Quote of the Day

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge ruled

“The stark reality is that the defendants are alleged to have taken advantage of the allowances scheme designed to enable them to perform their important public duties as MPs to commit crimes of dishonesty to which parliamentary immunity or privilege does not, has never, and, we believe, never would attach. If the allegations are proved, and we emphasise, if they are proved, then those against whom they are proved will have committed ordinary crimes.”

Saturday Seven Up

7upSilly season is upon us and newsflow dries up as everyone heads for the beach.  Guido will be  in Ireland and the South of France, don’t expect  too much reportage, though the blog will still be updated  every day. Anyway if you were not one of the 59,060 visitors viewing 288,389 pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…

Has Jonah Cursed Miliband The Younger?

Though publicly he is staying out of the race to succeed him, news is allegedly trickling out of the Brown camp. Apparently he has realised what everyone else knew for a long time – that Ed Balls doesn’t have a hope of winning. If only he had displayed such foresight while in Number 10…

Apparently he thinks Ed Miliband is the best man for the job and is in the best position for victory…

Uh oh, Guido is sure that was appreciated… if this is true, then there goes The Younger’s campaign hopes.

Friday Caption Contest (Bullingdon Lads on Tour Edition)

Shock: Balls Breaks Promise

In some shocking news, Ed Balls has said one thing and done another. As Guido reported earlier in the week, Balls made a bit of a blunder by promising to pay “interns and volunteers” the national minimum wage, whilst turning a blind eye to the fact that his campaign staffers are, err, unpaid interns and volunteers:

Leaving aside his unpaid brunette bag-carrying Bevanite, Balls has today even had the cheek to advertise on W4MP for unpaid stuff:

Idiocy and hypocrisy is always a toxic mix.

This whole campaign has been an utter write-off for Balls, and now YouGov reckon he will be the first knocked out of the race. If the idea all along was to secure his place as Chancellor, how is coming last going help? Political betting specialists Smarkets are running a book on who will be the humiliated loser..

Looks like it’s going to be a tight run off between Burnham and Balls.

Quote of the Day

George Osborne says…

“I don’t think there is anything particularly unique about the Ministry of Defence”.

+ + + Lord Chief Justices Rules + + ++ + + MPs To Be Treated As Common Criminals + + +


The three former Labour MPs Elliott Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and an ex-Tory peer Lord Hanningfield facing expenses fraud charges have lost their High Court appeals after a ruling by the Lord Chief Justice this morning that they are not protected from prosecution by parliamentary privilege.

They will be treated just like any other suspected common criminal would be…

Meanwhile in Court 4…


The Court Of Appeal
Criminal Division

COURT 4

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISIONAL COURT

FRIDAY 30th JULY 2010 IN COURT 4 AT 09:15 AM

BEFORE
LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND AND WALES

PRACTICE DIRECTION: AMENDMENT NO 25 TO THE CONSOLIDATED CRIMINAL PRACTICE DIRECTION (CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS: LISTING CASE MANGEMENT: COSTS IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS)

TO FOLLOW FOR HAND DOWN JUDGMENT AT 9:30AM

Before
LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND AND WALES
MASTER OF THE ROLLS
SIR ANTHONY MAY PRESIDENT OF THE QUEENS BENCH DIVISION

201003220 B5 Paul Edward Winston White (Lord Hanningfield)
201003279 B5 James Devine
201003276 B5 David Chaytor
201003274 B5 Elliot Morley

They are appealing on the basis of parliamentary privilege – claiming that only parliament and not the Courts should deal with their case. They object to being treated like common criminals…

Proof Gordon Is Wasting Money

Brown is, we are told, pounding out 10,000 words per day. If he were the “Fastest Typist In The World” (150 words per minute), then this would only take him 67 minutes of each day. Leaving him plenty of time to do those constituency duties which he claims he is still doing.

But Gordon isn’t the “Fastest Typist in the World”. Let’s assume he’s a ‘fast’ typist (40wpm), then his 10k marathons will be taking him four hours and ten minutes of each day. Assuming he is doing constituency work until, say six in the evening (as he is paid to do), then he’ll be working until around 11pm each night. Meaning he won’t see his kids. Which Brown professes not to do, so we must assume therefore that he’s letting his book time eat into his constituency work.

More than likely he’s officially a ‘slow’ typist (23wpm). In which case he’ll be spending seven hours and fifteen minutes of publicly paid time on his book. Even allowing him two or three hours for constituency work, that’s a pretty busy day. But those times are merely for copy taking…

What’s the average typing speed when someone is composing? Well, that’s just 19wpm. And how long would it take to compose 10,000 words if one is typing at 19wpm? On average, not taking account for poor eyesight and periodic fits of rage, it would take eight hours and forty-five minutes. Pretty much the same as a full working day, that the taxpayer, not Simon and Schuster is footing the bill for..

Maths via email from Stephen Bray

Big Green Government

How do bureaucrats save their jobs? They re-invent themselves as green advocates. You can imagine Sir Humphrey explaining to the minister that instead of sacking a few dozen burdens on the taxpayer, he can redeploy them as green advocates. It’ll cost more, but it’ll be green…

When is a quango not a quango? When it is an “Office”. In this case the new Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), “a cross Whitehall team dedicated to taking forward” green initiatives. So far the only initiative they have come up with is a £50 million taxpayer subsidy to middle and upper-class greens who can get £5,000 off the purchase of an expensive electric car. That £5,000 will end up directly in the profits of foreign electric car manufacturers.

The Foreign Office now has a Climate Change twitterer, no really. We are supposed to be getting small government and a Big Society. We’re actually getting a Big Green Government…

Quote of the Day

David Lammy tells the Fabian Review

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both served our party, but neither is now active in British politics.”

Robinson – "I Must Try Harder"

When the Political Editor of the BBC is writing public memos to himself suggesting that he he “must try harder” because he managed to miss the fact the coalition was coming, things aren’t exactly going well. Just like he missed the leadership coups when his sources’s Blackberries were vibrating right under his nose.

Robinson took a month making a documentary about the coalition negotiations before seeing the light, Guido was outlining the contours of the coming coalition before election day. It became blindingly obvious the Tories were not going to get a majority. Is better-late-than-never-Robinson really the best talent that the BBC’s vast news budget can buy?

The race to take over from Robinson is well under-way, this mea culpa should help those vying for the job.

Yvette and Hazel's Multi-Million Furniture Shopping Spree

Eric Pickles has been getting under the skin of his shadow John Denham with digs about the £2.78 million spending spree on furniture, redecoration and suchlike that his former Dept. of Communities and Local Government splurged before Labour was booted out. Pickles had a heydey in the press and parliament with tales of Harriet Harman’s multi-million pound Serene Green Tranquillity Room at the Equalities Office.  Denham wasn’t going to let that happen to him.


Denham’s SpAd, Jake Sumner, knew where the bodies were buried and in a spirit of comradeship FoI’d confirmation that it was Yvette Cooper, the former chief secretary to the Treasury, who approved the spending in a letter of 2 June 2008 to the then Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, Denham’s predecessor at the Dept. of Communities and Local Government. So it was Yvette, not Denham, who authorised the purchase by Hazel of £134,503 of red sofas. Presumably chosen to match Hazel’s hair…

Quote of the Day

Speccie leader column on Ed Balls…

” His claim that he is ‘still in it to win it’ is put in perspective by the bookmakers’ odds on his so doing: now 23-1. In the end, his allies — the same axis of thugs who helped Gordon Brown plot his way to power — proved useless in a contest. Pitbulls have their uses, but they don’t win at Crufts.”

Labour's Lady of the Night

Mandy isn’t the only Labour politician willing to throw in some juicy details in order to flog a few copies. Nottingham councillor and writer Catharine Arnold tells of intriguing past while promoting her new book City of Sin:

“Far from looking like a conventional hooker, I was a gamine public-school girl with a fresh complexion and a good figure. I had always had a thing about older men, perhaps because I lost my father young. I was never hard enough to be a real ‘Mayfair mercenary’, as the top girls were known. I never went to Tokyo Joe’s or Tramp, and the women who did terrified me. I wasn’t interested in rock starts or celebrities. I knew my type: they were the older men who would find in the quiet bar and take me to dinner and tell me about their children. I nursed the hope that at some stage I would meet a kindly sugar daddy who would set me up in Mayfair. But I never found such a man.”

Guido is surprised she never made it further up the greasy pole…

Balls's Bungled Pledge

Yesterday Ed Balls made a big song and dance about signing a pledge that all interns should be paid the minimum wage. He even released a video of him and one of his own office interns discussing it. Except that’s not quite what he said:

“It’s really important if you are interning or volunteering in a House of Commons office that you get properly paid.”

Interns and volunteers.

So what about his very own voluptuous volunteer Ellie “Stilettos” Gellard, Twitter queen and cursed backer of Gordon? Gellard has been strutting around with a pass, on the Balls campaign, yet apparently isn’t taking a penny?

A volunteer you might say… So it’s fine that all interns and volunteers must be paid, just not Ed’s campaign staff. Or if she is being paid, why hasn’t it been declared?

Brown's Unnecessary Minion

Though no longer a front-bencher, or even a participating Member of Parliament, Gordon has found it necessary to recruit a PPS. Alison McGovern, newly elected MP for Wirral South, has been appointed bag-carrier-in-chief . While he sits at home in Fife, rocking, back and forth, spinning his disastrous economic record, she will be working in Westminster on his behalf. Why can’t he do it? Guido recommends  she spend more time shoring up her own ultra-marginal constituency.

As suspected, Brown didn’t hang around for last night’s vote on the Education Bill. Welsh Lib Dem Jenny Willott is the only other mainland MP that has been completely absent from this session – she’s just had a kid. There are those that say Brown is having yet another dig at Blair’s post-Downing Street behaviour by staying on, but what is the point if he isn’t actually going to engage? At least Blair didn’t bother trying to pretend he still cared.

Cameron Endorsement Costs Fox IRS Investigation

It just gets worse for Liam Fox. After yesterday’s slamming from the Charity Commission for his farcical neo-con charity Atlantic Bridge, today he now learns that it is under investigation from the Inland Revenue Service. Apparently the Yanks are not overly impressed with the tax-exempt status the charity had if it was flouting the rules. This seems to have been the problem:

“Americans should look forward to May 6, after which Cameron and his government will likely assume power. He will be good for America and better for the Special Relationship.”

Bet Dave wishes his blundering Defence Secretary was still that loyal…

Cameron's Camp Confusion

On the day that the Prime Minister upset supporters and many of his closest allies by describing Gaza as a “prison camp”, over in the prison yard things look a little different. Check out the new shopping mall that opened in Gaza just ten days ago:

How did that go up without building materials?

Or what about those near famine like conditions? The markets seem thriving and richer citizens can enjoy all sorts of restaurants:

Gaza offers beaches and even an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Who is running this “prison camp”, Ken Clarke?


Update : The Indy’s John Rentoul emails to say he tweeted a link to this earlier. He clearly has the same Mossad Liaison Officer as Guido.

Anyway, who fancies a beer on the beach in Gaza?

Quote of the Day

Tim Montgomerie blogs

“This Coalition is heading for breakdown or it’s heading Leftwards. The Left of the Liberal Democrats will demand an end to the Coalition if Nick Clegg doesn’t get more and more concessions from David Cameron.”[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn:

“I’m not a defender or supporter of ISIS.”

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