Friday, March 26, 2010

Clegg’s Campaign Whip Around

It’s not quite Brownian levels of delusion, but then again Nick Clegg has no chance of becoming the next Prime Minister. He still believes that media organisations would will be willing to cough up thousands to join him on the campaign trail though. A cheeky way to fill the coffers:

“The tour will commence within a few days of the campaign being announced and will end on the eve of the General Election in Sheffield. It is likely to last 28 days. A plane flying from Northolt has been hired for the campaign and is expected to be operational for at least three days in each week. There are only 28 places on the tour. Participants will need to be accredited and priority will be given to those who book for the whole tour – the cost will be £7,500 per person. Single days will cost £500, and these will need to be booked on a first come, first served basis.”

If these 28 places are so limited and sought after then why is there also the option to buy the ridiculously overpriced day passes? Guido will be surprised if the Lib Dems can fill a minibus let alone a plane. At least the Lib Dem campaign was well lubricated last time round with Charlie-boy in charge…

Friday Caption Contest


Best caption wins a copy of How to Cut Public Spending: (and Still Win an Election)Best as in witty and amusing.

Brown’s Bottom : Why the Decision to Sell Gold Still Matters
It Shows Brown’s Bad Judgement

The billions lost by Brown’s decision to sell Britain’s gold reserves are mounting as gold prices have more than quadrupled since that debacle.  He has the reverse Midas touch when it comes to market timing.  This chart shows what is known in the gold market as “Brown’s Bottom”:

Cameron brought it up on budget day, Labour spinners reckon it is ancient history, even though they constantly hark back further to Thatcher’s days. Guido thinks it is worth the Tories bringing up gold sales fiasco as emblematic of Brown’s bad decisions.

Gilt yields, Credit Default Swap rates, inflation projections, Public Sector Borrowing Requirements and Quantitative Easing are incredibly important for an understanding of the economy, but they are unfortunately almost incomprehensible to the general public.

Selling off the Bank of England’s gold reserves is easy to understand, it was an act of monumental stupidity and it was executed incredibly badly (Brown tipped the market off to his future intentions).  Anybody who watches TV at the moment is bombarded with adverts offering to buy people’s gold (cheap), Dale Winton is telling viewers day and night that gold is up, the demographic that this is aimed at are C1s and D1s.  These voters might not be interested in the finer points of monetary policy, but they all know one thing for sure, it was a catastrophically expensive  economic error to sell the Bank of England’s gold reserves.  Driving home that simple message graphically will undermine  Brown’s claims to making the right judgements.  Whenever he says that he should be asked Was it the right judgement to sell gold at the bottom? In the past he has retorted that he bought euros, that has had very little return over above what the Bank of England could have got from leasing gold out to short sellers and nothing like the 300% return from holding gold over the same period.  It is easy to understand that selling gold was Brown’s £7 billion misjudgement…

Fiddled Figures Hide Debt Black Hole

Black Hole BudgetGordon Brown claims that because UK debt levels are lower than other European countries he can run Greek-style deficits. This ignores all the debts that the taxpayer is on the hook for even if they are off the books.  Local government pensions are just one example: Bloomberg is reporting that English local councils’ pension plans are underfunded by £65 billion – all off the books making it look as if the UK has lower debts than it really has.

Andrew Clare, professor of asset management at Cass Business School in London, has published research today confirming widely held fears, “Pension provision is one of the most pressing issues of our time … Unless drastic reform takes place, the black hole in this scheme will have to be funded by the underlying sponsor: the British taxpayer.”

Guido asked Gordon Brown (video above) about this very point back in October 2008, his disingenuous monotone answer is here.  The national debt figures have been fiddled to also ignore the billions in PFI deals that are off the books but for which the taxpayer is on the hook. Not very credible to claim we have low national debt is it?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Desperate Labour Rip off Hacks

Kevin Maguire is on surprisingly good form in his weekly Stagger’s whispers. First we learn that the Prime Mentalist has taken to hugging bunker guests just in case they thought they were going to get a Nokia to the head, and more secondly we get a glimpse at just how low the Labour machine will stoop to hoover up a bit more cash. The lobby press pack are up in arms at Labour demanding £13,000 for the pleasure of following around Gordon on the campaign trail. To charge such absurd amount of money for a seat on a bus is transparently an attempt to boost the very empty coffers.

They should be begging them to come.

Tories Launch Ed Balls Attack Advert

Antony Calvert is the Tory PPC fighting to win in Morley and Outwood. He is aiming to give Labour a “Balls moment” to match the 1997 “Portillo Moment”. Ed Balls has a notional majority of 9,000, Portillo had a 15,000 majority, the symbolism would be perfect.

In his advert Antony Calvert says that if you want to castrate Labour, get Balls out. The best attack ad of the campaign so far, Guido’s contribution is going to be greater than a tenner…

Hewitt in a Hole

In a staggering move the board of Eurotunnel have voted to make the disgraced Patricia Hewitt a director. A great spot by LobbyDog. Even after her  fifty grand golden goodbye, Hewitt is not content with just being a director of Boots, BT, Cinven and Barclays. She shamelessly lists her government roles on the proposed motion being put to shareholders in May. Something tells Guido the vote might not go her way…

UPDATE: The Eurotunnel press office say the decision was made “a while ago” and “we’ll have to wait and see” re the vote.

Hewitt No Longer Searching for Moral Compass

Alas it seems that following the publicity Guido gave the “Right Honourable” Patsy Hewitt yesterday, she has according to a source not a million miles away from the International Corporate Governance Network, decided to pull out of her talk.

A small win for the blog, a great loss to satire. Now about that Privy Councillorship…

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Any villager should know that walking down Victoria Street yelling into their phone is never going to end well. A co-conspirator, walking just behind one of Labour’s regional coordinators, was most amused to hear about a massive pledge of support from Unite in a meeting this morning, “politics is a funny old business, but we shall see” about activist turnout and most amusingly high praise for Dave. Apparently his question to Brown at PMQs about crossing picket lines caused much amusement, and the general consensus in Labour HQ was that it was a very good line.

Over at Portcullis House on the last busy day of this Parliament, other eyes and ears have been at work. One of the greatest uses of the EyeSpyMP twitter feed is the busting of hacks and their sources. Stewart Jackson was spotted earlier chatting away to the Standard’s political team, and hey presto, Paul Waugh tweets some insider gossip:

We are watching you…

UPDATE : Stewart Jackson emails: “I never “briefed” Paul Waugh or showed him any Whip’s messages. My only comment in a two minute chat – with another Conservative MP present – was that David Cameron had played a blinder!”  Very loyal.  So who was the other MP?

NATO Does It’s Hoonwork

Reuters is reporting that Geoff Hoon has been asked to stand down from his prestigious role on the NATO steering committee:

“It was the British government that nominated Mr Hoon to be one of the group of 12 experts and he has served there with distinction. However, given that it is clear the British government no longer supports Mr Hoon’s participation, the secretary-general has decided to ask Mr Hoon to end his participation in the group of 12,” the spokesman said.”

Next stop, stripping these disgraced parasites of their Right Honourable titles.


Seen Elsewhere

Nick Clegg is a “W**ker” | Mail
Continuity Gove | PLMR
Sunday Mirror Should Be Applauded | Sandi Dunn
Hancock in “Labour is Full of Queers” Blunder | Scrapbook
In Farageland | London Review of Books
What About the Mums? | Kathy Gyngell
Tories Send Cameron Clear Message Re Gove | Speccie
Lets Hear it for Theresa May | Allison Pearson
Dave Takes Advantage of Economic Trust | Jonathan Freedland
Cameron’s Kitchen Sink Manifesto | Tim Montgomerie
Dave Promises £7 Billion Tax Cuts | Times


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Following the revelations about Brooks Newmark’s paisley pyjamas, Hugo Rifkind wonders in this week’s Speccie what other politicians wear in bed:

“Chuka Umunna will sleep in Calvin Klein briefs, all the better to catch a glimpse of himself in the mirror on his ceiling.”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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