Corbyn’s New Spinner Worked For Copeland ‘Baby Killers’

Jeremy Corbyn’s new spin doctor is a lobbyist whose firm works for the Cumbria Success Regime, the controversial NHS programme which Labour said would kill babies in Copeland. Steve Howell, Jezza’s new Deputy Director of Strategy and Communications, is founder and director at PR company Freshwater. Their latest company accounts lists the Cumbria Success Regime among their top ten clients:

The Cumbria Success Regime was appointed by the government to overhaul healthcare services in Copeland. It recommended moving maternity services away from West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, provoking outcry from Labour and inspiring the party’s infamous “babies will die” posters during the by-election. And now Corbyn has hired the man whose firm did their PR. Spin that…

Médecins Sans Frontières Objects to ‘Sans Frontières’ Name of Crisis PR Firm

Political publishers Dods Group last year made a small £800,000 profit after years of multi-million pound losses. This was achieved largely by Guy Cleaver halving the bloated sales and marketing headcount down from 119 to 57. Dods celebrated their new found profitability by moving out of their Mayfair offices and into the Shard. Inconveniently situated 20 minutes away from SW1 in SE1.

Dods is lending almost all of that last year’s profits in an unusual investment. It has subscribed for 40% of the issued share capital of Sans Frontieres Associates for a nominal sum and lent it £700,000 to provide initial working capital. Sans Frontieres Associates is chaired by Tim Bell and will do PR and comms work in war stricken hotspots.

Dods reckon that:

“Jonathan Lehrle, CEO and founder has a strong vision for his organisation and the objective to redefine the approach taken to international geopolitical and crisis communications consulting. His vision for his company’s core capabilities and international reach is in keeping with the trends and changing market requirements seen by the Board of Dods.”

The respected NGO Médecins Sans Frontières is less happy. Here’s their spokeswoman Polly Markandya:

“We’d be in the same corridors – us trying to negotiate for humanitarian access and them negotiating PR contracts. It’s too close for comfort. Surely, with their creative brains, they can think of another good name for their venture.”

Other people who wondering about the new comms agency are Dods’ own clients, the comms firms who subscribe to their monitoring services and read their Public Affairs News* magazine. Many may be less than keen on paying monthly subscriptions to their competitor…

*Strangely Guido can not find any mention in Public Affairs News of the launch of Sans Frontieres Associates or the involvement of PA luminaries like Tim Bell and Darren Murphy. Fancy that…

Labour Double Down on “Babies Will Die” Attack

Last week Labour sent out leaflets claiming “babies will die” if Copeland votes Tory, today they have ramped it up a notch with the slightly unhinged poster above. Not the sort of campaigning you’d expect from a party on course for victory…

Labour’s Copeland Candidate: 3 Days to Save the NHS

You know Labour are in trouble when they wheel out this tired line. Asked for her message to voters in Copeland, Labour’s candidate Gillian Troughton replied: “Three days to save the NHS in West Cumbria”. Borrowing from Andy Burnham’s famous 2011 fib that there were “72 hours to save the NHS”. And the Mirror’s 2015 claim that there were “100 hours to save the NHS”. Or Len McCluskey’s warning in 2012 that “we have just 13 days to save the NHS”. It is true there is a debate about the status of maternity services at West Cumberland hospital. What isn’t under threat is the NHS itself. Assume this will feature in Labour’s fake news inquiry…

Team Corbyn Tweeting About Fake News Trump Style

Late last night this Mirror story triggered Seumas or someone else on the Labour leader’s media team. For the full Trump effect they really need to capitalise FAKE NEWS from the FAILING MIRROR. Guido gives ’em 5/10 for this effort…

“Tory Cuts Killed 30,000” Report Author is Big Corbynista

Today’s Mirror splashes on the OTT claim that “Tory cuts killed 30,000“, casually accusing the government of mass murder. The story is based on a report co-authored by Oxford geography professor Danny Dorling. What the Mirror doesn’t mention is that Dorling a big Corbyn cheerleader with ties to Jez. In a blog post last May, Dorling fawned over Corbyn, showering the Labour leader with a litany of praise:

“Corbyn appears prepared to listen to everyone’s point of view, however much he disagrees with much of what they do or say…

“(Corbyn) appears prepared to listen to a wide range of experts and opinion rather than giving the air that he was born to rule, is all-knowing himself, and will tell us what is best for us…

“If voters look him up on Wikipedia they will learn that “Corbyn was revealed to have submitted the smallest amount in expenses of any British MP. In 2010 he claimed the lowest sum of all 650 MPs.” He also over pays his taxes…

“Famously Jeremy Corbyn had to be persuaded to stand in the leadership election. His election may have ushered in a new era in British politics where parties no longer look so keenly on the candidates who so obviously want the job and who initially appear most electable…

“Jeremy Corbyn does not appear motived (sic) by money…

“Corbyn has shown that he can be critical of his own party and its past record, even of himself, when, in retrospect, his party or he himself was clearly misguided…

“Jeremy Corbyn can take on the zealots and bigots who use migration to stir up fear and hatred…

“What Corbyn really represents is a set of beliefs whose time has finally come.

Corbyn himself has even rewarded Dorling’s obvious affection with a supportive tweets:

John McDonnell meanwhile has said he spent the last summer reading Dorling’s book. Sure Dorling is a wholly impartial observer – you might think the Mirror would have mentioned all this in their report…

New Tory Attack Ad on Nuttall

The Tories are releasing this attack video on Paul Nuttall this afternoon. Giving Labour a helping hand in Stoke to save Jez?

Nuttall Made “Close Personal Friends” Claim in 2011 As Well

Paul Nuttall’s press officer offered her resignation over the “close personal friends” claim she is said to have written on his website in 2012. Yet that was not the only time Nuttall’s name was associated with those words. In August 2011 the BBC quoted him making the same claim – apparently taken from his press release:

So twice Nuttall’s team wrote statements claiming he had “close personal friends” at Hillsborough, and one of them was published by the BBC. And Nuttall says he knew nothing about it…

James Slack New PM’s Spokesman

Daily Mail political editor James Slack has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson. You read it here first… 

Black and White Ball “Just About Managings” Include Supercar Tycoon

Last night’s Black and White Ball – sorry, “Party” – was supposed to be a modest affair. Tory organisers promised the event would be open to the “just about managing”, offering cheapo £75 tickets to move the guest list away from the opulence of international playboy millionaires of past years. Among the humble ordinary folk to grace Battersea Evolution last night was Anthony Keating, “representing” just-about-managing Bolton. By which meek means does Anthony make a living? As you can see from the photos on his Twitter feed, he’s the founder of Keating Supercars, which “takes sports car driving to a new level” with cars costing £750,000:

Tory spinners earned their wages convincing the papers that this year’s event would not be about “the privileged few”…

All Change in Number 10 Spin Team

Number 10 is dealing with wholesale departures from its civil service spin team. Last month it was revealed Theresa May’s highly-respected official spokesman Helen Bower is leaving to run comms for Boris at FCO. Today it emerges the deputy PMOS, the popular Greg Swift, is off to spin for David Davis at the Brexit department. There is fevered speculation tonight that Daily Mail political editor James Slack is being tapped up for the PMOS role, though there is nothing in the way of an official announcement yet. Sure the No. 10 comms team has been a joy to work in over the last couple of weeks…

Baroness Scotland’s Aide Matthew Doyle Caught Red-Handed

With the Baroness Scotland scandal back in the news, her former special adviser Matthew Doyle went out to bat for her on the World at One. He was grilled repeatedly about his massive taxpayer-funded contract, refusing to answer several times before claiming the figures reported are wrong:

BBC: “It’s been reported that you yourself were paid £15,000 per month.”

Doyle: “Yeah and you’ve seen these sorts of stories about the official residence… I think what’s important to recognise is the fact that the official residence is redecorated every time there’s a new Secretary-General. But look these things ultimately aren’t what matters.”

BBC: “And your salary?”

Doyle: “… Aren’t what matters in terms of the work of the Commonwealth. What matters is that the Commonwealth continues to deal with those big challenges that there are…”

BBC: “Indeed, but just on this question about your salary, which I notice you’re not answering.”

Doyle: “Well the figures aren’t correct but I really don’t think that that’s important.”

A straight denial that his salary was £15,000 per month. Below is Doyle’s Commonwealth contract, bearing his signature, showing his salary was two monthly instalments of £15,000 followed by a third if £18,000:

This contract bears Doyle’s signature. He just said on the radio that the figures in it are not correct. Remarkable behaviour…

MoD Perm Sec: EU Operationally Irrelevant to UK Security

Before the referendum Downing Street coordinated a letter from 12 former military chiefs to the Telegraph claiming that remaining in the EU was “in our national interest”. It quickly fell apart when it emerged one of the generals hadn’t actually signed it and another had decided to back Leave. The letter argued:

“Will Britain be safer inside the EU or outside it? When we look at the world today, there seems to us only one answer. Within the EU, we are stronger… In a dangerous world, it helps us to safeguard our people, our prosperity and our way of life. We therefore believe strongly that it is in our national interest to remain an EU member.”

11 months later, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Stephen Lovegrove says the EU is operationally irrelevant to Britain’s security. This is an extract from Lovegrove’s interview with the new issue of Civil Service World:

EU membership is operationally irrelevant to the multinational and binational arrangements through which the UK currently insures itself, Lovegrove stresses. And, to demonstrate the primacy of NATO over the EU in the UK’s military relationships, he points to a map showing the flag configurations of recent NATO deployments in Poland and the Baltic states. “These are obviously all European countries, but you will see that of the four lead nations, two of them – Canada and the USA – are not European nations. And, before too long, three of them won’t be.”

Lovegrove adds that there is little administrative burden on the MoD caused by Brexit and that few defence policies are “directly affected”Almost as if the last government got the whole establishment to put their names to a load of Project Fear nonsense…

Government’s Trident Spin Misfires

Below Guido tracks the government’s spin on the Trident misfire over the last 48 hours:

  • Saturday night: Sunday Times reports “serious malfunction” during Trident test, missile “may have veered off in the wrong direction towards America”.
  • MoD says in a statement that it was “successfully tested and certified”.
  • Sunday: On Marr, Theresa May refuses to answer questions about what she knew and when.
  • Monday morning: Number 10 spokesman insists the test was “successful” in certifying the crew and submarine. Says May was informed. Won’t say if she was told about any ‘misfire’.
  • Monday afternoon: Michael Fallon tells Commons not to “believe everything you read” in Sunday Times. Won’t say what in their report is inaccurate. Says test was “successful” and “satisfactory“. Won’t comment on details of any ‘misfire’.
  • May repeats the “successful” line in pool interview.
  • While Fallon is speaking, US official tells CNN the test ended in failure, and that rather than “veering” towards the US coast, the trajectory was part of an automatic self-destruct sequence.

The government’s line from Saturday night to Monday afternoon is that the test was “successful”. The US now say it was a failure…

TfL Told Khan He Could Freeze All Fares

Sadiq Khan has repeatedly explained his broken TfL fares promise by claiming that Travelcards and daily and weekly caps are out of his control. Of course this doesn’t justify the broken manifesto pledge that commuters would “not pay a penny more”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Blue on Blue: Sir Craig Oliver v Julian Lewis

Sir Craig Oliver has lost it with Julian Lewis after the Tory Defence select committee chair claimed this morning that David Cameron’s spin doctors had covered up the Trident misfire.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Seumas Officially Leaves Guardian

Guardian editor Kath Viner emails staff:

“I’m writing to let you know that, following a period of unpaid leave from Guardian News & Media, Seumas Milne has decided to continue in his role as the Labour party’s strategy and communications director, and is leaving the staff of the Guardian.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Oxfam Would Take 150 Years to Raise as Much for Charity as 8 Billionaires

Oxfam this morning launches an attack on eight billionaires whose wealth they label “grotesque“, claiming this “super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us“. Guido has done some cursory digging and found that the eight billionaires lambasted by Oxfam have made at least $60 billion in charitable donations.[…] Read the rest

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Sunday Times’ James Lyons Off to Spin For NHS

MediaGuido can reveal a major Lobby move: the Sunday Times’ deputy political editor James Lyons is leaving to take up a communications role for NHS England. Lyons has been in the Lobby for 16 years, on the Tories’ case at the Mirror before becoming the scourge of the Corbynistas at the Sunday Times. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

UKIP Spin Shuffle: Farage Gets New Comms Chief

Changes behind the scenes in Nigel Farage’s top team: his no nonsense head of media Michael Heaver is departing to set up a new media venture and make the case for UKIP on TV. He will be replaced by up-and-comer Dan Jukes, who previously worked on the digital side of things.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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