When she isn’t speculating that Kate Middleton might be up the duff or suggesting that girls should be spared from prison, it seems Claire Perry has porn on the mind. But the Tory MP’s campaign to control what we can and can’t watch on our computer screens was laid bare today after its dodgy stats were rumbled. SafetyNet claim that one in three ten-year-olds have viewed online porn. It turns out they lifted the figure from an obscure magazine, which has admitted using a sample of 14-16 year-olds from just one school in north London. So in other words her figures are about as academic as a show of hands in a pub. Maybe Perry should spend less time worrying why all her sucking up failed to land her a job, and a bit more time on the facts.
Guido had not forgotten the chaos he caused down Wandsworth way this summer by revealing more than £50,000 in suspected fraudulent payments to the local Conservative agent. Two years after concerns were first raised internally, an independent investigation has been called and the suspect – Councillor Robert Morritt – has been suspended. The details of the inquiry have been released today:
The Conservative Party in Wandsworth and Wimbledon is establishing an inquiry into allegations appearing in the media concerning accounting irregularities during the period (2006-10) when Robert Morritt was in its employment. The local Conservative Party is organised in four Conservative Associations in Battersea, Putney, Tooting and Wimbledon. These Associations pool resources in the Wandsworth & Wimbledon Conservative Group. Rob Morritt was employed by its predecessor organisation, known as the Wandsworth Conservative Group.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, the leader of Hillingdon Council, has been asked to: Conduct an independent review of the professional activities, including recent media allegations, of Robert Morritt during his employment with the Wandsworth Conservative Group. The review should be thorough, evidence based and should make observations, draw conclusions and recommendations as appropriate. Cllr Puddifoot will report his findings to the Group Management Committee of the Wandsworth & Wimbledon Conservative Group, who will then make a detailed public statement covering the allegations that have been made. Cllr Puddifoot will conclude his investigations as soon as practically possible but the importance of a thorough investigation precludes a set time limit.
Cllr Puddifoot has been Leader of Hillingdon Council for 12 years and is a past Treasurer of the Uxbridge Conservative Association. He is by profession a Chartered Accountant and served for many years, on a voluntary basis, as a General Commissioner of Revenue and Customs. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Cllr Puddifoot has no previous connection with the Wandsworth or Wimbledon Conservative Associations.
A professional outside auditor would have made more sense, especially given that elements Conservative Party have already systematically covered this story up already. Two investigations already compiled have found over £50,000 of unaccounted funds, yet they were ignored by Wandsworth Conservatives – instead they promoted Morritt. Guido has offered to make all the evidence he has in his possession, and it’s a lot, available to Mr Puddifoot.
He looks forward to hearing from him…
Read the full story here.
Ed’s back to school interview in the New Statesman is a growing source of amusement this afternoon. The Labour leader used an interesting choice of words to attack the former Prime Mentalist’s government:
“There’s one way that says you just set lots of targets centrally and that’s the way you make public services work. That’s the Brown model, slightly caricatured. If we came along and said ‘look, we can just carry on like the last Labour government did’ – I mean it’s politically crackers to do that, because we wouldn’t win the election and we wouldn’t deserve to win the election.”
Meanwhile it seems the party’s new mantra for the coming months will be “predistribution not redistribution”. As Dave said at PMQs, they had all summer to come up with that…
PMQs pic via @OnTablets
Save the Children’s new ad campaign about child poverty in Britain has a heartbreaking storyline:
“Alex pretends he is a brave prince. It’s a game his mum and dad have invented because they want to shield him from the reality of living in severe poverty — a reality shared by 1.6 million children in the UK. So instead of worrying about living in a freezing house with no heating, the brave prince imagines he has taken a journey to the Land of the Polar Bears. Instead of feeling sad because he doesn’t have a bed, the brave prince creates an indoor tent where he sleeps on his many adventures.”
Awkwardly the charity have just confirmed to Guido that young Alex literally was pretending to be a brave prince – he and his mother are actors. Not that Save the Children have acknowledged it in the ad or on their official YouTube page as you might expect from the charity. They would never get away with using child actors in a guilt-trip ad campaign in Africa, so how can they do it here?
Boris has refused to rule out standing in a by-election in order to oppose the government on Heathrow expansion from within the House. With Dave failing to meet the London Mayor’s demand to permanently reject plans for a third runway at Heathrow at PMQs, BoJo told the World at One he would lead the opposition if the government u-turns.
Because that’s the only reason why Boris would be interested in a by-election…
We’re going old school. Comments in the comments please…
The usual suspects on the left and their cheerleaders on the Labour benches are gleefully celebrating this PR stunt from Save the Children this morning:
“The international aid charity Save the Children – best known for its work with starving youngsters in Africa – has launched its first domestic fundraising appeal, asking the public to dip into their pockets to help UK families plunged into poverty by cuts and the recession.”
Cue mock outrage and hand-wringing about how this is the 21st Century and what a damning indictment of the government it is. There’s no denying it’s a good yarn, but it unravels pretty quickly.
So who is publicly facing this campaign on the airwaves? Step forward Justin Forsyth, recently appointed CEO of the charity and a former spin-doctor for Gordon Brown in Downing Street. Forsyth replaced Damian McBride as the Prime Mentalist’s Chief Spokesman in October 2008 in the wake of Peroni-gate. Remember that other voice on the infamous Bigot-gate tape? That was Justin trying to calm Brown down.
Lets have a look at Justin’s government’s own record on poverty. According to the IFS Brown’s tenure saw “a rise in income inequality, and a fall in the income of the poorest fifth of the population.” Here’s the Gini coefficient measure of inequality of the time that Justin was working for Labour:
A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, around the time Justin was in No.10 the GI increased from 0.34 to 0.36. And what’s the best this bunker boy can come up with? Apparently British kids are “missing out on school trips, toys and treats because their parents cannot afford the rising cost of living.” Save the Children used to be about kids missing out on clean water and dying of malnutrition, that’s gone down the drain for the sake of some cheap partisan headlines…
No.10 has announced that Greg Knight and Des Swayne have been appointed as new government whips. King of the jingle Knight should know all about unruly backbenchers given that he himself has rebelled eight times this Parliament:
As far as Guido can see, Knight is the only one of the 143 Tory MPs that have rebelled against this government to get a promotion in the reshuffle. New Solicitor General Oliver Heald signed the infamous rebel Lords letter but chickened out of the vote.
Guido is a little confused to how Knight is planning on demanding loyalty?
And with the rumours already swirling around the troops about Mitchell, the new whips have got their work cut out…