Indy Sketch-writer Misses Paper's Splash

The Indy’s Simon Carr used his sketch today to slam the idea that the Tories have reverted to their “nasty party” image. Carr rubbished the suggestion, arguing:

“If that’s the return of the Nasty Party, there’ll be an awful lot of nice people nodding along with it. It’s the Gordon Brown school of sketch writing to call David Cameron nasty, with his nice hair, nice manner, nice wife, nice – I don’t know – internet history, and perfectly nice way of presenting the facts of life to a recalcitrant nation of benefit dependants.”

Guido imagines Carr would be feeling brave if, say, his newspaper had run the headline “Return of the nasty party” the day before. Oh wait…

Gove told the Commons:

“I didn’t come into Parliament to defend the status quo, unlike the small-c conservatives opposite…” 

Osborne Fuel-Turn Catches Greening By Surprise


Justine Greening to the Sunday Telegraph:

“The taxes that we get in fund the public services that we all rely on. Surely it’s better to challenge the petrol retailers to pass on reductions to motorists and actually I think that’s probably the most important thing to do.”

Treasury Twitter feed on Tuesday:

“Chancellor announces that August fuel duty rise delayed until January 2013 to help with cost of living.”

Sure that went down well in the Department of Transport. Given that Balls was on the radio calling for the u-turn this morning, Guido reckons he was tipped that it was coming…

Mystery Over Who Funded Labour Peer's US Trip

Labour peer Jim Knight could be in hot water over his apparent failure to disclose who funded a recent trip to the US to the Register of Lords’ Interests. Lord Knight spent the week travelling around Tennessee, revealing on his blog that he funded “most” of the trip:

Peers are required to disclose details of who funds their trips abroad, yet there is nothing on record relating to Lord Knight’s stateside excursion. If he funded “most” of the cost, who paid for the rest and why wasn’t it declared? 

News Corp Confirm Split Rumours

News Corp has confirmed that it is considering a restructuring to split its business into two different companies. That means separating the money-making arm from the publishing arm.

Speaking to learned sources last night Guido understands that legal troubles in the US will start to trickle through come September. Watch this space…

Make Your Mind Up Time

Labour will amend the Lords Bill tomorrow, inserting a clause for a referendum.

It’s killing the plan without bloodying their hands.

If a plebiscite does go ahead, can anyone think of any other questions that the public might like to be asked?

Clarke, Clegg and Mandy Eat Euro Humble Pie

Guido has been amusing himself with some lunchtime reading thanks to Open Europe concerning the ill-fated predictions of some past supporters of the Euro. Watching Westminster’s major players eat humble pie never gets boring.

What they said then:

“Opponents of the euro have been disheartened as their predictions of chaos and disaster have failed to materialise.” – Ken Clarke, 2002

“If we remain outside the euro, we will simply continue to subside into a position of relative poverty and inefficiency compared to our more prosperous European neighbours.” – Nick Clegg, 2001

“While we are using a different currency from the rest of Europe we are trading in this market with one arm tied behind our back.” – Peter Mandelson, 2003

What they say now:

“I never advocated joining at the exchange rate, we never could have joined in the exchange rate in 1997.” – Ken Clarke, 2010

“I don’t think the euro is for now…I accept that Eurozone interest rates over the last few years would have been wrong for Britain.” – Nick Clegg, 2010

“The competitive value of the pound is helping exports and increasing the sourcing of manufactured goods in the UK.” – Peter Mandelson, 2010

Awkward…

Via @oflynnexpress.

Tory MP Penny Mourdant on the brewing Lords reform rebellion:

“These reforms are going to lead to a constitutional crisis. I haven’t (rebelled before), many of my colleagues who have been in the House much longer than I have and have never voted against the government are considering it.”

Labour's Unpaid Debt

Apparently Aung San Suu Kyi officially opened the new Labour Party HQ today. Ed claimed there was a lot the party could learn from her. Dealing with eternal opposition presumably. 

Meanwhile a staffer whispers to Guido that half the phones in the shiny new office are down. A spinner denied that it was because the bill has not been paid, but his colleagues are not so sure.  “Some of our phones may be down, yes.” 

Coincidence: Guardian Story Resembles Tech Site Story

Guido thought Charles Arthur’s Guardian piece on the Natwest meltdown yesterday looked familiar. The article bears a suspiciously close resemblance to a post published three hours earlier on tech website The Register. Arthur’s story claimed that a Guardian investigation had uncovered details of a key software component going wrong at the bank.  They say “investigative journalism”, Guido says reading it on the Internet…

The two articles even bear striking similarities in terms of structure, with the Arthur piece following The Register‘s story almost line by line. Lazy.

UPDATE: Former staff explain the decline in the Guardian Technology section:

California Dreaming

Sipping rosé with media types last night Guido bumped into an academic co-conspirator from Stanford. Conversation soon turned to Steve Hilton, their visiting professor:

“I saw him the other day in flip flops. He appears to be on vacation.”

Sic semper…

Phonehacker David Leigh Pleads Ignorance of the Law

The Guardian‘s in-house phone hacker David Leigh has laughably claimed that he didn’t know hacking into people’s phones was against the law. Leigh told Press Gazette: “at the time I was not conscious that it was a criminal offence. Since then it’s been made plain that it is a crime. I don’t like the idea of going about committing criminal offences, so I wouldn’t do it again for that reason“.

Regular Guido readers will remember that Leigh has previously admitted gaining a “voyeuristic thrill” from listening to private phone conversations. Given that Leigh has lied to Guido in the past, it might be advised to take his plea of ignorance with a large piece of salt. It’s also reassuring to know the only thing holding Leigh back from hacking phones again is that annoying little thing called the law…

Secret Police: Legislation Gives Power to Reject FOIs

The UK’s new FBI-style police force will be exempt from having to abide by Freedom of Information laws. The Yorkshire Post has the scoop, revealing that the National Crime Agency will refuse to answer questions from the public on spending and non-operational activities. Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles told the paper:

“For a Government supposedly committed to transparency, this is a calculated move that would shut the public out of holding the country’s most senior policing officials to account. At a time when the Home Office wants to give these officers access to details of who we email, call and send postcards to, it is remarkable to be proposing they should be able to do so behind a cloak of secrecy.”

First the snooper’s charter, now the removal of the ability to hold the police to account. How’s that whole openness and transparency thing going, Dave?

Labour Keep it in the Family

Things are getting a bit too close to comfort up in Warrington as Labour councillor Chris Vobe last night tabled a motion calling on his colleagues to “commend the efforts of Warrington North MP Helen Jones“.

Could Cllr Vobe’s enthusiasm for blowing his local MP’s trumpet have something to do with the fact that she’s his mum?



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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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