Another Day, Another Fluffed Tory Announcement

George Osborne said:

“I am delighted that Lord Stern has agreed has agreed to advise us on the creation of this Green Investment Bank.”

In response, Lord Stern issued a statement saying:

“I should stress that I am not, and have no plans to be, an advisor to any political party.”

Doesn’t the government own enough banks already without creating a ‘Green Investment Bank’?

Millionaire Maguire in Glass House Shocker

Guido has just got off the phone with our Kev after reading his column in Public Affairs News about hacks failing to declare other work in the register of journalists’ interests. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner recently ruled Martin Bright, Melissa Kite, Andrew Neil and Fraser Nelson should have declared their outside interests while in possession of Lobby passes.  Maguire was quick to have a go at them in his column, and Guido thought he better check Kev’s own glass house was in order.

Despite being the Daily Mirror’s political editor Magure isn’t afraid to take the Murdoch shilling – appearing on Sky News almost every day and regularly reviewing the papers at £150 a pop with a limo back to his Richmond mansion thrown in. These have all been properly noted, but before he went on the attack you would have thought he would have registered his very obvious outside interest – his column in Public Affairs News that he admitted, with a raucous cackle, having had for two years.

In true Labour style Kev says he is going to report himself after being caught out.  He better be quick to beat Guido’s complaint faxed over…

Osborne: Hold Me To Account

Guido just got back from the British Museum for the Tories “Eight Benchmarks for Britain” speech. Half the shad cab and Dave trundled out to another new and exciting speech location. Presumably these random venues are envisaged by Steve Hilton to make them look cool. The Lobby didn’t look too impressed at having to leave the safe confines of Westminster this early in an election campaign.

Osborne’s “New Economic Model” made a lot of the right noises and he was on much better form than he has been in the last couple of weeks. Osborne urged the public to judge the success of a Tory government on whether Britain’s credit rating is dropped on their watch. A brave gamble, especially if Britain is shown to have re-entered recession in April on the eve of the election. Clearly fired up by yet another mauling from Mandy yesterday Osborne was quick on the attack. In retaliation Mandelson has just accused him of plagiarism of his own speech from last month. This little battle is set to get very nasty again very quickly.

Guido could only see Nick Robinson’s bald spot but he imagines he was rather red-cheeked when Boy George stuck the boot in with a pithy put down. Robinson stated that £1.5 billion in cuts wasn’t very much, to which Osborne responded “Well obviously I know the BBC salaries are huge, but a billion pounds is still quite a lot of money.The naughty kids at the back made sure a stifled laugh from the audience turned into a round of applause.

As ever with the Tories at the moment the problem lay within the detail. In the entire twenty-four page document, packed full of statistics about how rubbish the legacy they will inherit is, there is no detail, or crucially any facts about how the Tories will fix things. Two months before an election, if you are going to summon great audiences and the nations media, you need to be providing them with more than a promise to give “every household an entitlement of up to £6,500 worth of energy efficiency investments.” The other development was that Stelios is backing the Tories economic plans. Will union baron Tony Woodley be tearing up his e-tickets like he did with The Sun?

Quote of the Day

Rachel Sylvester writes

“Meanwhile, like new Labour with its red-rose pagers in the 1990s, Conservative HQ shows growing signs of control-freakery as party managers attempt to contain the message. Frontbenchers must provide a list of all lunches that they have with journalists and are forbidden to do unauthorised interviews.”

Through the Looking Glass Economics

The news agenda yesterday oscillated between Phil Hammond saying that the Tories had only identified £1.5 billion of cuts and Labour seizing on Cameron’s shift of emphasis saying that there would be no swingeing spending cuts, just a start on cuts in 2010.  Mandelson claimed that the Tories would pull the rug out from under the recovery by cutting £11 billion this year when he himself said only last month that we need to cut £80 billion-a-year within 4 years.  The government is even legislating to that effect.  It is like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party:

`Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.  Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked. `There isn’t any,’ said the March Hare.  `Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,’ said Alice angrily.

Meanwhile, back in fiscal reality, Britain is the most indebted nation in the industrialised world.  McKinsey released research yesterday which puts the “billion here, a billion there” political squabbling in perspective.


Have the politicians grasped the magnitude of the deep hole Britain is in? The Tories have publicly identified spending cuts equivalent to less than ¼ of a percent of GDP.  The government is overspending by some hundred times that amount.  This is “through the looking glass” economics.

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

We can’t go on like this…

Kirsty Makes Newsnight More Exciting

And you thought Emily Maitliss was the leggy one…



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Quote of the Day

Heidi Alexander sums up Labour’s approach to aspiration:

“Babies grow up to become taxpayers.”

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