Watson v Whittingdale

Tom Watson has officially been bought into beef up Ed’s machine. As Deputy Party Chairman in charge of campaigning he will sit in the Shadow Cabinet. John Whittingdale the chair of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, where Watson has clawed back his tarnished reputation, suggests there is a conflict of interest. It’s extremely rare for a frontbencher to be allowed to sit on a Select Committee, but Watson is digging in, suggesting that Michael Fallon, who is on the Treasury Select Committee, holds a similar party role for the Tories:

Fiiight.

Friday Caption Contest (Liam Fox Edition)

+ + + The Full Shad Cab List + + +

Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party
Ed Miliband MP

Shadow Deputy PM, Party Chair and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Harriet Harman MP

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Ed Balls MP

Shadow Foreign Secretary
Douglas Alexander MP

Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities
Yvette Cooper MP

Shadow Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Sadiq Khan MP

Shadow Chief Whip
Rosie Winterton MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Andy Burnham MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Stephen Twigg MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Chuka Umunna MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Jim Murphy MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Hilary Benn MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Angela Eagle MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Caroline Flint MP

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Rachel Reeves MP

Shadow Minister for London and the Olympics
Tessa Jowell MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Maria Eagle MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 
Liam Byrne MP

Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Ivan Lewis MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mary Creagh MP

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
Jon Trickett MP

Labour Party Deputy Chair and Campaign Coordinator
Tom Watson MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Vernon Coaker MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Margaret Curran MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Chair of the National Policy Forum
Peter Hain MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Lords Chief Whip
Lord Bassam of Brighton

Also attending Shadow Cabinet:

Shadow Minister for Care and Older People
Liz Kendall MP

Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
Michael Dugher MP

Shadow Attorney General
Emily Thornberry MP

Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
Lord Stewart Wood

Reshuffle Feather Ruffle

So far we know that Ann McKechin, John Healey, John Denham and Shaun Woodward are out. Ivan Lewis thoroughly deserves his new job sitting in Easyjet departure lounges begging for meetings with international players having been demoted to Shadow DFID brief. Angela Eagle replaces Benn as Shadow Leader of the House. Burnham has been given his old health brief back. Chuka looks favourite to replace Denham in Business and Rachel Reeves to replace Eagle. Thirsty Stephen Twigg has also been promoted to Shadow Education and Michael Dugher is going somewhere.  There is talk of up to six 2010 intakers getting a job.

However it’s not just the uninspiring MPs that are playing musical chairs this morning, the Special Advisers are also sweating it out, waiting to see if they will weaned off of the short-money teet. John Healey’s spinner Ian Parker isn’t very happy, he took to Twitter in the wee hours to lash out at his colleagues:

Solidarity!

Fox Asks For Best Man Probe

What is it with big beasts of the Tory right and controversal trips with their advisers? The issue of Adam Werritty has been circling Liam Fox for months, after it emerged the unvetted and unemployed best-man of the Defence Secretary was swanning around Westminster with House of Commons business cards that said he was Fox’s “personal adviser”. Fox previously denied he was involved in any MOD activity, yet now it emerges his former flatmate came on an official MOD trip to Sri Lanka.

In that classic trick, Fox has triggered an inquiry himself, finally seeing how fishy this all looks. You would have thought after Hague got the taxpayer to pick up the bill for his trip to Afghanistan with Christopher Myers that the Tories would be a little more careful about this sort of thing. Where Hague spent an extra weekend in Bahrain with his adviser, Fox is only thought to have attended “private events” in Sri Lanka with Werritty. All werry odd…

Inflation: Printing Error

On the Today programme this morning George Osborne dismissed the inflation threat “Actually the problem at the moment is too little money… That’s why the independent monetary policy committee came to its judgement” Is that really true?

The MPC has failed for 60 months in a row to meet its inflation target of 2%, inflation will probably come in at 5% next month. That clearly isn’t a deflation problem, it is an inflation problem which gives savers and pensioners on fixed incomes negative real interest rates, deliberately halving the real value of their pensions in little over a decade. That isn’t an unfortunate consequence of government policy, it is a deliberate policy aim because it also halves the government’s debts in real terms as well.

Those dangerous radicals at SAGA, the retirees organisation, are describing QE as aTitanic Disaster,

“QE2 will damage pensions, impoverish pensioners and ultimately risk another crash. Inflation depletes spending power. It does not create growth. This inflation has undermined confidence and caused consumers to retrench, which has actually weakened the economy. The authorities must take heed of these dangers before it’s too late.”

The Monetary Policy Committee is simply no longer even trying to contain inflation, the Federal Reserve in Washington and the Bank of England in London are, in concert with their respective treasuries, deliberately letting inflation go to solve the government debt crisis on the backs of pensioners and prudent savers. The only reason they don’t say it explicitly is because if inflation expectations were to be higher it would feed, reflexively, into even still higher inflation. That is why Mervyn King has disingenuously claimed for 5 years that inflation is “a blip”. Some blip…

This from the party of sound money will hit a key voter demographic hardest, the demographic that is most loyal in voting for the Conservative Party, affluent retirees. David Cameron’s conference speech last week was nowhere near as good as his 2008 speech:

I believe that government’s main economic duty is to ensure sound money and low taxes. Sound money means controlling inflation, keeping spending under control and getting debt down. So we will rein in private borrowing by correcting that big mistake made by Gordon Brown, and restoring the Bank of England’s power to limit debt in the economy.

In government and at the Chancellor’s behest we are seeing the printing of money on a scale never seen before, inflation is uncontrolled, spending is rising, debt is being encouraged to rise. The Chancellor plans to facilitate more private borrowing from the Treasury by poor corporate credit risks and the Bank of England now holds on its books a third of all the government debt outstanding with no credible plan to unwind the hundreds of billions in QE driven government gilt purchases. Sound money? What a joke.

Shred Ed: Miliband Sacks Old Guard

Ed Miliband’s reshuffle is well under-way and he’s sacked one of the few former Labour Ministers to back him in the leadership contest. John Denham, who is said to have helped Ed craft the “good business/bad business” section of his conference speech that saw him so ridiculed, has been given the chop. To add to the humiliation, Denham will become the unpaid PPS to the leader, which means the former Brown spinner Michael Dugher is definitely is going up.

It wouldn’t be a reshuffle without someone quitting to “spend more time with their family”, so step forward please John Healey. The invisible Shadow Health Secretary was allegedly offered a lesser job, but decided to walk instead. Ed has gushed during the exchange of letters a little too much for this to have been anything other than a sacking. There’s an hilarious rumour doing the rounds that Caroline Flint will be given this poisoned chalice. Lansley will be shaking in his boots, and Burnham would be the obvious choice…

Elsewhere David Miliband, the man that quit to spend less time with his family, is not expected to return, though there is some speculation that Alan Johnson might be ready to put his head back above the parapet. As predicted here Meg Hillier is set to go, and Ann McKechin was spotted yesterday afternoon looking sad. There will hardly be tears shed if Shaun Woodward is put out to pasture. Plenty of room for those long tipped 2010 intakers to ruin their careers and jump on Ed’s sinking ship…

UPDATE: The BBC is tipping Gloria to take over from Ivan Lewis.

Boris: King of the Shaggers

Boris might not want to go campaigning near Camden Lock for a few weeks. Controversal extra-marital affairs dating agency Ashleymadison.com have found a new face for their service. Testing the all good publicity notion to the extreme…

Via The Drum.

Sky Go to Town on the Trinity Mirror Group

Further to Mark Kleinman’s whitewash scoop this morning, Sky News have been running this package, which will not make for comfortable viewing for Trinity Mirror execs:

In other news, it’s the first day of the Leveson Inquiry today.  Surely just […]

+ READ MORE +

Red Ed Reshuffle Rumour: “It’s Tomorrow”

Paul Waugh tweets that Angela Eagle is to be moved to the non-job that is Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary with former Lloyds banker Rachel Reeves taking over as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Presumably this would mean […]

+ READ MORE +

The Sunday Roast

The announcements coming out today about the re-jigging of the Beeb have confirmed Guido’s scoop that Andrew Neil would be taking over The Politics Show on Sundays, bringing the Daily Politics up to a six-day, ninety-minute episode operation. As Guido […]

+ READ MORE +

Osborne Responds to QE Announcement

George Osborne told the BBC:

“I don’t think anyone should be pleased that we have reached this point. It is an admission of failure and carries considerable risk. Let us hope that this approach taken by the Bank of

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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