There were some golden Boris moments during the Olympics, but Bojo and Barbara Windsor playing sitting volleyball this afternoon has to top the lot. And with that silly season comes to a close…
The latest report from the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA shows Iran doubling their enrichment of uranium in a deep bunker that is definitely for providing power. Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary has weighed in:
“The threat that a nuclear armed Iran would pose to Israel, to the wider stability of the region and to international security as a whole is deeply concerning and warrants urgent and concerted diplomatic efforts. That is why the report today is so deeply concerning and cannot and should not be ignored.”
Don’t tell Mehdi Hasan though, obviously he is right and the UN Security Council are wrong…
Power-dressing pussybow blouses, stylish salmon-pink suits and classy cocktail gowns…what takes your fancy? Fans of the Iron Lady now have the chance to own the ultimate piece of Maggie memorabilia as seven of her classic suits go on auction at Christie’s. Each dress is expected to fetch around £1,500, making a handsome ten grand for their current owner. Don’t rule out a Tory MP bidding war…
Pearson plc, the owners of the FT, have caused a minor ripple today through their imaginatively named Pearson Think Tank. They’ve published a prophecy of doom about the state of primary education and teacher training:
“A perfect storm of falling teacher training applications, low staff morale and rapidly rising pupil numbers could easily create a future teacher workforce crisis in primary schools if left unchallenged.”
The Department for Education claim that the report “could not be further from the truth”. Crucially Pearson Think Tank recommends the way to solve the problem is for the government to spend more money on teacher training. So what was it that first attracted one of the world’s largest providers of education services to create their own in-house wonk-shop and produce knocking copy about teachers?
Nothing to do with their commercial interests, of course. Who could sweep in and fix the terrible mess that Pearson claim is blighting the teaching world? Well these guys look like experts in the area:
Predictably Labour’s sub par education team have got all hot and heavy and are press-releasing quotes about the fake think-tank’s report. Without realising, of course, that they are mere pawns in a corporation’s commercial scheme…
Earlier this month Guido revealed that the Tories’ PCC candidate in Cambridgeshire was not actually a member of the Conservative Party. Guido reported at the time that local Tories had begged John Pye to sign up but he was refusing to carry the party card.
Following the revelations the pressure has mounted over the last few weeks, and yesterday Pye announced that he was standing down. Apparently he wants to “avoid further disruption” to the campaign. It’s bye-bye to Mr Pye…
Do ya feel lucky?
Guido is supporting #PositiveTwitterDay today. Twitter, especially the political Twittersphere can be a horrible nasty place, well today Guido will do his Christian best to be nice to all in his tweets. The idea comes from the invariably polite Sunder Katwala.
Friday sees our civic attempt at a civil #positivetwitterday (if you’re commenting on Thursday night in the USA, you may have a few hours!)
— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) August 30, 2012
A number of well known Twitter curmudgeons have already re-tweeted the hashtag #PositiveTwitterDay and entered into the spirit of the day. Guido for his part is determined to have civil, positive discussions today with the likes of Polly or Mehdi. The power of positive tweeting…
BBC’s Eddie Mair to guest…
“Hold your nose for a minute would you, if you were trying to sell Mitt Romney to the American people what should he say…”
The Guidogram round-up of the week is going out shortly.
Thousands of Westminster insiders read the Guidogram, everyone from Downing Street insiders to Fleet Street never miss it. Silly season is drawing to a close so don’t miss out on the latest rumours that threatened to leave Labour stumped.
Join the conspiracy and become a subscriber to the Guidogram, free, to keep in the loop. You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…
Back in May, Guido brought you a crystal clear example of vested interests blocking reform. The fight put up by the Isles of Scilly council against their local school becoming an academy was a perfect microcosm of the problems faced up and down the country.
We wrote: “The headteacher of the only school on the Isles of Scilly was hastily suspended yesterday, without explanation, after it emerged that he was venturing to the mainland and travelling all the way to London to discuss potential Academy status for his school.”
It only took three and a half months of stonewalling, illegal FOI blocking and digging, but finally the proof we knew was there has found the light of day. Many laughed when we ran our original posting but the Telegraph and the BBC finally caught up, picking up on the “culture of fear“ on the islands.
We were first and bang on the money, as today’s leak to a Cornish local paper proves. The locally loathed Council Chief Executive Philip Hygate has been caught red-handed illegally circumventing the school governors and attempting to suspend the Headteacher himself. Just as we reported. His position as the islands’ well-remunerated überfuhrer is looking pretty shaky this afternoon. Meanwhile, Guido understands the islanders’ wish for an elected Mayor is not out of the question…
It is almost exactly a year ago that the Daily Mail’s RightMinds site launched under the direction of Simon Heffer. It is to be mothballed.
The comment section of the world’s most popular news site will not close down immediately and current contributors will still be able to publish there, they are however calling it a day on commissioning new writing although the existing bloggers will be able to upload their wit and wisdom onto the site. Guido understands that Mail Online editor Martin Clarke has won his battle against RightMinds which he saw as a great distraction from the Mail Online’s winning formula of beach babes, celebrity gossip with fashion shoots focusing on lingerie clad tits and arse. Martin Clarke apparently clenched the argument against focusing resources on RightMinds following the Arbeit Mach Frei comment article debacle.
Politics online for the Mail will be in the hands of the newly appointed Matt Chorley. Heffer himself tells Guido he will now focus on writing for the paper…
Boris has been fielding questions from tweeters this afternoon. Here are some of the best:
You’ve gotta love him…
Keith Vaz has been doing the rounds today voicing his concerns over this morning’s decision to ban London Met university from handing out visas to foreign students:
“The way this has been handled is appalling. I am afraid it may damage the reputation of UK as best place in world for overseas students.”
Guido isn’t quite sure how Vaz has the nerve to come on TV to talk about visas. Back when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2001 Vaz was sacked in disgrace after an inquiry revealed he had lobbied the Home Office to give citizenship to the millionaire Hinduja brothers. They had bunged his wife’s company £1,200.
Vis-à-vis visas, Vaz is on shaky ground…
Earlier this month Guido showed how he who pays the IPPR calls the tune, and now it seems the Labour wonk-shop have been at it once again. Today they have published a report making the case for wind power. Apparently wind is an effective way of reducing carbon emissions and can provide a secure and reliable source of energy for the future. Who would argue such a thing?
Dig a little deeper and you will see that two of the three authors of the report are senior employees of GL Garrad Hassan:
It turns out that GL Garrad Hassan is an energy company that specialises in both onshore and offshore wind projects. As they boast on their website:
“GL Garrad Hassan is recognised worldwide as a provider of services at all stages of onshore and offshore wind projects. It has developed industry standard software products for onshore and offshore wind turbine and wind farm design.”
So we have the IPPR letting a wind energy company write a report on wind power, only for them to inexplicably find that wind is the way forward. Fancy that…
The BBC Trust has ruled that Diane Abbott should appear less frequently on Andrew Neil’s This Week programme. The Beeb‘s editorial standards committee also found that the £6,700 Abbott has pocketed from them was against their guidelines as politicians paid to speak on BBC shows are not allowed to “express political views“.
If it means Diane won’t be appearing on Guido’s TV screen as often in the future then that really is cause for celebration…
As the Olympics drew to a close a couple of weeks ago Guido reminded readers just how much they had forked out for the Games. Now the Paralympics are under way there is one last stat to boil the blood of Olympic-sceptics one last time.
The Indian government spent a staggering £30 million training up their athletes for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a tenth of Britain’s £300 million annual aid budget to the country. And what did we (or they) get for our money? A grand total of zero gold medals, two silvers, four bronzes and an embarrassing final ranking of 55th in the world. As for the Paralympics, India has sent just ten athletes to London. Now Indian Olympian Randhir Singh is asking for more cash:
“The government is spending tremendous amount of money and taking sports seriously. If that continues, there is no limit to what we can do. Take the case of Australia, they spent a lot and did so well. Now they have stopped spending and finished just in the top 10. There can’t be a comparison with China. They have been spending generously for a long time. We’ve just started.”
When will Andrew Mitchell wake up…
Ed Miliband’s out-of-favour advisor Lord Glasman famously told the Labour leader to toughen up on immigration last year, going as far as accusing the last government of lying about the issue:
“Immigration became the big monster that we don’t like to talk about. There was no public discussion of immigration and its benefits. In fact there was a very hard rhetoric combined with a very loose policy going on. Labour lied to people about the extent of immigration and the extent of illegal immigration and there’s been a massive rupture of trust. Working class men can’t really speak at Labour Party meetings about what causes them grief, concerns about their family, concerns about immigration, love of country, without being falsely stereotyped as sexist, racist, nationalist.”
Rather awkward then that Glasman is a senior employee of London Met, the university that has today been banned from giving visas to foreign students due its dodgy immigration record.
Immigration minister Damian Green this morning slammed London Met for allowing students to stay in Britain illegally, finding that the uni had no idea whether or not students were using their visas as a front to work in the country. Guido reckons immigration might now be the big monster that Maurice Glasman doesn’t want to talk about…
Readers may remember how back in 2010 Derek Draper set up Goodypass, a Groupon-clone fronted by his wife Kate Garraway. Guido wondered at the time how it would make any money, so there was no surprise when it was revealed the business had haemorrhaged some £100,000 earlier this year.[…] Read the rest