Ever generous, Guido gave valuable blog space to assist Deborah Mattinson with her challenge to define Labour’s economic record with a Tweetable message.
Amongst the usual dross there were a few amusing 140-character entries. Congratulations to HPDL for the winning entry:
“Julius Caesar: I came, I saw, I conquered. Gordon Brown: I came, I spent, I’m bonkers.”
A copy of the The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze will in the post as soon as HPDL tells gives Guido his/her address….
Deborah Mattinson, formerly the Brown bunker’s favourite pollster*, was wailing last night to a Mirror hack and the evil Fabian’s Sunda Katawala that “I’m still worried ‘Labour wrecked economy’ is now accepted wisdom… Labour cannot afford to wait until new leader is in place to get strong economic defence up. It must start now… Labour lacks a simple message to defend its record. Without it Labour takes the blame and loses the argument… Labour is losing the argument on the economy”. Deborah, there is a simple reason that this is the accepted wisdom. It is the truth.
All Labour governments end in economic disaster, with higher unemployment at the end than the beginning, as Margaret Thatcher pointed out,“The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.”
The competition is to win a copy of The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze for the most amusing 140 character Tweetable account of Labour’s economic record. Post your entries in the comments section. Guido’s decision, as always, is final.
*How is her firm doing winning government contracts nowadays? She claims in her new book “Talking To A Brick Wall“ they were won on merit. She was incredibly successful in winning millions of pounds of government business when Gordon was in power. Completely unrelated her firm did personal polling for Gordon for free. Fancy that. Wonder how much business she is winning “on merit” from the government now?
Deborah Mattinson was Gordon Brown’s personal pollster and part of the bunker / Smith Institute inner circle around Brown. In her new book ”Talking To A Brick Wall‘ she has revealed something that gives Guido an immense amount of satisfaction. For over a year Guido ran a campaign against Gordon Brown’s Smith Institute, the charitable front for his political ambitions. The years of guerrilla warfare waged by this blog were not in vain, it drove him mad:
Guido Fawkes, launched a campaign attacking me personally for the public sector work that Opinion Leader did. He, and other Conservative bloggers picked up on the citizen engagement work that OLR had done. He accused Government Departments of hiring OLR solely because of my work with GB and implied that the work that I conducted for GB was a quid pro quo for the Government Citizen Engagement work.
As anyone who has bid for Civil Service contracts will verify, nowadays – quite rightly – everything is tendered to within an inch of its life. Knowing a Minister, let alone the Chancellor and PM heir apparent, would be a hindrance rather than a help and place the potential contract under closer scrutiny. It was true that much of the time that I put in for Labour was pro bono, as it had always been. Like most political activists, whether drafting leaflets or knocking on doors, I gave my time willingly out of support for the cause. Furthermore, many of the costs associated with my political work were paid by the Labour Party or by a sympathetic organisation such as the Fabian Society. Nonetheless, the story ran. This was a tense and difficult time and GB was impatient with anything that might adversely affect his forward march. On one occasion after a particularly nasty piece, claiming ludicrously that Opinion Leader had charged £153, 484.38 for a one day seminar, had run, GB burst into our weekly meeting and exploded, ‘You’re in the eye of the storm. What are you doing about it?’
I was hurt both, by the accusations themselves, and also by GB’s less than supportive response. I had seen him treat others harshly but, up till then, I had always been made to feel valued. After much agonising and, following discussions with Viki, my ever tolerant business partner I decided to step down from my role as CEO of Opinion Leader and stopped working on any public sector clients, to avoid making either GB or Opinion Leader Research vulnerable to further attack. Instead I focused on my corporate role as Joint Chair of Chime Research Division. Meanwhile, sadly, GB shelved the listening programme – it looked to be more trouble that it was worth. . . Citizens were not going to get their say after all.
It is good to know that Gordon was such an avid reader…
Deborah Mattinson, Gordon Brown’s former pollster, tweets…
“A month on and when Radio 4 says ‘the PM’ I still have the wrong guy in mind. Help! I’m in denial…”
Guido wrote in February 2007 that “in times of need, Gordon’s pollster conducts polls with dubious methodologies which she then writes up in hagiographical pro-Gordon articles… Is Guido the only one who thinks there might, in the circumstances, be a serious conflict of interest in her not only sitting on the board of the Smith Institute but also having HM Treasury as a paying client?”
Following yet another complaint, this time from Greenpeace, the Market Research Standards Board has found that in the consultation conducted by Opinion Leader Research, “information was inaccurately or misleadingly presented, or was imbalanced, which gave rise to a material risk of respondents being led towards a particular answer.” OLR is now finished as a serious pollster.
See more on Deborah Mattinson
The Smith Institute was used as a slush fund for the Brownies. It functioned effectively as Gordon’s policy and political secretariat in his long putsch for the premiership. Once Gordon Brown was installed in No. 10, Konrad Caulkett moved seamlessly from his executive position at the Smith Institute to become a Special Adviser in Downing Street. During Konrad’s time at the supposedly non-political charity he assisted Ed Ball’s 2005 election campaign in his Normanton constituency whilst still drawing a salary from the charity.
For some strange reason Ed Balls failed to properly declare his income from the Smith Institute or get the necessary Treasury clearance required for a Special Adviser before taking the sinecure. The rules were designed to prevent conflicts of interest. It also turned out that the Treasury had made undeclared payments to the Smith Institute, by mistake of course, which were only discovered when Guido succeeded in pushing the Charity Commissioners to investigate. They were the result of a mix-up according to yet another Smith Institute trustee Paul Myners, one of Gordon’s favourite businessman who only remembered (during the week the investigation was announced) that he was himself supposed to make good the payment, some two years later.
Of course the Smith Institute received free advice and polling data from another trustee, Deborah Mattinson, whose firm coincidentally won government contracts for which they charged the Treasury £3 million. Do you think there is a strong piscine smell here?