CCHQ Prepares for Bridgen By-Election

A Millbank co-conspirator says…

“Just seen MERLIN (Election Software) reports ran summarising the seat left on a printer. Such an act of faith….”

Oh dear…

Awkward Ed Miliband Moments

Guido enjoys browsing the entire website devoted to Awkward Ed Miliband Moments, CCHQ’s press office delights in re-tweeting gurning pictures of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and now the Mail joins in with 9 pictures taken during his speech yesterday. Not so much ‘Red Ed’ as ‘Weird Ed’.

Is this the face of a Prime Minister?

Tories Level Pegging Makes Labour Uneasy

The ComRes/Indy poll makes pretty sorry reading for Labour HQ (Con 37%, Lab 37%, Lib 12%). The Ed Miliband honeymoon is clearly over.

Guido wasn’t expecting the Tories to be level pegging with the Labour Party in the polls until the autumn conference season. Guido expects Ed will  underwhelm the already restless rank and file during the Labour Party’s conference. With half the shadow cabinet in despair with their weak leader and even Tom Baldwin seeming to have lost his motivation to spin,   MPs are beginning to contemplate the unhappy prospect of getting rid of the Labour leader next year. Plotting Blairites are setting Ed up for a fall, claiming that if Boris wins the London mayoral election, Ed will have to go. Guido doesn’t quite follow why that should be a consequence. The CCHQ “Save Ed” faction is getting worried…

Caring Labour Lender Donating Interest to Tories

Sir Richard Caring lent Labour £2 million back  during the loans-for-lordships era under Blair. He didn’t collect a peerage but he has been collecting 6.5% interest on the loan, or some £130,000 a year. That is roughly £2-a-year from each and every single Labour Party member.

With the Tories now in power he has switched and donated £140,000 to them. Guido thinks it a deliciously witty joke to donate the Labour Party’s interest payments to the Conservative Party’s treasure chest…

Hat-tip: David Hencke

Quote of the Day

CCHQ source said…

“Don’t know why anyone thinks privatising the forests is some right-wing ideological plan, Caroline Spelman came up with it for Chrissakes.”

CCHQ Share Baldwin's Lines

Tom Baldwin must have more influence than Guido has given him credit for. Not only has he got toadying newsreaders like Krishnan Guru-Murthy to obey his decree that the coalition must be called the “Tory-led government”, but it seems even CCHQ are pushing the line:

He should write those letters more often.

CCHQ on "Bimbo Eruption" Alert

Guido hears that CCHQ are bracing themselves for more revelations about the amorous Lord Strathclyde in this weekend’s newspapers. As Leader of the Tories in the Lords, Tommy is responsible for fixing the AV mess that could well see the referendum delayed, if he were to be forced out this weekend it could be very messy. The punters over at Smarkets have Strathride at 2/1 favourite to be the next cabinet minister to walk…

What if Watson Was On To Something?

Today is the day that Tom Watson predicted Andy Coulson would resign. He was clearly woefully inaccurate, out by 96 hours, but then he also said it would be over by Christmas. In the same long rambling piece from a couple of weeks ago, Watson suggested that the same excellent source told him the Cameron was planning to go to the country in May. Needless to say most people dismissed the idea immediately, and they are highly likely to be right, however since Watson’s Coulson tip nearly came true, Guido has been thinking. The CCHQ research department has been restocked after being raided for SpAds, the press office has been boosted by the unexpected return of Henry Macrory and the digital team is beefing up. Are they on a war footing?

The LibDems would be obliterated by an early election and Miliband has not had enough time to settle into the role, so you can see the logic. The only problem being that Dave doesn’t want to obliterate the LibDems.

UPDATE: Eagle-eyed commenters notice that Political Betting suggested yesterday that Tom Watson’s source should be revisted. Guido hadn’t seen the piece, it was the jobs in CCHQ that got him thinking, but they do point out another factor – the Tories are certainly the only ones who could afford an election.

Quote of the Day

Tory high command briefs against Sayeeda Warsi…

“…you can’t put her on the radio. She’s just a disaster waiting to happen.”

"Progressive Nonsense" on Hilton's Policy Announcements Grid

Guido has been worrying for some time that the government is in thrall to left-wing progressive nonsense and drifting towards the soggy centre. Thankfully a document has turned up in the inbox that suggests otherwise – the Steve Hilton / Rohan Silva policy announcements grid. Whilst in opposition Steve, Rohan and the rest of the zen-men had their heads in the clouds with blue-sky thinking so much that they forgot to take one of their rather revealing policy strategy agendas out of the photocopier:

Standard Cameroon opposition fluff is all covered, along with key points to be addressed. “Progressive Conservatism” was top of the agenda with “Red-Tory” Philip Blond flavour of the month with the chattering classes, and clearly open to having his strings pulled:

CCHQ were so keen on pushing the Guardian-friendly “Progressive Conservatism” agenda that they even made a video:

Blond came up with the goods in PR terms over and over again with some ever so helpful mood-setting articles.

However there was one firm policy point on the grid to be pushed that really struck Guido:

Clearly this wasn’t a sincerely held all-encompassing broad policy, it was cynically designed to land blows on the Labour government in the pre-election air war, it was an effective ploy to spin how much the Tories were a changed ‘progressive’ party. Guido is reassured that even the likes of Steve Hilton thought it a load of nonsense…

+ + + Sky : Second Arrest Over Fire Extinguisher + + +

Sky is reporting that an 18 year-old man has been arrested after turning himself in this evening in connection with a fire extinguisher thrown from a roof during violent student demonstrations.

Do You Know the Tosser?

[vodpod id=Video.4917062&w=480&h=270&fv=]

Thanks to the generosity of Guido’s co-conspirators we can offer a second £1,000 reward for information leading the to the arrest and prosecution of the second extinguisher wielding yob now identified clearly by Sky News. You do not have to give your name.

Email Guido.Fawkes@Order-order.com

The Birrell Bandwagon Rolls On

He is wounded, but without a smoking gun Coulson isn’t going to be forced anywhere. However let us just say a few months into the new year a job offer he can’t refuse might arise and off he goes. Whenever Coulson leaves, and in whatever way; be it disgraced, or off back to News Corp., British Petroleum or a spin merchants at board level there will be one hell of a power vacuum in Number 10. There is no way that the control-freakish Steve Hilton isn’t going to want to fill the post with one of his own. One of the Zen Men so to speak…

Since months before the election the name of Ian Birrell has been floating around CCHQ and wider Tory-circles.  Since they sing from the same hymn sheet it seems likely that Hilton wants the Big Society enthusiast and former deputy-editor of the Indy inside Downing Street. Other than being a mate of Dave and Steve’s what is it about Birrell that is so desirable? Even ConservativeHome today calls for Birrell and three other people to be added to the No.10 machine, despite the Tories promising to cut the number of political advisers. Is something afoot? Birrell’s big-society, blue-sky, Cameroon credentials are not entirely to ConservativeHome’s taste…

UPDATE : Well connected source texts speculating that he could replace Ed Llewellyn, Dave’s chief-of-staff. Hmmm…

NUS Leadership Wanted DEMO-LITION

Guido was outside CCHQ on Millbank late yesterday afternoon to see the action for himself, the fires were burning, a couple of thousand demonstrators were there, the outnumbered police were struggling to regain control.

The crowd was mainly made up of middle-class students with a couple of hundred of youths clearly up for trouble, masked and tooled up. Many of the protagonists were wearing official NUS hi-vis tunics and had loud-hailers, they were not calling on students to disperse or refrain from violence, they were in the thick of it. Officially the NUS is condemning the violence to the media, but that line was not taken on the ground. NUS activists were revelling in the moment. Look at the video evidence and you can see many of the rioters are in official NUS garb.

We’ll hear the speeches from the NUS leaders and others deploring the violence, but the reality was that most of the NUS student members found this all thoroughly exciting. The air was rich with the smell of weed and adrenaline, the 2,000 or so protestors outside 30 Millbank cheered the most aggressive protestors and booed the police resisting them.

The NUS marketed this march as a “Demo-lition” and thousands of their members took them at their word by attempting to demolish the Tory HQ. Worse than the demolition of property was the threat to life – yobs who smashed their way on to the roof tossed from the top of the office block a fire extinguisher – which narrowly missed the police targeted below.

If that had hit a policeman or protester below their life would have been extinguished.

The NUS leadership deliberately chose to march students past CCHQ to rally nearby outside the Tate. Why?

Demonstrations of this size usually rally at Trafalgar Square or in Jubilee Gardens on the Southbank. Before yesterday the NUS leader Aaron Porter was telling students they needed to be not just on “the streets of London” but “inside the rooms where the deals will be made”. The protesters took him at his word and managed to get inside the governing party’s headquarters, the buck stops with Porter and he should accept ultimate responsibility for inciting this riot. His members could have killed a copper or one of their own yesterday…

UPDATE: Both Dizzy and Tory Bear think Aaron Porter is in trouble. LBC dip an oar in too.

Party Chairman Still Inside CCHQ

From: Sendorek, Alan

Date: 10 November 2010 16:33

Subject: Contact with journalists

It is vitally important, both for the quick dispersal of the crowd outside, and for the safety of people inside this building, that people do not contact journalists to give an account of what is going on. e.g. news reports that the Chairman is on site are extremely unhelpful. Any such leaks from CCHQ will be treated very seriously.

CCHQ To Civil Service

On Friday Guido noticed that Dave’s brand guru Anna-Maren Ashford had been quietly slipped onto the Civil Service payroll, but would have nothing to do with the PM’s image. No Siree.

Well it seems this trick has been spread amongst former CCHQers who couldn’t quite be found jobs in Downing Street or departmental political roles. In the States when a new regime comes in, they bring the civil service too, but that’s not officially how things are done over here. It seems the Cameroons been watching too much of the West Wing…

Strangely a lot of new civil servants do not appear on the grand organigram of government departments, late additions perhaps, but funny how Sam Freedman who was Michael Gove’s man until May is now a senior civil servant at the Department of Education; Jo Penn, formerly Teresa May’s advisor, moved from CCHQ to the Home Office in May, into a politically neutral role. Back in May Rishi Saha went from doing CCHQ’s new media stuff to doing Downing Street’s new media stuff. The official numbers of SpAd’s may have fallen, but the Civil Service count has risen…

Exclusive: Dave's Stylist Goes from CCHQ to the Civil Service

Before this May’s general election CCHQ’s Anna-Maren Ashford was the “Head of Brand Communications” and is credited with styling “Brand Dave”. The former advertising executive was brought in by Steve Hilton from Young & Rubicam to kick out the old Tory torch logo and bring in the huggable tree. The glossy 30 year-old made the right look right.

She successfully helped detoxify the Tories and turn them into the beautiful people…

Post-election she still answers to Hilton and is close to hand in the Cabinet Office should the smooth Brand Dave need further polishing – just nowadays it is at the taxpayers’ expense as a civil servant in Whitehall. Officially she works with the Behavioural Insights Strategy Team known universally across Whitehall as the “Nudge Unit”.

Dave controversially put his personal photographer, Andy Parsons, on the Civil Service payroll, the news that his image stylist has also become a civil servant will infuriate many who will question his priorities…

Manifesto Called for Housing Benefit Reform

CCHQ’s opposition research operation really should have spotted this and used it to rebut Labour’s demented attack on the Housing Benefit “final solution” (© Polly). LibDem blogger Peter Black highlights this manifesto commitment

‘Housing Benefit will be reformed so we do not subsidise people to live in private sector accommodation on rents working families couldn’t afford’

Eminently reasonable in policy terms, £20,000 a year in rent is of course way beyond what the majority of us can afford. The quote is taken from the Labour Party manifesto, written by one Ed Miliband…

James Purnell when he was at the DWP said he wanted to ensure “people on benefits do not end up getting subsidies for rents that those who work could never afford”. Last week Ed piously called on LibDems to block the implementation of a policy he advocated in the Labour Party manifesto, claiming, “That is not what they came into politics for. I hope they will vote with their consciences.”

The barefaced hypocrisy is breathtaking.

UPDATE : Tim Montgomerie scolds Guido for missing that the Tory Press Office tweeted the Miliband quote on Friday and Sayeeda used it later on Any Questions. Nevertheless Guido contends that if CCHQ had been on the ball it would have been deployed at PMQs which is where it was really needed.

Hague's Withdrawal Sends CCHQ Press Office Spinning

Guido learnt that William Hague had pulled out of an “in conversation” this lunch time with the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne. Quick off the mark the CCHQ spinners were suggesting that Guido had got his facts wrong and that the “in conversation” was with Gove, who has stepped in as a replacement. Complete and utter spin.

Before embarking on such sub-par spinning perhaps they should have checked page 84 of the official conference handbook, which has a rather prominent half-page advertisement:

3/10 for effort. See Coulson later…

'Red Ed' Has CCHQ Licking Lips

If as many expect Mili-D wins the MPs’ vote, splits the members vote with his brother, but Mili-E still wins overall because the union vote goes overwhelmingly to him, Guido gets the impression that the few remaining Tory strategists sitting in CCHQ won’t believe their luck.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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