Guido’s list of the assorted SpAds, bag carriers and spinners is pretty much complete. He has yet to sub-categorise it into naughty and nice though. Thank you to all those who helped out with the tip-offs. One newspaper editor told Guido they had printed it off for reference in his newsroom. Guido has kept their mobile numbers to himself…
Guido has had a few complaints that people on the list are not strictly speaking Special Advisers. Guido is using the term loosely, basically the people on this list are political appointments of various kinds doing the bag carrying for Ministers, some are not your usual wonky, spinning, greasy pole-climbing SpAds – clearly Sir Peter Ricketts heading up the National Security Council for Hague is not a teenage bag carrier. Nic Boles for example is an MP but glides in out of the Cabinet Office helping the Implentation Unit in some unspecified and presumably unpaid way. One way or another they’re on Guido’s list…
Further to the first list of special advisers earlier here are a few more:
Andrew Mitchell – Philippa Buckley. Guido never reveals sources, but someone got in touch who is very proud of his little girl!
Eric Pickles – Sheridan Westlake (who many thought would never leave CCHQ alive) and Giles Kenningham.
Philip Hammond – Sian Jones
Theresa May – Nick Timothy and Fiona Cunningham
Oliver Letwin – Martha Varney
Liam Fox – Luke Coffey and Oliver Waghorn
William Hague – Denzil Davidson, Arminca Helic and Chloe Dalton. Seems Hague didn’t get the memo about only having two SpAds.
Caroline Spelman – Simon Cawte. Let’s hope this time his pay is all in order.
Sir George Young – Robert Riddell
Jeremy Hunt – Sue Beeby and Adam Smith
Perhaps if the government open sourced their information as promised they wouldn’t need so many advisers, weren’t we all invited to join the government? Keep it coming.
Despite promising to clamp down on the numbers, the list of new Special Advisers is steadily growing:
Chief of Staff: Ed Llewellyn, Deputy Chief of Staff: Kate Fall, Strategy Adviser: Steve Hilton. Policy Advisers: James O’Shaughnessy, Oliver Dowden, Tim Chatwin. Head of Strategic Comms: Mark Flanagan
No surprises here really except the retention of Mark Flanagan, a hangover from the old regime, who famously shot “that video” of Gordon smiling.
Special Advisers and media: Sean Kemp, Jonny Oates, Lena Pietsch and Chris Saunders
Oates was poached back by Clegg from Bell Pottinger. Very new politics. When blonde bombshell Lena Pietsch and Clegg don’t want the media to know what they are talking about they converse in German.
Chief of Staff: Arminka Helic. National Security Adviser: Sir Peter Ricketts
Special Adviser: Henry De Zoete
Special Advisers: Rupert Harrison, Eleanor Shawcross. Media: Ramesh Chhabra
As expected really. Eleanor Shawcross, a fellow St Paul’s alumnus and head-turner made the jump, but anyone know what happened to Rohan Silva?
Special Adviser: Will de Peyer
The long-term Lib Dem treasury man was rewarded. Gone very quiet since election day.
Iain Duncan Smith
Special Adviser: Philippa Stroud
The voters of Sutton made it pretty clear that they didn’t want to send Stroud to Westminster. Without The Observer retracting their “gay-curing” story her appointment would not have been possible. A source in the DWP said “it’s common for newspapers to get a story wrong when their source is either wrong or lying, but it’s pretty worrying when a front-page story is based on a source that doesn’t exist.” Legal action is apparently ongoing.
Special Advisers: Duncan Brack & Joel Kenrick
A real left-wing grouping here. Despite his hippy tendencies Kenrick used to advise the CBI on climate change. Long term wonk Duncan Brack is most definately of the beards and sandal variety of Lib Dem.
Special Advisers: Willie Rennie and Alison Suttie
So nice of the Scotland Office to rescue the failed career of former Scottish MP Willie Rennie. He lost his seat at the beginning of the month but is back at the levers regardless.
Special Adviser: Katie Waring
This is in no way a complete list but these things are very slow to be confirmed. Know more? What do you know about this lot? Drop Guido a line.
This just in* from a bit of Hansard that Carter-Ruck have not tried to injunct:
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many hours were worked by each special adviser in his Department in each week between 8 June 2009 to 3 July 2009.
Mr. Straw: As working for me as a Special Adviser is, I am told, pure pleasure and stress free, my Special Advisers work exceptionally long hours, often at weekends and late into the evening without complaint, and have not therefore felt the need which they otherwise might to complete timesheets to show that I was sweating their labour.
*Paddy from Grayling was the tipster co-conspirator.
“We are witnessing a dangerous corrosion in our political culture… Perhaps because of the nature of the technology, there is a tendency for political blogs to have a ‘Samizdat’ style. The most popular blogs are rightwing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes. Perhaps this is simply anti-establishment. Blogs have only existed under a Labour government. Perhaps if there was a Tory government, all the leading blogs would be left-of-centre?
“But mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy.
“Until political blogging ‘adds value’ to our political culture, by allowing new voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair.”
Paul Richards, Guido understands, wrote her speech. (Guido has written about him a few times.)
Anti-establishment and occasionally vicious Guido may be, but nihilistic? Never. Nihilists deny that an objective morality exists. Guido has a clear sense of morality – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Blears really shouldn’t use words she doesn’t understand. Does Blears actually think that Guido rages against political corruption because he cares not for morality?
She is however correct to say that Guido has disdain for political corruption and seeks to unearth scandal and hypocrisy. Does Blears really think that is a bad thing?
Asking political bloggers to “add value” is to misunderstand the relationship between a free press and politicians. Take a memo Ms Blears, we are not here to “add value”, or do what politicians want, Guido has his own values and aims to hit back at political hypocrisy and lies. Politicians make laws, so they should be held to account, to a higher standard. The Nick Robinsons, Peter Riddells, Michael Whites and Steve Richardsons of the world don’t do investigative digging, they report back their impressions from their lunch meetings. They re-package and interpret spin from the party machines. That is how they “add value”. They are what Peter Oborne memorably described as the “client media”.
Guido has, without the platform of a newspaper or broadcaster backing him, achieved a position of influence for some reason. From nowhere this blog has become one of the most widely read political sources in Britain. It reaches a lot of people who were once disillusioned with and disinterested in politics, it is written (on a good day) in an accessible and entertaining way. Why does Hazel think this fuels political disengagement? The Labour Party would love to have a website that engaged as many people as this blog.
What has deservedly brought about disengagement from and cynicism towards politicians is spin, triangulation, focus group derived policies, positioning purely for partisan advantage, vacuous slogans and meaningless promises. Add in personal self enrichment from expense fiddles, petty corruption and barefaced lying to that toxicosis. Hazel has herself personally defended with repulsive sophistry everything from 45 minutes to mass destruction and cash for honours in her time. Who has really fueled corrosive political cynicism? Look in the mirror Hazel.
“The Tories are isolated in Europe. Their position is the biggest foreign policy failure since the 1930s.”
So the Tory plan to pull out of the EPP factional grouping arrangements is worse than Suez, Vietnam or the Iraq War? This is the view of the Miliband’s personal Special Adviser? Obviously Madlin has a deep sense of historical perspective…
You can download the full briefing here, Guido has digitally disguised the source of the leak because it has a warning on every page stating:
PLP briefings are the property of the Labour party. They are confidential and are for the use of registered members only. Any publishing or dissemination of PLP political briefing is prohibited and may be unlawful.
With New Labour’s characteristic inability to distinguish between party and state they seem to fail to realise that a document produced by a civil servant, in office hours at the taxpayer’s expense should by rights not be the property of the Labour Party. So sue Guido…
*Madlin is the daughter of Blairite MP Barry Sheerman. Another no doubt meritocratic appointment from the people’s party.
UPDATE : Guido accepts that there is a loophole provision in the Code permitting SpAds to produce briefings for MPs on government policy. This is not a briefing on government policy, it is a crib sheet on Tory policy and positions intended to be used to attack the Conservative position in media interviews and in the chamber. This breaches the spirit and the letter of the Code. There is in any case no way a taxpayer funded document produced by civil servants can become the exclusive property of the PLP. These type of briefing documents should be produced by Labour HQ at their own expense, not the taxpayers expense. If the PLP would care to test this proposition in court Guido is more than ready.
Working for Peter Hain is going to be something you would rather not have on your CV, so it can’t be easy for Matthew. Let this be a warning to all uppity snotty SpAds…
Seems largely accurate, but unwise a thing to say if you are a Catholic working for a narrow Presbyterian boss. Actually his immediate boss is Des Browne, not Gordon. Des is a Catholic as well. Guido finds the left / right, Catholic / proddie class dynamic beyond him in Scottish politics. Is there some kind of dissent brewing? Browne was said to be irritated with Gordon not so long. Are they plotting some kind of Catholic emancipation?
If Konrad Caulkett had not infuriated Guido with his patronising half-truths, the pursuit of the truth about the Smith Institute might not have been undertaken. (Konrad condescended to tell Guido that “more than six” meetings had been held by the Sith in Downing Street, it turned out to be nearly 200 meetings). Hain’s SpAd Joe Carberry similarly succeeded in incensing Guido. Months of hounding of his master later he might reflect that perhaps it was not the best way to handle a legitimate inquiry.
I wonder if in their minds they fantasise that they are mini-Alastair Campbell types. Yesterday when Guido was waiting to go into the Today studio, he was listening to a smug youth (who he surmised was School’s Minister Jim Knight’s SpAd) on the phone fending off journos. After Knight had finished his piece on air the SpAd smirkingly asked “What do you think?” “Knight? I think he is a c**t” Guido replied. Perplexed SpAd exits the green room.
After a decade in government even politician’s bag carriers get a little above themselves. Not wise to be so uppity now they are on their way down…
*Guido was right Rosa.
“TORIES AIM TO DESTROY FINAL SALARY PENSION SCHEMES“
The Taxpayers Alliance keeps a hawkish eye on government waste and has made an official complaint to Sir Leigh Lewis, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Work and Pensions about the behaviour of his department’s SpAds campaigning on the public payroll for the Labour Party. Are the DWP SpAds going to blame it like their boss does on incompetence or amnesia?
Hat-tip : Taxpayers Alliance
Guido needs to have a handy list of targets, is this tardiness government incompetence, cover-up or what? What is Konrad Caulkett’s exact role?
The Smith Institute, a charity widely seen as a front for Gordon Brown, who seemed to be the only beneficiary of the charity, acted as an integral part of his long campaign to become PM. By law it was supposedly a non-partisan, non-political organisation, yet it hosted a “how to beat Cameron“ event to which the Conservatives formally objected.
Wilf Stevenson, the director of the institute claimed, somewhat implausibly, that there was no direct link to Gordon Brown. Guido revealed that Sarah Brown got Konrad Caulkett the job at the Smith Institute. Despite Konrad being at the centre of allegations that the Smith Institute broke the law, Sarah Brown has once again stepped in to help him get a job, this time as her SpAd. So despite him being suspected of various breaches of the Charity laws, despite denials of links to Gordon, he has been brought onto the No. 10 payroll. Downing Street sleaze clearly didn’t end with Blair.
See also Sith attempt to cover-up use of No. 11, Mrs Brown recruits Konrad as the Sith apprentice, The back story to the Sith’s Konrad, The public charity which refuses to talk to the public, Non-political charity does policy at No. 11, Sith’s Konrad paid by charity to campaign for Balls’ election, The Charity Commission announcement, The Sith and the Statesman.
This note also provides guidance to ministers in relation to the requirements of the Ministerial Code.
During the leadership/deputy leadership election campaign, ministers remain in charge of their departments. Government business continues as normal.
All costs associated with the leadership/deputy leadership campaign – travel, accommodation, printing and so on – should be met by the individuals or the Party not the taxpayer.
Under the terms of the Ministerial Code, ministers must not use government resources for party political purposes. They must uphold the political impartiality of the civil service and not ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code.
On leave or out of office hours with their minister’s approval. That excludes, by definition, being sat at your desk all day toiling endlessly to get the candidate elected, shooting off emails to all and sundry and running up the national debt on the phone for hours. The whole purpose of the restriction was to prevent the situation we have now. Dozens, and Guido means dozens, of SpAds doing little else but plot and conspire to further the private interests of party candidates in an internal party election. They are not acting to further the political interests of the government minister, the job the taxpayer pays them to do, they are acting to further the interests of the private individual climbing the greasy pole.
That is not appropriate activity for civil servants, which is what SpAds are, and that is the reason why the Code of Conduct exists. Clause 7 in the model contract for Special Advisers states bluntly:
Special Advisers should not use official resources for Party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.
The author of this document is Blair McDougall, he is Ian McCartney’s Special Adviser (SpAds). Ian is Hilary Benn’s campaign manager and a minister at the FCO. SpAds are not allowed to campaign under the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers at the taxpayers expense for their masters in internal party matters. In fact they are supposed to take unpaid leave – see the recent example of Peter Hain’s ex-SpAd Phil Taylor.
Since Guido has started on his mission to catch SpAds cheating the taxpayer and breaking the ministerial code, some have quite properly taken leave. Guido has just spoken with McDougall about the briefing. He didn’t claim, nor can he retrospectively pretend, that he was working on his own time. The document was prepared on his desk computer at the FCO, sent from his email address at the FCO, during office hours. Pressed by Guido that this was a breach of the Code he refused to answer, invited to deny that he had produced the document at the taxpayer’s expense, he declined to deny it. How does this differ from benefit fraud?
Looks like a job for the Cabinet Secretary…
Call the national Shop-a-SpAd hotline on 0709 284 0531.
Fresh from flogging campaign T-shirts from a sweatshop, her SpAd Paul Richards is working on her leadership campaign on the taxpayer’s time.
Maguire suggested he improperly emailed him about a political issue on his government computer, Richards replied: “I will check with the Propriety and Ethics Team of the Cabinet Office. But I’m sure this is legitimate activity for a special adviser.”
No if, no buts, it isn’t.