It looks as though Telegraph blogs editor Damian Thompson (@holysmoke) instructed his charges to write something, anything about Dan Brown. Thomas Pascoe filed first, slamming “metropolitan liberals” for criticising the thriller author’s writing — claiming his detractors would treat an African novelist differently:
Errrr … forty five minutes later:
Perhaps some African women would be more consistent?
Commuters should have been forgiven for a double-take when reading page 9 of Metro this morning, where a picture of Chris Huhne’s release appears alongside the headline (for a different story) “Rapists let off with a caution”.
A coincidence … or did the Metro designers decided to have a bit of fun yesterday evening?
As if his party management problems weren’t bad enough already, polling data on gay marriage is piling on the pain for David Cameron. A YouGov survey shows that marriage equality is winning out amongst supporters of the three major parties … but not with UKIP voters, where 62% are in opposition to the measure.
In contrast with their current supporters, a majority of people that voted Tory at the last general election oppose gay marriage (by 53% to 39%). So if Dave wants to win a majority in 2015, does he appeal to the socially liberal majority or try and win back his lost — and socially conservative — voters?
With the architect of Cameron’s gay marriage policy quitting Number 10 after losing a power struggle with Lynton Crosby, Scrapbook’s money is on a return to the Nasty Party.
The two cabinet members with primary responsibility for local government cuts have some of the highest numbers of “fat cats”on their own Tory-dominated councils. Chancellor George Osborne and local government secretary Eric Pickles have slammed local authorities over excessive pay packets — but perhaps they should be looking a bit closer to home.
While Eric Pickles demanded that councils vet all salaries over £100,000 and asked officials how they could “look themselves in the mirror each morning”, his own Essex County Council has 36 such officers — the second highest in the UK.
And George Osborne’s Cheshire West and Chester council is arguably worse. With 27 employees earning over £100,000, the authority ranks at number six for pay of top staff — on par with London boroughs and whole cities despite being a sleepy unitary authority with borough status. Self-described “dynamic and inspirational” Chief executive Steve Robinson trousered £266,000 in 2011/12 — the third highest council pay packet in the country.
Strangely, the connection of these councils with Westminster policymaking doesn’t bear mention in the TaxPayers’ Alliance spin accompanying its so-called Town Hall Rich List.
The UKIP candidate accused of making a Nazi salute on Facebook has released a photo which he claims exonerates him. 22 year-old Alex Wood, who came second in his local election in Somerset, told Scrapbook:
“This is the picture of me pretending to eat the infamous potted plant, before trying to grab my friends camera. This was just before Christmas last year, I was a group of friends (all of whom have provided a statment explaining the meaning and context of the pictures printed by the Mirror).”
Perhaps he believed eating the plant would prevent the UK “ending up like Africa or some third world trash can”.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is reportedly “alive to local interest” in re-opening a south coast railway line which has been closed for 44 years. Busy Mr McLoughlin even took time out to travel to Lewes station today:
But Scrapbook wonders why it was that McLoughlin even needed to leave his own corridor in Whitehall when when the MP for Lewes is, errrr, junior transport minister Norman Baker.
As with “Danny Aid” — state subsidy for a mountain railway in Danny Alexander’s constituency — Lib Dem ministers are still looking to extract a bounty for their colaboration with the Tories.
Tory “rising star” backbencher Sarah Wollaston has slammed one of David Cameron’s top advisers, suggesting that they have had a hand in an apparent U-turn on plain packs for cigarettes.
The row has errupted less than two months since Wollaston faced down attempts by Lynton Crosby to silence backbench criticism of the government, challenging Tory MPs to decide whether they were “commentators or participants”.
Crosby — who ran Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaign last year — is linked to lobbying for big tobacco companies. Wollaston re-tweeted a link to a Daily Mirror investigation last night, followed by questions targeting Crosby this afternoon:
Scrapbook is certainly pleased to see her following our lead. We published details of Crosby’s attempts to dodge scrutiny last year (The shadowy lobbying firm running Boris Johnson’s campaign). CTF partners shun lobbying transparency initiatives embraced by the rest of the industry. Crosby was also banned from entering London’s City Hall unaccompanied after rules were breached to give him a security pass.
The row has already received coverage in Crosby’s native Australia, where his firm have worked for big business to crush public health initiatives.
Do you have “creative flair, originality and a strong visual sense”? Then perhaps you could be Lib Dem HQ’s new airbrushing guru!
With a requirement that the applicants are experienced with Photoshop, there is certainly significant scope to use this tool across a range of campaign materials. They can have this freebie courtesy of Scrapbook:
Now what ties should we wear to the interview?