Charity Commissioners to Re-Investigate Smith InstituteGordon’s Spin Merchants Front-page His Bad News

On Saturday The Telegraph followed up on Guido’s story from earlier this month about the Smith Institute and today it has a leader and an article on the subject. The Charity Commissioners received calls from the Times, Bloomberg and The Telegraph chasing the story, which seems to have galvanised them into action. They have announced that they intend to re-investigate what is effectively Gordon’s slush fund and charitable successor to his “blind trust”, the Industrial Research Trust.
All are chasing what could be a dynamite scandal for Ed Balls and Gordon Brown, the Smith Institute’s use of Treasury tax rebates on donations to the “charity” to fund Ed Balls’ salary and subsidise what is the secretariat for Gordon’s government-in-waiting. The prospect of being able to lay abuse-of-office charges at the door of No. 11 has hacks salivating.

Now call Guido cynical if you will, but on the day the Charity Commissioners announce their intentions, and the Telegraph articles show the press chase has begun, we learn from a deftly placed story in the government’s favourite mouthpiece, The Sun, that tragically Gordon’s son has cystic fibrosis. A good day to front-page the tragic news?


Previous here, here and here.

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.”

Gore for Beginners

Since losing his day job Al Gore usually speaks to audiences of depressed left-wingers and sometimes higher up the food chain to school children. Tonight he is speaking at a Smith Institute organised bash. For those of you without an invite to the Gordon/Gore fest tonight Guido presents “Gore for Beginners.”

Hat-tip : Milky Bar Kid

See The Pattern?

Gordon and Gore are going to the NFT tonight at a Smith Institute organised screening of Gore’s film of his bonkers book An Inconvenient Truth. Described as a “passionate and inspirational look at one man’s commitment” – not words usually associated with Al Gore – “to help save the planet from irrevocable change”. The blurb continues “Gore is funny, engaging, open and downright on fire”. Al Gore on fire? If you believe that you’ll believe anything.

Gore is advising Gordon, who is also being advised by Bob Schrum (pictured), the famed Democrat pollster who masterminded Gore’s presidential run. Schrum advised Kerry as well. Gore lost, Kerry lost, and in truth Bob Schrum’s clients have a habit of losing expensively. Schrum was blamed for a lot of the chaos in Kerry’s presidential campaign. In fact in the eight presidential elections he has been involved, he has won precisely none. Great choice, go for it Gordon!

IPPR & Morality

Wonks for Sale : One of the most money-grubbing think-tanks in wonkland, the Institute for Public Policy Research is holding a seminar on “morality in politics” today. Guido laughed out loud on reading that, no think-tank could be less qualified to pontificate on the subject.

As a think-tank IPPR is the leading cash-for-access practioner and is without doubt the undisputed master of this wheeze. Never so crude as “give us a donation and we will introduce you to the minister”, but effectively that is the implicit deal offered. IPPR boasts of its “strong networks in government” and the flow of wonks to the civil service as special advisers (SpAds), who later go on to become well paid lobbyists, keeps the corporate cheques coming. IPPR describes it clients as “partners” . The IPPR pitch is careful, but clear: “partners have regular contact with our research directors to discuss the progress of projects relevant to their sector. Partners have the opportunity to get on the inside track of policy development. You bet they do.

It has come to something when a left-wing union, the GMB, has become so outraged with the wonk-SpAd-lobbyist merry-go-round which has IPPR at its epicentre that it was prepared to go to the trouble of producing a revealing report on the subject last week. Only the Brownite Smith Institute gives IPPR a run for it’s money – forinstance when Ed Balls moaned about his penury before becoming an MP, a well paid sinecure at the Smith Institute was found to endogenously wedge him up. The Smith Institute can expect to boost it’s coffers at IPPR’s expense if Gordon becomes PM. The GMB’s 27 page report focuses page after page on the IPPR’s revolving door and people. The New Local Government Network is another bastion of New Labour’s soft corruption – it has replaced the Freemasons as the way to get on in local government (sponsored by Capita). Knowing IPPR, Guido can only wonder who is paying for this “morality in politics” seminar. The press office has been strangely unhelpful so far…

UPDATE : The IPPR press office has just invited Guido to the seminar. No alcoholic enticement has been offered.

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