Monday, January 31, 2011

The PPE Crowd – “Ted” Miliband’s Bullingdon Moment

Ed Miliband told Piers Morgan that he was a bit of “a square” at university, hence why he never took drugs or slept with as many girls as Nick Clegg. While Guido didn’t have much trouble believing this, with a little help from his mortar-boarded co-conspirator he has been digging around that vessel of truth – the 1980s Oxford student press.

While yes there is a vast amount of extremely dull comment from one “Ted” Miliband, president of the Corpus Christi JCR about rent hikes and other pressing issues of the day (you can have a read of some his greatest moments here,) it was a mention of the Ted’s Labour club that really caught Guido’s attention:

(click for original)

In PMQs at the end of last year, Miliband declared he was proud of his student politician days while the PM was throwing bread rolls and trashing restaurants. The quip was widely seen as a good hit on Dave’s Bullingdon days, but it seems little “Ted” was prone to the odd bit of smashing stuff up too. Oh to be the ruling elite…

Gloria Gives Chase

Their tension in the House has been noted previously. First it was those passionate gazes held for an extra second across the despatch box in hot and heavy Culture Media and Sport sessions, but it seems Gloria just can’t get enough of Ed Vaizey. While Ed was busy chatting up/to the somewhat hostile MumsNet crowd for their lunchtime web interview, his shadow just couldn’t stay away, wading in with her own questions:

Ed’s reply was short and firm.

Quote of the Day

Ed Miliband talks about Justine to Piers Morgan:

EM:“Justine would have killed me [if I hadn't taken paternity leave], and rightly.

PM “She’d have murdered you?”

EM: “Well, no.”

PM: “God, 30 seconds in and there’s your headline: ‘My Wife’s Going to Kill Me, says Miliband’.”

EM: “She’s not my wife.”

PM:“So you married a millionaire?”

EM:“I’m not married.”

PM: “So your wife owns the house?”

EM:“She’s not my wife.”

PM: “So your girlfriend owns the house?”

EM “My partner. Girlfriend sounds too temporary.”

Tony and Gordon’s Charitable Tax Dodging

Gordon Brown’s constituents in Kircaldy must be delighted to hear that their part time MP is making a cool £15,000 an hour on the international stage. It’s no wonder he was so quick to give the money from his dire book sales to charity, on top of what he is raking in from speaking he would have only lost most of it in tax anyway. The rest of the cash is apparently going straight to The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown and thus his staff and operation. If he paid his staff out of his fees they would be paid out of 50% post-tax income, this way they are paid out of untaxed income – a handy little tax dodge.The GB/SB Office is not a charity though, unlike the similar structure Blair has set up.

Through his Sports foundation, a charity, Blair is able to avoid paying tax on income he receives. The charity comes into question when it is revealed that the charity isn’t really doing very much. They paid more in staff costs in the last quarter than they spent on charitable activity. A similar get up is going on with the Faith Foundation which employs old loyalists like Ruth Turner at £120,000 a pop. With Blair’s staff costs rumoured to be a £5m a year, that’s a heck of a lot of cash saved through the donations and “charity” staff.

UPDATE: Guido is trying to get hold of someone from UK Uncut who will no doubt be livid about such practices. Right?

Disaster Dave v Jonah Brown

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so Guido was highly amused to see the Daily Mirror attempt to steal his Curse of Jonah meme and apply it to “Disaster Dave”. While the fact that Cameron saying good luck to the Scottish not British “star” Andy Murray, off-form Lewis Hamilton and the England World Cup team did coincide with losses, it’s odd the Mirror couldn’t work the England cricket team, who Cameron wrote to before they departed for down south, into their story.

Cameron may well yet bring down planes from the sky, floods, fire and a banking meltdown, but until then there will be only one Jonah…

Miliband: “Thank God I’m Not Married”

Ed Miliband faces the cold shoulder from Justine after an interview with Piers Morgan of which a Sky Sports presenter would be proud. While it wasn’t quite up there with Clegg’s “no more than thirty” comment in the GQ rite-of-passage, Ed did manage to “Thank God” that he isn’t married while discussing which other women he would like to get stuck on a desert island. How sensitive…

Or perhaps there is a smarter game at foot. Guido isn’t convinced by this attempt at manly banter. With Valentines’ just two weeks away to the day, could this be a false flag to add to the element of surprise when the Labour leader goes down on one knee on the 14th? Given it is vital swinging female voters that Ed needs to get on side if he is going to lead his party to victory, the comments seem somewhat risky. Why would he want to put off such a vital bloc?

Rich and Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Logic in Balls Denying Reality

The appointment of Ed Balls as shadow chancellor means that deficit denial becomes the central economic policy of the Labour Party. In essence both the Eds intend to argue that it was the banking crisis and only the banking crisis that caused the deficit. In taking this policy direction they repudiate the more sensible realistic policy followed by the last Labour Chancellor, Alistair Darling.

It also flies in the face of statements made by Tony Blair in his memoirs and as recently as last Friday at Davos. Since Balls isn’t an idiot we have to ask ourselves: why is he trying to deny reality? Does he think the voters can be convinced that overspending wasn’t a problem until the banking crisis? Here he is telling Andy Marr there was no structural deficit under Labour:

Clearly both the Eds think they can blame it on the bankers, popular understanding of the deficit is hazy. The huge one-off costs of bailing out the banks and the constant government-debt-bloating-deficit are confused in the popular consciousness. Even the debt and the deficit are confused in many people’s minds. Whenever Ed Miliband is cornered on spending or taxes he reaches for the banker bogeyman – tax them more and it will sort everything out. None of this adds up to anyone with any financial literacy, which unfortunately is a minority of voters, the majority of voters do blame and detest the bankers.

For this argument to make sense of course requires Ed Balls to deny that there is, or ever was, a structural deficit that had to be tackled. Which is exactly what he did on the Marr show today.

Denying the deficit and blaming the government’s debt crisis on the bankers is an attempt to absolve Brown, Balls and the Labour Party of the blame. It thus allows Balls to claim that, since there is no structural deficit, the cuts are unnecessary and ideological. Which is exactly what he does.

The problem for Balls is that the public senses innately that the government under Brown’s chancellorship and premiership was overspending. If Osborne can keep that national memory alive over the next three years the public will forgive him doing what is necessary. If they forget, or prefer to believe Ed Balls’ claim that cuts are not really necessary, they will blame the government for the coming hardships. The deficit blame game will have to be played until the next election.

Quote of the Day

George Bush said

“Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Seven Up

7upThe machinations inside Murdoch’s empire have kept the politico-media chattering classes agog this week. Guido managed to keep News International, the Guardian and Downing Street on their toes with these stories about Cameron spending Christmas with Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch attending the Times’ morning editorial meeting – the Guardian played follow up here and here.

Favourite story of the week is still Courtney Love joining OUCA, which was followed up by NME, Q Magazine, HuffPo, Holy Moly, Popbitch – the quality press…

Traffic this week was a Times thrashing 393,835 page views from 244,866 visits by 82,497 visitors. The top 7 stories last week in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…


Seen Elsewhere

Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times
Speaker Cornered | Times
Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion hot-button


Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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