Brown Confesses to “Procuring Misconduct in Public Office”

Did Marr Do the Usual Hard-Hitting Interview?

Guido stayed in bed this morning and missed the Andrew Marr show, which doesn’t appear to be up on iPlayer yet (forgot to set the digicorder as well).

Judging by the comments below he let Jacqui Smith off the hook (surprise) over Damian Green. According to PoliticsHome’s transcript when “asked about claims Mr Green had been bugged she said she would have had to sign a warrant for that to happen and she had not”. More when it is up on iPlayer.

UPDATE 11.50 : According to comments below the PoliticsHome transcript is incorrect. Pretty crucial detail to get wrong if they have.

UPDATE 12.20 : Have now watched the interview. She gave the impression, but did not state that she had not authorised bugging. Marr actually seemed better than average.

Electoral Commission Is Investigating Gordon Brown / Smith Institute Slush Fund Allegations

The Sunday Times is reporting that the Electoral Commission is to investigate whether, in breach of electoral law, Ed Balls continued working for Gordon Brown while on the payroll of the Smith Institute charity before becoming an MP.

Regular readers will know that this allgation was a central part of Guido’s campaign against the Sith. Essentially the Smith Institute was a slush fund for Gordon’s ambitions. The Tories are now convinced that Ed Balls continued working for Gordon Brown when he was on the charity’s payroll. They have been trying for six months to ascertain whether or not he continued to have access to the Treasury with a security pass. Guido has other evidence that Ed Balls continued to act as Gordon Brown’s political adviser during th 2004 / 5 period when he was being paid by the charity. Not only Balls but also Tony Pilch, a former SpAd close to Balls, and Bob Shrum during the same over-lapping period were working for the Smith Institute.

According to the Sunday Times “the Tories are submitting a complaint to the Electoral Commission and John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards. They want Brown to be challenged over whether Balls had a pass.”

Guido understands that the Electoral Commission is already making inquiries, including in the United States, following a complaint made last July (after the Charity Commission report condemned the Smith Institute for partisan activity) by the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics. That letter of complaint (here) focused on the activities of U.S. pollster Bob Shrum. Shrum was paid by the Smith Institute to advise Gordon Brown, these slush payments are a serious breach of electoral law.

From Superhero to Moses

After reading Peter Mandelson’s unintentionally hilarious interview in the Guardian comparing Brown to Moses, Alan Duncan, his shadow says;

“First global superhero and now Moses… Labour and Peter Mandelson should spend more time getting a grip on the country’s problems and less time heaping praise on their failed leader. We face massive issues. The automotive sector is grinding to a halt, the payment chain between companies is freezing over and insolvencies are rising fast. Labour has all but bankrupted Britain and as a result we are now badly placed to stave off the recession.”

Britain does need a miracle worker…

UPDATE : Charlotte Corday, the co-conspirator with the most cutting wit in the comments: “The only thing that Gordon Brown has in common with Moses is that they are both basket-cases.”

Good Faith Claim is Bad Politics

The LibDems love sitting on the moral high ground safe in the knowledge that since they will never form a government, they won’t have to implement their policy positions. In a world of shades of grey, they see things in black and white. They even have a campaigning website www.Corruption is a Crime.com with the slogan “It’s time to end dodgy dealing”. The website proclaims “For far too long, it’s been acceptable to turn a blind eye to corruption when it comes to foreign contracts. The Liberal Democrats believe that corruption is a crime and should be stopped. Allegations of serious corruption must be fully investigated.”

Excellent news. Perhaps now Michael Brown, their Majorca-based backer, has been convicted of theft, they will repay the defrauded £2.4 million they got from their crooked patron? When LibDemVoice polled readers, 52% of the highly moralistic grassroots sandalistas thought the party should pay back the money ASAP. Strangely nowhere on www.corruptionisacrime.com is Michael Brown mentioned…

ePolitix Not Closing, “Re-Focusing”

Michael Hepburn, CEO of Dods tells Guido that ePolitix.com is not closing (despite rumours to the contrary), it will instead focus more specifically on specialist in-depth analysis of policy and legislation rather than general political news stories. They will be cutting back on “3 or 4 journalists” as a result…

Whistleblowers Still Welcome Here

Guido makes every technological effort to make it easy and safe to blow the whistle on politicians:

  • If you call the voicemail number your speech is converted to text and SMS’d to Guido’s mobile phone.* Your voice is then erased.
  • If you fax a document to Guido it is converted into an image file and emailed to Guido, if it is going to be used all identifiers are digitally removed, often by converting the fax image to clean text using optical character recognition software.
  • If you want to send an untraceable encrypted email, Guido recommends using Hushmail.

If you want to clear your conscience, in confidence, this is the place to send documentation without being traced.

Peter Hain’s demise began with the leak of one document, his campaign budget. That tip set in train a process that led directly to him resigning from the cabinet and being investigated by the police for undeclared donations.

You make this blog happen. Sources are anonymous (unless you want credit**). Who is on the fiddle? Who is lying? If you know “the line” is a lie, ask yourself why you got into politics; was it to cover up the truth or tell it?

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Friday Caption Competition (Dry, Wet, Soppy Edition)

+++ Taxpayer Loses £2 Billion in RBS First Day of Ownership +++

Taxpayer paid 65.5p, currently trading 55p. Loss of £2 billion on the first day the taxpayer became the majority shareholder. It is only money…

Then and Now

In May 1985, a youthful opposition politician got hold of a leaked confidential government review proposing to encourage the unemployed to get jobs by reducing their dole. This, he raged, was ” a raid on the poor”.

Gordon was not arrested. Ironically it is also his government’s policy now.

Hat-tip : London Evening Standard

UPDATE : The Fink has a few more examples the Met Police might wish to investigate.

Arrest Osborne Next

Surely the logic of the government’s position means that George Osborne should be arrested. In the PBR debate he all but confessed to being in receipt of leaks when he said “we know” about government plans to push VAT up to 20%. He has had the jump on the Treasury brief more than once, he is clearly conspiring with a mole public official. Seize him…

UPDATE : What does Robert Peston think of those who conspire with public officials to leak sensitive information? Does it only matter when it hinders rather than helps the regime?

Clunking Fists Strike Opponents

Guido can’t remember anything like this happening in his lifetime. This was not a national security issue. Counter terrorist police arresting opposition politicians?

UPDATE : David Davis on the Today show made the same point, that locking up opposition MPs for 9 hours is a tactic “reminiscent of Robert Mugabe”, Tim Montgomerie doesn’t approve of the comparison.

+++ Sky : Damian Green Arrested Not Charged +++ +++ Immigration Leaks +++

Arrested in an unusually aggressive move, David Davis used to have leak after leak arriving on his desk when he was Shadow Home Secretary.

Sky reporting it was for “conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office”.

You don’t think it might be a heavy-handed move to scare off the famed Treasury mole?

UPDATE : Telegraph has more.

+++ Cameron Calls 8 a.m. Press Conference +++

Speccie says something is up, all we know from ConservativeHome is it involves a shadow minister.

CCHQ says the breakfast briefing is about the “credit crisis”

UPDATE : Paul Waugh speculates it could be that the Tory Treasury mole has been outed.

Firm Support for Beer Tax Cut

It makes Guido choke on his Guinness that Gordon gets over a quid every time he buys a pint. 33% of the cost of a pint is tax – which alone must mean that Guido is a higher rate taxpayer.

This was the scene this morning in Westminster where Jennifer Ellison was pulling pints, Kym Marsh stayed up north in her local. Guido isn’t bitter or at all disappointed that Jennifer took her place…

You can show your support for the Save the Pub campaign by visiting their website and emailing your local MP. If they can cut tax on scotch they can cut tax on a pint.

UPDATE : By popular request, larger picture. It makes you go blind you know…

Recession Bites Into Politics

Financial Dynamics is letting go of a dozen spinmeisters – mainly on the public affairs side. FD paid £4 million for dodgy close-to-New-Labour spin operation LLM only last year, just as the usefulness of New Labour contacts became questionable.

As yet unconfirmed rumours going around that the ailing Dods-owned website ePolitix.com is to close with two thirds of Dods reporting staff being made redundant next week. An insider told Guido that they were not “immune” from the downturn.

Brown’s Whips are Paid Yobs

Quentin Letts in the Mail and Anne Treneman in the Times have identified another abuse office of by Brown. Have you wondered why it increasingly sounds like a football match during PMQs and big debates? The speaker is more than ever admonishing even frontbenchers. Letts highlights the tactics of Labour Party’s yobbish, undemocratic whips:

An astonishing 17 members of the Government Whips’ Office rushed in as Mr Osborne started speaking, to mix with Labour backbenchers and give an impression of widespread outrage.

The way they appeared from nowhere it was as though someone had just lifted a manhole cover and so many sewer mice had come scampering into the cockpit of democracy.

I have noted before the rising tendency of these state-paid Whips (they receive ministerial salaries which place them comfortably in the current top-rate tax bracket) to pack the Labour benches when a Tory is speaking. Never has it been so bad or obvious.

Whips traditionally kept silent in the Chamber. Under the leadership of Gordon Brown – the same Gordon Brown who poses as a defender of Parliament and who claims to want to hear the Tories make their case – this custom has been trashed.

The Whips are now rent-a-gob.

Today a twitchy little man called Lucas, one of the Whips’ number, stood by the double doors heckling Mr Osborne like a football hooligan. The place where Mr Lucas was standing was not officially part of the Commons playing-field.A moment later he stepped over the red line on the carpet and strode to a seat.So it can be said legitimately that a servant of the Crown entered the Commons bawling abuse, like a drunk entering a Wild West saloon.

Another Whip, Bob Blizzard (normally meek), was sitting beyond the gangway in a little knot of Labour MPs. Mr Osborne was trying to explain Conservative policy. Labour people kept trying to get him to give way so that they could make interventions – and throw him off track. “Give way!” shouted Mr Blizzard. I watched him. He said it more than five times, top of his voice, smirking as he did so. Five times!

Speaker Martin tried briefly to quell the Government side but he was no match for this wall of noise.

Another Whip, Mark Tami, chuckled as larky neighbours kept jumping up to try to disrupt Mr Osborne.

Ian Austin, yet another high-salaried tribune of Her Majesty’s Government, leaned back, played pocket billiards and drawled ruderies out of one side of his gob.

Nick Brown, Chief Whip, sat near the Chancellor and oozed satisfaction.

Why are taxes paying extra for party whips on either side of the chamber to thwart democracy? Surely whipping, even in its traditional rather than neo-Brownshirt form, is a party matter, and arguably an unhealthy method of suppressing the democratic will of the people. Why should taxpayers fork out extra for this?

Off Down the Pub

For a cause and a pint.

Italian and German Governments Cautious on Fiscal Stimulus

Labour’s spin line repeated incessantly is that the Tories are a “do nothing” party, Mandelson’s genius with a soundbite for the frontbench to chant shows. Leaving aside whether it is better to do nothing than do the expensive wrong thing, is it really true that the rest of the world is going down the path of massive fiscal stimulus?

Labour’s benches laughed arrogantly when the Tories retorted that little Ireland and Latvia were taking a Cameroon path. However, bigger European right-of-centre governments in Germany and Italy are not, contrary to Gordon’s claims, embarking on massive fiscal stimulus programmes. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the Danish Socialist party leader in the European parliament is complaining that “Angela Merkel and other conservative leaders such as Berlusconi may well water down the plan and refuse to make the necessary national investments…”. The “plan” is the European Commission’s €200 billion fiscal splurge proposal. Another top down taxpayer funded folly.

Gordon, in full on Global Saviour delusional mode at PMQs yesterday, claimed that everyone backs fiscal stimulus except the British Tories. If you don’t read the foreign news you might believe him. The fact is that across the world left of centre politicians back that approach, right of centre politicians are more sceptical. The need to be seen to “do something” means that right of centre governments are doing token symbolic gestures. Mandelson knows that philosophically the conservatives are wary and is capitalising on this with the “do nothing” soundbite.

Confidence won’t return until the property market bottoms out first, corporate balance sheets are recapitalised and personal indebtness reduced. Governments can do nothing to force those things to happen. Politicians just can’t accept their impotence.

New Osborne Drugs Probe

George Osborne’s younger brother Adam, 32, has been suspended from practising as a doctor for 18 months over alleged prescription irregularities. The suspension by the General Medical Council was ordered in September to allow an investigation. It only became public this morning after it was discovered by the Daily Mirror.[…] 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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