They do make the point today that they are the only open-access tool for grassroots activists. ConservativeHome and LibDemVoice allow user comments but have editors. Anything goes on LabourHome and anybody can put up articles. The new site allows some editorial intervention in that better articles can be bumped up front and centre by the editors. This might spare online political junkies the necessity of wading through endless articles on “bringing back socialism” for more current issues.
Not sure the best way to relaunch is to put a picture of yesterday’s man on the front…
On leave or out of office hours with their minister’s approval. That excludes, by definition, being sat at your desk all day toiling endlessly to get the candidate elected, shooting off emails to all and sundry and running up the national debt on the phone for hours. The whole purpose of the restriction was to prevent the situation we have now. Dozens, and Guido means dozens, of SpAds doing little else but plot and conspire to further the private interests of party candidates in an internal party election. They are not acting to further the political interests of the government minister, the job the taxpayer pays them to do, they are acting to further the interests of the private individual climbing the greasy pole.
That is not appropriate activity for civil servants, which is what SpAds are, and that is the reason why the Code of Conduct exists. Clause 7 in the model contract for Special Advisers states bluntly:
Special Advisers should not use official resources for Party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.
Hidden away in an announcement made quietly on May 4, when all our attention was on the local election results, was the news that OLR had won another government contract to organise a one-day seminar.
£153,484.38 was the price the taxpayer paid OLR for a one-day seminar on the “The Skills Challenge: A Public Debate” in February. That should subsidise a hell of a lot of free polling for Gordon.
Brown will spin that his media black-out has been necessary to give Blair a clear run to the exit, not to avoid association with the Scottish election results…
The author of this document is Blair McDougall, he is Ian McCartney’s Special Adviser (SpAds). Ian is Hilary Benn’s campaign manager and a minister at the FCO. SpAds are not allowed to campaign under the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers at the taxpayers expense for their masters in internal party matters. In fact they are supposed to take unpaid leave – see the recent example of Peter Hain’s ex-SpAd Phil Taylor.
Since Guido has started on his mission to catch SpAds cheating the taxpayer and breaking the ministerial code, some have quite properly taken leave. Guido has just spoken with McDougall about the briefing. He didn’t claim, nor can he retrospectively pretend, that he was working on his own time. The document was prepared on his desk computer at the FCO, sent from his email address at the FCO, during office hours. Pressed by Guido that this was a breach of the Code he refused to answer, invited to deny that he had produced the document at the taxpayer’s expense, he declined to deny it. How does this differ from benefit fraud?
Looks like a job for the Cabinet Secretary…
Call the national Shop-a-SpAd hotline on 0709 284 0531.
The preferred scenario is that Ming leads the LibDems to a poor showing in the General Election and falls on his sword to be succeeded by an Orange booker with whom Cameron can do business. The risk is he limps into coalition with Gordon. Don’t expect any concerted Tory attacks on Ming in the near term, the last thing they want is him replaced.
UPDATE : To clarify, the above graph is derived from the number of respondents positively disposed towards Ming minus those negative towards Ming. He managed a positive rating only immediately after becoming leader.
Look at the situation today; the soon to be leader of the Labour party and next PM is travelling around in vehicles with blacked-out windows, maintaining a media black-out and waiting quietly out of sight until the news agenda moves on. He does not show public humility to the electorate, does not defiantly climb the ramparts to rally the Labour party and inspire his troops with well judged oratory – all of which would show leadership. His response perfectly illustrates his calculating personality, he makes himself invisible when trouble is about. What would he have done in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, 2001 if he were prime minister? Invite some wonks to Downing Street to hold a private study seminar? Blair showed leadership, he judged the moment and acted, he told the world that we would fight terrorism and America that we would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them. Blair acted decisively.
Gordon Brown simply does not have the empathy required to make that kind of judgement or ironically the courage to take the risks. He has held on to his goal of power with an obssessive determination and pure malevolence towards rivals. The author of “Courage : Eight Portraits“ has worked deviously and cravenly towards his ultimate goal. He has invariably dispatched his enemies indirectly without taking them on personally.
The Labour party is mesmerised, the party elite all know the true nature of Gordon, just as another party elite in another century knew the true nature of Stalin. The public will never warm to him, the more they study him, the less they like him. Even his allies make excuses for his personality flaws.
He is darkly forceful, unnatural in his ways and it says something profound that he is personified as a great clunking fist.
If you are standing down from frontline politics, why would want to get close to the grassroots? Has he really lost all ambition?
UPDATE : Fraser Nelson is reporting speculation that Brown offered Reid an effective demotion, so Heath-like, Reid flounced off. Let that be a warning to any who dare to stand up to the Dark Lord.
Clarke in ‘kamikaze’ challenge
By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON
May 03, 2007CHARLES Clarke was last night poised to mount a “kamikaze” challenge against Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership. The former Home Secretary has successfully rounded up the 45 Labour MPs he needs to back him in the contest.
Clarke will not challenge Brown
By Sun Reporter
May 05, 2007
…and another classic bit of old media punditry from Alex Bell:
Guardian Media Section,
Monday April 30This week voters north of the border will decide who to elect to the Scottish parliament, but despite the SNP’s popularity in the polls, not a single newspaper will back it, reports Alex Bell
UPDATE :Iain Dale has shredded a so-bad-it-is-bonkers article by Melissa Kite-Flier on the shape of the Tory re-shuffle. Honestly some of these dead-tree-press types seem to write any old crap.
Guido still has a few quid on John Hutton just in case he tries a Kamikaze battle of “ideas” with the man he said “would make a fucking useless PM”. 300/1 seems fair…
UPDATE : Don’t bother with Hutton – he has given an interview to GMTV for broadcast tomorrow where he bends the knee and pledges allegiance to Gordon.