Ed Balls Campaign Diary*

David Miliband has now re-launched his leadership campaign “formally”, what imaginary formality is that?  The skinny wonker has delusions of grandeur derived from still having bodyguards.  By my count that makes three “Miliband for leader” launches in the last week.  No sign of Burnham yet, let him launch first and see if he says anything worth nicking.

NEC is deciding the timetable for the Shad Cab and leadership elections this week.  Charlie is promising to twist a few PLP arms for me.  Watson’s mobile seems to go to voice-mail automatically, that shifty fat f*****r is playing a risky game, he was supposed to fix the NEC.  Maybe I’m being paranoid.

Thank f**k the Shad Cab elections will be scheduled for after the leadership elections, I’d be f****d if I bombed in  the Shad Cab before the leadership vote despite smiling like Gordon on Prozac and going on a tour of all the Unite-backed newbie candidates during the election campaign.  Canvassing in the wasteland that is my beloved constituency was depressing, fear PLP might be like some of those council estates, although hopefully no-one in the PLP will set their dog on me.  Wonder if I can claim for that suit on expenses?

Must re-affirm more, like the therapist said. I will be the leader. I WILL BE LEADER!

(*As leaked to Guido)

Is Fink Now Going to Campaign Against the Government?

Readers will be aware that Guido and Danny Finkelstein have been squabbling for years about raising the tax thresholds for the working poor. Guido was even christened a “punk tax cutter” by Fink and at one point Nick Clegg himself intervened in our argument. Fink generously gave Clegg the space on his blog to tell Fink that he was wrong saying “I’m not sure I’ve ever been called a “punk tax cutter” before. I quite like the label… Danny Finkelstein is wrong, and cutting taxes is right… Growth is what we need now.” Fink gave a fair summary of his argument in January:

Is raising the income tax threshold, paid for by other rises, a good reform?

First, there are those who argue that it is a tax cut aimed at the working poor. This misunderstands who would actually gain from the measure. The vast bulk of the money goes to those earning more than £10,000. It is a very expensive tax cut, very poorly targeted on the working poor.

Second, there is an interlocking relationship between income tax and working families tax credit. Many of the working poor would find the money they gained from the tax cut clawed back because their increased income attracted less tax credit.  Those of us who believe in lower taxes are always attracted by proposals to reduce tax bills. But there are good reasons to argue that this is neither the moment, nor the measure.

So Fink is squarely against the coalition government’s key tax pledge and we should expect to see columns and blogs by Fink resisting this policy using the rationale he has advanced time and time again.

Fink also argued inWhy the Tories Can’t follow the Lib Demsthat if the Tories followed them down the tax cutting route, it would be a total disaster, in The tax debates: A response to Guido Fink argued that “the Lib Dems are in a fundamentally different position to the Conservatives. They are not offering to be the next Government and their credibility doesn’t matter. Nick Clegg has been hilariously unconvincing on the question of where the money for his tax cuts is coming from.” Is Fink laughing now?

One final claim that Fink never deigned to justify, despite repeated attempts by Guido to get him to, was that:

If the Tories were now to cut taxes immediately upon on entering office, what would happen? It would, erm, destabilise the economy, wouldn’t it.

Gilts are up a point since the coalition agreement, including Clegg’s tax cuts, was published. Game, set and government to Guido.

The Milibands’ Brotherly iCampaign

In an intriguing, yet ultimately geeky discovery, it seems that the Miliband brothers could well be sharing a PayPal donations account. Parts of David Miliband’s website refer to images and files hosted on a “miliband.org” server. His brother Ed however is also using the “miliband.org” server through his donate@miliband.org email address:

Which begs the question, if these two are fighting each other, why are they sharing the same miliband.org server? A fraternal campaign indeed…

Reality Check on Cuts

As Labour begins to scream hysterically about the planned £6 billion reduction in over-spending which will be made in Osborne-Law’s Emergency Budget, it falls to Guido to remind readers again that £6 billion is less than 1% of government spending and is equal to a mere two weeks of government borrowing.  This graph (first seen here) shows the difference in Labour and Tory coalition spending plans:

It doesn’t even begin to tackle the government’s indebtedness…

Baldemort Repents

Just in via email from Liam Byrne:

“My letter was a joke, from one Chief Secretary to another. I do hope David Laws’ sense of humour wasn’t another casualty of the coalition deal.”

The problem is that many will think “In Humour Veritas”…

Smith Institute’s Deficit and Decline

A co-conspirator points out that the Smith Institute, formerly Gordon Brown’s favourite think-tank/slush fund, hasn’t filed the legally required accounts to the Charity Commission due over three months ago. As regular readers will remember, the organisation was slammed by the Commission in 2008 for its political activity. Essentially it was a front group for Gordon’s leadership bid.

It seems that as the main beneficiary of the Sith’s work has now been consigned to history, the money and activities are drying up. Last year’s accounts showed that they were close to £120,000 in the red – a far cry from those heady days when they could afford to pay Ed Balls £89,000 for writing two pamphlets while in transit from being a Treasury SpAd to becoming an MP. It makes you wonder what devastation the missing accounts might possibly be hiding.

The Smith Institute says it is getting back to Guido… hopefully quicker than they file their accounts.

Quote of the Day

Liam Byrne left David Laws a note on his desk saying…

Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there is no money left.”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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