Turncoat Short-Listed for Gillingham

Rehman Chishti defected to the Tories in the early days of Project Cameron much to the satisfaction of the Cameroonies. He even starred in a video with Dave where, in a plummy accent, he asserted his working-class roots.

With the high level of support that he has from the likes of Francis Maude whom he advises on “diversity and ethnic minorities” it is no surprise that he got on the A-list fast track. Donal Blaney has gone in guns blazing…

BBC 5 Live : Removals Van Spotted Outside No. 10

UPDATE : Real picture here.

They Don’t Like It Up ‘Em

Iain Dale had a go at the Sunday Lobby yesterday for recycling a Brownite speech and spin package. The gentlemen of the Lobby were not slow to respond. Patrick Hennessy from the Sunday Telegraph and Ian Kirby from the News of the World have jumped into his comments to protest.

Having read the stories in the Sunday papers, it does seem that there was a speech in Glasgow on Saturday where Gordon tried to have it both ways – more bugging and surveillance with more accountability. Clearly a briefing of the Sunday Lobby by somone on Gordon’s spin team followed.

Hennessy and Kirby imply there was no condition of the briefing that they should keep it from being put to David Davis, Nick Clegg or even John Reid. Nevertheless Iain is right, it does seem odd not to ask “what do you say to this?” when according to the Sunday Times “a source close to Brown” is spinning that he plans “to build a nonpartisan consensus on the best balance between obtaining convictions of people plotting terrorist acts and preserving our sources of intelligence for the future.” One would have thought a good journalist would have asked Clegg or Davis did they see much chance of a nonpartisan consensus on 90-days-without-trial? Just a thought…

The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze

Have just finished Guido’s last contribution to the new expanded follow-up edition to our last bestseller, The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze produced by writers from across the blogosphere. It should be in bookshops in three weeks, conveniently just in time for Brown’s coronation. It will of course include more Brownite misdemeanours that we may have over-looked in the past.
So Guido’s focus is back on the blog and political tittle-tattle just in time for the fun to begin with the next round of Loans-for-Lordships interviews. Guido has not missed the fact that Blair’s people have been re-bailed, with the police looking set to strengthen their case before charges are brought.

Have no fear, charges will, one way or another, be brought.

Pap-Snap of Hain HQ

Dizzy has this photo of the throbbing hive of activity that is Hain campaign HQ.

Are they boxes of fake tan piled up?

Hain is still available at 40/1 on Betfair

Prescott Rumours

Unconfirmed rumours going round that it is more serious than just a mere “chest infection“.

Letter to Miliband

The names have been deleted to protect the cheeky:

Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

16 May 2007

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the “not rearing pigs” business.

In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these?

As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven’t reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is – until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100?

I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?

Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don’t rear?

I am also considering the “not milking cows” business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.

Yours faithfully,

XXXXX XXXXXXXXXX

Is the Cruddas Campaign a Covert Operation?

A co-conspirator spent a morning last week trying to get hold of the Cruddas campaign – don’t ask – the campaign website gives no phone numbers. His constituency office said they were not allowed to give out that information and it being recess the office in parliament was unmanned, with the voicemail saying it was full.

Both Cruddas’s and Benn’s campaigns are based in the same serviced offices near Lambeth Bridge. At the time of writing Team Cruddas hasn’t managed to empty the pigeonhole since it has had it (about two and a half weeks). Strikes Guido this is exactly the sort of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party the country needs: one who makes scarey left-wing noises for public consumption but has the organisational acumen of a vegetable marrow. Cheaper to run than Prescott, too.

His price on Betfair makes him third favourite after what most judge was a better and certainly more authentic performance on Newsnight. Despite a little excitement that this has brought to in the beating hearts of the Labour Left, Guido suggests you bet against him rather than on him. He is not going to win…

On Betfair Alan Johnson has overtaken Benn as favourite following a weekend poll putting him ahead with Labour members.

Another £10,000 Taxpayer Subsidy Bung to the Smith Institute

When the Food Standards Agency wanted to find out about the Effects of Nutrition in School Attainment who should they have asked?

Well apart from Jamie Oliver and everyone’s mother, they could have gone to one of the various centres of excellence in the academic world; The Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University, the Nutrition Research Review team from the department of biochemistry at UCL, the Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research at the University of Dundee would have been particularly appropriate. Maybe the Medical Research Council’s Collaborative Centre for Human Nutrition Research at Cambridge University. These are well known and authoritative centres.

What did the highly politicised Food Standards Agency quango do instead in the aftermath of the Turkey Twizzler scandal? They called those well known experts in child nutrition, Konrad Caulkett and Wilf Stevenson at the Smith Institute. The Sith got Jon Snow in to chair the event, with Dame Deidre Hutton from the Food Standards Agency presiding.

Other seminar contributors included New Labour’s favourite headmaster Gary Philips (Lillian Baylis Technology School), Dame Suzi Leather – who was at the time at the Schools Food Trust. Paul Kelly from the contract caterers Compass Group chipped in – Compass are the firm which shoves chips down the throats of kids.

Funnily enough one of the conclusions they came to was that Mum’s packed lunch was not nutritious and the kids would be better off scoffing Compass Group’s nosh. For this conclusion to the gathering the Smith Institute was paid £10,000 of the taxpayer’s money. The actual benefit to child nutrition was zero. Subsidy value to Gordon’s charitable think tank – £10,000. Isn’t it amazing that once again it costs the taxpayer £10,000 for the Smith Institute to organise one seminar for a government quango, yet costs the Sith nothing to hold nearly 200 hundred seminars on government property at No. 11? The discovery of this latest bung follows last week’s revelation of a last-minute cover-up of another £11,750 bung to the Smith Institute direct from the Treasury. The whole thing stinks.
Even more disturbing is that Dame Suzi Leather, who attended this seminar, is a long-time Labour Party activist who now heads up the Charity Commission, which is conducting the investigation into the Smith Institute for breaches of the Charities Act. No conclusion has been reached in that investigation yet, which is in itself very worrying…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Evening Standard : Cameron’s Grammar School U-Turn

Boris : Cocaine Does Nothing For Me

Iain Dale manages to report on Boris Johnson’s interview in GQ with Piers Morgan without mentioning his claim that when he tried cocaine “it achieved no pharmacological, psychotropic or any other effect on me whatsoever.” Hmmm. Cocaine makes you over-confident, prone to babbling nonsense and as randy as hell. Are you sure it had no effect Boris?


He admits to smoking dope in his school days. Was everybody at Eton stoned in the 80s?

Stat-Porn for May

A below average 347,499 pageloads from 264,598 unique visitors. Iain Dale managed to overtake Guido’s traffic with a record (for him) 388,935 from 231,901 visitors this month. He will be chuffed.

After Guido-related search terms the most popular search phrases were in order:

gordon brown rocking horse
“gordon brown gay”
“katy taylor-richards”
“the hitch blog”
“sir michael white”

What is it that some 600 people want to know about Katy?

The biggest easily identifiable readership groups (in order) come from:

Oxford University
Houses of Parliament
Cambridge University
BBC
CCHQ
News International
Associated Newspapers
Good Relations
University of Bristol

Loafing layabouts the lot of you…

Tory Grammar School Policy Explained Pictorially

Myners Infraction or Cover-Up?

Back in February this year Guido was pressing for explanations as to the Smith Institute’s use of No. 11 Downing Street. The fact that the charity seemed to have only one beneficiary – Gordon Brown – meant that it was not only breaking the rules against political activity by a charity, it was actually functioning as a factional powerbase for Brownites. The staff and trustees were all allies of the Chancellor.
Political opponents in parliament had tabled parliamentary question after parliamentary question, all were met with stonewalling by the Treasury. Freedom of Information requests were ignored and went unanswered. Then came a breakthrough, the revelation that at a private meeting of the Smith Institute, attended by long list of Brownite allies in the media and the Labour party, the U.S. pollster Bob Shrum had advised on a strategy to defeat David Cameron’s Conservatives based on his experience fighting the Republican party. The speech transcript was proof that the allegations were well founded.

Guido made a formal complaint under Section 8 of the Charities Act. The Charity Commission indicated that it would consider taking action. It leaked out before the official announcement was made that they would commence a formal inquiry. This led to a flurry of activity at the Smith Institute and HM Treasury. Their response was transparently choreographed in the knowledge that a statutory inquiry under the Charities Act would bring previously suppressed documents and information into the public domain.

After months of pressure it was suddenly revealed that nearly two hundred meetings had been held by the Smith Institute (free of charge) at No. 11 Downing Street with the permission of the Chancellor. Guido had been alleging that the use of the building effectively amounted to a subsidy of the Smith Institute’s activities by HM Treasury. It was literally an abuse of office in all senses of the word.

In those circumstances if it were to be revealed that the Treasury had made direct payments to the Smith Institute, Gordon Brown’s political front group, it would have been extremely damaging. The charge against Brown that he was corruptly financing his political ambitions would be hard to defend.

Amazingly a letter dated February 1, 2007, and written by Paul Myners was produced to explain away just such a payment. Myners is a Smith Institute trustee, a Treasury appointed veteran of various Gordon created quangos, who is considered a safe pair of hands by Brownites. He is also a wealthy donor to Gordon’s leadership campaign.

It explained that two years previously the Treasury had paid the Smith Institute £11,750 to hold two seminars on behalf of the Myners Review into the financial sector for Gordon. It went on to claim (without explanation) that the Treasury had paid the money by mistake. That it was always Myners’ intention to pay the cost himself. That he had now, over two years later, paid the sum personally.

If the Charity Commission investigation was not going to bring knowledge of this payment into the public domain, there is no doubt that the Treasury payment to the Smith Institute would have been kept well hidden with no danger of it being discovered or repaid.

The Myners letter is here. The explanations given by Myners are frankly incredible. He is expecting us to believe that the Smith Institute accidentally invoiced HM Treasury and that HM Treasury accidentally paid the invoice. We are asked to believe that suddenly two years later he decided to pay the bill having told his “team that I would be happy to personally contribute some or all of the costs of the seminars”. But he didn’t actually do it at the time, did he?

Why the Two Year Interval?

Could it be that the imminent and inevitable exposure of the payment by HM Treasury to the Smith Institute during the course of the Charity Commission’s investigation was the real and only reason the payment was now refunded by Myners to the Treasury? It was a plain and simple cover up – long after the event – by Myners to help his friend Gordon Brown out of a politically difficult situation.

Shadow Minister Grieve Backs Grammar Schools

The London Evening Standard is reporting that Dominic Grieve, the shadow Attorney General, has gone over the top into no-mans-land over grammar schools. The key phrase in an otherwise on message interview with his local paper is

“We must also ensure that if further grammar or secondary schools are needed they can be supplied within the county.”

Cameroonie policy is no new grammar schools. This could be sticky for Grieve. The grassroots are not wearing this policy change, although bizarrely ConservativeHome.Com “the unofficial home of the grassroots” says it is officially burying the subject today. Suspect they will be digging it up again tomorrow…

UPDATE : Sticky for Team Cameron it turns out. The Etonians appear to be for turning.

News of the Dave

The Guidoisation of politics continues with news of the appointment of Andy Coulson*, formerly editor of the News of the Screws, to become the new propaganda chief for Dave. He’ll bring a more robust tabloid headline sensitive approach that is more likely to connect with people than a Letwin speech. Guido suspects this will signal a much needed change in the tone of Tory propaganda. Trying, as Osborne recently did, to frame Gordon Brown as a leftie won’t work. The approach to Gordon has to chime in with the truth that people instinctively sense. He is an unpleasant, difficult to work with, psychologically flawed, malevolent, grudge-bearing control freak. These aspects of his character are even more of a negative than his tax and spend, big government, micro-managing policies. Going with this grain of truth will resonate popularly.The Cameroonies are set against negatively attacking Gordon’s character and personality. They want to concentrate on policy and present an optimistic “change” agenda. Ordinary people are not interested in the details of policy wonkery, they just think there is something creepy about Gordon.  Tapping into and co-opting that sense of unease is a key component of a comprehensive strategy to defeat Brown. If Coulson can navigate the somewhat dysfunctional CCHQ environment, he might be the man to formulate and project that media strategy. Once Gordon takes over his people will aggressively target Cameron with a negative class-based attack.  To borrow a cricketing metaphor; the Tories will need to bowl bodyline. Coulson is a player, not a gentlemen, he could be their Larwood, they have far too many Jardines already.

UPDATE : Benedict Brogan reckons Andy is on £400,000-a-year.

*Dale got the scoop on the Dead-Tree-Press.

Editorial Advisory : 17:00 GMT Today

The whole Wonks-on-the-Taxpayer scam is much more widespread than this morning’s Times story reveals. Paul Myners is not only a donor to Brown’s coronation campaign, he was central to a less than credible cover-up of Treasury payments to the Smith Institute. Doubt he will be plain “Mr” Myners after Brown gets control of the honours list…

Full story this evening.

Help Hain!

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

From Claire Lawson

URGENT

Dear all,

This is very urgent indeed – please can everyone make sure we
have as many votes as possible for Peter on the Newsnight
website. We’re currently getting squeezed to last.

Please vote now before the poll closes….

I’ll be in touch soon,

Many thanks,
Claire

Tan-Fans better get down the bookies and put a few quid on as well to shorten his long odds. The punters think at 19/1 Hain is going to lose badly.

Downing Street Sore Losers Ignore Scotland

Poor the Blears

Her campaign HQ phone lines have been down for two days. It is all about organisation…

UPDATE : She appears to also have forgotten to put 50p in the bandwith meter or something. Dizzy has noticed that her videos are blanked out.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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