Pancake Race Across Town

A question of priorities in the Fawkes household saw us Catholics flipping pancakes on Shrove Tuesday instead of down at Vinopolis with the Opus Dave crowd – despite receiving two invites from CCHQ. Baby Ms Fawkes (seemingly fully recovered) appreciated the effort – Guido arrived as everyone was leaving so can’t report the Cameroonie mood there. Thought I saw Iain Dale strutting out into the night, so perhaps he will have a report.

Sans alcohol, Guido jumped back on his scooter as confused Tories sought taxis in deepest darkest Bermondsey sarf o’ the river. Speeding through the night to Foyles where the Taxpayer’s Alliance had kept a single glass of champagne aside. Bump into bloggers like Mr and Mrs Wat Tyler, Tim Montgomerie and the ever rockin’ Andrew Ian Dodge amongst many others.

Consensus here was that if Cameron is looking for a fight with the right, he is not going to get one. “We should let him fight and win or lose the election on his own terms”, “More than anything we want him to beat Brown”, “I don’t know what he is about, but he seems to be making progress” and “What is going on with your beard?” were the kind of comments people said to Guido.

UDATE : Dale does have the dope.

The Tory Dream Ticket

The probability of the English voting to be ruled over by two left-wing members of the Scottish Raj must be small. England voted in the most for the Tories at the last election, now the re-invigorated Tories are likely to face two tired old faces. Dave is one lucky politician.

Incidentally, it’s worth watching online today’s edition of Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics – Jenny and he tore into all the LibDem candidates mercilessly. Watch them squirm.


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Tufnell Park : Like Italy, it has Paparazzi

This is the scene, as snapped by a Guido co-conspirator this morning, outside Consigliere Mills’ mortgage-money-back-to-backing casa della lavanderia.

The paparazzi are on resignation-watch. Ominously, when asked yesterday if the Prime Minister gave his full support to Tessa Jowell, the PMOS said “yes”. Just like he did before Blunkett went. It seems to Guido that we are expected to believe that Mills was more honest with his accountant than his wife., that Mills was lying to the Italian authorities originally and is now telling the truth. It is all a bit iffy.

(Incidentally Guido welcomes pictures emailed by blog reading co-conspirators so if you catch something interesting on your camera-phone, let me know.)

Punters Flip-Flop, Guido Calls It For Ming

With the last chance to safely post voting slips coming tomorrow, Guido is calling the LibDem leadership election for Ming Campbell. Mike Smithson is calling it for Huhne (but keeping an all green screen). Young upstart tipster SpecialBets is also calling it for Ming.

My view is that a Ming backer squashed publication of the phantom YouGov poll (YG#1) when the poll showed Huhne narrowing the gap impressively. The second poll (YG#2), funded by a Huhne backer, had an element of push polling in it with leading questions which even my YouGov source admitted where a tad shady.

The only hard polling evidence is that Ming and Huhne are nearly within a margin of error on first preferences and that the majority of second preferences will go to Ming. The “Greenwash” smear on Huhne looked to me like a petulant Hughes backing op, Hughes also bitch-slapped Huhne early on and Hughes backers suspect Huhne of being more right-wing than he now professes. Hughes is the choice of sandal wearers and they will not switch to a multi-millionaire City refugee easily. Hughes’ second preferences will go to Ming in great numbers. Phone polling by young LibDem activists (enjoy Ming’s gift vouchers kids) also gives it to the old man. While Guido was writing this (a little before midnight) the betting market switched favourites. Guido has been in close contact with one of the biggest political punters throughout the last month (a player who can account for one-third of the daily market volume), he reckons that Huhne’s market manipulator (who disappeared this weekend) will be looking at a middling five-figure loss.

Hail Ming!

Best Odds!

Cameron’s 6 Clauses

click to open pdf

“Guido Understands that…”

Nick Robinson tonight on the Ten O’Clock News will say that “the BBC understands that..” David Cameron intends to give a Statement of Principles tomorrow. This may be spun as the “almost Clause 4 moment”. The Conservative party membership will be called upon to vote on it. This will face down right-wing critics with a “the membership backs change” definitive verdict. The old right headbangers will be buried.

Sorry to spoil the scoop Nick.

Service Will Be Resumed Shortly

Have been with baby Ms Fawkes down at Paediatric A&E – weekend from hell involving puking and shitting gastro-intestinal technicolour mess 24/7 non-stop. Best quote of the weekend from a London taxi driver, looking at Guido with puke dripping down his jacket “ahh, the joys of fatherhood”.

Some stuff on Consigliere Mills has come to Guido’s attention as well as some more muck-throwing amongst the LibDems… back soon.

Ming : I Must Do Better

Guido’s man hiding behind the GMTV sofa emails to say that in the interview just recorded to go out Sunday, he was not brilliant. Asked if he would work harder on his performance at PMQs, Ming said

“Well, we have been working on it. Let me put it this way if I’d had to write the script for the opening day then I certainly wouldn’t have written it the way it turned out.”

Meanwhile, his odds do seem to be closing on Huhne with only five days to go.

eBay Charity Auction

I Spy

Popularity Polls – Cameron Ahead

MORI reckons Cameron’s approval rating — the difference between those satisfied and those dissatisfied with his performance — is at 15%

Grumpy Gordon is on 11% and Blair is on -29%. Guido has put money on Blair standing down in September (on the advice of Recess Monkey).

London Final LibDem Hustings

Guido attended his first LibDem hustings tonight. The highlight of an otherwise boring meeting was the trio of Southwark urban activists shouting for 5 minutes at Simon Hughes that he was “a racist” and ranting about Nick Stanton – LibDem leader of Southwark council. Now this was awkward, obviously they were going to have to go, but the virtually all-white, hand-wringing liberal audience didn’t want to appear heavy handed.

So for a few minutes the situation was tense (although Nick Robinson was laughing with George Pascoe-Watson from The Sun in the front row at the dilemma). Eventually an African LibDem intervened so no white-on-black pictures would appear.

No surprises, Ming and Huhne were about equal on the clap-o-meter, maybe Ming had the edge with his better sense of humour. Hughes was all earnest and vicar-like, he rambled but the audience was not his, Huhne didn’t inspire but he was competent.

Funniest question from the floor was from someone who looked like a Tory in a yellow tie asking “when would they withdraw from the EU – AS THE PEOPLE WANT?”

Guido was handed a leaflet by a Green beardie-weirdie type which was going to go straight in the bin, except it does have an interesting allegation about carbon-neutral Huhne. He apparently owns substantial shareholdings in two gold mining companies. Gold which has to be smelted, a process which is responsible for 13% of global carbon emmissions. To be honest, Huhne’s conversion from BMW driving city tycoon to Green, electric-car-driving political visionary, does strike Guido as politically convenient.

click to enlarge

Spin Cycle : Political Intelligence (Again)

Spin merchants Political Intelligence are already under investigation for providing undisclosed support to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mobile Communications (APPGM). A Guido co-conspirator emails to suggest a closer look at the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group chaired by Derek Wyatt MP (who is also on the APPGM).

So Guido investigated the websites apmobile.org.uk and apig.org.uk. The websites are very informative about their activities apart from who provides support. The first was registered by Nicholas Lansman MD of Political Intelligence, the second was a bit more covert, but the address was a bit of a giveaway, it is the office of, you guessed it, Political Intelligence. Is Guido the only person disturbed that MPs are going on junkets under the banner of cross party groups that are organised by lobbyists who keep their industry clients secret and hide their involvement? Legislation regulating these industries makes and breaks their profits.

MPs will protest that it is all above board and within the rules (although in this instance Guido suspects that the disclosure rules have not been followed). Until the last General Election, the Blunkett-lookalike now ex-MP Brian White served on these groups and even enjoyed a free trip to Germany out of it in 2002.

When the wise voters of Milton Keynes booted him out within months he was employed as a consultant by Political Intelligence. Although of course there is absolutely no suggestion any rules have been broken, when it comes to answering ‘what is in it for the MPs who serve on APPGs’ (besides junkets) this provides an uncomfortable direction of thought.

Top O’ The Morning Osborne

George Osborne must have read my piece last week about the merits of Free Ireland. Because this morning he is in Dublin. Guido said:

“..let me recommend the benefits of Free Ireland to you over-taxed and downtrodden subjects: lower taxes, higher per capita income, higher GDP growth, a fully functioning education system, no I.D. cards, no kow-towing to inbred-German-toffs, a friendlier people and a better lifestyle.”

Boy George says:

What has caused this Irish miracle, and how can we in Britain emulate it? Three lessons stand out.

  • First, Ireland’s education system is world-class….
  • Secondly, the Irish understand that staying ahead in innovation requires world class research and development….No tax is paid on revenue from intellectual property where the underlying R&D work was carried out in Ireland…
  • Thirdly, in a world where cheap, rapid communication means that investment decisions are made on a global basis, capital will go wherever investment is most attractive. Ireland’s business tax rates are only 12.5%, while Britain’s are becoming among the highest in the developed world.

The new global economy poses real long-term challenges to Britain, but also real opportunities for us to prosper and succeed. In Ireland they understand this… They have freed their markets, developed the skills of their workforce, encouraged enterprise and innovation and created a dynamic economy. They have much to teach us, if only we are willing to learn.

If you want to come over for a weekend and go hunting, that’s still legal in Ireland…

Hat-tip : Conservative Home

Berlusconi’s Consigliere

David Mills lunched Don Berlusconi at the Garrick some years ago. Anyone who has had lunch at the Garrick will understand now why Berlusconi agrees with Chirac on English food. Isn’t it fascinating that Tessa Jowell’s husband advises foreign tycoons how to dodge taxes and gets $600,000 bunged into a hedge fund as a thank you. Now he is under investigation by the Italian police, and the bastards Inland Revenue. Nice that they can still laugh about it.

Captions in the comments please…

UPDATE: According to the Guardian Diary, Mills actually met Don Bernasconi, an under-boss in the Don Berlusconi mob, rather than the godfather himself.

Spin Cycle : Dial-An-MP

The Times took a look at the All-Party Group on Mobile Communications, which is a front for the clients of lobbyists Political Intelligence.

Neither the parliamentary register nor the group’s own website reveals the lobbyists’ ultimate clients — including internet service providers whose telephony services compete head to head with the mobile industry. This is an apparent breach of parliamentary rules which state: “Where a public relations agency provides the assistance, the ultimate client should be named.”

Sir Philip Mawer, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, is on the case. Derek Wyatt MP, the vice-chairman of the group, admits the lobbyists’ clients included the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association and the European Internet Services Providers Association, whose profits are obvioulsy subject to regulatory risk.
Luckily for the providers of internet telephony, the group always seems willing to have-a-go at mobile companies for overcharging consumers, building mobile phone masts and marketing mobile phones to kids. Derek Wyatt reckons Political Intelligence would be straight out the door if they tried to influence things. It makes you wonder what Political Intelligence’s clients are paying them for if not pay-as-you-go policies from this group?

Enough With Google Ads

Obviously somebody in Victoria Street reads Guido and has a sense of humour. Key in Chris Huhne and look what you get:

Please no more Google Ads. Please.

UPDATE : Cameron’s advert has gone, possibly something to do with an organised ker-ching click-fest by LibDems.

UPDATE : A co-conspirator tells Guido that Google Ads keywords per click for Huhne cost 2p, for Ming 3p and Hughes 6p. Something to do with the Torygraph.

Ming’s Women

Ming’s campaign has a video interview on his blog where he talks about the women in his life. His mum, his wife, his junior school teacher and.. err, that’s it. Strange, no mention of any other woman.

Will the “Flip-Flop Chameleon” Spin Work?

New Labour believes that they have to define the opponent in the public mind and frame the terms of the debate to destroy him. Hague, IDS and Howard got the treatment. With Cameron they have hesitated, apparently at Blair’s behest and to the dismay of Brown. Now we are led to believe they have agreed an attack and they intend to define Cameron as an unreliable policy chameleon – a flip-flopper. The on message, loyalist Labour whip, Tom Watson MP, blogs this spin (with a very colourful graphic). Whomever wrote Prescott’s recent speech to the Labour Party Centenary Conference summarised the line neatly:

He’s like a rainbow. The Yellow Cameron. The Red Cameron. The Green Cameron. The Blue Cameron. What we’ve got, is Cameron the Chameleon. He can change the colour of his skin at will but the political animal underneath is Conservative to the core.

As much as Tom Watson and the activist core loves this line of attack, they should be self aware enough to know that Labour performed a total policy flip-flop from the pre-1996 policies advocated by Messrs Blair and Brown to reach their 2006 policies. They flipped and are still flopping.

All Cameron has to do is say “yes, it’s true, we have changed” and this line of attack is neutralised. That is after all what the voters wanted. Change. Calling Cameron a flip-flopper clearly highlights and confirms the change for him. Advertisers always like to keep the message simple – the New Tory message is “we have changed”. The details are irrelevant to most voters. Daz does not advertise Persil’s new formula, why is New Labour advertising New Tory policy changes?

The Kerry precedent is not directly comparable – Kerry flipped, flopped and flipped again and again. The man was a policy oscillator. If Cameron retreats on a future policy change Labour may have a valid charge. But he hasn’t so far, and unless he does, this line of attack won’t work.

Ming Sees Huhne’s Google Bid and Raises Him

James F an eagle-eyed co-conspirator of Guido’s, points out that the story about Huhne buying adverts on Google for search results for his rival’s names, obviously upset the Mingers. Look what they have done:

Search for Chris Huhne and you find Ming above him! They will have had to pay more than the Huhney Monster for the privilege.

Ming bidding here…

UPDATE : Mingers seem determined to boost Google’s profits. Guess what you get when you search for “David Cameron“?

Comical Candidate

“Although the race is close, the evidence is that I have a slight lead with the other two battling it out for second place.”

“I look forward to working as Leader with the brightest, best and most creative people in British liberal politics to bring forward the policies fit for the new century.”

Hat-tip : after an original idea from www.theliberati.net/quaequamblog

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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