Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why Conservatives Should Man the Barricades for Osborne

I haven't blogged about the George Osborne situation until now because I didn't feel I had anything to say which either hadn't been said before or which would add to the sum of human knowledge. Maybe I still haven't. Anyway, let's look at the facts, rather than some of the hyperbole and fiction which has been spouted during the course of the day.

This is how I read what has happened...

1. George gossiped to journalists about what Mandy said about Gordon. An understandable thing to do bearing in mind his return to government. Perhaps he should have kept it zipped, but we have all done it. Normally, embarrassment is the only consequence of being found out. Ahem.
2. Mandy was outraged and promised revenge. Nat Rothschild was none too impressed, and goaded by Mandy, decided to take things further.
3. It was a mistake to do the live TV press conference before issuing a detailed rebuttal statement.
4. The media hasn't yet asked itself what crime has been committed. Answer none. No money has been donated so there has been no wrongdoing.
5. If someone asks you, as a politician, or as a party employee about donating you have two choices. You either point them in the direction of someone else or you explain how the system works and what the legalities are. That is not a crime. It is not even a thought crime. Yet.
6. So what we are talking about here is an allegation that a conversation about a donation took place. As Stephen Tall says, this is a bit of a he said-she said-he said situation. Rothschild says he has a witness to the conversation. Why hasn't he produced the witness then?

It's clear that the root of this is that Rothschild is furious that Osborne has broken the unwritten rule that says 'what happens on tour, stays on tour'. And he has exacted his revenge in a particularly spiteful way.

The media is in full herd instinct mode without actually stopping to think: hang on a minute. What's he actually done wrong? What law has he broken? What rule has he transgressed? Perhaps they might like to concentrate a little more on this sentence from Nick Robinson's blog this morning.
Mandelson's first instinct was to refuse to answer questions about what he said was his private life. He knew all too well that the way the media can keep a story running is to publish a list of "unanswered questions". This approach did not, however, kill the story. Nor did the backing of the EU Commission which declared him not guilty of a breach of the rules. So far, no evidence has been produced that he broke any rules but there's little doubt that had he behaved this way as a cabinet minister he would have been in breach of the ministerial code which advises against perceived conflicts of interest.

Isn't that far more serious than anything George Osborne has been accused of? But I didn't comment on Mandelson's situation any more than I had intended to comment on George's. But it has now blown up into such a ridiculously big story that those of us who happen to think a lot of George Osborne need to stand up and say so. His detailed chronology of events is well worth reading in full. It is unprecedented in its detail. Its message to Mandelson is: I've shown you mine, now you show me yours.

ConservativeHome has published a superb piece on why George Osborne is indispensable and it reminds us why the barricades need to be manned in his support.

The lessons here are...

1. Politicians are never 'off duty'.
2. Choose your holiday companions more carefully.
3. What happens on tour rarely stays on tour.

And above all...

4. Peter Mandelson is back and making sure we all know it. And isn't Times Political Editor Phil Webster a happy man! As is Robert Peston.

Peston hasn't liked Osborne's comments about his role in last week's events and this has given him a reason to hit back. Mandy's briefing fingerprints were all over this particularly poisonous blogpost from Peston this afternoon. Quite what this has to do with the BBC's Business Editor is another question. Perhaps Nick Robinson should talk to him about tanks and lawns.

It's been a pretty torrid week for the Shadow Chancellor. But every politician has to go through character building experiences like this. Osborne should take heart from the way his leader performs in these circumstances. Cameron displays courage under fire which we must all hope George Osborne can emulate. He is as vital to the Cameron project as Tord Grip was to Sven. He must also trust his instincts. I do not believe he wanted to do that wretched press conference this afternoon and should not have allowed himself to be talked into it. He's got an instinctive political brain. Now is the time for him to engage it.

Politics has changed in the last few weeks and for once, I don't think Conservative High Command realised it quickly enough. Trench warfare lies ahead. Sod bipartisanship. Brown hasn't got a bipartisan bone in his body. He regards the very notion of it as a sign of weakness. Brown wants a fight. Let's give him one.

123 comments:

tim said...

George certainly looked out of his depth trying to answer the press questions this morning.
Is he always that shaky under pressure?

canvas said...

George Osborne lacked judgment. He should have kept schtummmmmm.

Say whatever you want about Mandy but I don't think it was very clever of Osborne to dish the dirt.

glass houses and all that...

Cameron is pretty sussed but Osborne is so green. Osborne is a schoolboy politician - he has to learn how to play with the big boys.

curly15 said...

Oh dear,
Tord Grip and Sven Errikson,
what a poor choice of comparison.

Anyway,

tit for tat in the world of political spin, Mandy has his claws out.

DC said...

Good piece but the analogy with Sven and Tord Grip really doesn't bode well.

John Moss said...

You know, it is really SAD that Peston and Robinson can be so gullible as to be sent off like faithful bloodhounds following a trail laid for them by Campbell and Mandelson, rather than reporting real news.

Let's see - the economics editor might want to report the CPS paper released today highlighting the real state of UK Government debt at something like 150% of GDP when all pension, PFI, Notwork Rail, Northern Wreck etc etc liabilities are brought on-balance sheet?

The political editor might want to report how Harperson is guilotining debate on pro-choice amendments to the HFE Bill and not calling those amendments to the vote? Or, the rebellion brewing over the un-compensated 10p tax losers or the non-implimentation of family friendly flexible working?

It really is just very, very, poor journalism.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Iain....PMQ's is going to be interesting tomorrow. What a twat that Rothschild is? I wonder who's paying him?

barry monk said...

September 22, 2002

Rothschild bankrolls Mandelson think tank
Jonathon Carr-Brown
HE IS a man with generous friends. Peter Mandelson, the former secretary of state for Northern Ireland, has found a new backer for his political ambitions in the shape of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, the multi-millionaire banker.

De Rothschild may be 21 years Mandelson’s senior but the two have become firm friends, lunching and sharing an interest in Albanian affairs. When the banker married his third wife two years ago, Mandelson was a guest.

So it is perhaps no surprise that de Rothschild has emerged as the mystery funder of Policy Network, a “super think tank” that boasts some of No 10’s senior policy advisers on its board and is chaired by none other than Mandelson.

The sum donated to date is said to be £250,000. The name of the donor is missing from the think tank’s accounts, but its directors have been privately concerned that they will look secretive if they continue to hide his identity. One tipped off The Sunday Times last week: “It hasn’t been publicised, but de Rothschild’s involvement is well known to the board.”

Last night critics said the donation is yet another example of a businessman with vast commercial interests in government policies giving “cash for access” via a Labour think tank. De Rothschild and Policy Network have declined to comment on the matter.

De Rothschild, 71, heads the British arm of the Rothschild banking dynasty and chairs N M Rothschild & Sons, its merchant bank. His personal fortune is estimated in The Sunday Times Rich List as £500m.

Mandelson’s attraction to rich men has already led to him resigning from the government twice. The revelation that Geoffrey Robinson, the multimillionaire businessman and Labour MP, had loaned him £330,000 to buy a home prompted his first resignation from the Department of Trade and Industry. Then his friendship with the billionaire Hinduja brothers led to his downfall as Northern Ireland secretary when he was accused of helping them obtain British passports.

De Rothschild was not previously known to have political leanings but the donation is attributed to Mandelson’s influence and to the banker’s wife Lynn Forester, a friend of Bill Clinton and part of New York’s Democratic party elite.

The couple’s friendship with Mandelson blossomed when he was flown to Albania, where de Rothschild and Lord Sainsbury are trying to preserve the city of Butrint, a world heritage site.

In June this year the de Rothschilds were among the organisers of a “progressive” leaders’ conference run by Policy Network at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, which attracted Clinton and the prime minister. In the evening, the gathering moved to Ascott House, de Rothschild’s home in Buckinghamshire, for a seated banquet for 100.

The board of Policy Network — set up by a group of young Blairites in 2000 — reads like a Who’s Who of Labour’s inner circle. It includes Andrew Adonis, head of Downing Street’s policy unit, Roger Liddle, a senior member of the No 10 policy unit, Lord Levy, Blair’s chief fundraiser, and Adair Turner, the former CBI director who is now part of Blair’s “blue sky” thinking unit.

When Mandelson resigned as Northern Ireland secretary, both Policy Network and No 10 steered the MP for Hartlepool in its direction. A source close to the think tank claimed it was all part of attempts by Downing Street and friends to “feather bed” his second fall from grace.

According to Policy Network directors, the de Rothschilds gave the money to a charity, the Policy Network Foundation, before Mandelson came on board.

A Downing Street spokesman denied that there was any conflict of interest between Adonis’s and Liddle’s presence on the board. He said: “These are unpaid positions from which no financial gain is sought or received.”

Martin Day said...

First of all I think the gossip that GO is said to have indulged in was pre-mandelson's return to British Politics. IIRC Finklestein of the Times was the person who confirmed its vailidatity & the information had been conveyed proir to Mandelsson's return to UK politics - i.e. Mandelson had said Brown was useless etc.

Secondly the role of Peston IMO shows their is a smoking Gun from Mandelson with regard to the information that undermined the Banks. Peston has been to clever by half and I suggest the SFO/Police investigate Peston's telephone calls to see who the source that undermined British Banking system through Peston.

If it is found to be Mandelson and Labour it will have severe consequences for Labour.

Tory Boy said...

Well said Iain

Anonymous said...

"Choose your holiday companions more carefully". Come off it. This was one of a whole series of meetings Mandlesohn has had with the Oligarch. This time he was their with Rothschild, Murdoch and Osborne. Whatever it was, this was not some casual holiday encounter!

Note that in the TV huddle this morning, Osborne ignored the one question that really mattered - what the heck was he doing there? Why was the Conservative Shadow Chancellor having a meeting with the wealthiest Russian Oligarch? What were they up to and what lies behind this?

The donations thing is just a smokescreen and a kick-off point for some of the journalists.

canvas said...

"De Rothschild was not previously known to have political leanings but the donation is attributed to Mandelson’s influence and to the banker’s wife Lynn Forester, a friend of Bill Clinton and part of New York’s Democratic party elite."

Is that why she endorsed McCain then? Dumb move. Let's face it - they're all out for whatever they can get. And it's not like they need anymore than they already have.

>>>The lesson for Osborne today is - discretion makes for a successful politician.

Learn it quickly or get left behind.

Shaun said...

This was briefly ahead of the Osbourne story on the beeb:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7681569.stm

After the anti-Osbourne story took the lead, I suddenly remembered that Mandy and Campbell were back running the No. 10 'media' team and that attack was always the best form of defence... ah yes, its back to the future now look at that unsuspecting Toff rather than this unsightly shit we have stepped in!

Alistair Watson said...

I think your evaluation of this incident sounds accurate and offers insight into the likely chain of events. The aspect you refrain from commenting on is the truly poisonous nature of Mandelson's character. Well educated, clever, articulate and a thoroughly malodorous piece of work. Only he has an interest in promoting this smear, it can only be a mater of time before he spews his bile at members of the government.

Anonymous said...

Canvas is right - this is all just a case of callow young Osborne. Mandy appears to be making mincemeat of him.

What though was the meeting all about if it wasn't about soliciting a donation? I don't think anyone can seriously believe Osborne right now.

Hitchy said...

Hang on. Mandelson committed no crime either - he did it while a Commissioner, not a Minister. Even Mandelson admits that he'd never have got on the boat if he was a UK Minister at the time. But then if my Granny had balls she'd be my Grandpa.

If Osbourne did solicit a donation, that's a crime in itself. If Feldman solicited a donation, that would be a crime too. I understand they both deny this so until proven otherwise, they are innocent.

But either way, Osborne threw muck at Mandelson over meeting Deripaska. And Mandelson threw a bigger, juicier clod of mud back and it appears to be sticking.

George will have learnt a lesson from this; people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Let's leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

George should have kept his mouth shut, not much of an advert for a man who aspires to one of the great offices.

Get him out and Redwood in, sorry of course Redwood is a Tory silly me.

Anonymous said...

According to Robinson, Rothschild's ID's his witness as a former Clinton aide.

If either of them - or the Russian - decide to go on the record contradicting Osborne's version of events, this could get VERY messy.

Edward said...

Well, I could say a lot on some of the players in this boy-drama but I don't fancy being at the end of a law suit.

All I will say, and then zip up, is 'only £50,000?'. If George really had wanted to get some funding and had touched up Deripaska, knowing all the risks implicit in such an approach, then he would have gone for at least several million.

Good post Iain. Yes Peter Mandelson is back.

Peter said...

Look on the bright side Mandy is sure to slip up sooner or later and Osborne now has the perfect excuse to get even.

Anonymous said...

Witness has now been named-suggest an update!

Salmondnet said...

Oleg Derapaska has been made richer, perhaps coincidentally, by decisions made by Peter Mandelson as Trade Commissioner.

Nat Rothschild is an adviser to Derapaska and has profited therefrom.

Osbourne has recently offended Mandelson.

Rothschild has just, ruthlessly and cold bloodedly, dropped Osbourne in the brown stuff.

A conspiracy theorist might link these facts. Not me of course.

Anonymous said...

Yet again the BBC is foaming at the mouth about another non Tory story, just like the endless Newsnight stories about Caroline Spelman by Michael Prick.

When will the Tories finally realise they need to get rid of the BBC?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Iain, but after the 'skewiff tie' press conference today, blood is in the water, and the sharks will be circling for Osborne.

Mandy will think this is a good day's work, since he is bubbling under the Top Ten of the news agenda, whereas Poor George is Top of the Pops..

By all means 'man the barricades' but some will want to start making serious political calculations as to just how much the cost/benefit of Project Osborne really is, how indispensable he is deep down if push came to shove, and who would be the 'under the bus' candidate.

Ken Clarke should start dusting down his Hush Puppies..

Watervole said...

This slur is a testament to how much ZNL fear George Osborne.

Nothing but hot air and conjecture coming out from the Labour new media. It is not to Rothschilds credit that he is complicit in these tabloid smear tactics which are so obviously unfounded. I hope Osborne sues the mink off them! The journos should hang their heads in shame - bought and sold by the government.

Come the revolution......

Fergus said...

Re the Sven and Tord analogy - they took us to three (yes three) quarter-finals in a row. Best consistent results for donkey's years.

I sem to remember that the Times or Sunday Times had the "pure poison" info ages ago. No indication that they first got it from George Osborne, and Mandelson wasn't a government minister then.

Didn't take Mandelson long to return to his old form, did it? The man couldn't walk in a straight line if you'd dug a trench for him to walk it in.

Question is - what is Mandelson (or Brown) trying to hide?

Diablo said...

Thanks to Barry Monk for reminding us all of Mandelson's track record.

This little saga with Osborne at the centre of the storm is proof, if proof were needed, that Mandy and Campbell are firmly back in the bunker brewing their magic potions which will take the shine off, if not eat into the fabric of, the reputation on which Cameron and Co have worked so hard.

Yes, lots of lessons to learn for Osborne but at least we all know what the Prince of Darkness and the Nasty Spinmeister are about. Evil, pure evil!

Jess The Dog said...

There is one clear issue: either Osborne has materially breached regulatory codes and the law, or he has not. If he has, then I would expect the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the Electoral Commission to investigate, following a complaint. If not, then this is surely "muck-raking" by Mandelson standards.

I don't approve of cosy squillionaire schmoozing, but I approve of Mandelson even less.

norman said...

Cameron should exercise a stronger grip over his shadow cabinet and should say :no one is indispensable, friend or no friend. Here we have Tories on a double digit poll lead and the infantile Osborne is drawing attention away from a failing government. In my early life as a government employee, my boss an old timer used to say i) watch out for your friends ii) do not take holidays in Mediterranean sunspots iii) move away from the rich. Osborne should have known better. When so much is known about Mandelson and Rathschild he should have exercised his caution. One politician I knew always took holidays in America. He used to say that it is such a big country, the chances of him bumping into someone he knows at home is very rare.
Recently the BBC is behaving so partisan. Peston got away with his part in the leaks during the banking crisis and banks shares dived as a result of what he said. Journalists let him go scot free. BBC perhaps wants to teach Tories a lesson as Cameron said that he would prefer the license fee to be shared and hence the article in the Times by the BBC Chairman the other day.

The dirty tricks of Many is there to see in this sage. But if Osborne were spending his holidays in America (he is not short of money) just as my friend the politician did, there would be no story. Still, no money given and no sleaze.

Anonymous said...

Whether money was sought or not is not the point.To be talked of in the same sentence as sleaze ball Mandy is.
If Dave doesn't move on this one he may end up going down the pan with boy George.
Get some real MEN in the team before it's too late!!!

phil said...

George should of kept his mouth shut.
However, Robinson and Peston have written Mandlesons posion for him. Are both these bbc's finest that bad reporters?
Fact:- George has not comitted a crime.
Fact:- Mandleson and his slimy spin pals are controlling the press with there posion pens. And he is a lord!
The BBC are all over this as they love doing Cambells work for him especially after they got 'screwed' over Andrew Gillagan and the dosier.


Rothschild funding a left wing think tank and is close to Mandleson, this does not get mentioned. Pathetic.
Come on lets stick up for George

strapworld said...

I am sorry, Iain, I admire and respect loyalty. But Osborne has shown crass stupidity.

To even contemplate having a meal with Mandleson was ridiculous. It showed no common sense at all.

To eat with the Russian, in the company of Mandleson and to be with the Russian again when Mandleson was there was ridiculous and, again, showed no common sense.

To discuss in whatever terms the possibility of a gift, loan, donation was ridiculous, especially when Mandleson was there or if not any fool would realise that it would have got back to him Was really stupid and lacked common sense.

He has let Cameron and the Party down big time. There is the issue of not recording the Rothschild connection.

He has shown he is not fitting for high office and, IN MY OPINION, should be sacked.

It would give the moral high ground to Cameron.

phil said...

Oh I forgot.
I hope Iain reads what Barry Monk has said, and discusses it with Gordons 'pals' on radio 5 tomorrow!

londonerr said...

It is good to see Peter is spending his precious time on working to support hard-pressed SMEs, instead of being diverted on Maciavellian intrigue.

If ever a man was needed to focus fully on the problem at hand it is now. From what I see he's devoted to the wrong problem.

Paul Burgin said...

When it comes to being bipartisan, it is Osborne who has made public jibes about Gordon Brown for up to two years now. I feel sorry for Osborne in a way, but feel that he laid himself open to this.If he was not doing any briefing about Mandelson 'dripping poison' this would not have happened. It just shows the extent to which Osborne feels personally about Gordon Brown which I think demeans him (Osborne) I think it says more about me, but I still have not forgotten the autism incident

Anonymous said...

Good post Iain.
The losers in this silly affair will be Mandleson, Peston and Robinson.
Mandelson saved the Russian millions of pounds when he abolished import restrictons on platinum.
Did he do that for nothing?
Sorry for the cliche, but follow the money.

roman said...

£50k would be a very small donation, and certainly not an amount worth chasing after by a senior Shadow Cabinet Minister.

After all, 11 years ago a Prime Minister trousered £1mill for his Party AND altered Party policy AND lied to Parliament about it ... oh I forgot, Labour politicians are allowed to do that sort of thing because they are pretty straight sort of guys.

Deft said...

Trench warfare? They're sharing the same trench! More like a lover's tiff...

Anonymous said...

What is happening in this country is truly shocking. I never thought that such filth existed.

Breaches of the Omerta code, revenge and sewer politics

Summer said...

My husband and I heard this on the news at 5pm.

Me - " So darling, Osbourne has NOT committed an illegal act".

Him - " yep, looks that way".

Me - "so what's the story then?"

Him - "no idea - but I've not knifed anyone today, think they'll report that too!!"

Could you tell me if all journalists are numpties? It took us less than a minuite to work out this was a non-story, why are they still raving after a whole day?

Tell you what the story is though; and the Spectator has it. A conservative MP has worked out that the UK debt is now 1,854 bn pounds. That is 127% of GDP and nearly 40,000 pounds for every man, woman and child. If the bank bailout is added that is 2,354bn pounds or 161% of GDP. Think we could talk about this now? Seems slightly more important than who hasn't done anything illegal.

Darrell G said...

Conspiricy theorists might link the fact that there are clearly people who think Osborne has underperformed and the Tories lead has now shrunk....

That this came in the same week that Cameron brought out his inner attack dog...that although Con Home took your view there was an article pushing John Redwood and clearly a section of party opinion is not happy with Osborne...the question is how deep does that unhappiness go??

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you're still trying to nail that safe seat and all, but this call to (Tory) arms is a waste of time and well you know it - assuming you're completely in the loop with CCHQ? Boy George will be toast by Thursday morning, causing a half-week of bad news for Cameron and at worst a couple of percent shaved off the average poll lead over Brown. In less than a month however, this will all be forgotten and the silver-lining will be no DC-GOs in the future to rival the TB-GBs. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

I see "the facts" didn't last terribly long in that blisterfest of logic the like of which has never been seen before

Andrew Allison said...

He is politically naive and has lacked judgment. Perception is everything in politics and this is what still may hang him.

Mandelson is back; very true and he is a nasty piece of work. Soon he will be hung by his own deviousness, duplicitous behaviour and the fact no-one likes him.

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

Something I've been saying for a while now. Time to fight back.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 11.24. Jesus, I dont know how often I have to say this, but I have not applied for any seat for nearly a year now and have no plans to do so.

4x4 the People said...

Peston is a squeeky voiced git who thinks he actually has played some role in the financial crisis instead of being a medi t**t chancer.

Still - huzzah for Georgina! Billionaires runabout and all that. Just shows it doesnt hurt to be in the Bully. At least he should have known that if you want to join an exclusive club (failed Tory shadow chancellors - not that exclusive then) you must keep schtum about what goes on. Bladder boffing all round then.

Tweedledum said...

Was a secret donation made to the Tory party?

Was there talk of a peerage ("How does Lord Deripaska sound to you, Oleg?")

If not, it really isn't much of a story, compared with Lord Cashpoint etc, is it?

gertie said...

Seems to have knocked the Bernie Ecclestone affair off the front page.

Tories have a lot to learn about cleverly timed spin, mendacity and shit stirring. Quick! Get Lord Archer back.

This would have been a non story if Mr Osborne had remained cool. It still is. It is however, a demonstration of how Machiavellian Labour are prepared to be. Watch out! Don't dissapoint me by throwing your victory away.

Anonymous said...

sounds to me like a lovers' tiff. who are the lovers?

molesworth 1 said...

When are you guys going to take the gloves off? And I don't mean that metaphorically. Call a General Strike. Call for mass rallies. Be unambiguous about people turning up tooled-up & being prepared to stand down the auto-plod. Ya know, take the country back etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

This line that no money has changed hands so no crime has been committed is just CCHQ spin.

These are serious allegations by a major tory donor that George Obsorne willfully sought to flout both the ministerial code and the law of the land to secure political advantage.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Well said Ian this story is such an irrelevancy in the current situation we all face.

Lesson 5:
NewLiebour spread so many smears prior to Bliar's first victory in 97 and they are trying it on again. Times have changed, we have lived through their filthy spinning lies for the past 11 years and are somewhat wiser to them.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that considers a Rothschild to be honest in any dealing at all, is a fool, waiting for a very steep fall.

If the Conservative party had any balls it would disassociate itself form the Rothschild's ASAP.

They are the friends of no one but themselves and their co-conspirators.

The Rothschilds individually and collectively are about as conservative as Karl Marx and as honest as an Albert Hall of second hand car salesmen, and thats being kind.

Having said all that, the reality is that the Conservative Party can not win whatever it dose with the Rothschild's or the BBC. As these power mad cri....ls have been in effective control of the BBC since it first started broadcasting.

Osborn has been a victim of a set up. This has not been the first time and it clearly now will not be the last time either.

May I also state that the Rothschilds have also made a grave mistake for allowing there name to be used in public, especially at this time. Natham may well be getting a very serious dressing down from 'The Godfather' right this second. If I was his father I would send him to bed without his dinner for a year at least.

Now I hope, as they clearly hope not, that people will start to research the name of Rothschild on Wiki and the rest of the WWW.

There is enough on You Tube along to make your hair stand on end, and I am sure the Rothschild family know it. They may be justifiably very proud of their cleverness and constant manipulation of the democratic system. Most if not all of the rest of humanity would be deeply shocked to say the very least.

Natham is a friend you cant afford to lose, or to not really have in the first place. What Osborne can do about it? Is his problem, and a serious problem he better solve very soon.

Atlas Shrugged

not that mr smith said...

this story has all the elements that make politics so detestable: politicians hanging out with the super-rich, backstabbing each other, the commentariat blowing a trivial issue out of all proportion to the concerns of ordinary people and lap dogs like Peston salivating at the sound of their master's bell. The whole thing reeks of the putrification of politics and all sides are responsible. No wonder people are fed up.

John Pickworth said...

My respect for Osborne increased today... he could have ducked out of view but instead decided to face his critics. He may have looked out of his depth but at least he was attempting to swim. Good for him.

Eventually the mud is going to stick, not to Osborne, but to Brown/Mandelson and their puppets. They've just reminded us again how nasty, vile, corrupt and power hungry they are... and they've managed to drag their rich friends down with them.

Good piece Iain... and you're right, its time we started playing rough if that's the way they want it.

Another Cath said...

Your last paragraph is spot on Iain. The Tories really need to wake up to the fact that Mandy is back pulling the media's strings. Cameron should be taking the fight to Brown more over the economy. Mandy should never have had the time and space to get a hit on Osbourne.

Anonymous said...

Dale @ 1124

Er, you're the only one reading into that post anything at all about you being a Tory candidate. It's your inability to 'stick to the facts' I was commenting on.

Glyn H said...

As Peston has been fully exposed as Browns mouthpiece is he not suffiecently damaged goods to have to resign?

What are the odds that Mandelson will have to leave the Cabinet prior to the next election?

And Osbourne needed to be blooded; this piece of Campbell/Mandelson spite will serve him in good stead in the long run!

Anonymous said...

(Reprinted from the Oxford Student News, Bullingdon Edition)

This is a classic tale of swaggering rich boys about town.

The Bullingdons brush against other kids in the street, break up pub furniture and generally have a complete laff, brilliant! George feels really happy being one of the gang with David and gets to meet lots of dreadfully rich and important grownups, some of whom even own yachts and things!

But then along comes a tough Labour kid when George is on holiday in nice Corfu with some other nice chaps from the college and before you know it - whack! Georgy gets a rough upper cut to the nose, not very nice for a boy from St Pauls and Magdalen. Georgy gets into the most frightful mess by talking with a foreign boy and another boy well known about town as a bit of a dodgy thieving type who shouldn't really be up at Oxford at all, let alone in Corfu where the other posh kids go!

Probably this is because Peter's grandpapa was once in the Government, even though he was the most frightful bore. Anyway, to get back to the story, Georgy told Cherwell some stories about what nasty suspicious boy Peter had said about the head of the Student Union, Gordon. Dreadful oink Gordon, a Scot no less (!) wasn't very happy and neither was Dodgy Peter! They got into a bit of a hump and said nasty things back about George. They said Georgy had been asking some foreign type for a donation to the Bullingdon coffers and that as we all know is simply not done! Asking for the donation your writer of course means. (Keep it shorter - Varsity Ed.)

Anyway this time the little squits who run Varsity got into quite a lather and posted some comments from Peter's rich but slightly foreign friend "Nat" across the front page! The whole college read them! Georgy goes bonkers and starts shouting back defiantly outside the Bod and not even Big David who normally manages to look after all the Bullingdon Boys can help him now!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:51, are you referring to the heavily anti-semitic and extreme-right videos on Youtube accusing the Rothschilds of planning the Holocaust and 9/11? I think that puts into perspective how much attention we should give to your ramblings.

Your "setup" theory on Osborne made me LOL - of course, poor thing, he's just a wide-eyed ingenue walking about without a plot in his poor little head!

Raddy said...

Simple, simple fact.

Osborne has been guilty of an indiscretion.Just as Mandelson was when he was first in the Cabinet.

Madelson went. Osborne should go.

This is not speaking (as Iain does) from a bipartisan party standpoint, but from the wider world outside of the Westminster village.

We want (perhaps naively) politicians who are upright & honourable, not sleazy & moneygrubbing. Until this issue is resolved then Osborne is tainted.

At the very least the man has been INCREDIBLY stupid!

215cu said...

Has the totemic Kaiser's said:

"I predict a riot."

Iain, one of the best posts you have written.

I'm up for a fight, the time for cosy Conservatives is over.

Take on Labour and the BBC. Time to fight and kick Labour's rotten edifice in.

Mandy's powers are weak, there were no blogs in 1997, no political hothouses on the internet.

All fire should be directed at Mandelson, you stand up to bullies by being bigger than a bully.

As for Nath, I'm sure a few skeletons exist that will appear I'm sure.

As for the BBC relying on a letter written by one of those evil fat-cats they deplore so.

Oh the delicious irony.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear Iain - Mr. Osborne is toast should have stuck to wallpapers like his family wanted him too.

Bye bye Georgie - lets hope Ken Clarke can march right in now.

Colin said...

I've said on here before and I'll say it again. Campbell and Mandleson are capable of and indeed are running rings round the Tories. The idea that Mandleson, who actually lived on the yacht of a man who could materially benefit from his position as trade commissioner, is no longer news, is testament to the superior media management / manipulation skills of labour. George is now damaged goods, so much shit has been flung at him in a co-ordinated attack that he's drowning in it. The Tories seem to have forgotten that just because a story isn't true, doesn't mean people won't believe it. This demolition job on George is classic Campbell.

In addition, one cannot help but draw the conclusion that the Tories had become just a little complacent as a result of spectacular poll ratings and the seemingly terminal inability of brown to do anything right.

The sooner they wake up and sort out how to mount a forensic, ruthless and sustained assault on brown and his many glaring inadequacies, the better for us all.

I thought Osborne looked very shaky at the press conference, not at all like a man confident he'd done nothing wrong, or indeed a man who was confident he's see this through.

daniel said...

If the Chairman of the Labour Party had been accused of doing what Osborne has, then I assume, your "facts" would have proved that Labour were up to no good. Because it is a Tory - you deny any wrongdoing.

Osborne is accused of having conversations about the possibility of donations from a foreigner. It seems that he didnt take any money - or ask for it - but he is accused of discussing it. This may not be a crime, but is is very poor judgement.

Rothschild is sticking to his guns, and as far as this being labour spin, Nick Robinson has denied any conversations with any Labor staffers, Mandelson or Campbell. This is something that a Tory (Rothschild) has said about Osborne.

Osborne may well come out of this with his job, but he will not come out of it unscathed. He has had a very difficult month - unable to match Darling, and that has caused some concerns within the Conservative party.

If he had any conversations about funding from a foreign billionaire he at best misjudged the situation.

Iain if you want a fight, then I suggest that you advise Osborne to take on Nat Rothschild who, as a Tory donor, was responsible for opening this can of worms.

Peter Wilson said...

Meanwhile in the real world, I found out yesterday I'm to be made redundant in time for Christmas. Nice to see politicians concentrating on the important issues

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe my ears and eyes when Osbourne smirked on the Marr show over Mandelson's alleged remarks to him about Brown. Why do we have to have little boys like Osbourne and the Millibands with great offices of state and their shadow counterparts?
As for the semi-coherent Peston he seems to me to revel in disloyalty to his country. He looks disturbed too.

Mrs Crewe said...

This is such a none story whipped up by a press bored of the credit crunch there is also a nasty element of inverted snobbery on Sky news this morning they suggested that Osbourne was at fault for being "posh" how come it's alright for Tony Blair to have celeb holidays but not a tory? I am sick of the press blasting people for being upper class. They wouldn't dare have a go at a politician for being common and lets face it so many of them are!

BillyBoy said...

@Anon 7:23.

He wasn't commenting on your 11:24 post - look at the other one above it.

Grief!

Just goes to show that determining 'the facts' sometime need a bit of thought / basic application...

norman said...

It is no use in Cameron defending his buddy. Even some one who has no political brain would not have accepted a free vocation invitation from my rich friend and not climbed on to that Yacht of a foreigner. Osborne did this because he could get away with it. There is nothing wrong done but image is all that matters. Cameron must sit with his team and should take a hard look at their image and should bring back some experienced people. He should understand, the BBC, Mandelson and the pres including Daily Mail and Telegraph are not his friends.

If Obama can raise so much from ordinary donation, why can't Cameron do it?

Anonymous said...

No,no,no Iain.The real lesson of this story is you don't start a dog running without thinking it through.Ozzy was quite happy to peddle dirt on Mandleson hoping for a few quick headlines to aid the Tories but it's backfired beautifully. Now the Tories are caught in a media storm of their own making and they don't like it much.I've been laughing my socks off at all the Tories on Nick Robinson's blog accusing Robbo of 'pro Labour ' bias. Nick Robinson pro Labour??

dick the prick said...

You know it's bad when you read Atlas (i.e. get through it) and kinda agree with some stuff.

It can be assured that young Nathanial is being hauled up in front of Evelyn for being inkeredibly stupid. At what point does he get involved in a public spat with the chap who's likely to be the 2nd most powerful dude in British politics - seriously, where does the lad get the sheer audacity?

The idea of what goes on tour, stays on tour is the reason beggars belief - Oik never mentioned anything that could be concieved of as a breach of trust - perhaps it's Nathanial who needs to work out who his guests are.

That said, I really feel sorry for Oik - it was obvious at his doorstep (press conference!) that what he wanted to say was "a guy who I have considered a friend since prep school, who I maintained a friendship with through college, who's been through difficult times & has always had the support of myself & my lovely wife has gone and dropped me right in the shit because he's a git".

Round 1 goes to the Labour spin machine.

I also feel quite sorry for Nathanial - yes, he's been boasting to Oleg that he's a big man and all that, but to throw away a friendship of 30 years is regrettable and short termist - 'what's that ? Hedge fund manager - ah - I see'.

Eastenders for anoraks - although I think today may be the end of it.

Who'd have thought we'd have had a de Rothschild breaking cover? Foolish boy.

Ricky shrugged

Anonymous said...

It's Dave I feel sorry for.

First Spelman, now Osborne. Just goes to show, Shadow Cabinet posts should be reserved for people who went to Eton.

dalesman said...

I have posted on several blogs, including my own, that George Osborne is a light-weight and should be replaced.

it is now obvious that he lacks judgement, so all the more reason for him to go.

I don't think we should back a politician with such apparent lack of judgement, and I don't think you would be backing Miliband (for instance), if he'd shown the same lack.

Osborne is just not up to it I'm afraid.

Martin said...

Dale 11:28 PM. Believe nothing until it's officially denied.

Anonymous said...

What this all shows is that George Osborne can not be trusted. We already knew that was true of Mandelson but this time it was Osborne who first put a private conversation into the public domain to try and score political points.

Rex said...

With Peston and Robinson both reporting the same story then is there a need for the both of them?

Arn't the BBC looking to make economies?

Anonymous said...

Simon Carr in the Independent is spot-on. Osborne is a lightweight completely out of his depth. He should go.

Desperate Dan said...

Rothschild appears to be an unprincipled chiseller who's impressed by vulgar, gold-tapped, floating gin palaces. The spectacle of him throwing a tantrum because Osborne is less inclined to line his pockets with the proceeds of crime than Blair and Mandelson is most illuminating.

Ben Evetts said...

Really, this smacks of bad media handling by CCHQ more than anything else.

And I get heartily bored by the general 'marginalised of middle England' comments saying that the BBC should be shut down because its biased. Honestly, you are all too happy to crow when its going your way but as soon as its not its a sign of ingrained bias.

The thought of Radio 4 being replaced by something of the likes of LBC is quite frankly dreadful. But if the conservatives would like to stick 'Torys to ban the Archers' the next manifesto that would be terrific.

Unsworth said...

I'm appalled at the naked politicisation of the BBC - in particular the recent activities of Peston and Robinson. Apart from the quite obvious lack of intellectual rigour, both are in the game of sensationalising virtually everything. This is journalism as a career, of course.

Osborne was a prat to allow himself to get into this position but, as you say (and if we are to believe the responses), he has done nothing wrong. Indeed, I'd be disappointed if Osborne and his colleagues were not actively investigating all sources of funds. Isn't that part of the job? However there's a world of difference between that examination and actively soliciting and receiving such funds. That is to say there's a difference between establishing how much an individual may have put to one side to hand out to whichever political parties he/she may choose, and actually asking for a donation.

It is alarming, though, that both Peston and Robinson seem to have abandoned the principles of incisive balance in favour of career promoting/preserving speculation. Where is their evidence that Osborne actually asked for the cash? When there is a change of government I hope that these extremely dubious activities by what are referred to as 'BBC Reporters' are thoroughly investigated and, as necessary, individuals are fired.

Gary Elsby stoke said...

Iain, can I just say how disappointed I am in George Osborne and I believe that the only thing that he should do is to resign or he will bring Dave, down

Yours helpfully,

Gary
(every little helps!)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, George is finished and he would do well to leave the stage early. I doubt he will do so, however. He has broken one of the cardinal rules of a Chancellor-in-waiting...he has "gossiped to journalists".
The next 18 months should have seen George invited to many such parties, hosted by the likes of Murdoch and other influential global players whose support will be needed to secure the keys of government. If you are smart, you attend and by your very presence, there develops inevitability about your progress. By blabbing so brazenly, poor George has shown that he cannot be trusted and it is unlikely that he will be invited to other such gatherings in the future.
So what you may say…but what happens when Murdoch backs Labour at the next election…what happens when other gossip is leaked to compliant newspapers. This is a very sorry saga. David should wait for the media frenzy to die down and then move the poor chap out of the limelight. It needs to be done for the good of the party.

Anonymous said...

5. If someone asks you, as a politician, or as a party employee about donating you have two choices. You either point them in the direction of someone else or you explain how the system works and what the legalities are. That is not a crime. It is not even a thought crime. Yet.

but did he follow the good advice you given above ?

if he is the source of the 'poison in ear' story then he chose to ignore the first rule of being someones guest'never reveal what is discussed in a private home' opened his mouth and got a kicking for his pains

if he wants to mix socially with these sorts of people he mustn't be surprised if us oiks (or voters as we are sometimes called) question his judgement

Desperate Dan said...

Osborne is charged with "putting a private conversation in to the public domain".

Rothschild abused his acquaintanceship with Osborne by failing to mention that his invitation to stay was designed to facilitate an illegal transfer of cash from a Russian crook to a Conservative Party who didn't want it. Rothschild has been used to dealing with Mandelson, Blair and Brown whose greed has blinded them to the immorality and illegality of this sort of transaction and who, like Rothschild himself, believe it is normal behaviour.

I'm pleased to note that Osborne would not agree to be a party to criminal behaviour.

kev g said...

I couldn't help but notice that when the hacks failed to pin anything specific on Osborne they took a leaf out of Sophie Raworth's book and tried the generic approach, "But your judgement, Mr Osborne, your judgement …"

A callow public school twit who came up via the traditional route of journalist and teaboy at Party HQ feels himself qualified to govern. What the hell else is there to learn about his "judgement"?

Unsworth said...

Iain

"Anonymous 11.24. Jesus, I dont know how often I have to say this..."

Do we think 'Anon 11:24' may be Jesus commenting anonymously?

I'm seriously impressed.

ed said...

What's he done wrong? Grassed up Mandy and annoyed his rich ex-chum, hasn't he? Silly boy..

Auntie Flo' said...

Deripaska is reported to have made 50 million from EU trade tariff cuts while Mandelson was EU Trade Commissioner - so what was Mandelson doing holidating on Deripaska's floating palace yacht?

And why is Osborne the focus of press interest while Mandelson's all but ignored?

I smell the back arts.

If it quacks like a cover up and smear campaign against Osborne, that's what it is.

Einstein waking up from a nap said...

Yes, what is it to Peston anyway?

The whole farrago smells highly - slease and spin.

Cameron had better act quickly and appoint a new shadow chancellor - before PMQs tomorrow to show that he means what he has said concerning donations.

carry on westminster said...

"I've shown you mine, now you show me yours."

oo-er missus!

Kezzie said...

And if you want any more evidence that this quacks like an orchestrated smear campaign against Osborne, take a look at BBC's Have Your Say:

"Should George Osborne face a parliamentary inquiry?"

Exactly where, BBC, did Have Your Say ask:

Should Lord Mandelson face an inquiry?

Fact is, HYS didn't ask that question or anything like it.

HYS chose to ignore Mandelson's bad judgement and his friendship with Deripaska.

Why, HYS?

Why too is there is not one word about Mandelson in this HYS topic on Osborne and Deripaska?

Aristander of Telmissus said...

Auntie flo @10.34

"I smell the back arts"

I thought we'd all agreed to leave Mandelson's sexuality out of this. It's so unseemly.

Splashitallover said...

Osborne is way out of his depth. He'll be gone by the end of the week - or his credibility will be shot. He should have realised that he'd already used up several lives when he was pictured with that lady with some mysterious wraps in the shot during the leadership contest. Instead, like the typical silver spoon posh boy who's always had it easy, he thought he was invincible. Well, he's now getting the rough end of the pineapple, and not before time.

Anonymous said...

Why did you tell Porkies on Sky Ian? It was Osborne himself who said he had met Oleg Deripaska 5 times. Not the accusations of others as you told the reporter.

I think it was also a bit rich, introducing you as the editor of Politics Home but failing to mention that you are a Tory blogger and wannabe Tory MP.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, 11.02

1. I was not on Sky, I was on the BBC News Channel.
2. I am not the editor of Politics Home, and nor was I introduced as such.
3. I told the interviewer no such thing. I specifically said that Osborne had issued a detailed chronology.
4. I was a wannabe Tory MP. I have explained several times that I am not looking for seats.
5. I don't decide how the BBC introduce me.

Other than that you are bang on the money., And also a complete prat.

Desperate Dan said...

During one of his non-economics related, anti-Osborne, economical with the truth diatribes Robert Peston has just managed to say: "...I remember Jacob Rothschild saying to me once............" (It was some ultra flattering remark about N. Rothschild and not worth repeating)

How can the BBC possibly continue to employ Peston when he has now taken on the job of spin doctor for the Rothschilds as well as spin-doctor for Gordon and Mandelson?

watcher said...

Peston broke this story yesterday - outside his brief, admittedly, but not so much that the BBC stoppoed him blog-boasting about it twice in the day.
Since yesterday afternoon, though, zip, nothing, nada, nul points from him. Apart from the fact that his learned friends may just have told him to shut his cakehole before an SFO investigation takes him to prison and thus the enlargment of various other orifices, here some journalist-type questions for him to ask:
- if Mandy was on the yacht in a private capacity, was this an example of sound judgement?
- if Mandy was on the yacht in an official capacity, who was the Commission official with him noting all his conversations (standard procedure)? and can we see the notes?
- has Mandy spoken to Rothschild in the last week? and did he call him from a private or offical telephone?
- are there any examples of the Labour Party taking donations from the UK-based businesses of overseas owners?
Just trying to resurrect a promising career...

Windsor Tripehound said...

Auntie Flo' said...

I smell the back arts.



A Freudian slip, Auntie?

neil craig said...

What I found intweresting about BBC & other coverage yesterday was the total absence of anybody saying where the story started. They merely said that "allegations have been made". At the very least when saying specific allegations have been made & asking a specific person to reply to them the media should give either give chapter & verse or at least acknowledge that it is a kite flying by saying "friends of the Prince of Darkness say...."

Beyond New Labour said...

"Anyway, let's look at the facts, rather than some of the hyperbole and fiction which has been spouted during the course of the day."

That is when it comes to George osborn, when it comes to mandelson you can use phrases such as:

"Mandy was outraged and promised revenge. Nat Rothschild was none too impressed, and goaded by Mandy, decided to take things further."

Pure hyperbole and fiction. Your such a hypocrite and all this "it mandy's fault its all him". Maybe the pip squeek should have thought before trying to smear him and leaking the meeting to the press.

Its his own fault for being an arrogant arse.

daniel said...

Is there something else afoot here? There is a degree of disquiet amongst some conservatives as to Osborne's performance in recent weeks - and there is certainly some on the right of the party who would like to see a more Thatcherite, tax cutting response to the current financial crisis.

We now have Lord Tebbitt, waying in with the following:

"I find it very hard to believe that he (Osborne) could have been so foolish as to solicit a financial contribution from such a man, knowing that it would risk being an unlawful contribution.


"On the other hand, one has to say that George Osborne should remember that those who sleep with dogs will get fleas."

Osborne should be very careful if some of his own side are after him.

africanmum said...

1stly, well done to standing up to the anon bullies e.g. @ 11.02 am. But Canvas is very accurate about how this looks to us ordinaries.
What some rich and decadent socialites get up to on a yacht is their affair, but Osbourne isn't a credit to the Tories where voters are concerned. It'd be a good idea to get a heavy hitter in that role.
p.s. Peston is part of something going on, the public can see that, we're still not sure what the left is fully up to.
We're looking to the Tories to help us get our world back, and it's not going to help when someone on the Tory front bench goes cavorting with Labourites in private.
p.p.s. Cameron wiping the floor with Brown at the moment on PMQT.

ukipwebmaster said...

Move on, nothing to see here - I think you spoke too soon.

Unsworth said...

@ Daniel

"waying in"

Actually it's 'weighing in', but maybe you didn't get a decent education - hardly surprising if it was a State School.

Tebbitt has always considered himself to be clever. He's not.

Devious and manipulative? Yes.

Clever? No.

Auntie Flo' said...

Mandelson's nickname, Osmold Smish the Italian Mind-Your-Own-Businessman"
according to the Independent at:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990421/ai_n14239162/pg_2

was invented by Mandelson's brother. It conveyed, according the Indie report:

"the kind of character you could imagine my brother becoming", explained Miles [Mandelson]: "Someone with an overinflated sense of his own importance but also a wheeler dealer or fixer."

The name, says the Indie, was almost certainly inspired by one of the great Kenneth Horne's radio comedy shows.

Does anyone remember which show that was? I vaguely recall Smish as one of the satirical characterisations Horne did so brilliantly.

Am I correct in thinking that Horne characterised Smish in his comic song:
Much Binding in the Marsh or was he in Round The Horne? Ok, most of you will be far too young to recall either :)

Windsor Tripehound:

Thanks for correcting my typo: this should have stated "black arts", of course. Just as "holidating" should have stated "holidaying".

I've already corrected some of my typos here, but trying to get typo corrections posted by Iain these days is like asking him to give blood...sorry, Iain :)

Auntie Flo' said...

Anyway, with apologies to the late, great Kenneth Horne, I couldn't resist the thought of Osmold Smish of Much Binding in the Marsh.


At Much Binding in the Marsh
Our Trade Minister's the Prince of Darkness,
At Much Binding in the Marsh
At the dark arts he thinks he's matchless
A master of persuasion, but the trick of his success,
Is to spin and crush opponents' brains in his psycho-hydraulic press!
At Much Binding in the Marsh.

At Much Binding in the Marsh
Our Prime Minister's so uninspiring,
At Much Binding in the Marsh
We feel as safe as House of Commons wiring
Our PM is a Jonah, a man with anti-fizz
When he gets a PMQs chance to show that he's a whiz
He shoots one Lib Dem MP down and eighty two of his!
At Much Binding in the Marsh

At Much Binding in the Marsh
Conservatives will mend our broken land
At Much Binding in the Marsh
They'll soon thwart Smish and Bean's evil plans,
David Cameron is coming And revenge will taste so sweet
We'll deconstruct nulab spin in our electoral ejector seat!
At Much Binding in the Marsh.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said, but, sadly we are in a image age, where very often facts are irrelevant. Has Osborne committed a crime, clearly no, does it matter who the shadow chancellor lunches with, in reality No. does it matter who a Trade Commisioner, lunches with, Yes. In that case, surely the question should be what did Mandy discuss and an investigation into the decisions he made as a Eurocrat made on Aluminium etc should be undertaken as a matter of urgency. Mandy should be called to account and Mr Osborne, told to be more careful when he is a Minister, but I guess he has already got that lesson!!!

Albert M. Bankment said...

I'm sorry, but this latest squalid little episode only reinforces the validity of a (tiresomely) recurrent Bankment-ian riff. Politicians, and especially career politicians (Blair, Brown, Blunkett, Cameron, Hague, Osborne), are all jolly clever and confident people but they often have zero common-sense. In fact, zero would be something of an accomplishment, for frequently their wisdom (as oppposed to their undisputed intelligence) has a negative score.

Osborne did wrong. He behaved like a star-struck teenager, hypnotised by the Russian thief's glittering toys and influence. He abused Mr Rothschild's hospitality, and betrayed his trust. Were I Rothschild, I too would have been furious at his behaviour - and the potential damage to complex business and personal relationships at which Osborne could only hazard the remotest of guesses. The "I know something you don't know" sneaking was recklessly idiotic. Odious though Mandelson may be, and I bow to few in my loathing of him, you cannot blame him for exacting this revenge, and demonstrating the level of his influence.

The only way to play this to the Tories' advantage is to stick it to Mandelson in an even bigger style than he has done to them; so sink him a third, and possibly final (let me dream) time. On Monday I was looking forward to PMQs, expecting Cameron to knock Brown all around the chamber. Now I am fearful that will make a complete blithering idiot of himself by falling into the tiger-trap that Osborne has inadvertently dug for him. I so hope I'm wrong.

Meanwhile, Osborne has confirmed my lack of belief in him, and my long-held suspicions of his inadequacy as Shadow Chancellor. He seems to be in his post purely by virtue of his friendship with Cameron; hardly the wisest basis for a professional relationship.

PS: Would a political donation from LDV, a UK company paying UK taxes, have even been outside the rules? Is the domicile of the ultimate controlling shareholder the criterion, or that of the company?

Anonymous said...

I'd add a couple of further lessons to the list.

1. This is yet another example of a politician coming to grief over a donations "scandal" that doesn't actually have an awful lot to it. It's in everyone's interests to try to get party funding issues into a more sensible place than they are at the moment.

2. Osborne's offence is to have been a prat. He fell foul of LBJ's old adage about not getting into a pissing contest with a skunk. Mandelson has most definitely won this contest and it was Osborne who started it.

If I were a Tory, I'd be manning the barricades but be secretly happy to see the Boy George taken down a peg or two. He brought this one on himself.

Anonymous said...

George Osborne will be 'gone' by the weekend.

Cameron has shown that he has no steel backbone. He is no leader.

A leader has to be ruthless in his/her objectives, and anyone who creates any problem should be jettisoned.

Cameron is also, very much, under the microscope on this one. Friendships and work do not go together.

Auntie Flo' said...

The overwhelming number of anti-Mandelson and pro-Osborne responses to BBC Have Your Say's topic on this makes it clear that this seedy smear campaign against Osborne has backfired against Mandelson and co big time.

The first page pf most recommended comments in order of votes:

1. "Irrespective of whether or not money was asked for, NONE was received.
We all know how Mandleson works. And this has his nasty stench around it."

2. "Mandleson didn't [face an inquiry] after he had to leave government twice - before being brought back to spread nonsense like this"

3. "Labour really are scraping the barrel now! For gods sake stop the tittle tattle, look in a mirror, call a General election, move aside now, whilst we still have a country left!"

4. "He's started, the prince of darkness arrives and the innuendos and accusations start...All this is over Osborne questioning why Mandelsson took a job with this incompetent rabble when only weeks before he was mouthing off about McClown...up until a few weeks ago I was a labour supporter for 45 years, never again."

5. "NO MONEY CHANGED HANDS. You can tell that Mandelson is back in office – the king of sleaze and spin and New Labour cover-ups. I hope Brown faces an enquiry for his "FUNDAMENTAL MISJUDGEMENTS" of the economy over the last ten years."

6. "Muck raking by Mandleson. What exactly has Osborne done other than have a beer on a yacht whilst on holiday, something most of us would like to do. He took no money, unlike Labour with Eccleston etc."

7. "When Cameron made a fantastic speech on the economy last week, it was news story 4 or 5 , not even a headline. Now this hogwash is centre stage when homes are reprocessed, pensioners are on the breadline, Britain is heading for a police state, shame on the BBC, it was only a matter of time before the state took over the BBC."

8."No doubt, this is part of Labour's propaganda fightback against the Tories. I expect it will be fully aided and abetted by the woefully left-wing biased BBC."

9. "As per usual the biased BBC are getting over excited about this story,and giving it blanket coverage."

10. "Why are the press not putting Mandelson under the spotlight... It is obvious Mandelson is back with the 'Sleaze and Innuendo' brigade. Remember all the 'Whitewash' enquiries we have had uner Labour."

11. "Is the BBC the official propaganda channel of the Labour Party? Fussing over a petty squabble like this really stinks when you consider the way Labour are ruining the country."

12. [Have an inquiry] "Only if Tony Blair is prepared to come back and answer to the House on the Formula 1 donation and if we can finally have the truth on Cash for Honours."

13. "No laws were broken and the 'bombshell' letter from the main protagonist has been amended THREE times

Add to the mix that one BBC journalist is potentially facing an SFO investigation for their part in insider trading that seems to spill over in their reportage."

14. "Does anyone really give a 'monkeys' if Osborne asked for money ? I'm no Tory fan, but for God's sake, we should be sorting out...cancer sufferers are denied medicine...breakdown of law & order...uncontrolled immigration...old people can't afford to heat their homes. It's pathetic."

13. "I am stunned by the ease with which the obscenely rich egos can manipulate our media. Even the question asked here is a corruption...Further YOU [BBC] corrupt the question into something not being doubted!! And I thought the BBC had improved of late, geez."

And so it goes on, page after page criticises Mandelson instead of Osborne.

Us Joe/ Jill publics with our noses pressed to nulab's elitist political bubble and obscene floating palaces have clearly learned a lot from 11 years of sickening nulabour spin.

We're not the gullible people we were in Mandelson's spin doctoring heyday. We're now the real progressives.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, hear hear. Why indeed are the media obsessed with this story. It's so obviously a leftie-inspired conspiracy, which the chief lefties of all - Preston and Robinson - are heading up...

No-one is really interested in all this gossip and it's a shame the Govt isn't concentrating on the real issues....


Which begs the question Iain, why exactly are there already 112 comments on this story and rather less on any other item you've written this month...

So, perhaps people ARE intersted in this. Particularly in how the politicians who like to claim it is the media who make them look bad, are actually making themselves look bad by mudwrestling in public and then shouting they're clean as a mountain stream.

I think we just enjoy watching people in glass houses throwing stones at each other. Neither comes out well and the more they shriek their innocence the more shrill they both sound.

Meanwhile, Rothschild as a nu-labour stooge? But didn't he hang out with the Borringdon boys as well?

Carl Eve

David Lindsay said...

He's toast.

So let him burn.

Whatever happened to that Tory rutless streak? You need it right now.

jingouk said...

Couldn't agree more - well said.

tory boys never grow up said...

"What law has he broken?"

Try section 61 of the Political Parties, Election and Referendum Act as follows:

Evasion of restrictions on donations

61 Offences concerned with evasion of restrictions on donations (1) A person commits an offence if he—
(a) knowingly enters into, or
(b) knowingly does any act in furtherance of,
any arrangement which facilitates or is likely to facilitate, whether by means of any concealment or disguise or otherwise, the making of donations to a registered party by any person or body other than a permissible donor.
(2) A person commits an offence if—
(a) he knowingly gives the treasurer of a registered party any information relating to—
(i) the amount of any donation made to the party, or
(ii) the person or body making such a donation,
which is false in a material particular; or
(b) with intent to deceive, he withholds from the treasurer of a registered party any material information relating to a matter within paragraph (a)(i) or (ii).

The wording of clause 1(b) clearly goes beyond arrangements where a "hidden" donation actually occurs.

Osborne will have to give an account of what he actually did and said in his discussions with Deripaska, rather than just refuting what Rothschild says. If not Deripaska would have him over a barrel in the event he ever came into office.

Iain Dale said...

10.45. Pathetic smear. It is quite obvious that you are desperate. No donation took place. The party rejected it. How on earth can you make these wild assertions without feeling embarrassed?

tory boys never grow up said...

Read the law provided - a donation does not have to take place for the law to have been broken. It is illegal to seek to facilitate arrangements where the donor is hidden - which is what Rothschild is claiming was done. The fact that the Tories subsequently changed their mind is not really of relevance - however many times you want to repeat the point. If there is a smear it is Rothschild's not mine!

Osborne now needs to give a full account of what was said on these matters at his meetings with Deripaska, rather than just refuting what Rothschild says. If not he hands an awful lot of power to Deripaska as a witness of what went on.

richard said...

I love George - I've only just realized - George thinks of England not trophy. Shame the boy Rothschild walked into his focus.

He must be doing good work - loved Dave's fury.

Next step is to show the public they eshew players. I bet they are both proper nerds - get excited about cous cous & roasted veggies - yachts, pah - got any fishing rods?

Anonymous said...

What? These people control the party as a result of the leadership election in which most members had no clue about the take over that was about to take place. They have prevented your selection as a PPC. And you say this? Very, very sad.

Iain Dale said...

Sorry, but that is utter rubbish. Since the 2005 election I have only applied for three seats and I got an interview in each one. If I didn't get selected it was down to my performance, nothing to do with anyone trying to prevent be being selected. Get real.

jeremy said...

Each of these young men holds a significant position in his own profession. But the rules of play in each couldn't be more distant.

George Osborne naively believed Nathan Rothschild would understand that Conservative party objectives in exposing Labour party sleaze trump any objectives the Rothschild dynasty may have. In believing this he was greatly mistaken. In the exclusive world of Rothschild banking, personal confidence and trust between individuals is the basis of all future deals.

In turn, Rothschild underestimated the political impact of his letter to The Times. He did not understand that in the influential world of British politics the Shadow Chancellorship is an infinitely superior position to that of any Rothschild. Nor did he understand that Osborne would be forced to challenge his story, not only to defend himself but also the integrity of the Conservative party.

The disruptive sparring between this pair seems like university japes gone wildly out of hand. They need to grow up to the fact that beyond the university gate such adolescent behaviour invariably leads to significant and unpleasant consequences.

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