And a classic from the LibDem press team to finish off their week of incompetence:
That went well then.
The key message of Nick Clegg’s speech is not very subtle.
A belter of a conference cartoon special from Peter Brookes on the front page of this week’s Speccie. Guido would like to put in a bid for the original.
By delicious coincidence, this week’s New Statesman also goes the Wallace and Gromit theme on its cover.
It’s almost as if Miliband was a dead ringer for Wallace.
Every year Guido likes to bring you the most important news from the leader’s speeches at conference: the fashion. Today he can reveal that Mrs Clegg will be wearing a Zara top with Topshop shoes.
This is to signify the strong links between Spanish design (Zara) and British high street manufacturing. Apparently.
And now you know.
Speaking to Guido after his speech at the Institute of Directors this morning, the Mayor of London publicly criticised plans to massively expand free school meals for children:
“I tell you, it would be very easy to say, I think.. I think that it’s real you know errr I, what I think is there should be compulsion to eat the school meal, but I am in no means against getting parents who can pay for to pay for it.”
He added, “I have no problem with the concept of dinner money.” When Guido pushed him on his position, asking directly whether rich parents should be subsidised, the Mayor replied: “No well… Look I’m sure the government have a very good reason for doing it.” Quite what that is remains a mystery to many Tories…
Coincidently, the Boris ruled out running for a third term in City Hall:
“I can rule that out, I can rule everything out”.
But then, that’s what Ken said…
As predicted by Guido in July, Labour’s new Deputy Director of Communications is the Sunday Telegraph political editor Paddy Hennessy. Ed says:
“I am delighted to welcome Paddy to the Labour Party as our new Deputy Director of Communications. His experience working at a range of national newspapers will add significant expertise to the Labour Party’s communications team. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
He’s already on message:
“I am sad to be leaving the Sunday Telegraph after nine great years but this is an exciting new challenge. After nearly 30 years working in newspapers, it’s a big move but a simple task: to help Labour win the general election. I’m delighted to be joining.”
No more attacks on Old Etonians then. With Damian McBride’s book serialised in the Mail this week, Paddy can provide expert advice about his old drinking buddy…
UPDATE: Well that didn’t take long:
Boris told the IoD:
“The UK economy has finally reached its Costa Concordia moment. Because after two-and-half years of parbuckling the labour is complete and the rotation has been accomplished and though the damage is still I think manifest and the caissons have not yet been entirely drained of debt, I think you would agree that the keel is off the rocks and at last we can feel motion, relief. I have no inclination at all to hand back the bridge to the people who were at the wheel when it ran aground.”
This is what Simon Hughes thinks about free school meals, revealed in a letter to constituents.
When the policy belongs to his local Labour council it amounts to “wasting extraordinary amounts of money”, behaving “like they have money to burn” in order to “fund handouts for those who don’t (need them)”. This is what his local party said about the idea on leaflets delivered to voters:
For some reason Hughes has been very quiet today…
The ConHome, Lord Ashcroft, Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell versus Grant Shapps and CCHQ bitch fight is finally over. Tory membership has roughly halved under Cameron, from 253,000 to 134,000. Hardly something to shout about, though at least it remains in six figures, contrary to speculation. Shapps is to introduce league tables to foster competition among associations. At least now Tory attacks on unions on the grounds of transparency won’t sound so hollow…
Nick Clegg’s big conference giveaway managed to last a few hours before it was comprehensively taken apart by policy wonks.
Labour of course love it, despite even Ed Balls ditching their commitment to universal benefits. No prizes for guessing how the LibDems are framing this:
Conveniently forgetting that Maggie successfully fought the Treasury to keep free milk for under 7s and that the LibDems have now ensured minimum wage shelf stackers are paying for the lunches of millionaires’ kids. The deal is the Tories can now offer a £500 million tax break for married couples. That is over a billion a year of extra spending. The deficit is targeted at £120 billion this year. What austerity?