Lib Dem HQ staff have been told that because of a £700,000 hole in their budget they will need to make 20 people redundant by the end of November (out of a staff of 80). Every party staff member has been given the option of voluntary redundancy, though they will have to move to compulsory ones if needed.
The £700,000 shortfall is from membership renewal income – they were told that it was because of an error in projections. Guido’s source is incredulous, “if it is an error then it’s an absolutely enormous one and I don’t believe it’s possible to be that wrong. Could very well be that members are just not renewing at anything like the rate they used to.” So much for membership surging on the back of anti-Brexit campaigning…
According to the same source “The cherry on the s**it-cake is that Vince has flown to Scotland today, business class, to campaign, with the party footing the bill…” If only the low-energy Cable spent some of his time fundraising he might not be sacking so many campaign staff…
UPDATE: Senior party insiders are hanging the blame on CEO Nick Harvey. The former MP they say is fine on political strategy, not so good on operational management. Party income is now projected to be down by 10% overall – which would not justify 25% staffing cuts – the problem is the shortfall was not expected, quite the contrary. Staff numbers had been expanded on the back of over-optimistic projections. The party centrally is at it’s debt limit and overdrawn to the tune of £1 million. Even Keynesians like Cable know you can’t keep on borrowing for ever…
UPDATE II: The Lib Dems have strenuously denied the suggestion that Cable flew business class to Scotland this week.
Struggling Lib Dem leader Vince Cable (75) stuck his two left feet in it last night when after a meeting with Michel Barnier he suggested that Brexit “could pose a risk to Strictly” because most of the professional dancers aren’t British. What twinkle-toes didn’t seem to realise is that a majority of the dancers are not from EU countries…
ERG Chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg hit back saying “It is hard to see that immigration rules are key to the success of Strictly or otherwise… There are already effective and efficient immigration provisions for artists such as opera singers and ballet dancers.” The idea that non-EU migrants will be adversely affected by Brexit is for the birds. As Andrew Bridgen put it to the Telegraph “This is more desperate Project Fear with tassels on it from Vince Cable it is surely time that he waltzes off into retirement.”
The Lib Dems have run into technical difficulties in their streaming of Vince Cable’s big speech today, where he was set to announce the plan for his stepping down as leader of the party. This was to be the Lib Dems’ big democratic push at opening up and modernising the party, setting out plans to allow supporters to join for free and vote in future leadership elections. This mishap is not a good look for a new tech savvy movement…
“Due to technical difficulties, we can’t go live right now. We’ll post Vince’s speech here soon.”
Calamity Vince hasn’t been having the best of luck with getting his message out recently. This is the second time in a week he has been unceremoniously unplugged, after the BBC cut off his question at PMQs on Wednesday. He’s gone from stalling to Mr. Has-been…
The Lib Dems weren’t too impressed today when the BBC‘s new Politics Live show unexpectedly cut away from PMQs just before Vince Cable took to his feet to ask a question about EU nationals. A Lib Dem spokesman labelled it “bad form from the Beeb” and added that they “never thought we’d lead the bring back Brillo campaign“.
Before Lord Adonis gets too excited about supposed BBC Brexit bias, Guido understands that the BBC is trialling a new policy of cutting off PMQs after 45 minutes to give more time for analysis back in the studio.
Andrew Neil will be back from the south of France later this month to do a few Thursday shows before returning to his usual Wednesday slot in October. Guido readers will be relieved to learn that they won’t have to rely on the Lib Dems’ campaigning skills to see Brillo back on air…
From LibDemVoice Guido learns the party has a new slogan to be unveiled at the upcoming party conference. Is it just Guido who sees a problem with posters up and down the country with low-wattage leader Vince Cable on them next to the slogan “Demand Better”? LibDemVoice calls the slogan “aspirational”. Quite.
Well done to Vince Cable’s media team, who have finally managed to land him some positive coverage… in the Luxury London magazine for the super-rich. The LibDem leader sat down for an interview with the magazine which “connects premium brands with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals”. This month Luxury London readers, “the world’s most affluent consumers”, can read all about the latest statement sunglasses, poolside essentials, vintage swimwear, and three pages on how Vince plans to stop Brexit. The fawning dross concludes he is “a parliamentarian who seemingly puts the nation’s interests before his own”. Guido knew Remainers had the support of the elites, but this is something else…
Vince Cable has lost his second chief of staff in eight months after his most senior aide Fiona Cookson left last week. Cookson replaced Sarah Olney in the role at the end of last year – to be fair to Fiona, she lasted much longer than Lol-ney’s ill-fated six week tenure. Cookson was always supposed to leave after six months and she will be moving to a job nearer her young family. Sure applications will be flooding in… diary management a must…
UPDATE: Guido hears former LibDem MPs Simon Hughes and Dan Rogerson have confirmed they are throwing in the towel and will not be standing for parliament again.
What is the point of the LibDems? Last night Vince Cable and Tim Farron missed the vote on the key Brexit amendment. Cable was at a “confidential meeting” elsewhere and Farron was giving a talk in Dorset about evangelism. If they’d bothered to turn up the government’s majority would have been just one. Vince is briefing out that his absence was “cleared by the party chief whip”, while Faz has told the Guardian “I was authorised to be absent”. Both rather cruelly dumping on Alistair Carmichael for the cock up rather than take responsibility for themselves. Carmichael says sorry:
“Last night I messed up. The government squeaked home by just 3 votes in a key amendment. It should have been 1. I was not expecting a close vote – up until 8pm Labour were planning to abstain which would have meant the vote would be lost by hundreds. In fact several Labour MPs voted with the government- which is why they won. By the time it became apparent that the vote was going to be close – it was too late to get two of our MPs back in time to vote. I’m taking responsibility and redoubling my efforts to stop Brexit.”
Is there any party in Westminster that isn’t a total shambles?
Another classic show of competence from the LibDem press office, who have sent out this email informing journalists that Vince Cable will be voting on the 4 May. They get the date wrong twice.
Someone should probably tell him polling day is today.
Oh dear. This morning the LibDems press released that eight EU prime ministers had agreed to back Vince Cable’s call for a second referendum:
— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) March 22, 2018
Except they hadn’t:
Pertaining to the LibDem press release issued today on Brexit: at the ALDE leaders meeting of 22 March no statement has been agreed upon or released.
— ALDE Party (@ALDEParty) March 22, 2018
The LibDems need some new hires quick.
BBC: You made a comment about all the white faces in front of you. But the fact is you said people who voted for Brexit, an awful lot of them were white.
Cable: That is the case, and that it was a nostalgia for that world, and I think there’s a couple of bits of evidence which support that. I mean, first of all, some of the most effective propaganda at the time, you may remember Farage’s advertisement where queues of dark faced people and that was how the arguments about immigration was presented. The – you know – I spent a lot of the referendum campaign going round, you know, mostly in sort of prosperous country areas, they weren’t deprived areas of the North and the overwhelming reason people were giving for voting the way they were, and they were predominantly older groups, were about immigration and when people thought about immigration they weren’t predominantly thinking about people from Eastern Europe.
Vince Cable unapologetic about his attempt over the weekend to suggest the 52% are a load of old racists…
Vince Cable reckons that under any post-Brexit US-UK trade deal the Americans would be:
“Looking for [their] private sector to have a bite of NHS contracts. That’s what they wanted when negotiating TTIP and that’s what they’ll want after Brexit.”
He went on about it again at PMQs yesterday. Classic scaremongering from Vince, another example of Remainers weaponising the NHS. Downing Street said yesterday:
“The UK’s public health sector is protected by specific exceptions and reservations in all EU trade arrangements and, as we leave the EU, the UK will continue to ensure that rigorous protections for the NHS are included in all trade agreements it is party to.”
It’s also a real change of tune from Vince. Back in 2014 when he was bashing UKIP for opposing TTIP, he said he was “genuinely baffled” by fears that the US private sector could get involved in the NHS under any trade deal. Directly contradicting what he says now. Who’s right, 2014 Vince or 2018 Vince?
Vince Cable is leading the LibDems into oblivion and party staff know it – just read these concerned briefings against him over the last few days. There has been an exodus from HQ, with head of press Jasper Gerard, spinner Paul Haydon and head of digital Michael Wilkinson all off. The salaries on offer are very low and some jobs are having to be re-advertised as no suitable replacements have applied. Knives are out for Cable, whose dreary leadership is being blamed across all sections of the party. So what has Vince told Politico is his New Year’s resolution?
“To work less and sleep more.”
That should do it… does he even want the job?
The LibDems’ youth wing has condemned Vince Cable’s defence of Lord Rennard yesterday. Cable told the BBC he didn’t regret having the pervy peer help out on his campaign and rather unwisely told LibDem women to “move on”. Unsurprisingly that has gone down like a cup of sick with the Young Liberals:
“We at Young Liberals are disappointed to hear Vince Cable defending Lord Rennard’s involvement during his election campaign this year. Alistair Webster QC, who conducted an earlier investigation into the Rennard allegations on behalf of the party, made a statement saying “let me be clear from the outset that the evidence suggests that Lord Rennard’s behaviour has caused distress to a number of women, so much so that they came forward several years after the event in question”.
As part of Young Liberals Policy, Lord Rennard is banned from attending all Young Liberals events, and our members can refuse to work with him without fear of disciplinary action.”
LibDem insiders say the truth is doddery Cable is totally out of touch with the modern world on sexual harassment and doesn’t understand why LibDem women have a problem with Rennard. They say Vince has to be strong-armed into making any critical noises about Rennard and had to be talked down from giving him an official job. LibDems have been depressed by Cable’s tin ear on this issue…
Vince Cable has told BBC 5 Live’s Emma Barnett that he does not regret having Lord Rennard help out on his campaign in Twickenham in June. Confronted with Guido’s story that Rennard was in Vince’s campaign office on polling day, went leafleting outside Twickenham station and posed for photos with Cable and his constituents, Cable admitted:
“He did come as a volunteer. I had hundreds of volunteers. He’s a party member; he came along and did some canvassing and supported us, as he did with other MPs and candidates. I don’t regret he came as a volunteer. The position is, he’s an ordinary party member, he comes and helps and knocks on doors like hundreds of other people, and he came and supported my campaign.”
Cable also backed Rennard’s continuing LibDem membership, saying the party should “move on”:
“He clearly is the focus of a great deal of critical comment. I want the party to move on… I don’t want every conversation to go back to what happened 10 years ago with him. His position is not a comfortable one, but he is still a party member and I think that’s where it should rest.”
Not sure LibDem women will be particularly impressed at being told to “move on”…
Last week Guido told how Jeremy Corbyn, Wes Streeting, Stephen Kinnock, Naz Shah and Afzal Khan hosted MEND in parliament. MEND is an extremist-linked group whose senior figures have praised Al-Qaeda, attended speeches by al-Qaeda hate preachers, and justified the murder of British troops. The latest politician to fall for their scam is Vince Cable, who has appeared in a video for the group name-checking them and praising their work. Presumably Vince doesn’t know what they’re really like – he can click on the links above and see for himself. Corbyn and Sayeeda Warsi also appeared in the video. Why do politicians keep palling up to this sinister bunch of wrong ‘uns?
An 82 strong group of LibDem mainly women activists have signed an open letter to Vince Cable accusing the party of covering up sexual assaults and harassment. The letter, signed by dozens of female activists over the last two days, says the party did not “adequately look into” an allegation of assault against a male LibDem, warns this is not an “isolated case” and says “the party is failing” at dealing with harassment:
[…] Read the rest
We didn’t want to resort to this.