Guido has many fond memories of the Red Lion, not to mention the many more he can’t remember…
Labour MP Toby Perkins may well be simple, but that does not excuse his attempts to re-write history. The “Shadow Pubs Minister” has sent out a ham-fisted attack about the “great pub scandal”:
“Labour is forcing a Parliamentary debate on backing local pubs, pressing the Government to act as research shows 26 pubs are closing every week. Too many pubs across Britain are closing their doors and we urgently need action but ministers are dragging their feet. Pubs are vital hubs in communities up and down the country.”
Perkins, a renowned wally, has accused BIS of “dithering”. But lets just rewind a little…
The real “great pub scandal” was that Labour did more to hamstring the pub industry than any other government. At one point under Gordon, according to the BBC, 56 pubs were shutting a week. Then there were the former Chancellor’s crippling 60% rise in booze taxes, as well as the smoking ban destroying thousands of businesses. The ballooning in pub companies was a direct consequence of Brown’s tax relief for breweries introduced in 2002. Labour have some cheek in blaming Vince Cable for a problem they created. By all means highlight the concerns, but Perkins seems to have spent a little too long in the pub.
Yesterday Guido brought you Tom Watson’s Damascene conversion over fixed odd betting terminals, which he had backed while on the CMS Select Committee, but has recently taken up as his latest cause. Last night the people’s champion accidentally voted the wrong way – against restrictions – on the machines:
“So I supported the government on their report into Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. On most days few would notice this act of tiny rebellion. Except this was the day in which I made the front page of the Daily Mail, leading the campaign against FOBTs. This week I’ve spent sleepless nights drafting campaign packs, model letters, petitions and press releases in order to gather support for the campaign against FOBTs and their corrosive impact in every High Street in Britain. So basically, this was about the most embarrassing vote I could make a mistake on.”
One in the eye for that image of a super-campaigner he has spent so long cultivating. A long lunch?
Nigel Evans was looking on the bright side when Guido bumped into him last week.
“Whenever I get down, I just think it could be worse. I could be Reverend Flowers.”
Although, unlike the party-loving former boss of the Co-op Bank, Evans told Guido: “I’ve never smoked crystal meth, mind. I have drunk Cristal, though”.
He doesn’t half pic ’em.
We’re making up a Labour smear story.
We’re going for their most cherished example of mutual, collective endeavour. The Co-op. Ethical, modest, decent. Let’s make it go bust through filthy capitalist greed. And let’s get it taken over by US vulture funds who have the power to call in Labour’s loans, but don’t because they act more ethically than the previous management.
But you want more.
Okay, let’s have the outgoing chairman of the ethical bank to be a most complete representative of the Labour movement – a Co-op member for years, a Methodist minister who could be your dad, who gives money to Labour from Co-op funds. How much?
Half a million! Why half a milion? It’s a smear, make it a million!
Let’s have him only being an amateur in banking with no qualifications except “a professional requirement to be charitable”, and he gives a million to the party generally and also smaller donations to – who do we hate most? – Ed Balls.
Let’s get this perfect Labour guy who looks like your dad to give, what’s a really large private sum, fifty thousand pounds to Ed Balls’ office. Perfect.
But you want to have him personally corrupt? Is that really necessary? What, watching porn on his work computer as a Labour councillor? Okay, it’s a Harriet Harman sort of crime but –
You want him to be contracting rent boys? The chairman of the Co-op bank hiring rent boys? I guess it’s not imposs-
You want him to be doing DRUG DEALS? Now it’s too much. What sort of drugs? CRYSTAL METH?
You want him to look like everyone’s father, chair a Labour bank, give money to Labour shadow cabinet names, and be a rent-boy-seeking Labour councilor buying CRYSTAL METH in a car? It’s too much.
Smear-wise it’s beyond anything previously attempted.
More seriously, it will damage the whole smearing industry.
Via teh internetz.
After Balls’ revenge attack on Monday revealed that the Labour leader doesn’t like the pub, Miliband’s spinner’s told the Sun: “Ed does go to the pub and regularly to Askern Miners Welfare Club in his constituency. He’s a moderate drinker.” That would be the Askern Miners Welfare Club that doubles as a burlesque venue for cross-dressing corset-clad middle-aged men, hosting regular nights for Ed’s transvestite constituents:
See the photo evidence here, if you dare…
Co-conspirators searched far and wide for a photo of Miliband drinking in a pub, and on the evidence above it seems pint-less Ed isn’t too keen on the stuff. That is unless the pub in question stocks Lanson champagne. These pics were taken at the Old Star pub in St James’ Park, where Ed spoke last month to a fitting backdrop:
Does Ed Miliband hate
Britain the pub? Ever so helpful Ed Balls twisted the knife on ITV’s Agenda last night, instantly re-opening the Odd Ed attacks:
“I’ve known Ed 20 years and I can’t think that I’ve ever been… Different people like different places, and I was last in the pub yesterday… I don’t know if he likes the pub or not.”
Who doesn’t like the pub?
Would Ed like the pub if it showed baseball?
Well there goes the “who would you most like to have a pint with” vote…
Meet Caroline Jones, in the running as a UKIP MEP candidate for Wales. A bubbly character, Caroline really wants your vote, though this unfortunate typo in her personal manifesto perhaps betrays her true motive of wanting the Brussels high life:
The only way to do it.
Face-for-radio Chris Cook is leaving the Pink’un to become policy editor at Newsnight. Regular readers will remember Chris from his fair and balanced reporting of a certain Pearson-owned exam board, as well his long, long, long vendetta against Michael Gove, after working for his predecessor in the Tory education brief David Willetts. Seriously though, Guido and Chris settled differences over many beers not long ago in some trendy media hangout we both happened to be in. He wishes him the best of luck. The ‘semi-Tory’ is jumping just as the FT flirts with switching back to Labour…
From: Chris Whitehouse
Subject: Guy Fawkes Supper
Catholic Members’ Supper
Tuesday 5th November 7.30pm
Venue Private Room in a venue not too far from the House
Rob Flello has suggested that we hold the next in our series of Catholic Members’ Suppers on 5th November.
I am currently researching venues to find a private room within a short distance of the Palace of Westminster which is accessible also for wheelchair users. I will advise on the venue and costs (which I shall seek to keep down) in due course, but would be grateful if you could let me know now if you would like to book a place pending confirmation of final details.
With kind regards and all good wishes.
Chris Whitehouse KSG
Catholic Legislators’ Network UK
What could go wrong?
New LibDem chief whip Don Foster should learn when to keep his mouth shut. While topping up his legendary booze cabinet in Westminster Tesco’s early yesterday afternoon, a far from salubrious looking Foster treated himself to 40 black Superkings and a tin of Roses. Lucidly chatting with a flirty woman in a lovely grey tracksuit, Foster bragged to his mystery lady friend how he had kept the LibDems in line over yesterday’s nuclear announcement despite her claims that “it’s basically a subsidy”. It’s not really the job of chief whip to publicly agree that there were internal party ructions. Then again, that is what you get if you appoint your third choice chief…
Eventually Osborne’s friendship with Natalie Rowe comes to an end, with her claiming she met his then fiancée:
My pregnancy also changed the dynamics between me and my three musketeers. George became quite caring towards me. It was a particularly cold winter and sometimes George sat with me, cosy on the sofa in Redcliffe Square and rubbed my pregnant tummy – even when other people were there. George was self-conscious of his figure – he would wear loose clothes to try and hide his belly, which was a bit flabby and spongy. Every now and then I’d comment: “Why are you wearing this? To hide your jelly-belly?” and would reach over and rub it playfully. I really appreciated George’s friendship because the pregnancy wasn’t smooth. At five months, I started to dilate and have contractions – and there was some bleeding. I rushed to the hospital and doctors put a stitch at the neck of my womb to stop labour. It was a risky move but if the baby had arrived then he wouldn’t have lived. The procedure worked and so I still held out hopes of giving birth to a healthy child. Then George got engaged to Frances, his future wife. I found out when I was at Chris’s place in Pembridge Villas, Notting Hill. William was on a bender at the time and Chris and George were there with a woman whom I didn’t know. I had no idea she was George’s fiancée. We did not get on at all. Thanks to George she knew what I did and asked about my escort services. She was hostile, full of disdain for me and jealous of how friendly George and I were. Afterwards George asked: “What do you think of her?” “What do you mean?” My face told the story. He didn’t ask anything more. George was obviously making plans for his future, to become respectable. He’d certainly been privy to some wild times in his youth; not least of which would have been the infamous Bullingdon Club parties.
Osborne has not commented about the book, though his lawyers told the Mirror that Rowe was an unreliable witness. In the past he has claimed:
“A friend of mine went out with a woman called Natalie and they had a child together. I met them occasionally in the autumn of 1993 and it soon became clear my friend had started to use drugs. He became more and more addicted and I saw his life fall apart. With his other friends I tried to persuade him to seek treatment. After rehabilitation he has now recovered and put his life back together.”
So he’s not “Joe”. Got that?
More from Natalie Rowe’s book. Here is what she alleges the Chancellor’s set were up to in the early 90s:
“All the boys had the hots for coke fiend Peggy, she was so much fun and up for anything, even if she spent most of her time on another planet. They all knew how much she loved coke and so one night William, who was an out-and-out drug and drink fiend, cut a wide line that was a foot long. “Snort that and I’ll give you £ 100!” William said. “I’ll do it!” Cheers went up from the crowd. I was the only one to sound a note of caution. “For god’s sake Peggy, don’t do it, you’ll do yourself an injury.” She ignored me, bent down and started snorting as the men chanted “Pegg-y! Pegg-y! Pegg-y!” as if it were a drinking game. She finished the line but her triumph left her near-comatose, speechless and cross-eyed for the rest of the night.”
And then they found out what Rowe did for a living:
“I let them in and told them to wait., forgetting about the domination gear. When I got back William was pretending to whip George, while Chris was sword fighting with the cane. “What’s all this Nat?” Chris asked. I smiled. Confession time. “I’m a dominatrix.” They were impressed. “Tell us what you get up to!” So I told them some stories about clients. They bombarded me with questions. “So how much do you charge?” George asked me. “It depends on a few things, on their pain threshold, how much work is involved, and so on but there’s a basic rate to start.” They loved to hear what was going on and I enjoyed telling them. They certainly hadn’t met anyone like me before. The trio started to hang around in the flat while I was working and would sometimes even meet clients after they’d been through a session. They’d chat together with them about domination over a drink. George really enjoyed this; it was as if he was sharing in their experience with me.”
Still no news on the identity of “Joe”…
According to Natalie Rowe’s memoirs, George Osborne used to be quite the dancer:
“The three musketeers were proper little ravers and loved to go clubbing. When George got tipsy, he lost his reserve and wanted to dance (I have a photo of him dancing at a party at my flat). He was a terrible dancer but wasn’t alone. I used to cringe when we went clubbing with the three musketeers and their friends. I couldn’t bring myself to share the dancefloor with them – just imagine tipsy public schoolboys at a disco doing robot impressions. The higher they got, the better they thought they were. George loved We Could Be Heroes by David Bowie and the three musketeers would sing it together top of their voices on the dance floor. George also adored Gold by Spandau Ballet. George didn’t have much of dress sense, neither did he make an effort to dress up – he just wore jeans and T-shirt.”
Yet he was sensitive:
“Although George never once said anything like: “I really hate what they’re saying,” at the time (I suppose he thought he’d be better off saving his energy – there was no chance of him making them stop), he was the most upset of the three and this made me feel close to him. Perhaps George was more upset because some of his acquaintances were racist towards Jews (George, who is Jewish, was christened Gideon and changed his name when he was a teenager to ‘fit in’). They’d say, “Shut up you f**king Jew,” to describe anyone they thought was being stingy. When we were alone George told me he couldn’t understand why I was with William; he said we just weren’t compatible.”
A fighter, not a quitter:
“I went and sat with George on the sofa. George couldn’t hold his own in conversation with his peers, which is why we ended up talking a lot together – we would share the fact that we didn’t have a clue, nor were we interested in what the others were going on about – arts, politics and the social shenanigans of the landed gentry. We were passing comment on somebody at the party when I leant over to whisper something to him and playfully licked his ear. William appeared. He’d seen what was going on and was pissed off. “What are you guys talking about?” he asked angrily. “Calm down William,” George said. “You’re letting your paranoia get the better of you.” The argument escalated quickly. When George tried to stand up William pushed him back down into the sofa. George then made a grab for William and they started tussling with one another. As I leapt out of the way the sofa tipped over and they rolled out onto the floor, still fighting – although it was the hugging-and-rolling type rather than the punching-and-kicking kind of fight. I thought it was hilarious. “Come on, stop it, this is ridiculous!” By the time they’d calmed down and made up, nobody had thrown a punch.”
More to come…