The 'Pin-Striped Scargill' Who Stole Millions for Lib-Dems

During the chancellor’s debate last night Vince Cable attacked the “pin-striped Scargills” of banking, adding for good measure that the LibDems didn’t rely on friends in the City for funding. No, not any more.

The biggest donor in the history of the Liberal Democrat Party was one pin-striped Michael Brown, a financial trader who gave them £2.4 million for a front-row seat sipping champagne next to Charlie Kennedy.  He turned out to be a pin-striped thief and was charged with money laundering, fraud and theft before he went on the run.  Remember that next time the LibDems get on their high horse about the financial probity of political donors…

Bercow Spends £15,640 on Private Detectives

A little piece of  intrigue was raised in committee last week when Stewart Jackson MP was attempting to ascertain exactly why the Speaker had sanctioned spending nearly £16,000 on private investigators with public money.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham of 2 March 2010, Official Report, column 1006W, on Members: expenses, how much the (a) budget and (b) approved purchase order is for the use of Detica to undertake investigations in 2009-10; and what it was in 2008-09.

Nick Harvey: An invoice for £15,640, inclusive of VAT, has now been received in line with the original budgetary provision. This was for a piece of work in support of the internal inquiry into the unauthorised disclosure of information about Members’ allowances. No payment for such work was made in 2008-09.

Seems Guido’s initial guess that the Speaker must be worried about his wife proved wide of the mark.

Spin Room Verdict

Dull with no big thrills or spills. Maybe it won’t be the TV debates that decide. The consensus tomorrow will be that Cable benefitted the most…

The Chancellors Debate – via Twitter

[orderorder-live-event altcast_code=”10daeb1213″ height=”600″ width=”480″]

The People's Oink Protest Tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning Chaytor, Morely and Devine will be having their first day in Court as defendants.  If you are in London at 10 a.m. tomorrow you can join the many who will be letting them know exactly how we feel about them with a collective oink.  More details here.

New Labour Poster


Last week Liam Byrne confirmed that a re-elected Labour government would have to make bigger public spending cuts than even Margaret Thatcher did.

This week wee Douglas Alexander, Labour’s election campaign co-ordinator, writes: “Labour has called on its growing number of online supporters to lend their creative talents to designing the Party’s next campaign poster.”

Labour’s netroots have gone into Photoshop overdrive using the hashtag #peopleposters. Ever willing to be helpful, Guido put two and two together to illustrate a bit of political cross-dressing.

Simpson's Socialist Shenanigans

When he’s not frequenting sex bars in Bangkok or organising crippling strikes closer to home, Derek Simpson has been harassing candidates about their support for his socialist dream state Cuba:

Derek Simpson
Joint General Secretary
Unite
35 King Street
London WC2E 8JG

29th March 2010

Dear ███████████████,

███████████████████

As the Joint General Secretary of Unite, a trade union with almost 2 million members I am contacting Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to hear their views on Cuba.

If elected as an MP would you support better relations between the UK and Cuba?

As you will be aware the United Nations voted last year, for the 18th consecutive time, to condemn the United States blockade of Cuba. The United Nations voted by 187-3, with the UK Government voting to end the blockade. It has been estimated that the blockade has cost the Cuban economy at least $98 billion over 50 years.

In the 2008/09 Parliamentary session 248 MPs signed Early Day Motion – 1171 calling for better relations with Cuba. The signatories to this Motion came from the Labour Party, Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, DUP, Respect and independents.

The UK has much to gain from better relations with Cuba. Not least in terms of trade which will benefit the UK economy, but also in sporting and cultural links. My members, who are voters in every constituency in the UK, would like to hear your views on Cuba. Specifically I would like to ask you this one question.

If elected as an MP would you support better relations between the UK and Cuba?

Kind regards,

Derek Simpson

Joint General Secretary – Unite

Whenever you hear Unite suggest they are not a radical or dangerous left-wing organisation just remember who their bedfellows are.

The Fall of Vince Fable

The long overdue unravelling of “economic-guru” Vince Cable couldn’t have come at a more awkward time for the brazen soothsayer. On the morning of the C4 News debate he has been forced to issue a humiliating apology directly to the Treasury permanent secretary Sir Nicholas McPherson after claiming the had been in unprecedented talks with him and he was ready to serve. Guido called out old Vince out pretty quickly last week.

Expect Osborne to allude to it tonight…

Guy News : Politicians For Whore

IPSA MPs' Expenses Reform : Keep it in the Family

Guido is just digesting the reforms announced:

Good

End to first class travel, only standard class to be reimbursed.
MPs can no longer buy taxpayer-funded second homes.

Bad

MPs will still be allowed to employ husbands, wives, mistresses and kids.

Updates:

Good

The number of MPs unable to claim any accommodation allowance has gone up from 25 to 128. These 128 MPs are now, like normal people, deemed to live within commuting distance of Westminster.

MPs are specifically banned from buying goods and services from family members or business partners, whereas before they were only instructed to “consult the Fees Office.”

Any airmiles earned (or similar bonuses) must be used for parliamentary purposes, not personal benefit.

Members have until August 2012 to get rid of mortgages.

Bad

Any family members current employed are allowed to continue until in their jobs “until the date when the party in question ceases to be employed or otherwise to provide staffing assistance.” It does not specify whether this means at the General Election.

Caption Contest Winner

Friday’s caption contest had a prize and it was won, at the insistence of Emily Nomates, by Groucho.  If you email your postal address to Guido a copy of How to Cut Public Spending: (and Still Win an Election) will be sent to you.  This is not a precedent…

What Would Kelvin Do?

Guido thinks the Tories are wise to take advantage of their most obvious selling point – Gordon. Aside from taking lines straight from Guido and switching back to Saatchi for their ads, what else might have changed?

A co-conspirator sends in this snap taken at the bus stop straight outside CCHQ on Millbank. Looks like a little something of the great Kelvin MacKenzie’s je ne sais quoi is rubbing off on the young staffers as he looks down on them.

Whenever Guido faces an ethical dilemma or an editorial challenge, he asks himself, “What Would Kelvin Do?”

Rich & Mark's Monday Morning View


Saatchis Sharpen Tory Message

Don’t believe the spin about Euro RSCG still being the Tories main advertising agency.  Saatchi are back and one CCHQ insider told Guido that the problem with Euro RSCG was very simple: “they’re shit.”

These ads are simple and direct, forget Fink’s policy nuancing, forget fiscal details of tax and spend, on election day the choice facing voters is this: “Do you want five more years of Gordon Brown or not?” That is what it will boil down to in the voting cubicle when the curtain is drawn.  If the Tories can frame the vote as a vote for or against Gordon Brown they will win.

Gordon is a huge negative for the Labour Party.  Glad to see that someone at Saatchi agrees with Guido that Gordon’s gold sales debacle is worth putting to the people…

Good Week for the Guidoisation of Politics

Guido is most amused with Joey Jones, Sky’s political correspondent, making the above comparison with a straight face and analysing the pros and cons of the Baldemort line, asking “will it work in the election?”

Even better, the (unconfirmed) word is that the Tories will be using Brown’s disastrous gold sales as a subject in a Saatchi created poster – an idea encouraged last week on this blog.  If the poster features Dale Winton, the Guidoisation of politics will have reached a new high…

Saturday Seven Up

7upMonday was all about Byers; cartoon, lawyers competition, over 4000 people signed a petition to have him stripped of the “right honourable” title at one point at a rate of 1 every 10 seconds and don’t forget that excruciating video.

Guido also deconstructed a typical bit of spin from Vince Cable bigging himself up in the press.  Mugshots of the dirty dozen Labour figures who are either facing criminal charges for theft, have been suspended from the party, suspended from the Lords, found to be expense fiddling, offering to whore themselves out or some permutation of all of the above featured on Tuesday.  Amusing bits of gossip about Balls and Michael Foot capped off the day, Guido was particularly proud of this headline.

Wednesday the blog scooped Patsy Hewitt was due to lecture on corporate morality and Thursday she cancelled.  PMQs saw Dave use Guido’s Baldemort quip about Liam Byrne (Armando Iannucci says he used the line about someone else and Guido owes him a fiver, send the invoice to Dave mate).  The Tory attack ad against Ed Balls moved Guido to make a donation.

Friday the blog was heavy on economics: Gordon’s debt fiddles and Brown’s Gold Bottom.

Lots of mad emails this week, Guido was invited to the New Statesman’s budget lunch with Liam Byrne, accepted and was then dis-invited for some reason.  Not much of a soup fan anyway.  This follows on from being invited to be a Guardian Student Journalist of the Year judge last month, agreeing to various terms and then getting dis-invited.  Bemusing.  What happens?  Do they lose their nerve and get cold feet?

If you were not one of the 61,453 visitors viewing 431,638 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…

Union Boss Fat-Cat Lies About His Pay on TV

Guidogram Going Out Shortly…

This week Guido brings you the Byers lobbying footage Dispatches didn’t use, the vigilante “Real LibDems” release an abduction video.  Gordon’s inner psycho breaks out (again) and we crack open the cider before this Sunday’s tax hike.

If you haven’t subscribed to the Guidogram, you’ll have to wait until next week to see it…

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Clegg's Campaign Whip Around

It’s not quite Brownian levels of delusion, but then again Nick Clegg has no chance of becoming the next Prime Minister. He still believes that media organisations would will be willing to cough up thousands to join him on the campaign trail though. A cheeky way to fill the coffers:

“The tour will commence within a few days of the campaign being announced and will end on the eve of the General Election in Sheffield. It is likely to last 28 days. A plane flying from Northolt has been hired for the campaign and is expected to be operational for at least three days in each week. There are only 28 places on the tour. Participants will need to be accredited and priority will be given to those who book for the whole tour – the cost will be £7,500 per person. Single days will cost £500, and these will need to be booked on a first come, first served basis.”

If these 28 places are so limited and sought after then why is there also the option to buy the ridiculously overpriced day passes? Guido will be surprised if the Lib Dems can fill a minibus let alone a plane. At least the Lib Dem campaign was well lubricated last time round with Charlie-boy in charge…

Friday Caption Contest


Best caption wins a copy of How to Cut Public Spending: (and Still Win an Election)Best as in witty and amusing.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Boris on Osborne and Project Fear:

Unemployment has fallen by 250,000 to a new low of 4.2 per cent while record numbers of jobs have been created – including no fewer than 8 for the former chancellor and chief architect of project fear who has become a glorious living rebuttal of his own preposterous warnings.”

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