G8: Gordon’s Gimmicks Won’t Save The World

Whoops, almost missed the close of play“. Hope that keeps the boy at Channel 4 happy.

He Who Pays The Piper…

Lord Ashcroft appears to be making a takeover bid for the Tory Party;

I have occasionally been a passive investor in businesses, but not so occasionally that I am unable to say with certainty that it is not for me. I much prefer to be involved – to make sure that my investment is wisely placed and, where I can, to help. Similar rules apply in respect to the charities to which I give. I like to be involved. My financial contributions to the Conservative Party could be classified similarly, especially in recent years.

What began as admiration at a distance for the work of Margaret Thatcher has grown over a twenty-year relationship with the Party to a much closer association. During William Hague’s time as leader, I was Treasurer of the Party, and I have recently rejoined the Board. I have learned a great deal and believe I can contribute more effectively.

I am known to be a donor to the Party, and I am proud of that fact. But I would not wish anyone to imagine that my financial support comes, de facto, with strings attached.

Certainly not. But he is going a teensy weensy bit over the top, what with his own website and his own 114 page report, “Smell the Coffee – A Wake up Call for the Conservative Party”, (vanity published). He is promising more to come, “Lunch on Me – Why I Should Choose the Next Tory Leader” and “Dinner for Ten – A Shadow Cabinet I Would Buy”. Why didn’t he just get a think-tank to publish it? The wonks would welcome some dosh and it wouldn’t look so overbearing…

LibDem Think-Tank Gets a Million

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The Adam Smith Institute’s Dr Eamonn Butler reckons the tycoon who has given £1m to the LibDem think tank, the Centre for Reform, to ‘develop new strands of LibDem thinking’ is paying £500,000 a strand.

Blogging the G8

Channel 4 News have been on asking for Guido’s views on the G8 “In the run up to next week’s G8 Summit we’re looking to feature the views of some of the country’s leading bloggers”. They must really be scraping the barrel. Guido will however be making a special blogging effort to cover this geo-political back-slap for a laugh.

Jon Bernstein, Online Project Editor, Channel 4 News asks for “Your thoughts in 150 – 200 words please by close of play Thursday 30 June.” That ain’t how blogging works mate, that’s called ’email’ or ‘homework’, so read the bloody blog yourself Jon.

FCO Chaps Remember Empire

Thom Dyke draws Guido’s attention to yesterday’s press release from the Foreign Office welcoming the release of a Zimbabawean MP from Mugabe’s dungeons. Pay close attention to the client reference at the bottom. Well done chaps…

UPDATE: The spoil-sports changed it within half-an-hour. The client reference read “RHODESIA”. Get on with some work chaps, stop idling. You are supposed to be spying on other countries, not blogs.

Snatched Picture

By popular demand, here is the picture of our tax credit heroine. Dawn Primarolo saying Good Morning Britain in her own inimical way. Hat-tip to “Lucky Bill” who thinks this will teach her for pissing off geeky contractors with IR35…

Click to enlarge. (Perv)

All In The Best Possible Taste

‘Lucky Bill’ emails to tell me about some pictures of Red Dawn Primarola’s appearance on GMTV doing the rounds on the internet. Guido has not seen them yet…

She is (relatively speaking) a hottie with a tendency to wear skirts a little too short, much to the satisfaction of many members.

It Can’t Be True, Can It?

  • Tim Yeo is not going to run.
  • Bercow might manage Alan Duncan’s campaign.
  • David Davis’ weekend soldiering in the Territorial Army is going to come under the tabloid microscope. It’ll be less Basher Davis “can kill a man with his bare hands” and more Captain Mannering Mainwaring .

Hot or Not?

Ros Taylor writes the formerly pedestrian weekly Backbencher column for the Guardian. She was told some months ago by the political editor to “sex it up”. You know, so it was more like those blogs, racy, more damn sexy.

She took it literally and started a new feature “Political Hotties”, asking readers to nominate good looking politicians. (A lot of the nominations were foreign young women MEPs, not too surprising after looking around the Palace of Westminster – not all the gargoyles are on the architecture.) The Sun noticed and called it sexist, which it is, as well as discriminating against ugly people. How refreshingly politically incorrect. Lets hope the Guardianista public sector advertisers and student union readers don’t notice and start a boycott.

Guido has managed to locate a grainy picture of both Ros and her cartoon alter ego. Guido’s cartoon representation (above) whilst handsome enough, if anything fails to fully capture his roguish charm. I wonder however if readers think the same can be said for the Backbencher? Is Ros Taylor ‘hot totty’ or notty?

Guido’s readers previously reckoned Newsnight’s Martha Kearney their favourite political hottie and definitely wanted her to replace Andrew Marr.

UPDATE: Ros emails to complain “Really, Guido, you need to calm down and get your facts right. If you’d been reading the Backbencher you’d know the efforts to which we have gone to achieve a gender balance among the Political Hotties. And we’d never be so graceless as to ask whether an MP was hot or not; we just flatter the ones our readers choose to nominate.” Details dear, mere details.

But isn’t the whole ‘hottie’ concept a bit un-PC, never mind uncharitable, if not dangerous. To highlight the more beautiful politicians of any sex rather than judge them purely on their merits as servants of the people, seems not only shallow, but distasteful. Implicitly Ros is making a value judgement on appearances. Replace “hottie” with “Aryan” and you’ll see where this leads. Should we judge journalists by their picture byline rather than what they write? (See Guido can do Guardianista gobbledeegook.)

Overseas Again

Back not so soon. Sunning myself…

Said the Archbishop to the…

I see Rowan Williams has got on his high horse – “It is the world of the weblog and the independent media centre; it is interactive, restlessly conscious of its own transient nature. If the classical journalist just occasionally nurtured the illusion of writing or speaking for posterity, no such fantasy is possible in the electronic world. In one way, it is the reductio ad absurdum of marketised information, indiscriminate information flow.”

He should start a blog.

Hat tip : Eric, full text here.

Tory MPs Think Its 1922

Tory MPs don’t seem so keen on modernisation in practise despite all the rhetoric, how else can they justify voting to make the party less democratic.

The David Davis fan club is understandably not amused.

Nick Sheridan Westlake – Are You There?

The knives were out and many fell while I was away. Does anyone know if Nick Sheridan Westlake survived at Tory HQ, or did he get the sack? I suppose I could call the switchboard and ask for him, but that would be like, journalism, y’know, and Guido is a blogger after all.

Has he taken up hairdressing? That was, Guido felt, his true calling.

If anyone knows what he is up to nowadays, can you contact me (details in the box on the right).

Fellow blogger Iain Dale has stopped blogging and is now Basher Davis’ Chief-of-Staff. Strangely, no one asked Guido to run their leadership campaign or become their Chief-of-Staff…

Runners and Riders

Royal Ascot has fewer runners than the Tory Leadership race. I quote the odds being offered by the bookies on the dozen front runners.

David Davis 8/11
David Cameron 6/1
Kenneth Clarke 9/1
Malcolm Rifkind 10/1
William Hague 12/1
Andrew Lansley 14/1
Liam Fox 14/1
Tim Yeo 16 / 1
Alan Duncan 20 / 1
Theresa May 50 / 1
Damian Green 50 / 1
John Redwood 50 / 1

Guido is betting on Betfair against runners that are hopeless and on others whose odds are a little too long. Guido laid Rifkind @ 14 / 1 and backed Alan Duncan @ 40 / 1. For those of you who don’t know about Betfair its a two-way betting exchange where you can lay (short, bet against) as well as back horses leaders. It means you can trade in and out as their odds move on the news. So I could now buy back Rifkind @ 14 /1 and lay Alan Duncan if his price shortens to lock in a profit. Guido thinks Clarke is worth laying, Hague too, although a strong candidate, he is on the same turf as Basher Davis

Theresa May has refused to rule herself out – but Guido will, the same goes for Green and Redwood. As for Lansley, Yeo and Duncan, well, you never know I suppose…

Foxy Ladies

Sorry if you have heard this already (I’m catching up). According to a Guido correspondent, Doctor Fox must be serious about the leadership race, since he’s getting engaged to Dr Jesme Baird apparently. She is his long term squeeze, so good luck to her. A cynic might wonder at the timing and wonder whether she will actually hear the peel of wedding bells if he doesn’t win…

Its turning into a bit of a Tory Summer of Love, Tory ad man Steve Hilton is shacking up with Rachel Whetstone, Howard’s Girl Friday. They are buying a house in Notting Hill of course…

Rifkind is Doomed to Fail

The Rifkind candidacy is definitely doomed now Crispin Blunt MP, Rifkind’s ex-Special Adviser, has quit as a whip in order to help his campaign. The Rifkind candidacy totally bemuses Guido.

What exactly is the question to which Tories come up with the answer “Malcom Rifkind”?

Guido has been away and is still catching up on things, a source sent me the Tory internal briefing on “A 21st Century Party”. Guido has not yet found the section where it outlines that an old Watsonian Scottish toff, who looks like Krusty-the-Clown [pictured], is the the man for the 21st Century Party.

Rifkind is not normal, what is going on with the accent? The tie-less pictures of Rifkind look as posed as a fish on a bicycle. God help the Tories if they choose this throwback…

Cherie Goes To Washington

This story registered not a jot in the U.S. or much on the BBC (increasingly the Beeb is cowering behind your licence fee), it fell to ITV to get the pictures and the legal threats from Cherie’s agents.

$50,000? Nice work if you can get it. Travelling over at the taxpayer’s expense, with the British ambassador as your warm-up man, what is wrong with that? As New Labour Unplugged paraphrases her “No one criticised Imelda Marcos when she went shoe buying … and the Chinese didn’t mind Madam Mao half running the country … so why am I being singled out?”

Whilst I Was Away…

  • My tan improved.
  • The Guardian called Guido a heavyweight blogger (Montignac diet clearly not working).
  • I learnt that Blackberries are great for email, but give you thumb cramp if you use them too heavily. (Also too complicated to blog with – edits are a nightmare).
  • The Tory leadership race narrows to only 1 in 20 Tory MPs hinting that they plan to stand for the leadership. Proof that the arrogant self-regard of our politicians is endless.
  • I discovered that babies get jet-lag too. (How? Baby Fawkes has us Mrs Fawkes up every three hours or so already.)
  • A judging panel for the Press Plagiarist of the Year Award is forming (see below), Recess Monkey joins the panel. We are looking for another blogger or two to join the panel. A wonderful trophy has been commissioned. Please keep emailing examples of plagiarism in (don’t think we haven’t noticed you lazy sods at the Yorkshire Post…)
  • Tom Watson MP has a baby to blog about as well now. Which is handy, because he keeps schtum about real politics nowadays…
  • The prolific Tim Worstall has made 163 posts since I promised to link to him.

Tip offs: 0709 284 0531

Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”


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