Misery Index : Reaches New All Time High


Oh dear. Unemployment rose by 27,000 in the three months to the end of January to 2.53 million, the highest since 1994. The jobless rate is now 8%. The Misery Index is taken from the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics and incorporates inflation and unemployment as well as a deficit component. The continuing rise in unemployment means misery is creeping up…

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Inviting the King of Bahrain to the Royal Wedding
Sends the Wrong Signal

Downing Street is spinning that the PM has personally called on the King of Bahrain to end the violent suppression of street protests in the Gulf state. Bahrain is a regional ally and market for street protest suppressing British exports. It is possibly for that reason the King has been invited to William and Kate’s wedding.

Is that appropriate as tanks and helicopters are wielded by his security forces against pro-democracy protestors?

Laws and Gove Find One Voice

Yesterday’s Spectator event “The Schools Revolution, One Year On” was an opportunity for Gove to try to sell the rapid strides he has made in education reform. It was also an opportunity for David Laws to further his attempts at a political rehabilitation. Despite fighting each other in the shadow education briefs for their respective parties, one  year on and Laws was tripping over himself to “welcome, the necessary and important advances” that Gove has made.

In the delegate pack Laws continued to gush about the Education Secretary’s agenda, concluding;

“I cannot as a liberal justify preventing people from establishing schools to serve the public, within the same constraints of access and funding which are granted to other state-funding schools. So I wish the Free Schools movement, as well as the Academies movement, all the very best for the future.”

Gove was clearly inspired by the LibDem assessment, adding his thoughts;

“I cannot as a liberal justify preventing people from establishing schools to serve the public, within the same constraints of access and funding which are granted to other state-funding schools. So I wish the Free Schools movement, as well as the Academies movement, all the very best for the future.”

If Gove were to get the call up to the FCO it seems there is an identikit ready to step into his place…

PMQs Live: No Fuel Zone Edition

Remembering Robinson

Nick Robinson will be reflecting on his career at the Frontline Club tonight. The invitation reads like some sort of pre-death obituary:

“Showing clips of his work and the work of those journalists who inspired him, Nick Robinson will be remembering the significant milestones in a career that includes stints on On the Record, Panorama and 14 years on the politics beat.”

Ever keen to help out, Guido thought he would dig out one such siginifcant career milestone:

No doubt his famed “David Miliband has won” clip will be played too, right?

AV Drives a Wedge Through Miliband’s Troops

As Miliband steps up to give his first proper speech on why he apparently loves AV, two hundred of his MPs and Peers, including some in his Shadow Cabinet, are thumbing their nose at him. As the Labour Yes and No campaigns launch, a huge divide is opening up right down the middle of the Labour Party. John Healey, Shadow Health Secretary, is leading the charge in this morning’s Indy:

“The reason the number of Labour MPs in favour of a “No” vote runs into three figures is because we haven’t been persuaded that AV is an upgrade to the voting system.”

He goes on to reject the “perverse” fact that BNP voters will have more influence.

Elsewhere “Operation Black Vote” are coming in for heavy criticism for allowing their logo to be used by the Yes campaign. Labour councillor Terence Paul slams them: “Surely we have moved on from assuming that Britain’s ethnic communities thinks and moves with only one voice.” He says the BNP activists see AV as a stepping stone to PR.

He goes on to challenge OBV to a debate on the issues. However given the levels the Yes campaign have gone to recently to avoid having to debate their case when challenged, Guido isn’t holding his breath….

UPDATE: Crowds gather on College Green for the launch of Labour No:

Labour No Launch



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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