Live Chat : PMQs & PBR – Brace Yourselves Bankers Edition

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Speaker Should Demand Darling Explain Peston "Confirmation"

Peston is at it again, the cocky hack claims he has “confirmed” matters thus:

“It has been confirmed that the Chancellor Alistair Darling will impose a one-off super-tax on city bonuses when he unveils his Pre-Budget Report today”.

Shouldn’t the Speaker demand of the Chancellor why Peston and not parliament was the first to know of his plans? The PBR is important and may contain market sensitive information.  Peston has previous on this, causing mayhem with share prices and arguably creating a false market.  Bercow made a big thing of insisting on the primacy of parliament when he was running for office. Prove it today.

We'll Pay for Banker Bashing

As Alastair Darling prepares to deliver a kick in the bonuses to successful bankers, pause for thought.  As the bankers eye up properties in Zug and sunnier islands the tax burden falls heavier on those left behind.  The harder you squeeze high-earners, the more will leave these shores – the tax on the many is increased by the few who leave.  That is what happens when looters try to fleece the productive too much.

Bob Diamond, head of investment bank Barclays Capital,  warned yesterday that businesses and individuals could flee the City – “both financial capital and human capital are extremely mobile”.  Tory appeasement of City bashing will continue, led by the son of a son of a son of a stockbroker they stand on the sidelines for fear of being painted as friends of the City.  Guy Hands is just one high-profile tax exile, many more are fleeing the 50% tax rate.  We already seeing human capital flight…

UPDATE : How will the plan to tax bonuses cover the hedge fund community? It won’t is Guido’s guess, they are unregulated in the most and the capital is nominally held offshore. The hedgies in St James are the ones who take home 8-figure sums. Bankers and brokers will have to re-define bonuses as ‘profit shares’ and their limited partnerships as “mutual cooperatives”…

Bid for Machiavelli’s The Prince Signed by Peter Mandelson.

Guido just bid it up to £200 (it is for charidee) – clearly Mandelson’s price is too rich for Guido.

You can bid for it on eBay, and more items are listed here: www.standard.co.uk/auctionGood luck…

Anyone Seen Nadine?

Twitter is awfully quiet without Nadine Dorries who is currently sans Blackberry, filming a documentary on a council estate for a week. Twitter’s traffic has dropped substantially without the regular haiku form updates. The unpopular parts of the blogosphere are almost in despair with a lack of inspiration for their delirious rage-fuelled responses everytime she opens her mouth.

Guido couldn’t help notice however Nad has been missing from other places as well, apparently the order came from the top of  Telegraph that politely requested none of the paper’s staff were to write about her ever again in their news pages. A quick peek at the Telegraph website confirms that she wasn’t mentioned for over a month, unusual for her.

Suggesting that the Barclay brothers were using the expenses scandal to undermine the British political system for a certain minority party probably didn’t help her case.

+++ Expensegate II : Rumour MPs' Expenses Out Thursday +++

As yet unconfirmed officially, but brace yourselves for another round of expenses exposures related to last financial year being released this Thursday morning.  Will be in redacted form…

Hitting the Poorest Hardest with VAT Hikes

In the rush to talk tough on the deficit Alistair Darling is expected to announce an end to Labour’s limited-time-only 2.5% cut in VAT this year.  That means VAT will go back up to 17.5% or, if Darling’s feeling even more stern, to 20%. Since VAT is one of the most regressive taxes this gives the Tories a golden opportunity to shun a tax rise that hits the poorest, hardest.  The chart from the Taxpayers’ Alliance [pdf] shows that the poorest quintile pay over ¼ of their in indirect taxes, the richest only some 10%.

The Tories are refusing to rule out the same rise in VAT to 20%. That makes the Lib Dems the only party to promise substantial tax cuts with a plan to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000. If you are going to hit the low paid hardest with indirect taxes surely it makes sense to compensate them by raising the income tax threshold accordingly? Lower taxes for the low paid has got to be a vote winner.  In any event Guido has a suspicion that Darling’s PBR won’t schedule any rise until after the election…

"I Had that WMD in the Back of the Cab"

We know Alastair Campbell oversaw the cut ‘n pasting of parts of the dodgy dossier from student essays on the internet.  Did he also get “intelligence” from a cabbie?   Tory MP Adam Holloway, a former Grenadier Guardsman who is said to have close links to spies, claims intelligence officials told him that a cabbie falsely claimed Saddam Hussein had acquired long-range missiles after listening to Iraqi commanders chatting in his taxi two years before the invasion.

In future when Gordon Brown makes wild campaign claims we would do well to remember that it is Bad Al Campbell who is sexing up his speeches…

Double Plus Good

Guido was somewhat surprised to hear high praise coming from his old sparring partner Tom Watson of all people. During the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee last week, Watson was quick to praise this blog and push an argument often put forward here: that diary editors are thieving magpies. The academic expert being grilled, Paul Bradshaw, Lecturer in Journalism, Birmingham City University even agreed:

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O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his bearded face. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Blogger.

Watson 2009, after Orwell 1948, as Smith in “1984”

Jonah News

Guido is starting to get scared by the frequency in which the curse of Gordon rears it’s ugly head.  Brown Steps Into Corus Battle: PM Set For Talks With Bosses the papers cheered in June, inevitably Sky reported on Friday “1,700 workers in the North East are set to lose their jobs in January after steel giant Corus confirmed it will shut down its Teesside plant.”

Two weeks ago Gordon took the Cabinet on an away day to Nottingham. This weekend the city was blighted by protests and riots that ended up costing the taxpayer a cheeky million in policing costs and damages. Thanks Gordon!

Via Simbits Guido learns the tragic news that “David Beckham’s football academy in south-east London is “very likely” to close by the end of the year”. Who was it that recently paid the academy a visit?

The soldiers recovering at Selly Oak Military Hospital had the right idea when they refused to shake hands with the accursed one. They may be incredibly brave, but they’re not stupid…

Quote of the Day

Tariq Ali says…

“Copenhagen may be the last chance to get communist ideals back onto the global stage.”

Brown's Cuts Are Trivial

Brown has just given a speech this morning emphasising public expenditure cuts and, in what is a huge victory for the campaign by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, he is promising to crack down on public sector fat cats.  Gordon also claims we are entering a new era where we will be able to freely access government data – Googling government.  Guido has heard that from that the Tories. 

The truth is Gordon can’t credibly claim to be the architect of a future of open government and fiscal responsibility.

Drill down and what is he promising?  £3 billion in annual cuts represents less than ½% of government expenditure.  Gordon is temperamentally incapable of taking action of the magnitude required:

Gordon’s big government bureaucracy overspends by some £3 billion weekly (‘the deficit’ is the difference between tax income and government expenditure).  Gordon is just tinkering at the edges…

Rich & Mark's Monday Morning View

Public School Match

Marr was ridiculous in a very British right on way this morning.   Andrew Marr (old boy of Loretto, the very posh Scottish boarding school) asked Alastair Darling (another old boy of the £24,000-a-year school) whether it really matters that David Cameron went to a very posh English boarding school?

Marr asked Alastair Darling about the problems faced by the Tory Toffs, Dave and Zac, who according to the Prime Mentalist, devised their tax policies “on the playing fields of Eton”. “Tsk, tsk” the two old Lorettians tutted modestly about their young Etonian public school rivals. Guido wonders if these two posh members of the London based Scottish Raj acquired their shared policy outlook on the playing fields of Lorretto?

Sunday Sleaze : Pesky Bloggers Do It Again

Sunday Sleaze

Lord Taylor of Warwick is back in a spot of bother over claiming overnight expenses in relation to properties which he doesn’t live in – again – and if wasn’t for those pesky blogs he would have got away with it.   He claimed to the Sunday Times earlier this year that he had lived at his mother’s home in the West Midlands. However this claim turned out to be false as his mother died in 2001 and her house was sold that year.  His former wife has also confirmed that he lived in London, and nowhere else, until their separation in 2003.

Lord Taylor blogs occasionally on the Lords of the Blog site, it was on there that a co-conspirator* challenged him about the matter in the comments (since removed).

However Guido has a copy:

Lord Taylor of Warwick
Thank you for your comments. For your information, the police have examined my expenses. The police are satisfied that there has been no impropriety or any other cause for concern. They have thanked me for my cooperation, and will not be taking the matter further.

In late October Guido passed this snippet of news on to Jonathan Calvert who originally revealed the fiddles in the Sunday Times and knows more about peer’s fiddles than the House of Lord’s financial administration. Last night Jonathan got back in touch to say

… Thanks for letting me know about Lord Taylor of Warwick’s escape from the police investigation. We went back into it and the result is in the paper tomorrow. He was hiding another address (where, inevitably, he doesn’t live either) …

The result is that the Conservative peer is facing a fresh police investigation into his expenses after using the address of a second house belonging to his nephew’s companion to claim tens of thousands of pounds to which he was not entitled. To paraphrase Scooby Doo: he would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky bloggers…

*A Conspiracy Member T-shirt is on its way to Guido’s pesky source.  The best stories are always  a result of tip-offs from this blog’s readers.  Peter Hain, Prescott, Damian McBride – all undone in reality by co-conspirators as much as Guido.  You make this blog.

Guy News : Introducing Political Weather Girl

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*Due to a technical problem this wasn’t sent out to Guidogram subscribers last night, rather than keeping them waiting for the U.S. company that handles the mailing list to get into their office on Monday, Guido is releasing this on the blog now.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

George Osborne paraphrases Boris, telling the FT:

“If the ball came loose at the back of the scrum, I wouldn’t fumble it”

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