Tories Slam Sith “Fair Tax” Plans

This morning’s controversial Smith Institute summit on “fair taxation” was relocated from Downing Street after Guido drew attention to it. The event featured Gordon Brown’s former adviser and architect of Brown’s pensions grab, Chris Wales. As the principal architect of Gordon Brown’s pensions tax he is responsible for devastating pension funds. Today he gave the Sith a few new ideas for “fair taxes” on property to be levied through local councils.

Eric Pickles MP, Tory local government shadow didn’t hold back, he laid into the Smith Institute today – “the public will be alarmed that Gordon Brown’s advisers and favoured think-tank are calling for a toxic cocktail of local income taxes and a new national property tax.”

The Charity Commission is still investigating the Smith Institute for engaging in illegal political activity. Obviously these new policies are just a tad politically contentious…

1,700 Jobs to Go at BBC

That is what Guido calls “a good start”. Glen Oglaza over at Boulton & Co gives an example of why:

When Chris Huhne launched his Lib Dem leadership bid, our cameraman took the trouble to count the number of BBC people present.

There were TWELVE of them. Sky and ITN had three each.

You see this all the time, BBC camera teams literally tripping over each other. Each news show has its own resources. Guido has been inside the BBC’s Millbank operation, regional reporters galore reporting on Westminster. Ridiculous. Newsnight’s production office alone is as big as whole of the Sky News operation. This profligacy only happens because they don’t have to care about the bottom line.

Betfair have opened up a market on the LibDem Leadership –

Clegg is hot favourite at less than evens.
Huhne is 13/5
Steve Webb is 15/1
Ed Davey is 36/1
Charles Kennedy is 40/1
Julia Goldsworthy is 40/1
Vince Cable is 50/1

Cable’s price seems to have some value here as an outsider. Guido has put a fiver on him as a trading bet.

Incidentally, Guido covered all his “Tories to be the biggest party” bets at a profit last night. If Clegg wins he may enjoy a honeymoon at Cameron’s expense…

EXCLUSIVE : The indefatigable John Hemming has sent round an email to LibDem MPs throwing his hat in the ring! Yes!

He has sent out a position statement which is basically steady as she goes, neither right nor left etc., concluding with –

I am one of the few Members of Parliament who have the practical experience of having successfully led a political group from opposition to a position of power (in Birmingham). On issues of diversity I have delivered. As far as extra parliamentary considerations are concerned I am almost certainly the only successful entrepreneur in the parliamentary party that is also a member of a Trades Union. I will be taking soundings following this position statement.

That should sew it up…

Lynne Featherstone isn’t running.

Timetable:

31st October: nominations close.
17th December: the new leader will be announced.

Nick Robinson has got the first Ming interview.

But remember, leading the LibDems isn’t just for Christmas….

Competition Winner

There were 200 hundred entries for the Friday caption contest. Most were abysmal and shockingly unfunny. You should all apply for jobs with BBC3.
Tuscan Tony wins with;

Stands the Trust clock at five to three
As the patients stew gently in their poo poo and wee
Gordon’s response – “It can’t be me”
I’ve only been here since June 23

Which just shows how bad the other entries were. He wins a copy of the 2008 edition of The Bumper Book of Government Waste 2008. If he emails his postal address Guido will stump up for the international postage…

Davey’s Dilemma

Ed Davey is in a dilemma, if he doesn’t run will he end up missing out on the crown? If young Clegg wins he could hold the leadership for a decade, with the result that some other young Turk will be jostling for the leadership when Ed is an older, balder man. Relatively old in these circumstances…

Will he stay out of it and endorse another candidate? Decisions, decisions. At the rate the LibDems change leaders, he could perhaps get another chance next year by backing Vince…

Incidentally, despite some speculation Lynne Featherstone told Guido she is “running in the other direction”. Guido suspects she will probably endorse Huhne (again).

What Has Vince Done With Ming?

Is Ming sitting alone in his old XJS Jaguar, finger poised over the ignition? His resignation letter seemed a bit curt. “Right I’m off. Sod the lot of you.”

Who wielded the dagger? Damning with feint praise was the chosen weapon of choice. Two killer quotes from the leadership team might explain why Ming has not spoken to either Hughes or Cable, the GMTV “must do better” from Hughes and the treacherous “under discussion, not under threat” comment from Cable on The World at One made it death-by-media.

Old Vince Cable trying to look solemn last night on Newsnight was a bit of a laugh. If Vince were to succeed in making his current leadership position permanent, most voters would not even notice. They would probably think that whatshisname looked a little different.

Perhaps, they might think, he was now darkening his remaining hair…

Campaign to “Save the Ming”

This is an urgent campaign on behalf of the
Labour and Conservative parties…

Judge Rules Dead Thatcherite Bonkers

A judge has ruled that a man who made a bequest leaving the Conservative party £8.3m was not of sane mind. Pharmaceutical mogul Branislav Kostic believed Margaret Thatcher was “the greatest leader of the free world in history” and that she would save the world from the “satanic monsters and freaks”.

How can that be? These are self-evident truths for the members of Conservative Way Forward, self-appointed keepers of the Thatcherite flame. Guido bumped into CWF’s Mark Allatt at the Tory Party conference, he felt the police had over-reacted to his publicity stunt – parking a 12-tonne tank outside the conference centre and unloading uniformed actors carrying AK-47 machine guns. “They were deactivated AK-47s” he protested incredulously. Not mad at all…

Rich and Mark’s Monday Morning View

Go On, Punish the PM Some More

www.PunishThePM.co.uk

Something for you to play this weekend if it rains…

Hughes First to Stab Ming

Damning Ming with faint praise, Simon Hughes has just done an interview with GMTV for broadcast on Sunday:

Simon Hughes …the leadership is always an issue in all of the parties, we live in a presidential system and therefore the leader has to continually do well and better and he had a good conference, he did a very good speech, it was meant to be the best conference speech he’s made since being leader, and Ming knows that and there’s no sign that he’s not up for that as a task.


Steve Richards So just to clarify, he has to do better?


Simon Hughes Well, of course, because he started, everybody accepts that it wasn’t a great start, that he’s improved considerably, this conference speech went really well and he knows all the time that the party has to do better, that’s my job, collectively, and the leader obviously has to do better, get better at getting the message across better, at getting the policy out better…

Later on Hughes says, referring to Cameron, he didn’t come into politics to “down people”. Well apart from Ming…

Drinks All Round – The Taxpayer is Paying

There was a veritable tax parasites ball at Westminster’s fancy Atrium restaurant on Wednesday. The BBC spent some £5,000 pouring booze down MPs throats. Perhaps they were celebrating the expected 2,000 jobs being cut at the BBC? Maybe not, but Guido is celebrating – it is a good start…

3% Tory Lead Finishes Gordon’s Miserable Week

Graphic credit : ConservativeHome


Can you imagine the cackling of Cherie Blair? Tony sat beside her on the sofa drinking a decent bottle of Barolo, TV remote in hand, repeatedly rewinding the videotape of PMQs and cheering on Cameron in between sips of the wine, tears of laughter rolling down his cheeks.

Labour MPs in marginal seats this weekend will be wondering what they have wrought. Three times Blair led them to victory, the latest poll shows that after just three months, Brown is a likely loser, along with their seats.

The Tories really should consider sending Tom Watson a bottle of champagne for his part in Blair’s downfall, particularly after he lost that £100 bet with Cameron

The Tax Battle that Led to the Bottle

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: As Polly howls in pain this morning at the Brown/Darling rhetorical U-turn on tax, which she correctly recognises has razed the ideological ground ahead of Brown as he retreats, who should we credit for her torment. Osborne? Well yes, but why did he select inheritance tax and stamp duty as tax cutting priorities?

Matthew Elliott’s Tax Payers Alliance relentlessly highlighted the unpopularity of these particular taxes in the non-ideological language that practical politicians understand. They commissioned an ICM poll in August 2006 revealing that “significantly raising the threshold for inheritance tax, or abolishing it” was the second most popular cut after cutting Council tax. This September their YouGov poll confirmed that inheritance tax was perceived as being the most unfair tax of all and was the third most popular tax to be reduced, marginally behind lowering council tax and raising the tax-free personal allowance.

The poll findings made a deep impression on the Shadow Treasury team, proving that tax cuts could once again be a popular vote winner, giving Osborne the confidence to make the announcement that has turned around Tory fortunes. As Osborne takes the battle glory, remember who fired the opening shots…

+++ YATES TO SPEAK TO SELECT COMMITTEE 23rd OCT +++

Propriety and Honours: Lessons Learned

Date and Venue: Tuesday 23 October, 3.00 pm in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House

Witnesses: AC John Yates, Metropolitan Police, Carmen Dowd, Head of Special Crime Division, CPS and David Perry QC

Guido plans to be there too…

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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