Gove-Mail G-Mail

The full extent of the havoc that the Department of Education mole has caused is beginning to emerge. Today’s FT reveals another internal email that Gove’s people would probably rather not see the light of day.

As Guido reported a couple of weeks ago, the department SpAd’s assistant, Matt Gillespie, loyal to Gove’s predecessor Ed Balls, had sight of the Gove team’s emails and computers and has clearly made the most of it. They must be wondering what else he walked out with before he went to work for John Denham. No wonder the Tories are on the hunt

Chris Cook at the FT has taken the juiciest bits of an email sent by Gove’s loyal sidekick Dominic Cummings to other advisers suggesting that he would not be using his official email account anymore. What Cook fails to point out is that the full email, which Guido has put online here,  is about party political activity and sent to Conservative operational staff and spinners – something that arguably should not be done on government accounts. What does look a bit odd is the fact that he refuses to use his official party address either, opting instead for Gmail.

Chris Cook suggests that FoI  requests failed to turn up emails he has seen, thus breaking the law, however FoI does not apply to private party politics, only government business. While team Gove may be on the right side of the law here, it is muddy and hard to know where the line is drawn, eyebrows will be raised that Gove is allegedly using an email account in his wife’s name. If Labour have more from Gillespie to feed to Cook, this could get very messy…

Red Ed's Cuts are Dead

CCHQ are cock-a-hoop pushing the line that Miliband now opposes every single spending cut. Not sparing any dramatics, they are hammering home by withdrawing his support for the police budget reductions, Miliband has now u-turned on supporting any named cut:

  • Ed Miliband once said he would make a 12 per cent real-terms cut to central government’s contribution to the police budget. Now he wouldn’t make any cuts at all.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with time-limiting Employment and Support Allowance. Now Labour oppose it.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with reforming the Disability Living Allowance gateway. Now Labour oppose it.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with making savings in the roads maintenance programme. Now Labour oppose it.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with making reductions to the Legal Aid budget. Now Labour oppose it.

Sounds more like a conference speech than a press release…

Mini-Reshuffle Runners and Riders

As reported yesterday, Downing Street have signed off the plans for a mini-shuffle should the CPS press the big-red Huhne button. All talk of the one time leader in waiting being able to cling on, despite a charge, has withered away, even amongst his most loyal Praetorians online. As Guido told you back in May, the two LibDem front-runners for the Energy and Climate Change brief are Ed Davey and Jeremey Browne:

“Both are Orange Bookers, though Browne is seen as more right-wing which will likely dent his chances for the soppy climate change brief. Obviously Laws is toxic and Guido understands that Sarah Teather has little chance of a promotion.”

Huhne has managed to convince everyone he’s a bit left-wing, which makes Davey seem a likelier option. Though given he held the LibDems Foreign affairs brief before the election, it would make sense to pop him in the Foreign Office and promote the telegenic Browne to the Cabinet.

After she lost control of her backbenchers, leaving the Prime Minister floundering at the height of the phone hacking crisis, the speculation that Warsi is for the chop is growing. Grant Shapps is much tipped to replace her as Tory chairman. Newsnight’s permanent fixture Michael Fallon wouldn’t be too happy though. The current Deputy Chairman has been pressing the flesh recently…

Guido reckons two birds could be killed with one stone here. Shapps, the uber-loyal Cameroon Housing Minister could go and beef up the CCHQ operation, Warsi could stay out of trouble sticking little windmills on a map in Huhne’s old job, and a LibDem could replace Shapps. However it is unlikely that the yellows would be willing to swap a Cabinet job for a mere Minister. Though given the fact that Huhne walking would be their third Cabinet cock-up in a row, perhaps Dave should put his foot down.

Huntsman Throws Spanner in Romney's London Visit

Given the Yanks are in town to write about British politics, Guido thought he would turn his hand to the American presidential bid. Coincidently Republican front-runner Mitt Romney is also in London today to raise some cash from expats. He is trying to keep a low profile and avoid the media, though apparently he’s a little put out Dave is too busy to see him. Those McCain pictures still haunt some in Cameroon circles…

However  just because the visit is going under the radar doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any campaign fun and games. Romney was meant to be putting his cap around at the home of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, but has been forced to move his fundraiser and other meetings to Dartmouth House in Mayfair instead.

It turns out Lady Rothschild is an extremely vocal supporter of Romney’s rival Jon Huntsman and has raised $1.2 million for him already. Apparently her position was made very clear…

Perhaps a coincidence that the Huntsman campaign poached Conyers Davies, CCHQ’s Head of Operations, at the end of last month…

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.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Embattled Henry Bolton on his battles…

“I’m going nowhere. I have seen people die, I have seen people blown up, I have seen people shot. Even the Taliban doesn’t quite prepare you for UKIP, though.”

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