Dutch Government Launch Brexit Muppet Mascot

The Dutch Foreign Minister has launched his country’s Brexit Impact Scan with a fluffy blue muppety mascot. The UK is the third largest export destination for Dutch businesses, almost twice as large as France and Italy. Pushing the message “make sure Brexit doesn’t stand in your way” the government is doing more than most to prepare for a clean break in just 43 days time.

The Dutch government has already hired nearly 1,000 extra customs officials to prepare for a No Deal Brexit. Their Brexit Impact Scan tells businesses that:

“The United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – will leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. That means that they step out of the internal market and customs union.”

If only the UK government was as unequivocal…

Andrea Leadsom’s Valentine’s Day “Poem”

It’s not just Tory staffers who have been getting into the Valentine’s spirit, Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom had a short Valentine’s poem to read out to MPs today. A good attempt although it’s not quite Shakespeare…

Staffers Kicked Out of CCHQ After Valentine’s Fracas

Two Tory staffers were last night ejected from CCHQ after drunkenly shouting, stealing wine, and being abusive to staff. The staffers, who both work for John Hayes MP, allegedly stole wine, were shouting, and abusive to staff. Someone present at the event  told Guido that they “went to top floor where the managers were and shouted about.” CCHQ is expected to ban the staffers from future events. Guido doesn’t think they’ll be quaking in their boots at the prospect of not being allowed to telephone canvass…

Read what the main Conservative staffer WhatsApp chat said about it here:

You know things are getting sassy when the Rosindell gifs are brought out…

Perhaps this was to be expected. The previous day various staffer groups dropped some hints…

The Tory female staffers WhatsApp group was touchingly optimistic about the potential for romance before the event:

Wishing you better luck tonight ladies…

Red Len: Second Referendum Threatens “Democratic Fabric” of the UK

Len McCluskey has come out with the most robust line yet from someone close to the Labour leader against a second referendum, telling Peston that trying to “deflect away” from the result of the 2016 referendum “would threaten the whole democratic fabric on which we operate”.

Meanwhile John McDonnell was busy doing the opposite and talking up the possibility of a second referendum last night, when he wasn’t attacking Churchill. A deliberate two-pronged strategy from Corbyn’s inner circle or signs of genuine splits emerging?

McDonnell Brands Churchill a Villain

Last night at a Politico event at the Institute for Government, the Shadow Chancellor branded Winston Churchill, who was last decade voted in a nationwide BBC poll as ‘the greatest Briton’, a villain.

McDonnell, an admirer of Mao Zedong who is happy to address Stalinists, cited Churchill’s decision as Home Secretary in 1910 to allow the army to be sent to the Welsh town of Tonypandy to reinforce the police against mineworkers engaged in violent riots. The Shadow Chancellor seems to be taking a leaf out of the Kim Jong Un sympathising Green MSP Ross Greer’s book…

Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, told the Telegraph “Frankly it’s a very foolish and stupid thing to say. I think my grandfather’s reputation can withstand a publicity-seeking assault from a third-rate, Poundland Lenin.”

Corbyn Accused of Misleading Parliament Over Ferries Claim

Much to everyone’s surprise, Jeremy Corbyn actually asked a vaguely coherent set of questions on a big issue of the day at PMQs today, going on the attack over Seaborne Freight. However, in his excitement it appears that Corbyn may have actually got his facts seriously wrong, with Craig Mackinlay writing to Corbyn to challenge him over whether he misled the House with his claim that the Government’s decision had increased Thanet Council’s budget deficit by “nearly two million pounds”.

Bizarrely, the Mirror decided to make an underwhelming ‘Thug Life’ meme purely on the basis of Corbyn’s facial reaction when Mackinlay challenged him at PMQs. Funnily enough they didn’t make one when Corbyn had a similar reaction to Ben Bradshaw’s second referendum suggestion yesterday. Corbyn may well be ending up with egg on his face rather than a pair of photoshopped sunglasses…

Adonis Unzipped

Lord Adonis likes to promote his many public events through his andrewadonistour.org website to encourage the Remainiac faithful to see him in action first-hand for themselves, whether it’s his “Brexit listening tour” in Thornbury or a bumper “Fighting Brexit quadruple bill” in London.

However, his FBPE fans are currently getting a little more than they bargained for when they click through the events link on the former Cabinet Minister’s website – the third event down is in fact Adonis Unzipped, promising “3 Hunky Strippers and 1 Drag Queen” up in Biggleswade.

“Join us for our second Adonis Unzipped evening where 3 strippers will go THE FULL MONTY!”

Sunday 5th May is the date for your diary if you want to discover the full breadth of Adonis’ hidden talents…

Eurozone Industrial Production Plunges Even Faster than Expected

Just days after the European Commission slashed the Eurozone’s growth forecasts for 2019, the Eurozone’s economic prospects took another blow with the latest industrial production data showing even sharper declines than predicted. Eurostat’s December data found a 0.9% month-on-month decline in industrial output for the Eurozone. Economists had only predicted a 0.4% fall…

This translates to a whopping 4.2% year-on-year decline, significantly worse than the 3.2% predicted. Yet Remainers are still desperate to shackle the UK to an economic bloc with severe structural flaws and in long-term decline…

Kay’s Yellow Jacket Warning

Kay Burley gave a much needed warning to Sky News’ newly appointed Political Editor Beth Rigby live this afternoon…

Defection Watch

Defections seem closer than ever, and rumours of a new centrist split in the Labour Party are reaching fever pitch. Guido has therefore begun a handy crowd sourced ‘defection watch’ list for co-conspirators to keep track of MPs on the verge of ditching their respective parties. You can send in your suggestions/tips here

Tory People’s Vote Campaign Loses Most of its MPs Despite Burning Through £40,000 of Dark Money

The Tory awkward squad launched their own “distinctive” People’s Vote campaign last month under the excruciatingly bad name-pun of ‘Right to Vote’. At the time of their launch Right to Vote widely claimed to have 10 Tory MPs on board, although Phillip Lee only counted eight at the launch event – Sam Gyimah, Heidi Allen, Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Guto Bebb, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and himself.

That number appears to have shrunk even further by the time of their latest ‘intervention’ this week, with just four MPs putting their name to their letter calling for Brexit to be delayed – Gyimah, Lee, Grieve and Bebb along with two hardline Remainer Lords. They seemed so desperate for MP support that the letter even originally listed “Baroness Altmann MP” as a signatory before the amusing mishap was corrected…

Incredibly, Right to Vote have reportedly spent a whopping £40,000 so far, despite not even having a website or a Twitter account at the time they launched, and their woeful lack of impact generally. As a campaigning organisation specifically made up of members from only one party they also clearly satisfy the Electoral Commission’s definition of a ‘members association’, which means they have should have registered with the Electoral Commission and declared every donation they have received over £7,500 by now – they haven’t. By law, the public have a right to know exactly whose dark money they’ve been fruitlessly burning through…

Corbyn Selling on the Cheap

Corbynista car enthusiasts will no doubt have their eyes on the DVLA today as it holds one of its regular auctions of personalised numberplates – up for sale today is a collector’s item, the numberplate COR87N. So far it’s only garnered the interest of the few, with a modest asking price of only £300 and just a couple of early bids of £500 and £650…

By contrast, Theresa has proved a much more popular choice over the years, with TER355A selling for £2,500 in 2005, THE235A going for £3,800 in 2014, and TRE35A fetching a whopping £5,500 in 2001. At least it’s one transport-related area where Corbyn doesn’t have her on the back foot today…

An “Institute for Public Interest News” is a Very Bad Idea

The Cairncross Review published yesterday recommends the creation of a news quango, the “Institute for Public Interest News”. Cairncross says it would work like the Arts Council, channeling public and private funding to “those parts of the industry it deemed most worthy of support”. It is a good analogy, the Arts Council takes taxpayers’ money and spends it on things most taxpayers don’t want, like opera. Public interest news is often something the public have little interest in.

The supposed problem is that local papers are going to the wall because advertising has dried up and shifted to Google and Facebook. This is apparently a threat to local democracy because local politics goes unreported. The Institute for Public Interest News would fund high quality public interest news. No doubt this will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions, though this was unspecified…

According to the report, the quango would be

“a dedicated body [which] could amplify efforts to ensure the future sustainability of public-interest news, working in partnership with news publishers and the online platforms, as well as bodies such as Nesta, Ofcom, the BBC and academic institutions.”

Hold on, don’t we already have a dedicated body, with billions in public funds, dedicated to public-interest news? It is called the BBC.

Why do we need another public body? Isn’t the BBC actually part of the reason independent local journalism is dying? The expansion of the BBC into local radio and covering local affairs online is killing off independent private sector journalism. The billions in revenue that the BBC has supports 46 local radio stations and the most visited news website in Britain, how can local newspapers compete with that? That the BBC has started funding a “Local Democracy Reporting Service” is an admission that it is part of the problem. The BBC’s lavish funding enables it to suck up the audience that otherwise would go to independent news sources, thus undermining their viability.

State mandated and funded “public interest news” is a dangerous idea, even if it didn’t degenerate into propaganda it is unlikely that it would ever bite the hand that feeds it. The state should stay out of the business of journalism.

Caroline Spelman’s Brexit Delay Hypocrisy

Just two weeks ago Dame Caroline Spelman was busy insisting that she had absolutely no desire to delay Brexit, despite People’s Vote being so enthusiastic about her amendment they were running sponsored Twitter ads encouraging MPs to vote for it. Spelman even emailed a concerned local resident to “[make] it clear that I want to see no further delay to the country leaving the EU”:

Her constituents will therefore be surprised to see her name appearing as one of the leading sponsors of Yvette Cooper’s retabled Brexit-blocking Bill which explicitly forces the Prime Minister to extend Article 50. A strange way of trying to ensure that there is “no further delay” to Brexit…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) (Con)
Q2 Chris Evans (Islwyn) (Lab)
Q3 Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con)
Q4 Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Lab)
Q5 Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Lab)
Q6 Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab)
Q7 Mr Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) (Con)
Q8 Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con)
Q9 Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd) (Lab)
Q10 Tom Pursglove (Corby) (Con)
Q11 Gareth Johnson (Dartford) (Con)
Q12 Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab)
Q13 Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire) (Lab)
Q14 Peter Kyle (Hove) (Lab)
Q15 Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con)

Robbins is surely going to come up…

Whitto Slams Olly Robbins

Former Cabinet Minister John Whittingdale has given a frank assessment of Olly Robbins’ track record as Theresa May’s top adviser on Politics Live. And May went along with it all…

Inflation Falls to Two-Year Low Despite Brexit

The latest ONS inflation figures have found that UK inflation has fallen to a two-year low of 1.8%,in another blow to Remainer guff about Brexit pushing the cost of household items up significantly. Presumably the same people who were complaining it was too high a few months ago will now be complaining it’s too low…

Robbins Reveals Dishonesty of Government’s Stance

Olly Robbins has ended up in a significant amount of hot water after a sensational scoop from ITV’s Angus Walker in Brussels, who overheard Theresa May’s chief negotiator talking loudly to two colleagues in a Brussels hotel bar on Monday night. His remarks more or less confirmed all of Brexiteers’ worst fears that the wool is being pulled very firmly over their eyes…

Robbins’ revealed his plan to force the deal through by letting it go down to the wire and using the threat of a “long” extension to bully MPs into voting for the deal, saying “… Got to make them believe that the week beginning end of March… Extension is possible but if they don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one…” The Government’s long-held position has been firmly against any extension of Article 50. Now Robbins wants to weaponise that possibility to blackmail MPs. Forget the EU, it is clearer than ever that the UK’s own chief negotiator is not negotiating in good faith…

Robbins also boasted about the true nature of the backstop, revealing that it was not intended to be a “safety net” as it has been sold publicly but actually a “bridge” to the future relationship – exactly as his opposite number Sabine Weyand told EU ambassadors the day after the deal was agreed. Robbins told his companions: “The big clash all along is the ‘safety net’… We agreed a bridge but it came out as a ‘safety net’.” This blows another massive hole in May’s key commitments – this time on leaving the customs union. Robbins is answerable directly to the Prime Minister. How can she continue to stand up at the Despatch Box telling MPs one thing while allowing her chief negotiator to run round Brussels saying the complete opposite?

Corbyn’s Soft-Brexit Mattress

In a surprise move, the BBC have published some comedy that is actually critical of the Absolute Boy. Last week, BBC Radio 4 Extra‘s Newsjack programme carried a segment on the wonders of the ‘Corbyn Soft-Brexit Mattress’. Worth a listen…

“The Corbyn Soft Brexit Mattress is so lightweight it can be moved from its current position incredibly easily, over and over again, move it anywhere.”

“Order the Soft Brexit Mattress today and you will never have to worry about the detail or the consequence of anything ever again!”

They are of course mocking Corbyn from Remainia…

Corbyn Sneers at Second Referendum

Few people looked less impressed by Ben Bradshaw’s suggestion of a second referendum than his own party leader. Labour not even bothering to hide their disdain for a second referendum now…[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Ken Livingstone deployed a corker on TalkRadio this afternoon…
“I joined the Labour Party 50 years ago this month and in all that time I have never heard a single anti-semitic comment.”

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