Murdoch and Mirror Man Maguire’s Money Mystery

Apparently not. With his Mirror job; New Statesman, Public Affairs News and House Magazine columns; BBC and ITV contributions; his weekly slot on Sky News as well being as host on LBC, Guido imagines that our Kev must do though. We should be told!

Miliband Hugs Ken Close Labour’s Private Polling Shows Ed More Unpopular than Ken

Despite there being well over a month until polling day, it seems that Ken is going to new and extraordinary lengths to provide his gaffe-of-the-day. This morning he went all Al Gore on us and told the BBC that: “When I was leader of the GLC I said to Mrs Thatcher we needed broadband linking every home and City in the country.”  He must have kept his 1980s internet connection top secret…

After yesterday’s ‘rich Jews won’t vote Labour‘ gaffe, Ed has, once again, been forced to defend his candidate, claiming that Ken “doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body”. Guido hears from his sources that Labour’s own private polling is doing the rounds and shows that the only person more unpopular in London than Ken is Ed Miliband. At this rate they are going to go down together…

While the leadership and their cheerleaders in the unpopular parts of the blogosphere bury their heads in the sand, and least one Labour figure has found some balls: former MP turned GLA candidate Andrew Dismore has described Ken’s latest bile as “rather offensive”. It’s a shame others don’t have a spine…

Ken has also been rambling today:

“He told the Standard he will use “amazing charm and subtlety” to get New York-style independence for the capital. Mr Livingstone, 66, added: “I would actually declare independence and run the whole city. They can’t even run hospitals in London. Everything government does in London it gets wrong. If you look at the city of New York, the mayor runs the benefits system, some of the prisons even, and the healthcare and schools. I’ve watched all my life, irrespective of which government… ministers trying to run hospitals from Whitehall. It’s just too big, too complicated.”

Presumably he wrote his magic money tree manifesto with these changes in mind? Or was he on the sauce again?

UPDATE: Talking of Ken’s love of the sauce, this is rather good:

Damian McBride Enters Rehab

Damian McBride’s 4 a.m. blogpost about the formulation of budgets has got plenty of his old drinking buddies and once loyal hacks excited:

Currently Damian is marking time as head of spin at the Catholic overseas aid charity CAFOD as part of his political rehabilitation programme. As interesting as the behind the scenes look is, the timing of this re-entry into the fray is highly suspicious. Given that Balls wants McBride back in his operation, Guido reckons this will be the first of many such interventions…

Labour Leak News of Leak Question Before Parliament

Guido isn’t exactly sure why Labour are taking their eye off the bigger picture and making such a fuss about Budget leaks today. They are in a stronger position because of them, though it will win some brownie points with a bruised Bercow. Ernest little Chris Leslie has been granted the imminent Urgent Question, but Labour managed to leak the news that it had been secured on their Twitter account before it was announced by the Speaker’s office. So much for playing by the rules…

UPDATE:

Not only did Leslie manage to keep a straight face, but he even managed to feign some anger.

Dave Wins Backbench Bercow Bet

Though it was all smiles at PMQs yesterday when Dave mocked the Speaker’s address to the Queen, the PM’s “kaleidoscope budget” gag clearly hit a nerve and Bercow was left unable to speak for a good ten seconds. Now Guido hears it wasn’t just a well timed line, but in fact the terms of a bet…

Dessie Swayne, Dave’s PPS, and a few other Tory backbenchers who come in very early every morning have come to be known as The Breakfast Club. It’s mostly ex-lawyers and bankers who are used to an early start. When Cameron broke bread with them on Wednesday morning they bet him a bottle of wine that he couldn’t get the word “kaleidoscope” into a PMQs response. It’s not clear whether the wine will be drunk over breakfast…

UPDATE: Tweeter @ToryOutcast gets in touch to say he had mentioned this last night and the exact terms were a bottle of Krug with Stephen Phillips MP. Cheers…

UPDATE II: Having gone back to the original sources for this story, it seems Dave has been changing his tune. He told the 1922 Committee it was a bottle of wine that he had won in the bet rather than champagne. Looks like the Tory ban on the sparkling stuff is still in place…

Chuka Gonna Make-a-Your Mind Up

Here is Chuka at 19.08 last night:

The shadow business secretary is clear and firm. If there was a budget tomorrow he would absolutely not re-introduce the 50p rate.

Here is Chuka at 20.15, an hour and seven minutes later:

He’s going to be Prime Minister one day, apparently...

Via Mark Pack

Ken tells BBC London he invented the internet in 1986…

“When I was leader of the GLC I said to Mrs Thatcher we needed broadband linking every home and City in the country.”

Osborne Biggest Loser in Budget

Osborne’s budget has gone down like a bucket of sick on the front-pages this morning. As long as we have flat-lining growth and a failure of political will to tackle spending, all fiscally-neutral budgets will be like this, identifiable ‘losers’ will out-number identifiable ‘winners’. The losers this time are those who were prudent enough to save for their retirement. The so-called lucky generation of baby boomers who had a working life in a long term growing economy and an overly generous welfare state which has now impoverished their children and grand-children. Some might spin this as a bit of inter-generational payback, others as an unjust punishment of those who saved for their retirement. Pensioners have a propensity to be voters…

Osborne is spending more than Brown, borrowing more than Brown and taxing more than Brown. The official numbers revealed yesterday show that spending is still rising in real terms, there is no hope of for an “expansionary fiscal contraction” if there is no fiscal contracti0n. The national debt is still rising. The coalition government’s self-defined primary mission, to close the deficit by the next election, is on course for failure. As long as this obsession with fiscal neutrality and timidity towards cutting spending continues the tax burden will not be reduced, the debt will not be reduced and growth will flat-line. Fiscally neutrality is just another phrase for tinkering with the tax burden.

The bond markets already know the government is going to miss the deficit target. All the fast growing economies in Asia and the Americas have lower tax economies than the UK and Europe. A dash for growth stimulated by across the board tax cuts will not as Osborne fears be punished by the bond markets, that is a fundamental mis-reading of bond market mentality. Osborne knows bond markets think long term, that is why the Treasury is contemplating issuing 100 year bonds. Bond traders understand that broad tax cuts are a real stimulus that will lead to a more dynamic growing economy which will reap more tax revenues long term. Why are we waiting?



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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