McDonnell Talks Up Day of Rage: “People Have Right to Be Angry”

John McDonnell has told the Day of Rage protesters they have a “right to be angry” and insisted he was right to say “I don’t think this government is a legitimate government”. As Nick Robinson says in the interview above, McDonnell is trying to have it both ways: telling Radio 4 he opposes violence and yet riling up the protesters in the Morning Star. Remember, this is the same John McDonnell who described the student rioters “kicking the sh*t out of Millbank” as “the best of our movement“.

We know what he really thinks…

BBC News at Ten Huw Edwards Malfunction

Someone’s getting fired…

Ed Miliband: “Tell Us About Your Toilet”

In an alternative universe Prime Minister Ed Miliband is settling into his third year in office. Instead he’s talking to old ladies about their toilets on Radio 2. Oh Ed… where did it all go wrong?

Another No.10 Departure: Iraq War Hero Out

Yesterday Guido told you how the government is understaffed at SpAd level, with Downing Street in particular needing reinforcements after a spate of departures. Here’s another vacancy: a source confirms Chris Brannigan, an Iraq War hero who was the Director of Government Relations at Number 10, is also out. He was the PM’s big business point man. By Guido’s count May now has just 24 advisers, quite a lot fewer than before the election.

If you know of any other updates, let Guido know

DUP Talks Stall

Sky News quote DUP sources saying:

“The party can’t be taken for granted. Negotiations haven’t proceeded in a way that DUP would have expected.”

As Guido reported this morning, Tory MPs are increasingly concerned about the way May has handled the negotiations. Several MPs believe it is possible no deal will be struck. Which won’t stop the Queen’s Speech passing as the DUP would never bring down the government and allow Prime Minister Corbyn. But it would be another humiliation for May…

Coyne Investigation Led by Corbyn’s Commie Chum

Gerard Coyne, who challenged Len McCluskey for the leadership of Unite, has been sacked from his job as a regional organiser for the union. A kangaroo court led by McCluskey and Corbyn’s communist ally Andrew Murray – who now works for Jez – dismissed Coyne on trumped up charges. The election returning officer from Electoral Reform Services – the independent organisation which conducted the poll – had already ruled that there was no breach of the rules. Coyne said in a statement:

“The disciplinary hearing was nothing more than a show trial and the irony not lost on me that Mr McCluskey’s chief of staff, Andrew Murray – a self-confessed admirer of Joseph Stalin – was the investigator and decision maker on the charge I was dismissed for. It is beyond parody that I, as a 30-year member of the Labour Party, should be accused of harming Unite-Labour relations by Mr Murray, a member of the Communist Party for 40 years. It is a public warning to any member of Unite’s staff who is thinking of challenging the way the McCluskey gang run the union: ‘step out of line, and you will be out of a job’. Political dissent is not tolerated inside Unite.”

Coyne says he will appeal. He should complain to his union…

New Labour MP Compared Amber Rudd to Hitler

New Labour MP Ruth George has tried to distance herself from her own Twitter account after the BBC dug up old posts comparing Amber Rudd to Hitler. The new High Peak MP claims the tweets were sent without her knowledge; her ‘spokesman’ says they were sent by “a very passionate campaign volunteer“. Such charming views expressed include calling Amber Rudd “Mein Fuhrer”. Contrary to the denials, the account profile says tweets were sent by George herself. Calibre of new Labour MPs depressingly uninspiring so far…

Barclays Bank €50 Million in Superyacht Sale

Telegraph hacks are on course for that sinking feeling when they find out TMG chairman Aidan Barclay has sold his €50 million superyacht. Measuring more than 244 feet, Enigma was launched in 1991, and was sold to the Telegraph mogul by US billionaire Larry Ellison in 2007. Now Barclay has cashed in on the asset, a sign of hard times sure to leave Telegraph scribblers far from buoyed. Barclay’s superyacht keeps him afloat, one to remember when the next round of job cuts comes…

Hammond’s “Sound Money” Speech Sadly All Spin

Philip Hammond’s Mansion House speech this morning was sound in its rhetoric. “We must make anew the case for a market economy and for sound money,” he said, warning that “higher taxes and higher borrowing” must be rejected, taxes must be kept “as low as possible” or else they will “slow growth, undermine competitiveness, and cost jobs”. He repeated this language at Cabinet, telling colleagues of the “importance of making the case for a market economy and sound money”. This is all positive rhetoric. The policy truth is alas very different.

Hammond confirmed this morning that he still wants to push back closing the deficit until 2025, ten years later than the Tories promised. The Tories have added £500 billion to the national debt in 7 years, Hammond now plans to add a billion a week to the burden. That is not “sound money” by any definition of the term.

Taxes have risen under the Tories. The claim by the Tories to be a low tax party has not been true this century. They raised VAT almost immediately upon coming into office. They argue they have cut business taxes, yet they raised dividend taxes on small business owners and tried to raise National Insurance contributions. Hammond ditched the triple tax lock at the election. He has signalled further tax rises are likely. The tax burden under this Chancellor will rise to its highest level since 1969. That is not keeping taxes “as low as possible”. 

Hammond is sounder on economics than Theresa May and her former aides. Talking up the “market economy” is clearly a slap down of the PM’s failed attempt at interventionism in the manifesto. Though his claim to be funding public services by anything other than more borrowing and more taxes is sadly all spin…

Screw EU! Paddy Power’s Giant Theresa Flips V-Sign

Paddy Power has erected a 110-ft Theresa May statue, offering Europe a two-fingered salute from the White Cliffs of Dover. Ahead of the embattled Prime Minister’s trip to Brussels on Thursday the mischievous bookmaker has offered her some ‘strong and stable’ support. Or, as they call it in Westminster – a ‘hard Brexit’…

The statue can be seen from Normandy, took a 12-man crew a full week to assemble, and sends a clear message to the UK’s soon-to-be former EU neighbours – even if the election didn’t. Paddy Power makes it odds on that more than one Prime Minister will be involved in Brexit talks (2/7) – and just 13/8 that a second General Election will be called this year…

The chances of May performing a U-Turn – her party piece – and deciding that the UK should instead Remain in the EU, are rated at 20/1A Paddy Power spokesman said:

We tried to make the installation look as life-like as possible to Theresa May – which is why it’s two-dimensional and largely wooden. During construction, it was both strong and stable, but soon went weak and wobbly when the winds changed – about as stable as a partnership with the DUP.”

The structure is of such a scale that the fingernails alone are more than five-foot long. And Theresa’s legs are a huge 10-metres tall, the equivalent of almost six Jeremy Corbyns…

Paddy Power Brexit specials:

  • 2/7 More than one UK PM is involved in Brexit negotiations
  • 13/8 Another General Election is called this year
  • 3/1 UK to fail to reach agreement with the EU over a Brexit deal before the March 2019 deadline
  • 4/1 A second EU Referendum to be held before 2019
  • 7/2 The UK to apply to re-join the EU within ten years
  • 20/1 Theresa May to perform a U-turn and announce that the UK will Remain

Content produced and sponsored by Paddy Power

May to Schmooze MPs at No.10 Party Tonight

“I don’t gossip. I don’t go drinking in Parliament’s bars. I don’t often wear my heart on my sleeve. I just get on with the job in front of me,” Theresa May is famously fond of telling us. As a sign of how much things have changed, this evening she is throwing a drinks party for Tory MPs at Number 10, taking the unprecedented step of schmoozing her own MPs. Colleagues say this is a rare occurrence – not many of these events have taken place under May. Good to see the PM finally come round to the merits of a drink and a gossip…

Sir Vince Standing at 74

74 year-old Vince Cable has announced he is running for LibDem leader. Ming Campbell was 66 when he was forced out because he was too old…

Tom Brake has suggested that he is out of the running, tweeting: “Thanks for your kind words of support & encouragement, but my focus remains on local issues & serving the people of Carshalton & Wallington”. Cable, Davey and Lamb left. The field narrows…

“Soft” and “Hard” Brexit Terms Obsolete

The language of “soft Brexit” and “hard Brexit” is still being used by the pro-Remain broadsheets and broadcasters. Let Guido explain why these terms are obsolete and shouldn’t be used by objective TV news reporters…

First, the definitions of these terms change on the whim of Remainers. Last week, according to Sky News and co, “soft Brexit” meant staying in the single market and customs union. “Hard Brexit” meant leaving them. Since Philip Hammond signalled the UK will leave the single market and customs union, Sky News reporters have today redefined “soft Brexit” to mean transitional arrangements. How can viewers keep up?

Before the election, “hard Brexit” meant a no deal WTO Brexit. Since the election, Sky and others redefined “hard Brexit” to mean leaving the single market and customs union. That is surely just Brexit? This constant redefining of the terms to fit the editorial agendas of newspapers and broadcasters just doesn’t stand up to basic scrutiny. 

Remainers and their media allies need to be honest about what they mean when they talk about “soft Brexit”. If “soft Brexit” means staying inside the single market (not taking back control of borders), staying inside the customs union (not taking back control of trade), and staying inside the ECJ (not taking back control of laws), then that is not Brexit. Hammond and other Remainers in the Cabinet have accepted this. Only hardcore Remainers don’t.

This language is used exclusively by Remain supporters, Brexiters reject it entirely. Any broadcaster using the words “soft Brexit” and “hard Brexit” is misleading its viewers and revealing its anti-Brexit agenda…

Tory MPs Unimpressed By May’s DUP Negotiating Skills

Tory MPs expected the PM to have a deal in place with the DUP well before tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech, instead it has gone right to the wire. Nine days have passed since Downing Street erroneously announced a deal had been struck, only to have to clarify that it hadn’t. An announcement could finally come today, though there is growing unrest among Tory backbenchers about the way the negotiation has been handled…

By announcing from the offset that a deal would be made, Tory MPs believe the PM has allowed the DUP to hold her for ransom for all the bridges and roads they want, or else fail to reach a deal and look even more chaotic. Tory MPs say anyone with a basic understanding of Northern Ireland knows there is no way the DUP would bring down the government and allow Corbyn into Number 10. A formal deal they argue therefore isn’t a necessity, a Tory minority government would still be able to pass a Queen’s Speech without one. By putting all her cards on the table and pre-announcing her unequivocal desire for a deal before it had been negotiated, May handed the DUP all the negotiating power. As one Tory snarks, “Good thing we don’t have any other big negotiations coming up…”

Corbyn Praised at London Hezbollah Rally

The annual Al Quds day rally took place in central London yesterday afternoon. The Khomeinist march – in support of the destruction of the State of Israel – openly supports Hezbollah, whose military wing is a proscribed organisation in the UK. Jeremy Corbyn was photographed in front of a Hezbollah flag when he spoke at the march in 2012. This year he sensibly chose not to attend…

As the march snaked to the US Embassy in Grovsenor Square, anti-Israel chants rang out under dozens of yellow AK-47 emblazoned Hezbollah flags. Addressing the rally, Mick Napier from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign accused “Zionists” of trying to depose Corbyn:

“This is a dramatic moment… Jeremy Corbyn has stood by the Palestinian people for 30 years, the Zionists hate him, they tried to get him prevented from becoming leader, they’re trying to get him removed.”

Meanwhile a speaker from Stop the War suggested Labour Friends of Israel are also trying to undermine Jez. “Zionists” were blamed for the Grenfell tower fire by a speaker at the rally, underlining the level of blatant lunacy displayed at the event. This is a terror-linked rally that lavished praise on Jeremy Corbyn and which he formerly backed…

Tommy Robinson Called British Muslims “Enemy Combatants”

After Guido suggested this morning that “Tommy Robinson and Anjem Choudary  have a lot in common” people who should know better are defending Robinson as some kind of peace loving advocate of liberal democracy. Guido would suggest they look at these recent two videos for his “Rebel Media” channel. Here, Robinson talks about “cleaning out this Islamic problem“:

Phrased carefully for his viewers, saying the British public will form militias to do it. Who is it that has a history of organising the type of people obsessively concerned about these matters?

And here he describes normal British Muslims as “enemy combatants”:

There are a lot of similarities between Tommy and his opposite number Anjem Choudary:

  • Both agree on an expansionist, conquering interpretation of the Quran.
  • Both are denounced by the vast, vast majority of British Muslims.
  • Both have been in prison.
  • Both led extremist organisations.
  • Both love noisy confrontational street demonstrations where violence and arrests were common.
  • Both have been taken apart in BBC interviews by Andrew Neil.
  • Both, in their time, loved a beer and a fag.
  • Both were based in Luton.
  • Both struggled to keep their language short of incitement to violence laws, treading carefully to avoid official action against them.
  • Both are attention-seeking media manipulators who exploit legitimate grievances.

Neither of them commit violent acts, they do however feed into a narrative that inspires fellow travellers to do so…

Government Understaffed: Key SpAd Vacancies Up For Grabs

Guido has started to put together his SpAd List. We are still some way off appointments being signed off, though there are no Nick and Fi around this time to veto anyone who might show original thought. Number 10 has signed up DCMS SpAd and former Sun man Craig Woodhouse to do press – a much-need hire – though the PM is still without a Director of Communications. May has a lot of appointments to make following the departures of Timothy, Hill, Katie Perrior, Lizzie Loudon, Will Tanner, Alex Burghart and Neil O’Brien. In the Treasury, Philip Hammond has to replace his top SpAds Graham Hook and Hayden Allan. Michael Fallon has vacancies. There is a big media SpAd vacancy for David Davis after James Chapman left – Guido hears DD sounded out several potential candidates during the election campaign but has yet to make an appointment. Tough gig…

If you are a SpAd who has left the government or been promoted or appointed, or if you know of any further moves, get in touch. Guido will post updates as we get them…

No, The Media Is Not Treating Finsbury Park Differently

A lot of people who should know better are claiming the media reported today’s Finsbury Park attack differently to attacks committed by Islamist terrorists. Their theory is that the media aren’t calling what happened today “terrorism“, and are instead using the word “incident“. This really is misleading and hugely irresponsible, deliberately stirring up the idea of some huge media conspiracy. As James Bloodworth points out, the media reported today’s attack no differently to the way it initially reports all attacks. During both the London Bridge attack and Westminster attack, coverage initially used the word “incident”…

As annoying as it is for the lefty virtue signallers of Twitter, journalists have to get the facts from the authorities before they can call an incident a terror attack. As soon as the government and police called it a terror attack, the media immediately followed suit:

Also worth noting that because the alleged attacker was captured alive and arrested, reporting restrictions apply so as to not prejudice any future trial. Shoddy stuff from those journalists and celebs claiming conspiracy…

EU States in ‘Violent Disagreement’ on Immigration

The EU’s East-West divide on immigration is on show yet again at today’s foreign affairs council in Luxembourg. The Germans are in ‘violent disagreement’ with the Hungarians, whose government has rejected migrant quotas; meanwhile the European Commission is taking Hungary as well as Poland and the Czech Republic to court for failing to take their quotas. German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel has said the quotas are up to the European courts to enforce. Turns out the member states are far from united on this key policy area…

Brexit Talks Underway

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Let battle commence…[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

According to the Mail, when Tory MP Marcus Fysh called Venezuela a ‘socialist experiment gone wrong’ at PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn mouthed:

“What a complete w*nker.”

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