Sam Lister is New Daily Express Political Editor

Last night Guido revealed The Express has promoted deputy pol-ed Sam Lister up to pol-ed, replacing Macer Hall who announced his departure a week ago in the pursuit of “new opportunities”. Lister, according to previous incumbent Patrick O’Flynn, is the first female to hold the role at the paper after joining the paper almost four years ago. Sam tells Guido:

“‘I’m absolutely thrilled to take on the role of political editor at the Daily Express and head of politics for the brand.

I’ve got big shoes to fill taking over from Macer Hall, who was a fantastic boss and is a true gent.

I’m so lucky to be working with such a talented team at the Daily Express and I’m really excited for the future.

I’m really pleased to have kicked off the first day in the job with an in depth interview with leadership front runner Liz Truss.”

Read Sam’s Truss interview, the by-line of which first tipped Guido off about the promotion, here

mdi-timer 9 August 2022 @ 09:21 9 Aug 2022 @ 09:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ruth Davidson: Boris Said Being Foreign Secretary Was Like Being In a “Steel Condom”

Never one to go soft on her criticism, former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has once again let the world know her unguarded views of the PM. Speaking to Iain Dale during his Edinburgh Fringe show last night, Davidson claimed:

“[Boris] once described being Foreign Secretary to me as like being enclosed in a steel condom. I found it odd because I hadn’t asked him. I think he meant the amount of attention he had from Civil Servants to make sure he didn’t say anything. Imprisoned in a steel condom is what he said. I’ve never heard that as a phrase […] it would certainly affect performance, but this is not my area of expertise as I think you’ve already covered.”

Inevitably, Dale shot back with “I’m quite surprised that Boris Johnson knows what a condom is”…

 

mdi-timer 9 August 2022 @ 09:02 9 Aug 2022 @ 09:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Campaign Update: Liz Gets Tough on Crime, Raab Sticks the Knife In

Good Tuesday morning. There are 25 days left of the Tory leadership campaign.

Today’s new policy:

  • It’s crime day for Liz Truss, committing to make streets safer
  • Liz will set targets for police to cut key crimes by 20% before the end of this parliament. A convenient pre-election push…
  • She will finish off the job of recruiting 20,000 new officers
  • Rates of homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime (including burglary) will have to be published by each force.

On the grapevine:

  • Guido hears MPs planning on switching allegiances from Rishi to Liz are set to start announcing imminently

In other news:

  • The cost of living row rages on, with Team Rishi continuing to argue her plans are inflationary, cripplingly expensive and “won’t touch the sides” for most of the worst off
  • Truss’s team continues to emphasise that not only is she not ruling out additional support when we know the true scale of the problems, her tax cuts will help significantly, and she’s guaranteeing the already-announced September package of support will go ahead.
  • In an interview with the Express, Liz warns the Treasury blob not to “get in the way” of her and her plans for growth.
  • Team Truss keenly shared this latest poll by Redfield/Wilton, once again showing she’s more popular than both Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak

Today’s new policy:

  • Sticking to the cost of living wicket, Rishi is expected to announce more details about his plans to tackle the additional cost of living strains forecast by the Bank of England
  • It’s expected he’ll pledge to extend the support package he committed to as Chancellor, with a prioritised increase in support for the most vulnerable and likely increase to the £400 universal hand out
  • In an extremely feisty op-ed in today’s Times, Rishi’s star backer Dominic Raab goes in all guns blazing on Truss, writing that her policies would write an “electoral suicide note” for the party, and cast them into the “impotent oblivion” of opposition. That’s him ruled out of a Cabinet job in Liz’s government then…
  • Team Rishi say his package will replicate the process undertaken by the Treasury to cobble together support for Ukraine; making government departments contribute capital underspends via efficiency savings. They provide no details on how much money this process raised for Ukraine, and therefore how much money a similar process could make available for cost of living support…
  • Questions remain about funding for these promises, and why Rishi believes Liz’s billions in tax cuts would be inflationary, while his spending wouldn’t be. A Liz source quipped to Isabel Hardman last night that he’s intellectually “as watertight as a sieve.”

In other news:

  • Rishi has revised his policy on remaining EU statute. Rather than reviewing all remaining legislation by 2024, he’s now promising to one-up Liz Truss by reviewing or scrapping all remaining post-Brexit EU law in his first 100 daysHe has a snazzy video featuring the slogan “Keep Brexit safe”.

Bookies Odds (Previous in Brackets):

  • Liz Truss 1/16 (nc)
  • Rishi Sunak 13/2 (nc)

mdi-timer 9 August 2022 @ 07:00 9 Aug 2022 @ 07:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Online Safety Bill May Kill WhatsApp in UK

Bad news for just about everybody working in SW1: WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart has warned the app may be pulled from the UK entirely if the Online Safety Bill reaches the statute books. As if this bill needed any more reasons to be scrapped…

Speaking on the BBC’s Tech Tent podcast, Cathcart slammed the bill for an amendment which would force WhatsApp and other tech companies to make their “best endeavours” to use new technology to flag inappropriate and abusive content, essentially by snooping on users’ private conversations. As Cathcart puts it, “what’s being proposed is that […] we read everyone’s messages”.

Essentially, the bill would give Ofcom the power to compel companies to abandon end-to-end encryption. Like the Free Speech Union points out, this is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut: when the UK’s own Information Commissioner’s Office is saying this sort of thing is a bad idea, maybe it needs rethinking. First the Bill gives Big Tech the power to censor online content, now it wants them to create back door keys to everyone’s private messages…

mdi-timer 8 August 2022 @ 15:13 8 Aug 2022 @ 15:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
New Climate Zealotry Party Shows Little Promise

Do you believe the world is set to combust in the next 20 years? Do you believe Greta Thunberg is the new messiah? Do you believe the Green Party is essentially made up of secret pro-climate change Tories in disguise? Well does Guido have some good news for you…

Over the weekend The Guardian gave digital column inches to Ed Gemmell, the man behind a new eco party pitching itself as the parliamentary wing of Extinction Rebellion. After having already covered the launch of this new ‘Climate Party’ a week ago – admittedly something that seemingly flew under almost everyone’s radar – Ed spells out his platform:

“The Climate party is about thriving, not just about surviving. Our aim is clear: the Conservative party should adopt a programme to decarbonise Britain by 2030; or, at the next general election, we will strive to replace a sufficient number of Conservative MPs in parliament in order to influence that agenda ourselves.”

Unfortunately for our ecosystem, the track record of Ed Gemmell suggests the party will neither thrive, nor survive. The CPS’ Robert Colvile has done some excellent digging and discovered Gemmell launched a fundraiser in 2019 to “PREVENT THE CLIMATE CRISIS”. Said fundraiser made £0 out of £770 from 0 supporters. Precisely what £770 was supposed to do in the fight against climate change remains a mystery.

He also raised £71 for ‘No Disposable Cup Day’…

Ed’s no newcomer to politics. Elected as a councillor in Buckinghamshire, he stood as an independent against Steve Baker – under his full name of Edmund – in 2019, accruing a whopping 191 votes, which compared to his previous fundraising attempt looks like a stunning result. He also claimed during one hustings that the last extinction level event occurred 66 years ago, rather than 66 million years ago…

Despite Ed’s radical and counterproductive policies like Net Zero by 2030 and “limit population growth”, his social media suggests his day-to-day activism is limited to celebrating the lack of disposable coffee cups at a hockey club, and asking McDonald’s to put his order in his own Tupperware – which given all of Maccies’ packaging is recyclable, seems unlikely to stop a climate catastrophe.

To avoid any perceptions of hypocrisy, Gemmell tried selling his gas-guzzling Vauxhall Opel Speedster three days before launching his eco party, on the pretence that “All my climate work is unpaid currently. I need to sell this asset to be able to continue full time.”

Presumably his desperation to flog it has nothing to do with the fact he’s spent 20 years driving a car that only gets 33mpg…

mdi-timer 8 August 2022 @ 13:45 8 Aug 2022 @ 13:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Councils Have Spent £15 Million on Public Artwork Since 2019

Fresh off the revelation that taxpayers footed a £3 million bill to an art charity which went on to create the “nuanced and thoughtful “HEY STRAIGHT WHITE MEN” posters, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has now unearthed even more eye-watering spending of taxpayer cash on ‘art’. Since 2019, councils across the UK have forked out £14,678,074 on public artwork throughout the country, with a further £3,770,135 coming from various government-backed grants and schemes to bring the total cost to almost £20 million. The biggest individual spend comes from Gloucester City Council, which splashed £1,865,000 on “artistic sculptural stone and decorative feature lighting and fountains in Kings Square”:

Now the TPA is running a contest to find the worst offender, with “Britain’s worst council art” to be crowned on Friday 2nd September. Here are a few of the nominees…

Guido can imagine some of these accidentally being destroyed by council-employed cleaners, rightly mistaking them for general vandalism. Cast your vote now

mdi-timer 8 August 2022 @ 12:47 8 Aug 2022 @ 12:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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