Exitism: Labour Departures

balls-spads

Dan Hodges flouncing out of the Labour Party (again) is no surprise, though he joins a steady stream of people resigning from the people’s party. If not formally resigning they are just quietly (or not so quietly) not renewing their memberships. Exitism by high-calibre moderates is on the rise as the once entryist crypto-commies and toytown trots are welcomed into the party by Corbyn…

Former candidates, bag-carrying opposition PAds and other greasy pole climbing careerists are re-evaluating their prospects. Talk to them and they candidly say that they fully expect another decade of Tory rule. Do they want to spend their best years arguing with lobotomised lefties in CLPs or making some money in the private sector? Labour’s departure lounge is busy…

One-time leadership contender Ed Balls himself looks like he has had enough and his praetorian guard of former advisers have already made the move to the private sector. His former policy chief Karim Palant has joined Facebook as UK public policy manager. Alex Belardinelli, long-time Balls SpAd in government and opposition, is now spinning for Uber, the multi-billion dollar ride-sharing corporation, as their UK head of communications. Do let Guido know of any more examples of exitism…

Uber Appoint Ex-Balls Spad as Head of Comms

Uber have appointed former Ed Balls SpAd Alex Belardinelli as their new Head of Communications for UK and Ireland. Wonder if he turned on surge pricing during the contract negotiations…

Let’s hope their drivers don’t go too far, too fast…

Ex-Balls Aide Slaps Miliband’s “Squeezed Bottom”

Former Balls spinner Alex Belardinelli has been giving his prescription for where things went wrong under Miliband on the Daily Politics:

“We didn’t do enough. I think there are things we could have done differently. I think we could have had a message that was more pro-business. I think fiscal responsibility and making the sums add up could have been part of our message more day by day. And also I think we needed a broader a message… towards the end it ended up becoming less of a squeezed middle and more of a squeezed bottom. Most people aren’t affected by [the bedroom tax and zero hours contracts] and we know people don’t vote in an altruistic way.”

Sounds like we will be seeing more of the uncanny mannerisms that Belardinelli shares with his old boss. Shut your eyes and it could be Balls speaking. He says his future plans include TV punditry…

Familiar Ring to Labour Spin

Labour were very quick to get a quote out about the 4Children charity childcare survey this morning, swiftly claiming the report showed “under David Cameron, childcare costs have rocketed by 30 per cent since 2010. Wages are down by £1,600 and the availability of childcare has plummeted”. Ed Balls’ spinmeister Alex Belardinelli had a particular interest in plugging the story, too:

By some strange coincidence, who is 4Children’s spin queen? Regular readers will remember Ellie Gellard, ex-Labour adviser and fiancée of one Alex Belardinelli, now Head of Communications for the charity. Surely not another case for the increasingly attentive Charity Commission to investigate…

Labour’s Chutzpah Over Market Rigging

Alex Belardinelli, the marauding SpAd for Ed Balls, is up early this morning tweeting about the Forex Fixing scandal;

According to the Bank of England the scandal dates back to 2006, the LIBOR scandal dates back to 2005, when Belardinelli’s master Ed Balls was Economic Secretary to the Treasury. In other words it happened under Labour’s watch – specifically under Brown and Balls – and was only uncovered under Osborne’s watch. You have got to admire Belardinelli’s chutzpah..

UPDATE:  Neglected to record that the Parliamentary Adviser to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury at the time of the market rigging was… Alex Belardinelli.

Balls Told Constituents He Would Fight Zero Hours Contracts Then Employed Four Zero Hours Staff Himself Last Year

Talking to his constituents last year Ed Balls railed against so-called zero-hours contracts, launching a stinging attack in the Morley Observer & Advertiser:

Just in this area, thousands are working with this kind of contract. It puts a real strain on working families and cause huge anxiety and uncertainty. Each week they don’t know whether there will be enough work to feed their kids or pay for childcare.

I want to see this issue looked at properly and action taken so that these kinds of contracts are the exception rather than the rule. It’s no way for Britain to compete in the global economy in the 21st century. Anyone who’s affected and wants me to look into their case should get in touch by emailed ed@edballs.com or call 0113 253 9466.”

Stern words.

The Sun today reveals that Balls has employed four workers on zero-hours contracts in the last year. Indeed, out of the 62 Labour MPs who employed parliamentary staff on zero-hours contracts in 2013, the Shadow Chancellor was one of the biggest users. His spokesman Alex Belardinelli is trying to spin away the screw-up by arguing: “on advice of IPSA we use their casual contracts solely to allow us to pay living wage to interns & students on temp placements”. That doesn’t even make sense; temp contracts can of course specify hours. Nor is IPSA advice mandatory, if they told Balls to send his staffers up the chimneys would he do that too? Balls tells his constituents to give his office a ring if they have been affected by zero-hours contracts. Chances are the phone will be answered by someone who is on one too…

Fortunately, the Shadow Chancellor has a defender in the Institute of Directors:

“The fact that so many students and young people are employed by Labour MPs in this way further undermines the calls from the far left to ban such contracts all together. Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed and the Labour policy on Zero Hours Contracts is now pretty sensible. Just don’t tell Oxfam…”

A welcome change in policy…

Happy April Fools

Guido’s exclusive that Alex Belardinelli, henchman to Ed Balls, is to be replaced by Damian McBride, was always destined to remain exclusive.

Some people have no sense of humour:

Others revealingly project their own Machiavellian ways:

Not today…

Exclusive: Ed Balls to Replace Political Adviser Alex Belardinelli


Alex Belardinelli, long-time Political Adviser to Ed Balls, ‏is moving to lobbyists Tetra Strategy – where his girlfriend Ellie Gellard already works on digital strategy. The move is scheduled to happen in the autumn after Labour Party conference.

Speculation is mounting that he could make way for a rehabilitated Damian McBride following party conference, when McBride is aiming to complete his public rehabilitation with the publication of his memoirs.

Labour sources say Balls has been unnerved by persistent speculation that he might be replaced by Alistair Darling in a re-shuffle by Ed Miliband ahead of the General Election. Bringing back heavy-weight Damian McBride would put rivals on notice that he would not go quietly and there would be consequences. An implicit threat they understand all too well…

Last year Belardinelli was humiliated when emails leaked in which he admitted a “screw up” meant Labour failed to vote against the reduction in the 50p rate of tax. The emails revealed he concocted a false line to spin to the media to cover up the screw up. Belardinelli worked for Tom Watson before Ed Balls and knows his way around Westminster and the media. In the event of Labour returning to government he will be able to cash in on his extensive contacts.

UPDATE: Important note.

LEAK: Balls’ Spinner Admits “Screw Up” But Briefs Opposite

Labour have spent all morning spinning the line that last night’s vote on the 45p tax rate was not a vote on it and that their abstention was not a massive howler. Well now Guido has seen a chain of emails between nervous political advisers looking to Balls’ bruiser Alex Belardinelli for direction on how to clean up his mess. Bear in mind that Belardinelli and Balls have spent the morning denying that this was a cock up or anything other than part of their grand master plan:

From: “BELARDINELLI, Alex”
Date: 27 March 2012 09:42:32 GMT+01:00
Subject: Re: Fwd: Nats in 50p

Truth is there was a screw up somewhere along the way last night and it wasn’t clear what SNP had called a vote on or how, so we abstained on their vote.

Line is: we voted against whole Budget package which obviously includes 50p (first vote at 10pm), and we will seek to amend and vote on the Finance Bill on 50p, plus other issues of concern like the changes to allowances for pensioners (granny tax). There’s not much more we can say beyond that.

Other advisers “hope it will be ignored” after “trying to find out what went wrong”. They even share Guido’s coverage of events. The whole email chain can be found here.

Who would have thought that someone trained  in the dark arts by firstly Tom Watson and then Balls would say one thing in public and something very different in private…

Another Happy Reader

It looks like Balls had a read of the blog before he went on Question Time and Newsnight list night. He confirmed Guido’s hunch that Labour would not alter their position in voting against any increase in IMF funding from the UK in the current circumstances. He’s made a lot of noise about the various reasons why this morning.

An unnamed Labour source, presumably Balls’s SpAd Alex Belardinelli (who we were assured never briefs anonymously and does all his politics on the record) told Ben Brogan: “we more than anyone need to be seen as being careful with the nation’s finances”. Though many Tories will be loath to side with Balls, this is going to rocky ride for Osborne…

Back to Spin School for Belardinelli

The spinning antics of Ed Balls’ minion Alex Belardinelli are a continual source of amusement in the Guy News room. Sometimes his cavalier attitude to the truth is outdone by a spectacularly poor effort. This morning he was tweeting about “the head of world’s biggest investment fund” saying the government “can and should change course” in a reference to PIMCO – the Pacific Investment Management Company. And who is their European chief? One Andrew Balls. Very much a relation.

Guido would normally say “leave the family out of it”, but it’s Belardinelli that has thrown that rule out of the window. As “Fiscal Gerrymandering” points out in the comments, it’s worth having a look at how Andrew Balls is rated: “Andrew ranks 172nd out of 241 fund managers for one of his bond funds and 68th out of 82 for the other one.” So not only biased, but below par. It must be a family trait…

Shadow Chancellor's Adviser Fails to Declare Financial Interests Balls' Bellardinelli Breaks Parliamentary Rules

BlinkyEd Balls’ right-hand man, Alex Belardinelli, is breaking parliamentary rules. Not by daily dripping poison into the ears of journalists by briefing against Ed Miliband (just as he did against Alan Johnson). His rule breaking results from him being a registered parliamentary passholder. If he is employed by the Labour Party and is failing to declare this interest in the Register Of Interests Of Members’ Secretaries And Research Assistants, he has broken the rules and failed to disclose a financial interest. Given Belardinelli emails party press releases from his parliamentary email account, signed off as ‘Political Adviser to the Shadow Chancellor’, this is not wise. In government it would be a resigning matter.

Click to Enlarge

If on the other hand he is employed by Parliament as a member of Mr Balls’ parliamentary staff he is breaking IPSA rules by conducting party political activities funded by the taxpayer. IPSA rules ban using parliamentary expenses for party political activities.

Belardinelli sends out party political materials from his parliamentary email address, effectively conducting taxpayer funded campaigning, which is against the rules. Admittedly these rules are widely broken, but they are the rules. If he is working for the Labour Party full time, then he should have declared as such in the register of interests:

‘In accordance with Resolutions made by the House of Commons on 17 December 1985 and 28 June 1993, holders of photo-identity passes as Members’ secretaries or research assistants are in essence required to register: Any occupation or employment for which they receive over £329 from the same source in the course of a calendar year, if that occupation or employment is in any way advantaged by the privileged access to Parliament afforded by their pass’

It is not as if he doesn’t have previous for doing this when he was a SpAd in government. So which is it? Is he breaking IPSA’s rules or Parliament’s rules?

Back to Basics For Balls

Unemployment has fallen by 36,000 to 2.46 million in the three months to March. Youth unemployment also fell 30,000 to 934,000. That is the second quarter in a row the numbers have fallen.

The dastardly Ed Balls and his Muttley-like SpAd Alex Belardinelli are unusually quiet this morning…

Balls' SpAd Outed Alan Johnson's "Personal Reasons"

Alan Johnson’s suspected affair with a civil servant was widely rumoured around Westminster, it was the reason that people believed that he had not run for leader. The story was never stood up by the papers.

This evening Guido sources are pointing the finger at Alex Belardinelli, Special Adviser to Ed Balls, as the person who has been making inquiries into Alan Johnson’s private life. Shadow Cabinet sources say they believe the Sunday Times has the story and Ed Miliband himself believes that Ed Balls’ people have had a hand in the story getting out. Balls chose his moment well, a series of gaffes by Alan Johnson had left him politically weakened.  Yet still Miliband rewarded him with the prize he craved…

UPDATE 22 Jan : Lots of people in the comments saying this story is proven duff by the Mail’s story about the wife and the copper. Don’t be so sure – they’re not mutually exclusive stories…

"Fake Independence" : Internal Labour Party New Media Briefing

Guido has uploaded a leaked internal Labour Party briefing document dated 21, November 2008 which states

To be successful requires development both the party’s official capacity – and the building of a variety of “extra” party, “independent” initiatives. But this hasn’t happened naturally and needs to be encouraged.

red_rag1The “independent” Red Rag site was set up only three weeks earlier on November 4, 2008, the same day that Derek Draper held a blogger’s breakfast at Labour’s Victoria Street HQ.   Funny kind of  “independence” – gives away the Labour Party top-down mindset that they employed with LabourList and the now not-so-plausibly-deniable Red Reg websites.  In fact the document shows how pathetically weak their whole catch-up strategy is to compete with ConservativeHome and Dale.  Both of whom are directly referred to in the document.  Anyway it reveals some of what Labour was thinking in November.  Have a read of Labour’s “me-too” New Media Strategy here.

UPDATE : Guido has been calling Alex Belardinelli, Ed Ball’s SpAd, all day.  Unfortunately he has been “in meetings”. Guido would like to ask him about his previous role in setting up an anonymous attack website to smear opponents.  Give Guido a call when you are out of your meeting Alex…



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Quote of the Day

IDS responds to Juncker’s pints analogy earlier:

“Mr Juncker knows a little bit more about the bar than perhaps many of us do.”

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