Excellent. Wilf’s time as head of a think tank was distinguished only in that it was mired in controversy, was twiced investigated for breaches of the law, was found by the Charity Commission to have broken the law and is now facing the possibility of a third investigation for other breaches of the law by the Electoral Commission. The Smith Institute was not exactly a font of vote winning policies – if it had been any good Brown would not be reduced to desperately nicking Tory policies. If Wilf does move to Downing Street he will only be formalising his role as adviser Gordon. It is somehow fitting that he will be joining his former Smith Institute deputy Konrad Caulkett in Brown’s Downing Street bunker at the end…
Here are the top ten favourites of the Presidential candidates as revealed to Blender.com:
1. Ready or Not Fugees (1996)
2. What’s Going On Marvin Gaye (1971)
3. I’m On Fire Bruce Springsteen (1985)
4. Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones (1969)
5. Sinnerman Nina Simone (1965)
6. Touch the Sky Kanye West (2006)
7. You’d Be So Easy to Love Frank Sinatra (rec. 1961)
8. Think Aretha Franklin (1968)
9. City of Blinding Lights U2 (2004)
10. Yes We Can will.i.am (2008)
1. Dancing Queen Abba (1976)
2. Blue Bayou Roy Orbison (1963)
3. Take a Chance On Me Abba (1977)
4. If We Make It Through December Merle Haggard (1973)
5. As Time Goes By Dooley Wilson (rec. 1942)
6. Good Vibrations The Beach Boys (1966)
7. What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong (1967)
8. I’ve Got You Under My Skin Frank Sinatra (rec. 1956)
9. Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond (1969)
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters (1958)
Which set Guido thinking, what do Gordon and the other Labour leadership candidates have as their Top Ten on their iPods currently? A prize of a George Bush Cut Out and Dress Up Doll’s Book to the best entry (courtesy of Cowley Street’s LibDem HQ – don’t ask). In the comments please…
Charts via Toby Harnden
The Speccie editor told Guido “The original idea was the PM’s and he will write a substantial chapter. But a condition of my involvement was that I take complete charge of the project.”
The book, due out next year, was originally going to be Brown’s with his choice of contributors, after asking d’Ancona to edit it the direction of the book has changed. The new editor is not taking any payment for his efforts – the book is for charity. Just as well since all of Gordon’s previous books have ended up being remaindered by their publishers. Signed copies of “Courage” are attracting no bids on eBay.
The poll is the first since John Mason sensationally won the Glasgow East by-election and shows the SNP on 44% with Labour trailing on 25%. On the basis of these figures all three prospective Scottish Labour leadership candidates would lose their seats to the SNP.
Scottish Parliament constituency vote [change from May 2007 in brackets]:
SNP: 44% [+11]
Labour: 25% [-7]
Lib Dem: 14% [-2]
Con: 13% [-4]
Other: 4% [+2]
Applying these figures to the Weber Shandwick Scotland Votes model, the SNP would win 58 of Scotland’s 73 Holyrood first-past-the-post seats.
SNP – 58 constituency seats (plus 37)
Labour – 8 constituency seats (minus 29)
LibDems – 6 constituency seats (minus 5)
Tories – 1 constituency seat (minus 3)
The SNP would gain the seats of all three Labour leadership contenders – Iain Gray, Andy Kerr and Cathy Jamieson.
Source : SNP
Normally a 51% constituency majority would be impregnable…
As a result of an improvised booby trap of which Al Qaeda would have been pleased, Guido executed a Chaplinesque aerial manoeuvre, kicking the wall barefoot and audibly crunching his toes before landing bum-first. Ouch. Ms Fawkes cackled hysterically and Baby Fawkes clapped gleefully in her high chair exclaiming “Dadda!” in an impressed “do it again” tone. Even the nanny giggled before regaining her composure and clearing away the booby trap toys.
The joys of fatherhood. Blogging may be light.
Lib Dems AMs: Total : £55,321. Average : £9,220Plaid Cymru AMs: Total : £129,936. Average: £8,662Conservative AMs: Total: £93,730. Average : £7,810
Labour AMs: Total : £121,977. Average : £4,691
Source: Assembly Commission figures for 2007-2008
Well done to Labour’s Lesley Griffiths who managed to get the taxpayers to pamper her sty with a £2,000 sofa, LibDem leader Mike German, claimed £9,217.10, for a second home despite living only 17 miles from the Assembly, Tory Nick Ramsey spent £1,000 on a top of the range TV system and more than £2,000 on two beds. Clearly pork needs to be treated tenderly…
They only awarded themselves an 8.3% pay-rise in March. Oink, oink!
Sub-titled, “Leftist politics and the cult of personality” it doesn’t pull punches. Obama is arguably shown to be the most left-wing candidate to ever stand a real chance of becoming U.S. president. It also highlights a lot of shady financial dealings and Obama’s association with some dubious characters.
The policy shifts made by Obama have been dramatic, his anti-nukes position has been dropped on the path to power, he now says he will do “whatever is necessary” to counter Iran becoming a nuclear power. A lot of interesting facts and history in this book explain why it is selling like hot cakes…
The Home Secretary could order a jury not to be summoned, replace the coroner with a government appointee and bar the public from inquests if it is deemed to be in the “public interest”.
It could be applied to inquests similar to those into the deaths of the weapons inspector David Kelly, “friendly-fire” military casualties or Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed. In future, inquests similar to that into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, which is due to start next month with 44 police officers giving evidence anonymously, could also be subject to the secrecy clause.
This is not about national security, it is about covering-up embarrassments for the government. The families of soldiers who die because of penny pinching would not be able to discover the truth. Anything embarrassing would be deemed a “national security issue”. The government is already doing this to protect itself from embarrassment.
For example: Guido, and other journalists have made Freedom of Information requests in an attempt to discover if Ed Balls still had a pass giving him access to the Treasury when he was supposedly a fellow of the Smith Institute. We believe he was actually continuing to act as Gordon’s bag carrier and political confidante, that he was in and out of the Treasury seeing Gordon regularly. The Treasury refuses to answer the question claiming it is a national security issue. It isn’t, it is a cover-up. This clause is about covering up politically damaging information.
“Labour has announced a new drive to crack down on rogue employers who abuse vulnerable workers… The crack down will be overseen by a new Fair Employment Enforcement Board which will co-ordinate the work… by using a single telephone helpline number for vulnerable workers to report abuses the agencies will be able to better share the vital information necessary to catch rogue employers..“
Labour’s Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said:
“We want to prevent unscrupulous employers who undercut honest competition and prey on people who are fearful or so desperate to earn a living that they are open to exploitation.”
Guido has just had a quick check of some job advertising and found a number of unscrupulous employers preying on desperately ambitious young workers keen to break into politics:
Work for no pay for Claire Curtis-Thomas MP.
Work for no pay for Fabian Society.
Work for no pay for Labour Party (North Regional Office).
Work for no pay for Diane Abbott MP.
Work for no pay for Barbara Follett MP.
Work for no pay for Andy Slaughter MP.
What is the number on which to report these unscrupulous employers?
UPDATE : MPs get a staffing allowance of £100, 205. Claire Curtis Thomas, don’t forget, is “Britain’s most expensive MP” racking up costs of over £170,000 a year.