Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Guidoisation of Politics Goes Global

When the nation’s media and chattering classes woke up to the fact that the last Parliament was rotten to the core, that the Labour government were corrupt, lying, power-hungry incompetents and that Gordon Brown was a needle short of a moral compass, Guido’s mission was complete. He has to chuckle that the resurgent Republican Party have attempted a similar tactic in the US:

Faux outrage over “flirting with a 17th century British terrorist as part of a campaign” has spread through the American left. Guido is taking the GOP’s spin loathing, freedom lovin’ “Remember November” campaign as nothing short of a compliment.

Nothing like a bit of viral pyrotechnics to get some attention eh?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Slashing Spinners Should Go Further

In the run up to the General Election the Central Office of Information spent over £300m on government propaganda. They managed to leave global advertising giants Procter & Gamble for dust with their near un-restrained, publicly funded, spending blitz. The COI was being used by the outgoing government for political means, the closer the election got the more money it spent. So todays news that the COI has halved its monthly budget since May is certainly welcome, but don’t forget this is still a ridiculous amount of money for the state to be spending on promoting itself.

When Guido first read that 287 jobs were being cut at the COI he presumed the whole department was being scrapped, but that is a mere dent. The bloated machine operation will be slimmed down to just, er, 450 spin merchants.The “Big Society” public are being asked to run the country, can they not be trusted to make their own minds up about government projects and operations?

The Candidate To Beat

The Republican candidate in the Tennessee gubernatorial race seems to have got his viral campaign sorted:

Guido recommends putting the subtitles on…

All Must Have Prizes

In a move likely to massively increase his book sales, a group of academics have ranked Gordon only the third worst post-war Prime Minister. Gordon’s allies often say history will judge him more kindly than his modern critics, though it’s not looking good if the one hundred historians polled here are anything to go by.

Eden and Douglas-Home were the two deemed more catastrophic failures than the Prime Mentalist – Suez and Profumo still playing strong with the historians. Though Gordon should take note, all is not lost, Douglas-Home spent another six years active in politics after his resignation and even served in Heath’s cabinet. He actually turned up to Westminster though…

Monday, August 2, 2010

Big Society Watches Your Drinking

Dave took the time to launch his vision of the ‘Big Society’ just ahead of the parliamentary recess. Beneath the Obama-lite rhetoric and calls for a legion of volunteers to run services was a message: it’s time to cut back the state and let individuals take control of their own lives.  So far, so good. But can the Tories resist the urge to centralise and regulate now that they are in power?

Behind the paywall at The Times, Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse has been expounding on the ‘need’ for state intervention to combat alcohol consumption. The chief of the Met Police authority suggests twice daily alcohol testing for problem drinkers with “intensive monitoring and enforcement to ensure compliance”.

He gleefully explains what happens to those who dare breach a prohibition order in a similar scheme run in the backwoods of South Dakota: “The sanction is immediate and certain – straight into the cells, no argument, no court, no lawyers.” Very ominous.

If Malthouse persists with his plan then Guido knows just the location to try out the new policy: a little upstream from City Hall, at a place where subsidised booze flows freely, disorder is common and employees are regularly drunk while at work. It’s hard to imagine that heavy-drinking MP’s would take kindly to being breathalysed.

Wonk Watch: Adam Smith Institute

Wonkwatch

Guido was pleased to see the venerable Adam Smith Institute as the top trending Twitter topic earlier this morning.  Had the Twitterati finally fallen in love with one of Thatcher’s favourite think tanks? Perhaps they had recognised the debt owed to a body that helped push through housing reform, led the attacks on Quangos and pioneered privatisation of public services.  Instead the ASI had dared to criticise the licence fee.

Their report has provoked outrage amongst media luvvies for pointing out that the license fee is a regressive tax that criminalises the poor, restricts competition and props up a bloated broadcaster – “a subsidised entertainment firm with some non-commercial obligations”. The wonks provide a consistent, measured attack on an outdated method of funding. The only problem is that it doesn’t go far enough. While the BBC costs the licence fee payer 40p a day, Guido will continue to provide his public service broadcasting for free.

The Smoking Gun

While it may be a mere attempt at generating some headlines, if ever proof was needed that despite the long haul of handshakes, the hustings, the “internal debate”, the Labour Leadership frontrunner David Miliband still doesn’t get it, then look no further than his pitch to publicans this morning:

“For too long we have tolerated this decline as the result of inevitable market forces. But we can and should stand up for the local pub – and the community links and civic life they sustain. Local pubs are great British institutions – and as Labour leader I would stand up for them.”

The hollow statement fails to mention what is really killing the pubs though – the full smoking ban, without exemptions, or landlord discretion, that David Miliband voted for in Cabinet and the House. If he wants to save pubs then he needs to pledge to look again at the legislation, anything less than is just hypocritical opportunism.

Monday Morning Cartoon

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How to Judge the Coalition in 2015 : Did they Fix Society?

The scale of the dependency culture is daunting, the problems are like the heads of a hydra. Fatherless kids and dysfunctional families with chaotic workless lifestyles, their dependence on welfare transfers from the productive, working classes, creates huge problems. Children from these broken backgrounds are failed by the bog standard schools which should offer them a path to betterment. Social mobility has been destroyed in the name of educational egalitarianism.

It is bad for those who are dependent themselves and no society should tolerate cities where a quarter of the population is without work and dependent on benefits. Fraser Nelson charts worklessness by City:

Guido wishes IDS well with what is, along with Gove’s education reforms, a policy agenda as important as cutting the deficit. The Left will try and undermine the agenda case by case, but it has to be seen holistically. Labour failed in 13 years to tackle the problems, Blair realised this by his third-term, too late to do anything about it.  It has to be made more attractive to come off benefits and into work, IDS is right to worry about the disincentives to work and the marginal rates of taxation for those in the welfare trap.  The truth is that we need to also chip away at the “Shameless” culture that makes it acceptable to be permanently on welfare. The judgement on whether or not the Coalition fixed society will depend on how much they reduce the number of welfare dependants.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Seven Up

7upSilly season is upon us and newsflow dries up as everyone heads for the beach.  Guido will be  in Ireland and the South of France, don’t expect  too much reportage, though the blog will still be updated  every day. Anyway if you were not one of the 59,060 visitors viewing 288,389 pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…


Seen Elsewhere

100 Tories to Rebel on Plain Packs | Telegraph
May 2015 and the Art of Political Betting | MAY2015
Fate of Eurozone Rests in Hands of Videogame Expert | TechnoGuido
UKIP After Farage | Asa Bennett
Eichmann Called on Arabs to Continue War on Jews | Speccie
Mirror Hacking: 50 Legal Action Claims | Press Gazette
Mandy’s £400,000 Tax-Free Loan From Own Company | Guardian
Why We Must Remember the Holocaust | Hugo Rifkind
“Adjustments” Not Cuts | Gary Gibbon
The New Puritans | Alex Wickham
British Minister in Watch Gaffe | Straits Times


Rising Stars
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George Galloway says of his former Respect candidate the UKIP MEP turned Tory, Amjad Bashir…

“Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment, only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us.”


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