Cable Flip-Flops

Osborne was on all the news shows at lunchtime giving an interview outside the Treasury after his meeting with the chancellor – his message echoing Cameron’s speech this morning that the Tories would work with the government on legislation next week. Vince Cable has in response just done a waltz around the Westminster studios joining in with his own call for cross-party co-operation in the national interest – “We have to avoid getting caught up in narrow partisanship.”

The press releases sent from his office in the last 24 hours had a very different message:

“Gordon Brown’s response to the economic crisis has been too little, too late.”
“Conservatives don’t have a clue on the banking crisis”

This afternoon’s willingness to avoid point-scoring contrasts with the press release that arrived in Guido’s inbox from Cable at 10.23, just half an hour before Cameron’s hastily arranged emergency statement on the economy. In that press release Cable claimed only the LibDem’s plan would put money back in consumers pockets, cut energy bills, and stop home repossessions:

Gordon Brown and Labour can’t offer that. They got us into this mess. Now they are veering between complacency and panic. Dithering on key decisions, muddling along on half measures.

David Cameron and the Conservatives won’t offer it. At a time when those on the breadline are struggling more than for a generation, their top priority is tax cuts for millionaires.

…There is only one party in Britain today with a serious and credible plan ….

Politically astute operator that he is, Cable changed his tone pretty sharpish this afternoon as soon as he saw which way the wind was blowing….

Rapid Rebuttal Unit Arrives in Person

Guido has just spotted Derek Draper himself, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sandals combination, checking into the Hyatt conference hotel. A well judged outfit calculated to make him blend in here in rainy Birmingham. Guido did not get a photo because he was laughing.

Market Action Overshadows Tory Conference

There is a sense here in Birmingham that, as it was during the LibDem conference, the real news story is on Wall Street. Cameron is going to give a hastily arranged speech focusing on the financial market mayhem later this morning.

Still it is not all bad news,* Gordon’s favourite financier Paul Myners and appointee as chairman of the Low Pay Commission, is doing well. The massive hedge fund of which he is a director, GLG, had the biggest short in the market in Bradford and Bingley. Peter Oborne points out that Ronnie Cohen, “Gordon’s private banker” and a huge Labour Party donor, has just set up a new hedge fund to take advantage of the market situation. Good to see some people doing well out of the misery and mayhem…

*You won’t read this news in the Guardian. Paul Myners is the chairman of Guardian Media Group.

Conference Quickies

Alex Hilton of LabourHome.com introduced by Michael Crick to Michael Ashcroft, “Can you give me £50,000 for my campaign?” Ashcroft “Send me your business plan.” Later, explaining to a very, very, pretty girl, what he does; “My fund is short the market”.

Spotted: Tim Montgomerie and Nadine Dorries sharing a lap-top.

Bell Pottiinger party: we-left-Labour-for-the-Tories to pour champagne down their throats. Not a shadow cabinet member to be seen…

Guido looking gutted, despite being bearish, decides to take time out from the market. Market collapses.

Evil Short Sellers Part III Gordon Brown’s Millions from Hedge Fund Shorters

Paul Myners is a director of the hedge fund manager GLG, which with $25 billion under management is one of europe’s biggest hedge fund managers. It was until recently 10% owned by Lehmans. Paul Myners gave money to Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign and he also gave money to Gordon Brown’s think-tank the Smith Institute. Gordon rewarded him with appointments to the Treasury’s pension review.

Derek Tullet has also given huge amounts of money to the Labour Party. Tullet’s broking firm specialises in servicing hedge funds who want to go short stocks and derivatives.

Gilad Hayeem of the Lehman Brothers backed $2 billion hedge fund, Marble Bar Asset Management (Cayman), contributed to Hilary Benn’s deputy leadership campaign.

There are plenty more “evil speculators” who have backed the Labour Party. Just in case you are wondering why Labour is silent…

Maybe Later this Evening

Judging by the banner hanging over the front door, the Rocket Club lap-dancing joint is not exactly embarrassed by all the free publicity it has received. Guido has his discount voucher. Should be more fun than having a drink with David Willets.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Miliband, the Fiddler Wife, Kids and Heavies

Guido just bumped into David Miliband and his family (plus two heavies) enjoying the sunshine on a waterside terrace restaurant outside the Barbican. Scruffy in jeans and his shirt hanging out. Presumably the missus is performing because she was carrying a violin. No photo because the kids were in shot and, well, that doesn’t seem fair on a Sunday. Did not see him pull any of his funny faces…

Evil Short Sellers Part II

The hysteria against short-selling of shares is as crazy as was the political hysteria against long-buying of oil. Every trade has to have a buyer and a seller, how else could a market function? Nevertheless journalists didn’t take long to figure out that they could compare the FSA register of declared short sellers against the Electoral Commission’s register of donors.
Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott is up in arms as a result about the Tories taking money from people who buy and sell stocks. Before he says something he regrets he should have a word with one of the party’s biggest donors, Paul Marshall who is worth some £300m. Marshall also funds CentreForum, the orange tinged think-tank. His donations are well into seven-figures.

He is half of Marshall-Wace, hedge fund managers, who are evil speculators who, whisper it softly, short shares! In fact they have a reputation amongst City brokers for having a particularly high churn. Just as well given the hundreds of thousands of Marshall’s profits that have ended up in the LibDem’s coffers.

The Labour Party as well as individual politicians like Hilary Benn have also pocketed plenty of money from hedgies. Let he who is without shorter’s profits throw the first regulation…

Hodge Quitting as Minister

Tim Walker is reporting in The Telegraph that Margaret Hodge, the Blairite culture minister and friend of Tony has had enough and will be standing down as a minister from Brown’s cabinet in the next re-shuffle.

Another day another Blairite departs.

Somebody wake McBride and tell him…

What Kind of Liberal Waters the Beer?

How they can describe themselves as “liberal” sometimes baffles Guido. Responding to Nick Clegg’s announcement today that the LibDems will support a minimum price on the sale of alcohol, Progressive Vision – the properly liberal think tank run by Mark Littlewood, ex-head of spin for the LibDems – has rightly called the proposals “nannying, patronising and regressive”.

In the press release, sent by Littlewood, Progressive Vision says “If Nick Clegg wants to stop supermarkets providing low-price alcohol, will he also clamp down on events at LibDem conferences providing free alcohol as an inducement for LibDem activists to attend? If he is so concerned about cheap booze causing binge-drinking, free booze must be even more of a worry.”

Quite, imagine the dangers of boozed up LibDem MPs going on violent rampages…

Brum Business

Guido hasn’t booked a bed in Brum – any good recommendations? Preferably within falling down distance of the epicentre. Ended up staying in between a brothel and a lap-dancing joint last year in Blackpool. Didn’t say it was a complete disaster…

UPDATE 14.00 Saturday : Have managed to find somewhere 4 star for less than £200 a night. Mal Maison still has rooms at £440 available, which is more than Guido paid to stay at the Carlton in Cannes, where the food and views are (Guido suspects) slightly better than in Brum. Many thanks for the suggestions.

Friday Caption Contest (Clegg Crime Caught on Camera edition)

He Who Pays the Piper….

The Senate Banking Committee is the ultimate legislative oversight for U.S. financial regulation. The members of the committee have almost all had donations from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Now they are to decide on bail-out terms?

Incidentally Guido bailed out of all his speculative positions in the early hours of Wednesday morning when it hit the wires that Warren Buffet was taking a $5 billion stake in Goldmans, given his reputation Guido felt Buffet might single-handedly turn market sentiment. That combined with the impossibility of predicting how and when the politicians would go made the markets too random for Guido. Baby Fawkes is unwell and between the 24/7 currency markets and her, the lack of sleep was too draining.

Hat-tip : LFAT

Tory Site Makeover Goes Live

The look and feel is bang up to date with an Obamaesque “It’s time for change” slogan with a wall of Tory talking head videos. Under the hood is more regionalisation, uploading facilities for user generated content and single-issue campaigning. The blue blog is live and Dave is doing his chatty engagement thing…

You Read it Here First : How Not to Lift a Story from a Blog

The naming and shaming of parasitical journalists continues because Guido finds it cathartic. On Tuesday Guido ran a nice little story about Miliband’s SpAd sending a pleading text out to MPs.
The next day the Times Diary fairly quoted it with a credit. (Sherwin gets only 6/10 because he did not include a link in the online version).

A text from Dan Norris, David Miliband’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, intended for sympathetic MPs, was intercepted, sadly, by the notorious blogger Guido Fawkes. “If you’re at conference pls make a point of speaking to lobby correspondents who are trying to distort party unity, to help them u’stand David’s speech was a unifying one which is why it went down so well in the hall. Thanks.” No advice on countering the supposed “Heseltine moment” gaffe.

A few miles from Wapping over on the Farringdon Road the same day the Guardian’s Hugh Muir had also lifted the same blog post for his lead story, no credit. Tut, tut. Muir is following no doubt in the tradition of Marina Hyde, who during the 2004 U.S. Presidential election took to lifting stories daily from Wonkette with no attribution. Easier than working ain’t it?

Sherwin let himself down badly yesterday (0/10, stay behind after deadline) by lifting Wednesday’s story about Cameron’s Carlton Political Dinner jokes without attribution this time, though he may have copied it from Paul Waugh who also ran the story under his byline in the Standard after it appeared here.

They may all say they got it from their own sources – they usually do. Funny how it is after Guido publishes and never contains more information than was given on the blog.

Look chaps, if you are going to lift, at least link. If you don’t want to admit to your editors that you are taking the money under false pretences for cutting ‘n pasting from blogs, rather than actually cultivating sources, send a case of Margaux. This blog is not a syndication service for lazy hacks.

Something that the Lobby Didn’t Tell You

The gentlemen of the Lobby have kept pretty schtum about the drink fuelled circumstances of the Ruth Kelly briefing by Damian McBride at at 3 a.m during Labour Party conference. Danny Finkelstein is alluding to it indirectly.

Guido understands that the PM’s Spokesman had a bottle of beer in his hand during the briefing. Your taxes at work….

+++ Parliament Evacuated +++

Enemy of State

The news that Derek Draper is organising a rapid rebuttal operation to combat bloggers does not exactly have Guido quaking in fear.

“PR Week can reveal that the Labour Party is exploring plans for an online rapid rebuttal unit, designed to kill off damaging stories circulating in the blogosphere. Former lobbyist Derek Draper will oversee the initiative, having recently been called in by Labour’s general secretary to advise on how the party can communicate its message. Labour strategists are keen to respond to the growing influence of right-wing blogs. The eventual system could resemble a modern-day version of Labour’s famous Excalibur unit, which was successfully used to kill negative stories by Tory-supporting newspapers in the run-up to the 1997 general election.”

It has long been Guido’s central proposition that unlike the Lobby and broadcast journalists in particular, Guido cannot be spun or manipulated by the promise of titbits from the party machines. Not needing access or talking heads to interview, the party machines have no sanction or lure with which to control Guido’s output. When Gordon became party leader there was a concerted effort to astro-turf the comments here, and on ConservativeHome and Politicalbetting.com with “I’m a lifelong Tory but Gordon is better than Cameron blah blah blah”. It was comically transparent that the comments were completely bogus. Guido simply pressed the delete button.

The reason most left-wing blogs are unsuccessful is because they are boring and crap. Draper is not going to change that fundamental truth.

“The Plan”

Last night Guido infiltrated a gathering of a clique of wonks determined to take over Britain and implement what they call The Plan“. Dan Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP are the authors of The Plan“. Guido hasn’t read it yet.[…] Read the rest

+ 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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