What Kind of “Charity” is the Smith Insitute?

If you call the New Statesman you get an automated response system, which at the end directs callers to the Smith Institute. The Brown-backing New Statesman is owned by Geoffrey Robinson. Guido is making a wild guess here, but would be willing to bet that the Smith Institute gets a substantial amount of financial and other benefits-in-kind support from Geoffrey Robinson. Geoffrey is Gordon’s great long time cheerleader and paymaster-general.

The Smith Institute has a wholly-owned subsidary, SI Events Limited, which has a close commercial relationship with the New Statesman. It is all a bit incestuous isn’t it?

What Yates Should Ask Gordon

Yates of the Yard wants to know what Gordon Brown knew about the £14 million in loans to the Labour party made in 2005. Gordon will no doubt have credible answers for him. Yates’ questions would be better directed back to the 1990s, to the time when Gordon Brown had set up for his personal benefit a supposedly “blind” trust called the Industrial Research Trust. Such trusts were made illegal in 2000 because they were neither blind or trustworthy. Many known donors to that particular trust were later enobled. Prima facie there are questions to be answered about this supposedly blind trust which paid for Gordon’s expenses and the honours subsequently given to donors.
Henry Drucker (who co-authored a book with Gordon Brown in 1979) was a former fundraiser for the Labour party, he is on the record as describing blind trusts as “evil”. Drucker told David Osler* of some pretty in-your-face approaches from honours-seekers.

“One British-based businessman with foreign connections came right out and asked how much the going rate was for a peerage. He was willing to pay several million pounds for the privilege, Drucker believes.”

Henry Drucker would have been in a position to help police with their inquiries, unfortunately he is dead.

This is of course all in the past since the Industrial Research Trust is no more. Today Gordon has another vehicle for the financing of his ambitions – the Smith Institute. This charity effectively constitutes Gordon’s secretariat. It hosts events at Number 11, graced by Gordon, where he glad hands supporters and as a result ever increasing funds have been raised.

Access to Gordon can be had by donors via the Smith Institute. It is always around when Gordon needs a favour done. Hosting an event for Bill Clinton – get the Smith Institute to give him a platform to share with Gordon. Ed Balls is feeling a bit skint after standing down as Gordon’s SpAd before being parachuted into Normanton – get the Smith Institute to give him a well-paid sinecure. Fancy a bit of back slapping with Gore? Gordon gets the Smith Institute to arrange a screening of his new movie. Gordon doesn’t trust the Labour party’s internal polling – so get the Smith Institute to put Bob Shrum, the U.S. pollster on its payroll as “a senior research fellow”. A highly paid pollster as a fellow – now why ever would a charitable think tank need one of those?

Even though Wilf Stevenson, the Institute’s director, is happy to facilitate Gordon’s whims, the Smith Institute are very evasive about their Brownite links, Guido asked them how many events they had held at No. 11, they came over with amnesia; “Smith Institute events are private high-level guests only events.” Guido explained that, for research purposes only, he had attended one of their high level events. (Security isn’t so tight as they think). The Smith Institute did not deny that the number of events hosted at No. 11 by Gordon was in double figures. No other charity is so privileged, isn’t this bordering on abuse of office?

The question for Yates of the Yard is, isn’t Gordon repeating his old trick? Whereas he once used the Industrial Research Trust to further his ambitions, he now uses the Smith Institute to do the same. All the time claiming that he is “Mr Clean” in comparison to Tony’s sleazy money grubbing ways. “Blind trust” or “educational charity”, the cash was always for the greater glorification of Gordon. Guido reckons Yates should follow the money: who gave what and when? What did they get in return? Yates will find it was more than just canapes on offer at No. 11…

Prezza v BloggersMichael White Gives Round One To Prezza on Points

Michael White is scoring the fight this morning-

The war of Prezza’s stetson is not over yet. But the political bloggers have lost the first round.

Prezza’s pugilistic skills may be infamous, but if he won the first round on points, the judges are fixed. Him and his corner have not laid a glove on Guido despite all the bluster. The commentariat really ought to get their line straight, the New Statesman’s Peter Wilby says we are not making the running, White now says we were, and that we lost. Have no fear, Guido is ready to go fifteen rounds with the gloves off.

Remember, round two doesn’t start until the cowboy is running the country. Guido has seen Prezza shadow boxing, and the shadow won.

UPDATE : Boxing must be the theme of the day, this morning the wonks at the Adam Smith Institute say that Guido has John Prescott and “the government reeling on the ropes, if not down on the canvas. He has in effect taken on the role of official opposition, which is fine for the Conservatives because it leaves them free to rebuild their brand and prepare to take over. Political and media figures devour his blog every day, and it’s easy to see why. It’s compulsive reading.”



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Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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