The public should know the full truth about the character of Gordon Brown:- The prime minister's conduct in office has long been the subject of gossip. The real story needed to be told says Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer, Sunday 21 February 2010
In the course of three years spent interviewing witnesses for the writing of The End of the Party, both friends and foes of Gordon Brown have asked how I would handle what one veteran Labour figure delicately called "the character question". To some of his enemies – and by enemies I mean people within his own party – the prime minister's conduct towards colleagues and staff has at times been so appalling that it raises a question mark about his fitness to hold his great office. To admirers, who include people on his staff at whom he has unleashed his furies, those volcanic rages are a price worth paying for his other qualities as a leader.
Character was an unavoidable subject of inquiry for a book which charts Labour's second and third terms in office. It clearly matters how a leader works – or cannot work – with his colleagues; whether he responds to crises and setbacks calmly or in a hysterical fashion; and how he treats his staff. Exploring the premierships of Blair and Brown has been a constant reminder, whether the subject was 9/11, the Iraq War, the financial crisis or the parliamentary expenses scandal, that the character of the men at Number 10 has had a profound effect on how we have been governed....
Lloyds Banking Group has a smaller investment operation, but will still payout £200 MILLION in bonuses and reveal losses of around UK Sterling 11 BILLION!
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True to my calling, I tuned in and watched the strange Tiger Wood so called press conference, only the Press were in a room a mile away, no questions allowed and the three hacks allowed in, instructed not to ask questions but mandated by the organisers to pool their copy (see earlier Duckhouse item with the actual memo sent out to news organisations). The venue cloaked in dark blue and set out like a chapel of rest, the Jerry Springer style line up in the front row. A music stand style lecturn (podium) and the great man arrives.
On twitter latest: BRAYS DUCKHOUSE BLOG: March 25 election? Broon/Chilcot 5 March;call GE 1st March then refuse Chilcot humiliation .
To explain: Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister is rolling out the Labour party election strategy, tomorrow (Saturday) four strands they say.
News however reaches the Duckhouse that Gordon is due to pour his heart out to the Chilcot Inquiry on March 5th...so if Gordon calls the General Election date on March 1st, as he has to give 17 days notice this would point to a March 25th snap General Election.
Conveniently once the GE is called, Brown will then " be forced" to withdraw from an appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry before the General Election! Neat.
Selecting March 25th will also resolve another local difficulty Gordon Brown now has with his Chancellor Alastair Darling who has publicly stated his next budget in April will be an 'austerity' budget and the UK trade figures may well point to a double dip recession. The budget won't happen of course if Gordon calls it...
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I've never met Jan Moir or if I have it would have been at one time, during my long and distinguished drinking career, now sadly a distant twinkle. It would be in the back bar at El Vino's in Londons' Fleet Street (the late Nigel Dempster and Peter McKay (McHackey) would be at the front bar alcove on the right as you enter. Or perhaps later in the Kensington basement car park underneath the Daily Mail Building? Should explain, it was turned into a drinking/dining club Scribes West - hosted and part owned at one time by a Mr Terry Venables (of footy fame and a dab hand on the Karry-Oaki-Dokey machine - if you like 'My Way' sung like that).
I say this as I have this vivid picture of Jan knocking back a few gin martinis, a couple of Advocaat snowballs, a pink gin or two and a slug of Jack Daniels for good measure. Then just as she is about to start an evenings entertainment, a few moir (?) drinks perhaps, the office telephones.
A battle weary Sub-Editor (if they still have them) drones down the phone:"Stephen Gately has died", "Stephen WHO? You dare to ring me for this?! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM??!!"
In an astonishing turn of events Tiger Woods is to hold a press Conference without questions and press engagement... this is a copy of the media instruction/ invitation issued by TMZ in Hollywood.
Tiger Woods will be speaking to a small group of friends, colleagues and close associates at 11 a.m. (EST) Friday at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Tiger plans to discuss his past and his future and he intends to apologize for his behavior.
This will not be an open media event. However, it is understood that there are many media who are interested in what he has to say. In order to accommodate as best we can, we are working to arrange pool coverage of Tiger’s remarks.
There will be a network pool camera providing coverage of his talk. The feed will be available live to any network or station that wishes to air it. A limited number of print and wire service reporters will be in attendance and will share their notes, color and background on a pooled basis. We are working with the Golf Writers Association of America to arrange for pool coverage.
As a courtesy, there will be a room made available at a nearby conference center for credentialed reporters to watch his talk on the televised feed. The location: Vedra, FL.
It has to be one of the twittervilles worst kept secrets. Richard Sambrook who has been rattling around the Corporation for 30 years has dived straight into one of the most cut-throat revenue generation machines, the USA owned stylish Edelman Public Relations Company. The BBC's director of global news, Richard Sambrook, is leaving the BBC in early 2010 after nearly 30 years.The BBc announced in November 2009, Peter Horrocks will succeed Sambrook in February 2010 but Horrocks' current job, as director of the World Service, will be combined with his new role.
Gasps around Twitterville following the tear jerking gut wrenching mutual love fest brokered by newspaper bad boy and reality TV judge Piers Morgan, it's said they took two hours to record the interview and no doubt the hapless editor had a No10 heavy jogging the edit key.
Just as it was about to get interesting, a commercial break would pop up and in one case they were all in-house ITV programme promos. I would have thought at least the Royal Mail could have bunged a couple in, along with a couple of debt free vulture finance outfits.
Anyone who knows the Edinburgh student scene at the time of Broons vintage will tell you six pints was just the entry ticket and the tipple was a a 'huf an a huf'; Half pint of Heavy and a whisky 1/2 gill, so Broon was tecnically correct as he would need to drink the six pints (12 hufs!) but neck the 12 1/2 gill whisky tots!
Piers didn't get onto 'necking' in the alcoholic sense anyway. I was also puzzled to learn that he had to buy the wedding ring from America.. Broon is not really very good at anything to do with computers, so how did he go about ordering the goods?
One might be tempted to send the transcript to HM Customs & Revenue, just to ensure the correct amount of value added tax was paid and the goods importation properly declared.
Of course an American gold ring wouldn't have a UK hallmark and perhaps the gold content value of the ring is below the tax threshold for importation, plated even? But that would be churlish so I'll leave it to Gerorge Osborne to do it when he slides in the back entrance of HM Treasury and wallpapers the building with a cheeky little number from the family Osborne & Little range beloved by the Notting Hill and Fulham set...
I'll get round to putting a view on DUCKHOUSE DAILY TV: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/julianbray but I'm still stuck within the inbuilt computer camera as the standards converter for Ustream needs tweaking for my twin pocket video cams to deliver Hi Def pix but onwards and upwards ....
Nicola Horlick withdraws her superinjunction. Not the full Schillings?
The problem with - or should that be the point of - superinjunctions is that, unless you have some direct dealings, you don't know they are there.
It can be revealed that a superinjunction against Diary then City-hack-turned-PR Damien McCrystal has been withdrawn. Schillings were acting on behalf of fund manager Nicola Horlick and McCrystal was represented by Taylor Wessing.
A statement was issued:
"In May 2009 after receiving false information from a third party, Nicola Horlick obtained an injunction and launched an action for damages against Damien McCrystal relating to matters of a private nature.
Nicola Horlick has now discontinued proceedings against Damien McCrystal and is happy to accept that he did not and would not divulge any personal information and was not at fault. Nicola Horlick is sorry for this misunderstanding, as is reflected in the terms of the agreed costs settlement, which nonetheless remain confidential. The parties have no further comment to make on this matter."
Schillings, who were behind this superinjunction, were also the lawyers behind England football captain John Terry's gagging order. Mr Justice Tugendhat overturned that order shortly afterwards.
How many others are there out there?
The Queen Elizabeth 2, the Cunarder Cruise Ship built in the 1960's on Clydeside, Glasgow, Scotland is amongst an array of Dubai-owned assets including the Port of Dover ( being sold to Calais!!!) which are being prepared for disposal as part of a huge fire-sale to get the spend happy Arab owners out of a huge financial black hole.
This unexpected turn of events is the UK's only chance to rescue the grand old lady and set her up as a unique conference, ballroom, theatre, hotel and mutiple restaurant and bar facility and all that needs to be done is to float her to a permanent berth alongside Tower Bridge in London. What do you think?
In a moment of madness Dubai World bought the QE2 from the American owners of Cunard three years ago (for around $100m), with grand plans to turn her into a luxury floating hotel. She would have been berthed at the man-made Palm Jumeirah island. But laden with staggering debts, the myriad of Arab interlocked companies were never really motivated enough to put the plans into action and briefly toyed with the idea of using the ship as an hotel in South Africa during the Football World Cup. That idea fell through as well.
Dubai Worlds' advisers, led by Deloitte, are expected to present the asset fire sale proposal to its main creditors in the coming months. What better present to the nation by the new Government but to bring the QE2 home?!
QE2 is the world’s most loved ocean liner. She spent 35 years as the Cunard flagship, travelled over 5.6 million nautical miles, more than any other ship; has carried over 2.5 million guests; has completed 25 World Cruises and has crossed the Atlantic 803 times. She also saw War service and acted as a troop ship and hospital during the Falklands war.
Do you think she should come back home to the UK? Who do you think should buy her? And what should she be used for - a hotel, museum, or should she sail again?
The Tories are today Monday 8th February 2010 uncertain of a parliamentary majority at an election, The "poll of polls" in the Independent, a weighted average of polls conducted by ComRes, ICM, YouGov, Populus and Ipsos Mori showed the Tories lead has been cut down to single figures. Tories 39 percent, down a point from last month, with Labour up one point at 30 percent, based on an election date of May 6th, could leave no single party with an overall majority. In effect a hung parliament.
The third-placed Liberal Democrats, unchanged at 19 percent, would then hold the balance of power. Faced with the prospect of the gap between the two leaders narrowing Gordon Brown could opt for a snap early election. Brown only having to give 17 days notice of such a move!
Standards being repaired in English Football – John Terry dropped as England Team Captain over private life allegations.
Standards being repaired in English Football – John Terry dropped as England Team Captain over private life allegations.
The England Team Manager had little option, Fabio Capello had been fully briefed and as soon as Press Agent Max Clifford had been hired by the French model in the centre of the allegations and then paraded several times before the worlds media. John Terrys’ future football career looked at risk. Anyone in the public eye, a role model and being seemingly looked up to by a generation of impressionable children is clearly sending out all the wrong signals. In practical terms discipline inside football circles has always been an issue, in rugby circles team discipline has always been a prime requirement in a game which is not only tactical but highly physical. Just imagine if fellow rugby team players were put in the same position?
Elliot Morley MP faces two charges under the Theft Act for false accounting, both are in relation to claims made for mortgage interest payments on a property in Winterton between 2004 to 2007. The mortgage interest claimed exceeded £16,000.
Jim Devine MP faces two charges under the Theft Act for false accounting. The CPS accused him of “dishonestly claiming” money for cleaning services and for stationery using false invoices.
Lord Hanningfield is facing SIX charges under the Theft Act for false accounting. relating to dishonestly submitting recipes for expenses to which he was not entitled, including staying in London, even though records show he had been driven home.
All the accused face lengthy prison sentences of up to 7 years if they are found guilty.
Police sources and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) have also confirmed that other cases referred, investigations are ongoing and that further charges may be laid.
New charges may also be laid against any MP or Peer who has been asked to repay over-claimed expenses; based on evidence where there is a reasonable chance of a prosecution being successful.
Political parties have in the meantime withdrawn the party whip from the accused who now estranged from their political party in effect sit as independent or crossbencher MP's and Peers. All of course are deemed to be totally innocent of all charges until proven guilty in court.
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This wonderful film was made in 1927 by Claude Friese-Greene. Colour film from the 1920s is exceptionally rare, and this is a very powerful example.
It shows scenes of London Bridge, the Thames, the Tower of London, Greenwich Observatory, the London docks, Whitehall, the Cenotaph, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Petticoat Lane, the Oval, the Changing of the Guard, Rotten Row, and the Houses of Parliament. The Cenotaph sequence from around 3:37 to 3:54 is very poignant. This was filmed only nine years after the end of the Great War. The women and looking at the wreaths would very likely be wives and mothers of the men killed, and the Second World War was, at that time, inconceivable.
Claude Friese-Greene was the son of pioneering cinematographer William Friese-Greene, and devoted himself to developing commercially his father’s colour process – Biocolour – but without great success. It was soon overtaken by Technicolor and Claude abandoned the process. His role as a pioneer of colour film has now been recognised.
The footage is part of London’s Screen Archives and the British Film Archive.
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The Prime Minister
10, Downing Street
London, SW1A 2AA
3 February 2010
Dear Mr Brown,
At Prime Minister’s Questions today, you told the House of Commons that you knew nothing about the secret fund, worth a reported £50,000, which was held by the Labour Party for your benefit. When asked why you did not declare this on the Register of Members’ Financial Interests (RMFI), you said specifically: ‘I know nothing about what he [the questioner] is talking about.’
This simply cannot be true.
It is clear from Peter Watt, the Labour Party’s former General Secretary, that you were the beneficiary of a secret fund held by the Labour Party. He has said explicitly:
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The sheer volume of claims and the possibility of fraudulent activity has contributed to payment delay says CAA. Thomas Cook refunds to take...