How Much Does Gordon’s Pollster Charge for a 1-Day Seminar?

Guido has said it before and he’ll say it again, the way Gordon Brown’s pollster, Deborah Mattinson at Opinion Leader Research, gets contracts is not right.

Hidden away in an announcement made quietly on May 4, when all our attention was on the local election results, was the news that OLR had won another government contract to organise a one-day seminar.

£153,484.38 was the price the taxpayer paid OLR for a one-day seminar on the “The Skills Challenge: A Public Debate” in February. That should subsidise a hell of a lot of free polling for Gordon.

Operation Ribble Closes :When Will Levy Be Charged?

The CPS got the final tranche of the Operation Ribble files on Friday.* The Met let the press know in no uncertain terms that they expected charges against the Sleaze Master General himself, Ruth Turner and Sir Chris Evans. If Powell faces charges too, it will be a devastating denouement to the Blair era. Blair himself is widely expected to escape without being charged, the documentary evidence being too weak.

The CPS could make a decision as soon as June, at a time when many expect the Blair-Brown handover to be in process. Guido has long believed that the police would not be fazed by dealing with powerful political figures, that Levy would inevitably face charges and is now convinced that senior figures at the CPS will not find it possible to sweep things under the carpet. Lord Goldsmith may not even be in office when the decision to prosecute is made, it could well be a Brown appointee. If Brown’s Attorney General were to block charges the prospect of a private prosecution being brought remains. Soundings have already been taken by interested parties at the Inner Temple about this possibility.

If the Attorney General were to then enter a plea of nolle prosequi, claiming it would not be in the public interest to put Blair’s lieutenants on trial, Brown’s administration would forever be tainted with covering up his predecessor’s corruption. Something Brown is unlikely to countenance.

One way or another, this is going to go all the way.

*Guido was at the time supping champagne at Pascal Aussignac’s Club Gascon.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View(Shoot That Golden Arrow Edition)

Gerry Sutcliffe, the prisons minister, and Stephen Ladyman, the transport minister, were named during a two-month investigation into “cash for access” by the Sunday Times.

Yates Writes to Public Administration Select Committee

Doesn’t really say a lot, does say he has enough staff and an “extremely secure environment” (just round the corner from Scotland Yard).

Download the letter here.

McTernan Documentation

The Law Report for Attorney-General v British Broadcasting Corporation contains a little nugget Guido hadn’t noticed before. The three categories of documentation identified were:

A Material relating to policy strategy in conducting their future investigations. As to that, the judge said that the real concern of the police was that they wished to put the document to several individuals who might be suspects. They considered that there was a risk that if information about the document was published, that would give potential interviewees the opportunity to frustrate the investigation.

B Material of a factual nature: The police regarded the document in question as a key document in the investigation into the perversion of the course of justice, whose deployment was a matter of real interest and concern and the police were for that reason concerned about it receiving advanced publicity in the media. The document was not an email, it ran to several pages and contained far more information. There was a real question mark as to whether Mr Powell, the addressee, ever received it and the investigating officers were very interested to discover whether he did so or not.

C Material related to Mr John McTernan, director of political operations at Downing Street.

Most of Westminster thinks he has grassed or cut a deal to save his skin. The whole Loans for Lordships affair has, at the very least, cost him his much desired safe seat.

No doubt John will take precious time out from overseeing the decimation of the Labour party in Scotland to post again in the comments telling us how he is in the clear and Guido gets it all wrong. We shall see…

Milan Fashion News

“Tricky corners” are out with fashionistas like David Mills and Silvio Berlusconi. On trial and facing up to twenty years in jail he isn’t worried. The trial will be dragged out beyond the statute of limitations and the former husband of Tessa Jowell will get off free, but not proved innocent.

Mills not only advised his ex-wife on back-to-back mortgages, he also advised Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One boss, at the time his wife, Tessa, was formulating legislation on banning tobacco advertising F1. Bernie bunged more than £1 million to the Labour Party and succeeded in blocking a ban.

They are said to be separated, but can still be found sleeping under the same roof. Guido suspects that sometime next year, after the trial is halted, they will be reunited.

May the Force* Be With You

To the Jedi going into Sith HQ tonight – do give Guido’s regards to Konrad.

Beckett is speaking about John Smith. Maybe the co-conspirators / Jedi should ask her about the secret political slush fund she operated during his period of leadership which was only closed down shortly before it became illegal.

*The Metropolitan Police Force.

UPDATE : 20:00 You have to laugh, she anointed the attending Gordon Brown as the heir to John Smith, peppering her speech shamelessly with favourable comparisons. Like Guido has always said, the only benficiary of this charity is G. Brown. Yours truly got a name-check by the warm-up comedian.

++ SKY : RUTH TURNER WAS QUESTIONED AGAIN ++

UPDATE : She reported to the police yesterday under the terms of her bail. She was re-interviewed, which technically is re-arrest methinks.

Smith Institute : Gordon’s Slip is Clearly ShowingBelow the Hem

“Britain is a better country because of the choices that voters made in 1997, 2001 and 2005….”*

Is that a quote from the draft 2009 Labour party manifesto to be signed by Gordon Brown? In a sense it is, in that it comes from an invitation sent out by what is effectively Gordon’s preparatory campaign committee. The Smith Institute is, even Brownite allies admit, now in its final days as a charity. One Brownite sneered to Guido that “even if it does lose it’s charitable status, it won’t matter, Gordon will be PM by then.”

That may be, but we will know that he is just as slippery as Blair when it comes to covert funding. We’ll know that his big business friends with interests in government contracts, government preferment and personal advancement, backed his campaign with cold cash given behind closed doors. Gordon glad-handed them at events at No. 11 organised by the Smith Institute, subsidised the Sith’s events by allowing them to use No. 11 rent free, the Treasury paid tax kick-backs on donations to the “educational charity” and even went so far as to pay thousands directly to the Smith Institute’s private company to organise events.

Gordon then tried to get a peerage for his allies Wilf Stevenson, the director of the Smith Institute and Ronnie “PFI” Cohen, the financier and Gordon backer. When Blair goes will anything really change when it comes to New Labour sleaze?

*Hat-tip to Hencke

Blinky Balls Blushes at PMQs

 edblink
Although his master was absent (presumably washing his hair) Ed Balls was in the chamber during PMQs.
Benedict Brogan’s blog captures the moment

Colin Challen was called to ask the Prime Minister a question, and the minute his name left the Speaker’s lips the cat-calls began. “My Lord!” and “Where’s Ed?” came from the across the floor. Labour MPs writhed with embarrassment. And Ed Balls stood at the Bar of the House looking distinctly sheepish.

Of course if Blinky Balls isn’t going to be dropped into Challen’s seat, he really has nothing to be sheepish about. It is not like Gordon would have done something as sleazy as secure Challen a comfy sinecure on the Treasury’s Stern Commission and a peerage to follow. Gordon is above that sort of thing, he wouldn’t line up a peerage for the Sith’s Wilf Stevenson or his generous moneyman backer and PFI profiteer Ronnie Cohen either.

Da Fink thinks a bit of cronyism is just dandy anyway, because all parties do it. That’s alright then…

+++ Gordon’s Non-Partisan, Non-Political Charity Paid forU.S. Pollster to Formulate Anti-Cameron Strategy +++

Bloomberg News is reporting that Bob Shrum, the veteran U.S. pollster and campaign adviser, was paid by the Smith Institute to formulate an anti-Cameron campaign strategy for Gordon Brown.

They have obtained a transcript of a speech given to a private Smith Institute invited audience, which included Brown acolytes Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, as well as other media allies. Shrum advised the Brownites to brand Cameron as “an empty opportunist who will do anything to win”.

The event was held to review Cameron’s first 100 days in March 2006.

Guido understands that a formal complaint to the Charity Commissioners requesting a full-scale investigation of the Smith Institute under Section 8 of the Charity Act will be considered by the Charity Commission today.

++ more follows ++

Women’s Choices

Health minister Ivan Lewis told the Today programme on Friday “that we have to trust and respect women. Give them the information and then allow them to make the best choice for themselves.”

Guido wonders how much he trusts and respects Maggie Gibb, a councillor in his constituency who has been reported to the Standards Board for England after allegedly giving the finger to a teacher at a local school due to be closed.

According to a pupil’s mother who witnessed the incident “after Maggie Gibb said something [to the teacher] and he had turned around, she stuck her finger up and smirked at Ivan Lewis” the Bury South MP.

Is that really why she was smirking at Ivan Lewis?


Jane Hogarth Departs the Labour Party

Guido wrote back in March that Jane Hogarth was being set-up to take blame for some of Levy’s Loans for Lordships shenanigans. Much safer if she takes the flack because she worked for the Labour party not Downing Street. At all costs the blame must be kept well away from Tony, although as we all know in reality it was his fund-raising operation run out of Downing Street.

Is it really so surprising that she has taken “voluntary” redundancy now?

Guido understands that the Labour party is due to repay some £3 million over the next 3 months. Will these supposedly commercial loans be rolled over or written off? We were assured when the story first broke that they were to be repaid on a commercial basis. Whatever happens we will find out now that the Electoral Commission has belatedly got tough on loans. Lord Sainsbury may yet again be called upon to prop up the party which he has supported to the tune of £15 million, not counting the money he gives to New Labour supporting groups.

It is going to be a long, hot sweaty summer for a lot of Labour party apparachtiks. Yates of the Yard is conducting interviews with witnesses and suspects. Guido has received mixed messages about the timing of any action, some say it will be before the party conference, some say after. It willl overshadow September’s conference deliberations. C’mon coppers, give us the perp walk…

N.B. The above image of a handcuffed Levy doing the “perp walk” is, Guido has been advised by media lawyers and concerned journalists, potentially defamatory. Guido thinks not. Sleazy Levy would have to be innocent with a good reputation to damage.

Hemming Lobbies for Nominations

From: John Hemming [mailto:john.hemming@jhc.co.uk]
Sent: 09 January 2006 14:09

To: YOUNGER-ROSS, Richard; WILLOTT, Jenny; WILLIS, Phillip; WILLIAMS, Stephen; WILLIAMS, Roger; WILLIAMS, Mark; THURSO, John; TEATHER, Sarah; TAYLOR, Matthew (MP); SWINSON, Jo; STUNELL, Andrew; SMITH, Robert; SANDERS, Adrian; RUSSELL, Bob; ROWEN, Paul; ROGERSON, Dan; REID, Alan; PUGH, John; OPIK, Lembit; OATEN, Mark; MULHOLLAND, Greg; MOORE, Michael; LEECH, John; LAWS, David; LAMB, Norman; KRAMER, Susan; KEETCH, Paul; HUHNE, Chris; HUGHES, Simon; HORWOOD, Martin; HEATH, David; HARVEY, Nick; HARRIS, Evan; HANCOCK, Mike; GOLDSWORTHY, Julia; GIDLEY, Sandra; GEORGE, Andrew; FOSTER, Don; FEATHERSTONE, Lynne; FARRON, Tim; DAVEY, Edward; CLEGG, Nick; CARMICHAEL, Alistair; CABLE, Vincent; BURT, Lorely; BURSTOW, Paul; BRUCE, Malcolm; BROWNE, Jeremy; BROOKE, Annette; BREED, Colin; BRAKE, Tom; BEITH,Alan; BARRETT, John; BAKER, Norman; ALEXANDER, Danny; WEBB, Steve; HOWARTH,David; HOLMES, PAUL; HUNTER, Mark

Subject: Collection of Nominations

Colleagues will be aware that I have started the process of organising a leadership campaign. I am aware that some colleagues are supporting Ming Campbell – who will make a good leader for the party if he wins.

It will take me some time to talk to colleagues about the process of nomination and I would request that people give me the time to make my pitch before deciding who to nominate.

Tell us your pitch John, purrleeeeaaase, what qualifies you to lead this great party?

UPDATE: John Hemming writes “Patience, Patience my friend.” Guido is on tenterhooks, what can he do to assist the Brummie Love Machine, Proto-Geek and Political Theorist?



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