Shapps’ TikTok Transport Takeover

If Grant Shapps’ recent efforts are anything to go by, Rishi’s in serious danger of being dethroned as the cabinet king of self-promotion. Co-conspirators will recall Shapps’ series of entertaining short videos promoting various DfT projects – one featuring Michael Portillo – which went down a storm on social media and in Westminster. Now Shapps is doubling down on newfound comedic talents by becoming the latest MP to board the TikTok train. Just this morning, Shapps released another clip promoting the new half-price rail tickets…

Currently Shapps is sitting on nearly 6000 followers, which is still comfortably behind the Tories’ TikTok superstar Dr Luke Evans on 17,600. Both are blown out of the water by app veteran Zarah Sultana though, who’s now on over 305,000. Although unlike Sultana, Shapps and Evans haven’t yet broken Commons rules by recording in the Commons library… 

Guido understands the mind behind Shapps’s hot new content – including the Portillo classic – isn’t Spielberg, Scorsese, or Nolan: it’s his comms SpAd, Neil Tweedie. Sounding out whether Team Rishi are nervous about Shapps’ comms revolution, Guido was told they are enjoying his video output. Admittedly gritted teeth are difficult to convey via WhatsApp…

mdi-timer 19 April 2022 @ 14:08 19 Apr 2022 @ 14:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Grant Shapps Accidentally Insults Telegraph

Operation Red Meat appears to have transformed into Operation ‘just announce anything’ as this morning the Department for Transport has come out with a new policy of reducing annoying train tannoy announcements. The policy, that was presumably greeted with “yes and ho” in the Horseferry Road office, will see the “endless torrent” of train announcements curbed to make journeys “a little more peaceful”. 

In a promo video, Shapps can be seen reading the Telegraph before putting it down and asking viewers – à la Clarkson -“do we really need to be told to put our newspapers in the bin?”. The video itself is captioned “📢 ‘…put unwanted newspapers in the bin…'”. Given the Telegraph’s long-time loyalty to the government, Guido’s amazed Shapps’ SpAds didn’t make the obvious gag, and have him reading the Guardian…

mdi-timer 21 January 2022 @ 11:05 21 Jan 2022 @ 11:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Work-From-Home Whitehall: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

With the pandemic over, ministers have been making plenty of moves to get the country back to pre-pandemic normal, not least seeing workers return to the office to kickstart the economy. The powers that be in Whitehall however are determined to enforce one rule for ordinary officer workers and another for their own mandarins. An email sent to Department for Transport staff reveals they will still only have to come in to the office 2-3 days a week from September. Presumably travelling is too taxing for transport policymakers…

If you think that lacks ambition, Guido hears return plans are even more sluggish elsewhere in SW1. Guido understands that HMRC, which shares a building with the back-to-work pusher-in-chief Rishi Sunak, is merely aiming for staff to return for one day per week by the end of September, with the goal of “working up to” two of days a week in the office by December. This is on top of DEFRA which Guido revealed last week to still be boasting work-from-home options on job adverts. If ministers are briefing The Mail that workers should return to the office or see their pay slashed, those not on the public purse will rightly be asking why there’s one rule for them, and another for civil servants.

mdi-timer 24 August 2021 @ 13:15 24 Aug 2021 @ 13:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government’s Meetings Transparency Hits New Low

Guido would have thought that the months-long cronyism row created by the David Cameron-Greensill scandal may have caused the government to improve their attempts at transparency. One source of eternal frustration to hacks is the ministerial release of meetings, which regularly imply some secretaries of state and SpAds enjoy fewer than a dozen meetings per quarter.

The Institute for Government’s Tim Durrant has now started pointing out the laughably slapdash approach taken by key figures when filling out these forms. Recently, Home Office ministers have self-reported as having attended:

Which sound like they run counter to the government’s equalities agenda. 

Other meeting details included one with Laura Kuennsberg, the purpose of which was unsurprisingly “Media Engagement”, and Sadiq Khan, who was met “to discuss London-related policy”Colour Guido surprised…

The lack of attention to detail may have just hit a new low, however. DfT permanent secretary Bernadette Kelly is reported as recently having met “Paul Heathrow” to discuss “operational issues concerning Covid-19″. 

Just one small technical point: there’s no one called Paul Heathrow. Like Tim, Guido presumes the government meant Lord (Paul) Deighton, the non-executive chair of the airport. Either transparency standards are now on the floor, or nominative determinism has gone too far…

mdi-timer 27 July 2021 @ 16:32 27 Jul 2021 @ 16:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Department for Transport Civil Servant Booted off Love Island

Department for Transport civil servant and former beauty queen, 25-year-old Sharon Gaffka, has been booted off Love Island in a teary and dramatic show opener.

Sharon who had previously worked as an EU Exit Senior Policy Advisor said:

 “I’m still on the look for love and the hunt for that Mr someone special who can handle my fire and make me a happy woman”. 

Guido thought that Sharon would have had plenty of experience leaving the single market…

Sharon will be returning from Mallorca, which was recently placed on the amber list. However, as of today, if she is double jabbed, she will not be required to isolate. Perhaps Sharon will have more luck finding love when she returns to SW1…

mdi-timer 19 July 2021 @ 11:17 19 Jul 2021 @ 11:17 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Brexit Saves Motorists Billions in Car Insurance

British motorists have been saved from a potential £50 increase to their driver’s insurance, after the government announced it would scrap the EU’s requirement for coverage on vehicles used on private land. The European Court of Justice’s “Vnuk” decision – which mandated insurance for vehicles such as quad bikes, golf buggies, and mobility scooters – will be ditched by the Department for Transport “at the earliest possible opportunity”, as the UK moves to create its own new legislation away from EU orbit. The “Vnuk” ruling would have made insurance companies liable for an extra £2 billion in coverage costs, which would inevitably have been passed on to customers…

Calling the decision “a clear win for motorists in Britain”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“We have always disagreed with this over-the-top law that would only do one thing – hit the pockets of hard-working people up and down the country with an unnecessary hike in their car insurance. I am delighted to announce that we no longer need to implement it.

“Scrapping this rule would save the country billions of pounds and is part of a new and prosperous future for the UK outside the EU – a future in which we set our own rules and regulations.”

Guido hopes this is just the first of many EU regulations buccaneering Brexit Britain will ditch…

mdi-timer 22 February 2021 @ 11:00 22 Feb 2021 @ 11:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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