Come election time the LibDems will be shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories on an issue that emphasises their shared ideological belief in the fundamental primacy of individual liberty against state power. New Labour’s authoritarians will be the common enemy.
*So all those donations to the Sith will have been wasted.
If the Screws’ story is correct, the game is up for the Blairites.
IPPR is pushing an unpopular road pricing plan, despite 640,000 petitoners having gone to the Downing Street website to protest against the plan. The IPPR website reveals that for the last two years hardly a month has gone by without a press release or event pushing the poll-tax-on-wheels.
T-Systems supplies the electronic systems that collect €3 billion-a-year from German petrol-heads. Surprise, surprise, T-Systems has given £45,000 to the IPPR in the hope of picking up the contracts for supplying the auto-spy-in-the-sky. Policy payola without disclosure is discrediting wonkland, the recycling of corporate press releases as policy advice stinks and Westminster reeks of it.
The IPPR claims that
Our agenda is simple: we want to build a fairer, more democratic and environmentally sustainable world. We are driven by these values, not by any party or interest group.
Tucked away elsewhere in the paper is a tiny PA piece on a Charity Commission investigation of another think-tank where Ed Balls once worked. Times readers will have to look hard to find it. All the other papers give it prominence Telegraph – page 4, FT – page 3, Independent – page 24, Mail – page 4, Guardian – page 16, Express – page 4, not forgetting the BBC. Even News International stablemate The Sun has a piece on it.
Fact : The Times had the Smith Institute / Gordon Brown story last year.
Wilf Stevenson bleats that they paid for their own tea and biscuits. Despite all of Westminster knowing that the operation is a Brownite organising front, Wilf Stevenson now denies it. The following quotations (after the first) are from less guarded times…
“The Smith Institute has never had and does not currently have a direct relationship with Gordon Brown.”
Wilf Stevenson, Director of the Smith Institute, November 30, 2006.
“This is a series of three seminars dealing with social, cultural and knowledge entrepreneurship. There has been a building interest in this area and it needs to be further investigated in the think-tank world and also within government. This series is under the patronage of the Chancellor of the Exchequer”
Wilf Stevenson, Director of the Smith Institute, July 1999 at 11 Downing Street.
“We were in at the beginning and are still here, still innovating. We look forward to hearing what he has to say. But to get us started: Gordon Brown.”
Wilf Stevenson, Director of the Smith Institute, October, 2004 at 11 Downing Street.
“Can I welcome you all, first of all, to No 11 Downing Street for the first in a series of Smith Institute seminars..”
Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, October, 2004 at 11 Downing Street.“I am a last-minute substitute for Gordon Brown, so I would like, on his behalf, to welcome you all to Number 11 Downing Street. I know, looking around, some of you are quite regular attenders of Smith Institute seminars, and you will know you get a letter from Wilf Stevenson before each one explaining that you are invited to Number 11 by kind permission of the Chancellor. I have to say, this series of seminars in particular is being held not so much by the kind permission of the Chancellor, but by his absolute insistence that they take place. He is unable to be with us now, but he will want to know exactly what has been said in the discussion when I see him later this morning. Many of you, including and perhaps especially the panel here, have known Gordon for a long time.”
John Healey MP, Economic Secretary, HM Treasury, December 2004 at 11 Downing Street.
Credits to co-conspirators : Saxon Times & Theo Spark for the picture montage. “Welcome to No. 11” for the quotes.
Feb 1, 2007 14:19:09
The decision to open an inquiry was taken in the light of new information we have received which raises concerns about some of the charity’s work.
The scope of the inquiry is to determine whether The Smith Institute is both established and operating as a charity advancing the education of the public in the field of study and research into the economy of the United Kingdom.
The Commission has informed the charity of this decision. The Commission has been and continues to engage with the charity in relation to the issues raised.
Number 1 law firm at Number 11On the podium yesterday morning was Stuart Popham, who was invited to speak at a Smith Institute event at Number 11 Downing Street. Stuart shared the limelight with Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser to the DTI and Michael Snyder from the Corporation of London. Clifford Chance was there in force, with networking skills worthy of a place in the Prime Minister’s, ehem, Chancellor’s home.
A co-conspirator tells Guido
Alistair Darling was “looking very proprietorial ” telling the assembled business executives how it will be in future. Attending were some ministers, no politicians from other parties, but some Labour backbenchers.
UPDATE :Dizzy has picked-up on the Treasury’s John Healey avoiding answering questions about EMI. Wonder why?
Mark Francois last week tabled yet another Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ) which is still unanswered
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what remuneration was received for the use of 11 Downing Street from the Smith Institute or SI Events Ltd for its seminar on positional goods held on 21st September 2006.
Keith Simpson has been told to expect an answer to his questions “by the end of this week”.
A co-conspirator emails to say he has been told by Oliver Letwin that George Osborne “has been doing a good deal of work on this Smith Institute connection, and will be ensuring that it is brought fully to public attention.”* Hmm, the bandwagon went that way…
*Guido knows that Osborne’s researcher is boasting to journalists that he is behind the exposing of the Sith, perhaps he repeats to them what he reads here?
This is not the end, but it is the beginning of the end…
Can’t wait for the PMOS’ explanation tomorrow. “There is no Lord Levy in Downing Street, there is no other email system, from which nothing was deleted, no honours were sold etc…”
Guido was in the supermarket when he heard the news. He left the fruit and veg and proceeded to the champagnes. Well why not…
They have obtained a transcript of a speech given to a private Smith Institute invited audience, which included Brown acolytes Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, as well as other media allies. Shrum advised the Brownites to brand Cameron as “an empty opportunist who will do anything to win”.
The event was held to review Cameron’s first 100 days in March 2006.
Guido understands that a formal complaint to the Charity Commissioners requesting a full-scale investigation of the Smith Institute under Section 8 of the Charity Act will be considered by the Charity Commission today.
++ more follows ++
Apparently Labour staffers are in the shit, since they are supposed to be impartial. Which means Sheila Murphy, Labour’s Northern Director and Barrie Grunewald, Regional Director Yorks and Humber, will have to explain themselves to Hilary Benn and Alan Johnson, who are both in their regional care.
Life won’t be any easier for Felicity Williams, General Secretary of the Wales TUC who is in a politically restricted post, nor Lynn Glaister, Welsh Regional Officer and Arlene Ainsley – Regional Officer for the North of England.
One thing is for sure, Joe Carberry, Hain’s researcher and the author of the document along with Phil Taylor, Hain’s SpAd, are not going to be popular with the boss or his supporters after this screw up…
Particularly amusing to see listed is the promise by Harriet Harman’s PPS, Martin Linton, that he will publicly support her rival for deputy leader. What is clear is the total state of paralysis gripping the party of government as all minds are focused on positioning. Poor the Harriet…
Download Peter Hain’s “Strategy and Supporters” list here.
“A few years ago the debate was about whether the media controlled politicians or whether politicians controlled the media. Now it is about how we are all responding to the explosive power of citizens, consumers and bloggers.”
- Will you publish a full list of all events held at Number 11 Downing Street by the Smith Institute?
- Have any costs for Smith Institute events held at Number 11 been subsidised by you or the Treasury in any way? If so, what has been the total cost to the taxpayer of hosting these events?
- What are the criteria by which applications to hold events at Number 11 are judged?
- What is the number of applications you have received to hold events at Number 11; the number accepted and the number declined?
- Will you list those charities that have been refused permission to hold events at Number 11?
- Have any other Treasury facilities been provided for the purpose of hosting Smith Institute events?
- On how many occasions have you personally attended Smith Institute events?
- Has the Smith Institute ever provided you with any personal benefits? If so, have you declared such benefits (a) to the Register of Members Interest and (b) to the Electoral Commission
- Have you ever solicited donations for the Smith Institute?
- Can you provide assurances that there is no conflict of interest between anyone who has donated to the Smith Institute and your actions as Chancellor of the Exchequer?