This Morning the Smith Institute Met in No. 11

The arrogance of the Sith is incredible. Despite being warned by the Charity Commission to hold events at politically neutral venues, they held yet another event this morning at No. 11.

A co-conspirator tells Guido

Alistair Darling was “looking very proprietorial ” telling the assembled business executives how it will be in future. Attending were some ministers, no politicians from other parties, but some Labour backbenchers.

With Gordon’s future chancellor and only Labour MPs present, seems to Guido to be a little bit political and far from neutral. If you have not yet watched Iain Dale’s ten minute documentary on the Smith Institute, click here.

UPDATE : Dizzy has picked-up on the Treasury’s John Healey avoiding answering questions about EMI. Wonder why?

Tories Pressing Hard on Smith Institute

Chris Grayling has today written to the Charity Commission’s Head of Compliance demanding a full investigation under Section 8 of the Charities Act.

Mark Francois last week tabled yet another Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ) which is still unanswered

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what remuneration was received for the use of 11 Downing Street from the Smith Institute or SI Events Ltd for its seminar on positional goods held on 21st September 2006.

Keith Simpson has been told to expect an answer to his questions “by the end of this week”.

A co-conspirator emails to say he has been told by Oliver Letwin that George Osborne “has been doing a good deal of work on this Smith Institute connection, and will be ensuring that it is brought fully to public attention.”* Hmm, the bandwagon went that way…

*Guido knows that Osborne’s researcher is boasting to journalists that he is behind the exposing of the Sith, perhaps he repeats to them what he reads here?

Move Over WebCameron, Disco Sarko Grooves

The Guidoisation and Popbitching of democracy spreads across the channel. WebCameron is so 2006, Disco Sarko is it. Disco never dies, Vive les Sarkonautes!

Charity Commission Sets Midday Deadline for Evidenceand Goes On Strike

The Charity Commission is insisting Guido hands over evidence by midday and that they will not accept anything after that deadline.

So Guido tried calling them this morning, only to be told the switchboard is unmanned because the PCS union is on strike and the person concerned is not available. Kafkaesque.

UPDATE : The person concerned has just emailed to say they are not on strike and will call Guido back.

UPDATE II : Have had a discussion with the Head of Compliance, have explained Guido’s concerns about how to protect the anonymity of sources, and promised to send info as soon as possible.

Dale on the Smith Institute

Iain Dale has been tracking the Smith Institute around Westminster and Whitehall for Doughty Street TV. The evidence that the Smith Institute is a Brownite front, rather than a non-political, non-partisan charity is patently clear. Watch the video here.

Cover-Ups are Tricky Stuff

+ Smith Institute Exposé II + Doughty Street TV Tonight +

Just to add to the good news flow, Iain Dale has a piece on Doughty Street TV tonight about the Smith Institute which explains why they should lose their charitable status.

Michael Crick will no doubt be watching…

Let’s Do the Perp Walk Again!

Levy really should have taken Guido’s advice when he had the chance, shouldn’t he?

This is not the end, but it is the beginning of the end…

Can’t wait for the PMOS’ explanation tomorrow. “There is no Lord Levy in Downing Street, there is no other email system, from which nothing was deleted, no honours were sold etc…”

Guido was in the supermarket when he heard the news. He left the fruit and veg and proceeded to the champagnes. Well why not…

Million Petitioners : All Ignored

The Downing Street website has had a million petition signatures since November boasted the PMOS this afternoon. The site is now almost as popular as this blog…

The PMOS went on to say that even when hundreds of thousands of people signed up

“it did not automatically guarantee was a change in policy, as sometimes, there were issues such as road pricing where people had strong views, but strong views did not necessarily equal a solution to congestion.

Not one single petition has been acted upon so far, Guid thinks you are wasting your time people. Downing Street is boasting it has ignored the views of a million people.

+++ Gordon’s Non-Partisan, Non-Political Charity Paid forU.S. Pollster to Formulate Anti-Cameron Strategy +++

Bloomberg News is reporting that Bob Shrum, the veteran U.S. pollster and campaign adviser, was paid by the Smith Institute to formulate an anti-Cameron campaign strategy for Gordon Brown.

They have obtained a transcript of a speech given to a private Smith Institute invited audience, which included Brown acolytes Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, as well as other media allies. Shrum advised the Brownites to brand Cameron as “an empty opportunist who will do anything to win”.

The event was held to review Cameron’s first 100 days in March 2006.

Guido understands that a formal complaint to the Charity Commissioners requesting a full-scale investigation of the Smith Institute under Section 8 of the Charity Act will be considered by the Charity Commission today.

++ more follows ++

Webmail for Dummies

Dear Tom,

How to find out if you can get onto a private email gateway from Downing Street:
  1. Get your assistant to sit down at a web connected terminal.
  2. Tell them to double-click on the internet browser symbol to launch it.
  3. At the top in the address line get your assistant to type http://www.lpnet.org.uk
  4. Tell her to hit the return key.

If you see this:
You better correct yourself to the Lobby this morning…

Regards,

Guido

Hain’s Emergency

Guido hears that Hain had a bit of a panic this morning after his campaign’s strategy and supporters list was put online. The resulting emergency conference call had a theme; “shit, what are we going to do?”

Apparently Labour staffers are in the shit, since they are supposed to be impartial. Which means Sheila Murphy, Labour’s Northern Director and Barrie Grunewald, Regional Director Yorks and Humber, will have to explain themselves to Hilary Benn and Alan Johnson, who are both in their regional care.

Life won’t be any easier for Felicity Williams, General Secretary of the Wales TUC who is in a politically restricted post, nor Lynn Glaister, Welsh Regional Officer and Arlene Ainsley – Regional Officer for the North of England.

One thing is for sure, Joe Carberry, Hain’s researcher and the author of the document along with Phil Taylor, Hain’s SpAd, are not going to be popular with the boss or his supporters after this screw up…

PMOS Gives Non-Denial Denial Over Secret Email

Guido has been very busy today, and has only just got back from the Charity Commission’s offices. So had missed the news that this morning the Lobby has been discussing with the PMOS Guido’s exclusive revelation on Saturday regarding the private email system used by Labour party apparachtiks in Downing Street. You know, the one that the PMOS says doesn’t exist.

On Saturday Guido also called for a correction from the PMOS, the Lobby got the hint, this is today’s official note;

Channel Four’s Political Editor said that he had picked up from the PMOS an “angry” tone, and did we feel that the police were putting things into the public domain without reporting directly to Downing Street, the PMOS asked the journalist if he was really telling him that police involved in an ongoing investigation were leaking details to the press, because if he was, it was a very serious allegation.

Asked if that could be the only way in which some of the information could have got into the public domain, the PMOS said “you tell me”. We believed that any conversations between the parties involved should be private.

Put that we had “rubbished” any idea of alternative computer networks, but the Mail on Sunday and “Guido Fawkes” website had both claimed that they had evidence of alternative email networks in No. 10 that linked up to the Labour Party, the PMOS said that we stood by what we said to ITN. There was only one email system at No. 10.

Asked if it would be possible for someone to “hop on” using a No. 10 computer onto the Labour Party network, the PMOS said again that there was only one email system at No. 10.

Asked further questions about the possibility of an external server, or the possibilities of sending Labour Party emails, and did only one system allow for more than one email address, the PMOS repeated that there was only one email system in No. 10. As the PMOS said on Friday, people in No. 10 could not access hotmail, gmail etc because of security reasons, and he was not aware of anyone who had more than one email address.

Asked if people could send political emails from the No. 10 account, the PMOS replied that he was not going to get into the details of the system. The claim that was put to us was that there was more than one system, and there is not. There is only one, and the police have had access to everything that went through the system.

Read it carefully and you can see he is not denying the existence of the private network, or that Downing Street staff can use it, he is saying that there is only one email system “at No. 10”. He is not denying the fact that political staff can, and do, use the Labour party’s private system. He is just being evasive. Guido, and no doubt even Lobby journalists, can vouch for the use of Hotmail accounts by Downing Street staff. They could be using their laptop’s mobile cards, their personal PDAs, but they can and do use Hotmail accounts for delicate matters. Be assured of that…

Sith : Going In…

Quote of the Month, comes by kind permission of the left-wing broadcaster Michael Crick, from the dark side’s Wilf Stevenson, director of the Smith Institute. After the third phone call from Newsnight’s Crick last week Wilf yelled “This is disreputable journalism, you are following the agenda of Guido Fawkes” … before slamming down the phone.

Peter Hain’s Campaign Strategy

Normally this kind of thing when leaked is not that exciting, Guido is usually underwhelmed by the details of by-election battle-plans and suchlike. But you know, the perma-tanned boy-racer is so bloody irritating that hopefully outing some MPs who have tentatively promised him support (no doubt they have said the same to other candidates) will give him a bit of a slap and please many rugby fans.

Particularly amusing to see listed is the promise by Harriet Harman’s PPS, Martin Linton, that he will publicly support her rival for deputy leader. What is clear is the total state of paralysis gripping the party of government as all minds are focused on positioning. Poor the Harriet…

Download Peter Hain’s “Strategy and Supporters” list here.

Remember, Guido’s contact details are in the right-hand column if you want to blow the whistle…

Things Can Only Get Better

Confidence in Blair has reached an all time low according to the pollsters, the polls show his party has fallen 12 percentage points in 12 months, the Sunday Telegraph reports that that the Loans for Lordships paper trail leads to an inked margin note in Tony’s handwriting. The police have lost track of hundreds of paedophiles, the Home Secretary is writing to judges asking them to free the guilty because they have not built new prisons. The army is overstretched and under-equipped providing target practise for enemies who present no threat to the national interest and are readying for their own civil war. The NHS is in chaos and schools policy is in disarray. The Labour party faces annihilation in Scotland at the hands of the SNP and the cabinet is on the edge of anarchy with ministers openly campaigning against government policies. Two trusted close Downing Street advisers have been arrested and another two interviewed under caution as suspects. The police have even asked a few difficult questions of the PM himself.
Things can only get better Tony.

Exclusive : The Non-Existent Private Email Gateway

This is the gateway to the Labour party’s private secure email system used by Downing Street officials for sensitive party political communications, it is not part of the government network and is currently the object of intense police interest. It utilises military level RSA encryption, but if you want to try your luck guessing usernames and passwords – www.lpnet.org.uk.

PMOS Wrong, Guido Knows

Yesterday morning the Lobby asked the PMOS about Downing Street’s email systems, the official Lobby note says:

Asked if there were a separate e-mail address such as some using the letter X and some not, the PMOS said no. Asked if people had ‘Hotmail’ accounts at Downing Street, the PMOS said because of security access to such e-mails accounts was not allowed. The police had had full access to everything they wanted. The fallacy was that in someway Downing Street had not cooperated with the police, that was not true.

On both the X-prefix point and the Hotmail question, Guido has direct experience of email exchanges with Downing Street people using “x.gsi.gov.uk” mail accounts and using Hotmail to, errm, well… lets just say Guido knows they use them. So perhaps the PMOS can check again and make a correction on Monday. Emails will be to the Blairgate cover-up, what tapes were to the Watergate cover-up.

Gordon and the Explosive Power of Bloggers

Speaking in Davos this morning, Gordon Brown, sitting next to Rupert Murdoch, said:

“A few years ago the debate was about whether the media controlled politicians or whether politicians controlled the media. Now it is about how we are all responding to the explosive power of citizens, consumers and bloggers.”

The Smith Institute dossier requested by the Charity Commissioners is being delivered on Monday.

Growling Chris Grayling MP has also written to the Chancellor requesting answers to some pertinent questions:
  • Will you publish a full list of all events held at Number 11 Downing Street by the Smith Institute?
  • Have any costs for Smith Institute events held at Number 11 been subsidised by you or the Treasury in any way? If so, what has been the total cost to the taxpayer of hosting these events?
  • What are the criteria by which applications to hold events at Number 11 are judged?
  • What is the number of applications you have received to hold events at Number 11; the number accepted and the number declined?
  • Will you list those charities that have been refused permission to hold events at Number 11?
  • Have any other Treasury facilities been provided for the purpose of hosting Smith Institute events?
  • On how many occasions have you personally attended Smith Institute events?
  • Has the Smith Institute ever provided you with any personal benefits? If so, have you declared such benefits (a) to the Register of Members Interest and (b) to the Electoral Commission
  • Have you ever solicited donations for the Smith Institute?
  • Can you provide assurances that there is no conflict of interest between anyone who has donated to the Smith Institute and your actions as Chancellor of the Exchequer?
Come Monday morning the Charity Commissioners will, Guido strongly suspects, be adding some of their own questions about his “non-political, independent charity”. Guido loves the smell of gunpowder in the morning…

Friday Caption Contest (Under the Stairs Edition)

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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