Standards Commissioner Asks Jacqui to Explain Herself

Paul Waugh has the scoop – John Lyon has finally written to Jacqui Smith asking her to explain her £116,000 fiddle.

She is going with the “it was all approved” line. Guido very much doubts she told the Fees Office she was going to spend most nights of the year with her family rather than at the “main home” (actually her sister’s spare bedroom).

On the basis of the Trend ruling, where the Tory MP in parallel circumstances had to pay back £90,000 and the precedent established ironically by Mr & Mrs Balls, she has a prima facie case to answer. (The Balls’ argued successfully that in the recess and school holidays they spent the majority of the time away from London at their constitutency home, therefore on the basis that they spend more nights there, that was their main home). The Standards Committee needs to take a hard look into the evidence of where she spent most nights.

UPDATE : Isn’t there a huge conflict of interest here? The best independent source of evidence for where Jacqui spent her nights will be the records of the police protection unit. Who oversees the police?

Kawcznyski Irony

Daniel Kawczynski, the tallest MP in the house, who handed over a constituent’s letter to the police without a warrant, is blaming one of his interns for what happened with the police. His wife is pushing him to fire the intern.

Ironically he is asking them to sign a confidentiality agreement first before he fires them, preventing them from giving out any personal information about constituents. Bit late now…

UPDATE : He is looking for a new intern as of last week.

Today on DraperList

Guido will keep today’s update short:

The National Organisation of Labour Students’ Philip Honour, a campaigner and listed contributor to Draperlist, wrote on Dolly’s Wikipedia entry that “A rumor that Derek has been asked to handover control of Labourlist by influential Labour party insiders is yet to be confirmed.” Guido understands that it was in fact Dougie Alexander who had a frank exchange of words with Derek.

Mencap accept Draper’s apology (as reported in the Indy this morning) over “Window-Licker” abuse and consider the matter closed. On the other hand MIND, the mental health charity which (as reported by this evening’s London Standard) made Derek “Mental health Journalist of the Year 2007”, would rather not comment – even through gritted teeth. Draper’s press handling as skilful as ever.

Guido keeps calling and emailing his alma mater the Wright Institute (in Berkeley, not at Berkeley). Unfortunately, it seems to be just an answerphone at the other end…

And finally: after last night’s premiere of Draper’s Downfall, some unkind Labour wags are calling DraperList the “Volks Blog”. Derek himself Twitters that he is appalled, embarrassed and flattered by the parody. So one more time with the flattery:

LibDem Surpise Speaker is Liberal Democrat Howard Dean

Ed Davey is very chuffed at having secured the attendance of Howard Dean at the LibDems Spring Conference in a fortnight. Dean will be advising them on his experiences of online campaigning and, errrm, losing. Still at least he made an impact on the national psyche, with his famous screeeaaaam. Given today’s polling, perhaps Clegg needs to clear his throat…

Ciao Fella! David Mills Gets 4 1/2 Years Jail Time

+++ IPSOS/Mori : 20% Point Lead +++

Tories +4% to 48%
Labour -2 to 28%
Lib Dems 17%.

The Prime Mentalist’s personal ratings plummet: Two thirds (64%) are dissatisfied with Gordon Brown.

UPDATE : From the small print of the poll:

  • The public’s opinion of how David Cameron is doing his job as leader of the Conservative Party has shown a slight increase since last month: 43% are satisfied and 34% dissatisfied, yielding a ‘net’ figure of +9, which is a three point increase from last month (last month’s figures are 44% satisfied and 38% dissatisfied).
  • Similar to last month, around a third (35%) of the public are satisfied with the way Nick Clegg is doing his job as leader of the Liberal Democrats, and a quarter (26%) are dissatisfied. As in previous months, however, the most frequent response to this question is ‘don’t know’ (39%).

The deal is not yet sealed for Dave and Clegg still can’t make an impact…

Harman Wants Brown to Sail Off into Sunset on “Lifeboat”

Jackie Ashley set the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday with this story:In it she claimed that Gordon was being lined up for an international job as a super-regulator by Angela Merkel. Jackie said the storycomes from quite close to the inner core.” Like the Deputy-Leader’s office? From another member of the sisterhood? Ben Brogan is pointing the finger at Harriet Harman, claiming that “Brown was the victim of a botched spin operation by the party’s deputy leader amid signs that his authority is weakening.” Who better to be a caretaker leader if Gordon goes off into the sunset on a lifeboat or for ill-health reasons than the current deputy leader? She could hold the party together as it takes the inevitable punishment at the polls, performing the same role that Michael Howard did for the Tories. Labour could do worse…

In Defence of Derek Draper

Ever the contrarian, it falls to Guido to defend poor Derek, the pressure must be getting to him, universally criticised even by his own readership.

How else do you explain that after getting a little bit of criticism from some of his readers on his DraperList blog, he abused them as “Window Lickers”. Which is something Guido too has done in exasperation with some of the loonies who leave comments on this blog. The fact is that any high traffic site attracts a fair number of nutters, and unfortunately they are far more likely to leave comments than ordinary readers. Derek has now made amends and given two full apologies, both on DraperList and his own personal blog.

Guido usually has to retro-moderate comments, deleting those he deems over-the-top or are pointed out to him as such, after they are published. Fortunately for Derek he has a £20,000-a-year assistant (paid for by the Unite union) to filter out the bad comments for him. Unfortunately they couldn’t stop Draper leaving offensive derogatory comments and saving him from himself.

Just before Christmas Guido wrote a long piece reflecting on the problem of the Economics of Blog Comments. Derek must have read it – it was in that piece that Guido referred to some of his comment makers as “window-lickers”. Worth re-reading Derek.
Still perhaps having learnt another lesson, he will show a bit more humility on this subject now. Or maybe not…

UPDATE : It is a rite of passage and a tradition in the blogosphere to do a mash-up of Downfall at important moments. Laugh out loud at Draper’s Downfall. It is priceless.

+++ Blair Wins $1 Millon +++

He has all the luck, left Downing Street when the economy was fine, now he wins a million bucks.

Gordon on the other hand…

Jonah Brown Mini-Curse

Guido thought the BMW Mini plant was doomed back when Gordon met the works apprentices. However production struggled on until last Thursday when the curse was doubled. Gordon signed a Mini for a charity photo-opportunity. Four days later:

BMW to shed 850 jobs at Mini plant

Source : FT

On that same day Gordon announced full confidence in Glen Moreno, his appointed chairman of UK Financial Investment Ltd, the government’s bank holding company. Moreno quit that afternoon.

The next day was Friday the thirteenth, truly ominous. He travelled to visit Tata’s Corus Steel plant in the Midlands. This morning the Indian Times reports

Mr B Muthuraman MD of TATA Steel is targeting to save about GBP 600 million this year from production cuts at its UK subsidiary Corus. Mr Muthuraman added that “Corus has cut production … initiated several short term measures in terms of cost reduction”

The accursed one-eyed son of the manse continues to desolate the land…

Brown is Meeting the Pope this Week

Your Holiness, don’t do it, please. Guido is afraid for you.

The curse, the curse….

Tories Want “British Food for British Tables”

The Tories are launching a celebrity strewn campaign this morning for Honest Food, by which they mean clear labelling of country of origin. Fair enough, but it smacks of protectionism, what the wonks call a “non-tariff trade barrier”. The benefits of free trade are that we get the cheaper goods and services from countries exploiting their comparative advantages.

Nick Herbert MP, the new shadow farming minister who should really know better, will be putting the crypto-protectionist case to the NFU conference this afternoon. If only British farmers were more successful exporters they would not be so keen on this idea. They should be exploiting the collapse of the pound to open up export markets.

The campaign video was quite good though:

Guido will be sticking to Kerrygold butter, Irish pork sausages, Italian truffles* and French foie gras – no matter what Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Prue Leith and Anthony Worrall Thompson say.

*Guido recommends the excellent eFoodies for all your caviar, truffles and foie gras requirements. They let you order online and deliver to your door.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Lord Moonie’s Backers Arrested Alistair Darling “Did a Jacqui”

When the man in charge of the nation’s finances, Alistair Darling, has been caught fiddling his expenses, and Jacqui Smith, the woman who is in charge of crime prevention is accused of corruption, you have a government which is a kleptocracy. The New Labour promise to be “whiter than white” is like a sick joke now.

Lord Moonie’s money grubbing ways are a disgrace to the House of Lords, he also aided and abetted another expenses fiddle by facilitating Alistair Darling lodging with him and claiming expenses based on Moonie’s flat being Darling’s “main home”, in just the same way that Jacqui claims her sister’s house is her “main home”. Already under investigation for Cash for Amendments, Lord Moonie is mired in fresh sleaze after his business associates were arrested in a police probe into alleged fraud in the NHS.

The Sunday Herald has the scoop:

Richard Nawrot and George Henderson, who run Fife-based Americium Developments, were arrested in London last month on “suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and misconduct in a public office”.

Americium currently pays Moonie, a close ally of Gordon Brown, up to £40,000 a year in consultancy fees. The peer’s relationship with the company dates back to October 2006.

Two of Americium’s US clients have told the Sunday Herald they had lunch with Moonie and Nawrot at Westminster and that the peer later gave a tour of the parliament.

One client said he discussed a potential NHS contract with Moonie at the lunch.

Moonie was close to Gordon and at the heart of the Scottish Raj. He knows where the bodies are buried. This could potentially get very messy for Brown.

Dearest Derek,

Dearest Derek,

Thank you for your email drawing attention to some unsavoury comments on the Friday Caption Contest. They have now been deleted. We really value your input to the blog and in particular the amusing contributions you have made this week to the success of www.Order-Order.com.

As you know the purpose of the Friday Caption Contest is primarily to allow Guido to go for a long lunch on a Friday afternoon without having to think up any original content for the blog. It appears it has performed the same function for you.

If you would like to formally apply for the position of Comment Moderator (there is a vacancy) please send your updated CV to guido.fawkes@order-order.com. You will find it a much more demanding job than you are used to, this is after all a high traffic website.

We will however need academic references and certificates (original copies please).

Regards,

Guido

Friday Caption Competition

Draper Needs Anger Management Therapy

Tribune’s Rene Lavanchy reports back from yesterday’s official press launch of DraperList, where Draper lost the plot shouting at the Guardian’s David Hencke

“Justify the headline in that fucking story! Go and change it before you become the laughing stock of the lobby!… Doing Guido Fawkes’ dirty work…”

In the Independent this morning the headline is

Sparks Fly as Draper Meets his Tormentor
By Henry Deedes

Derek Draper yesterday became embroiled in the sort of fracas Westminster hasn’t seen for many a year. The editor of the much-vaunted DraperList website was hosting a “Bloggers Breakfast”, an event aimed at discussing Labour’s internet strategy attended by Peter Mandelson. Proceedings were civil until The Guardian’s political journalist David Hencke entered the fray.

“Draper squared up to him, jabbing his finger, insisting he’d end Hencke’s career,” says an onlooker. “It was quite nasty.” The row was about a Hencke piece accusing Draper of “spinning” his qualification to imply that he had obtained an MA in clinical psychology at the world-renowned Berkeley branch of the University of California. Draper went to the Wright Institute in Berkeley.

Draper, a qualified psychotherapist, rebuffs the claim. “People can say what they like about my politics but if they question my professional reputation it is more serious,” he said. “It made me angry and I didn’t have a problem with showing it.”

One account says that Draper had to be restrained by a horrified Labour press officer. Now what was it that Draper told that blogger’s fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference last year? The quote was:

If you want to be a superstar blogger and get the headlines yet lose Labour the election, you can just f**k off.

Psycho-therapist heal thy self.

Guido has more bad news for Derek – Guido has more evidence coming that Draper has misled people as to the source of his qualifications. Come on Derek, serve that writ or “you can just f**k off.

Canada “Best Placed to Weather the Global Financial Turbulence”

Canada, alone in the industrialised world, has not faced a single bank failure, has no need for a bailout or government intervention in the financial markets. According to the World Economic Forum, Canada’s banking sector is best placed to weather the global financial turbulence (which apparently began in America).

Gordon Brown’s Britain is ranked 44th.

Cameron Criticises Jacqui Smith

Dave has just told LBC Radio: “I think it is also important that the arrangements that we go into, we can explain them in a reasonable way to a reasonable person, and they would think that we were being reasonable. I don’t think her arrangements really pass that test.” On the subject of her claiming her main residence is her spare room Dave said: “I do think it is a little bit hard to believe, but she has now got to defend it in the court of public opinion.” She may have trousered £116,000 but Guido thinks it will cost her the parliamentary seat.

Draper : I Didn’t Go to Berkeley

David Hencke has got Draper to admit that contrary to the impression he gave him for a recent Guardian profile, his qualification comes not from the world famous Berkeley, but from a small private institution called the Wright Institute in California.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Dame Laura Cox report into Pestminster slams Bercow and his team…

“I find it difficult to envisage how the necessary changes can be successfully delivered, and the confidence of the staff restored, under the current senior House administration.”

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