Beermatters

Not a photoshop job, genuine campaign beermat from Blears. Wonder where they were when thought up that idea?

Miliblogger Survey

From: Edemocracy@lse.ac.uk
Sent: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 2.31PM
Subject: David Miliband Blog Evaluation Survey

Hello,

As you are aware, David Miliband MP’s blog is being evaluated as part of the ‘Digital Dialogues’ pilot (www.digitaldialogues.org.uk). The ‘Digital Dialogues’ evaluations are being compiled by the independent, non-partisan Hansard Society.

You are being contacted because you have visited and posted on David Miliband’s blog. The purpose of this survey is to your ask your views on the Minister’s blog specifically, and also to pick up on your general thoughts about the contribution of technology to British politics.


You are not obliged to participate but your input is very valuable.
Please complete the survey online at http://www.digitaldialogues.org.uk/survey.

Your time is much appreciated.
Kind regards,
Barry Griffiths

________________________________
Hansard Society
40 – 43 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1JA
Promoting Democracy – Strengthening Parliament

Speech Writing This Morning

Best Man at a wedding this afternoon, so no blogging…

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee today told Dave he had been “ill-advised” to link funding to access to his office. Guido has been told that the modus operandi for the “Leaders Group” was to have proven donors over for PMQs on a Wednesday, have them watch the show and then give them lunch and a few drinks to loosen their wallets. Dave would do a bit of glad handing and not be around if and when they were directly hit up for dosh.
Cameron got a rap on the knuckles and had to grovel “unreserved apologies for inadvertently contravening the code of conduct in respect of the use of his parliamentary offices” and promise to be a good boy in future. Quite right.

Much as Guido hates to add to his troubles given his current mental state, Sleazy Levy had a very similar routine, although a little more direct. If he smelt money off you at a social or party event, he would invite you to visit him at the Lords and hit you up for dosh there. Perhaps, given the circumstances, we should skip the rap on the knuckles from the parliamentary authorities option. He has enough to worry about as it is…

New SpAds Please

Robert Philpot, director of Progress and editor of their magazine has just been appointed as the new SpAd to Peter Hain, replacing the departed cheating Phil Taylor.

All his hard work turning an admirably Blairite organisation into a Hain journal has clearly paid off. It was the articles like this from Peter Hain – which Guido would not be surprised to discover was ghosted by or had some input from Philpot himself, that got him the job

Shame he won’t be able to play any part in the boss’s campaign now he’s in a politically restricted, taxpayer-paid post…

Tories Set-Up Anti-Miliband Unit

According to the Telegraph the Tories have set up an anti-Miliband unit. Here is Guido’s favourite picture of the wonk for their files…
He sets out his manifesto here, it is a post-socialist analysis, but his prescriptions (elsewhere) are scary. The authoritarian approach to enforcing a green regime puts Guido in fear. All his talk of “social contracts” just smacks of state diktat based on anti-capitalist prejudice dressed up as environmental concern. One thing for sure is that freedom of choice will not enter into his plans.

The Sun to Set on Tony

Rumour has it that Tony Blair has arranged an interview with George Pascoe-Watson at The Sun to run the day before Local Election polling day (2nd May). This could well be the day we get firm news as to Tony’s departure date – some think he might announce it to be immediately after polling day to fit in with the assumption that the Labour leadership campaign will run for 7 weeks until the start of July. Would this help Labour in Scotland? Is Gordon any more popular than Blair? Guido still has money on Q3, but it is looking less certain that Blair has the will to to exit the stage as late as possible.

Guido Regrets…

Well the live interview was definitely a mistake and against my better judgement, as was the in-the-shadows idea of the Newsnight editor, but nice to have Sir Michael White go to full-frontal-abuse.
His denial of knowing his friend Prescott was even 68 is contradicted here

Interviewing Prezza for the Guardian on the 10.05 out of King’s Cross yesterday I was startled, not for the first time, by his resillient energy. It was his 68th birthday, which makes him eight years older than me and a good deal more energetic. Why hasn’t he got any white hair, I found myself wondering? What’s his secret? Pauline’s cooking? Grecian 2000? Tracey? Croquet? A zeal for the public good?

Incidentally – want to clarify something immediately re Nick Robinson – that last line about Nick being the source, did not mean he was the source for the original much contested Guido “email” second system story. Nick has never been a source. We had a discussion re the Ruth Turner document after doing his interview. That was what the reference was to, pretty sure that came over all wrong, and genuinely apologise for any embarrassment caused to Nick. Good night.

Nick Robinson Regrets…

Nick Robinson regrets speaking to Guido, well that may be, he probably won’t give Guido an interview again. Bovvered.


Maybe he thinks Guido should “pull his punches”?

Should Guido Audition to Replace Crick?

Guido occasionally gets calls from producers asking him to go on TV and turns them down. Newsnight have tried a few times without success. But they finally made Guido an offer he couldn’t refuse, his own production team, a free hand with the script and five minutes of prime time to do whatever he wanted. So despite never wanting to get his face on TV, Guido decided to take on our political broadcasters; Nick Robinson, Adam Boulton and Paxman. Crick’s old job is up for grabs after all…
The piece is online here. Now the editors have moved the goalposts and want a studio discussion as well. Sir Michael White will be defending the cosy lobby system, Paxman will be back to asking rather answering the questions. What do you think? Stay in the shadows or do battle with Sir Michael? Vote using the box in the middle column.

Miliband ‘s Pro-Labour Blogging is a Repeat OffenceMandarins Do Sock-Puppetry Too

Guido was (as normal) perusing the Farmer’s Weekly Interactive when he noticed that Peter Ainsworth, Miliband’s Tory shadow, has joined in the complaints about the Miliblogger making partisan pro-Labour propaganda points on a civil service run website paid for by the taxpayer despite promising he wouldn’t do that when he started.
click to enlarge
The Miliblogger has now taken that Civil Service Code breaking post down. But this is not the first time he has broken the rules and his promise, he has previous. On March 9, in a post headlined Land fit for Heroes he claimed that “One of the great achievements of the 1945 Labour Government was the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. It was inspired… blah blah blah”

So another partisan claim, another breach of the rules, paid for by taxpayers whom he promised that “because this is a Government site I won’t lapse into party ranting”. Will he take this one down as well?
A co-conspirator called to draw Guido’s attention to a comment by Owen Barder, formerly Blair’s economic private secretary, latterly a mandarin at DFID and not a person unknown to the Miliblogger himself. He says of the Miliblog “..this is excellent value for money. People should be impressed that a Cabinet Minister is blogging at all, not whinging about the very reasonable costs.” Now that is sock-puppetry of the highest order…

UPDATE : A Whitehall satsuma tells me that Owen Barder actually worked for Miliband when he ran the No. 10 policy unit.

Hilary Benn’s Arms Length Viral

Just as the anti-Hilary attack ad made by an “independent” supporter of Obama turned out to not be so independently made after all, this independently made ad will, Guido has no doubt, have the blessing of Hilary Benn’s team.
Why not run the ad officially? Because firstly it breaches Zephyr Film’s copyright, it is also a little bit risky in that humour can often have disastrous and unexpected consequences. Gweirdo (James Mason) carefully takes responsibility for it in case Benn’s team need to avoid getting any backwash. Humour has hitherto been sadly lacking in political videos, now that anyone with a laptop and a digital camera can make one, that is going to change. This one works and won’t harm Hilary Benn at all, but as Sion Simon’s anti-WebCameron debacle proves, it can backfire badly.

See the Benn viral on Guynews.

Benn’s Arms Length Viral

As Usual With Upgrades, Things Need Tweaking

Consider the blog to be in Beta version…

UPDATE : Colour error fixed, apparently an errant { was responsible. Those complaining about the width of the text box being too small should know it is unchanged, the page is just more wide-screen. The text column on the left is, if you are one of the increasing number of people reading this on a mobile device, a better format. More tweaks coming.

Bogey Man Update

Over 70,000 people have so far watched Gordon’s two minute bogeytastic excavation via YouTube, making it by far the most watched political video outside the US. Guido put the video together in a bit of a hurry and looped the Twilight Zone theme tune on repeat.

According to a source the “dee doo dee doo” tune echoed around the new Millbank Tory open plan HQ all day as the boys and girls watched it on their screens mesmerised. Back to work chaps before Hilton finds out…


You can still watch it over on
GuyNews.TV

That Taxpayer Funded Non-Political Blog Again

When the Treasury finds out it is paying for this someone is going to be in big trouble. How did this get through moderation? If you have a civil servant paid a pro-rata rate of some sixty grand to do the moderation you’d at least expect them to be attentive given the controversy.

Da Fink reckons that the Miliblogger would be liberated and change from the Steve Davis of political blogging into something more interesting if he was on a Labour party hosted, rather than a Civil Service restricted, blog. Guido is not convinced that even uninhibited free association wonk-speak would be that interesting. Ever.

Punters Reckon Straw Backs Gordon for the Vacancy

Betfair punters now reckon Jack Straw is the favourite to succeed Gordon as Chancellor when the position becomes vacant. Which has a certain logic to it, but did Gordon actually make Straw an offer he couldn’t refuse? If Gordon “I don’t bear grudges” Brown asks you to run his campaign, what are you going to do? Learn to swim with the fishes? Alastair Darling won’t be pleased, but what can he do? Has Gordon calculated that another Scot at the Treasury will be too much?

The question is why hasn’t Gordon asked Miliband to be his deputy campaign manager? Seems awfully uncharacteristically brave to leave Blair’s chosen successor at a loose end…

Jack Straw is obviously going to need to top up Gordon’s male dominated team with some women to give it a more inclusive feel. Why not people he has some experience with? Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP who sat on the EU convention’s 13-strong presidium has experience, and Oona King has a younger funkier appeal with the bonus of ethnicity thrown in. She also charmed Gordon at the Fabian conference recently with the improbable (pre-Kylie) claim that “If you want celebrity and glitz, Gordon is not your man.” No harm in boosting Gordon’s campaign with some female talent…

Politicians are Better Off In the EU

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the Better Off Out campaign is holding a Better Off IN reception (junket) tonight at the Old Bank of England from 7 until closing time. The theme is that politicians, not the people of Europe, are better off in the EU.

There will apparently be a gravy train, a wine lake, a butter mountain, a pig trough, porky pies and other entertainments. Philip Davies MP and Gerard Batten MEP will be launching the “London Declaration”, in response to the Berlin Declaration. The invite suggests that you wear anything you like – “anybody dressed as a fat cat politician or as a pig will be particularly welcome.” Guido will try doing his best to help reduce the wine lake.

More details here.

Miliband’s Blog Assistant Costs £62,400 a Year

Further to the stories about the Miliblogger’s taxpayer funded blog, Tory Radio has calculated that since Miliband says

…he has an official effectively acting as his blogging assistant who does about 10 hours work a month at a cost of £300. Now if that was equated to a full time equivalent that would be say 40 hours a week at £30 an hour for 52 weeks which is a whopping £62,400 salary.

£62,400 a year is more than an MP’s salary. The blog should be hosted by the Labour party and the asssistant’s salary should be paid by the Labour party. Miliband should concentrate on sorting out Defra’s serious problems rather than profile raising, partisan propanda blogging.

Rich & Marks Monday Morning View(Suspect Edition)

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