How good it was of the Prime Mentalist to turn up yesterday. Here is one he will no doubt want to skip however: the Great Gordon Brown Repeal bill is to be debated in Parliament next week. The proposal to reverse Labour’s scrapping of the 10p tax rate will be discussed by MPs at 2:30pm next Tuesday. Guido hears Gordon will be receiving a formal invitation…
The old guard laughed when newbie pollsters Survation started showing an ascendancy pattern for the UKIP vote last year, yet today a third pollster has UKIP at around 20% for the Euro elections and now they are giving Nick Clegg a kicking on the home front too. Ipsos Mori report that the party are beating the LibDems into fourth place on general election voting intentions. There is hardly cause for celebration for Ed Miliband either – 75% of Tories are satisfied with Cameron but just 53% of Labour supporters are happy with their leader. Bad news all round for the pro-EU parties.
Via Standard/Ipsos Mori.
Rod Liddle in tomorrow’s Spectator:
“One of these days, not too far away, the entire bourgeois bien-pensant left will self-immolate entirely leaving behind nothing but a thin skein of smoke smelling slightly of goji berries. Please let that day come quickly. In the meantime let us simply enjoy ourselves watching them tear each other to pieces, mired in their competing victimhoods, seething with acquired sensitivity, with inchoate rage and fury, inventing more and more hate crimes with which they might punish people who are not themselves.”
Peter Barnes, the dead helicopter pilot, was en route to pick up businessman and socialite Sir David Tang when his helicopter crashed this morning.
Even the Taiwanese are laughing at Dave’s Big Speech…
Guido has spoken to numerous sources at the Cabinet Office over the last few days, all of whom seemed surprised to be told that Prince Charles has a secret employee on secondment in the department. Two said they had no idea who the mystery man was and one even asked Guido if he had any more information that could help find him. At last this afternoon the Cabinet Office went on the record on the issue for the first time:
“We cannot give out any information about who the person is or what they are doing here. We can’t give out anything that could lead to his identity being revealed.”
The excuse that anything other than complete opaqueness could lead to Charles’ point man being revealed to the world is hardly satisfactory. What are his responsibilities at the Cabinet Office? How long has he been working there? How much is he being paid? And, most importantly, why is an employee of the Household of the Prince of Wales on secondment in the heart of government? Questions Guido will be putting to them in FoI form this afternoon…
Outgoing TUC fat cat Brendan Barber is still hanging around like a bad smell. Guido understands that last night the Speaker held a leaving party in his taxpayer-funded state apartment for the £100,000-a-year union baron. The drink was flowing as the usual union thugs like Ian Lavery and John Bercow’s old pal Jack Dromey said goodbye to their strike-happy former boss. Tories are spitting feathers this morning that union-lover Rob Halfon was also in attendance. As if Barber’s £1.5 million golden goodbye was not enough…
Comments in the comments please…
Sacked Education Minister Tim Loughton twists the knife in front of a select committee:
“Ministers rarely go to other parts of the department. Most officials never met the Secretary of State other than when he would troop out a few chosen people for the New Years’ party. That is no way to run an important department. It’s terribly anachronistic, terribly bureaucratic, terribly formal in that respect.”
There was a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) concerning this crane.
NOTAM L0120/13 L0120/13 (OTH) London Heliport N51°29.00 W000°07.00 1nm Monday, 7 Jan 17:00 to Friday, 15 Mar 2013 23:59 Elevation: SFC - 800 HIGH RISE JIB CRANE (LIT AT NIGHT) OPR WI 1NM 5129N 00007W, HGT 770FT AMSL (VAUXHALL, CENTRAL LONDON), 12-10-0429/AS 2.
This went out moments after the news broke:
From: Government Whips Admin Unit (HOC)
Sent: 16 January 2013 08:47
Subject: Travel disruption
Following a helicopter crash in Vauxhall this morning colleagues should be aware there will be serious travel disruption in the area.
You may need to leave earlier in time for the deferred division.
Government Pairing Whip
What a charmer.
Crash happened around 8 o’clock this morning…
Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall in flames at crash site.
George Eustice, seemingly one of the few people who has ever defected from UKIP to the Tories and the PM’s former Press Secretary, has upped his war against the media. The man who wants the state to regulate/gag hacks now says that journalists should trust politicians more and he’s coming for the broadcasters:
“The truth is that no democracy can work without political parties, making their case, having robust arguments with one another. The current broadcasting rules meant that broadcasters had too much power. That has led to, I think, an over-emphasis on process, on political strategy, rather than actually giving politicians the credit for doing what they do do most of the time, which is to say what it is that they actually believe.”
If politicians didn’t spend so much time committing horrendous process foul-ups, let alone failing to devise any coherent political strategy whatsoever, perhaps the press would not be so scathing. Political parties have their own websites from which to broadcast in unedited form. As Eustice’s own colleague Douglas Carswell put it last night: “The law should be changed to allow political parties to communicate directly with voters? Really?! Try blogging or twitter instead…” If the Tories want more airtime on their own terms then they should deregulate political advertising on TV…