coalition’s “Champion for Digital Inclusion”, wants everyone to get online.

Speaking with Dave and IDS this morning, much fuss was made about making sure no child is left behind online, that 90% of jobs now need computers skills and some 10 million people in the UK have never used the net. While that may be true, have Dave and Martha really got their priorities sorted?

While yes, some kids don’t have broadband, that can be the least of their worries  –  more are functionally illiterate. The government’s own survey showed that 20%  of children leave school ‘functionally illiterate and innumerate’. Although it may not be as sexy a policy as digital inclusion, Guido suspects it is a lot more important, what good is connecting them to the internet going to be if they can’t read and write? Well apart from the far more visual XXX-rated internet-based research of course…

Sunday Sleaze

Sunday Sleaze

A pretty quiet round of Sunday’s. Labour’s Frank Cook is the latest MP to feel the heat of the Telegraph’s rehashed expenses attack. The story was worth printing just for the headline, but as Dale points out these two have history. Allegedly he has been double claiming on receipts. Such dodgy accounting practices have left other Labour members in the dock…

Over in Hampshire, Caroline Nokes is facing a bit of local difficulties as moves are afoot in her Romsey constituency to have her deselected after her trysts and affairs with toy-boys have been splashed across the papers and the internet. “Shagger” is already feeling the direct influence of the local anger according to the Mail. She hasn’t been invited to the summer fête.

More dangerously for Nokes an anonymous letter writing campaign is gathering pace. Heaven knows what would happen if a certain no-holds-barred video was to appear online…

Your Freedoms?

The Deputy Prime Minister has been allowed out for the day to promote his ever so caring and listening Your Freedom campaign. Littering his morning media appearances with anecdotes about squirrels, Clegg is asking for your submissions for laws to repeal.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance’s  new model of Susie Squire, Emma Boon was on the Today program calling for an end to taxpayer subsidies for unions  – so called “utilities funds” that allow public sector workers to carry on being paid from the public purse on days that they are doing union activities. While this can be a matter of hours, there are cases where teachers are paid not to teach but be regional union coordinators all week. A ridiculous waste of money that Labour turned a blind eye to.

As serious as some suggestions have been, perhaps we should all have a little fun. Submit your suggestions to the Your Freedom website and then post them in the comments below. The best, wittiest, or soundest ideas will get a t-shirt…

Totty Watch : “Shagger” Nokes Grins and Bares It

Caroline Nokes, affectionately named “shagger” by the Tory whips, shocked some of the old-guard with her beaming smile as she stormed through Parliament the Monday after being done over by a Sunday newspaper for cheating on her husband with a tory-toyboy. Not batting an eyelid to the smirks and whispers, Nokes, an evangelical-Christian, clearly isn’t letting it get to her.


She certainly put on a formidable display at PMQs earlier…

Hunt for Parliament’s Pretty Boys

Anyone who is anyone in the fashion world is honoured in the new “Online Fashion 100″. So imagine Guido’s surprise when browsing the list to see Trilby-toting Vince and Cameron-lite Jeremy Hunt included in the list of players, up there with Jordan…

Now fashion may be a changing art, but Guido can only imagine this is for their service to the business side of things rather than their aesthetic contributions…

Microphone Madness

After Mrs Duffy you would think politicians would be a little bit more careful around microphones. Red faces up north for Labour MSP Frank McAveety who forgot to turn off his microphone while discussing his mid-committee meeting totty-watching:

“There’s a very attractive girl in the second row, dark . . . and dusky. We’ll maybe put a wee word out for her. She’s very attractive looking, nice, very nice, very slim. You know… the kind you’d see in a Gaugin painting. There’s a wee bit of culture.”

Extremely cringe-worthy, but find Guido a red-blooded male who hasn’t had a conversation like that.

Down under, fellow lefty Kevin Rudd had a bizarre press conference where he dodged an awkward question by giving an in-depth critique of a female hack’s choice of clothes: “Well, that’s a point of language which you have used which is dramatically consistent with the dress which you have chosen today. It’s a great tie, it’s a nice hat, I like it a lot” Cue predictable feminist outrage.

During the ten minutes of last night’s Newsnight hustings Ed Balls and David Miliband were muttering to each other, something Balls keeps doing at these gigs. Their little side chat was broadcast… Can anyone make out what they were saying?

Palin Coming to the Party

A flurry of articles this morning have picked up on Sarah Palin’s very excitable Facebook declaration that she was coming to London meet “one of my political heroines, the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher.” The Guardian is predictably sneering. The Mail on Sunday had the scoop first and raised the question of whether Cameron would meet the former Vice-Presidential nominee and potential Presidential candidate of the American sister party.

In Downing Street you can imagine the battle lines being drawn already. This is the stuff that Steve Hilton’s nightmares are made of, yet Palin has an obvious glitzy appeal to the right of the party and tabloid media, something Andy Coulson will know instinctively. As PM it would be extremely discourteous for Dave not to meet and be photographed with Palin if she was in town, a coutesy British PMs have extended to lesser known American politicians. Guido’s transatlantic sources indicate that she could be over on this side of the pond in the Autumn, perhaps around the time of Conservative Party conference, just when Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell will be launching their Direct Democracy version of the American Tea Party movement.

Another headache for the Cameroons will be what the Deputy Prime Minister has to say about all this, since Clegg was perhaps expecting to be invited to be the surprise speaker in Birmingham

Caroline’s Colt Following

There was tension amongst Tory boys as word spread that new MP Caroline Nokes was getting turned over by a Sunday paper at the weekend. There were sighs of relief from many a MP, councillor and party hands when it emerged in the Mirror that it was Councillor James Dinsdale who had been photographed entering Nokes’s hotel and later, somewhat ungentlemanly, confirmed a sexual affair. The former Chief Executive of the National Pony Society is said to be a formidable rider and practising evangelical Christian.

In April on the campaign trail Nokes signed the “Westminster 2010 : Declaration of Christian Conscience” a pledge to make sure her career in Parliament focused on “protecting human life, protecting marriage, and protecting freedom of conscience… creating and maintaining strong families, caring communities and a just society.” Her husband is said to be in shock. He clearly never went to Party conference with “Shagger Nokes” as former Tory Chief Whip David MacLean named her.

Sandra Gidley, Nokes’s defeated LibDem rival is making noise, suggesting that a re-run of the election is in order given that Nokes lied so blatantly to the voters regarding the pledge. Elsewhere David Law’s Tory opponent is similarly stirring the pot suggesting that Laws’s gave a false impression of his expenses bill of health and his campaign was “a pack of lies”. Nothing like a bit of scandal to get the coalition feathers ruffled on the ground.

Goodbye Melissa Lightwater

So the Londoners’ Diary got the scoop that was four years in the making – the Speccie’s secretly authored column, Tamzin Lightwater, the Bridget Jones of the Tory world, was penned by the Sunday Telegraph’s Melissa Kite. Entertaining readers and […]

+ READ MORE +

Palin’s Assets

The internet is rife with speculation that Sarah Palin has had a boob-job. Guido isn’t convinced but will let you be the judge:

What has received less attention though is the influence of Palin on the Republican primary results recently. […]

+ READ MORE +

Keeping Up With Technology

Now Guido knows that former MP Siôn Simon, who is now editing the Labour leadership tracking website Labour-Uncut, hasn’t had the best of luck with computers and the internet in the past, but today he sinks to a new […]

+ READ MORE +

Susie Squire Slips in to Spinning at the DWP for IDS

Guido is particularly pleased to add Susie Squire (pictured here briefing a senior political journalist) to the list of SpAds, bag carriers and wonks going over to government. She joins Philippa Stroud working at the DWP for Iain Duncan-Smith.  […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Adam Boulton says David Cameron campaigned as a neo-Thatcherite…

“The manifesto programme, with its sell-off of social housing, clampdown on public sector strikes, EU in/out referendum and benefit cuts, represents a much more traditional, neo-Thatcherite conservatism than that offered by Cameron Mk 1…”

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