Ed Balls finally accepts reality…

“My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts.”

Le Downgrade Est Arrivé

Sarkozy’s chances of re-election have taken a battering as France is no longer judged the safest of credit risks. What this means is that the French backed €uro bailout fund is no longer a AAA credit risk. Slovakia, Italy and Austria also got downgraded. Greek debt restructuring talks have broken down and Greek 10-year debt is trading at 20c/€ to face value. Which shows what the market thinks of  their chances of getting their €uros back… 

Save Ed: The Movie

While Guido and other scribes have had their work cut out with the Don’t Unseat Ed Miliband Association, the bagcarrier based Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ed Miliband have moved up from postering the walls of parliament  to a whole video campaign:
[vodpod id=Video.15951559&w=425&h=350&fv=] Excellent commitment to the cause.

S&P Give France a Reality Check

Though the economic prospect of a French downgrade is rather scary, the political repercussions are frankly hilarious. Sarkozy is in an election year for one,  and his head of the Banque de France has oeuf all over his face. Back in December a mighty row broke out when Christian Noyer said that Britain’s credit rating should be downgraded before them. It was a typical attempt to try to drag us down with them. Well S&P have spoken.

As Lord Nelson might have said “I see no credit downgrade.”

Want to Sack Bad Teachers? Well Start With This One

While we are discussing the frankly long overdue proposal to sack rubbish teachers, why don’t we start with blog-favourite Hank Roberts. He’s a geography teacher at Copland School in Brent  Well sort of, that was before he became a “Pilgrim”. A union official, paid for by the taxpayer to do full-time union duties, rather than the front-line role he should be doing. There are hundreds of these teaching pilgrims.

At one point Hank was costing the school £53,000 per annum to have him on full-time release for his union activities, though since Guido exposed him last May, he has apparently gone back to work for at least two days a week. The school is still having to pay another teacher to cover for Hank when he is agitating – he’s “politically active” to say the least. He should be top of the sacking list.

High Pay Commission Criticises Rusbridger’s Pay Rise

Guido had better things to do than attend Chuka Umunna’s speech yesterday at an event organised by the re-energised IPPR, but that’s not to say he didn’t have eyes and ears in the room. There was a panel discussion afterwards featuring, among others, Lord Myners and Deborah Hargreaves, the Chairman of the self-appointed High Pay Commission. The event was trailed with a suitably hand-wringing leader in the Guardian which, once again, left them open to accusations of rank hypocrisy. Editor Alan Rusbridger’s package was up 7% to £605,000 last year and when a hack in the audience asked the High Pay Commission panel if this reward for failure was acceptable, with his characteristic charm, Myners instead chose to play the man rather than the ball, describing the hack that had asked the question as “embittered”. Deborah Hargreaves was more forthright:

“The answer is no and maybe that is why they need an employee representative on the remuneration committee.” 

Which was rather honest considering Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was until recently her boss, when she was his business editor and she still contributes occasional articles. Sadly nobody mentioned City tycoon and hedge fund boss Paul Myners’ multi-million pound modern art collection…

Friday Caption Contest (Always On My Mind Edition)

The New Most Terrifying Words in the English Language

Ronald Reagan said they were “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”, but this sentence is a new contender: “he will be forced to undertake diversity training”. A Tory councillor has been suspended for five months for using the word “retard” on Twitter. Hardly the most sensible choice of words, but the punishment seems rather disproportionate.

It’s not like he said mong, loon, spaz or nutter.

Michael Gove allays our concerns…

‘I haven’t given plastic surgery a thought at any stage in my career so far, and I hope I never have to.’[…]

+ READ MORE +

Straw to Face the Law

Bad news for the former Foreign Secretary in this morning’s Indy. Jack Straw is set to be interviewed by Scotland Yard for his role in the alleged extraordinary rendition of two terrorist suspects to be tortured in Libya. It’s a murky case that has arisen from files discovered in the ransacked HQ of Libyan intelligence, and one of the men involved is now a senior Libyan government official who is more than happy to give interviews:

“When the guards left I made sign movements with my hands. 

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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