Red Len’s Hotel Hospitality Hypocrisy

Unite went on the attack yesterday over employment practices in hotels and restaurants, slamming chef Michel Roux for including service charges added to bills in his revenue. On the subject of workers’ rights in the hospitality industry, worth remembering Unite boss Len McCluskey was caught enjoying himself at the £1,200 a night Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo last year. What the papers missed was that the hotel was the scene of the longest strike over staff pay and conditions in Monaco’s history, when waiters and cleaners protested against a 50% cut in take-home pay. With ammo like this, it’s a surprise Coyne hasn’t started getting personal yet…

Guido’s Davos Fashion Report

George Osborne has turned heads with his suit, jumper and trainers combo at Davos this week, complete with a white sole trendy some time in early 2016. He’s with Amal Clooney, fighting injustice in a Chanel haute couture ivory dress on sale at £9,875, styled with a pair of Paul Andrew “Escarpins en daim”, which retail at £290. David Cameron sits back and chillaxes in his natty suede boots, perhaps a new purchase paid for by his speeches in Switzerland this week. Then we have Gordon Brown, who has grown his grey locks long for a slightly Beatles feel. He’s chatting to Shakira, her Latin roots showing through her wavy honey blonde hair with sun-kissed highlights and strawberry blonde lowlights, kept healthy with sulphate-free shampoo. She also poses with Jamie Oliver, slightly out of place with his spivvy over-gelled hair and flasher’s mac. It’s the place to be seen…

Momentum Candidate Glamour Photographer’s Sexy Snaps Masterclass

A top Corbynista standing for election as a regional chair of Momentum is a former glamour photographer who took thousands of sexy snaps and recommended models with “perfect body statistics“. An hour-long video shows Southend Labour spokesman Mike Fieldhouse posing-up sultry models clad in stockings, corsets and thigh-high leather boots. During his instructional film Glamour Photography Masterclass With Mike Fieldhouse, the Corbyn cheerleader has a blonde woman pose suggestively across a motorbike, describing the scene as “good stuff“. Later he advises: “If you want top models you have pay top prices. What you’re paying for is sheer professionalism and perfect body statistics.” Fieldhouse describes himself on his website as “your local Labour Party spokesman” and states:

“By 2015 I had all but given up hope of seeing a fair and just society in the UK during my lifetime. That was until Jeremy Corbyn’s brilliant leadership campaign reignited my enthusiasm and belief that a party with truly socialist policies.”

He also claims to work “part-time for a charity, providing counselling to survivors of childhood sexual abuse and rape“. No doubt this revelation will go down brilliantly with his feminist comrades…

Montie Out, Iain Martin In at The Times

Tim Montgomerie’s column for today’s Times is his last. Montie says he’s off to set up a new project after nearly four years at the paper, good luck to him. MediaGuido understands he will be replaced by Iain Martin, another sensible Brexiteer whose Reaction website has published some of the more thoughtful Brexit-related punditry. Iain will be writing a weekly column starting next week. An important hire especially now the paper is losing Tim. Most of the Times’ other comment writers are zombie metropolitan columnists spouting increasingly irrelevant punditry…

Tories Lead Labour in North

YouGov’s headline figure of a 42% – 25% Tory lead over Labour in this morning’s is bad enough for Corbyn. Even worse is the Tory lead in the North and among working class voters. Perhaps Jez will say the polls are rigged too…

Older People Want Burqa Ban

By 50% to 38% YouGov finds that Britons want a burqa ban. Last week Morocco became the latest country to take steps, the government banned the sale, production and import of the burqa, giving retailers 48 hours to destroy their stocks. Could it happen in the UK?

Drill down in the numbers and it turns out that there is only majority support for a burqa ban from over 50s. More than 70% of over 65s support a ban… 

France has made covering the face in public a punishable offence – with the support of many Muslim scholars and imams who say it is not required under sharia. Despite legal challenges the European Court of Human Rights upheld the legality of the law in 2014. Elsewhere in Europe Norway’s parliament has voted to ban the burqa, Belgium and Bulgaria have already passed banning legislation. Regions in Italy and Switzerland have also banned the burqa. Personally Guido thinks it unfortunate if a woman feels obliged or culturally pressured to wear a burqa. However in a free society it is not the role of the state to dictate what citizens can and cannot wear – the Taliban ban women from wearing mini-skirts…

Welcome “Westmonster”

Arron Banks is backing a new “anti-establishment” news and comment website to be run by Nigel Farage’s former spinner Michael Heaver. Westmonster” will apparently be “modelled on the Drudge Report”, so expect plenty of external links aggregating Brexit/UKIP news stories. This is Heaver’s second attempt at an aggregator website. Certainly interesting to see if it takes off – Heaver can tap into the social media following from Banks’ Leave.EU so he will be starting with a very decent Facebook presence. The site is not to be confused with the Westmonster which launched in 2007 and went bust a year or so later.

Westmonster will enter the crowded ideological media space ocupied by the likes of Breitbart London and Conservative Woman, offering op-eds and hot takes starting with Farage today. There is a niche for alt-right style viral news and opinion, and as Breitbart have found it brings a lot of trash traffic. Tough to maintain credibility while chasing those sorts of clicks though. So what can readers expect? Links in the Westmonster ‘trending’ section this morning include “Brits want burka banned”, its first blog rails against “wall-to-wall bitching and whining from Remoaners”Guido wishes them well…

Labour NEC Panel Fudges Danczuk Decision

Labour have farcically delayed making a final decision on the status of the still suspended Simon Danczuk. Guido understands Danczuk has been referred to the party’s Constitutional Committee after an NEC disciplinary panel failed to reach a judgement on his readmittance to the party. Absurdly Danczuk has now been waiting for a decision more than a year after those spanking sexts, while the likes of Keith Vaz retain the whip. Danczuk says he is now considering his future options:

“Prior to today’s decision I had been interviewed by party officials and subsequently believed the matter would be settled satisfactorily. I am disappointed that this committee have chosen to delay a final decision. This seems unfair given other cases which have been resolved far more smoothly. While I was, and remain, supportive of Keith Vaz MP, it does appear that I have been treated very differently. I will be talking to friends, family and colleagues about my future options. However, I currently remain Rochdale’s Member of Parliament and will continue to serve the town efficiently and effectively.”

So Labour have cleared the members who used anti-Semitic slurs yet kicked the Danczuk decision into the long grass again…

Gisela Stuart: Don’t Mention the War!

Wise advice from Boris’ former Vote Leave comrade…

Tristram Hunt on Centre-Left’s Existential Crisis

Outgoing Tristram Hunt gives his final Commons speech:

“I represent a constituency that voted 70-30 to Leave the European Union… This division of opinion between the official Labour Party position and many of our heartland voters have served only to highlight some of the deep-seated challenges which centre-left parties are facing. From Greece to the Netherlands, Sweden to France, the combination of austerity, globalisation and EU policy has hammered social democratic politics… What Brexit has done is exacerbate the divergence of priorities between what the Labour voters of Cambridge want, and those in Redcar, Grimsby or Stoke-on-Trent. Keeping a metropolitan and post-industrial coalition together is no easy task.”

In other words, Labour is increasingly irrelevant in Brexit Britain, and Tristram doesn’t have the answer…

Labour Benches Googling “Museum Directorships Near Me”

Now that the single market and the customs union (in its current trade-deal restricting form) are out of the question, just what are the Europhiles going to moan about? One half-expected Jeremy Corbyn to start today by earnestly inquiring if the Prime Minister will keep the glorious EU flag on our driving licenses and make sure butchers don’t start selling meat in pounds and ounces to the carnivorous, Brexit-voting xenophobes of the nation. It’s a sweet irony that arch-Remainers are now in the position of nitpicking about irrelevant minutiae of the European project, a criticism traditionally reserved for veteran Eurosceptics.

In the chamber today it quickly became clear that Jez, bless him, doesn’t seem to have quite cottoned on to the implications of the PM’s speech, and so instead decided to continue his established line of questioning. “Last year the Prime Minister said that leaving the single market could make trade deals “considerably harder”” he moaned. “The Chancellor said after the referendum that to lose single market access would be “catastrophic””, he cried. Getting desperate he wailed at Theresa May about the need for “frictionless access to the single market”, before finally demanding to know “will we have to pay for access to the market or not?” May and Hammond chuckled to themselves as they sat and watched the leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition valiantly flog a long dead horse.

This sort of meltdown is what happens when you force poor Jeremy to think on his feet: he malfunctions and naturally reverts to mindlessly regurgitating his standard single market moan-fest. The nadir came when the Labour leader attempted to crack a gag, “Restoring parliamentary democracy while sidelining Parliament”, Corbyn quipped, “is not so much the Iron Lady as the Irony Lady”. Dennis Skinner, surely an expert in the matter of poor political jokes, delivered his verdict in the form of a glum thousand mile stare into the middle distance. On the backbenches some Labour MPs momentarily stopped Googling “Museum Directorships near Me” and sighed in Corbyn’s general direction.

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Wrecking Peers In Pay of Universities

At least 20 peers who tried to derail the government’s Higher Education Bill last week are in the pay of universities, Guido can reveal. Jo Johnson’s Bill aims to encourage competition by allowing new high-quality higher education providers to call themselves universities. Naturally existing universities oppose the extra competition and want to block the Bill. Last week it reached committee stage in the Lords, where peers voted for a wrecking amendment to derail it. Guido can reveal a stunning conflict of interest: 20 of the Lords who voted to frustrate the Bill are in the pay of universities. They are:

  1. Lord Alton of Liverpool, Director and Professor of Citizenship, Liverpool John Moores University Foundation for Citizenship (Paid until Sept 2016)
  2. Lord Blunkett, Holder of a personal Chair of Politics in Practice, University of Sheffield (Paid)
  3. Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Vice Chancellor, Aston University (Paid)
  4. Lord Elystan-Morgan, Independent Chairman of a Forwarding Group Committee established by the following Higher Education Institutions, namely, University of Wales; University of Wales Trinity/St Davids; University of Swansea Metropolitan; to consider ways of bringing about the amalgamation of these institutions; (Paid – “fees paid on an ad hoc sittings basis”)
  5. Lord Hain, Visiting Professor, University of South Wales (Paid)
  6. Viscount Hanworth, Professor of Econometrics and Computational Statistics, University of Leicester (Paid)
  7. Baroness Hayman, Chair, Cambridge University Health Partners (Paid)
  8. Baroness Hughes of Stretford, Chair of Council, University of Salford (Paid)
  9. Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, Master of Mansfield College, Oxford (Paid)
  10. Baroness Kidron, Visiting Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University (Paid in kind – Member’s expenses are reimbursed and accommodation is provided)
  11. Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, Professorial Fellow, University of Stirling, Scotland (Paid)
  12. Lord Mair, Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cambridge (Paid)
  13. Lord Morgan, “Retired Academic” (Paid)
  14. Baroness Quin, Member of the Court of Newcastle University; Council Member, University College, Durham (Paid)
  15. Lord Reid of Cardowan, Chairman, Institute for Security and Resilience Studies, University College, London (Paid)
  16. Lord Smith of Finsbury, Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge (Paid)
  17. Baroness Smith of Newnham, Senior University Lecturer in International Relations, University of Cambridge; Graduate Tutor and Director of Studies/Fellow in Politics, Robinson College, University of Cambridge; (Paid)
  18. Lord Tomlinson, Higher Education College, in partnership with a number of UK State Universities; Chairman, Advisory Panel, London School of Commerce (also, of its two associated Schools: School of Technology & Management; and School of Business & Law) (Paid)
  19. Lord Winston, Professor, Science and Society, Imperial College London (Paid)
  20. Baroness Wolf of Dulwich, Professor of Public Sector Management, King’s College, University of London (Paid)

These conflicted ermine-clad boffins voted against the reforms while taking money from universities who want to block them. They essentially form a paid up self-interested “Universities Party” in the House of Lords, with no one there to represent students’ interests. If all those with a personal interest in higher education had recused themselves from last week’s vote, the wrecking amendment would have failed. Imagine the outcry if such a conflict of interest existed over a vote on any other industry…

UPDATE: Baroness Brown of Cambridge is no longer in the remunerated employment of Aston University.

All Male Shortlist For Momentum Elections

Over on the Momentum website members are voting to elect their new regional chairs. There are 17 candidates. All 17 are men. They are: Lee Jasper (yes, that Lee Jasper), Sam Smith-Warren, Adrie Van Der Meer, Jamie Green, Mark Dale, Gary Wareing, Mike Fieldhouse, Phil Pope, Ian Pope, Andy Ives, Davey Ivens, Geoff Littlefield, John Talbut, John Taylor, Al Gonzalez, Alex Scott-Samuel and Joshua Brandwood. Brocialism in action…

H/T Exposing Momentum

WATCH: Corybn’s “Irony Lady” Gag Bombs at PMQs

The irony was nobody laughed…

PMQs: Who’s Asking The Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 18 January

Q2 Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North)

Q3 Chris Bryant (Rhondda) If she will visit the Rhondda

Q4 Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)

Q5 Mr Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)

Q6 Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)

Q7 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden)

Q8 Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside)

Q9 Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley)

Q10 Dr Eilidh Whiteford (Banff and Buchan)

Q11 Karl McCartney (Lincoln)

Q12 Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South)

Q13 Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch)

Q14 Richard Fuller (Bedford)

Comments in the comments…

Nuttall’s Friends Tell Him to Stand in Stoke

Friends of Paul Nuttall are intimating that he is minded to stand in the Stoke-on-Trent by-election. He is certainly being told by senior Kippers, both those on his team and Farage supporters, that he must run. In the ‘pros’ column, Nuttall is said to see it as a chance to quickly seize the narrative, carve out a vision for UKIP under his leadership and keep the party relevant following Theresa May’s speech yesterday.[…] Read the rest

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