Comrade Konrad, the Sith Apprentice

Eagle-eyed co-conspirators will notice the line-up on this regular feature’s Smith Institute banner has changed, out goes Gordon’s pollster Shrum, in comes curly haired Konrad, the man who could not remember how he got his job. Guido had no idea how widely disliked Gordon’s little helper is until he mentioned him earlier this week.

Now bear in mind that according to Wilf Stevenson, the director of the institute “it has never had and does not currently have a direct relationship with Gordon Brown.” (Incidentally, how does Wilf, never in the office, run a Westminster focussed think-tank from the Lake District?)


Some of the comments about Konrad were just unprintable so Guido has stored them in his files. Essentially Konrad is said to revel in the cloak and dagger aspects of running Gordon’s slush fund and the proximity to power it provides. He enjoys being the secret Sith apprentice to Gordon’s Emperor Palpatine.

To understand how Konrad joined the independent, we-are-not-political, never-heard-of-him-gov-honest-institute, we need to go back to 1999 when New Labour was just starting to look less whiter-than-white. Sarah Macaulay was part of Hobsbawm Macaulay, the PR operation that was the spin-shop of choice for New Labour, and as such had as its client the then struggling New Statesman. Struggling to some extent because the owner (Gordon’s paymaster general at the time) Geoffrey Robinson was paying £100,000 to the future Mrs Brown’s firm. This caused some outrage at the time. As PR to the magazine she became friends with the lowly marketing and promotions employee – Konrad Caulkett. He was forever complaining to Sarah about his low pay and she supported his demands to the managment for a raise. Alas, the till was empty explained the management. Sarah suggested to him that he come work for the Smith Institute for more money, she would have a word and arrange it.

Konrad moved his desk from one side of the New Statesman’s office to the other side. This is the bit they call the independent Smith Institute.* Not so independent that it doesn’t still share the tea kettle with the New Statesman.

Hopefully this will jog Konrad’s memory as to how Sarah Macaulay got Konrad his job. Hobsbawm Macaulay went bust and Sarah became Mrs Brown. Guido wonders if she has a “direct relationship” with whomever she “had a word” with?

UPDATE : The press interest is on Ed Balls’ £100,000 bung for 8 months “work” in 2005. However a co-conspirator points out that if in 2004 the Smith Institute’s 100% owned S.I. Events Limited paid no remuneration to employees, and the S.I. charity only had a wage bill of £48,278 they must have been getting below minimum wage. Four staff; Wilf Stevenson, Konrad Caulkett, Ben Shimshon and assorted £7-per-hour interns presumably had to be paid. So where did the money come from? Over to you Konrad…

More next week.

*Guido’s co-conspirators have renamed the institute “the Sith” after the evil cult devoted to the dark side of the Force. In Star Wars they attempt to overthrow the legitimate elected political leader and replace him with an unelected dictatorial emperor Gordon Brown Palpatine. It is a fantasy.



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