High Noon for Huhne: Court Again Tomorrow

The Crown Court at Southwark
Daily List for Tuesday 22 January 2013

Court 3 – sitting at 12:00 AM

BEFORE THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE SWEENEY (2)

For Mention
T20127076
HUHNE Christopher
PRYCE Vasiliki

Order made under Contempt of Court Act 1981

Guido might just have to lunch in those parts tomorrow.

Obama Inauguration: DC in DC

Spotted in Washington this morning. It seems Dave got invited to inauguration after all… 

Via Donal Blaney

Kevan Jones' Expensive Punishment Beating

A fun spat is rumbling on between Labour MP Kevan Jones and the Brandon Lewis, the junior minister at the Department of Local Government. After DCLG put out a guide to saving money in Local Government before Christmas, Jones has decided to spend the new year testing the department on whether they meet their own standards on waste. Unfortunately for him, his Written Questions scatter-gunning is not really working. Plenty of answers of zilch, but also plenty of snowballs back in Kevan’s face:

Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what costs his Department incurred in respect of staff canteens since May 2010. [135396]
Brandon Lewis: The Department for Communities and Local Government has a staff canteen at its headquarters, Eland House. The facility is a non-subsidised, directly-operated outlet by the Department’s facilities management supplier. DCLG has held a ‘Nil subsidy’ policy for the Eland House staff canteen since May 2010 and the facility has been run at no cost to the Department.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent on potted plants and flowers since May 2010; and what the nature of such expenditure was. [135273]
Brandon Lewis: Unlike the last Government, we do not spend taxpayers’ money on pot plants or the display of cut flowers. The incoming Administration terminated the contract for internal departmental plants in September 2010. This contract had been signed under the last Administration by the (then) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and was costing taxpayers almost £7,000 a year. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer of 28 June 2011, Official Report, column 731W, on the Audit Commission’s £6,500 flower display bill under the last Administration; this was also terminated in September 2010.

Tory sources point out that while they are greatly enjoying highlighting how wasteful Labour were, they would like to point out that each question Jones puts down is costing the taxpayer £160. That’s an expensive fishing trip…

Exclusive: Disgraced Moat MP Front-runner for Lords Comeback

Our quasi-feudal upper chamber is holding an election until Wednesday morning after the death of Earl Ferrers, one of the 92 hereditary peers. The House of Lords will choose a new member, and despite the limited pool of landed candidates, they must be able to find someone a little less controversial than the 3rd Viscount Hailsham, who Guido understands has emerged as the front-runner over the weekend. Regular readers will remember the Viscount as Douglas Hogg, the disgraced Tory MP who charged us to clean his moat…

Hogg was forced out of politics at the height of the expenses scandal, and is showing some serious brass-neck with this comeback bid. It’s more than the moat at  Kettlethorpe Hall that needs cleaning out. What sort of message would it send out if the House of Lords welcomes him back to the trough as expected?

Civil Liberties Campaigners Slam Snooping Claire Perry

Try as she might – and judging by her shameless sucking up she has tried – Claire Perry has still yet to be reshuffled into government. Her one consolation is that Dave has made her his adviser on childhood. The Tories’ answer to Harriet Harman is throwing herself into her new non-job, telling the Mail that parents should snoop on their children’s texts and private messages. Guido has no problem with parents seeking to protect their children from the worst of the web. But when she demands the state block adults from porn…

Perry’s nannying calls for the state to ban raunchy music videos and label airbrushed photos of celebs are even more disturbing. Big Brother Watch’s Nick Pickles is damning of the PM’s Rihanna-hater-in-chief:

“We’re not entirely sure how it fits for a Conservative MP and a newspaper usually committed to reducing state interference in our lives are able to square away issuing parenting diktats, but more concerning is the total lack of any evidence to support these claims. No research on how many parents feel they are not able to discuss this with their children. No evidence of how many children are allowed unrestricted access to the internet in their bedrooms. We’ve seen the dodgy stats underpinning this Mary Whitehouse 2.0 campaign before and now they seem to have given up on evidence-based policy altogether.”

No research, dodgy stats and giving up on evidence-based policy. Perhaps Perry would be suited for promotion after all…

LISTEN: Caller Slaps Down Stan Collymore Live on Talksport

The silence is golden. 

The London Speech – Wednesday

snowdaveSo, Acts of God permitting, Cameron’s speech will be held on Wednesday morning before PMQs and before the PM heads off to Davos.

Keen to give the speech abroad and having trailed most of it already, Guido imagines the rewriting is ongoing.

The speech will be held in a central London location rather than somewhere historical or memorable like Bruge. Details to follow.

He could have done it at Davos, except it would have gone down rather badly with that one world crowd…

Quote of the Day

Alan Rusbridger muses:

“I’m getting more and more depressed. After practising a while, I take myself off to the pub, thinking I’m really a bit c*** and that this whole thing might be unmanageable.”

BREAKING: Police Reopen MacShane Investigation

Is it too early to open the champagne on a Monday morning?

The Met have just announced that they are to reopen the investigation into Denis MacShane’s mystery £7,000 fraud.

As mystic Guido alluded to on Friday afternoon.

It looks like he will be needing those files on his “welcome back to the Labour Party” cake after all.

Developing…

Staff Comment is Not Free

Over the Guardian/Observer Weekend this comment kept disappearing from their website, for some reason:

 “Afternoon Alan – I’m a member of Guardian staff, posting anonymously.

 As you know, it’s a tough time for your journalists at the moment – especially for those of us way down the food chain: the production grunts, the desk-bound, the ones who actually produce the content.

We’re working harder and harder (because we love the papers), coping with dwindling resources and morale, we’re badly mismanaged, and trying to cope with the life-changing threat of compulsory redundancies – all a result of the company’s long-term financial illiteracy and lavish excess at the top.

So I just want to say thanks for the series of articles – three now, isn’t it? – about learning to play your Fazioli piano. They’re brilliantly timed, and I know they’ll lift spirits. We always wondered how you filled your days, how you spent your fortune. Now we know.”

Concerned staff members were sure to send it over to Media Guido though…

Guido's Sunday Column Now Online

Guido’s Sunday column had more of the fallout from Dave’s speech that never was, and David Miliband’s well oiled shadow campaign team, but his favourite story had to be about Dave’s wonderful man-management skills:

“DAVE’S grip over his party’s loyalty is slipping even further and he’s becoming a figure of fun – lethal to a leader. When asking how one MP’s relationship was with the Prime Minister, Guido was told he was the wrong person to ask, as he’d only spoken to the Prime Minister once – when Dave stood on his shoe and then did not apologise. Hard to recover when you start off on the wrong foot.”

Guido is also still chuckling at this one too:

“THIRTEEN years ago, the politically influential Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia – the leading scaremongers about man-made global warming – warned us that within just a few years “children just aren’t going to know what snow is” and that it will be “a very rare and exciting event”. Last week, a foot of this mythical snow stuff closed 3,000 schools, triggered power cuts, shut airports and caused chaos on the roads. As it did last year. And the year before that.”

Elsewhere delusional London mayor hopeful Sadiq Khan has hit a brick wall of derision from his rivals in the Labour Party, also north of the border the leader of Glasgow council was busted performing a gay sex act in a car. And the sad news of “Ed Balls dead at 45”. Yesterday’s column is now online here

Rich's Monday Morning View

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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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