January 28th, 2014

SKETCH: Troops in the Trenches, Ammo to the Front

The battle lines are drawn, the pounding begins.

The ragged band of guerillas called HM opposition – demoralised and scarce, fortified no longer by the Speaker – goaded the Tory arsenal to ever-greater firepower.

Five full benches of Tories had the numbers – in the Chamber and in the Book of Stats from which they now draw strength.

Everything they want up is going up, and what they want down is going down.

It’s been two decades coming but suddenly it’s a great time to be a Tory.

Labour’s Shelia Gilmore raised her sixpenny jezail and said that 0.7 growth in the last quarter was lower than the 0.8 in the quarter before . . .

She’s got a big voice but not big enough to rise above the indignation she provoked. She folded her arms, shrugged, stood and took the Tories’ joyful rage.

Eventually, George Osborne moved the decimal point – under Labour, he said, the economy shrank by 7 per cent.

The Labour posture, he went on to say, is “anti-business, anti-recovery, anti-jobs, anti-investment and anti-Britain.”

Ed Balls. The other man who hates Britain.

Here’s what Osborne said was in the Tory offer: Tax-free childcare. Reducing small companies’ tax level, freezing fuel duty, taking the smallest firms out of business rates, introducing an employment allowance of £2,000, abolishing National Insurance for half a million small employers, removing NI for employees under 21.

This is quite a tax-cutting agenda. It’s sincere. It’s authentic. It’s what Tories believe.

Against this, Ed Balls has launched his 50p rate – opposed by business people but supported, polls say, by 61 per cent of voters.

It’s never a good principle to judge an economist’s future by his past but Balls has been catastrophically wrong twice.

Triple dip – wrong. Only a public sector-led recovery would work – wrong.

I’m going to bet he’ll make the hat trick.

For that, the 50p tax rate has to be an electoral disaster.

He needled Osborne, calling on him to say he wouldn’t reduce the top rate to 40p. Osborne declined to do this, so let’s guess it’ll be part of the Tory manifesto.

Labour offering a 50p rate which affects very few, and Tories a 40p rate which affects four or five million voters directly, and threatens however many more, heading towards the top rate, along with their pensionable parents.

And boy, do they vote.

For the public there may be an even more important consideration.

Denying Ed Balls what he wants more than anything else in the world. That is a significant electoral consideration.

NB: Employment statistics question. There’s been a whopping leap in private sector employment. Has this been boosted by the transfer of the Royal Mail’s 150,000 public sector employees into the private sector by virtue of the privatisation?


  1. 1
    3 Bears says:

    Too much too little too fast too slow..thank fuck Labour didn’t come round to my house for porridge.


    • 3

      If there’s any justice-Quote of The Day


    • 7
      Ed Balls says:

      Under Labour, the economy rose by Minus 7.2 %


    • 32
      Labour says:

      We’re fucked on the economy, health, crime, education and immigration, so time to stir up some old-style class envy instead.


      • 47
        retardEd Miliband says:

        Aha! But at leatht we are not fucked on welfare!

        Oh, thit.


      • 102
        Achievements says:

        …..Didn’t do a very good job of looking after the environment ,drainage,dredging or flood defences,just to add to the comprehensive list of labour failings!


        • 129
          Jim says:

          The BBC confirm again today it is all the Tories fault.
          Until they grabbed unelected power in 2010 every was just fine. Everyone that voted Labour had all the income they could wish for even without having to go to work.
          Having caused the Crisis they still cannot reach the largesse of the former Labour Government. However in a single bound and 50p tax everything will return to normal upon Labour’s re-election in 2015.


          • Pundit Too says:

            The BBC propaganda bias machine is now set on automatic.
            On Friedland’s Long View programme radio 4 today on the floods of 1953 compared to current floods Friedland stated that in 1953 the country was recovering from the war (read subtext Labour in power immediately after and squandered Marshall Aid money), but during the floods of 1953 Churchill did not respond as they happened over a weekend and not enough was done.
            Then damaged goods Michael Fish came on and prattled on about Climate Change. Then Jonathan Friedland brought in cuts, cuts, cuts.
            BBC cannot even give a historical perspective without left wing bias.


      • 150
        Anonymong says:

        Hahahaha same old socialists. Wanting a slice from those that have without doing anything of importance nor of economic benefit themselves.

        Keep shuffling the paper and putting ticks in boxes, co-ordinate diversity and help amputee african lesbians cross the road.

        Oxygen thieves the lot of you.


  2. 2
    Nigel Farage doppelganger says:

    Its all Forking BS as this all talk from both sides, As the election draws near so the promises mount up. So why did both parties wipe off their last pre election promises from their web site.


    • 17
      FFS says:

      Ed Balls promise: “I promise to raise taxes!”

      Well that’s a message that isn’t going to go down well with voters, when the penny drops he has said he’s going to put the top rate up by 5% but hasn’t said what he’s going to do with the other tax bands.


    • 117
      Haribo Halfwit says:

      It’s called basic website housekeeping.

      Should you want to read last year’s broken promises, you can keep your own private library of worthless booklets.

      Pixel storage of previous garbage is undertaken by pro bono websites such as the
      Wayback Machine


  3. 4
    Ed Milliband says:

    If We win the nexth electhion I promith to fweeze grwowth.


    • 6
      Georgie Osborne's Blue and White Army says:

      But when we win the Next Election we will have you interned to enable economic prosperity to continue to grow.


  4. 5
    Jim says:

    But at least they are sending their offspring for Private Education, to better understand the pain ‘hardworking people’ feel….
    BTW, nowt wrong with private school, it’s the hypocrisy I can’t stand.



  5. 10
    Floundering like a Flounder says:


    • 14
      She wants her Cake says:

      Good point Diane, so are immigration controls popular with the public. Are you going to vote for them


      • 29
        John Smith says:

        Capital Punishment has always been popular, but methinks Labour won’t be supporting that.


        • 44
          Psyche the Dog says:

          Neither would the Cons, except those in the hang’em & flog’em brigade and The Two Fokkers and 50% on this blog.


          • Mr Potato Head2 says:

            A referendum on Europe is very popular too. Far more popular than soaking the rich and in so doing losing jobs and investment.


        • 145
          Ma Fioso says:

          The ‘black’ economy (the Hippo would know all about that of course) is very popular too with us hardworking plumbers, electricians, decorators and others of our ilk.


    • 15
      Mitch says:

      Tax rates aren’t determined by popularity? Zero tax would be most popular?


      • 62
        Psyche the Dog says:

        True but they would find someway to extract a fair chunk of everybodies income. Let’s see what he hasn’t said anything about, VAT, now I think Gideon might raise that to 221/2% or even 25%, don’t forget it is the Cons favourite tax and it also tends to curtail consumption, what about VAT on betting and do away with betting tax. There numerous ways without upping income tax, I am sure Gideon has lots of novel ways to screw the ordinary voter.


        • 86
          Táxpáyér says:

          VAT is a tax on working (i.e. the worst income tax). It’s a tax on those adding value (synonym of being productive).

          Of course, they won’t touch taxes that harm rent-seeking.


    • 16
      Tweet that Diana says:

      Something else that’s popular with the public is putting a cap on immigration.


    • 19

      It’s very popular with the looters,dear. As the recovery continues, more people get into work and wages rise, you’ll be surprised how unpopular it will become


    • 20
      FFS says:

      It’s very popular with the public this week because they don’t like the idea of the super-rich not paying any tax.

      Next week, as with all Labour policies, the public will realise that the super-rich paying no tax at 45% will simply be the super-rich paying no tax at 50%.

      At that point the public will say “Labour are talking bollox again”.


      • 123
        Major Eyeswater says:

        £150,000 per annum gross. Leaves £90,187 net. Not exactly super-rich, is it? Once Fifi and Sebastian’s school fees and the £500k mortgage are serviced there’s not much chance you’ll live like P Diddy on what’s left…


        • 135
          Anonymous says:

          I am that £150K person and I already feel screwed. £152K, NO real choice BIK £10.8K car (25K bussiness miles, 3K private) and £3.6K BUPA (not used in 16 years) 15% Pension contribution £72K take home. £12K mortgage. 3 kids (school fees £9.6K each)…no child allowance, infact no allowances. Pay £50.5K ITax and £6.3K NI. Work 45 hour week PLUS travel. Never sick. I am NOT a burden on others or the state yet viewed by 60% as a soft touch. I have come to conclusion its not worth working when the kids want to go to Uni


          • Tesco is shite says:

            Dear Anonymous,

            What easy job or business allows you to spend your life on Guido’s blog? Do you have a team that works while you polish your arse or are you in secure accommodation and on medication? As you are far and away the most pathological poster you could be a political plant. Pray tell, or at least give us a clue!


          • Anonymong says:

            One that means he doesn’t get to read and post comments to guido until 9.40PM

            What have you been doing today Tesco?

            Just got back from the pub?


    • 23
      cep says:

      No Diane, it’s popular with thick lefty fuckwits like you and your foetid ilk.

      Say goodbye in 2015 you c*nt.


    • 24
      Anonymous says:

      Public flogging and hanging of members of parliament would probably be extremely popular as well.

      Shall we see?


      • 71
        Psyche the Dog says:

        I think you have it there, the Cons love a good flogging by Miss Whiplash and others, and they pay for the privilege quite willingly, it’s that public school sort of thingy


    • 50
      Wait - what! says:

      So is paying your own taxi fair dear, is it so popular that you’ll start?


    • 108
      Their future is as bleak as their past says:

      Gang r*pe and gun crime are also popular with the public who vote for the Hackney Hippo.


    • 128
      broderick crawford says:

      Diane says

      every day in every way i m getting bigger and bigger .


    • 130
      Jim says:

      One should not let personal hatred fashion economic policy or any policy for that matter.
      The saving Grace here is that Labour do not have an economic policy, just popular ideas which change day to day.


    • 132
      JH3094023980-94 says:

      It’s popular with your ‘public’ in Tower Hamlets you fucking hippo-crite.

      Mainly because they know they will never pay a net penny of tax in their fucking lives.


    • 138
      Just Saying says:

      I also believe that the public would like to see and hear far less of Diane Abbott but the BBC as usual do not understand their owners so will not allow this.


    • 151
      Anonymong says:

      Under the Rusty Iron Fist of Macavity the economy grew by minus 8%.

      If you’re going to be in opposition at least be credible about it.

      On second thoughts, just bugger off.


  6. 11
    Mitch says:

    If the private sector has gained 150k more jobs from Royal Mail, then has the public sector also lost 150k – that’s the way to cross-check it, surely?


  7. 12
    Deed Pole. says:

    Ed Balls – so nearly an anagram of bad deals….


  8. 13
    Major Eyeswater says:

    Might be a good idea if Gideon were to offer income tax and NI breaks to take the (now higher) minimum wage up to the “living wage” level demanded by the socialists, at the same time as axing the 45p rate. Something for everyone etc.


    • 21
      John Smith says:

      Sure – and just borrow the money to pay for it? Sounds good.


      • 30

        It’ll be paid for by removing the need for in-work bennies. Also reducing the size of government. See below


      • 119
        Major Eyeswater says:

        Mr Smith – no sir, cut expenditure by putting a 2-year limit on out of work benefits with a 5-year lifetime max (a la Bill Clinton). Taken together these measures will help to make work pay for the poor and stimulate growth and job creation.

        Does that sound a bit better?


    • 27

      Good plan, but as it will have the effect of moving Big Brother out of people’s lives. The Mandarins will kill it.


      • 120
        Major Eyeswater says:

        Thank you Mr GrumpyoldmanUK. A few years ago I would have unhesitatingly agreed with you, however of late I am starting to think that maybe, just maybe our fellow Britons are getting a bit fed up with Big Gov/Bruv socialism.

        I think we’re finally starting to understand that our current welfare state is immoral. One of the few positive consequences of the recession.


    • 87
      Táxpáyér says:

      No-one on the minimum wage should be extorted of income tax.


      • 107
        FFS says:

        Why not? If an employer rents a machine it often comes with a maintenance contract he is obliged to pay for. If an employer rents a human being the maintenance is provided by the NHS.

        Time the employers paid for the full maintentance of the employee, instead of assuming such maintenance will be subsidised by their high-value employees.

        We are increasingly living in a make-believe socialist economy where the true costs are masked by all manner of cross-subsidy.


      • 131
        Jim says:

        Everyone should pay tax so that nobody can sneer at them. The problems are a living wage and the meaning of equality.
        Ed Balls was on the BBC again saying it was fair to charge the poor 10% and the rich 50%. So the poor pay 40% less, (forgetting the rates in between) so you can still sneer at the poor. Is that what is making you feel so good?
        If we were to turn Welfare into food, clothes, housing, education, and jobs instead of cash the poor may well be more successful, certainly more happier.


  9. 22
    Village Idiot says:

    ….Until I hear that we are leaving the EU, I will not give my vote to any pro EU party!

    ….But hey,do your own thing!


  10. 25
    a great time to be a Tory says:

    With close to three million people unemployed and many more in employment on reduced hours and wages I think Guido should show a bit more reserve.


    • 36
      Simple Arithmetic says:

      2.4% growth for 3 years = 7.4% growth overall. Unemployment at zero by end of 2016.


      • 38
        It doesn't really work that way says:

        For many years, most commentators have accepted that there is a ‘natural’ unemployment level of about 1 million.

        Plus, overall growth can, of course, hide individual problem areas.


        • 48
          Never be 100% says:

          There must be a certain number of people who are unemployable. I suspect that people covered in tattoos and dozens of piercings might fall into this category.

          And as for druggies…


          • Fucked-off with hiring temps says:

            “I suspect that people covered in tattoos and dozens of piercings might fall into this category.”

            From my experience, they get to work as recruitment consultants at Reed Employment.


          • Ma Fioso says:

            … and professional footballers…


        • 49
          Simple Arithmetic says:

          i.e unemployment can’t possibly drop below 3%, even though it has actually dropped below 1% when Conservative PM Anthony Eden was in charge in 1955.

          In other words, the “floor” in umployment is a myth created by those that would rather not explain how people survived when there was no such thing as welfare and many people are more than happy to sit on bennies forever.


          • Táxpáyér says:

            Also taxes on work.

            If you look at it, taxes (VAT, Er & EE NI, Income tax, CorpTax) directly harm peoples ability to employ each other which is another way of saying they lower employment and wages.


          • FFS says:

            All taxes are taxes on “work” because you can only tax human labour.

            It doesn’t matter how you cut it, taxes are paid through human labour. PAYE is as much a tax on employing people as VAT. If the government puts up VAT the employee will go straight to his employer and expect a pay rise to compensate.

            Finding ways to “subsidise” employment through taxation and free services means we end up having no idea if the jobs have real value or not.


          • CYNICAL OLD GIT says:

            How is it possible to discuss mass unemployment without mention of mass immigration


          • Anonymong says:


            regarding tax on human labour. Some are on financial transactions.

            Capital Gains Tax
            Stamp Duty
            Insurance Premium Tax


    • 41
      Anonymous says:

      He just types what Murdoch wants.


  11. 26
    David Miliband Visits Tower Hamlets says:


  12. 33
    never put up with mediocrity says:

    Taking half a million people out of the tax system is unhealthy if a country is to be successful and expanding .

    Having so many people positioned so that they have nothing to pay means they become disengaged from the political process.

    The aim should be for everyone to be in work and paying towards highly efficient state services in one unified subsidy free tax system.

    This Government has nothing whatsoever to gloat about. It probably merits 4/10 on a good day.


  13. 34
    Magnetic Mili says:


  14. 46

    Glasgow Central, a safe Labour seat without interruption since 1950. In its midst is Calton.

    Here, life expectancy is 54 (WHO 2008 figures). The natural lifespan is better in many African countries. Burkina Faso manages 56.5.

    Fifty four for fuck’s sake! That is an average so many are dying well before that age.

    Here is an example of what years of Labour councils and Labour government can deliver.

    No life, no health, no hope.


  15. 58
    ROFL says:


    • 72
      Josef Goebbels (misattributed) says:

      “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”


    • 125
      Intellectual Pygmy says:

      Only in the strange and horrible world inhabited by Labour can economic growth, reduction in jobless figures and lower taxation be a mess.


  16. 68
    Is that justice for the thousands who died? says:

    The most senior member of staff to be disciplined as part of the Stafford Hospital scandal agrees to be struck off


  17. 83
    Stabilo Boss says:

    “NB: Employment statistics question. There’s been a whopping leap in private sector employment. Has this been boosted by the transfer of the Royal Mail’s 150,000 public sector employees into the private sector by virtue of the privatisation?”

    Probably. It’s happened before. A switch in the education sector saw state-funded colleges reclassified as private sector, “creating” new private sector jobs overnight:
    “the reclassification of English colleges in Q2 2012, which resulted in 196,000 employees being reclassified from the public to private sector.”



    • 103
      Bill says:

      Any transfer of employment from the public sector to the private is a good thing,.


      • 109
        Stabilo Boss says:

        But it’s just a labelling exercise, a reclassification. These colleges are still taxpayer funded. No new jobs were created.


  18. 105
    The tit in no. 10 whose purpose is common with Vacant Ned's says:

    It’s a great time to be a Tory, apparently.

    Where do I go to sign on ?


  19. 106
    Prince Philip says:

    “The other man who hates Britain”

    Are you employing a bigger drunk than you to write your parliamentary sketches? Its just sub tabloid rambling.


    • 126
      Intellectual Pygmy says:

      You are of course correct. There are many men who hate Britain in the Labour Party.


    • 149
      Ma Fioso says:

      There is nothing in your terms of employment which makes it compulsory reading for your Dukeship. Doorway is over there >>>>>>>


  20. 112
    Helpful says:

    Labour could always try, “it is the wrong sort of growth.”


  21. 114
    altruism in industry says:

    I’m not happy with the expression ” And boy, do they vote”
    it seems a little bit American which I’m not sure is suitable in this context


  22. 143
    Difficult to Say. says:

    Sorry to bring potential bad news but over the past five days I have had information crossing my screen from usually quite reliable sources about a possible / probable financial economic downturn in the good old USA.
    This is pencilled in for end of this month or early next.
    Early start was the drop in forex of emerging countries, most of them easily foreseen such as Argentina, South Africa, and Thailand, but some not so easy to understand like the 4.5 year low of the Canadian Loonie.


Seen Elsewhere

Short-Termism of CCHQ | ConHome
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Tories Planning For Second Election | Guardian
We Are Losing Cyber War | Fraser Nelson
Osborne Aide Lands Pay Rise | Mirror
The Sick Of It | Sun
UKIP MEP’s Welfare Hypocrisy | Channel 4
Rise of Angela Merkel | New Yorker
May SpAd Removed From Candidates List | ConHome
Clodagh’s Law | Press Gazette
Whitehall Bosses Ban Christmas | Sun

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