Casual Racism Is Fine If You’re Labour

Imagine the outrage if a Tory MP had said “migrant workers do things like picking strawberries and digging potatoes“. They would be rightly slammed as hideously out of touch and bigoted, yet barely an eyebrow was raised when Glenda Jackson said it at the Work and Pensions Select Committee meeting this morning. Glenda should do her homework. Despite her patronising comments, via the ONS, we learn that agriculture has one of the lowest migrant employment figures of any sector:

Guido isn’t sure many of Britain’s foreign-born multi-billionaires got rich picking fruit…

UPDATE: Seems Guido wasn’t the only one who thought Glenda was a bit off:

Pickles v The Pilgrims
Government Calls For Review in Taxpayer Funding of Unions

Bad news for the unions. It seems that Guido’s campaign against taxpayer-funded Pilgrims is getting some traction.  In a reply to a written question from Dominic Raab, the Department for Local Government have called on local councils to review the practice of allowing public sector workers to work full-time on union activity, while we pick up the tab. DCLG Minister Bob Neil said:

“I am aware of the public and parliamentary concern expressed in recent weeks over trade union officials paid for from the public purse. The coalition Government’s transparency agenda will help ensure that cash payments to trade unions and the titles of staff posts in local government are open to public scrutiny. At a time when all local authorities need to make sensible savings to help pay off the budget deficit, councillors will rightly wish to review the merits of (full-time) union officials funded by the taxpayer and the provision of the office facilities to trade unions.”

Every year  millions of pounds of taxpayers money goes into the union coffers instead of paying for frontline services. The unions can then spend their subs on political activity, like donating to the Labour Party, instead of staffing. It’s time this whole crooked money washing scheme is fully debated in Parliament…

Quote of the Day

Kevin Maguire twists the knife:

Cameron escaped PMQs. Miliband should’ve had U-turn Dave begging for mercy. But didn’t.. Cameron should play Monopoly with Sam tonight to use that “Get Out of Jail Free” card from Miliband at PMQs.”

Bad Week For No.10, Good Week For No.11

Last night’s Channel Four News pointed the finger of blame at Steve Hilton for the messy week that the Prime Minster is having. The list of things for Miliband to pick up on at PMQs is endless, but not everyone is having the same nightmare. Next door at No.11 Osborne couldn’t have asked for much more in the last couple of days. The day after a handful of dubious academics criticised him, the thousand-economists-strong IMF patted him on the head. Balls and the rest of the B-team have been unable to spin very much, and the sharpest critics have been those calling for harder and faster cuts. To cap it all off Moody’s have said Britain’s AAA credit rating could be under threat if there “slippage in the government’s fiscal plans”. In other words if the B-team get their way.

It’s noticeable that all of the u-turns have stuck to Cameron, despite Osborne being in the nerve centre too. The forests, the books, the prisons etcetera, are small change compared to Osborne’s overall deficit reduction strategy. A Chancellor getting his own way while keeping his powder dry? We’ve been down this road before…

PMQs LIVE: Wavey Davey Edition

Awkward Ed Miliband Moments

Guido enjoys browsing the entire website devoted to Awkward Ed Miliband Moments, CCHQ’s press office delights in re-tweeting gurning pictures of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and now the Mail joins in with 9 pictures taken during his speech yesterday. Not so much ‘Red Ed’ as ‘Weird Ed’.

Is this the face of a Prime Minister?

He Turned, He Turned, He Turned

Another day and another government u-turn, though it has to be said this one makes sense. As well as playing Health Secretary yesterday, it seems the PM was also acting Justice Secretary. In a victory for the Sun and Mail, Ken Clarke’s controversial plans to half the sentences of people that plead guilty have been given the boot. Given No.10 originally backed the plans, you might say Cameron has ducked another fight…

Downing Street are in a tricky position here, Ken Clarke has been in Parliament longer than George Osborne has been alive. They are making it clear they are not briefing behind Clarke’s back, but this is a hugely embarrassing and very public dressing down for the old man. They don’t want to sack him, but might find the he tells them where to go…



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Quote of the Day

Liz Kendall is asked by Tom Newton Dunn if she would ever ban the Sun from one of her press conferences:

“If you stripped naked and ran in front of me, Tom, I might have second thoughts about it, but apart from that, no.”

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