Tuesday, April 22, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Brown snubs Germany and Russia and possibly more?

Just think, it's April now, nearly May in fact. Let's be honest it will be Christmas again before we know it and you will have to start getting your card list out along with stamps and pens. I wonder though who Gordon will be sending cards too this time round? Obviously he will send then to his mates (assuming he has any) along with his close personal protection staff I imagine, but what about other Heads of State and Government?

Back in February my regular readers may recall that I asked 'Who got a card then?' when Gordon told Parliament that he spent £1,379 on approximately 1500 Christmas cards in 2007. Well, thanks to the joy of 'Freedom of Information' I now know who. After much pondering it seems - two months in fact - the Cabinet Office have given me some information.

The response is truly hilarious I must say. First up, I am not allowed the private list because it might cause unneceesary harm to people without a public profile (which is fine and reasonable). It also says that 'releasing the names of those people who receive Christmas cards from the Prime Minister might offend people who did not receive cards when others did'.

They then proceeded to refer me to a judgement by the Information Commissioner in 2004 about publishing the list that said, they should publish the list of Heads of State and Government only. Given that, I'm not sure why they procrastinated on giving me a list, but the 'might offend people who did not receive cards' line certainly holds true.

Sadly I only have a pdf of a scan and currently do not have the means to edit it and remove some of the personal information, but I have just read, and re-read, the list multiple times and there appear to be at least two people missing that are of interest. There may be more but my knowledge of every leader of the world is limited I must admit.

Of particular amusement is the continuation of the Cold War. You see, I have checked many times, and Vladimir Putin didn't get a card, but Hu Jinto did? So the latter, a communist that probably doesn't do religion and Christmas got one (with blue suited bodyguards in Downing Street as return present?). The former gets the snub. Good to see we support Chen Shui-bian in Taiwan though (not).

However, perhaps Putin not getting a card explains why Neil Kinnock's son was arrested in January? Could it be that Vlad was a tad peeved that Gordon had not sent him a picture of snowman so decided to get his own back by arresting the son of a former Labour leader? Hmmmmm? Who knows!

Mind you, we all know that Gordon is a 'good' European (read europhile nightmare). After all, he signed the Lisbon Treaty (albeit late). And yet, no matter how hard I try when I read this list, Angela Merkel's name is not there. Does Brown have something against Germany because he is 'oh so British?". What did Angela do to suffer a great snub from the dour one? Gordon wasn't holding a grudge because he was being labeled a Jonah was he?

Update: Here is the list
Click image for larger version


judith said...

Maybe you should try typing long posts before, rather than after, having a couple of refreshing bevvies - my dear, the Grauniad would love you to do their typesetting!

dizzy said...

fixed the typos

dizzy said...


tory boys never grow up said...

Must remember this the next time you accuse anyone in the Labour Party of wasting public money.

One reason why Putin may not be on the list is that the Russian Orthodox Xmas doesn't happen until 2 weeks after ours. But quite honestly who cares.

dizzy said...

"Must remember this the next time you accuse anyone in the Labour Party of wasting public money."

1: I am a member of the public
2: I pay well over £15K a year in tax
3: The £600 this cost is _my_ money as far as I am concerned because I get bugger all else from it given the Council Tax is not connected to the cost.
4: Who cares? I don't know, the people that didn't get cards and the implications of such things?
5: Stick that up your jacksey and smoke it.
6: Bugger off.

dizzy said...

Oh yes and....

7) Pathetic diversionary tactic that implies that the request for information is spurious therefore the evidence within the response can be equally dismissed out of hand.

Try harder, you clearly didn't go to Oxbridge.

Bill Quango MP said...

What we need to know is did Merkel and Putin send Brown cards? Maybe he felt that as he hadn't received from them by 20th December that he wouldn't send them one out. I mean, the man is such a control freak you just know that he is sitting there into the night with some helpless lackey going through the lists for the 100th time..

"I'm sorry PM I don't know the last posting dates from Germany. It is posible its on a TNT courier, or that she is waiting to get one from you. It is also possible that Vladimir sent one to Tony..you know he was PM last year..might just be a mix up, didn't update his list?

Well PM our last posting day to Germany is 18th december so you have to decide soon.. yes PM, i see, a review of card sending policy, I see, convene a commitee to look at the possible outcomes. Making the best use of all the festive talents.
That might take more than the 5 days we have left PM. If you could just make a decision.... I see, you can't.

bill said...

Chen Shui-bian is the Taiwanese president (he's stepping down very shortly) and is not a Communist and in no position to send blue shirted goons to, well, any capital really. Given the sensitivities surrounding the place, you can see why he might not have been sent one.

Unless you meant Hu Jintao?

dizzy said...

Fucking Wikipedia. Have corrected it so it makes sense now.

Louise said...

I could be mistaken but no President of the Republic of Ireland there. Just the PM.

Seems strange to send Christmas cards to all these Muslims and Jews but not to the President of the wee Catholic country next door. Not that there's anything wrong with sending Muslims and Jews Christmas cards but just seems a bit mean.

tory boys never grow up said...

So how much should the Government budget for answering frivolous (not spurious - this is something you tend to learn before an Oxbridge education) FOI requests from right wing nutcases?

And for the record you (and anyone) are perfectly free to FOI requests (under the excellent legislation introduced by this Government)- but that doesn't take away my freedom of speech to criticise frivolous requests on what you have made a public forum.

Since when has taxation been meant to work on an individual pay and receive basis?

dizzy said...

Yes, because the list doesn't lay Brown's foreign policy open to scrutiny, it's just frivolity!

Since when has taxation been meant to work on an individual pay and receive basis?

Since when has it not?

Criticise all you like from Tom's office, but remember this. _I don't give a fuck_.

JuliaM said...

"So how much should the Government budget for answering ... FOI requests.."

Well, at least as much as it spends on redesigning the OGC logo to resemble a masturbating stick man, obviously....

"...that doesn't take away my freedom of speech to criticise frivolous requests..."

No one's taking it away. Why would they, when you just prove to be a 'meanwhiling' little dick by doing so?

Roll on May 1st! Not going to be a good day for NuLab apparatchiks, I suspect.

tory boys never grow up said...

I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.

dizzy said...

Or they might just think you're a dickhead. Fact is, you've not produced a "political argument". You did produce a straw man from my comment which was easily batted aside by turning it on it's head and showing it for the bollocks that it was though.

Chris Paul said...

I'm thinking there are some typos in this list and that Putin and Merkel will have received greetings one way or another.

The cost of the FoI battle is probably more than the cost of the cards.

But I agree Dizzy that it was worth doing ... though not that it is in any way conclusive, so far. You'd have to check the discrepancies you can see to have a proper story.