Zimbabwe and Britain : Parallels (I)

A co-conspirator draws an interesting parallel.

From The History of Zimbabwe based on Nyerere’s recollections:

During tension between the two political leaders Julius Nyerere summoned Nkomo then Mugabe to talks to try and reconcile them. When Mugabe went in and was offered a seat, Mugabe refused and went up to Nyerere’s face and told him “If you think I’m going to sit right where that fat bastard just sat, you’ll have to think again”. As a result of this strained relationship with the two, fighting between ZANLA and ZIPRA soldiers only increased and widened the gap between the two men.

From The Mail On Sunday based on Prescott’s memoirs:

Mr Prescott, who will stand down as an MP at the next election, also tells of more comical encounters, including the time the then Chancellor insisted on having a larger chair at a peace-making dinner. Mr Blair reportedly said: “I’m used to Gordon looking down on me.”

+++ YouGov Whisper Number Has Boris Ahead 6% +++

Mike Smithson has the whisper from a reliable source that YouGov’s last poll has Boris “leading Ken 44%-36% on first preferences. After second preferences that becomes 53% to 47%.”

Guido Predicts…

Boris will win and nothing else will really matter tomorrow. Polly Toynbee and all the rest of the chattering classes will choke on their words. Labour will finally understand in their collective consciousness that they made a terrible choice in replacing the triple election-winning Tony with the triple election-avoiding* Gordon.

They will also know that if Boris can win London, Cameron can win Britain. Gordon is a loser…

*1994 avoids risking challenging Tony for the leadership. July 2007 engineers a coronation through menace and intimidation to avoid a challenge for the leadership. October 2007 funks calling a general election to obtain a personal mandate in the face of a resurgent Conservative Party.

Short : “Arrest Blair for War Crimes”

It has just come to Guido’s attention that Claire Short was on Al Jazeera earlier this month calling for Tony Blair to be arrested for War Crimes. That is her off the Christmas Card list…

Hat-tip : Charles Crawford.

Crackers Speedily Spun Off

David Cracknell surprised many three months ago by leaving political journalism at the Sunday Times to join sleazy lobbyists LLM as chairman and also becoming an MD of Financial Dynamics.

Now he is off, saying “The valuable time spent here has opened my eyes to a number of opportunities outside the firm which it would not be possible to take up were I to continue. FD has been kind enough to release me and I am very grateful for that….” blah blah blah… Everyone is being suspiciously nice about things and smiling.

This should be a warning to the recent crop of hacks leaving journalism for the thicker pay packets of spin…

Dave Looks to May 2 at PMQs

Yesterday Guido pointed to the 42-days vote as the post May 2 battleline for the PLP:

Guido believes that constitutionally and practically it is too late to mount a formal leadership challenge to Brown’s under Labour Party rules in time for the September conference. So it would have to be by non-constitutional means that he is dragged out of Downing Street – Jack Straw no doubt will be at the back of the delegation doing the dragging. Another option is to make the 42-days vote effectively a confidence vote. Since the opposition will unanimously vote it down, it will be up to Labour backbenchers if they want to get rid of their unelected leader.

If Gordon kicks 42-days into touch it will signal his fears of the consequences…

Surpisingly today Dave didn’t go off on the local elections, he challenged Gordon to make the 42-days vote a confidence vote. Gordon swerved the opportunity.

A line of questioning from Dave perhaps aiming to sow a thought in the restless collective mind of the PLP…

UPDATE : Ben Brogan is thinking along similar lines. He gives Dave no chance of “getting the ball rolling on the next rebellion”.

Labour Cynically Exploit Tributes to Gwyneth for Data Mining

The readiness of New Labour to cynically exploit the goodwill of Gwyneth Dunwoody’s constituents (where she had a significant following) hit a low with the hasty announcement that Labour will rush the election in record time. Now they have been caught milking tributes for partisan advantage.

The official local party website invites you to leave a tribute to her – nothing wrong with that. Guido cynically wondered why the online tribute form asks not only for your name, but your house number, postcode and email address? It seems Guido was right to be cynical…

Before she is in the ground they are electioneering. If anyone from Labour claims that it is just an innocent opportunity to leave a tribute to the much-loved former MP they are being less than honest. A close study of the data capture process reveals that it includes a sophisticated software routine designed to look-up and verify the postcode and collect the data for Labour HQ in London. This is not a spontaneous local initiative – it was designed by Tangent Labs, the Labour Party’s national e-campaigns software contractors. Don’t forget to include this work in your election expenses chaps….

The data will no doubt be used to help with e-campaigning in what could be a closely fought battle. This by-election will be a prototype for General Election e-campaigning strategies…

+++ EXCLUSIVE Benn to Sell UBM Shareholding +++

Just got the official line from Hilary Benn’s office. He is now selling his shareholding, which came from his grandmother and father’s interest in the family publishing firm which was sold to UBM. “He doesn’t want to be drawn into this matter.”

Worry & Hurry for May 22 By-Election

The unseemly rush to have the Crewe & Nantwich by-election can only mean one thing – Labour are worried. Guido can’t recall an election being called before the body was buried before.

They obviously hope to prevent the opposition organising themselves and exploit the warm goodwill that still lingers from Gwyneth Dunwoody. The selection takes place Friday morning with the candidate to be announced Saturday night.

It suggests that they hope to get all the bad news out of the way before the summer. In time no doubt for yet another Brown re-launch…

UPDATE : Iain Dale speculates as to why Fraser Kemp won’t be performing his usual by-election role.

Will Benn Divest from UBM?

UBM has announced that it is fleeing Britain’s rapacious tax regime for the friendly and more welcoming business environment to be found in Ireland. Vince Cable has condemned UBM as corporate tax dodgers.

To be fair UBM management have to keep their shareholders happy – shareholders like the farm minister Hilary Benn.

Just got off the phone with Hilary Benn’s SpAds, they promise to get back to Guido. They are going to ask Hilary what, in the circumstances, he is going to do with his significant and correctly declared, shareholding in United Business Media (thought to be worth 7 figures). Will he divest, vote against the move or sell his shares?

Aaronovitch Reveals Something Interesting

David Aaronovitch, refreshed after addressing the jolly ranks of hedge fund managers and brokers in the Caymans, has a revealing article in this morning’s Times. He basically bemoans the lack of unflinching loyalty to the Brown cause from the Guardianista commentariat.Is it the job of journalists to be boosters? Are they expected to keep to a rigid discipline? To follow the line? Aaronovitch has got a reply from Jackie Ashley where she basically reminds him that she is a commentator not an agitator. Glad she remembered…She also gives a shorthand listing of her Guardianista colleagues’ ideological bents:-
George Monbiot – Green
Martin Kettle – Blairite
Jackie Ashley – Brownite
Polly Toynbee – Labourite
Jonathan Freedland – Labourite
No surprises there. The speed of Polly and Jackie’s disappointment with Gordon is a pleasant surprise. Remember how they wailed for the end of Blair? Aaronovitch was the last out of the bunker with Blair and looks likely to again be the last out of the bunker with Brown. What does that say about his psychology?

UPDATE : A co-conspirator calls with this thought – Aaronovitch (like many ex-communists) admires raw power and is a trailing edge indicator. So in three years time he will probably be a booster for Cameron…

How Do You Like This Big Tent Gordon?

Kate Hoey will be Mayor Boris’ sports adviser in the run-up to the Olympics and if some rumours are to be believed, Brian Paddick, not Boris himself, will be his chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority. That would be sweet revenge for Paddick, although it might not be so comfortable for Sir Iain Blair…

One Labour insider has just told Guido that Labour will implement a scorched earth policy in an attempt to sabotage Boris at every turn. Just as they have squeezed the SNP government in Scotland budgetarily from the centre they will do the same in London. Central government under their control will collectively punish London’s voters for not voting Labour…

Post May 2 : Potential Battlelines

Gordon and the diminishing band of loyal Brownies must be thinking ahead to May 2 about the tactics and strategies to be employed to quell a PLP mutiny. The declining wider membership is so demoralised and disappointed that it is for now quiescient and no grassroots threat is likely. Avoiding giving the PLP opportunities to lash out at Gordon will be the prime goal.

With Mayor Boris in office and Labour suffering triple figure losses elsewhere, the keen sense of self preservation felt by politicians will come into action. Ken will no doubt blame Gordon (and his bad press), the timing of Gordon’s 10p debacle will be blamed by the legions of local councillors who will be mourning their lost jobs.

Guido believes that constitutionally and practically it is too late to mount a formal leadership challenge to Brown’s under Labour Party rules in time for the September conference. So it would have to be by non-constitutional means that he is dragged out of Downing Street – Jack Straw no doubt will be at the back of the delegation doing the dragging. Another option is to make the 42-days vote effectively a confidence vote. Since the opposition will unanimously vote it down, it will be up to Labour backbenchers if they want to get rid of their unelected leader.

If Gordon kicks 42-days into touch it will signal his fears of the consequences…

+++ United Business Media Flees UK Taxes +++

The company valued at £1.3 billion is fleeing the shores of Britain’s increasingly high tax regime, joining the FTSE 100’s Shire Pharma in what is becoming a trend as Britain becomes less competitive.

UBM will become tax resident in Ireland, where we enjoy corporation tax rates of 12.5% compared with the 28% suffered in the UK.

Plenty of room for the rest of the FTSE 100…

Lights Go Out at City Hall

Like a biblical omen, darkness has fallen on Ken’s City Hall.

Due to flooding in the basement the power has been switched off. Has London ground to a halt? Has the lack of advice from diversity officers brought commerce to a halt? Will the lack of active bureaucrats halt the transport network?

Guido suspects London would function better without the extra layer of Mayoral bureaucracy….

UPDATE : Some jokes in the comments that the over-working paper-shredders probably fused the electricity – as with the Stasi before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Would be funny except Ken has boasted of doing exactly this before the 2005 Freedom of Information Act came into law.

Gwyneth Funeral Next Week

Gwyneth Dunwoody’s funeral will be held at St Margaret’s Chapel in London on May 8 at midday.

The by-election date will be announced the following week – expect mid-June. Thursday’s local elections will be especially telling because due to boundary re-organisation, the results will be mappable onto the Westminster constituency. Rumours are that her daughter Tamsin may stand for the seat…

+++ YouGov: Boris 11% Ahead on First preferences +++

10% after second preferences…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Lord Laidlaw Laid Low by Lust for Ladies

Frankly Guido is full of admiration for the 64 year-old. Coke-fuelled sex orgies with high class hookers can’t be easy on someone recovering from prostate cancer and a heart attack. The News of the Screws has him at it with 4 girls, a gigolo and a tri-lingual bisexual. He has given £7 million to the Tories out of his £700 million fortune, so plenty left over for enjoying himself. He has now checked himself into a sex addiction clinic…

How to Hack Harriet Harman

As the government contemplates a law to criminalise “reckless” losses of data it is worth reflecting on the sophisticated data security employed by Harriet Harman to prevent hacking of her blog:
username : harriet
password : harman
The hacker also tells Guido that he used “log-less multiple proxies” – which are the internet equivalents of dead drops.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories. That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

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