Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Evan Harris Actually on Drugs

If you missed the much-maligned Professor David Nutt on Radio 4 this morning, then Guido would highly recommend catching up on the interview here. His research into using drugs like ecstasy and magic mushrooms to treat depression or to allow victims of trauma to open up about their experiences was fascinating. It’s now emerged that former LibDem MP Evan Harris will be taking party in Nutt’s Channel Four show which will look at the effects of MDMA. The usual crowd are shocked and appalled that a former MP will be dropping a bean live on TV. Guido had always presumed Evan Harris was on drugs anyway…

Miliband Launches the “Quiet Bat People”

If you were wondering whether the Thick of It was being too harsh on Ed Miliband, this afternoon we learn that his big theme of party conference is set to be “The Relationship Society”. Which sounds alarmingly like nonsense…

While they are clearly copying the Cameron opposition playbook of saying potentially interesting things to get people talking instead of noticing your lack of policy, is this one really a winner for Ed?

This is man who didn’t commit to marriage until his second child, and only did walk down the aisle under duress.

Will we be hearing all about his relationship is with the other Ed in his life, which is said to be rather tense these days?

And how’s that relationship with his heartbroken mother and estranged brother coming along?

Ed Miliband – relationship expert.

Video: Kelvin’s Doorstepping

IPPR Taking G4S Cash For Shadow Policing Minister

Back during the Olympi-shambles (remember them?) Ed blustered:

People want bobbies on the beat, not G4S… Before they are awarded any new policing contracts, we need a review of G4S’s ability to deliver.”

Not only are G4S providing the security for the Labour party conference, but it turns out they are also sponsoring a fringe event hosted by lefty wonk-shop IPPR. Their Director Will Straw’s own website calls the company “controversial”, yet he’s happy to take their money. The invite-only discussion on police commissioners will feature Labour Shadow Minister David Hanson, who must have changed his mind about that review into “G4S’s ability to deliver.”

Guido knows what his first question will be…

UPDATE: Will gets in touch in to point out that he is not IPPR’s Director, rather their Associate Director.

Kelvin’s Car Doorstepping

How Many Working Age British Voters Don’t Pay Income Tax?

Mitt Romney’s highlighting of the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax has got Guido thinking this morning. Having crunched the numbers it seems that a far greater number of Britons chip in to the Treasury than our stateside counterparts. Of the 34.1 million people of working age in the UK some 30.1 million pay income tax, leaving just 12% not contributing. Using Romney’s less reasonable registered voter method – including other groups such as the elderly – that figure rises to 35%.

Over at the Speccie Fraser Nelson has some interesting research of his own, noting the large number of public sector “dependents” who vote Tory. Fraser goes on: “If you add Brits who derive most of their income from government jobs or welfare, you’d get to about half of registered voters”.

46.1 million registered voters, a public sector workforce of 5.9 million5.8 million on working age benefits and 9.5 million recipients of old-age pensions – that’s approximately 46% of voters who could be described as dependent on the government. They might not all vote Labour but that’s still quite a figure…

Paul Flynn Suspended From the Commons

Ken Clarke Attacks Tory Right and Reshuffle
Tells Allies: “The Party Has Accidentally Drifted to the Right”

Speaking to those subversive wets of the Tory Reform Group at the Carlton Club last night, Ken Clarke displayed some characteristic candour. Reports from the room suggest that Ken was rightly introduced as the “only cabinet minister to lead us out of a recession”, but he quickly veered off message and rambled away:

“So now we’ve had the usual comic shambles that happens after every reshuffle… This has been my umpteenth reshuffle… I deny any suggestion that I got that job because I’ve had all the rest of them. My job will be to slot into the bewildering range of things that the government is doing… I’ll be dealing with the alphabet soup.”

Joking aside, Clarke’s insight into his role is rather telling:

Now George wants me in to keep an eye on Vince and Vince wants me in to keep an eye on George… We’ve got a deficit the size of Greece, we’ve got a real job on our hands… I don’t want to bring too much gloom, but it will be a long haul.” 

He doesn’t seem too bothered about having two masters, and why might that be? Apparently:

“the party has accidentally drifted to the right”.

He also noted that Cameron was having to lead “with the right acting up again” and Guido understands that there was a plea “to keep the centre ground, where elections are won”. The number of Clarke’s ilk in the ranks has greatly diminished since the last time he went into battle with his own party. 

Picture via @timothy_barnes. Quotes via @asabenn

UPDATE: Ken Clarke’s office are kicking back hard on some of this. They seem to be blaming tweeters in the room for distorting what Clarke was saying, though he does not deny attacking the right, or the his interesting choice of words like “bewildering range” and “alphabet soup”:

“These tweets give the opposite impression to the serious points I clearly made.  It is slightly altered little phrases taken from different jokes and put together. I made the case for a successful coalition and stated there was no ideological divide within it on economic policy.  On the economy I stressed that we were in for the long haul and that the Chancellor’s approach is the right one.  I also said in passing that the reshuffle should not be interpreted as a shift to the right.  Twitter is not renowned as an accurate form of reporting, but even I am surprised at distortions on this sort of scale.”

Seems someone is keeping an eye on Ken keeping an eye on George. 

Deep Doo-Doo: The Thick Of It Trailer


Seen Elsewhere

Users of Gay Hook-Up App Grindr Infected | TechnoGuido
ISIS Raising Funds Online Using Bitcoin | TechnoGuido
UKIP’s Youth Challenge | BBC
ISIS Operative: This Is How We Send Jihadis To Europe | BuzzFeed
Shapps Defends Bashir Defection | Seb Payne
Tory Leadership Contenders Jostle Over Europe | Alex Wickham
Cutting Taxes is Good For You | Art Laffer
Suspects Will Now Have to Prove Innocence | Laura Perrins
Labour Cllr: Cops Shouldn’t Stop Petrol Thieves | HandF Forum
Creeping Cultural Acceptance of Anti-Semitism | Eric Pickles
Time For Greece to Leave Eurozone | Allister Heath


Rising Stars
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Boris on British Jihadis. Apparently based on MI5 intel:

“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they typically will look at porn. They are literally w***ers. Severe onanists. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women, and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort — which of course is no comfort.”


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