They put Chloe Smith on Newsnight and Nick Clegg on Newsround. Sounds about right…
After dipping his toe into the blogging world on key occasions this year, Damian McBride has created plenty of ripples. Speculation has been spreading that the disgraced Brown spinner was touting for a book deal by giving us a glimpse of what such a tome would be like. Needless to say there have already been offers, which do not come as a suprise to anyone who has read his illuminating posts.
McBride denies he is interested though and says he has rejected deals.
Guess he will have to stick to the blogging.
Guido could use the competition…
Congratulations are in order for Gaby Hinsliff, who has joined fashion mag Grazia as political editor at large. Gaby quit the Observer in 2009 saying she wanted to “get a life” but her career has gone from strength to strength ever since. Her first weekly column starts tomorrow. Guido hopes there are pictures…
It seems the Prime Minister’s PPS is gearing up for an angry reaction when Cameron takes to the Despatch Box later to report on last week’s EU summit*:
From: SWAYNE, Desmond
Sent: 02 July 2012 14:34
Subject: Statement 3.30
Ed’s main effort is to engineer blue on blue. Let’s not help him. Dessie
Guido reckons it’s going to take more than that to quell the crowd behind Dave…
* The summit he used to rule out a referendum.
The latest briefing to Tory MPs gives an interesting clue as to Cameron’s next move re-Europe:
Date: 2 July 2012
To: MPs Lines To Take
Subject: Political Topline: 2 July 2012
Good afternoon. Please see below the political top line:
The Prime Minister is clear that an in-out referendum is not the answer right now. Instead we should first set out how we want to change our relationship with Europe and then as the end point becomes clear we should consult the British people, either in a general election or a referendum. He will set out more details of the Conservative Party’s position in the Autumn.
Faced with his choppiest conference yet as leader, it seems the PM is preparing some EU shaped hats and rabbits in time for Birmingham.
Dave might think that Jimmy Carr is morally repugnant but that has not stopped the Tories from advising their wealthy donors on how to avoid tax. The Conservative Foundation, an organisation run by an array of Tory grandees and city types, is offering donors the chance to dodge inheritance tax through a scheme in which they leave a “legacy” to the Tory party. The scheme promises to “reduce or even remove completely” the inheritance tax liability of rich Conservative backers, while its website explains how to take advantage of rules allowing tax-free donations to political parties. Although the scheme appears to have been set up on the quiet it is startlingly open about its intentions:
Cameron was always going to be a hostage to fortune over tax avoidance, now he faces the inevitable dilemma of having to deal with questions about his party’s wealthy financiers. He’s hardly making it easy for himself.
One of the most memorable soundbites from the Leveson Inquiry was Rupert Murdoch telling Mr Jay: “if you want to judge my thinking, look at the Sun“. That mantra was strikingly evident this morning as Uncle Rupe’s tweets on Scientology were followed by front page splash just hours later:
Now that the media mogul is on Twitter, Sun editor Dominic Mohan doesn’t even have to wait for the call…
Former Tory MP Angela Knight has more bad news for the bankers and their chums this morning:
From: Ben Andersen-Tuffnell
Sent: 02 July 2012
Subject: CANCELLED – BBA Reception on 4 July
Message sent on behalf of Angela Knight, Chief Executive, BBA
We believe that in the current circumstances it would be wrong to proceed with the reception on Wednesday evening. We regret the short notice but our industry needs to think long and hard about its collective behaviour and I am sure you understand this is not the time for such an event to take place.
Angela Knight CBE
British Bankers’ Association (BBA)
“The voice of banking and financial services”
105-108 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1EX
No Bolly for the big boys then.
They’re all bloggers now…
With bright lights, cameras and TV Political Editors, it certainly looked like a comeback attempt from Liam Fox this morning. The excited glint in his eye and a new tie were only let down by the cheap polyester Union flag next to him. In many ways Fox had won before he reached the podium – the trail of his speech was enough to force the Prime Minister’s hand yesterday, triggering a U-turn on his dismissal of a referendum just hours previously. The first chance to question Fox since his cabinet departure proved more interesting…
Nick Robinson seemed horrified by Fox’s claim that he was not afraid of a post-EU Britain. “Why don’t you fear it?” pushed Robbo with terror in his voice. “Why are you not afraid of leaving?”. Asked if Dave would be happy about the intervention, Fox tried to avoid the politics. Apparently “we have to start thinking about life beyond the Westminster village”– somewhere the former Defence Secretary has spent plenty of time recently. Surely renegotiating would be impossible with LibDems? “Well it’s not easy.” Guido put it to the good doctor:
“One day people may look back at this speech as the first step towards an EU exit for the UK. Might we also look back at your first step toward politically recovery? Is taking on this cause part of your rehabilitation process for a return to high office?”
Suddenly the smile was gone. Fox replied with cold stare and chatter about the need to escape the prism of Westminster village, avoid petty personality politics, represent his constituents et cetera. So that’s a yes then.
The one time Tory leadership runner is clearly still very sore. “How do you feel?” asked Christopher Hope of the Telegraph like he was talking to a poorly aunt. “Do you wish you were back in government?”
“I don’t imagine I would be in the heart of government for about twenty-five minutes if I had given this speech.”
Apparently there aren’t “a huge amount of consolations” on the outside, but Fox said the freedom to speak out is one of them. Over to a serving Cabinet Minster to prove him wrong…
Guido had advance notice of Liam Fox’s speech yesterday. If you had picked up your Daily Star Sunday you would already know all about that and how the taxpayer subsidises 165 Westminster journalists to the tune of millions, what self-confessed nerd Ed Miliband had to be briefed about on the train and why 74-year-old John Prescott has taken to using a walking stick. And that’s not to mention Gloria De Piero’s fiance getting into a spot of bother with an adult website…
Yesterday’s column is now online here…
“I do not believe that Britain’s national interest is served by its current relationship with the EU. We have not moved the goalposts. But they have been moved nonetheless. We must now respond. For 20 years, since I entered Parliament, we have been told that we are winning the arguments on Europe and that it is coming in our direction. It is not true. We must free ourselves from the dogma of “ever closer union” that has been a handicap on every government since the 1970s. It is a dogma that has led to failure to adapt to a changing world and has thrown millions of young Europeans into high and structural unemployment. There will be those who say that this is the wrong time and that it is politically difficult or even impossible. These are the perpetual arguments for inertia. It is the British public who must be the final arbiters and their voice has been ignored for too long. Politicians of all parties must show that they are able and willing to put the National interest ahead of narrow electoral interests. We should not wait for EU leaders to recognise the failure of the ill-conceived euro before we set out what we want for the British people. Britain’s destiny is not a debating issue for leaders on the continent. It must be made in Britain. This is the time for us to rise to the challenge.”
Vince Cable consistently counter-attacks whenever the Tory right bangs on about an EU referendum. Following Dave’s bewildering Sunday Telegraph piece at the weekend, Cable said that talk of a referendum was “horribly irrelevant“. Odd then that back in 2007 before the Eurozone meltdown got going Vince was rather more positive about the idea:
“We see a referendum as an opportunity to have a proper debate about the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU. No-one under the age of fifty – including the current Foreign Secretary – has had a say on Britain’s membership of the EU. An in-out referendum would give people a vote on the broad issue. We trust the people to make a decision about whether we should stay in or get out. We must flush our opponents out of their bunkers and challenge them to make clear their positions on this fundamental issue for the future of our country.”
From a “fundamental issue” to “horribly irrelevant” in just a few years. A LibDem abandoning their principles once they’ve entered the corridors of power – fancy that…