Brown's Only Cut was Next PM's Pay

The Telegraph is reporting that before the election Gordon quietly arranged for the Prime Minister’s remuneration package to be cut from £194,000 to £150,000, with no formal announcement being made.  Guido had to laugh, Brown has made sure Cameron will be quarter-of-a-million poorer over the next 5 years. Cameron can’t complain, we’re all in this together…

Posh Test

Think this is tosh, if you pop into Waitrose for some some hummus and Prosecco are you really posh? Basically the entire middle class is posh on that basis. Mrs Fawkes will laugh.

Can’t stand opera but but have been known to see the occasional ballet. Want to make something of it?

Saturday Seven Up

7upIf you were not one of the 79,053 visitors who viewed 343,454 pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:

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

Farm-Gate: Spelman's Blatant Bio-Tech Backing

Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman has sat down for a little chat with The Guardian and here’s a turn up for the books:

“The wider growing and selling of genetically modified crops has received its strongest government backing to date from the new environment secretary, Caroline Spelman”

It is currently illegal to grow GM crops in the UK but not for long it seems. What a strange coincidence though, remember this:

Spelman spent her days before becoming an MP in the agri-business. Seemingly well connected in the field, Caroline and her husband Mark went on to set up “Spelman, Cormack & Associates” in 1989 as a food and bio-technology lobbying company.

A lobbying firm that would directly benefit from a relaxation of the GM crops red tape. A lobbying firm that until a year ago, Mrs Spelman owned half of and was being run out of her constituency home. GM crops are a controversial enough subject without messy financial interests clouding the arguments. This isn’t the first conflict of interest that has arisen for Spelman and until she makes moves to recuse herself from certain aspects of her job, it won’t be the last.

What A Difference A Year Makes

It was exactly a year ago tonight that David Miliband chickened out from standing up to Gordon Brown for the second time and tarnished his reputation forever. As the European polls closed he let his old friend Purnell attempt to pull the trigger, but was nowhere to be seen once Brown’s government was collapsing around him. Where would Labour be now if he had gone through with the coup he was planning?

If he wasn’t the “right man for the job” then, or at the 2008 conference, or back in January  – all chances he had to lead Labour to a better result by scrapping Gordon, what on earth makes him the best man now? The man is a proven coward, will the Labour members remember that?

Friday Caption Contest (Siôn's Internet Shopping Edition)

What's On the DVD?

CCHQ staff were given a gift of a DVD at last night’s drinks reception in the Downing Street rose garden. The “Team for Change” box included a personalised letter from Dave and Guido hears the disk is behind the scenes banter and the stuff that didn’t quite make the WebCameron final edits. If one of those said staffers would care to share then please do get in touch

Counting the COINS

If you have nothing better to do this sunny Friday why not take a look through the hundred odd gigabytes of tax and spending data just released from the Treasury. 24 million different transactions are a good start in opening up government. It doesn’t make for a fun read though.

Talking of taxpayers money, there is still no sign of the official SpAd list, and vitally their pay levels. Guido FOIed the Cabinet Office on May 7th for Coulson and co’s salaries. Nothing yet…

IPSA-a-Daisy

The IPSA mission statement proclaims that it “wants to contribute to restoring the public’s confidence in Parliament, to make sure the taxpayer gets value for money from how MPs’ expenses are managed.All very noble but in reality things don’t seem so new and fresh.

The Commons was paying MPs staff salaries until the election day. The ill-fated Authority was supposed to have taken over for the new Parliament. One female bag-carrier saw that she was paid by both the Commons and IPSA at the end of last month. Clearly one of the few honest dwellers on the Parliamentary estate, the young researcher rang IPSA to let them know about the mistake. What did the new open and honest expenses body say? Keep the money and keep schtum…

Elitist Labour

Guido managed to stay awake to watch Question Time last night. Diane Abbott neatly rubbished her leadership rivals for coming from a small New Labour gene pool thus – “David Miliband, Ed Miliband and Ed all played on the same football team together when they were Special Advisers”. Succintly highlighting that they are all male, party insider, wonks. Usually the sweeping criticism is that they all (including Andy Burnham) went to Oxbridge. Diane Abbott read history at Cambridge under the tutelage of historian-campaigner Simon Schama…

UPDATE : Punters give Diane Abbott only a 47% chance of getting 33 nominations to go through to the next round.

Forgive and Forget

For those once great enemies, the BBC and Alastair Campbell have certainly settled their differences, and what’s more the Beeb seem almost hysterical about the launch of the latest edition of his diaries. When was the last time a book was publicised on every channel and radio station both locally and nationally with the author allowed unfettered readings and plugging?

“My voice is starting to go a bit already, having done breakfast telly and then 19 local and regional radio interviews, all in the interests of publicising a book which, if my twitter friends are anything to go by, is not in all the right places yet and has already sold out on Amazon ….”

It’s ridiculous that he is able to so brazenly use publicly funded outlets for his own commercial and political gain.

Thank You and Goodbye

As the sun shines, the scene of Dave’s first public date with his new love Nick will be the place to be this evening.  The PM is turning on the charm tonight in the Downing Street rose garden and throwing a soirée for the assorted CCHQ wonks, spinners and organisers that got him there. For many of them it will be their first and last trip into Number 10 before they are fired.

Despite the small hiccup of not quite getting there without a little yellow help, it has been noted over at Cowley Street that they are yet to get an invite for drinks and nibbles.  No one is quite sure whether the DPM will pop in and it seems there is a concerted effort to keep the party on the down low and relatively exclusive. When Guido phoned one former staffer-turned-lobbyist earlier to ask for details there was a marked silence before “Party? Tonight? …bastards.”

UPDATE: Some tuts and mutterings that they are all getting kicked out at 8.30.

Simple Simon's Blue Future

After his little cock-up yesterday directing his followers to a Viagra shop, Guido has been thinking of ways he can help former MP and journo Siôn Simon. There was some talk of him running for Mayor of Birmingham but as that job doesn’t yet exist, perhaps he could follow the route of another has-been politico Bob Dole and actually start advertising for Pfizer:

Sadly the original TV advert doesn’t seem to be online anywhere,  but we all know Siôn has a video camera, why doesn’t he give it a go?

Harman Marches On

Harriet just had her newly elected husband Jack Dromey as a warm up act at the Unite conference in Liverpool. He wouldn’t be an MP if she hadn’t sold out on her All Woman Shortlist plans in his seat. Both heaped lavish praise on Tony Woodly and Derek Simpson, who had found time off from pushing BA under.

It seems Harman won’t be wasting these few months steering the ship to forward her feminist crusade, she used her speech this morning to decree that 50% of the Labour Shadow cabinet will be women regardless of talent. Unless of course her husband wants a job and then the rules can be bent once again presumably?

Damian's Alive

Though there have been false sightings and mix ups with a doppelgänger there was a flurry of activity last night when our old friend Damian McBride was spotted last night.  EyeSpy got him in the late night off licence while another drinker informs Guido that he was taking part in the pub quiz at The Dignity pub in Finchley. Guido is sure Damian didn’t choose the pub ironically for its name but more their well advertised Peronis. Well it is half-term, so he wasn’t drinking on a school night…

€uropean Debt Crisis Explained

Australia based Kiwi satirist John Clarke explains the €uro Debt Crisis with some wit. The Aussies are laughing at us because they are literally sitting on thousands of tonnes of gold…

Via the Devil.[…] Read the rest

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