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…