Brown and Cameron Say Sorry Over Armistice Photos

Remember the kerfuffle over photographers in the Field of Remembrance on Armistice Day?  Both Gordon Brown and David Cameron have apologised to officials at Westminster Abbey.  Good.  Do you think it is possible for politicians to depoliticise anything?  Perhaps not.

Saturday Seven Up

7upIf you were not one of the 53,470 visitors viewing 310,344 blog pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:

You are either in front of Guido, or you are behind…

Going Cold Blackberry

Guido’s Blackberry is dead.  They can’t deliver a new one until Monday.  The spare phone in the bottom of the drawer just makes and receives calls and you can text (by pressing keys four times to get the right character).  It doesn’t even have a camera.

No Twitter, no Facebook, no Bloomberg, no Reuters, no live securities prices, no mobile trading, no MMS texts, no email, no real-time feed update, it all just seems very quiet.  The information tsunami has evaporated.  Guido is in a virtual limbo.  For a news junkie this is terrifying.

Disconnected…

UPDATE : Gaby Hinsliff has similar issues.

Friday Caption Contest (Curried Expenses Edition)

Yes Ms Palin, Britain Does Have NHS Death Panels

When Sarah Palin said Obama’s healthcare plan would result in “death panels” that would see bureaucrats making subjective judgements on life and death, she was  furiously howled down by Obama supporters.

So how should we describe the expert panel of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which decided that patients will be denied a new cancer drug on the NHS under draft guidelines, because it is too expensive?

Charities are outraged people with advanced liver cancer are to be refused life-extending Nexavar.  Andrew Dillon, of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said: “The drug does not provide enough benefit to justify its high cost.”

Andrew Dillon, the CEO of N.I.C.E., is a career bureaucrat, not a doctor or a scientist.  He runs the system that says there is a cap of £30,000 per patient for a quality year of life.  If the panel determines that a “quality year of life” will cost the NHS more than £30,000, you are dead…

Half-a-Billion People Told Name of Their New Emperor President

The 500 million people of Europe have a new president, not one of them was troubled with the requirement to cast a vote.  Actually that is not quite true, 27 politicians decided unanimously who to appoint. Soviet Politburos invariably came to unanimous consensus decisions, it is a characteristic of  undemocratic systems that deals are struck and favours traded.  Baroness Ashton, the new British High Representative has never been democratically elected to any position, ever.  The perception is that she owes her rise to high office in EUGov to being married to Blair admiring, Labour leaning pollster Peter Kellner of YouGov.

With a Belgian President, plus a capital and parliament in Brussels, the EU has some of the attributes of a new Belgian empire…

Three Months Later, Megrahi Lives

It was only 90 days ago that we were told that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi had only three months to live.  Well he lives and breathes today.  Officials in Libya last week confirmed that Megrahi had been discharged from Tripoli Medical Centre.

Colonel Gaddafi’s regime has publicly declared its hope that “a miracle from God” would preserve al Megrahi’s life.  Guido is ashamed to say that he is a bit more cynical…

Harman Denies Charges

The CPS statement said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute the Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP for the offences of driving without due care and attention and driving whilst using a handheld mobile telephone in relation to an incident on 3 July 2009.”

A spokesman for the Labour deputy leader said: “Ms Harman strongly refutes the allegations but is co-operating with police.”

Original story from early October was covered on the blog here.

Harman was on the mobile when she crashed into a parked car without stopping to leave her details. Under the 1988 Road Traffic Act, any driver involved in a collision with another vehicle is required by law to stop and give their name and address, as well as details of the vehicle’s owner and the vehicle’s registration. Not exactly Chappaquidick Bridge, but that she drove off telling a witness ‘I’m Harriet Harman – you know where you can get me…’ is a little high-handed…

+++ Gordon X-Factor Dither +++

News just in that he is now backing Jedward after previously saying they were no good. He can’t even make his mind up about what music he likes…

UPDATE : According to the Sun, Gordon told This Morning how much he loves The X Factor today – but then embarrassingly got Danyl Johnson’s name wrong:

The Prime Minister was discussing the ITV1 hit during an interview on  when he referred to the teacher as “Daryl”.

Loser Labour Candidates Want Electoral Reform Shocker!

Thirty-four Labour PPCs  have written to Gordon begging him for a referendum on reforming the electoral system to be the final installment of his outgoing scorched earth policy.  The letter that has the backing of the left-wing front-group “Vote for Change” reads “we do not believe that Labour will benefit at the next general election unless voters see that we are prepared to actually deliver a chance of real change.” All very nice, but it doesn’t take long before you see their true reasons for wanting the vote:

“A referendum on polling day on a system that delivers real voter choice would see hundreds of Liberal Democrats switching to Labour, hundreds more stay-at-home Labour supporters coming out to vote for the government and every Tory opponent on the back foot trying to explain why the failed old system is worth keeping and why Cameron wouldn’t give the people a say.”

A quick look through these thirty-four wannabes shows that just one of them – former Portillo slayer and 2005 Enfield loser Stephen Twigg  – has any chance of winning their seat. With the average losing majority (at the prevailing polls levels) expected to be 28% no wonder they are so keen on widening the goalposts, just look at the predicted* majorities they are up against:

Would they be backing the vote if the odds were not overwhelming stacked against them?

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Ken Andrew, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Carshalton & Wallington, is obviously happy he got married. So happy he put it on his leaflet (full size) delivered to the electors of Carshalton & Wallington.

Guido thinks Pam looks good, wonder what Pam thought of her wedding photos being used for propaganda purposes?  It is a sweet love story of two widowers finding love and marrying.  Mrs Fawkes very firmly ticks the no publicity box and wouldn’t even let Guido post pictures of the Fawkes’ girls looking cute in pink Conspiracy Member” T-shirts…

Why Did Labour Want to Avoid Expenses Issue?

The total absence of anything in the Queen’s Speech on the expenses issue is glaring, could the above be why? The Telegraph reports that Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, will shortly receive a police file on half-a-dozen suspected political financial fraudsters.  A source told The Times: “The investigation is progressing and a file will be ready to go to the CPS by Christmas.”

In the dock we are likely to see three Labour MPs Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, as well as two Labour peers Baroness Uddin and Lord Clarke of Hampstead joined by one Tory peer Lord Hanningfield.  Tony McNulty, Jacqui Smith and Geoff Hoon have not had police investigations produce a file of evidence for the CPS.  Though they still face the possibility of private prosecutions being brought by the Sunlight Centre and/or the Taxpayers’ Alliance (supported by the Daily Mail).

You can see why Gordon might not be too keen on bringing the expenses issue front and centre…

Queen's Speech

Guido is a bit surprised that not a word was mentioned about the Kelly proposals to clean up and reform parliament. Nick Clegg is right, they should have concentrated on this because most of the legislation proposed is merely an attempt to draw out dividing lines and trap the Tories.   The Tories are unlikely to fall for any of this, so the most practical thing that an honourable government could have done is clean up parliament and implement the Kelly reforms before the general election.  Both Clegg and Cameron have said their parties would support the Kelly package.  On the whole the feeling around Westminster was very “is that all there is?”

Andrew Lansley and Theresa May will be holding a press conference first thing tomorrow morning to launch the Conservative Party’s campaign against Labour’s plans to cut disability benefits for pensioners.  Gordon’s populist care-in-the-home plan seems to be unraveling – it is to be financed by taking away benefits from elderly disabled. That will make an already rebellious Labour backbench unhappy…

Buscombe Reconfirms, Greenslade Correctsand the Comrades Collectively Respond

The unpopular parts of the blogosphere have got all in a tizzy about the PCC expanding into regulating blogs.  Round robins have been signed, letters have been sent to ministers, high horses have been mounted. For nothing.  It was all a misinterpretation which could have been corrected by one of them simply calling the PCC and asking them for comment.  Guido did this basic check.  This apparently makes him an establishment toady.  Guido thought it was just good journalistic practice.

Roy Greenslade has just published a clarification:

Buscombe clarifies blogging intentions: only volunteers will be regulated: PCC chairman Peta Buscombe has said she does not want to regulate bloggers after all unless they sign up for it

In her letter she refers to “my apparent proposal to regulate the blogosphere” and clarifies what she said to The Independent’s media writer Ian Burrell. She writes:

“My point to him was about the dangers of over-regulation, the misplaced desire that can be common to governments to seek to control areas of freedom.  Blogging, as your letter rightly suggests, is a clear area where freedom of expression is absolutely paramount. I have no desire to infringe on that.  My point was that, as there is already pressure to increase regulation of the internet, it is important to make clear that this must not lead to some form of statutory interference.  Rather, a system of self-regulation (such as exists by the PCC for newspapers) would be more appropriate, if any bloggers wished to go down that route. [my italics]  I say ‘wish’, because any advance in this area would have to be consensual. Self-regulation is about collaboration between willing parties.  The PCC is not in any way constituted to impose its views on the unwilling and cannot simply extend its remit to cover non-newspaper sites.”

In other words, she is making it clear that she does not want to regulate bloggers after all unless they sign up for it.

The Fabian Society’s Sunda Katawala has tried to do some rebuttal, as well as some sub-editing, but the fact remains, the PCC had no intention of regulating blogs, nor could it without consent and no consent will be forthcoming.  Guido also spoke with the Indy’s Ian Burrell, he confirms the obvious “Regarding blog regulations, I don’t think they are going to impose it. They can’t impose it can they? They would need to work with people voluntarily”. So comrade bloggers, don’t fear, the storm in a tea-cup is abated…

Pork More Plentiful Under Labour

If you live in a constituency where the train stations are now going to be revamped you are nine times more likely to be living in a Labour seat.  9/10 of those getting a share of the £50 million earmarked by the government controlled Network Rail to be spent on redeveloping stations are represented by Labour MPs. The token opposition station is in Crewe (only recently Tory, and a seat Labour are desperate to get back at the general after their by-election defeat last year.)  So who are the the lucky piggies?

  • Manchester Victoria – Tony Lloyd LAB
  • Clapham Junction – Martin Linton LAB
  • Barking – Margaret Hodge LAB
  • Warrington Bank Quay – Helen Southworth LAB
  • Preston – Mark Hendrick LAB
  • Wigan North Western – Neil Turner LAB
  • Luton – Margaret Moran LAB
  • Liverpool Central – Louise Ellman LAB
  • Stockport – Ann Coffey LAB
  • Crewe – Edward Timpson CON

Perhaps the Labour Party only thinks Crewe is out on loan politically.  Such pork barrel politics is hardly subtle, but what a nice little treat to pop on all those election leaflets next year. Something tells Guido it won’t save Margaret Moran in Luton though…

PCC's Buscombe Has No Ambition to Regulate Blogs

Iain Dale alerted Guido to Ian Burrell’s Indy piece about the PCC regulating blogs

Baroness Buscombe, the new chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, has ambitions for her organisation that go beyond the traditional newspaper companies.

She wants to examine the possibility that the PCC’s role should be extended to cover the blogosphere, which is becoming an increasing source of breaking news and boasts some of the media’s highest-profile commentators, such as the political bloggers Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes. Do readers of such sites, and people mentioned on them, deserve the same rights of redress that the PCC offers in respect of newspapers and their sites?

“Some of the bloggers are now creating their own ecosystems which are quite sophisticated,” Baroness Buscombe told me. “Is the reader of those blogs assuming that it’s news, and is [the blogosphere] the new newspapers? It’s a very interesting area and quite challenging.”

Burrell goes on to claim she said she wants to consider extending the PCC’s remit to the blogosphere.

Cue justified horror from Dale, much mocking from many bloggers and the moonbats sent a  rambling letter collective response to Baroness Buscombe, self-importantly copied to Ben Bradshaw MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and John Whittingdale MP, Chairman Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.  They also tweeted it…

Guido thought, given he seemed to be under such dire threat that Comrade Hundal has stepped in to help with the authorities, that perhaps he should call her to find out what she was planning.  You know, like a fact-checking, double sourcing thing. It turns out she has been mischeviously misquoted.  Burrell has stretched her words a long way and given the impression of an intention that just isn’t there.  It was suspiciously noticeable that there was no direct quote suggesting she wanted to expand the PCC into the blogosphere.

Guido suggested she should perhaps put in a complaint about the Indy to herself.  Her press spokesman laughed nervously.

So stand down from the barricades comrade bloggers, our sophisticated ecosystem is safe. Baroness Buscombe won’t be taking your keyboard from your cold dead hands…

Jonah Brown Curses Kent

Gordon’s visited Kent last Thursday. It didn’t take long for the effects of this visit to be felt though, by Saturday the storms were raging across Kent:

“Dover port was closed just after midday on Saturday due to the high winds but reopened at 1630 GMT. Kevin Richardson from the Port of Dover Authority said there were ongoing delays to ferry crossings. The Dartford river crossing, Sheppey crossing and Medway bridge were closed by Kent Police on Saturday afternoon.”

The wind battered and the rain poured down:

“Severe flooding and sewage contamination has forced a church school to close today and send home hundreds of pupils. The heavy rainfall overnight combined with a cloudburst between 7.30am and 8.15am on Friday morning caused sudden flooding to several buildings at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells. The main hall, classrooms and playground were swamped with flood water and sewage.”

The curse of Jonah strikes again…

Yo Dude, Where's the Deflation?

Guido was more than sceptical when politicians and Labour luvvie economists like Gavyn Davies started talking up the bogeyman of deflation at the same time as the government was running up massive fiscal deficits.  It seemed too handy a coincidence that they would print money on a scale never seen before at the same time as issuing debt on a scale never seen before.  They subsequently, coincidentally, bought the debt using the money they had just printed.

This we were told was to stave off deflation which it was emphasised was very bad.  Goods becoming less expensive was somehow worse than goods becoming more expensive.  If we got deflation it would be the end of the good times for ever according to even monetarist economists.  Guido was sceptical that deflation was necessarily bad, history shows that there have been times of increasing prosperity that coincided with deflation.  Deflation happened several times in the nineteenth century.  During that era of rapid economic development there were no central banks and money was calculated as a certain quantity of gold or silver.

Deflation was not necessarily a threat to our prosperity, in a situation where the money supply is stable it is the manifestation of prosperity and pensioners know that their standard of living would have improved.  With inflation now upticking this experiment in Mugabenomics* has to be reversed without setting off hyper-inflation or collapsing the government debt market.  The policy authorities have figured out how to prop up the gilt market – they are changing the regulations to force banks to buy government debt to the tune of hundreds of billions. It remains to be seen if they can avoid an inflationary catastrophe, surging record gold prices suggest the markets suspect not…

*©Vince Cable, who was against QE before he was in favour of it.  God knows what he thinks now.

Gordon's Afghan Summit Excuse for Pre-Election Photo-Op

Funny how desperate Gordon is to have a New Year summit on Afghanistan in London. Withdrawal from Afghanistan could be some kind of a legacy for him. More likely the real reason he wants the summit is so he can get a few photo-ops that feed into his “Gordon leads the world delusion” in time for the General Election.  Remember back in March how he milked the London G20 Summit for all it was worth, desperate for a little stardust to be sprinkled on him during strolls and photographs with Obama?

That fawning and excruciatingly embarrassing joint interview (above) in Washington last March?

Gordon wants a pretext to bring Obama to London so he can play the international statesman saving the world again in the run up to the election.

Al Gore TV Calls Palin a "TWILF"

Whilst the left on both sides of the Atlantic goes completely neurotic about the populist success of  Murdoch’s Fox News they forget that Al Gore owns a TV station aimed at the MTV generation – Current TV – unlike Fox it has lost over $10m every year since it started in 2004. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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