— Channel 4 (@Channel4) November 6, 2018
Kay Burley’s run on Channel 4’s Celebrity Hunted sadly came to an end last night after getting dobbed in by a Warburton’s manager, although not before she managed to have a stand-up row with her accomplice Johnny Mercer MP. Mercer somewhat unadvisedly told her she was having a “complete meltdown” after she complained that he had “just f**ked off” and abandoned her. Mercer’s diplomatic skills haven’t been quite as polished as usual of late…
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot yesterday evening revealed that she was “initially taken in” by a phishing scam, potentially granting scammers access to her computer. The Home Office is of course the ministry responsible for national cyber-security. Guido hopes that come the revolution, Diane won’t be so careless with all our personal data…
Lefties have been jumping on board the faux outrage bus in an attempt to inflict another Toby Young-style ousting of a right-wing government adviser. This time it’s the preeminent Conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, unpaid chairman of a government housing commission on “Building Better, Building Beautiful”, who has been put in the stocks, with a rag-bag of allegations of anti-Semtisim, homophobia and Islamophobia being levelled against him.
Labour rent-a-mouth Andrew Gwynne told BuzzFeed: “Nobody holding those views has a place in modern democracy. The prime minister needs to finally show some leadership and sack Scruton with an investigation into how he was appointed in the first place.” Has Andrew Gwynne done as much for modern democracy as Sir Roger Scruton? Unlikely.
Scruton spent years in the 1980s travelling to Communist Central Europe, building bridges with dissident academics and students, putting himself in harm’s way for their freedom. In 1985 he was arrested, expelled from Czechoslovakia and placed on the communist government’s “Index of Undesirable Persons”. After the fall of Communism President Vaclav Havel presented him with the Czech Republic’s Medal of Merit. Gwynne was still in short trousers at the time…
The Red Roar, which started the pile-on, uses an egregiously selective half-quotation to level an accusation of anti-Semitism at Scruton, quoting him as saying: “many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form party of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire.” The full quote shows that Scruton is saying quite the opposite and warning about the ongoing problem of anti-Semitism in Hungary:
“Many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire. People in these networks include many who are rightly suspicious of nationalism, regard nationalism as the major cause of the tragedy of Central Europe in the 20th century, and do not distinguish nationalism from the kind of national loyalty that I have defended in this talk. Moreover, as the world knows, indigenous anti-Semitism still plays a part in Hungarian society and politics, and presents an obstacle to the emergence of a shared national loyalty among ethnic Hungarians and Jews.”
Red Roar also “reveal” that Scruton is a friend of unsavoury Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has a long-running feud with his former ally George Soros. In fact Scruton only knows Orban because he helped him and a few other Hungarian students set up an independent law school in the late 1980s in Communist Czechoslovakia. Scruton lectured in that law school, as part of his drive to get young people to work for their country’s freedom. Attacking Scruton for this is pathetic…
Scruton actually took on Orban and lobbied hard against his move to close down the Central European University in Budapest last year. The university founded by George Soros…
Attempting to force Scruton out of a non-political government appointment on the basis of quotations taken out of context and a highly selective use of historical facts is dishonest. The only people guilty of illiberalism are the ones pursuing student union-style attempts to purge the ranks of civil society of any vestiges of conservative thought…
The BBC have obtained a copy of what appears to be the Government’s grid for selling the Brexit deal to a sceptical public and Parliament. Time will tell how accurate it turns out to be…
Brexit Communications Grid Summary
Cabinet reviews the deal this Tuesday, the 6th November. They expect all the details to then leak.
“A moment of decisive progress” will be announced this Thursday. Raab to announce.
The narrative is going to be measured success, that this is good for everyone, but won’t be all champagne corks popping.
Then there’s recess until 12th.
After the announcement of decisive progress there follows the 10 days of Sherpa meetings with EU 27 and then daily themed announcements.
19th November – “We have delivered on the referendum” PM speaks at the CBI conference.
Saying this deal brings the country back together, now is the time for us all to unite behind it for the good of all our futures etc. She will also hold a business reception.
This is the day both the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework will be put to Parliament by way of a statement from Raab who will also do media. Junior ministers are doing regional media all day. Government lining up 25 top business voices including Carolyn Fairburn and lots of world leaders eg Japanese PM to tweet support for the deal.
20th – Theme is Delivering for the Whole of the UK – PM to visit the north and or Scotland and the Commons will debate in business motions the date of the Meaningful Vote.
PM will be back in the house to vote. The Cabinet Office publishes its explainer of the deal and what it means for the public, comparing it to No Deal, but not to our current deal.
Other business leaders to come out and back it eg Adam Marshall from Chambers of Commerce and supportive voices in devolved regions like Andy Street and Andy Burnham. Also hoping to get 3rd Sector voices out supporting it.
21st – Theme is Economy, Jobs, Customs. Philip Hammond to open debate in Commons and Raab to close it. Institute of Directors to speak out.
Hoping for Stephen Martin, Martin McTeague etc
22nd – Theme is immigration – take back control of our borders. Home Sec doing media and visits. Raab on QT in the West mids.
Hope Mike Hawes of SMMT will speak out in favour along with influential voices from the rest of the world saying how great this is for the flow of global talent.
23rd – Theme is money – NHS funding and structural funds. Matt Hancock hospital visit. David Everett to welcome the deal alongside Tech for UK.
24th Theme is Northern Ireland and The Union – no hard border in the UK and the integrity of the Union is protected. PM visits border communities and business in NI and maybe also to Wales to visit agri and export businesses. Karen Bradley doing media.
Trying to get Varadker to support and Anand Menon and Henry Newman too.
25th – Theme is global Britain. We can strike trade deals with RoW (rest of world) security in this one too.
Speech from Liam Fox. Jeremy Hunt on Marr. Hope Miles Celic to come out in support (City UK).
Lining up lots of former foreign secs to come out in support and Mark Littlewood of the IEA.
26th – theme is taking back control of our laws, Raab doing media. PM interview with Dimbleby.
27th – morning theme is agri and fisheries. Gove doing a visit and media.
Evening is the vote. HISTORIC MOMENT, PUT YOUR OWN INTERESTS ASIDE, PUT THE COUNTRY’S INTERESTS FIRST AND BACK THIS DEAL.
With America going to vote in the midterm elections today, Guido thought he would bring you a little
flavour flavor of the campaign across the pond. These were the scenes at a Trump rally last night after a woman in the crowd fainted – his enraptured supporters broke into a spontaneous rendition of Amazing Grace as Trump himself nodded along in approval. “Beautiful”…
It’s hard to imagine anything like this taking place in the UK. Unless it’s the Red Flag at Labour Party Conference, that is…
Channel 4 have released a teaser trailer for their upcoming Brexit drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Vote Leave supremo Dominic Cummings. The trailer doesn’t necessarily calm the suspicions that this is going to be more of a Cadwalladr-inspired techno-conspiracy than a serious political drama. Will they have to dramatically rewrite their script after the Information Commissioner blew apart Carole’s conspiracies today?
— CPS Think Tank (@CPSThinkTank) November 6, 2018
The Centre for Policy Studies launched their new policy agenda at a snazzy reception with the Prime Minister last night. The first report in the agenda is entitled ‘Make Work Pay’ and suggests a simple change to the UK’s currently ludicrously complicated tax structure.
The CPS’s ‘Universal Working Income’ would see everyone keep the first £1,000 they earn each month entirely tax-free – taking the lowest paid 2.4 million people out of paying both Income Tax and National Insurance altogether. It would be a progressive tax cut, with the poorest seeing the biggest benefits:
It would also be a hugely popular policy – CPS polling reveals it is supported by more than three quarters of the electorate…
Guido readers will be well-versed in Carole Cadwalladr’s various conspiracy theories about how a secret nexus of data companies conspired to rig the Brexit vote. As well as the corrections that would inevitably follow her front page ‘revelations’, buried on page 50 of the next week’s Observer…
In an inconvenient twist for the Orwell Prize-winning journalist, the report out today from the Information Commissioner’s Office has crushed most of her central claims. Terrible when a good story gets undermined by basic facts…
Carole claimed that Leave.EU was working with Cambridge Analytica. The ICO found that there was “no evidence of a working relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU” beyond “preliminary discussions”:
“[B]oth parties stated that only preliminary discussions took place, and the relationship did not move forward when Leave.EU failed to attain the designation as the official Leave campaign… Based on our enquiries, testimony and interviews, we conclude that this is indeed the case – there is no evidence of a working relationship between CA and Leave.EU proceeding beyond this initial phase.”
Carole claimed that the Canadian data firm, AIQ, who worked with Vote Leave, was effectively the “Canadian branch” of Cambridge Analytica, although she has since retracted this claim. The ICO scotched this one too:
“Whilst there was clearly a close working relationship between the entities and several staff members were known to each other, we have no evidence that AIQ has been anything other than a separate legal entity… ultimately we have concluded that this was a contractual relationship.”
Carole’s whole conspiracy centered around the notion that AIQ and Cambridge Analytica had shared data in the referendum. In fact the ICO found no evidence that either Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL Elections were involved in any data analytics work on the referendum at all:
“We found no evidence of unlawful activity in relation to the personal data of UK citizens and AIQ’s work with SCLE. To date, we have no evidence that SCLE and CA were involved in any data analytics work with the EU Referendum campaigns.”
Meanwhile Vote Leave was given a clean bill of health for its data work with AIQ:
“We know that Vote Leave had a commercial relationship with AIQ. In respect of that work, we have not obtained any evidence that Vote Leave transferred or processed personal data outside the UK unlawfully – or that it processed personal data without the consent of data subjects… Our further investigations into AIQ revealed no evidence of the unlawful processing of UK personal data.”
After massively bigging up the report yesterday, Carole has been unusually quiet on Twitter since it landed, mainly complaining that no-one was paying attention to the “MUCH bigger story” (was it being “deliberately buried”?) and even accusing Buzzfeed – of all places – of doing Arron Banks’ “dirty work”. Maybe she’s still feeling a little bit sore after *that* article…
Remainers were hoping for an explosive report to blow up Brexit. Instead it revealed that it’s the Remain campaign and the Lib Dems who are under investigation for potential data breaches, while Arron Banks’ looming fines are almost entirely for using his Leave.EU mailing list to flog insurance after the referendum, not for activities during the campaign. The only thing the report blew up was Carole’s conspiracy. She was after all, as Isabel Oakeshott famously said, “chasing unicorns”…
After four years at Sky as political editor, Faisal Islam is off to the BBC to become their economics editor. As ever Guido brings you likely runners & riders:
Beth Rigby – she wants it and many viewers think she’s already the pol ed. Must be in with a good chance.
Sophy Ridge – conflicting information as to if she really wants the job, which entails being on the road a lot, given a young child at home. Sky are a progressive employer so they would want to make it work for her. No doubt she could do it.
Chris Mason – if Sky wants to get one back from the BBC Mason would be an obvious choice. Mason might feel that Laura Kuenssberg is going to be in position for a long time and this is a chance for promotion and more money. Is rumoured to be interested in a move.
Nick Watt – again Sky could get their own back on the BBC by pinching Nick from Newsnight. Is he tired of the late nights?
Ross Hawkins – seems a bit frustrated on BBC radio. Could be interested.
Tom Newton-Dunn – a regular on Sky’s late night paper review, Tom’s enthusiasm for appearing on television is well known. Not sure if Sky’s executives share his enthusiasm…
Lewis Goodall – just too young, too Labour and too irritating?
Paul Brand – if Sky were to cast their net further afield – ITV’s political correspondent has had a few eye catching scoops lately.
Ed Conway – Impressive journalist and writes authoritatively about economics. During elections he has covered politics well. Guido’s outside bet.
Amol Rajan – has not publicly ruled himself out for the job.
The Sikh Federation, who act as the secretariat for the APPG on UK Sikhs, have deleted a tweet in which they suggested Sir Jeremy Heywood’s cancer was due to Karma. After being called out for the tasteless comment they replaced it with a slightly more measured tweet…
UPDATE: The Sikh Federation responds…
A team member managing the @SikhFedUK twitter handle put out an inappropriate tweet this morning. The tweet was linked to an article titled: Tributes for Bluestar report aide Jeremy Heywood. The tweet was unacceptable & was deleted at 9am. We apologise for any offence caused.
— Sikh Federation UK (@SikhFedUK) November 6, 2018
Guido can shed more light on the Information Commissioner’s Office investigation into the use of data by campaigns during the EU referendum.
The report reveals that the ICO is “still looking” into breaches of data by BSE that may require further action. After the referendum, BSE became Open Britain, and this summer re-branded again as the ironically named People’s Vote campaign. All while the investigation was ongoing…
The campaign’s re-branding leads to priceless tweets, but it doesn’t get them out of the serious ICO investigation.
The People’s Vote campaign is still under investigation by the ICO for potential serious breaches of data privacy.
“‘During the course of our investigation, we obtained information that the Liberal Democrats had sold the personal data of its party members to BSiE for approximately £100,000.”
“In June and July 2018, we served information notices on Open Britain, the successor organisation to BSiE, and the Liberal Democrats, under the DPA1998, to investigate these issues.”
“We are still looking at how the Remain side of the referendum campaign handled personal data, including the electoral roll, and will be considering whether there are any breaches of data protection or electoral law requiring further action.”
The ICO has placed an enforcement notice against AIQ handling any UK data in the course of its investigation. Shouldn’t the ICO – in the same way – suspend the People’s Vote campaign from using any UK data while they investigate and determine the source of the data?
UPDATE: BSE responds: “This assertion is entirely untrue. Britain Stronger in Europe did not receive, or pay for, Liberal Democrat members’ personal data at any point.”
The Liberal Democrats are accused of selling the personal data of party members to the Stronger In campaign. The allegation is contained within the Information Commissioner’s Office report into referendum spending, sections of which have been seen by Guido, which is due to be released later today. The ICO’s report says that they have received the allegation that the Lib Dems sold the data to BSE for £100,000. Not that you’d know from the current state of their finances…
The report also piles further woe on Arron Banks, who could face £135,000 in fines for using the customer database of his Eldon insurance firm to send out unauthorised political marketing from Leave.EU.
Whilst the Lib Dems and BSE have denied the allegation against them, both admit that BSE had bought electoral register information from the party. The ICO say they are “still looking at how the Remain side handled personal data”. Guido looks forward to them pursuing their investigation into Remain with as much zeal as they’ve been looking into the Leave side…
The snowflakes at the United Nations Association have had a hissy fit to accompany the visit of another UN special rapporteur to the UK in order to
fill Guardian column inches investigate “extreme poverty”, releasing a patronising note to warn British journalists of the “consequences” of “negative media coverage during a special rapporteur’s visit”. Terrible when an international organisation has to face some level of scrutiny…
They have also compiled a list of eight egregious examples of British politicians “engaging in rhetoric which undermines the value placed on the rules-based international order”. It features no fewer than two separate accusations against Prime Minister Theresa May and one against Philip Hammond, for such heinous crimes as criticising tank-chasing lawyers and daring to accuse a UN body of making a “ridiculous” finding. Send them to The Hague!
Former Foreign Minister Sir Huge Swire is also named and shamed as one of the top British saboteurs of the international legal order… for tweeting this adorable picture of him cuddling his dog:
It’s not like the UN has any more serious instances of countries undermining the international rule of law to be worrying about. Oh, wait…
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article referred to the United Nations as the easily-offended organisation – it was in fact the United Nations Association.
⚖️ What does it say about British justice when hundreds of thousands of pounds in hard-earned taxpayer cash is being funnelled into defending Electoral Commission bias – over our priorities – like funding for front-line policing?
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) 4 November 2018
On Friday Brexit hero Darren Grimes attended court to find out the date when his full case against the biased Electoral Commission will be heard. He is facing a fight from the top QCs and solicitor firms in the country, including First Treasury Counsel James Eadie QC, thanks to the Commission’s support from the Government Legal Department, all funded by taxpayer cash. You can still donate to his grassroots crowdfunder here. The case will be heard in the summer of next year…
If the NUS is going bust it is going bust big. Last week Guido revealed how the organisation is “looking at a £3 million deficit for the group in this and future financial years.” That is an understatement…
Guido can reveal that the NUS has a pensions liability of over £12.2 million, and is £1.8 million in hock to the banks.
Close examination of the NUS’s Financial Statement further reveals that in 2017 the NUS made a loss of £3.5 million, a larger deficit than last week’s letter admitted to, a more than doubling of the previous years losses. The position is worsening…
The NUS’s parent company made a total combined loss of £5.4 million. This makes the pensions liability even more grave. There is no chance of the deficit being made up by a loss making NUS.
These are the finances of an organisation that is on its last legs. If Student Unions around the country don’t want to be on the hook for this financial mess, they should seriously think about disaffiliation.
Read the shocking accounts in full here.
Carrot-topped Corbynista Lloyd Russell-Moyle gave a taster of things to come under a future Labour government when he told a pro-Corbyn rally that Labour would order mass compulsory purchases of former council houses sold off under Thatcher’s immensely successful Right-to-Buy scheme. This wasn’t far enough for Russell-Moyle, who also told the rally: “Let’s not just talk about council houses – let’s get those bloody private houses back into our hands.” The hard left just can’t resist the allure of confiscating private property…
Russell-Moyle will be hoping that Corbyn’s commissars don’t start off their mass confiscations in his own constituency of Brighton Kemptown, where a certain Mr Lloyd Russell-Moyle happens to be a significant shareholder, Director and Company Secretary of Arlington Mews Management Company, which according to his declared financial interests owns the freehold of a residential block. Arlington Mews consists of 5 properties with total estimated value of £1.8 million, while Russell-Moyle himself pockets over £10,000 a year from lodgers in the property. Expropriation of homes should start with taking his private property back into public hands…
Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor is under increasing pressure after her son Ishmael was convicted of possessing Class A drugs including cocaine and ketamine. A Tory MP has reported her to Parliament’s standards watchdog over her son Ishmael’s drugs arrest – he works for his mother as a communications officer where he spends his day blocking people on Twitter.
Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone: “I am writing to request that you launch an investigation into the behaviour of Kate Osamor for breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct” – on the grounds that her employment of him brings the integrity of Parliament into disrepute. Which is a bit much when corrupt Keith Vaz still sits on the green benches without a blush, despite trying to procure cocaine for male prostitutes.
Trevelyan is visiting the sins of the son on the mother. Ishmael has been tried and found guilty and given a two-month community order and 20 days of rehabilitation. He resigned as a councillor in Haringey last week. So he has already had an additional punishment.
Whether an MP should be employing a family member on public money is something that is open to question – Guido thinks not – hundreds of MPs do and it is unfortunately within the rules. It seems though a bit much for MPs to demand an extra-judicial punishment on top of what the judge gave him. Making him unemployed won’t help his rehabilitation. Worse than that though, formally censuring a mother for standing by her son is pathetic…