Duncan Redux

Tuesday’s media hit for Cameron was successful in obliterating from the front pages the speech given by Darling intended to revise the Labour Party’s Balls/Brown narrative on “Cuts v Spending”. It was by all accounts a very close run thing.

imagesHaving got wind of the expected Darling announcement there was a bit of flap at CCHQ.  Late on Monday afternoon CCHQ lined up party activists to be in the audience for a hastily arranged 11.00 the next day speech by Cameron focusing on the deliberately headline grabbing issue of cutting spending on politics.  That speech was originally not due to be given until a later date.  Alan Duncan however was an embarrassment that became pressing in the context of the brought forward speech, so he had to go, fast. The final decision to give him the bullet was made  there and then.

cam_breakfastResult: Cameron’s mere £120 million of promised cuts led the Ten O’Clock news and grabbed the front pages away from Darling’s in some ways far more fiscally significant change in direction of the spending supertanker.  Darling’s announcement was no match televisually for Sam Cam breakfasting with Nick Robinson. Cameron dominated the headlines and Darling’s major change of position was relegated to the inside pages and became the second story on BBC news.

Game, set and match to the Tory spin machine…

Who Will Ask the Prime Minister?

Brown is BonkersLast night Guido was on a panel chaired by Jeremy Vine when the subject of Gordon Brown’s alleged anti-depressant pill popping came up.  Jeremy had read Simon Heffer’s article the night before (on his iPhone in bed) and thought that this blog had ran the story.  Guido had not, but on Monday this blog ran a cartoon that referenced the rumour that everyone in the Westminster Village has heard.  The Prime Minister is said to be taking powerful mood altering anti-depressants, specifically Mono Amine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) which are very rarely prescribed since the arrival of Prozac derivatives, used only sparingly when dealing with severely depressed patients.

Guido hesitated to run with the story, which was first reported by John Ward, though it was widely discussed in the comments on this blog.

maoiIn the broadsheets Simon Heffer, Matthew Parris have touched on the issue and this morning Matthew Norman in the Independent has explicitly referred to the allegation that Gordon Brown is taking “heavy duty antidepressants known as MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors)”. The evidence is first and foremost his behaviour – what some have previously put down to a lack of EQ or emotional intelligence, is now being attributed to drugs to control his dark depressions.  We all know the stories of rages, flying Nokias, smashed laser printers, tables kicked over and crying Downing Street secretaries subjected to foul-mouthed tirades.  We have seen the deranged YouTube performances, the bizarre facial contortions, the incongruent emotional responses – smiling when offering condolences, frowning when giving best wishes.

The new evidence offered is that a civil service circulated dietary restrictions list is said to be of the kind required for someone on MAOI medication.  The side effects include insomnia, dry mouth and jaw clenching (bruxism) – all of which Brown is known to suffer.  Psychiatrists warn of MAOIs that ‘Extrapyramidal effects include acute dystonic reactions such as protuding tongue, muscular contractions and clenched jaw’. Gordon’s bruxism may have another explanation, it has been remarked on before.  In the context of all this speculation and his manifest physical unease, surely somebody in the Lobby has to publicly ask the question at the PM’s next monthly briefing:  “Prime Minister, have you been taking medication that may affect your judgement?”

Rifkind Chaired Firm Required Sexual Deviancy for Promotion

RifkindArmorGroup is under investigation by the U.S. State Department over allegations that employees of the defence contractor employed at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were pressurised to participate in naked pool parties and perform sex acts to gain promotions.  During the period under investigation Malcolm Rifkind was the non-executive chairman.

Interviewed by ABC News, a guard and former U.S. military veteran said top supervisors of the ArmorGroup were not only aware of the “deviant sexual acts” but helped to organise them. “It was mostly the young guys fresh from the military who were told they had to participate” he told ABC News, “They were not gay but they knew what it took to get promoted..”

The State Department is investigating photographic evidence dating back to 2007 showing naked and barely clothed men fondling one another. In June 2007, the State Department warned “the security of the U.S. embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy” because of “deficiencies” on the part of ArmorGroup.  Guido was unable to contact the former foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm, for comment.

More photos ABC News.

Professor Prezza's Porkies

professor-prezzaqProfessor Prezza is very excitedly Twittering about the government’s announcement that they plan to do some pump priming  on the home building front.  John Healey announced today that 47 councils will share in  a grant of £127 million to build what amounts to about 30 homes per council.

new-home-millionThey will be completed by 2011.  So Prezza is, in a sense, wrong when he tweets that you won’t get this from a Tory government.  He is also wrong in the wider sense, after all in’t it under the Tories that the most council homes have been built?  Harold Macmillan promised to build 300,000 a year and ended up building a million.  A building programme unmatched by Labour. In fact Labour this year are actually knocking down 3,000 homes.

Professor Prezza needs to study a bit more history…

Camerons are Living in the Past

Day-of-the-Week

Nick Robinson says he filmed breakfast Chez Cameron yesterday morning (Tuesday, September 8).  The clock on the wall says it was  Monday, September 7, 2008.  Guido has some sympathy, Miss Fawkes pulled the hands off the kitchen clock Chez Fawkes…

Has Tony Gone Non-Dom to Dodge the 50p Tax?

When was the last time you saw Tony Blair in the UK? Billionaires yachts in the med, sure, US TV chat shows, sure. Six figure speaking engagements in the Far East, of course. “Peacemaking” in the Middle East, allegedly. Is he seen in the UK? No, not much.

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Guido’s theory is that he is keeping under the 90 day residency limit for non-domiciles for tax purposes.  Didn’t Cherie mention that the kids all have Irish passports?  Why pay 50% tax to Gordon on all that filthy lucre he is earning overseas?

09:09, 09.09.09

Nine seconds later is everyone still here?  No terror incident?  Good.  Keep calm and carry on…

Cruddas Underwhelms

Guido has to confess to a soft-spot for Jon Cruddas. He comes across as the more thinking type of leftie – he spotted earlier than most within Labour that Cameron might have electoral appeal and a competitive ideological offering, when they were dismissing him merely as a salesman-chameleon.  He has shown a far better understanding of the Notting Hill set, possibly because he is a member. So his widely anticipated Compass speech last night was a little underwhelming.

[bbc-news video=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8245320.stm width=480 height=380]

He was good on the diagnosis of Labour’s troubles and the loss by New Labour of the social anchor of their core social base (LabourList has the full text). Policy-wise his prescription seemed as uncompelling as Gordon Brown’s own. The FT’s Jim Pickard took notes:

1 – establishment of a High Pay Commission – Yawn, symbolism of no consequence.
2 – greater tax justice, including closing tax havens and more equal distribution of income and wealth; Levelling down.  When even the Guardian uses tax havens you can bet they won’t be closed.
3 – index link benefit levels, pensions and the minimum wage to average incomes; Can taxpayers really afford higher dole and benefits with 6 million economically inactive welfare recipents and gargantuan government debt?
4 – replacing tuition fees with a graduate solidarity tax;  Whatever.
5 – a Fair Employment Clause in all public contracts; Whatever.
6 – windfall and transaction taxes and resetting capital gains tax; Sure, drive businesses,  jobs and capital overseas.
7 – a new covenant with the military, including more investment in mental healthcare, equipment, housing and support for veterans funded by scrapping plans to renew Trident and re-deploying the money saved within the Minister Of Defence budget;  Maybe.  Isn’t this LibDem policy?
8 – a Green New Deal, to include scrapping the third runway at Heathrow; Hardly going to inspire consumerist voters.
9 – remutualisation of the finance sector;  Half of it is nationalised already.
10 – a credit card bill of rights for consumers. ‘What do we want – Standardised APR definitions – When do we want ’em? NOW!’ To the barricades comrades

If Cruddas is to be the source of inspirational ideas for the left, Guido has to say: the cupboard is bare.

+++ Source : Osborne GQ Politician of the Year +++

Sorry to spoil it for those attending the ceremony tonight. Can’t figure out why. Two sources confirm. Wonder if that rumour about Dylan Jones wanting a seat is true…

UPDATE : Mail on Sunday’s Susanne Moore tweets similar thoughts from the venue.

It is @GuidoFawkes, Ben

no_twitter_smallFirst things first, if you want to message use @guidofawkes. Better still, use email.  Ben Brogan has joined Twitter.  God knows why, suspect it might be something to do with Paul Waugh claiming Twitter-lead scoops.

How many million did the Telegraph lose last year? Don’t you have a paper to write Ben?

You ain’t gonna tweet your way to profitability…

Ben Twitter

Campaign for a Shorter, Cheaper, More Accurate Election Night

1001All the pro-politics political junkies are getting worked up about the idea that vote counting and results might be delayed until the next day (Friday) after the election.  They like all the drama.  What a waste of money and time.  Lets save all the hassle, save all the cost, get the result accurate and in a timely fashion by having an electronic count.  Election night will be saved, and it will all be done on the night with the result will be known the minute the polls close.

It is the 21st Century, we don’t need rooms full of people miscounting the vote, lets go digital and get it over with by 10.01.  The night would be for celebration, commiseration and sleeping, rather than voter slip counting into the early hours…

Dale, Isaby, Harris and Pickles just like the drama.  The rest of us just want the result, the faster the better…

Dave Promises An End to Snouts in the Trough

Dave is promising pay cuts for ministers, an end to taxpayer subsidised food and booze in the restaurants and bars at Westminster. Cutting back on ministerial limos, cutting the number of MPs by 10%, as well as ending the heavily abused and anti-democratic £10,000 communications allowance given to incumbent MPs.

[bbc-news video=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8244085.stm width=480 height=380]

Guido particularly welcomes the move to get MPs to pay market rates for their beer. Why should they pay half the price for a pint that Guido pays in the Westminster Arms on the other side of Parliament Square, subsidised by taxpayers? Cry into your subidised beer parliamentarians while it lasts…

This blog is 5 years old this week.  If Cameron delivers on this, it will have all been worth it.

George Young's Example

mr+mrs+youngDon’t know why he is getting such a warm welcome.  At one time, if Guido recalls correctly, Sir George Young employed both his wife and daughter on the  parliamentary payroll.  Hired on merit no doubt.

Just the man to reform all those MP’s fiddles..

Alan Duncan to Spend More Time with his Ration Book

ration-bookPicture Credit : Don’t Panic

More New Media Muscle Flexing – Montgomerie Takes a Scalp

Who really removed the Shadow Leader of the House from his position? David Cameron?

duncan_poll

No, not really. Tim Montgomerie and Heydon Prowse, the blogosphere’s sheperd of the Tory grassroots and the angry young man with a video-cam did the job:

Tim Montgomerie runs a regular poll asking the ConservativeHome grassroots to rate the Shadow Cabinet.  Do not for a second underestimate how much of a whip hand this gives him.   Whereas once upon time a frontbench Tory politician would worry about keeping the proprietor, editor and political correspondent of the Telegraph happy, as well as perhaps sharing a few drinks with the young and upcoming editor of the Spectator, now his horizon is much more extensive.  Fail to keep Tim Montgomerie and ConservativeHome’s readers onside and he might just commission a special poll on how you are doing.   If that poll finds tells the party leadership 65% of Tory members want you to resign…  you won’t last a month.

just_go_alanOld media looks on in bemusement in Washington as cable news’ Glenn Beck gives White House Environmental Czar and former communist 9/11 “truther” Van Jones his marching orders, and the White House demurs.   Heydon Prowse, who is he? He just destroyed the career of a greasy pole climbing Westminster slitherer.  No house trained political nouse, no insight, in fact a little naive.  He still did it.  The news is now disintermediated. 

Power has shifted from the top down to the bottom.  Adjust your sets and tighten your belts, it is going to be a bumpy ride…

McBride's First Day Back to School :"Greetings from Nadine Dorries"

McBride-Multiburst-Shot-lower-res

FHSBToday was the first day back at school for the boys of Finchley Catholic High School.  Guido popped along early this morning to see one old boy and hardly recognised the middle-aged man strolling slowly across the school playground, stooping occasionally to pick up litter from the ground.  As Guido strode purposefully towards him he turned away entering a building where the staff were assembled for a first day briefing from the headmaster.  For a moment Guido thought the baseball cap disguise had been seen through.

“Damian!” Guido shouted at him, he turned in the doorway startled, “Greetings from Nadine Dorries”.  With a bemused look on his face he accepted the official Court papers, served by yours truly, on behalf of Nadine Dorries> Dorries, you will recall, is the MP he falsely accused of sleeping with another Tory MP in emails to Derek Draper, Kevin Maguire and Charlie Whelan.   Realising suddenly what had just happened he disappeared into the building as teachers and other bemused staff glimpsed across.  Damian never should have spilt that Guinness

UPDATE : Mrs Draper took the papers on behalf of Dolly from Tory Bear.

Rich & Mark's Monday Morning View

tablets colour 468

Osborne's Command Economics

Guido just watched George Osborne on Marr argue that because banking is regulated, he should be able to order the financial regulators to order private enterprises to limit the pay of their employees (and further he wants international agreements to limit banker’s bonuses). In other words he is advocating a neo-Heathite incomes policy for the private sector.

Marr Osborne

Command economies have been out of fashion since the seventies when they were tested to destruction around the world. Television is another heavily regulated industry, why not cap Simon Cowell’s pay? Telecommunications is regulated – Telecoms tycoons earns hundreds of millions, why shouldn’t they be on maximum wages?  The football transfer market is heavily regulated in Europe as well…

Why single out bankers?  Guido doesn’t think it worth getting too worked up about this policy lurch because it will never happen and he doesn’t think Osborne really believes in what he is saying.  The Tory treasurers Stanley Fink and Michael Spencer know something about huge bonuses and might be in a better position to advise the Shadow Chancellor.  Bankers will simply re-organise their affairs so as to avoid socialising their rewards.  The Cameroons show a depressing lack of leadership in making the argument at any level on any area of policy that is a hard sell.

Pure Capitalism

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Access to clean water is one of the most pressing problems the developing world faces at the best of times. In the video above you can see an amazing British solution for disaster zones.  At over £100 a bottle to produce 6,000 litres it is expensive now.  If DfID only spent a small bit of their multi-billion budget on this in readiness for the next disaster, instead of on filming videos of Dougie Alexander watched by a dozen people,* it would save countless lives.  It would also drastically reduce the unit cost with large scale production runs.

This amazing LifeSaver bottle can literally put clean pure water in the hands of disaster victims as fast as a cargo-plane can fly to the disaster zone.  The bottle was developed by one British entrepreneur, Michael Pritchard, using nano-technology and without a single penny of state subsidy.  Capitalism works…

*Why is DfID wasting money producing videos of Dougie Alexander in Bangladesh wishing Happy Ramadan (at the time of publishing this) to all of 12 viewers?

Hat-tip : Brian Micklethwait

ICM Poll Says "We Love the BBC"

The Guardian commissioned an independent poll from ICM which found that Britons not only love the BBC, they think it is value for money and can, despite all the BBC fakery scandals, be trusted. Hell, the pollsters even found that the majority of the country thinks the BBC should keep secret what it pays Paxman and Wossie![…] 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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