Shadow Schools Minister Kevin Brennan Fails Maths Test

Shadow Schools Minister Kevin Brennan had a mathematical nightmare in the Commons earlier, telling the House that three out of ten equalled 60%. Things only got worse for the Labour man, who then laughably accused his opposite number of being “not very good at maths“. It’s back to the classroom for him…

Exclusive: PoliticsHome / DeHavilland Merger Monopoly Fears + + + Office of Fair Trading Refers Ashcroft Bid + + ++ + + Competition Commission to Rule on Legality + + +

OFT Statement:

The OFT today referred the anticipated acquisition of the political intelligence division of DeHavilland by Dods Group PLC (Dods) to the Competition Commission. The evidence before the OFT suggests that, as a result of this merger, Dods will not face sufficient competitive constraints and this could result in higher prices or less quality for UK customers procuring political intelligence services.

Political intelligence companies monitor and track political issues on behalf of customers. A wide range of companies, public and voluntary sector organisations, as well as communications and public affairs consultancies, rely on the provision of regular, accurate and timely political intelligence.

The OFT’s investigation found that the merger parties are the two largest dedicated suppliers of these services and that close competition between them is a very important tool for UK customers to benefit from competitive prices and valued services. The merger parties’ competitors are smaller in size, scale and scope. These findings were informed by the OFT’s market investigation and an extensive customer survey submitted by the merger parties.

As a result, it is the OFT’s view that removing such significant rivalry between the merger parties might substantially lessen competition and lead to higher prices, a decline in the quality of those services or both.

Given its concerns, the OFT therefore considers it appropriate for the Competition Commission to undertake a further investigation into this matter.
The OFT further considered whether the case should not be referred to the Competition Commission on the basis that the markets were of insufficient importance, but did not find that the deal met the relevant criteria for such an exception.

Ali Nikpay, OFT Senior Director and Decision Maker in this case, said:

‘This merger would bring together by far the two largest players in the UK market. The evidence also suggests that DeHavilland and Dods are each other’s closest rivals. Based on the information before us we do not believe that this loss of competition would be compensated through expansion by smaller rivals, entry by new players or customers switching to self-supply. As such, we consider it appropriate to refer the merger to the Competition Commission for further investigation.’

Guido warned about this back in February. Lobbyists who are the main subscribers to the monitoring service have been telling Guido they feared a quasi-monopoly would lead to price gouging. So it seems do the authorities…

Reeves Dumps Progress

With Labour figures nailing their colours to the mast over the Progress/GMB in-fighting, Guido is particularly amused by the decision of one of Ed’s most ambitious greasy pole climbing allies to lurch to the left. Rachel Reeves, who co-authored the “Purple Book“, quit as a Progress vice chair a few months ago. “More weathervane than foghorn” as one sighing Labour insider unkindly told Guido…

Meanwhile another prominent Labour tweeter has jumped ship the other way. GMB-sponsored Jamie Reed has slammed his union’s decision to outlaw Progress, announcing that he will be signing up to the under-fire faction in protest. There go his donations for 2015…

Gove tells the Commons..

“In matters of ideology I am a Blairite.”

Private Sector Wonks Under Fire from Public Sector Wonks

A new report has claimed that left-wing think tanks are more transparent than their right-wing counterparts. New left-wing pressure group Who Funds You awards an A-rating to the likes of left-of-centre campaigns IPPR, Progress and Compass, while laying into the right-of-centre Adam Smith Institute and the Taxpayers’ Alliance for their supposed lack of openness. Ignoring of course that right-of-centre think tanks don’t usually take public money from the taxpayers. Left-wing think tanks benefit from a lot of taxpayers’ money, IPPR for example got £800,000 of taxpayers’ money via the EU…

UPDATE: The ASI have hit back:

Touché… 

Telegraph's Spook Scoops

The Telegraph has been noticeably ahead of the pack on one particular story this week. It would appear their very own Richard Spencer is flavour of the month over at Albert Embankment:

“‘We have various ways of keeping track of this ship and that is what we are doing,’ a source told The Daily Telegraph.”

“…with no insurance covering the ship security sources say it may now have to return to port.”

“…a move which a Western defence source said was intended as a powerful signal that Russia would not tolerate foreign military intervention.”

“Russia was particularly unnerved after William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and other Western officials compared the slaughter in Syria to the civil war in Bosnia in the 1990s, the Western defence source said.”

“…the deployment also signalled that Russia was hedging its bets, according to the source.”

Spooky…

Carr in Reverse: Jimmy Says He's Done With Dodging

Guido suspects that HMRC are going to litigate over this scheme, probably successfully. Carr may end up paying all the taxman demands plus penalties…



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Quote of the Day

Owen Smith backs one hour contracts but wants to abolish zero hours contracts:

“You need to give people a contract to say, ‘here’s what you will be working’. It could be one, but I’m saying it shouldn’t be zero, we should invert that emphasis.”

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