Hodge Quitting as Minister

Tim Walker is reporting in The Telegraph that Margaret Hodge, the Blairite culture minister and friend of Tony has had enough and will be standing down as a minister from Brown’s cabinet in the next re-shuffle.

Another day another Blairite departs.

Somebody wake McBride and tell him…

What Kind of Liberal Waters the Beer?

How they can describe themselves as “liberal” sometimes baffles Guido. Responding to Nick Clegg’s announcement today that the LibDems will support a minimum price on the sale of alcohol, Progressive Vision – the properly liberal think tank run by Mark Littlewood, ex-head of spin for the LibDems – has rightly called the proposals “nannying, patronising and regressive”.

In the press release, sent by Littlewood, Progressive Vision says “If Nick Clegg wants to stop supermarkets providing low-price alcohol, will he also clamp down on events at LibDem conferences providing free alcohol as an inducement for LibDem activists to attend? If he is so concerned about cheap booze causing binge-drinking, free booze must be even more of a worry.”

Quite, imagine the dangers of boozed up LibDem MPs going on violent rampages…

Brum Business

Guido hasn’t booked a bed in Brum – any good recommendations? Preferably within falling down distance of the epicentre. Ended up staying in between a brothel and a lap-dancing joint last year in Blackpool. Didn’t say it was a complete disaster…

UPDATE 14.00 Saturday : Have managed to find somewhere 4 star for less than £200 a night. Mal Maison still has rooms at £440 available, which is more than Guido paid to stay at the Carlton in Cannes, where the food and views are (Guido suspects) slightly better than in Brum. Many thanks for the suggestions.

Friday Caption Contest (Clegg Crime Caught on Camera edition)

He Who Pays the Piper….

The Senate Banking Committee is the ultimate legislative oversight for U.S. financial regulation. The members of the committee have almost all had donations from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Now they are to decide on bail-out terms?

Incidentally Guido bailed out of all his speculative positions in the early hours of Wednesday morning when it hit the wires that Warren Buffet was taking a $5 billion stake in Goldmans, given his reputation Guido felt Buffet might single-handedly turn market sentiment. That combined with the impossibility of predicting how and when the politicians would go made the markets too random for Guido. Baby Fawkes is unwell and between the 24/7 currency markets and her, the lack of sleep was too draining.

Hat-tip : LFAT

Tory Site Makeover Goes Live

The look and feel is bang up to date with an Obamaesque “It’s time for change” slogan with a wall of Tory talking head videos. Under the hood is more regionalisation, uploading facilities for user generated content and single-issue campaigning. The blue blog is live and Dave is doing his chatty engagement thing…

Something that the Lobby Didn’t Tell You

The gentlemen of the Lobby have kept pretty schtum about the drink fuelled circumstances of the Ruth Kelly briefing by Damian McBride at at 3 a.m during Labour Party conference. Danny Finkelstein is alluding to it indirectly.

Guido understands that the PM’s Spokesman had a bottle of beer in his hand during the briefing. Your taxes at work….

Enemy of State

The news that Derek Draper is organising a rapid rebuttal operation to combat bloggers does not exactly have Guido quaking in fear.

“PR Week can reveal that the Labour Party is exploring plans for an online rapid rebuttal unit, designed to kill off damaging stories circulating in the blogosphere. Former lobbyist Derek Draper will oversee the initiative, having recently been called in by Labour’s general secretary to advise on how the party can communicate its message. Labour strategists are keen to respond to the growing influence of right-wing blogs. The eventual system could resemble a modern-day version of Labour’s famous Excalibur unit, which was successfully used to kill negative stories by Tory-supporting newspapers in the run-up to the 1997 general election.”

It has long been Guido’s central proposition that unlike the Lobby and broadcast journalists in particular, Guido cannot be spun or manipulated by the promise of titbits from the party machines. Not needing access or talking heads to interview, the party machines have no sanction or lure with which to control Guido’s output. When Gordon became party leader there was a concerted effort to astro-turf the comments here, and on ConservativeHome and Politicalbetting.com with “I’m a lifelong Tory but Gordon is better than Cameron blah blah blah”. It was comically transparent that the comments were completely bogus. Guido simply pressed the delete button.

The reason most left-wing blogs are unsuccessful is because they are boring and crap. Draper is not going to change that fundamental truth.

“The Plan”

Last night Guido infiltrated a gathering of a clique of wonks determined to take over Britain and implement what they call The Plan“. Dan Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP are the authors of The Plan“. Guido hasn’t read it yet. Supposedly it is a blend of Thatcherite quango bashing and localism on steroids. Gove said some nice words by way of introduction, Dan referred to the EU as the “mother quango”.

Not convinced that quangos are reformable or that they can be effectively democratised. Most people are just not interested in getting involved, only busy body types are so motivated. Quite sensibly the rest of us just want to get on with our lives. Most quangos could be simply abolished. Trying to reform them is not worth the effort, the bureaucratic inertia is just too great. When does a bureaucracy ever recommend cutting its own budget or reducing the scope or size of the bureaucratic organisation? The Cameronians go on about the “post-bureaucratic age”, it remains to be seen if there will be hard manifesto commitments to do something about it. Don’t hold your breath.

Flashback : The Hubris of Sion Simon

It was a year ago today that Sion published this article in the New Statesman.

We Cannot Be Killed
‘Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority’

As Tories confidently prepare for their conference they should read the article and remember Sion Simon…

Boulton to Brown : “Do You Think You Owe Osborne An Apology?”

Boulton to Brown : “Do You Think You Owe Osborne An Apology?”

Frightened Downing Street Pushed Ruth Resignation Story

It says something about the clumsiness of Team Brown that they had a 3 a.m. press conference in a hotel lobby to announce that Ruth Kelly was resigning to spend more time with her family. Could it be that they were scared that this was going to come out today (perhaps even in her conference speech) and other government ministers might co-ordinate their exits in order to further undermine Gordon.

Is there any other plausible explanation?

Press the Red Button Now Marr

Have just watched Adam Boulton’s interview with Gordon this morning. (Replay is available by pressing the red button on Sky News). Adam was firm with Gordon, calling him on his credit boom being responsible for the bust, effectively questioning his lying and twisting of Osborne’s words in his speech. Brown looked shifty and uncomfortable, quoting from his notes and saying that everyone has got it wrong except him. Boulton reminded Brown that in a previous interview he had told him explicitly no one would lose out over the abolition of the 10p tax rate – that was untrue. Brown glowered. Jeff Randall also gave Brown a tough interview earlier in the week on Sky News as well.

Andy Marr should watch and learn how it is done.

Who Reads Guido?

Guido did this a few years ago, not much has changed really this year – except the reader numbers have got bigger. Beeboids browsing, gossipy parliamentarians, bored brokers, lawyers loafing, accountants and lazy Lobby hacks are the most easily identified from the server logs. Students from the better universities, party HQ staffers and lobbyists make up the numbers.
Network Location Visits
1 houses of parliament 88628
2 british broadcasting corporation 21471
3 conservative central office 18631
4 oxford university 18419
5 university of cambridge 12788
6 news international 7040
7 associated newspapers ltd 6546
8 guardian unlimited* 6309
9 greater london authority 6108
10 university of manchester 5547
11 kpmg peat marwick 4985
12 telegraph group limited 4448
13 good relations 4305
14 trinity mirror group 4293
15 deutsche bank 4315
16 credit suisse group / canary wharf 3913
17 the university of bristol 3866
18 british sky broadcasting ltd. 3772
19 glaxosmithkline 3754
20 pccw limited 3735
21 clifford chance 3680
22 allsop 3659
23 pricewaterhousecoopers gts uk 3646
24 barclays capital 3582
25 european parliament 3441
26 university of leeds 3316
27 shell information technology int. 3259
28 imperial college london 3009
29 hsbc bank plc uk 3002
30 principal i.t. 2985
31 andrews & arnold ltd / Politicshome / ConservativeHome 2974
32 lehman brothers inc 2869
33 durham university local area network 2644
34 jp morgan chase & co 2599
35 japan network information center 2514
36 the liberal democrats 2512
37 parliamentary communications 2511
38 the university of st. andrews 2501
39 university of sheffield 2457
40 herbert smith 2455
41 independent news media uk 2455
42 british airports authority 2453
43 guardian.co.uk* 2580
44 first city insurance brokers ltd 2313
45 financial times interactive data 2330
46 london school of economics and political science 2330
47 the university of nottingham 2271
48 icap plc 2211
49 mccann-erickson inc. 2205
50 bloomberg financial markets 2130

Watching you, watching Guido…

*The Guardianistas have two servers (ranked 8th and 43rd), add them together and Guido turns out to be more avidly read on the Farringdon Road than in Wapping. Ranked 31st is Andrews & Arnold Ltd, who supply the internet connection to 18 Doughty Street, home of PoliticsHome and ConservativeHome.

Gordon Lives – CCHQ Celebrates Prematurely

Guido has been telling anyone who would listen over lunch that the media are ready for a change in the Westminster narrative. Guido would point to the Tatler photo-shoot and the Andy Coulson midwifed Cameron on Cameron hagiography by Dylan Jones as the spin tops. The pendulum of the Lobby is ready, eager even, to turn against the too smooth, too cool Cameroons.

CCHQ will be pleased that Gordon has shored up his position, other fresher faces would knock 10 points off their poll lead, Brown is at least that much of a drag on the polls for Labour. The Conservatives are heading to Brum confident that they are on their way to government. The media, in particular the BBC, will be more than willing to throw a spanner in the works. As Dave said, “the deal is far from sealed”. The narrative is ready to shift. One thing Guido noticed about Gordon’s speech was that it borrowed more from McCain-Palin than from Obama. Experience versus change is the only viable line of attack for Gordon, they will use it. Will the media buy in to it?

UPDATE : Dave has just delivered a speech at the Carlton Political Dinner. According to a seasoned co-conspirator it was a good one and went down well with a friendly business crowd.

He started off by mocking Brown – said he was surprised that Sam Cameron hadn’t introduced him, then said she was “my wife, not a prop”. Dave joked about how the shadow cabinet were great because “they come up with loads of ideas and I take all the credit”. He also pushed the ‘no complacency’ ‘mountain to climb’ line quite hard. Last year’s Carlton speech was effectively a rehearsal for Dave’s conference speech. According to Guido’s source, the business crowd were in love with him.

Boulton Lost

‘Gordon Brown’s party conference speech was well-crafted, well-delivered and pleased his Labour audience here in Blackpool’.

Adam Boulton, Sky News

Via a co-conspirator.

Did Miliband Do the DJing?

As Sarah Brown came on “Beautiful Day’ by U2 was playing in the background, you could hear the lyrics:

You’re out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you’re not moving anywhere

Hmmm.

Thought it was a nice touch that Sarah introduced him. It was also nice that he shook her hand after the speech. Like loving husbands do.

Stockwell Shocker

The jury has been off to retrace Menezes’ last moments at Stockwell station. Did they notice this inappropriate film poster?

From an email going viral.

Gordon Live Chat

Post Match Live Blog Statistics:
Email Reminders Set Up: 28
Total Blog Page Hits: 2545
Total Unique Viewers: 1279
Avg. Unique Viewer Duration on Blog: 11 min.

Chat Text
Viewer Chat Messages Sent: 4046
Viewer Chat Messages Published: 3509

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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