Who’s Who at Labour HQ

This will now appear next week. Not enough leaks as yet to make it interesting.

Clary Confused

“

“My local party see me as a man””
Anne Milton on Radio 5’’s Mayo programme, 29 December 2004.

A Guido correspondent sent me this spiteful comparison. Why does this woman excite so much hatred, including a hate site?

Its Politics, Not Panto…

Guido was driving in Norfolk and thought he saw a billboard advert for Julian Clary. On closer inspection it turned out to be not for a panto but an enticement to vote for the local blogging Tory candidate Iain Dale. He actually wants you to vote for him twice, once in the general election and often in the Guardian’s politicians’ blog category. More importantly, you need to vote for Guido in his category.

These blog awards are getting very competitive, allegations of skullduggery abound and the finger is pointing at Kent Labour Students. Some suspect that their fingers might be suffering from RSI…

Jamie Tells Blair

“Look mate, the whole country has had it up to here with the shit you dish out. No wonder your daughter throws up.”

He’s Got It Taped

Need a recording made? Email j.tretow@gmx.com he should be able to help. Mr Tretow is a former chairman of Labour students at London’s Queen Mary College. Reasonable rates.

Say My Name, Say My Name

The cabinet meets today to finalise election plans, the bookies making the ominous 05/05/05 favourite. Two stories catch my eye today, the first is that the Tories no longer want to be called Tories, but Conservatives. Why not go the whole hog and call yourselves New Conservatives? Or Neo-Cons? Has a familiar ring and it seems to work well in Washington…
The second story, originally told to me by a Labour PPC, is that Labour HQ is giving candidates free licence to drop Tony Blair from their propaganda or even send out anti-Blair signals without fear of censure. Hence the Blair-free ready-made leaflets available from Labour HQ and the 17 anti-War Labour MPs stridently coming out of the closet. But don’t forget the hundreds of Labour MPs who have always voted with the PM and are still backing blair.

Its a funny old world where Tories are embarrassed to be called Tories, and Labour MPs are embarrassed to be called Blairites. Chat-show Charlie, “come on down”, at least his party plaster his face all over their poster and propaganda. Mind you, maybe thats because Kennedy’s more used to being plastered…

Guido has money riding on the LibDems, based on the scientific evidence that apart from committed political hacks, everyone he knows under 30 is going to vote for them. Guido is of course busy stirring up apathy with the slogan “Don’t Vote! It Only Encourages the Bastards.”

Who’s Who at LibDem HQ

Click to enlarge.

According to a well placed source the LibDem’s campaign is structured as follows;

Ground war: Paul Rainger (40-ish, bit of a hippy, quietly spoken, tall, gangly, greying long hair, looks like someone who you might find at a folk music festival) is indeed campaigns director in that he commands the campaigns department eyrie on the top floor at Cowley Street, but in reality, is effectively number two to the maestro, Lord Chris Rennard, who is the party’s chief executive (and former campaigns director) and who retains a significant hands-on role in terms of the “ground war” campaign.

Between these two and their underlings, who include Hilary Stephenson (mumsy, rosy cheeked, about 50, Rainger’s deputy), and Richard Pinnock (early 30’s, tubby, owlish glasses, runs campaigns in the North), Duncan Borrowman (south), and Mark Pack (e-campaigns, afro-haired), there is very little this lot don’t know about campaigning and constituencies, and are amongst the most formidable political organisers in the country.

Air-war: Lib Dem air-war type stuff including media & presentation is largely the domain of Lord (Tim) Razzall, chair of the Campaigns Committee. Sandy Walkington (ex head of communications, BT) has recently been appointed as head of media replacing David Walter who is standing to replace John Burnett in Devon West.

A number of Cowley Street policy officers and press officers staff the “war-room” which is in charge of rebuttal and briefings, this comes under the stewardship of George Crozier, head of the party’s parliamentary office.

Elsewhere, Brian Eno, the ex-Roxy Music band member, is urging people to Vote Lib Dem This Time and is supported on the website by political heavyweights such as, errm, Nicholas Parsons. Those wondering who is behind this little wheeze should ask blogging MP Richard Allan, Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam.

Tomorrow: Inside New Labour’s secretive campaign HQs! More anecdotes about Patrick Loughran would be much appreciated.

And If This Was Repeated Across The Country…

Guido has been shortlisted for the Guardian Backbencher’s political weblog awards. So Vote Guido for Political Blog of the Year. Vote because you laughed at Guido’s graphics like this, this, this, this, and this. Oh and the pictures, even the one of Boris. Mind you, remember too that Guido was first with this, and not forgetting the misfortunes of Candy. And because Guido risks the writs, here, here and here. Vote because it would be absolutely right. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I shall expect a vote from the Guardian’s own diarist.

Recess Monkey has got all psephological, going to the extraordinary length of even making his own home-made chart of voting trends for the nominees instead of just begging for votes like the rest of us. He must be spending a lot of time on the voting page, eh?

Leave it Recess, this has banana girl obsession written all over it again….

Who’s Running the Show(s)?

Guido has received lots of emails to help him fill in the boxes of his organisational charts for the various campaign HQs. Still lots of gaps, particularly lower down the party hierarchies.

Tomorrow will see the first LibDem chart posted on the blog – since that’s the organisation that no one outside Cowley Street knows about. Still not too late to let me know who sits where and does what. Guido wants to know more about who really does the work rather than who claims the credit…

HELP: Could someone tell me who is in charge of the Tory online effort? Guido knows who is in charge of Labour and the LibDem efforts, but not who is to blame for the Tory effort. So much for Guido being a “Tory insider”…

They Think Its All Over

With the election soon upon us, we should pause to say farewell to Tony Clarke MP. The ex-football hooligan is sure to hear the phrase “Tory Gain” echoing around on election night – if he does actually make it to election night.

Interesting that unlike other Labour MPs in marginal seats he gets the cold shoulder from Labour HQ, there are definitely no pictures of him campaigning with Blair or other cabinet ministers on his website.

Could it be that they’re hearing what Guido is hearing? Namely that a tabloid is about to do him over in much the same way he used to do over people in his old Inter-City Firm days?

He denied it before he admitted it, so the voters might just kick him out for being a bare-faced liar.

Conservative Home Alone

Tim Montgomerie was political secretary to IDS and before that ran Conservative Christian Fellowship, he is the motivating force behind conservativehome.com and the probable author of the IDS Guardian article on blogging which so excited the blogosphere. Tim is a One Nation, Christian, pro-lifer and the website reflects that ideological strand. The emphasis is on moral, home and family issues in soft pastel colours (though Guido did find a handy link to AdultWork – a sort of eBay for tarts).

Its all very English and gentle with soft-focus graphics and none of the harshness of the American Christian Right, apart from describing John Kerry as a poseur multilateralist metrosexual politician. The site was put together by Politico’s Design (which was set up by Iain Dale, the energetic Tory candidate for North Norfolk).

Gays and babies will, it seems, be the socially conservative wedge issues for this site, issues which will see it up against the libertarian metrosexual wing of the Tories personified by Portillo, Alan Duncan and the happily married John Bercow.

Cryptic Question

Which current cabinet minister name-checked former MP Fiona Jones in his 2001 Labour party conference speech?

Blair: “We Can Put the Past Behind Us”

Alas, Reg Keys can’t put the past behind him, his son Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, was killed in Al Majar Al Kabir on June 24, 2003. Reg is set to stand against Blair in Sedgefield, to challenge the legality of the war, and Blair’s lies about WMD. His campaign is supported by the intellectual musician Brian Eno, who has some political experience in overthrowing dictatorships, having advised Vaclav Havel, the Czech dissident playwright who became president. A local publican is putting Reg Key’s up in the constituency. Maybe the LibDems should consider standing down? The Tories have replaced Kamikaze Kruger with pukka ex-RAF Group Captain Al Lockwood, the former military spokesman in Iraq. He should creatively self-destruct as well if the Tories have any sense. Things are complicated by renegade ex-MI5 whistleblower David Shayler also intending to stand in Sedgefield. Perhaps he should instead stand against the Fat Controller himself, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, which would be more logical given he is standing on a civil liberties ticket.

Hello, Hello….

Radio France on British blogs: “En tête de liste, le blog de Guido, clin d’oeil à Guy Fawkes, un célèbre personnage de l’histoire britannique qui avait voulu incendier le Parlement le 5 novembre 1605. Son auteur est très bien informé sur les coulisses du pouvoir et en plus il ne manque pas d’humour.. Photos détournées, petites phrases, infos exclusives, c’est un vrai bonheur de blog.”

Quite. As far as Guido knows there is nothing to stop the French voting in the Guardian’s Political Blog of the Year. Its the least you could do after all the Margaux Guido has bought from you. Did Guido mention he’s Irish with a maison secondaire in the Charente?

Tories Fear Bugging

Only the paranoid survive is the current feeling in the Victoria Street Tory campaign HQ. Security experts have been called in to sweep the offices The Sun reports. Security is tightening. A casually dressed Guido, on a recent rare visit, was asked for additional proof of ID after passing through reception. The guard was blocking entry to the lifts in a meaningful way, by mistake Guido gave a Shadow Cabinet minister’s business card over to the security guard. The guard nodded and waved him through. Guido was not carrying barrels of gunpowder, but some extra work is clearly needed on the security front…

Labour’s Data Gathering Problems

Fraser Kemp is no Gordon Liddy, but he should be aware of Liddy’s downfall. Liddy was one of the ‘plumbers’ from Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President, who concocted several far-fetched plots intended to embarrass the Democratic opposition and was eventually convicted of running dirty tricks against Nixon’s opponents including burglary and illegal wiretapping. Nixon’s downfall was of course sealed by tape recordings.

Fraser Kemp is said to be behind the tape recordings of Howard Flight at the Conservative Way Forward event, the covert recording of the Tory Chairman, Liam Fox, talking to the Bow Group about asylum policies and Gerald Howarth’s comedy act being taped at a dinner organised by the Freedom Association: with all tapes ending up with pro-Labour newspapers.

Fraser Kemp, the creepy assistant to Labour’s campaign co-ordinator, Alan Milburn, is known to monitor the websites of pressure groups such as Conservative Way Forward, the Freedom Association and even bloggers. Tim Ireland, über-Geek of the left-wing satirical anti-Blair backingblair campaign has also noticed that his site is regularly monitored by Labour’s server and that even the Downing Street server graces his site records as well. He has, Guido discovered from Labour sources, made an application under the Data Protection Act to the Labour Party for records held about him. Urgent emails went out around Labour HQ as a result, Labour apparatchiks were also warned about their IP addresses being trackable on websites. There is also clear evidence that Labour staff have been involved in a semi-official disinformation effort, run out of Labour’s offices, on Left-wing websites to discredit anti-Blair tactical voting initiatives. Guido has also seen an email from within Labour HQ regarding a web monitoring effort to discover political affiliations of bloggers. As a result Guido will also be making a subject access appplication under the Data Protection Act to Old Victoria Street for a full account.

Mark Allat, a behind the scenes operator in Tory circles and secretary of Conservative Way Forward, is livid about the tape-recordings, the word has gone out to assume that all meetings are public in future. Flight’s Nixon-like destruction will not be repeated during the official campaign. Fraser’s Committee to Re-Elect the Prime Minister may have peaked too early, it may yet also backfire legally Liddy-style.

Don’t let your minions delete anything Fraser, if the records “self destruct” its a criminal offence.

Labour’s Slicker Online Effort

Tory Party chairman Liam Fox has just noticed that Labour have hired Dubya’s “garbage man” to run their online effort. Guido has been pointing out how much better Labour’s spam email is compared to the rather plain stuff from the LibDems and the over-caffeinated and difficult to read stuff from Conservatives.com. The Tories are paying a specialist agency to mess this up, these ‘professionals’ need to learn how to do lay-out.

Zack Exley, Kerry’s former online guru and veteran of MoveOn.Org might be to the left of Mao, but he does know how to lay out an email with a simple clear message. The Tories mix up boring speeches and pictures with irrelevant links. The LibDems usually have a boring shopping list of policy headline links with no graphics.

“We’re looking forward to Mr. Exley leading Tony Blair to the same electoral outcome as he did John Kerry,” Fox says hopefully. But from what Guido is hearing from Tory candidates he would not be so sure. Compared to Zack’s crisp graphics and messages, the Tory propaganda material, according to a Tory activist source, is produced by “headless chickens” at campaign HQ. To Guido the pleasant Victoria Street HQ does look a bit like a crèche for gap-year girls and boys. Lynton Crosby is a formidable street fighting campaigner, so is remaining party vice-chairman Andrew Rosindell, but the nice young girls and boys have never won a battle, some have never even been in the trenches before. Voter Vault might be the Tory’s Death Star software system, but it is untested in Britain. When the official campaign goes into overdrive, New Labour won’t be pretty to watch, but they will be mercilessly effective.

Here’s One Saatchi Thought Up After Lunch…

Server Problems

Guido has been shortlisted for the Guardian Backbencher’s political weblog awards.

The resulting volume of hits is putting pressure on the servers Guido uses for graphics. Don’t let that stop you voting.

So Vote Guido for Political Blog of the Year.

[…] Read the rest

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Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

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