ConservativeHome’s Mark Wallace, a secret quiz buff, and his team are through to the next round on the BBC show Only Connect after a comfortable victory last night. Plaudits must also go to FT brainbox Josh Spero.
Guido’s friends at the Adam Smith Institute are re-branding as neo-liberals. Many decades ago when Guido briefly interned at the ASI they self-defined as “libertarian“, nowadays that is apparently too radical a term, or so argues executive director Sam Bowman. He argues “libertarian” in Britain has a rigid meaning – “someone who is opposed to all but the tiniest night watchman state in every case”. The dictionary says libertarians uphold the principles of individual liberty, especially of thought and action.
Embracing neo-liberalism as your ideological descriptor might be good marketing, given it is so widely used pejoratively by teenage lefties to save them having to think matters through. They view neo-liberalism as akin to the political economy of Satanism. Bowman rightly points out that the words Tory, suffragette and Whig all began as insults but were adopted and appropriated by the people they were used against. The ASI setting themselves up as the defenders of neo-liberalism will guarantee plenty of attention.
However, something else is also going on here, Sam has for years been pushing wonky technocratic solutions like “negative income taxes“, a form of redistribution of which most libertarians are wary. He’s keen on printing money too and it comes as no surprise that he also backed the UK remaining in the EU. None of which is very libertarian…
Blairite MP Ann Clwyd asks why there are no protests outside the Russian embassy in London. Boris agrees:
“I would certainly like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy. Where is the Stop the War Coalition?”
It might look something like this:
This time presumably Stop the War will be busy washing their hair…
Pressure is mounting on Hammond to ditch his predecessor Osborne’s nannying soft drinks tax. Over 2,000 newsagents, publicans and other small business owners today wrote demanding he scrap the tax.
The letters were delivered to The Treasury by the Face the Facts: Can the Tax coalition, which represents thousands of businesses from across the UK who oppose the tax.
Research from The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) predicts the soft drinks tax will cost newsagents thousands of pounds a year in lost revenue.
In addition, independent researchers at Oxford Economics have warned the tax will cost the UK economy £132 million and will put over 4,000 jobs at risk.
This warning comes on the back of growing disquiet from Tory backbenchers, members and the wider business community that the new May government is doubling down on Osborne’s interventionist tendencies.
If Hammond really wants to create an economy that works for everyone it may be worth him listening to the people actually creating and doing the work in the economy…
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Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister is taking party policy in a welcome new direction away from the hectoring and nannying we’re used to. Here is Sharon Hodgson at the British Kebab Awards:
“I like a lot of the UK population love kebabs.”
Sharon says she has a kebab once a month, which the Guy Newsroom agrees can make up part of a balanced diet. As Jeremy Corbyn once said, they’re healthy if you “have some salad”.
When Boris criticised the BBC’s impartiality in his conference speech the Beeb’s panjandrums mumbled about how everyone complaining means they must be doing something right. Crazy Corbynistas claiming Auntie props up neo-liberal patriarchy is not quite the same as most fair-minded people recognising that on issues such as immigration and Brexit she is out of tune with mainstream Britain. Don’t take Guido’s word for it, listen to former director-general Mark Thompson, in a Media Masters interview last week he said: “journalists as a group tend in their personal politics towards the Left.” That it would help “to have Conservatives, people who tend to think from a perspective that goes with the Right rather than the Left, across your newsroom.”
The BBC has guidelines about journalists mouthing off their left-wing views on Twitter, guidelines ignored by Danny Carpenter of BBC Look North, who has rip on Facebook about the government in a comment on a post by Caroline Lucas of the Green Party:
“Hear hear! Now let’s see the Labour Party grow some proper balls and unite in the lobbies to vote out every cynical, vicious, racist and xenophobic piece of legislation these new Nazis propose and let’s start by demanding a commons debate on Brexit and voting out this utterly undemocratic and non-legally binding referendum result which was achieved by a combination of dishonest fearmongering and lies about the economy”
A view no doubt shared widely in BBC newsrooms…
On Sunday Shami Chakrabarti tried to excuse her hypocrisy on grammar schools by telling viewers about her “nice big house”. As ever Guido takes you Through the Keyhole, inside the £2.5 million Grade II-listed home Baroness Chakrabarti owns in South London.
The luxurious property contains no less than SIX bedrooms and FOUR bathrooms, as well as its own courtyard outside the sliding doors behind the ultra-modern dining area.
Shami bought the house with her husband for £1.4 million in 2010. They then divorced, she became the sole owner, and the property has added a million quid to its value since then.
Perfect for all your dinner party needs dahling!
Michael Gove tells the House to listen to the liberal elite, recalling that on referendum night we were told:
“I will forgive no one who does not respect the sovereign voice of the British people once it has spoken. Whether it is a majority of 1% of 20%, when the British people have spoken you do what they command. Either you believe in democracy or you do not.”
The words of chief liberal elitist Paddy Ashdown. Boris loved it!
Steve Hilton was appalled by Amber Rudd’s foreign worker list idea, blasting it in the Sunday Times as “divisive” and “repugnant“. So he’ll be pleased Downing Street have since said that no numbers will be published and the proposal may be voluntary anyway. Odd, however, that Steve hasn’t raised his moral objections to this issue in the past. As CEO of Crowdpac in the States, he must be familiar with the American HB1 visa system, which requires firms to disclose how many foreigners they employ, imposing new rules and restrictions when certain thresholds of foreign workers are met. For example Hilton’s Crowdpac applied for several of these HB1 visas over the last few years and publicly disclosed the foreigners’ personal details. It ain’t that shocking a proposal if Hilton’s own start-up complied with more strenuous rules Stateside…
The picture above shows delegates from the EU taxpayer-funded Framework Convention on Tobacco Control posing on a beach during a “workshop” in the Maldives last month. The jolly was purportedly part of “preparations” for the FCTC / World Health Organisation conference in India in November, where a series of draconian measures to discourage e-cigarettes will be discussed. It is essentially a massive lobbying effort to entertain officials from some of the most corrupt countries in the world – North Korea and Burma are present in the photo above – on the taxpayer, its policy is then adopted by the EU. Strict rules have been imposed banning the media, general public and even elected representatives from attending. At a meeting two years ago in Moscow they switched off the wi-fi to stop journalists tweeting. Their last meeting was in Turkmenistan, the third worst country in the world for press freedoms. Despite helping to foot the bill, the UK does not get a voice on the proposed new e-cig restrictions. We’ll instead be represented by the EU’s regulation-mad health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who was once charged with bribery. Is there a dodgier gathering of EU taxpayer-funded wrong ‘uns taking place anywhere else this year?
All eyes on Labour’s new Shadow Attorney General when the House of Lords votes on Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers Bill this week. Last year, when she was a principled defender of civil liberties as director of Liberty, Shami strongly opposed the Snooper’s Charter. She said last November:
“Our every move is already tracked by CCTV cameras, but if the draft Investigatory Powers Bill becomes law, we won’t be safe from the prying eyes of the government and the police.”
In February she added:
“The Government needs to pause, take stock and redraft. The case for unprecedented powers to bulk hack, intercept and collect our private data has not been made.”
Labour are now briefing that Shami will follow the whip and abstain on the vote this week. Is there anything Baroness Chakrabarti won’t say or do in exchange for her gong?
The joint highest ever Tory lead recorded by ICM, who have been doing these polls since 1992. Even the Greens are surging…
Jeremy Corbyn has been blasted for rewarding a Labour MP embroiled in a string of anti-Semitism rows with a frontbench job. Yasmin Qureshi, Labour’s new Shadow Justice Minister, said in 2014 that the Israel-Palestine conflict was “the same” as the Holocaust. She was initially unrepentant, refusing to apologise before Ed Miliband eventually forced her to say sorry. It’s not the only time Qureshi has been in trouble: she invited blood libel anti-Semite Raed Salah to parliament, dismissed Hamas’ Iranian-built rockets as “home made”, claimed the Trojan Horse schools scandal was a “witch hunt” and attended an event in the Commons with CAGE. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism tell Guido:
“We now have a Shadow Minister for Justice who holds an antisemitic view according to the definition of antisemitism, a Shadow Home Secretary who thinks that allegations of antisemitism are being concocted as a means by which to smear Jeremy Corbyn, and a Shadow Attorney General who has done more than anyone else to make the Labour Party deaf to Jews. These appointments make it abundantly clear that Jeremy Corbyn has no intention of addressing antisemitism in the Labour Party.”
Well done Jez.
Theresa May has not yet been Prime Minister for three months and she has already u-turned on five significant policy issues:
- EU citizens’ right to remain: During her leadership campaign May refused to guarantee the status of EU nationals living in the UK, now the government says they are “100% sure” they’ll be allowed to stay.