May Orders Ministers to Link Every Policy to Meritocracy

Theresa May’s grammar schools speech was as much about defining her premiership as anything else. If eagle-eyed photographer Steve Back hadn’t snapped those secret government papers outlining the return of grammars, today’s speech would not have been made until conference. Senior Tories watching noted one key line:

“It will mean recalibrating how we approach policy development to ensure that everything we do as government helps to give a fair chance to those who are just getting by”

This is tanks-on-Labour’s-lawn rhetoric, but the PM is deadly serious about revamping how policy is formulated across Whitehall. Over the last few weeks ministers and civil servants have grown frustrated at Downing Street’s insistence that every single policy must have a “making the country work for everyone” angle. Policies and announcements that have nothing to do with May’s theme of meritocracy are being delayed or shunned until ministers can think of a way to make a link. In some departments, announcements and updates on old projects where the money has already been spent are being held back. As with Brexit, the government is actually getting work done, they just aren’t telling the public about it…

Milne Likes Tweet Claiming “New World Order Created ISIS”

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Corbyn strategy chief Seumas Milne must have pressed the wrong button by accident, because he has “liked” a tweet claiming ISIS was created by the “New World Order”. It must surely be an innocent case of fat finger, Seumas can’t possibly believe that’s true. Although he did write this for the Guardian last year, claiming the US “incubated” and “fuelled the rise of ISIS”…

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Come on Seumas, get it right, everyone knows it was the Zionists…

Theresa’s Copy and Paste Job

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Theresa May tells us that “obviously over the summer – over the last few weeks – quite a lot of work has been done”. Which is good to know. So does the new government have any further detail on their plan for Brexit or their legislative agenda? Compare and contrast these quotes from the PM from today with her words over the last few weeks…

Today: “Brexit means Brexit, we’re going to make a success of it”

11 July: “Brexit means Brexit, and we’re going to make a success of it”

Today: “there’s no second referendum; no attempts to sort of stay in the EU by the back door”

11 July: “no attempts to remain inside the EU, with no second referendum or attempts to rejoin it by the backdoor”

Today: “We want to be a government and a country that works for everyone”

13 July: “a mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone”

Today: “I want it to be a society where it’s the talent that you have and how hard you’re prepared to work that determines how you get on”

13 July: “We will do everything to help you go as far as your talents can take you.”

Today: “we can get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business”

11 July: “get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business”

Today: “forge a new positive role for the UK in the world”

11 July: “forge a new role for ourselves in the World”

That “quite a lot of work” done over the summer appears to be copying and pasting her old speeches…

Smith Campaign Hires Another Big Pharma Lobbyist

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What is it about Owen Smith and Big Pharma lobbyists? Fresh from hiring Pfizer PR guru Jon Lehal as his chief of operations, Smith has taken on a former AstraZeneca lobbyist as his director of communications. Will Tanner was until recently the head of Finsbury PR’s UK public affairs team, where he proudly boasted of his work for top pharmaceutical companies. Tanner has for the last decade been right hand man to mega-rich super-lobbyist Roland Rudd, the Remain campaign’s éminence grise. Which explains why Smith is so keen on his democracy-defying plan for a second referendum. Oily Smith is a former Big Pharma lobbyist, whose campaign is being run by a former Big Pharma lobbyist, and whose spinner is another former Big Pharma lobbyist…

UPDATE: A pro-Corbyn source gets in touch:

“What would Nye say? Pretending to be the heir to Nye Bevan and having one big pharma lobbyist running your campaign is sloppy, but having two is either suspicious or incompetent or both. It’s clear now that Owen Smith doesn’t give a Pfizer about our NHS.”

May Hires New Press SpAd

SPADS

Theresa May has hired Patrick McLoughlin’s spinner Tim Smith as her final Downing Street press SpAd. Another alumnus of the CCHQ press office, Smith has been a SpAd at Transport for the last year, taking a short sabbatical to fight the good fight during Zac’s battle against Sadiq. Smith going to Number 10 means the Tory chairman’s chief of staff job is up for grabs…

Send any updates to team@order-order.com

Tory Press Chief to Be Home Secretary’s SpAd

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Some more SpAd movements: Guido hears Tory Director of Communications Amy Fisher is returning to government as a Special Adviser to Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Fisher was Chris Grayling’s SpAd before heading up the press operation at CCHQ after the election. She had to put out more than her share of fires in a busy 12 months and was a formidable opponent, so is a smart hire for the Home Office. See Guido’s SpAd List in full below:

Send any updates to team@order-order.com

Press Gallery Chairman Craig Woodhouse New DCMS SpAd

A raft of new SpAd appointments is expected imminently and Guido understands the headline move will be Craig Woodhouse joining Karen Bradley at DCMS. It’s a smart hire for the new Culture Secretary to poach an industry insider – Woodhouse is a newspaper veteran, the respected chairman of the Press Gallery and chief political correspondent at The Sun. He is well-liked by MPs of all parties which will help in a notoriously adversarial brief. The long-suffering Sheffield Wednesday fan might even be able to pick up a freebie or two along the way. The Lobby loses yet another leading name to SpAd-dom…

See Guido’s SpAd List in full here.

SpAd List: New Appointments

SPADS

Downing Street sources indicate the final SpAd List will not be released for some weeks, so Guido’s spreadsheet is the only place to stay up to date. Since our last update Osborne’s widely-respected former SpAd Neil O’Brien has been kept on to do industrial strategy in Number 10. Damian Green has retained Flora Rose at DWP and signed up Matt Hancock’s old SpAd Lottie Dexter. Vote Leave spinner Rob Oxley teams up once again with Priti Patel at DfID. Another Vote Leave alumnus, their broadcast chief Lee Cain, is expected to join Leadsom at Defra. Rachel Wolf is reportedly leaving No.10 despite initially being kept on.

The Times says May will be purging SpAds to cut costs after the numbers rocketed under Dave, apparently a limit of two per Cabinet minister. That will go down like a cup of cold sick with the likes of Boris, Davis and Fox. Appointments are being vetted by May’s chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. Good luck – they are going to be ruthless… 

UKIP NEC Member Compares Faragists to Nazis

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UKIP’s civil war has kicked off again this morning with a leading member of the party’s NEC comparing Team Farage to Nazi propagandists. John Bickley, part of the NEC which blocked Steven Woolfe from standing, says claims by Faragists that Woolfe was stitched up are “pure Goebbels”. He offers some further calming rhetoric, including that Farage’s allies are “insane” and come from “the conspiracy theorist wing of the party”. It must have been a coincidence that Woolfe’s 14 year-old driving offence was briefed to the press at the height of the leadership contest. UKIP are being very UKIPpy at the moment…

Smith’s Fantasy Minimum Wage Numbers

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Owen Smith has hit back at Guido’s story from earlier by producing the above graphic claiming his proposed minimum wage would be higher than the Tories’. Unfortunately for Oily this raises more questions than it answers. First, Smith’s team have confirmed their numbers are dependent on him becoming Prime Minister this year. Not sure how he plans to do that unless he is going to launch a coup on Downing Street. Second, he appears to have pulled these fantasy figures out from nowhere. What on earth does “well over £10” mean? Do they not have an actual number? How have these vague figures been costed? How much will that increase the deficit via the public sector wage bill? Guido has asked the Smith campaign and received no answers…

Empty Seats at Smith Campaign Rally

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Owen Smith boasts that a “great crowd” turned up to his campaign rally tonight. His team tweeted out the carefully cropped picture above to show off his turnout. Guido’s pictures taken from slightly further back tell a different story:

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It was a 900 capacity venue, filled to about a third:

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Some Smith supporters are tweeting that his fans are queuing round the block. Guessing they got in…

McGinn Whipped Labour MPs to “Keep Up the Pressure on JC”

Labour whip Conor McGinn has created some headlines today by accusing Corbyn of threatening to call up his dad. McGinn over-dramatically says this is “bullying”. It’s not really though, is it. “Just wait till your father hears about this” is said by many mothers…

McGinn was fingered a while back as a key anti-Corbyn plotter, despite supposedly serving the leader as an opposition whip. This errant WhatsApp message catches McGinn red-handed plotting against Jez with Labour MPs:

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In writing, an opposition whip whipping his backbenchers to ‘keep up the pressure on JC’. A punchy Labour insider says:

“Calamity Conor couldn’t even use WhatsApp when he was pretending not to be playing both sides, and his latest nonsense about his dad just makes him look like a clown.”

More than worthy of a telling off…

Hammond Fibs and Saudi Slavery Slipped Out on Dumping Day

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Over 300 government documents were quietly slipped out on “dumping day” yesterday, the traditional Whitehall operation where dozens of embarrassing stories are slipped out all at the same time on the last day before recess. Among the worst revelations are the admission that Philip Hammond repeatedly misled parliament about Saudi human rights abuses in Yemen – Tobias Elwood says the former Foreign Secretary made a string of erroneous statements downplaying actions by the British ally during the conflict. Then there is the disturbing revelation that a Saudi diplomat brought a slave to London. Saudi officials also face a further claim of “human trafficking, slavery or forced labour” in Britain. Theresa May told her new Cabinet that politics is not a game, but the charade of dumping day lives on… 

Downing Street Boozing Kiboshed

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Philip Hammond has joined Theresa May in cancelling a get-to-know-you drinks party for journalists. Last week the new PM, who is famously not a gossip and is keen to end the spinning / briefing culture of the old regime, called off her planned drinks bash with the Lobby. To be fair she was a little busy – it was at that point that Leadsom had just pulled out. Now this evening’s planned drinkies with the Chancellor at the Treasury are off as well, though hacks have been assured they’re only postponed until the autumn. Shame, it was a nice day for it. Pub?

Exodus of Labour Spinners

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Jeremy Corbyn’s Head of Media Kevin Slocombe is leaving the leader’s office to go and spin for Bristol mayor Marvin Rees. Comrade Kevin (above right) has been the no-bullsh*t voice of reason among the madness of Jezza’s operation, one of the few Corbynistas who commanded the respect of SW1. 10 months in the bunker is enough to make anyone want a quieter life.

Labour HQ Head of Press Kieren Walters is also packing his bags, meaning Jez now needs a new top spinner for the leader’s office, a new head of press in Victoria Street, and a new Deputy Head of Press, after that role became vacant as well. In the meantime, good luck Seumas. Will the last spinner to leave Labour please turn out the lights?

‘Corbyn Voted Leave’ Rumour Non-Denial

Chris Bryant claims Corbyn refused to confirm to him if he personally voted Remain. There’s been no clarification from Corbyn himself today – he did tweet on Thursday that “I have voted to Remain”. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has demanded an urgent update. A Corbynista Labour source tells Guido:

“Any attempt to suggest Jeremy didn’t vote remain is just a cynical attempt to destabilise the leadership.”

Which is not exactly a denial. Piers Corbyn told Guido Jeremy would not vote to Remain…

READ: Leaked Labour Script Hails Corbyn

These are the lines sent to Labour MPs by party spin doctors this morning:

Referendum 0600 script

Top lines:

Clearly many communities across our country feel left behind and cut off by the political establishment in Brussels and Westminster. This was a rejection of the status quo by millions of people who are not sharing in the wealth of this country, for whom the economy is not working.

After this divisive campaign and close vote, the first task is to come together and heal the divisions. Our country is divided and things need to change. Politicians on all sides must respect the voice of the British people, who have spoken.

Labour is the only party that can meet the challenge we now face. We realise that people want politicians who put them first. As the party that stands up for working people, Labour is best placed re-unite the country – we can do so as we did not engage in project fear, and we share people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, which is why we put a critical case for both remain and reform.

In making this argument Labour showed that it is far closer to the centre of gravity of the British public than other political parties. Jeremy is uniquely placed as a critical remainer. He understands why people voted to leave, he understood people’s criticisms of Europe – and is the only leader of a major party in Britain to whom that applies.

The Tories cannot possibly provide the leadership we need — they are divided from top to bottom.

It is hard to see how David Cameron has a long-term future as Prime Minister, but Labour’s immediate priority is to stabilise the country and the markets.

All hail Jez, apparently…

Cameron’s Big Speech Bombs

For the second time, Downing Street have summoned the press for a supposedly “significant” statement that has bombed:

Is that it? The “significant statement” is that Dave backs Remain?

“Rest in Power”: Corporate Spin Doctors Take Control of Cox Image

freuds+portland

After yesterday’s genuinely tear-jerking tributes in parliament, a media event has been organised tomorrow in Trafalgar Square in memory of Jo Cox. Corporate lobbyists Freuds are organising broadcast coverage and Alastair Campbell’s Portland are doing the press, after Bad Al spent the last three days making it about the referendum:

An emotional pull on the heart-strings on the eve of the referendum…

UPDATE: Portland ask us to point out that Bad Al is not involved in tomorrow’s event.

Remain Leaflet Blames Leave: “Jo Cox’s Murder is Only the Start”

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This pro-Remain literature personally targeting Leave campaigner Kate Hoey has landed on doormats in Brixton, Vauxhall and Kennington the last 24 hours. They have clearly taken a leaf-let out of Will Straw’s book, directly blaming “the Leave campaign” for Jo Cox’s death:

“The Leave campaign’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has stoked the British public’s fears to the point that we now find ourselves in a country riven by hate.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

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