Miliband, the Fiddler Wife, Kids and Heavies

Guido just bumped into David Miliband and his family (plus two heavies) enjoying the sunshine on a waterside terrace restaurant outside the Barbican. Scruffy in jeans and his shirt hanging out. Presumably the missus is performing because she was carrying a violin. No photo because the kids were in shot and, well, that doesn’t seem fair on a Sunday. Did not see him pull any of his funny faces…

Evil Short Sellers Part II

The hysteria against short-selling of shares is as crazy as was the political hysteria against long-buying of oil. Every trade has to have a buyer and a seller, how else could a market function? Nevertheless journalists didn’t take long to figure out that they could compare the FSA register of declared short sellers against the Electoral Commission’s register of donors.
Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott is up in arms as a result about the Tories taking money from people who buy and sell stocks. Before he says something he regrets he should have a word with one of the party’s biggest donors, Paul Marshall who is worth some £300m. Marshall also funds CentreForum, the orange tinged think-tank. His donations are well into seven-figures.

He is half of Marshall-Wace, hedge fund managers, who are evil speculators who, whisper it softly, short shares! In fact they have a reputation amongst City brokers for having a particularly high churn. Just as well given the hundreds of thousands of Marshall’s profits that have ended up in the LibDem’s coffers.

The Labour Party as well as individual politicians like Hilary Benn have also pocketed plenty of money from hedgies. Let he who is without shorter’s profits throw the first regulation…

Hodge Quitting as Minister

Tim Walker is reporting in The Telegraph that Margaret Hodge, the Blairite culture minister and friend of Tony has had enough and will be standing down as a minister from Brown’s cabinet in the next re-shuffle.

Another day another Blairite departs.

Somebody wake McBride and tell him…

What Kind of Liberal Waters the Beer?

How they can describe themselves as “liberal” sometimes baffles Guido. Responding to Nick Clegg’s announcement today that the LibDems will support a minimum price on the sale of alcohol, Progressive Vision – the properly liberal think tank run by Mark Littlewood, ex-head of spin for the LibDems – has rightly called the proposals “nannying, patronising and regressive”.

In the press release, sent by Littlewood, Progressive Vision says “If Nick Clegg wants to stop supermarkets providing low-price alcohol, will he also clamp down on events at LibDem conferences providing free alcohol as an inducement for LibDem activists to attend? If he is so concerned about cheap booze causing binge-drinking, free booze must be even more of a worry.”

Quite, imagine the dangers of boozed up LibDem MPs going on violent rampages…

Brum Business

Guido hasn’t booked a bed in Brum – any good recommendations? Preferably within falling down distance of the epicentre. Ended up staying in between a brothel and a lap-dancing joint last year in Blackpool. Didn’t say it was a complete disaster…

UPDATE 14.00 Saturday : Have managed to find somewhere 4 star for less than £200 a night. Mal Maison still has rooms at £440 available, which is more than Guido paid to stay at the Carlton in Cannes, where the food and views are (Guido suspects) slightly better than in Brum. Many thanks for the suggestions.

Friday Caption Contest (Clegg Crime Caught on Camera edition)

He Who Pays the Piper….

The Senate Banking Committee is the ultimate legislative oversight for U.S. financial regulation. The members of the committee have almost all had donations from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Now they are to decide on bail-out terms?

Incidentally Guido bailed out of all his speculative positions in the early hours of Wednesday morning when it hit the wires that Warren Buffet was taking a $5 billion stake in Goldmans, given his reputation Guido felt Buffet might single-handedly turn market sentiment. That combined with the impossibility of predicting how and when the politicians would go made the markets too random for Guido. Baby Fawkes is unwell and between the 24/7 currency markets and her, the lack of sleep was too draining.

Hat-tip : LFAT

Tory Site Makeover Goes Live

The look and feel is bang up to date with an Obamaesque “It’s time for change” slogan with a wall of Tory talking head videos. Under the hood is more regionalisation, uploading facilities for user generated content and single-issue campaigning. The blue blog is live and Dave is doing his chatty engagement thing…

Something that the Lobby Didn’t Tell You

The gentlemen of the Lobby have kept pretty schtum about the drink fuelled circumstances of the Ruth Kelly briefing by Damian McBride at at 3 a.m during Labour Party conference. Danny Finkelstein is alluding to it indirectly.

Guido understands that the PM’s Spokesman had a bottle of beer in his hand during the briefing. Your taxes at work….

Enemy of State

The news that Derek Draper is organising a rapid rebuttal operation to combat bloggers does not exactly have Guido quaking in fear.

“PR Week can reveal that the Labour Party is exploring plans for an online rapid rebuttal unit, designed to kill off damaging stories circulating in the blogosphere. Former lobbyist Derek Draper will oversee the initiative, having recently been called in by Labour’s general secretary to advise on how the party can communicate its message. Labour strategists are keen to respond to the growing influence of right-wing blogs. The eventual system could resemble a modern-day version of Labour’s famous Excalibur unit, which was successfully used to kill negative stories by Tory-supporting newspapers in the run-up to the 1997 general election.”

It has long been Guido’s central proposition that unlike the Lobby and broadcast journalists in particular, Guido cannot be spun or manipulated by the promise of titbits from the party machines. Not needing access or talking heads to interview, the party machines have no sanction or lure with which to control Guido’s output. When Gordon became party leader there was a concerted effort to astro-turf the comments here, and on ConservativeHome and Politicalbetting.com with “I’m a lifelong Tory but Gordon is better than Cameron blah blah blah”. It was comically transparent that the comments were completely bogus. Guido simply pressed the delete button.

The reason most left-wing blogs are unsuccessful is because they are boring and crap. Draper is not going to change that fundamental truth.

“The Plan”

Last night Guido infiltrated a gathering of a clique of wonks determined to take over Britain and implement what they call The Plan“. Dan Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP are the authors of The Plan“. Guido hasn’t read it yet. Supposedly it is a blend of Thatcherite quango bashing and localism on steroids. Gove said some nice words by way of introduction, Dan referred to the EU as the “mother quango”.

Not convinced that quangos are reformable or that they can be effectively democratised. Most people are just not interested in getting involved, only busy body types are so motivated. Quite sensibly the rest of us just want to get on with our lives. Most quangos could be simply abolished. Trying to reform them is not worth the effort, the bureaucratic inertia is just too great. When does a bureaucracy ever recommend cutting its own budget or reducing the scope or size of the bureaucratic organisation? The Cameronians go on about the “post-bureaucratic age”, it remains to be seen if there will be hard manifesto commitments to do something about it. Don’t hold your breath.

Flashback : The Hubris of Sion Simon

It was a year ago today that Sion published this article in the New Statesman.

We Cannot Be Killed
‘Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority’

As Tories confidently prepare for their conference they should read the article and remember Sion Simon…

Boulton to Brown : “Do You Think You Owe Osborne An Apology?”

Boulton to Brown : “Do You Think You Owe Osborne An Apology?”

Frightened Downing Street Pushed Ruth Resignation Story

It says something about the clumsiness of Team Brown that they had a 3 a.m. press conference in a hotel lobby to announce that Ruth Kelly was resigning to spend more time with her family. Could it be that they were scared that this was going to come out today (perhaps even in her conference speech) and other government ministers might co-ordinate their exits in order to further undermine Gordon.

Is there any other plausible explanation?

Press the Red Button Now Marr

Have just watched Adam Boulton’s interview with Gordon this morning. (Replay is available by pressing the red button on Sky News). Adam was firm with Gordon, calling him on his credit boom being responsible for the bust, effectively questioning his lying and twisting of Osborne’s words in his speech.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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