Boris Ups His Work Rate

Londoners tuned into Capital Radio this morning to hear Boris on with Johnnie Vaughn, not sure if it was to do with his new single release. Wednesday he gave a speech on housing, yesterday he was banging on about Heathrow and the execution of De Menezes. Earlier in the week he did a photo-op down Portobello Road.

He has now visited every one of the 32 boroughs in London, a campaign source tells Guido he has also completed a month long immersive education in the details of policy. The grid for the campaign kicks off in earnest in January. Ken’s policy response is a proposal to nationalise all trains coming into London. With the LibDems choosing the PC PC, Brian Paddick, it is all going to be fun…

Incidentally, the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh have Boris as guest speaker next Thursday night. If you want to attend and see if he can make it through dinner without upsetting another nationality, email Jane, (tickets are £15).

Browne’s Part-Time Priority

Gordon Brown is treating British troops with “contempt” by appointing a part-time defence secretary says Admiral Lord Boyce. Troops feel insulted by the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Des Browne as Scotland Secretary as well as Defence Secretary. Boyce, who was chief of the defence staff in 2003, puts it bluntly:

“I feel that Mr Brown has let the armed forces down by not appointing a secretary of state who is full-time. When you have got people who have been killed and maimed in the service of their Government, and you put at the head of the shop someone who is part-time, that sends a very bad message. And that is the message I get back from our soldiers, our sailors and our airmen. They feel insulted, they feel that he is treating them with contempt.”

The New Labour spin machine does what it always does when panicked, it started rubbishing the five former top brass who have come out on behalf of the troops, it went on attack, briefing that they are only speaking up after they have got their peerage and pensions. Derek Twigg, Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans. is going around the news studios ludicrously claiming that army morale is high and everything is tickety-boo.

It is not just retired generals, the former Labour defence minister Lord Gilbert has backed the criticism. If the defence of the nation is a part-time priority, the government has no sense of priority.

UPDATE : Guido fan John McTernan, the former Blair henchmen, spins for Browne. Good to see he is doing such a good job.

Marr Criticises Sky’s Accuracy

Giving evidence to the House of Lords Communication Committee this afternoon, Andrew Marr criticised Sky News for their lack of accuracy. This picture was hung on the wall of Sky’s newsroom after Gordon called in Marr to make the official “Brown has bottled the election” announcement. Do you think there is some enmity developing between BBC News and Sky News?

Advertising Pays

Some people say Guido has sold out to commercialism, in fact Sir Michael White includes in his critique of Guido the quantity of adverts on the site. (Hint: they might have something to do with why Guido is more profitable than the Guardian.)

This topical ad featuring the Chancellor from data back-up specialists www.TotalRecallUK.net made Guido laugh out loud. They do of course have an obligatory Facebook Help Track Down the Missing Benefits Disks site as well.

Guido was not paid for this extra plug.

Northern Rock Contagion, the Wheels are Coming Off

Buy-to-let lender Paragon Group, slumped 36% yesterday, plummeting for a second day, making the stock down 68% in the past month. Sub-prime fall out is spreading…


FACTS :

Every week 2,000 people go bust, triple the rate during 1991 recession.

Home affordability is at a historic low.

Brown’s supposedly successful stewardship of the economy was based on debt and mirrors.

The wheels are coming off the economy, Alan Greenspan himself, recently appointed by Gordon Brown as his economic adviser, says “Britain is more exposed than the United States.”

Guido Knows the Feeling

Spotted in a burger chain on the weekend; two fraught looking parents trying to cajole their kids out of the front door. “Pleeeease,” they begged them, “can we just go?”

The father in particular looked to be on the verge of tears of frustration. George Osborne may be able to best Alastair Darling, but he is no match for his kids…

Via : FirstPost

FT Drops Northern Rock Memo Fight With Schillings

“We were looking at funding a principled legal case about news that was looking increasingly historic by the day,” says Paul Murphy, the editor of the Alphaville blog. The FT reckons the revelations about the government’s support for the bank are now common knowledge and events had superseded information contained in the memorandum.
The memo is hosted on Wikileaks if you are still interested in reading this bit of financial history. Schillings wrote to Guido arguing that he was breaching the High Court Order by linking to it and would suffer all manner of comeback unless he gave undertakings and removed all links etc. Guido’s legal people told Schillings last Friday to serve the Order properly or get stuffed. Haven’t heard anything from Schillings since – so that’s them stuffed.

Gordon Will Do PMQs

Such is the fame of Gordon for having the courage only to disappear, in the manner of Macavity, when there is trouble about, that a rumour went round yesterday that he would not be doing PMQs.

What with banks collapsing despite Treasury bail-outs, (total risk to each and every taxpayer £900 and rising) and with 25 million bank and National Insurance details available unencrypted to crooks courtesy of the tax office, it looked possible he could go on an “emergency” foreign trip.

However according to the Downing Street website he will show up to be ritually thrashed at PMQs today.

Rejoice for England! Downing Street Confirms :Gordon Will Not Be at the Croatia Match

According to the official report of the Lobby briefing, even the PM’s Spokesman admits “that some people had argued that the Prime Minister had not necessarily been the best of omens so far but he would let others make that judgement.”

Guido has made that judgement. It is a fact that at every football and rugby match Gordon has attended as PM, England has lost…

“Miliband Visit Relatives on Settlement” FCO Panic

Guido was listening to the news from the Middle East on Radio Galatz* (he finds it has a more balanced approach to Israel/Palestine issues than the BBC), when he heard the news that David Miliband had dinner with his relatives who live in a settlement near Jericho.
The UN declared “illegal” settlements being visited by the Foreign Secretary foreign minister? That would be a bit of a breakthrough change in British policy. The Jerusalem Post has followed-up the story.

Not true says his office – and the British Embassy in Israel is desperately trying to kill the story.

UPDATE : Miliband did give profuse thanks to the Israeli football team on his visit. “Every Englishman is a friend of Israel today, an even greater friend of Israel. We thank you very, very much. It’s amazing after our partnership in science, in politics, in education — we have a partnership now in sport and in football especially. I think it’s wonderful. So I give the foreign minister the personal credit for the performance of the team yesterday”. English football supporters will be even more grateful if Gordon Brown stays away from the England-Croatia game. It has not gone unnoticed that the Brown match-jinx hit Scotland as well. Every match Brown attends England loses…


*Israeli Army Radio

Boris Bombs the Bass

Those who say he is nowhere to be seen just aren’t listening. You can hear his just released homage to FatBoy Slim here.

Hat-tip : BorisBorisBoris.com

Iain Dale Wins Party Selection

Here he is boasting about it on his blog.

At last a little bit of excitement has developed in the LibDem leadership contest. The Huhnie monsters released a campaign briefing entitled “Calamity Clegg”. Guido (of course) has a copy of the now withdrawn document for you to download here.

It sparked a thoroughly enjoyable bit of a clash on the Beeb and a complaint from Clegg to the returning officer that “the older boy is picking on me.” Having read the document it actually makes Guido more inclined towards Clegg and his public sector choice agenda.

UPDATE : Huhne’s lot are now saying Sorry and asking the returning officer for permission to publish the document. Eh?

Northern Rock CEO Sold Millions in Shares Before Collapse

Adam Applegarth did pretty well out of Northern Rock shares in the year before it collapsed. He has trousered many millions over the years, allowing him to enjoy an Aston Martin with a Ferrari for his missus parked in the driveway of his mansion. His confidence in his bank’s business model long term is demonstrated by his selling of £1.5 m of shares in two days. (25 Jan 2006 sold 52,253 at 957p for £500,061.21 and the next day he sold another 111,426 at 957p for £1,066,346.82).

His faith in the business was shown by his purchase last April of just 262 shares worth a little under £3,000. Not a lot of faith in the business from the boss was there?

Enron’s crooks were massive financial supporters of the Republican party. Northern Rock gave half-a-million to Labour’s favourite think-tank, the IPPR. It also employed Gordon’s personal pollster, Deborah Mattinson, as an adviser. Of all the pollsters to seek advice from, why her? Why give money to that think-tank? Nowadays it is very rare for publicly quoted companies to make politically partisan donations.

Blinky Balls is the Problem in the Brown Bunker

Matin Kettle joins the lengthening list of left-of-centre pundits now bemoaning the Brownies, he reveals this morning that bad-tempered Brown’s control freakery is asserting itself, that Miliband despairs of him and that Gordon has even fallen out with Bob Shrum. The article is worth reading in full, this extract get to the heart of the the problem with the Brownies;

One thing on which there is a lot of agreement is that Brown has got to widen the circle soon. Brown promised a different sort of government, but many of his worst and most controlling habits have reasserted themselves since things started going wrong. Cabinet still has some good discussions, but in No 10 the bunker is back. Brown, Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander talk every morning by phone at seven, meet every day at 10 to decide priorities, and are running the whole government. And, judging by the record, running it pretty badly.

The inner circle may have called off the general election but in their heads they are still positioning not governing, and thus letting Cameron off the hook. Relations between the key players at the top are worse than in the summer. Brown’s long hours and short temper – he lost his cool with Bob Shrum, his American adviser, the other day – shape a bad mood inside No 10. Some staff are leaving already. Others are having second thoughts about staying. Good people feel excluded. The animus against Balls in particular is very great. He should concentrate on being a better minister, they say. Michael Heseltine was right, says one veteran. The problem isn’t Brown. It’s Balls.

Balls and the rest of the second-raters in the bunker don’t govern in the national interest, they just position and spin for short-term political gain. Tactics that succeeded in leveraging Blair out are not an effective strategy for actually governing…

Gordon’s Favourite Banker Resigns

Adam Applegarth, chief executive of Northern Rock has finally resigned as has non-executive director, Derek Wanless (pictured), Gordon Brown’s favoured and most trusted banker.

It turns out that the chief-exec sold over £2.6m of shares at peak prices while still urging thousands of employees and investors to buy shares when the company was facing trouble.

Sir Derek sits, like so many other of New Labour’s great and the good, on various government quangos; the Statistics Commission and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. More importantly he chaired Northern Rock’s Risk and Audit committees. If anyone should have known what was coming, it was Gordon’s favourite banker. He had to sign off on all strategic risk management issues. Guido called for his resignation right at the start

Incidentally, Schillings (lawyers who boast of being able to cover-up the truth) are huffing and puffing furiously to Guido about that Investment Memo on behalf of Northern Rock. Guido, they will find, is a little bit more resilient than a blogger in a bedroom in Guildford…

Friday Caption Contest (Malloch Brown Edition)

Tony Blair’s Blogsite is Up

Peace in the Middle East? Like y’know, This is the time for everyone to get real.” Guido kids you not, he really does say that. Guido will try to cope with the competition.

He has also set up a Sports Foundation as well to guarantee himself front row seats help disadvantaged kids. Guido expects this to result in civil war breaking out in the Lawn Tennis Association with an invasion threat from the Bowling League. He has a dossier proving that they covet the lawns…

UPDATE : Guido’s understanding is that this is being paid for out of a £400,000 subsidy from the British taxpayer. Roughly equivalent to the cost of two Blair speaking engagements.

Aussies Makes Ear-Bogey Eating a Political Issue

£24,000,000,000 of Public Money is a Matter of Public Interest

Yesterday the FT lost a High Court battle to publish the investment memorandum being circulated in the City for Northern Rock. In it was revealed that by the end of this year £24 billion will have been borrowed from the Bank of England by Northern Rock.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Diane Abbott on Amber Rudd:

Who can have confidence in Amber Rudd to make far-reaching changes to the Home Office if she doesn’t seem able to get basic facts right?”

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