Boris and the Bankers Boogie at Boujis

It seems the age of austerity is yet to hit the gold lined pavements of SW7. Fancy paying £2,500 for dinner with the Mayor and maybe even a dance at favourite Royal haunt Boujis? There will be no banker bashing here…

And for a bounder about town what better way to make sure your girlfriends don’t all bump into each other and cause a dreadful fuss…

Just make them all wear masks!

Oona's Open Invite

It seems struggling London Mayor wannabe Oona King is deploying a last ditch open-bar strategy. She tweets enthusiastically:

“YOU are invited to a party at campaign HQ on Wed 11, 6-8pm! Come down and meet me and the team and have a drink! PLEASE spread the word xx”

Guido is happy to oblige. So see you all tomorrow at 6 Heron Quays, London E14 4JB. Over in Canary Wharf. If the evening turns out anything like Oona’s old party days in Vauxhall’s finest after-hours clubs, it will be a messy one…

Big Society Watches Your Drinking

Dave took the time to launch his vision of the ‘Big Society’ just ahead of the parliamentary recess. Beneath the Obama-lite rhetoric and calls for a legion of volunteers to run services was a message: it’s time to cut back the state and let individuals take control of their own lives.  So far, so good. But can the Tories resist the urge to centralise and regulate now that they are in power?

Behind the paywall at The Times, Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse has been expounding on the ‘need’ for state intervention to combat alcohol consumption. The chief of the Met Police authority suggests twice daily alcohol testing for problem drinkers with “intensive monitoring and enforcement to ensure compliance”.

He gleefully explains what happens to those who dare breach a prohibition order in a similar scheme run in the backwoods of South Dakota: “The sanction is immediate and certain – straight into the cells, no argument, no court, no lawyers.” Very ominous.

If Malthouse persists with his plan then Guido knows just the location to try out the new policy: a little upstream from City Hall, at a place where subsidised booze flows freely, disorder is common and employees are regularly drunk while at work. It’s hard to imagine that heavy-drinking MP’s would take kindly to being breathalysed.

The Smoking Gun

While it may be a mere attempt at generating some headlines, if ever proof was needed that despite the long haul of handshakes, the hustings, the “internal debate”, the Labour Leadership frontrunner David Miliband still doesn’t get it, then look no further than his pitch to publicans this morning:

“For too long we have tolerated this decline as the result of inevitable market forces. But we can and should stand up for the local pub – and the community links and civic life they sustain. Local pubs are great British institutions – and as Labour leader I would stand up for them.”

The hollow statement fails to mention what is really killing the pubs though – the full smoking ban, without exemptions, or landlord discretion, that David Miliband voted for in Cabinet and the House. If he wants to save pubs then he needs to pledge to look again at the legislation, anything less than is just hypocritical opportunism.

Amess Can't Stay Off the Drugs

David Amess MP has been busy drafting a Private Member’s Bill demanding better methods of predicting the “effects of new drugs on humans”.

Given his previous attempt to legislate against the sale of ‘Cake’, after warning the public to avoid these “big yellow death bullets”, it’s understandable that he wants access to more comprehensive sources of information.

Guido hopes he did his homework though this time and has avoided ‘made-up drugs’.

Drinky with Blinky?

Summer party season is in full swing, but you would think there would be some coordination with diaries. Although there are a limited number of days before the MPs jet off for the holidays, crowds will be dissipated tonight. Village dwellers have the choice between 18.00 and 20.00 of the ComRes and Apex Communications gig, Total Politics and Weber Shandwick’s new Members reception, The Adam Smith Institute book launch, a Big Brother Watch party and Conservative Way Forward’s summer party with Maggie. There will be some sore heads tomorrow…

Rather than dash around Westminster trying to get to all of these, Guido thinks he will just save himself for a slightly more exclusive party later. He is hoping lots of other Ed Balls fans join him at Blinky’s little party that is going on tonight. Apparently there will be a chat about how the campaign is going, which hopefully won’t dampen the mood too much. Drinks will be served from 20.30 in Norman Shaw South, Rm 102. Hope there are nibbles…

Ring-fenced Democracy

And then they were gone:

Given the excuse was that the protesters were prohibiting the wider public enjoying the Square, Guido doesn’t quite get the fence…

Via Kevin Brennan MP’s office window, via Twitter.

Honeymoon Couple at the Speccie Party

Cameron and Clegg made their entrance together to the Speccie’s summer party last night, either as a statement or out of convenience. Cameron was at ease among his own people. Clegg looked a little glum, like a newly wed wife who realises too late that her husband keeps company of which she really doesn’t  approve.

The Speccie – slogan: “Champagne for the Brain” – provided champagne in a straight glass to one of Dave’s minders, which Guido could have sworn was passed furtively to the PM, no iPhone snap will be on the Mirror’s front-page this time. Picture evidence implies Bucks Fizz…

Dave worked the room with good grace. Clegg looked uncomfortable with the editorial descendants of the weekly magazine which called for the deportation of the Tolpuddle Martyr’s children. He seemed a bit stiff among his new progressive friends like Kelvin MacKenzie, Taki, Liddle, Janet Daley, Fraser Nelson plus allies like Andy Coulson and Lord Ashcroft. Danny “Beaker” Alexander was in his element, enjoying being slapped on the back by political adults and congratulated on his fiscal restraint. Beaker’s new SpAd Julia Goldsworthy was wearing a demure little black number which would not look out of place at the upcoming £4,500-a-table Tory Black and White Ball.

Clegg really should be like his junior colleagues, and learn how to lie back and enjoy coalition…

The Belated Tory Victory Party is Tonight

The place to be in Westminster tonight is Adam Afriyie’s at-home party for new MPs. The PM is going to drop in and most of the parliamentary party will be knocking back the booze. It will be the first post-government party for most of them.

Champagne is no longer banned…

The Dusk of a New Age

While the helicopters were trailing every move a government made yesterday evening, the Tory hacks descended on the Red Lion, just a stones throw from Downing Street. From the moment Gordon left, until the small hours this drunken throng grew and grew. CCHQ staffers who were congregating outside before heading down to the hired basement to watch the speech, looked on wistfully as press secretary Gabby Bertin, best buddies Steve Hilton and Coulson, along with Dave’s diary and events staff all legged it down Whitehall and into the Cabinet Office so they could be there to greet the new Prime Minister.

As the night wore on and the champagne started flowing, one or two press officers were still on campaign mode and dispersed those holding Conservative signs in one hand and Veuve in the other, just as the snappers arrived. As Cameron’s meeting with his MPs wrapped up, the new intake let their hair down. Clearly not having found the subsidised bars inside they joined the still growing crowd. No wonder Cameron was given such a rapturous welcome inside, it had clearly been a long evening for some of the old hands, though there were distinct grumbles about junior Minister jobs going to the Liberal Democrats. Didn’t stop the gins coming though.

Even Cameron’s suit and shirt joined the party at one point, a loyal team member carrying the dry cleaning casually stopped off for a drink.  A late star turn came from famous-for-Westminster Nick Robinson who tried his hardest to pretend he wasn’t flattered having booze soddled drinkers asking to take photos with him. After a quick briefing from Gabby Bertin, who had re-emerged from somewhere, Robinson and ITV chum Mark Austin disappeared off in a blacked out car with a mysterious gaggle of women… Most intriguing.

Where's the Election Night Party?

As the campaign rolls on, invitations to the various election night parties are flying around. None of the political parties want to be seen organising anything for fear of the obvious headlines, but that hasn’t stopped the media. The BBC have gone with a boat moored opposite the London Eye, ITV a stones throw away at County Hall, and Andrew Neil is said to be throwing his own exclusive personal bash at a mystery location.  Some of the think-tanks are organising smaller parties. The biggest party of the night will be held in the Sports Cafe on Haymarket in Central London.

Serving booze from nine until breakfast time the next morning is the party’s best selling point, but add to that all the news channels playing across fifty screens throughout the night, with Wi-FI, Blackberry and iPhone charging facilities, drinks deals, four bars and live betting market price updates. With 700 guests expected the broadcasters will be using the central London location as a backdrop for two-ways. Guido is planning to swing by, joining the blogging twitterati who look to be setting up camp there for the night. As it will be the only place open when the counts finish, it looks set to be the place where people come to cheer or drown their sorrrows.

More info on Facebook, so reserve your spot, regardless of what time you will turn up on the night, here.

UPDATE : Brillo has been in touch to point out that his exclusive personal bash is actually the BBC boat party.  Sadly Guido won’t be joining him, as he is under contract to ITV…

Nick Hogan Freed by the Blogosphere

Nick Hogan, the publican who let his drinkers smoke, is a free man tonight, back behind the bar rather than behind bars, thanks to blog readers and libertarians who raised the £8,664.50 to spring him from jail.

Anna Raccoon has the full story, Old Holborn organised the fund raising and Guido was more than happy to publicise it.  Within hours co-conspirators had raised thousands to spring him from jail.

Nick Hogan is once more in the bosom of his family, able to support his wife Denise and their children, instead of being locked up with violent criminals.

A happy ending thanks to the generosity of blog readers…

UPDATE : Guy News was there and has footage of the cash being delivered to the jail by Old Holborn.  (Contact Emily.Nomates@GuyNews.TV for syndication rights).

What Smoking Ban?

Rumours are swirling around about the near daily smell of fine Cuban smoke emanating from the loos on the fourth floor of Portcullis House first thing in the morning.

Who is this iconoclastic lone law flouter willing to start the day in style?

Guido has his suspicions…

Freedom is Indivisible

Anyone else see the irony in the same politicians who support the banning of Islam4UK supporting the Green Revolutionaries in Tehran?  If they support Democracy4Iran, why not at home? As far as Guido knows Islam4UK have no members who have been charged with terrorism or advocating violence

Freedom of speech is what we are supposedly fighting the “war on terror” to defend.  If these nutters advocate violence, lock ’em up, if they just advocate a change of regime, that is their right in a democratic and free society. Freedom of speech can offend, but that isn’t a reason to do away with it…

Freedom of Speech Includes "Hate Speech"

Hate Criminal
Pauline Howe, 67, wrote a letter to Norwich Council objecting to a local gay pride march. She used the word “sodomites” and objected to “perverted sexual practices”.  A tad old fashioned, something you would perhaps be embarrassed by if your aunt blurted it out at Christmas.

Subsequently two police officers turned up on her doorstep to warn her that she had committed a “hate crime”Guardianistas cheer on the police.

The comic Jimmy Carr told an audience of 2,500 at the Manchester Apollo: “Say what you like about servicemen amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re going to have a f*****g good paralympic team in 2012.” Daily Mail leader writers are outraged.

Get a grip. There is no right to not be offended.

If somebody offends you in your own house, you can throw them out.  if somebody offends you in a public space, without inciting violence or defaming you, tough.  Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words should not be legislated.

It may be ill-mannered, it may be vulgar and offensive, but it should not be illegal. People going to a Jimmy Carr show can’t expect not to wince and laugh, venturing into the comments on this blog is not for the thin-skinned either. People need to grow up and keep a sense of proportion, or else life could get very boring and sterile. You don’t want to end up like Sunny Hundal, a man so right-on as to be a walking parody. Once in a fit of rage, yet so conflicted by political correctness, all he could do was call Guido “you bloody human!”

Muslim Radicals Take to the Streets

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown leads these dangerous radicals. Allahu Akbar…

Think Tank Pushes Drugs Policy of Decriminalisation

zero_baseOf all the right-of-centre think tanks the libertarian-leaning Adam Smith Institute has always been a bit more spikey and willing to push the envelope than rival think tanks in Westminster wonk-land.

In economics the ASI was the mid-wife of Thatcher’s privatisation strategies which were exported around the world (the separate consulting arm spun-off from the institute advises foreign governments worldwide to this day). In the last decade it has (to little  avail) been putting the case for not just lower taxes, but flatter and simpler taxes.  Until now the wider libertarian social agenda was seemingly off limits and left to the various pressure groups and single-issue campaigns.

Madsen Pirie has never dodged the drugs liberalisation question in the past but the ASI has never pushed the policy until now.  Madsen Pirie told Guido he felt that the “war on drugs” approach had now been tested to destruction and that the political environment was more “convivial” to drug liberalisation.  Guido asked him “Do you mean that because we have a former self-confessed coke-head in the White House and a former stoner heading for Downing Street we might see change?” Diplomatically he replied “Well, it is fair to say, this generation of ministers will be more familiar with the issues.”

Zero Base Policy has 32 other manifesto recommendations…

UPDATE : Claudia Rubin from the Release campaign says

the last significant drug policy measure in the UK was implemented by Margaret Thatcher with the introduction of the needle exchange programme and it is fitting therefore that the ASI should be taking this view. Were he to become Prime Minister next year, David Cameron could mark 40 years of the failure of prohibition by doing something really necessary and sensible.

Phillip Oppenheim, a former Conservative Treasury minister in charge of Customs says in an interview out today that in office he tried to push government policy in a progressive direction.  There is nothing progressive about locking people up for smoking weed…

Rowland Gave Tories a Million to "Set the People Free"

David Rowland, the property developer tycoon says of the million he has bunged the Tories this year:

“I made the donation as a result of my passionate concern for liberty and the economic future of Britain. We need fresh ideas, national renewal and above all a Government that sets the people free. I feel strongly that the Conservatives under the leadership of David Cameron are the party that will deliver that. They are the best hope for this country’s future.”

Guido is hard pressed to think of any Tory policies that will set the people free. The only outstanding libertarian commitment they have made is to abolish ID cards.  Cameron rarely speaks about freedom, the Tories sound more like technocratic managerialists than freedom fighters…

Finishing the War on Drugs

DruggiesIf things had gone slightly differently for David Cameron instead of being on the verge of becoming PM, he could be yet another former public school boy who ended up squandering his privileges and doing jail time for possession of cannabis and cocaine.  The current President of America could just be another black ex-con from a broken home.

If there is one message that comes through from The Wire, it is that the war on drugs can not be won and that it corrupts all of society – not just those in the drug gangs – the police and politicians as well.  It is far from fictional, apart from the corrupting effect the police waste time which could be better spent fighting crimes of violence and against property.  It costs a couple of billion a year to seize half a billion worth of drugs.  The jails are full of young people who could, if they had not been criminalised, gone on to become leaders like Obama and Cameron.  If drugs were decriminalised we would waste less money and lives than we do now.

nice-people

The criminal justice system would be freed up to deal with pressing problems greater than students smoking pot and ravers taking ecstasy.  Addicts would be treated within the healthcare system, not the criminal justice system.  Addicts deserve pity, not incarceration.  Decriminalising drug use and treating it as a health problem would in a stroke undermine the gangsters and drug trafficker just as ending prohibition undermined the mafia.  The biggest beneficiaries of drug prohibition are the crime bosses.

Guido on the Fringe

Have had a few requests to speak at fringe events at the party conferences, so just to make the position clear – Guido is willing to do so, preferably in relation to areas of interest covered on this blog.

First come first served. […] Read the rest

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John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories. That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

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