DUEMA and Friends

Despite a much touted blitz of speeches and promised new year activity, it’s all quiet on the Miliband front today. This has given the Don’t Unseat Ed Miliband Association plenty of time to get used to their rebranding and reorganisation. However it seems that a rival operation has come out of right-field all of a sudden:

Rentoul, and the other wicked traitors like Dan Hodges, will be defeated…

Steve Hilton Abandons Official No.10 Email Account

The Information Commissioner is set to pave the way to make the private email accounts of those in government FoI-able. Given that most SpAds and Ministers are sick of civil servants snooping around and leaking things before decisions have even been made, government by GMail is widespread in Whitehall. Someone told the Guardian: “Everyone is shitting bricks at the implications. It looks as if they are going to say Post-it notes are disclosable. There is going to be material on the budget, Libyan strategy, everything.” One senior Downing Street staffer, quick to eschew convention, has given up on official emails completely:

From: Steve Hilton shilton@no10.x.gsi.gov.uk
Date: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply:

Thank you for your email – Please note, Steve does not access his No.10 emails.

If you require a response please contact ███████ █████ █████@no10.x.gsi.gov.uk or via the No.10 Switchboard on 020 █████ █████.

Many thanks

Annette Craze
Assistant Private Secretary to Steve Hilton

For latest news and information from Downing Street visit: http://www.number10.gov.uk

Help save paper – do you need to print this email?

“Steve does not access his No.10 emails.” Guido refuses to believe that the Downing Street Director of Strategy never sends emails related to his work. It’s right that we are able to see the decision making that is currently off the books. 

Ken Continues Gaffing But Boris Needs to Pull His Socks Up

Forget the roguish charm, forget the hair, forget the bikes and forget those Evening Standard placards; the biggest asset to the Mayor’s re-election campaign is, and will remain, his omni-shambolic opponent. Another day and another gaffe…

Over to Chief Former Mayor Monitor Andrew Gilligan:

“On Monday this week, at a public meeting in the borough of Lewisham, the chair, Val Shawcross, asked the audience for their views about housing policy. Ken came in: “Ask how many people think we should hang George Osborne.” Shawcross: “Well, I’m deliberately not asking questions like that because you never know when there is going to be a journalist in the room.” I enjoyed the implication that it would be all right to demand the killing of the Chancellor if no journalist were present.”

That being said, Team Boris cannot afford to simply sit on their laurels. Ken is going to come at him like a cornered bear. This is the end, the last hurrah, and the former Mayor knows it. The latest campaign ad put out by Boris is horrific. It’s too long, too text heavy, slow, clunky and the music sounds like a low budget airline in-flight safety video:

3 out of 10. See Guido.

Is Being a Dickhead No Longer Cool?

The East London Tech City is the pet project of some of the trendier inhabitants of No 10. Yesterday Dave announced 600 new businesses have started up in the area Old Street.

He also appointed a “Tech City Ambassador” – Ben Hammersley of Wired. A King of the Dickheads, if you will…

Damian's New "Absolutely Totally Brilliant" Blogging Tips

With Draper back in the fold, the old faces are coming out of the woodwork. Obviously spinning for Catholic aid charity Cafod and running the Saturday football match for his old school boys club isn’t enough for our old mucker Damian McBride. Like a bad smell, he’s back and lingering on Twitter and already discussing an issue dear to his heart – engagement with bloggers:

Why not just send them an email of concocted smears and lies instead?

Tarquin Fights the System

MacBook Pro –  £1,260

Grubby hoody from gap year – £25

Free WiFi from Starbucks so you can fight the system online – Priceless, yah!

Image via Digital Politico

Fuel Fight Finally Pencilled In

After some confusion and delay, the much hyped fuel prices e-petition that was set up by Robert Halfon will be debated in the House on Thursday 15, November.

Guido would hope a little more successfully than in America

Two Snapshots of St. Paul's

Guido took a stroll round the distinctly underwhelming camp at St Paul’s last night. One or two things did make him giggle though:

His face lit up by a thousand corporations…

It all go a little too tiring and emotional for one merry camper…

UPDATE: Behind the paywall The Times have some disgruntled voices:

“Zakandrew Roberts, 18, joined Occupy London on its first day, but left on Saturday after a series of incidents, including someone urinating in his tent and a friend being threatened with a penknife. He claimed that the camp had deteriorated from a group of serious campaigners intent on highlighting issues about economic equality, to “drunks and drug-takers . . . here for a laugh”. Mr Roberts, an unemployed charity worker, said: “Half the people there don’t know why they are there or what they are protesting about. I want political change, not to get high and drunk all the time.”

Watch out for that progressive punch, it’s lethal…

Play Them at Their Own Game

If you can’t beat them then join them. Old Holborn suggests that the Europhiles should be played at their own game; keep asking them the same question until you get the answer that you want. Guido is inclined to agree:

 Sign here if you do too…

Official LibDem In/Out Petition Site Still Live

The LibDems stood on a manifesto commitment to hold an In/Out EU referendum. They were so keen on the idea that they set up a petition campaign website:

You can still sign

UPDATE: Took them a few hours to erase the evidence down the digital memory hole.

Ask Pred-Ed About the Lobbyist Roland Rudd Right Now

Last week Ed promised to release a list of business clients he met at a dinner at the home of super-spinner Roland Rudd. So far he has not coughed the information. Lets ask him what he’s hiding…

Ed’s Twitter humiliation is becoming a near monthly occurrence. He’s doing yet another #AskEdM event at 15:00.

As ever Guido is making it easy for you to take part, all you have to do is click the box above and you are away.

Did you sup with a long spoon Ed, or were you the prey?

UPDATE: Are you listening Ed? Lots of people want a question answered:

Follow Friday FoI

Paul Waugh has confirmed that a locked and hidden Twitter account is in fact that of the Downing Street Director of Communications:

Given that Craig Oliver is using his job title and place of work in his Twitter name, Guido feels we have a right to know what he’s pushing. As well as being nosy…

#AskEdM III – Conference Special

It seems our Ed is a glutton for punishment. He’s doing yet another Ask Ed event at 5.30 on Twitter. As ever Guido is making it easy for you to take part, all you have to do is click the box above and you are away. After his conference speech crashed and burned, the rumour doing the rounds is that he wrote it himself – hence why it was so terrible.

Click and ask him to explain…

SpAd's Unrecorded Private Email Network Includes Ministers

While we are on the subject of controversal email practice,  it is worth noting that the use of personal email accounts to avoid the eyes, and ham-fists, of civil servants is not confined to one department. The rules in the Special Adviser’s code state that party political activity must not be done on government resources, Andy Coulson used to remind SpAds of this when they were appointed to their jobs, telling them to use their own private emails. Guido understands that government Ministers Oliver Letwin and Frankie Maude prefer to use Google’s G-Mail rather than the government network. When it was broached with Frankie that there were security issues about this, Maude is said to have quipped that he’s the Minister for Transparency so it didn’t matter…

Steve Hilton is said to be a big fan of instant messaging on Skype, and Cameron still has his Yahoo mail, though he prefers to text message MPs, which isn’t always as private or secure as one might hope.  Downing Street information security protocols do not allow the use of webmail on official computers, hence the common sight of double-BlackBerry wielding SpAds and ministers. It also assists Ministers and SpAds who want to outwit backward looking civil servants resistant to change – a big problem in the Education Department…

Ed Begs For Friends

This was just emailed to the entire Labour supporters email list. There is something quite touching, a little sad perhaps, about Ed asking for mates:

Dear Guido,

When I became Leader of the Labour Party a year ago, I said that we had to be a party that looked outwards, not just inwards.

Over the last 12 months, I’ve been working hard to live up to that, by listening and learning from people all over our country.

I’ve been talking to people in shops, factories, High Streets – and I’ve been using social media too.

Now, Google have invited me to have a profile on Google+ and I want to invite you to join me.

You already use Gmail, so the next step to keeping in touch using Google+ is easy – just add me to your circles.

If you’re not signed up yet, I have 150 invites to share and I’ll be giving them to people who respond to this email. Click here for an invite.

I hope to speak with you soon.

Ed Miliband
Leader of the Labour Party

A nice bit of free advertising for Google.

It seems it’s not just the Tories that they have under the thumb…

Bell Tries to Up His Game

What a strange coincidence: after a hounding from his local press and an investigation launched by the Labour Party, Sir Stuart Bell has taken up the tool that many of his colleagues use to convince us they are doing something:

http://twitter.com/#!/StuartBellMP/status/111829408628740097

Why not use Twitter to ask him what the weather is like in Paris?

Via @jimwaterson

UPDATE: Turns out it’s fake. Guido isn’t quite sure why someone would go to the effort for such a dull fake, but c’est la vie. Miliband’s office have told the BBC that the Chief Whip has had a “stern conversation” with Bell. A classic Labour Party “investigation”.

Backbench Business Committee Bites Back

Guido broke the news yesterday that the government e-Petitions that have crossed the threshold of 100,000 signatures, so far, will not be debated until well after the conference season. Well it seems the Committee overseeing the project are trying to shift the blame for the delay:

  • The Government is responsible for giving time to the Backbench Business Committee, and the time available to us is very limited – less than one day a fortnight. The Government has not provided any additional time to debate e-petitions and our existing limited supply is already oversubscribed.
  • The Committee has no power to schedule debates unless some Members of Parliament come forward to tell us that they wish to take part in them. However the Government has not provided any way to link petitions to Members of Parliament who wish to sponsor them on the e-petitions site, or any advice to petitioners on what they might need to do. Unfortunately, this means that no Members of Parliament have yet come to ask us for a debate on an e-petition.

The same government denied these e-Petitions were cosmetic…

Tim Farron is a Twitter Fraud

At 11.15 LibDem Tim Farron tweeted one of his followers. Strangely though he was live on Sky News at the time, and though Guido couldn’t see his hands, he would be very surprised if Farron can type on a laptop without evening a glance down. The tweet was sent from the web:

Tim was on until Sky until 11.18 and Guido managed to get the screen-grab at 11.16. Busted…

E-Petitions Fall on Deaf Ears

Guido hears that the Backbench Business Committee overseeing the e-petitions, will not be making time for parliament to discuss the two that have, so far, successfully reached 100,000 signatures,  until at least after party-conference season. The people have spoken, but it turns out no one is rushing to listen…

More Trouble for Left-Wing Lobbyists 38 Degrees

Since Guido published Stephen Phillips damning tirade against 38 Degrees this morning, another MP – Guy Opperman – has waded into the debate. He too is a former barrister and provides another comprehensive take-down of the deceitful misinterpretation of legal advice that the astro-turfing group are using to attack NHS reforms:

“The 38 Degrees website says: What our lawyers have identified within the Health and Social Care Bill: 

“The bill will remove the duty of the Secretary of State to provide or secure the provision of health services which has been a common and critical feature of all previous NHS legislation since 1946.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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