Over £100, 000 was raised last night at the Sixteenth Annual Macmillan Cancer Support’s Parliamentary Palace of Varieties. The Daily Politics were there, though they missed Guido losing a bet to LibDem MP John Hemming that Fabricant, Gillan and Binley would slag off the PM in their turn. They didn’t, Hemming got Guido’s money which he very sportingly spent on brandy and port. Glasman and Jesse Norman were blowing their own trumpets once again, yet the star of the night was Lord Dobbs of Gilbert and Sullivan. Michael Fabricant in bunches is a sight you will struggle to forget…
Late last night an account purporting to be that of Sally Bercow tweeted:
“SB friend for 20 yrs & she asked i tweet 4 her- she in spa/rehab”.
The Speaker’s Office declined the opportunity to comment. Sally was not immediately available at the time of going to pixel…
UPDATE: Sally claims she was hacked. Again. Odd given she was tweeting Andrew Pierce at the time…
“Last week, Nick Clegg returned from a trip to South America. Goodness knows what he smoked out there, because he actually made a couple of smart points. First, the so-called War on Drugs isn’t working. Second, we should appoint a royal commission to look into the alternatives. The fact is our current approach to drugs is neither practical nor effective. I strongly believe in promoting individual freedom – but I also strongly believe in reducing the public harm caused by drugs. As a parent as much as a politician, I say we have to accept that current policy has not achieved the reductions in crime or consumption that we’d hoped for. I know he slagged me off in this newspaper yesterday, but on this one I agree with Nick.”
Finally a politician with an interesting line.
Who is the mysterious man Sally is straddling here?
Guido has many fond memories of the Red Lion, not to mention the many more he can’t remember…
Unsurprisingly business leaders weren’t impressed with Ed’s speech either. Institute of Directors boss Simon Walker has his say:
“The state has a very poor history of creating competition in banking. The last time the Government told a bank what to do, Lloyds was ordered to sell branches to Rev. Flowers, and we all know how that ended.”
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.
The We Can’t Go On Like This Brigade are out in force this morning and today’s target is sugar. Those of us who predicted that once nanny had got bored of booze and fags, she would come for our sweeties don’t look so stupid now. “Children’s alcohol” cry the Guardian, the “new tobacco” say the Mail.
Given that there are records of Henry III eating sugar in Britian in 1264 and tobacco was not imported until 1586, that headline needs some work…
Indy staff have been left baffled this afternoon by an email inviting them to help themselves to “a crate of unclaimed stuff in front of Chris Blackhurst’s desk including some high heels, a copy of the Kama Sutra, an assortment of dog shampoo and a speed camera (hand-held).”
Sounds like one hell of a kinky night…
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”.
It’s been an open secret that Charles Saatchi has been trying to put around the Nigella coke angle, but her lawyers have been stopping anyone from printing it. Now it’s been said in court:
Saatchi’s friends tell people that is why he was looking up her nose that day…
This explains so much:
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.
Rev Flowers has been nicked as Labour’s Co-op embarrassment makes the front pages once again this morning. By far Guido’s favourite story of the day however is this little gem found by the Sun, who have got hold of Facebook messages written by Flowers in which he lusts over a certain party loving Labour frontbencher:
Thank god he didn’t favourite anything on Twitter…
It was all banter, mate.
Cameron declared that he was only joking when he accused Michael Meacher of being on mind altering substances. Something the PM and Chancellor would know all about.
Dave admitted he smoked pot and has never denied taking cocaine, even when he was asked whether he took it after he was elected. When asked by Alex Thomson of Channel Four News, all he confirmed was he hadn’t snorted since 2001:
AT: “If you were asked have you ever taken class A drugs as an MP, would you answer that question?”
DC: “I have always said that lawmakers cannot be lawbreakers. All I have said about my past, though, is that what is private in the past should remain private.”
AT: “If I asked you if you’d snorted cocaine as an MP, you’d therefore say No, wouldn’t you?”
DC: “That’s right, but please, I mean, I think we’ve dealt with this issue…”
AT: “So that’s ‘No’?”
DC: “I’ve absolutely answered your question.”
AT: “Say No.”
DC: “I’ve just said No.”
AT: “Thank you. Right. We can move on.”
That’s a rather extended “normal university experience”.
A note for slanderers, libellers, satirists, drunks, angry and bitter critics, parties with an urgent need for anti-social expression.
The Draft Defamation Bill was in committee last night, with regard to website operators.
The Government aren’t seeking to make website operators liable for comments posted under on-line articles.
That’s good for Guido, or we’d be in jail by now. There’s no telling where some of you would be.
However, readers wanting to complain will be able to make representations, and the offending comments can be taken down without penalty by the operator.
Or the operator may choose to contact the poster and ask him or her to take them down. The poster may decide to stand by those comments and the matter would go through the courts in the usual way.
The website owner, as a distributor, would not be liable, as long as the processes, the procedures, the regulatory catechisms are adhered to.
Not much news here, then. And that’s good news.
But is that the result of climate change? Evan Davies will let us know in due course.
Labour have this afternoon suspended coke-snorting Rev Flowers from the party.
Since they are taking such a tough line, Guido wonders if there is a precedent for such action against known cocaine users?