Taking The Pulse at the Polls

The poll results will not be known until tomorrow evening (counting does not start until tomorow morning).

Rumours abound as to the outcome, the governing Fianna Fáil party commissioned a private poll which apparently shades it for them. They also said Bertie Ahern was honest, so Guido puts no particular store in that rumour.

It is difficult to call, punters marignally favour a “Yes” win.

N.B. That really is Guido’s polling card.

As Ulstermen Sell British Liberties, the Irish Can Vote to Preserve European Liberty

On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916 on the steps of the General Post Office the Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read out. It included the words

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State. And we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations… In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

The seven signatories of the Irish Proclamation: Padraig Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Sean MacDermott, Joseph Plunkett, and Eamonn Ceannt were executed for their efforts to secure a free Ireland.

Guido’s vote today will be cast against the Lisbon Treaty. Why, after so long a struggle and much spilt blood, swap subjugation to laws made in Westminster for undemocratic rule from Brussels?

Due to the foresight of the drafters of the Irish Constitution we are the only people in all of Europe to be asked if we wish to irrevocably concede our sovereignty. We won’t be asked again once the European superstate becomes a reality. Ireland was Europe’s first colony, we are now the last sovereign democracy. For ourselves and all those who have no voice, the Irish must say “No”.

Spin from 10 on 42

Downing Street is making out that it is on a knife edge tonight. In reality they have got it in the bag and are trying to set the ground for the “Gordon Wins” stories for which the Brownies think it is well worth tearing up the Magna Carta.

Congratulations are due to the honourable member for Glasgow central, Mohammed Sarwar, who has secured, as the price for his voting for 42 days detention, assurances that he can pass his seat down to his son. It seems the Labour Party was only against hereditary peers, but are more than happy with family seats for MPs..

UPDATE : Punters on Betfair reckon the bill has a 90% chance of passing.

CCHQ Conspiracy or Cock-Up?

A few weeks ago Guido noticed that he was not receiving any press releases from CCHQ. Guido emailed asking if he was persona non grata. No reply. Oh well. Carry on as normal, it won’t matter much if Guido doesn’t know Peter Ainsworth’s latest green thoughts or Andrew Mitchell’s travel arrangements. That was until Guido missed an official comment from Dave on the MEPs, so Guido called the Tory press office, was assured that there had been some changes to the distribution list and keeping Guido in the dark was an error that would be rectified. Another phone call emphasised that it was now fixed.

No press releases followed. Weeks go by. Is it a conspiracy of silence, has Caroline Spelman exacted revenge? Is it a competence issue? This kind of thing never happens to Iain Dale…

UPDATE : Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome says he has been cut out as well. We’re not talking about the guff sent to supporters, we’re talking about the media releases. If it is deliberate, it is pretty short-sighted.

Ruth Turner Fundraising for Blair Again

Actually, she is doing it for charidee – the Tony Blair Sports Foundation. At ease Commander Yates…

Who Could Succeed Spelman?

If Caroline Spelman does lose her job – noticeably Dave has not come out and given her fulsome support yet – who will succeed her as Tory Chairman? Speculation is rising.

The job is not what it was in the glory days of Parkinson and Tebbit. Ashcroft’s team does process and the nitty gritty of the campaign machine in marginals, Osborne is charge of general election strategy. Betting is on Eric Pickles or Chris Grayling. Both popular with the activists, Pickles is adored and is basking in the post by-election glory. Grayling is fantastically good at taking the fight to Labour. He isn’t afraid of Paxman and comes over well on the news shows. Spelman on the other hand has only registered with the public now and for the wrong reasons…

Why do Political Insiders Say All Parties Fear Sleaze Charges? Because They Are All At It

According to the latest PoliticsHome “Insider Panel” two thirds think all parties have something to fear from Euro-sleaze allegations. The insiders know what Guido has always said is true – they are all at it. Taxpayer’s money is being spent on ensuring parasite politicians can employ their spouses, lovers and offspring at the public’s expense. They gentrify their gardens, clean their windows, buy their wives cars, finance trips to their children’s foreign weddings, carry out household repairs, buy themselves plasma TVs and Aga stoves at our expense. When not eating in taxpayer subsidised restaurants they charge their groceries to the taxpayer. Prescott literally gorged himself until he puked, then claimed for the food on expenses – and we paid his residential cleaning bill. Many MPs approaching retirement have gained themselves property portfolios built at the taxpayer’s expense. The politicians who deny themselves personal pork are few and far between.

This culture of pork was one of the motivating reasons for Guido setting up this blog. The silence from the political class on this issue is because they really are almost all at it. Millionaires like Clegg and Cameron claim subsidies for their mortgages equivalent to more than most people in this country earn. Even Gordon Brown, who has two gratis homes – Downing Street and Chequers – claims for a London flat and his constituency home.

The Spelman saga encapsulates the problem – ignore the excuses about hard pressed mothers – take her at her word. That a politically savvy high flier thought it even remotely possible and ethical that she could pay her nanny at the taxpayers expense is indicative of the culture. Her and her husband could well afford to pay it themselves, millions of us do. No one in the private sector would dream of asking their employer to pay their childcare costs, we pay our own bills out of post tax income and our taxes go to pay their personal expenses tax free. The sheer arrogance of these pigs is breathtaking.

+++ Den Dover Euro Cash Laundered Into Tory Coffers +++

According to the Electoral Commission records, Den Dover’s “service provider” company MP Holdings gave £1,200 to the North West Tories and printing worth £1,701 to the Chorley branch in 2004. Dover has personally given the party £57,000 since 2001.

Incidentally, Guido has been busy gathering evidence of LibDem and Labour MEPs using European Parliament expense funds in a systematic way to fund their party machines. So don’t expect to hear much complaining about this from them…

There Will Be Blue Blood On the Floor

Guido has bad news for Tory MEPs caught fiddling their expenses, he is reliably informed that Cameron is inclined to take a tough line on them – including sacking as official candidates – a move that will be hugely popular with grassroots Tories.

Such is the strength of feeling in the Conservative Party that outraged Tory councillors and activists in Giles Chichester’s own constituency plan to go public with their disgust if he goes unpunished. There is unlikely to be much mercy shown to troughing MEPs from Tory MPs in Westminster who resent the luxurious gravy train of their continental counterparts. In CCHQ Andy Coulson “wants a bloodbath” in Brussels…

Image courtesy of The Lakelander

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday Sleaze Round-Up

Due to the quantity of political sleaze being reported Guido has introduced a simple Pigs in Shit rating system for guidance on the misdemeanors of porcine politicians (guide here).

Tory MEP Sir Robert Atkins Flew to Son’s Wedding on EU Expenses
His wife, Dulcie, is employed as a secretary and his son, James, worked for him in Brussels until 2004.

Ed Balls & Yvette Cooper
This morning on Sky Adam Boulton asked Ed Balls about the double claiming for mortgages by him and his wife, “it’s complicated” was the reply. Tell us Ed, where is your primary residence really Ed? (He is a reader of this blog).


Boris uncovers Ken’s Wasted Millions


Has Guido missed any sleaze? Answers in the comments please – will update above.

Coaching the Witness and Double Standards

Guido is getting a lot of abuse from the ConservativeHomies for objecting to Spelman’s Nanny on the State. Oh well, guess they won’t vote Guido a Conservative Movement Award this year. C’est la vie.

So here are four points her defenders need to answer:-

  1. The nanny’s latest statement (being distributed by CCHQ) matches almost word for word Spelman’s carefully drafted statement. Coincidence? All her own words? In Court that would be called “coaching the witness”, for obvious reasons judges don’t like it.
  2. If Spelman was doing nothing wrong, why did she stop the arrangement? If she later thought it wrong, why did she not pay back the money? Either it was proper and there was no need to stop the arrangement, or it was improper and she should have paid back the money.
  3. A lot of low income single mothers are jailed for fiddling benefits. A year’s salary for a nanny is a significant sum – circa £20,000 – more than a single mother gets on benefits. Why should this benefits fiddle at the taxpayer’s expense be treated differently? Why should a struggling single mother fiddling benefits go to jail, but a powerful, wealthy married mother doing the same be praised for her integrity?

  4. What kind of “constituency secretary” doesn’t type a single letter?

Answers in the comments please.

Spelman Goes for the Hain Defence

She has just given a door-step statement justifying herself saying she didn’t at the time think it was wrong. She also says she will refer herself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (after she has been caught). Come off it – this is a variation on the “Hain Defence” tactic – when you have been caught, turn yourself in. Why only now?

In 2003 she told The Observer “Sleaze was a particular turn-off to female voters and I can quite understand that. They also, in 1997, felt that the Conservative Party was out of touch and arrogant.” It would be a full four years before she took the first chance available to fiddle her expenses…

UPDATE : Those claiming that the children were at school in May 1997 so the nanny was free for six hours during the day should note that the youngest son was pre-nursery age (2 1/2 years old, born December 1994).

Tories are Making a Strategic Error

George Osborne on the Today show this morning defended the integrity of Tory chairman Caroline Spelman over the Nanny-on-the-State charges from Michael Crick. Does anybody believe the spin being proffered that the nanny was also the constituency secretary – who in that case was looking after the kids when she was supposedly performing her six-hours-a-day of taxpayer funded duties?

It is just not at all credible, stop pushing this line, it compounds matters.

Caroline Spelman will very likely have to answer to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, because if a complaint has not already been made by a Labour MP it will be made by one of Guido’s co-conspirators on Monday. Quite rightly.

Can Spelman credibly lecture wayward MEPs on their expenses now? Can she now credibly defend and advance Cameron’s genuinely hardline policy on expense fiddling? The answer is a resounding “no”. If senior Tories publicly defend her or make excuses, as Osborne has just done, they will re-contaminate the Tory brand.

Caroline Spelman should first of all admit the truth and apologise. Pay back the money defrauded. Accept that she can’t after this credibly be the public face of the Conservative Party’s anti-sleaze agenda. It was only three months ago that Cameron gave a keynote speech blaming the loss of public faith in political institutions on the loss of trust in politicians:

Our Parliament is scorned. Our parties are shrinking … Let’s be clear what they think of us: “you lie and you spin, you fiddle your expenses and you break your promises.” To describe this disengagement and cynicism as a ‘mood’ is to underestimate both the depth and the intensity of the breakdown

Dave needs to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk”. In Ireland in the mid-1990s the Progressive Democrats, a liberal centre-right party, came from nowhere to a decade of power on the back of a “clean hands, anti-corruption” platform. In the government coalition with Fianna Fáil they ended up turning a blind eye to Bertie Ahern’s personal financial fiddles. They were consequently wiped out electorally after voters lost faith in their “clean hands” brand. Don’t underestimate the danger here…

Spelman Had Nanny on the State

Conservatives are supposed to be opposed to the Nanny State, but Caroline Spelman had the state pay for her nanny as soon as she arrived in parliament in 1997. She had not even been an MP for a year when she started fiddling the system according to Michael Crick. She had a tax free nanny provided by taxpayers by the simple expedient of claiming the nanny was her constituency secretary.

No messing about, as soon as she got elected to the trough she started pigging out. It is endemic in the political class regardless of what colour rosette they wear. Geoff Hoon fiddles his mortage allowance, Tony Blair too abused it (as Cherie implicitly confessed in her new book), Nick Clegg amazingly makes an expenses claim that – to the penny – matches the maximum legally allowed. Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper fiddle their combined allowances and lie about their primary residence. They are almost all at it, they see it as a perk of the job. None are prosecuted, so it will go on. Let us be clear about this, it is not another “technical breach of the rules”, Spelman was stealing from the taxpayers.

Stanley Johnson Seen Staring at Porno Pictures in Soho

As was Guido last night. We were both at the private view for Blue Period, an exhibition of pleasantly pervy artwork by Jonathan Yeo. Inspired by his famous Bush portrait Yeo has done some more portraits which look traditional, but on closer inspection are for top-shelf viewing only.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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