Thursday, February 07, 2008

Archbishop: Who Will Rid Us of This ID-iotic Blogger?

Don't think Iain Dale is wilfully misunderstanding or misrepresenting the Archbishop of Canterbury as are some of his readers, and other commentators. But Iain is completely and utterly wrong.

The status of "Sharia Law" in this context is about the same as going to a Parish Priest or a Rabbi or a secular mediating body like Relate to sort out your relationship.

Binding if both parties agree before, during and afterward.

Meaningless and utterly trumped by the law of the land if they do not.

Less binding than Judge Judy. Such interpretation and guidance is already in widespread practice . . .

In mosques, in churches, in synagogues and in counselling and mediation offices.

EXCLUSIVE: Spring Chicken Plus Over Ready Turkey?

McCain's now the shoo-in oven ready turkey for the Republicans. But who should be his running mate? Iain Dale wonders aloud about McCain's 96-year-old mum (joke) but doesn't seem to have a clue where Magoo needs to look. Not Romney, not Huckerbee, not Quayle.

There was a good interview with Republican and Democratic pundits on BBC last night. The former suggesting McCain will do well to sign up a young charismatic running mate to counter any Obama effect and/or milk the new young enthusiasm for politics. The latter - a Clinton adviser - expected his woman to win through clearly on the super delegates if nothing else.

[Speculation]Here's a thought. Would a young-ish charismatic-ish black woman be just the ticket to counter either Clinton or Obama or both? Wonder what Condi has planned for the fall? Remember, you read it here first.[/Speculation]

Computer Age: Police Still Lose Paper Records Shock

You wait for a data loss story for weeks, and five come along at once. David Ottewell makes an anti-computerised data scoop today out of four cases of carelessness over paper records and just one of digital data loss. In each case the lost or mislaid data was recovered, no harm done.

It's a good set of stories. Though I'm not sure Tory hyperventilation on iD cards or breathless comparison with 25M records on CD-ROMs is balanced and proportionate. These are very much old school data losses of the kind that Life on Mars might have experienced almost daily.

The famous five: Crime Data 1 - Crime Data 2 - Crime Data 3 - Insurance Data -
Lib Dem Council Data. Only the last - an unencrypted data stick, reaching a Tory councillor by uncertain means - is digital.

iD Cards? I'm agin 'em. But sorry, these aren't a compelling case against them.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bashing the Bishop: Murder in Cathedral Controversy

Great spot from Dave Ottewell on his MEN blog.

Boris Pasty Knack: Following Pasternak's Internal Exile?

Gilligan is everywhere. But, asks Tom Watson MP, where is Boris? Banished to Henley with his seditious twittery, for the common good of Eton Buller Man?

Andrew Gilligan: Boris's Little Helper With More Smears

Hilariously Andrew Gilligan, who is a major Boris cheer leader and Ken detractor, has variously had Johnson for an Editor or Proprietor but is slagging off various journalists and organisations for supporting Ken and not supporting Boris. And they've allegedly had work off Ken. Ha ha ha. There will no longer have to be much casting around for examples of psychological projection or humbuggery now will there? Gilligan is Silly-Man.

Meanwhile the GLA Labour Group has a new web look designed and built by Labour blogger Jon Worth. Rather than the clutz who did Guido's. Strange that.

John Leech Nailed, Again: More Good News for Christie

Amanda Crook of the Manchester Evening News has great news today. Cllr John Leech claimed, without a single shred of evidence or any factual basis, that The Christie Hospital was threatened with closure, forming a key part of his 2005 campaign. It is to expand in a £35M development.

Leech's spurious campaign even involved distribution of Hoax Closure leaflets to vulnerable chemo- and radio- therapy patients, most of whom were not voters in the constituency. Even though he was told he was wrong in no uncertain terms, before a single of his leaflets were printed, he pushed on regardless. He continually relies on "50 Doctors" or "60 Doctors" having signed a petition. But amazingly the document was (a) not a petition, (b) did not claim a closure threat, and (c) was not signed by anyone. Isn't the Freedom of Information Act a wonderful thing?

Since Leech's spurious campaign there has been announcement after announcement of good news and positivity for Christie.

The fashion among Leech's cronies and supporters has been to say that a campaign on which Leech led two glossy leaflets was nothing. Irrelevant to the result. The facts contradict this claim. In a recent letter to the South Manchester Reporter the author Cath Stanicliffe claimed that she knew instantly that the Christie claim was "twaddle". Many others were not so astute. And what's more Mr Leech won't own up to this obvious twaddle of his.

Without a shred of shame or an ounce of apology Leech has grabbed onto the shirt tails of every announcement and still claims to this day that he was right to launch the campaign. Even though it was based on a complete fiction. He will no doubt try to spin this latest major investment as the result of his good works.

LOL cannot get corrobation for a tip off from Lib Dem insiders that Leech has been trying to get his hands on a Health portfolio. This is to continue with his diversionary cover-up for a shameless hospital hoax. Sadly, though he makes an impression - busy-doing-nothing - Leech's busy-ness is mostly party political campaigning rather than of any value whatsoever to his constituents. I hope I'm never one of them.

Manchester Super Casino: It's Official "Rien Ne Va Plus"

Breaking news from BBC Online. No great surprise there. The $300M question being what on earth are Brown and Blears going to come up with by way of alternative regeneration for East Manchester with two to three thousand direct and accessible jobs with the creators of the jobs PAYING, via section 106 and other routes, for the privilege.

Lib Dem group leader "Simple" Simon Ashley who is hanging on by the skin of his teeth despite desperate debacle after desperate debacle will continue to pretend he was backing the thing.

He did not fulfil his promise to deliver the votes of the Lib Dem party in Westminster and couldn't even sway his old buddy Rev Cllr John "Fire and Brimstone" Leech MP.

Leech is perhaps best known outside Chorlton Park for his prowess in various modern languages. Conversational Exaggeration, strong reading and writing of Welsh, fluent Fibbery, and native Hoax.

Mr Ashley is among a number of Lib Dem councillors who have taken the Leech shilling in a high staff turnover milieu since 2005. No incompetent relatives, just incompetent cronies. Though looking at the town hall Register of Members Interests you wouldn't see it all that laid out in plain view.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Housey Housey: Another Game of Family Fortunes

Mr Dale is getting quite a bit of stick for sticking up for the Winterton's tax avoidance and "Family Fortunes" game.

The Wintertons do not have to push the envelope like this whatever their advisers may say. As well as being in the lowest quartile (even decile) on exes claimed they are in the lowest quartile on attendance etc.

The word up here in the NW is that they mostly stay in Cheshire kissing babies and opening supermarkets and making ill-advised jokes about cockle pickers at rugby dinners. Not to mention presenting prizes at races and fun runs. Which is where Tarus (10k Champ) and myself and dogs (5k Champs) met old Sir Nick in summer 2006.

Quite a good way to meet and greet "enemy" MPs as it goes. Also bagged Ken Clarke that way.

UPDATE: Swear blogger Devil's Kitchen would string them up. (PG)

The Wilson Doctrine: What Is The Scope of It?

With that snide friend of Con-way David Davis accusing the Prime Minister of lying we really could do with a definition of "The Wilson Doctrine" as opposed to "The Wilson Protocol". The Times had a go - before Davis started his slanders - and decided that bugging the meeting(s) concerned did not break the doctrine.

Labour Party: Barrister Volunteers for Money Job

Jack Dromey is a good fella. But I welcome a grassroots challenge for the job of Labour Party Treasurer from Barrister Mark McDonald. Although Mr Dromey could almost certainly marshal the votes to hold on he might see an opportunity to make a sharp exit. To Wolverhampton or wherever. He is probably planning that anyway. Depends whether the brothers and sisters want to hold on to the role.

Bad Form: Cllr John Leech MP Pontificates

There is a local interest angle on this expenses sleaze. Manchester Withington residents will have been ever so pleased to see Cllr John Leech MP on regional TV as the Con-way row broke pontificating, as only a Minister's son or a Pope could, and confirming his own high standards on expenses and the like.

Some might argue that by helping himself to three years of Councillor allowances, almost £50,000, less tax at 40% presumably - rather like Derek Conway who took four years' worth out of Gateshead I believe while representing a Midlands seat - and using his 2006 and 2007 Parliamentary Reports to play politics ... he was not qualified to cast the first stone on probity.

And that making his inaccessible office into a Lib Dem hoarding, and employing political hacks, and printing political leaflets in the back room, and taking paid adverts in those political leaflets, and refusing to be civil to anyone involved with any other party wanting advice, information or support were not the behaviours of the pure as the driven snow.

Then there's the less clear-cut matter of refusing to pay back campaign support that was allegedly supposed to be loans, and his over-spending so transparently in the 2005 campaign, and all that ... once again the biblical instance is apt. Why cast the first stone on probity and risk being hoist by his own petard?

Bad Form: Cameron is Dithery, Weak and Late

Iain Dale claims that Dave has seized the transparency agenda. But from my point of view DC's response to the scandalous "Family Fortunes" played by Del Boy Con-way is (a) dithery; (b) weak; and (c) late.

Why dithery? Well, following his dither on Con-way's carpeting from the Con-servatives, he announced reports from front benchers starting 1 April 2008. In other words the end of Q1 of the current year. In effect he's been got at allowed that to slip slide along to the end of Q2. Pathetic! As Dale himself might harrumph.

Why weak? Well, apart from Cameron's collapse over when it starts it's front bench only and so would not have caught Conway at it. It also would not have spotted the thoroughly legal but highly immoral wheeze of the Winterton's in renting a flat they kind of own off a Trust in favour of their children. In other words giving their children tax payers' money.

Why late? Well, we've touched on the six month delay to the first reports under this scheme, and on the dither. But Cam's interview indicated the Con-servative world view when it comes to expenses. That is that as Tory MPs think their wages are so very low - and they may have a point, but that's the deal they contracted to - they simply help themselves to whatever they choose to squeeze out of a rather liberal and rather flakey expenses system.

He should have dealt with that surely as soon as he had this Damascus moment? Or even perhaps when in May 2007 the conduct of Derek Conway MP was first reported by the Times and to the Standards Commissioner.

Guido: Cons 13 Times More Fraud than UB40s

Utter Guff from Guido. But using his sums Tory MPs are just over 13 times more likely to be cautioned or prosecuted for expenses fraud than benefits claimants.

Davis and Dale: Delboy's Old Mates Run Cover

When he's not reviewing fancy fish and chip shops Iain Dale is clucking manfully about terrorist-tap-gate.

Not only did these officials (and/or senior police officers) not tell a minister when they discovered an MP was being tapped - collaterally presumably - but they did tell an opposition mimicster instead.

That helpful soul says he sent a warning - by way of a riddle - six weeks ago to No 10. We're told it didn't arrive. Was it even sent? By what means? Does David Davis not have access to a 'phone and a 'phone number for the government?

Apart from anything else Davis is providing covering fire for the Con-party and Con-way over his profligate game of Family Fortunes.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Facebook Group: Eats, Shoots and Leaves

Wonder if there have been any mistaken joiners to this group? Even the full group intro, never mind the title, could appeal to both "sides".

George Osborne: Condemns Grasping Prole Conway

Good to see the rakish young blade, wallpaper heir, mendacious shadow minister, Buller Boy and Tatton toff Sir George Osborne apologising for Tory sleaze.

Conway's trade, don't you know? A grasping prole.

Wifey wouldn't work for me says GOO. Oh no. Ha ha ha. Couldn't afford her!

Kids too young. Not to mention completely and utterly feral. Blah de blah.

Pretty rich isn't it when donations of almost £500,000 are received by Osborne indirectly in a single year. And from parties very interested in his future policy decisions.
But were not linked to GOO either at the Electoral Commission or in the Register of Members Interests? Conway should get together with some other ruffians and scrag the weaselly toff.

The Polls, The Polls: Ringing the Changes

It has been amusing to watch Iain Dale's coverage of Opinion Polls since he swore himself off covering every one of them. Last June that was. He broke his promise after just fourteen hours. Hey ho. "Pie crust promises", as Ms Mary Poppins might have it, "Easily made, easily broken".

Iain is off somewhere in the developing world. In a failed state where gun deaths are such a commonplace that having them running 50% above the current violence death toll in Kenya does not merit any comment. But it's a shame he isn't covering the latest Ipsos MORI poll. That was carried out around ten days ago now. Giving Labour a 1% lead from 2,000 face to face interviews. NB Fieldwork before the curtain opened on the pantomime of Derek Conway's embezzlement.

Strangely, with fieldwork after the quantum of Conway shameless thievery began to become apparent, with Dave dithering like a two-headed donkey (tm GuF) the Tory ICM numbers improved to a 5% lead.

Mike Smithson at Political Betting suggests that the polled respondents are so fickle and shallow that if Dave's on the telly - good or bad, even dithering pathetically on the great Delboy robbery - his score goes up.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rochdale Lib Dem Meltdown: Like Porn Occifer?

Former Manchester councillor and latterly Rochdale and Sedgefield spin doctor David Hennigan apparently no longer works for Rochdale's Lib Dem Group. Probably getting difficult as the cracks began to appear in his other boss's relationship with that particular Rochdale Brains Trust.

The word on the streets is that Hennigan was all set to resign from Paul Rowen MP's employ also. There was a job offer. But sadly cut off in its prime.

Dave will be glad he doesn't have to spin his way out of this one. In fact it looks like they'll forget the spin cycle and hang the councillor concerned out to dry. Him being on the standards committee and all.

UPDATE: Thanks to comments stating that Mr Hennigan is back with the Lib Dem group as well as working for Paul Rowen MP. And that Cllr Elwyn Watkins the PPC for Oldham East and Saddleworth is on record sticking up for the allegedly drunken allegedly porno councillor.

Desperate Tories: Trying to Bury Conway News?

At last a story from a Tory about goings on in a prison cell near you. But alas not from Iain Dale's bessie Derek Conway who is going out of way to state that he doesn't think he "ripped anyone off" by passing loads of money to relatives and their mates while getting no work back.

Instead Iain Dale has his M & S XXLs in a twist over the bugging of Shafiq Khan MP. This occurred allegedly during a routine prison visit to a constituent who happens to be a USA target for extradition to face terror charges.

Confident Mr Dale claims there can only be four explanations and asks "which is it?" Mathematics and logic are not his best subjects however. Before any comments were published I came up with:

5. It was not authorised by the head of MI5 OR by a politician
6. The bugging was not carried out by a UK agency
7. It did not happen

Other comments have added still more possibilities. Including the fact that the bugging of the alleged other gentleman on the tape was authorised but the possibility of a prison visit from an MP was not factored in or not excluded.

What I have learnt from Iain Dale today: When you state that there are only X possibilities you'd better be very sure about that.

The story goes that David Davis somehow found out about this - he was keen to point out this was NOT from the horses mouth - and that he sent a warning letter to Number 10.

I'll need to check the letter text - but isn't it the case that Tories were spinning a letter which said something quite specific, that the letter Davis released was actually quite generic, and that Number 10 said they hadn't had a letter saying the specific thing?

UPDATE: The letter did not specify that a Labour MP was involved. Given the source that was not the first thing anyone who received such a letter would think of. Why would David Davis "send" a riddle to Gordon Brown? Because he's a complete "Mulholland" perhaps? Another mate of Conway. Text: Telegraph.

If a letter was this important one would want proof of posting or other dispatch and some form of a receipt for safe passage. Wouldn't you? Presumably Davis has that? Or did he follow the Duncan Borrowman example and use a second class stamp from a local post box?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Right Wing Rags: Recycled Rubbish Over and Over Again

What complete and utter rubbish! Originally from the Telegraph, now landfilled on an FT-blog.

Horse Play: "Beware of ..." Signs on the Way Out?

Yesterday we took our dogs on a bracing walk in the Peak, along the Roaches. Snow, hail, wind, mud, wetness and towards the end of the six miles just a little winter sun. All the dogs, born to hunt, ran around "off piste" and picked up some gritty grazes.

But Jim excelled himself getting a gash to the bone from an arsey horse.

Usefully at the exit end to the field in question - crossed by a public footpath - there was an exhortation to keep dogs on leads and not to feed the horses. Clearly the former to save the dogs from vicious equines. Two tiny hairy ponies and a big black horse looked on sympathetically as the chestnut mare did her nowty thing.

Jim had to have a general anaesthetic and some serious stitches. We may also have to start saving up to have a troublesome "knocked up" toe removed.

The old "Beware of" sign spied on the way out of a field is a regular feature of country walking. Fortunately, where they say "Bull", they are not always accurate.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Guido Fawkes: Libertarian Anarcho GuF Blogger Bully

The libertarian right wing blogger Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes aka Mr GuF is threatening fellow blogger Tim Ireland/Bloggerheads with legals. Over the apparently completely and utterly true observation that GuF is unprofessional in one of various obvious ways.

Yes Tim, GuF steals images and stories. Yes, he runs stories that are plain idiotic. Yes, he runs stories that are simply not true. Yes, he runs ropey stories that he changes repeatedly by way of U-Turns but without annotation. Yes, he either does not understand or ignores the law of defamation. But yes, he threatens bloggers with court action at a drop of his flaccid hat.

Ironically GuF is attacking one of the heroes of the resistance to Schillings and Alisher Creosotemanov. GuF is behaving like the kleptocrats and liberty-attackers he says he despises.

GuF spent a week or so threatening me with legals back in 2007. The stuff he demanded was removed is still up and never came down. GuF's all mouth and no trousers. Please back Tim on this one with a story and link on your blog.

Derek Conway: Must Go Now, Cannot Get Away With It

How can we as taxpayers and citizens stop the MP dubbed an embezzler - for obvious reasons - by Frank Field MP getting a maximum "resettlement" pay out when he gives up being an MP and being able to start taking a generous index-linked pension to boot.

The disgraced Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Derek Conway has had 20 years, in two stints, taking the piss in the Houses of Parliament. This moves him into pension heaven. Is there any way we can avoid this?

Ideally he and any co-conspirators: Wifey, Freddy, Henry, Henry's boyf; should GO TO JAIL.

If possible all pension bets should be off completely. As a chronic embezzler Conway MUST be penalized a tad more than ten day's suspension and withdrawal of the whip. More too than Jail.

The man is around 55. He could be trousering a huge pension from the British taxpayer he has cheated for decades. His family have ALREADY HAD THE PENSION out of the system. How about this for starters:

Immediately sack him as an MP;
Immediately demand a refund of the £80,000 ish paid to his sons, any money to their partners, and if overpaid or underworked the lion's share of the wife's salary etc too;
Take this off his salary and on costs retrospectively;
Taking him back at least a year;
So he's before the 20-year pension heaven.

That'd be something. Letting him continue as an MP is ridiculous. Letting him pick up maximum resettlement and pensions plus his wife's pension is also ridiculous. The pair of them have conspired to rip us all offer. The Conway Family must not prosper from this.

Let's make it Time and the Conways in an uncomfortable prison. Followed by disgrace and all bets off on pensions and benefits.

Guido Fawkes: The Bookies' Friend Naps Leslie to Fail

Mr GuF is advising his record number of muppets and readers to vote against one Mr Leslie being on the ballot paper when East Hull Labour Party select a candidate to take over the seat from John Prescott.

GuF might just be right when it comes to David Prescott, Prezza's son, but on Leslie he is way off the money. Full analysis soon. But Leslie will certainly be on the slip. And even now Prezza Jnr could make it.