Friday, October 31, 2008

Scare the Voters

FT Calls Cable “Loony”

LibDem activists adore Cable, and are incensed whenever Guido knocks him. Which is frequent because Guido has been calling him over-rated ever since he called for the nationalisation of Northern Rock.

Vince Cable says this of the recapitalisation of Barclays:

This is a scandal of mammoth proportions. Here is a bank which relies on the taxpayer to bail it out if the going gets rough but which has offered Middle Eastern investors a much better deal than the banks are offering to the British taxpayer.

The FT doesn’t mince words – Vince Cable, Loony” :

But, Vince, the taxpayer hasn’t bailed out BARC, that’s the point. No matter:

We have to ask why Barclays is willing to offer a better deal to foreign investors than the British taxpayer… The answer is simple: they don’t want the British Government stopping them from paying massive bonuses to their executives.

So apparently the LibDem Treasury spokesperson would rather the UK taxpayer was taking the risk here. Odd, because not so long ago, Cable was thundering on about the unbearable burden the taxpayer was being forced to bear. More than the other banks, Barclays operate a high-risk casino operation which makes the bank particularly unstable but which gives very rich pickings to the top executives. The British Government must not simply let this pass.

You heard it: only the mediocre will do. Too bad they’re otherwise engaged in the LibDem Treasury team.

Guido has said it before; Vince Cable’s real expertise is in soundbites and faux gravitas.

Brown : Bonkers or a Liar?

Gordon has just told BBC News that he can go on a spending splurge because:
“National debt is low and we’re able to borrow to do it.”

This is just delusional, he has run up the debt burden during his decade of unfunded spending, we have the biggest national deficit of all time, the books have never been so unbalanced as they are now. He fiddles the statistics, we know that, the Office of National Statistics even says so. Journalists know it. His own cabinet knows it. The Civil Service knows it. The City knows it. Foreign investors know it. This is why the pound has plunged against almost everything apart from the Icelandic Krona.

Guido Asked the PM to explain why, for example, the unfunded public sector pension debt is not government debt and hopes he can answer it without evasion. Because if he can’t he must either be (a) bonkers (b) a liar. Which is it?

Friday Caption Competition

Halloween Fright : Gordon Scared of Guido’s Question

The man Alex Salmond called the big frightened feartie from Fife has run away from a couple of tough questions. Where is your courage Gordon?
Yesterday was closing day for Gordon’s “Ask the PM” on YouTube gimmick, Guido and the Taxpayers Alliance uploaded their questions just before the close yesterday evening. Guess what: this morning Downing Street put the closing date back two weeks!
Maybe they only want Andy Marr to ask Gordon a question? Perhaps they will commission Deborah Mattinson to do a citizen’s consultation? Totally pathetic. This exposes the whole Downing Street “engaging with the people online” stuff as bullsh*t spin. This is classic New Labour “consultation” and “engagement”, they want the online equivalent of a Potemkin Village.

Still that means another two weeks for you co-conspirators to Ask Gordon about the economy. To your webcams!

Taxpayers Want Politicians to Share the Pain

The Fink had a go at punk tax cuttersyesterday despite always claiming that he is in favour of lower taxes (in the long term) – it is just that those pesky voters don’t believe politicians who promise them – so don’t promise tax cuts – is his argument. Well a new poll from ComRes suggests he is wrong and that if a credible politician made a credible promise, it would be popular. It found that:

  • 67% of people now think we are paying the price for government overspending.
  • 59% of people agree tax cuts would be a better response to the downturn than increased public spending. Only 18% disagree.
  • 68% supported an immediate and substantial cut in interest rates.
  • 67% agreed that Gordon Brown should take a 10% pay cut.
That last point is interesting, the Irish political class has taken a pay cut, why shouldn’t our rulers* follow suit? Share our pain, consider it pay for performance.

Incidentally, the ever energetic campaigner Susie Squire from the Taxpayers’ Alliance has uploaded her Ask the PM question for Gordon to answer next week:

*With the extended Christmas holiday this year, MPs will work fewer days this year than ever since universal suffrage began. Not as if we have any issues requiring politicial attention is it?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still Time to "Ask the PM" About the Economy

You have until midnight to ask Gordon about the economy. This is Guido’s simple question using double-sided stickey tape and Miss Fawkes’ crayons:

Don’t forget Guido will be giving a decent prize for the best question to Gordon.

Renegade Economist Called the Bust in 2005

Guido started writing boom to bust pieces in September 2007, Fred Harrison, the Renegade Economist, made his prescient call on the property market in 2005. His 2005 book has just been re-printed, Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010.

He has also produced this video accusing Gordon Brown of covering up his cupability. It is apparently the first in a series. Fred’s diagnosis is interesting, Guido is not sure however that his tax reform proposals are that appealing. Definitely worth seven minutes of your time.

Glenrothes : Punters V Pundits, Round II

Over at Politicalbetting.com Mike Smithson is encouraging the punters to vote on who they think is going to win the Glenrothes by-election – Labour or the SNP?
  • As of 0900 this morning the punters (after 200 votes) are splitting 61% for the SNP and 39% for Labour.
  • Over on PoliticsHome the PH100 Index “daily tracker of uk insider and expert opinion” is calling it 61% / 31% for Labour to win. Strikingly inverse proportions.
Over on Betfair the punters are putting their money where their mouths are and making the SNP odds on favourites. Back in July the punters made fools of the pundits over the outcome of the Glasgow East by-election. The pundits are as fickle as teenage girls, the punters are more calculating.

The London based punditry are out of touch, they talk too much to each other. Our old friend Tom Watson has been briefing the press that Labour will win Glenrothes and this will be a great victory for Gordon. He has convinced Gordon to stake what little political capital he has on a Glenrothes comeback campaigning in the constituency. However, as Ben Brogan has detected, so chronic is the shortage of local activists and supporters Labour are press-ganging English Labour MPs and Northern CLP activists to trek past Hadrian’s Wall to help in the constituency. Not exactly a sign of a forthcoming resounding victory.

Guido thinks the punters not the pundits are right, again. Gordon’s personal visit should, if the curse of the one-eyed son of the manse still holds, have doomed Labour’s candidate. Labour are throwing the kitchen sink at this, heck the 10p tax bailout cost a few billion during the Crewe by-election, this time the bailout of Scottish banks cost tens of billions for this by-election. It will be close…

"Did You Discuss Tariff Cuts With Deripaska?" Four Times Mandy Refuses to Deny Allegation

In a tough interview the BBC’s Richard Galpin asked Lord Mandelson four times if he had discussed cutting tariffs with Oleg Deripaska. Mandy tried using the same kind of spin lines that he bluffed with Sophie Raworth; “I’m not distracted by media squalls, sensationalist headlines… there was no conflict of interest, no impropriety”.

We know, as Trevor Kavanagh reminds us, that Mandelson is a proven liar, however he is not an idiot. He no doubt has heard the rumours of tapes and boasts by oligarchs that they have western politicians in their pocket. So perhaps the explanation for his reticence in answering the question, and uncharacteristic aversion to risking a lie to deny ever discussing tariff cuts worth billions to Deripaska, is the fear that he will be contradicted.

Paul Waugh reckons “the only sensible conclusion to draw is that Mandelson did indeed discuss the tariffs.” He is surely right.


Seen Elsewhere

Small State Keynesians, Anti-Corporate Hayekians? | Chris Dillow
Ruffley Shows Why We Need a Proper Recall Bill Now | Alex Wickham
How is Miliband’s ‘New Politics’ Working Out? | Speccie
State Should Send More Poor Children Private | Sam Bowman
£1 Million Cost of Ed Balls’ Ego | Laura Perrins
William Hague’s Sausage Fest | Rochdale Online
Public Doesn’t Prioritise Housing | Mark Pack
Mysterious Case of Ruffley’s Missing Letter | Speccie
All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie


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Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


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