Europeans Pushing Barnier For More Sensible Stance

Two interesting quotes on Newsnight suggesting that at least some Europeans are pushing Barnier and the Commission to take a more reasonable negotiating stance. Geert Bourgeois, the head of the Flemish government, stressed the need for trade talks: “I’ve met twice Barnier. I brought him to Zeebrugge. 45% of the trade of the export from Zeebrugge is to the United Kingdom, so that’s why I do my best to influence all the people, the ambassadors of the surrounding countries, to work together”. Xavier Bertrand, the influential French politician who runs the Hauts-de-France region, says Brussels’ tone should change:

“I know one thing for sure – nobody has the right to punish the UK and the British people. It was a sovereign choice… punishing and looking to punish is a terrible mistake. It would be a bad message to send. It was the will of the people who voted, regardless of the consequences. It would give rise to the feeling that there’s something with more power than the will of the people, or wanting to go against the will of the people. That would be a terrible error.”

The suggestion in today’s papers is that May’s speech will aim to go over the head of Barnier and appeal to the EU27 to break the deadlock. Clearly it is in the interests of EU politicians like the two above to do that. Whether the EU27 can behave reasonably and rationally is another question…

Why Would UK Music Be Headed by a Pro-Bookie Ex-Politician?

The man in the middle, Ciaran O’Brien, is the smooth PR man that William Hill poached from Ladbrokes. He is well known in the green rooms, Westminster and even to local councillors.

He is right behind his good buddy, Michael Dugher, now Head of UK Music, which protects music IP rights and acts as Secretariat for an All Party Parliamentary Group on Music.

While a Labour MP, Mr. Dugher took the Shadow DCMS brief, but as a friend of the bookies, had no intention of opposing FOBTs. Since his sacking, Labour has adopted the FOBT £2 maximum stake as their policy.

Mr. Dugher should be aware that his bookie buddies have a history of IP rights abuse. Online gambling companies’ T&Cs claim to have IP rights for their content, but they have used games invented by others without permission.

With false T&Cs, US profits from those games were obtained illegally. Why would UK Music want a man with a history of promoting the interests of IP rights abusers?

Why would UK Music want a man who taunts reformed gambling addicts when the music sector contains a number of artists who suffer from addiction and mental health disorders?

Surely UK Music can do better than this failed politician?

Content produced and sponsored by Campaign for Fairer Gambling

Cabinet Minister: We Will End Up Very Close to EEA

One line in James Forsyth’s column that explains why Brexiters are so concerned and why the Cabinet is split. He quotes a Cabinet minister as being upbeat on the likelihood of an EEA light option where the UK is forced to copy EU regulations and not diverge in future without the consent of Brussels:

“That’s where we’ll end up. Not in (the EEA) but very close.”

Such an outcome is unacceptable, it does not allow Britain to go its own way, it keeps us attached at the hip to the EU, it is not Brexit. Forsyth confirms Guido’s story on Monday that it is Hammond, Heywood, Rudd and Olly Robbins who are pushing for this outcome. Cabinet ministers saying we are going to end up very close to EEA membership are not delivering the will of the people, that they are so bullish about winning this argument rightly has Brexiters worried…

UK Green Lobby Funded by ‘Anti-Immigrant Multi-Millionaire’

A reclusive American multi-millionaire who has backed anti-immigrant and population control campaigns has funded green charities in Britain through a charitable foundation. Fred Stanback, heir to the Stanback headache powder fortune, is said to have backed household name charities including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. The NGOs have directly lobbied UK ministers and bankrolled parliamentary candidates…

Stanback’s support for controversial anti-immigrant and population control causes has been well documented in the US media. Population control advocates are closely linked to wealthy American environmentalists; they believe that environmental problems stem from there being too many people on the planet. Stanback has:

  • Donated $500,000 to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group whose leaders are said to have ties to white supremacists and eugenicists;
  • Purchased $5,000 worth of copies of the novel The Camp of the Saints from the American Immigration Control Foundation to distribute. The book is widely acknowledged as a racist work and has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “racist fantasy”;
  • Funded a Duke University internship programme which placed interns at anti-immigration organisations, until a public outcry forced Duke University to remove these organisations from the approved list after the affiliations came to light in 2013;
  • Raised concerns that “Catholic interests” were the primary motivation behind the Wall Street Journal’s opposition to immigration control.

Stanback is said to channel his donations to green groups through the Foundation for the Carolinas (FFTC), a non-profit community foundation. According to US IRS filings, the FFTC has given:

  • $6,000,000 to Friends of the Earth;
  • $3,000,000 to Greenpeace;
  • $2,000,000 to the Dogwood Alliance (a US organisation that worked with Friends of the Earth on a major campaign to shut down biomass plants and other related energy businesses in the U.K).

The report concludes:

“The financial connections between these organisations and major funders like Fred Stanback strongly suggest that these environmental NGOs willingly received funding from the same source that funds population control and anti-immigrant groups on a large scale, and apparently without anyone in the environmental world publicly questioning the moral or financial integrity of using the money.”

Stay tuned this week for more in Guido’s Green NGO Sockpuppets series…

Corbyn Supporters Want to Nationalise and Expropriate Pensioners Without Compensation


Corbynista Cat Hobbs, founder and director of We Own It, a left-wing group which campaigns for state ownership, has revealed how Labour could enact its plan to nationalise utilities if Corbyn took office. Hobbs told Stephanie Flanders on the Today Programme that expropriation of shareholders in utility and transport firms was necessary in order to redress perceived historical wrongs on the part of firms. Hobbs said:

“Do these shareholders really deserve the market value… you’d compensate the shareholders for the money that they’ve put in, but the market value of the shares is much higher… so you’d compensate them for the money that they’ve put in and that’s fair, but what you wouldn’t do is compensate them for the full market value.”

Cat Hobbs called Labour’s manifesto commitment to nationalisation “fantastic”. Corbynistas are so dogmatically hell-bent on nationalisation they will happily rob pensioners in ordinary retirement schemes…

Tory Glasto Hosted By Multi-Millionaire Gambling Magnate

The hotly-anticipated ‘Tory Glastonbury’ is taking place on the farm of Mark Davies, a multi-millionaire gambling magnate, former banker and bookies’ lobbyist, Guido can reveal. Tory MP George Freeman is fronting the invitation-only Big Tent Fest which is being promoted as a festival of ideas to take the fight to Corbyn and win back young voters from Labour. The venue is less a muddy field and more of a country pile…

The festival will be taking place in Berkshire on land owned by former Betfair managing director Mark Davies. Davies left Betfair in 2010 amid a messy £4 million legal dispute, before setting up Camberton PR, a lobbying company for bookmakers including Ladbrokes. Davies was a director at Probability, a firm providing online casino technology to the likes of Paddy Power and William Hill. Before entering the gambling world he was a banker at JP Morgan. Just the person to win over Corbyn voters…

What about the farm itself? Davies bought ‘West End Farm’ in rural Berkshire for £2.4 million in 2006 – it will now be worth significantly more, something like £5 million.

The festival kicks off this evening with cocktails, a hog roast and some opening talks. The three big tents focus on the economy, society and politics respectively. It has a distinctly centrist feel – Labour MP Liam Byrne and Alexander Holroyd, one of Macron’s En Marche! deputies – are guest speakers. To be fair to Freeman the line-up includes some names worth listening to: Liam Halligan, Iain Martin, Roger Scruton, Juliet Samuel, Phillip Blond, Sam Bowman and Gerard Lyons. Alan Mak and Andrew Cooper are also attending. Corbynistas are going to have a field day with this though…

Hammond and Treasury “On Manoeuvres” Against Brexit

A timely intervention from Theresa May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy, who fingers Philip Hammond for being “on manoeuvres” against Brexit. Timothy says May “deserves the support of her ministers, Leavers and Remainers alike” – the implication being that the likes of Hammond and Rudd are undermining the PM on Brexit. He accuses Hammond of playing “games” and says “the Treasury’s reluctance to even mention the positives of leaving the EU, such as the Brexit dividend, is why the government has not talked positively enough about the opportunities of Brexit. In that respect, the Foreign Secretary was right in his Daily Telegraph column last Saturday”. As Guido reported on Monday, Hammond and the Treasury have been pushing for a soft EEA-light Brexit, contrary to government policy…

For an idea of just how much the Treasury hates Brexit, here is former HMT permanent secretary Nick Macpherson responding to Timothy’s article:

The man who ran the Treasury until last year implying Brexit is an “overwhelming wickedness” and some terrible example of human nature that needs to be “curtailed“. This is the sort of pompous, anti-democratic civil service intransigence May is still having to deal with. Mandarins and Remainer Cabinet ministers are working against government policy and the referendum result…

Osborne Lands Job Number 7

George Osborne has landed job number seven (and eight?): visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and dean’s fellow at its business school. Those jobs in full:

  1. Washington Speakers Bureau after-dinner speaker
  2. Adviser to Blackrock
  3. Chairman of Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  4. Fellow at McCain Institute
  5. Editor of the Evening Standard
  6. Economics professor, Manchester University
  7. Visiting fellow at Stanford University

This one, unusually, is unpaid. Though Stanford did pay him £30,000 for a speech last year.

Civil Service ‘Not Really Preparing’ For No Deal Scenario

A concerning report by the BBC’s Chris Cook says the government is not taking seriously the idea of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, and that preparations for such a scenario are superficial at best. Cook writes: “A lot of memos are being circulated, but not a lot beyond that. Britain does not seem to be taking the idea of No Deal very seriously”. This is a view echoed by senior Brexiters, who are worried that the civil service and Cabinet Remainers are so gloomy about a no deal Brexit that they are not even countenancing that outcome. Guido reported in March that senior Leavers were lobbying the government to prepare for no deal – at the time Number 10 officials put the probability of no deal at between 30% and 50%. Not much progress has been made since then…

Given the not exactly tiny possibility that talks with Brussels could break down, a failure to make serious preparations would be an abdication of responsibility similar to the lack of contingency planning for a Leave vote under the Cameron / Heywood administration. In any case, a no deal Brexit provides huge opportunities that should be being talked up not down. Pretending to be ready to walk away is not good enough, the government and civil service needs to make real plans for such an outcome…

Osborne’s Latest Duff Analysis

Curious line in George Osborne’s Evening Standard editorial today:

“If we want to remain trading in the single market and customs union, then we will have to make annual financial contributions, accept free movement of people and acknowledge the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That is what Mrs May was sensibly shaping up to offer in Florence, until Mr Johnson suddenly realised it would run counter to all the promises he made a year ago.”

Was May really “shaping up” to accept free movement? Not sure Standard readers are getting the best Brexit analysis…

UPDATE: A government source says Osborne’s analysis is “completely delusional” and that there was never any chance of them accepting free movement or ECJ jurisdiction. Another embarrassing Standard cock-up…

UPDATE II: May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy:

“Not even George can believe this. Evening Standard editorials will soon be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.”

Corbynista Journalist Banned From Conference After Failing Security Checks

Michael Segalov is a Corbynista journalist from Vice, best known for ruining a Tim Farron photo op. That moment when your party is taken over by nutters and the police won’t let them attend your conference…

Williamson: “No Evidence” of Abuse From Labour Members

Over in the Corbybnista alternative reality Chris Williamson has again claimed there is “no evidence” of online abuse or anti-Semitism from Labour members. Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer on TalkRadio, Williamson said:

“I know some people have expressed anxiety, and the abuse online is unacceptable, but that isn’t from Labour party members. There’s no evidence as far as I’m aware [that] any of the abuse online is being perpetrated by them.”

There were stories on Guido yesterday and in all the papers today about yet more hard-left anti-Semitic abuse. Will Williamson even be backing the new rules to combat anti-Semitism at conference?

Nadine Complains to Civil Service Chief About Statto’s Boris Blunder

Click to enlarge

Nads is right, Sir David Norgrove cocked up

Sheerman’s Shameless Smart Meter Shilling

Last month Guido told how Labour MP Barry Sheerman has become the first serving MP to register as a lobbyist. Sheerman’s activities, conducted through his firm Policy Connect, caused industry groups to write letters of complaint to Parliament’s Standards Commissioner over the perceived conflict of interest. How can you properly serve your constituents and simultaneously be a registered lobbyist?

Yesterday the Huddersfield MP tweeted a picture of himself alongside the quote:

“Smart meters are a great way of using technology to help save money and make an environmental impact. It is great to hear so many homes in Huddersfield embracing smart meters and I would like to encourage more people to learn about the benefits of this technology.”

It must be a coincidence that Sheerman’s Policy Connect has put out a report on energy policy which, you guessed it, promotes smart meters. Contributors to the research included British Gas, EDF and Agility ECO: all firms in the smart meter business. Sheerman advising his constituents to use products directly linked to his lobbying activities…

Indy and Mirror Worst For Gender Byline Equality

Research by Women in Journalism has found that between 5 June and 22 July the Independent and the Mirror were the worst news organisations for gender byline equality. 91% of Indy front-page bylines during the period were male, just 9% of stories were written by women. The Mirror wasn’t much better, their gender byline ratio was 90% was 10%. The Mirror might be bro-cialists but the Indy spends its whole time lecturing on gender equality, so this is pretty damning for them. In the same period covered by the survey the Guy Newsroom was 25% female, a similar result to The Times…

H/T Press Gazette

Carwyn Jones Picks a Winner

Labour Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones digs as deep as a Rhondda Valley miner during a debate in the Welsh Assembly yesterday afternoon. Tell you what’s really snot on: he then ate it. To be fair to Carwyn, he didn’t go as far as the finger and thumb public double nasal evacuation made famous by Ed Miliband…

Telegraph’s Boris Story Back From the Brink

The Telegraph went all in with the claim that Boris Johnson was set to resign at 1pm yesterday, something both Boris and his team denied within minutes of the story being published. The original copy was swiftly and quietly deleted and replaced with the news that Boris was in fact staying and had “dismissed suggestions” he was about to quit. (Suggestions from, er, the Telegraph.) The unchanged URL address suggests it was the Telegraph rather than Boris that came back from the brink…

RED ROBBINS: May’s Brexit Supremo is Soviet Sympathiser Who Opposed Capitalism

Theresa May’s Brexit supremo Olly Robbins is a former Soviet sympathiser who opposed capitalism, praised Soviet leaders and lamented the demise of Communist Russia, Guido can reveal. As as a student at Hertford College, Oxford in the nineties, “Red Robbins” wrote an article in praise of Soviet Russia for the Oxford Reform Club magazine. In a rewriting of history that would have made Seumas Milne blush, the PM’s new star Number 10 hire wrote:

“The Russian state has endured more than any other major nation in the twentieth century, and has achieved more too… I would never disagree that some of the deeds done in the name of communism were evil, but it is as well to look at the era’s aims and achievements. First among these were the aims of free and fair education, housing and healthcare. These were also the main planks of the post-war consensus here in Britain, and could hardly be described as evil. What is more, they were achieved. More Russians can read than Britons, there are almost no homeless people in Moscow, unlike London… Another achievement was the making of a state, a world power indeed, and one that its people could be proud of. The Soviet leaders changed Russia from a backward peasant autocracy, despised by the West, into a technological giant at whom the world cowered in fear for half a century.”

Red Robbins then lamented the fall of the Soviet Union as meaning there is no longer an alternative to the real baddie: capitalism.

“The demise of the Soviet experiment means that for those growing up in the world today, especially western Europe, there appears to be no alternative to the mad excesses of modern capitalism. To the thinking man and woman, Soviet Russia may not have been ideal, but it was food for thought in the “greed is good” climate of the 1980’s.”

The article concludes that it is unfair to say communism failed because the ravages of Russia’s Tsarist past meant “the experiment was hardly conducted in fair conditions”. A friend of Robbins confirmed he wrote the article but declined to comment on his past views.

So the top civil servant in charge of Brexit is only a former Soviet fanboy who defended Stalin and implied communism was preferable to capitalism. We knew Olly was a Remainer, but we didn’t think he’d be such a keen supporter of the crowning principles behind Juncker’s democracy-hating EU super-state speech last week. On the plus side, Red Robbins will get on famously with Seumas if Corbyn makes it to Number 10…

Owen Goes Full Brent


Owen Jones channels David Brent in the cringe-inducing first 30 seconds of this interview with Bad Al Campbell. “You’ve gotta plan for things have you? Like Iraq?”

What Caused Rachel Sylvester’s Boris Volte Face?

Compare and contrast Rachel Sylvester’s drive-by shooting of Boris two weeks ago – branding him an “international joke”, a “wally”, an “irrelevance” – with today’s piece coming to BoJo’s defence: “It is legitimate for the foreign secretary, who has been criticised for his lack of seriousness, to express his opinion on the biggest diplomatic dilemma facing the country in a generation”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

A senior Leaver tells Guido:

“Remainers have been outgunned. They were telling us EEA was nailed on and Spreadsheet Phil was going to get a 5 year transition.”

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