Friday Caption Contest
(I’m a LibDem and the Coalition Was My Idea Edition)

Polly’s Fears Strike Home

Polly writes movingly today of the fear that is stalking the Guardian reading public sector parasitical classes:

“…Cameron and Osborne have been most successful is in frightening people, not in itself a useful economic tool… However, fear can be useful politically. Cameron’s government has skilfully created a hate campaign directed at the public sector. The release by Eric Pickles this week of all the spending data from his department and its quangos was admirable openness – but mainly a crafty assault on everything spent by public servants… Cameron has performed a political conjuring trick of some brilliance in diverting voters’ wrath from the gamblers of high finance to public servants’ excess.

Tragic isn’t it? The truth and openness about public servants’ excesses. Enough to fill any decent Guardian reader with fear…

Polly personally knows the meaning of that fear, having to scrape by on her six-figure Guardian salary supplemented only by media appearance fees and royalties from her book Unjust Rewards, co-authored with her husband David Walker a former Guardian journalist, which attacked the rich and inequality.

He is (for now) the axed Audit Commission’s six-figure salaried Managing Director of Communications and Public Reporting, basically an upmarket spinner. With a household joint-income in the top 1% and some ten times the national average, her husband’s looming unemployment must put her in fear for their multi-million pound property portfolio – the £2.4m London townhouse, the villa in Tuscany, not forgetting the holiday home in upmarket Lewes, Sussex. Thank god Polly and David no longer have to worry about their Amy’s private school fees. How will they cope?

A Spiv Too Far

ConservativeHome sums up the David Rowland story thus:

The Daily Mail Sinks the Tory Treasurer

By Tim Montgomerie

First CCHQ announces that David Rowland will be the new Tory Treasurer.

THEN…

Fundraisers tend to have a bit more chutzpah than your average party hack (think sleazy Lord Levy), but Rowland (pictured here with a blonde not his wife) had trouble written all over him.  The cleaning up of politics means parties will have to raise funds from their memberships, appeal to members, listen to the grassroots, represent their interests. It is just lazy to raise funds from a few plutocrats…

UPDATE : Just a thought: can you imagine the Daily Mirror going after a bent Labour backer with as much venom as the Mail went after Rowland? Can you imagine LabourList or LeftFootForward joining in the pursuit? The Mail has done the Tories a favour in the long term.

See also : Rowland Gave Tories a Million to “Set the People Free”

Audit Commission Full of Spin

According to PR Week the Audit Commission has 48 “communications” staff – spin doctors to you and Guido. PR Week worries that they may now lose their jobs. Why did bean-counting public servants need so many spin doctors in the first place?

UKIP Leadership Race

The race has begun to succeed Lord Pearson as leader of UKIP. He has amused political observers with his candid honesty. Not a strategy for success in politics.

Nigel Farage is favourite, though one wonders if he is really up for it given his health. He hasn’t said he will run for sure, yet punters still make him the runaway favourite. The rest of the likely runners include Christopher Monckton, the leading global warming sceptic and former adviser to Maggie. David Campbell Bannerman is a policy guy, former Tory SpAd and latterly a spinner before getting elected as an MEP.

Gerard Batten is another MEP and former London mayoral candidate, Spanish Marta Andreasen is the EU auditor turned UKIP MEP.

Guido has put a few quid on Monckton on the grounds that the outsider has fewer internal UKIP enemies and UKIPpers do like exotic characters…

UK Film Council Caught Red-Handed
Lobbying Against Government

Yesterday the luvvies at the UK Film Council quango were summoned by Ed Vaizey to answer claims they had misused resources to promote their own survival rather than the interests of the British movie industry. The suspicion at the DCMS is that they were running a scaremongering spin operation drawing in the likes of Clint Eastwood and billionaire film producer Steven Spielberg to write publicly demanding the British taxpayer subsidises their movies.

A UK Film Council spin-doctor yesterday denied the allegations, piously intoning that: “The future of the UK film industry is the only thing the UK Film Council is interested in.” Unfortunately PR Week had already gone to press before Vaizey had voiced his suspicion that the luvvies were using public resources to promote their own interests, rather than those of the film industry. In PR Week Oliver Rawlins, the film quango’s head spinner boasted that he had

“been handling a comms strategy relying on third-party advocacy… We’ve ensured that the message has been simple, clear and consistent: this is a terrible decision that disregards the commercial benefits of the UK Film Council…”

Which rather undermines the quango’s subsequent claim that they weren’t spinning to save their own necks…

Coalition Arithmetic

Simon Hughes has gone off one again, demanding grandly that the LibDems have a veto on Coalition policy.

John Redwood is dismissive:

“Mr Hughes thinks Lib Dem backbenchers should have a veto on Coalition policies. Some would say only if Conservative backbenchers as well can have one, to be fair.”

As Redwood points out, even if all the LibDem MPs vote against a government proposal, with the support of Labour MPs they still can’t get a majority. Only if 40 Tory MPs rebel and Labour votes en bloc with them, can the government lose. Like perhaps on AV…

Deficit Deniers Exit the Reality-Based Community

The knee-jerk reaction from the left to being called “deficit deniers” is nigh on hysterical, this morning Comrade Maguire over at the Mirror indulges in a ritual denuciation of Maggie, quotes Neil Kinnock approvingly and says “I’m proud to be called one of George Osborne’s deficit deniers”. Given that the polling shows the public understands the need for spending cuts and the peril the deficit presents, our Kev is advertising his exit from what could be described as the reality-based community.

Over at the Staggers, Medhi Hussein, too says “I’m proud to be a deficit denier”.  Confusingly, for a self-described polemicist, he then qualifies what he writes, claiming that he doesn’t “deny the existence of this country’s largest Budget deficit since the war” nor “pretend that cuts will never come”. Which somewhat suggests that one of the few media admirers of Balls isn’t such a proud deficit denier after all.

The deficit-denier-in-chief, Ed Balls, one half of the duo that abolished “boom and bust”, is the bookies favourite to be eliminated in the first round of the Labour leadership election. Nevertheless Balls is sticking to his “so what?” position, claiming deficit reduction is the “economics of the madhouse”. Absurdly Balls reckons even Alistair Darling’s modest deficit reduction plan was wrong: “Halving the deficit in four years by cutting public spending… I think was a mistake. In government at the time in 2009 I always accepted collective responsibility, but at the time in 2009 I thought the pace of deficit reduction through spending cuts was not deliverable, I didn’t think it could have been done… I’m not happy to accept cuts in any part of the budget…” Guido thinks that is really the “economics of the madhouse”…

Public Accepts Need for Spending Cuts

Ipsos Mori have been tracking the public’s attitude towards spending cuts. Looks like this is another argument the deficit deniers are losing. When asked did they agree that “There is a real need to cut spending on public services in […]

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Shock Poll: Osborne Most Popular Tory Chancellor Ever

Here is something you probably didn’t ever expect to read: George Osborne is the most popular Tory chancellor in modern history according to pollsters Ipsos Mori.

Guido called them up to check. Yes they have asked the same question since […]

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Burnham Signals NHS Policy Change?

Co-conspirators will recall that Andy Burnham refused to ring-fence NHS spending when he was health secretary. Now he is shadow health secretary, and a Labour leadership candidate, Andy Burnham has been calling for the coalition to drop its plans to […]

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Osborne and Darling Jointly Attacking “Deficit Deniers”

Alistair Darling is launching an attack on the Brown-Balls “spend, spend, spend” dividing line election strategy and the continued deficit denial of Ed Balls. Remember that at one point before the election Gordon Brown tried to replace Alistair Darling with […]

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Quote of the Day

William Hague on Tony Blair…

“To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.”

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