Question to Balls

Guido is off to watch the death throes of Ed Balls’s leadership campaign over at Clifford Chance where he is doing a Q&A at 18:30 with Steve Richards. Tomorrow morning he is also giving  a speech at Bloomberg at 08:30. Both will have questions from the floor so you never know Guido, or an audience ally, might just get the chance to make Blinky squirm at one of the events.

What would you ask?

Questions in the comments please…

Damian’s Giant Step

All that talk of Gordon earlier tempted Guido to check in on another old friend. Apparently old Damian McBride has been promoted from picking up litter and is now allowed to teach “Citizenship” at Finchley Catholic High School for Boys. With a straight face.

Balls may have turned him down for media advice on his leadership bid but it seems Damian just can’t let go of his old allies. A brief flick through Giant Steps, the school’s newsletter authored by the man himself, shows an article about Chris Bryant.

Hardly a “Giant Step” forward for someone who was once handling classified information, drafting speeches delivered to Kings and Presidents and rewriting G20 communiques. Now he gets to write headlines such “Finchley’s Chefs Turn Up The Heat”. Ah penance…

Pointless Access

This morning’s Telegraph splash about “cash for access” is a little over-hyped. These conference 30-second-hand-shake gigs are nothing new and something both major parties have been guilty of for years. Party funding is a mess and throwing rocks in either direction is a waste of time without a comprehensive overhaul of the whole system. They sound dreadful too. You couldn’t get Guido to go if you paid him £1,000…

For what it’s worth though, paying a £1,000 to sit next to a Government Minister makes a lot more sense than paying £1,521.62 for breakfast and a drinks reception with some washed up Labour Shadow Ministers, as advertised for this year’s conference.

Guido can’t really see any point, other than being close enough to punch one of them.

UPDATE: Sky’s newish politico Rachel Younger points out that for “£40 you can dine with Business Secretary Vince Cable at the Quay Hotel in Deganwy. The fundraising dinner held by the North Wales Liberal Democrats takes place on the 30th of October and in these penny-pinching times it sounds like a bargain to me.” Shudder.

BrownAid

As the new parliamentary term and Gordon’s book launch approaches, Guido is hearing whispers as to his future plans. Given he has managed to turn up to work just twice since the election, it’s good news that the people of Kirkcaldy – might actually get the representation they deserve.

Apparently Gordon is taking soundings about standing in the Shadow Cabinet elections, specifically seeking the role of Shadow International Development Secretary. It would be a first if he actually won a contested party election… Andrew Mitchell must be quaking in his boots. Not.

Don’t Fight on a Battlefield of Your Enemy’s Choosing

The whole argument about whether or not the budget was progressive was a foolish one for the Coalition to engage in. The left defines a “progressive budget” as one that benefits those on lowest incomes most. Since the population decile on the lowest incomes is overwhelmingly composed of those on welfare it means that no tax cutting budget, even if  it disproportionately benefits the lowest paid by raising thresholds, can ever be “progressive”.

The only way the budget could be progressive would be by raising welfare payments to those who spend their days sitting on the sofa watching daytime TV. The corollary of the argument advanced by self-described progressive wonks is that we should pay the unemployed more to be unemployed, exacerbating the welfare trap.Fairness is a better battlefield to fight on. Is it fair to expect the minimum wage office cleaners, dustbinmen, burger flippers and night security guards who work long hours getting up whilst those on welfare sleep, to pay higher taxes to support those who don’t work? Effectively transferring income from the working poor to the workless poor.  What is fair about higher taxes for the lower paid?

Intergenerational fairness is going to be a big issue as our population ages. Not only will our children have to pay taxes to pay for more and more unfunded public sector pensioners, they will have to pay the interest on the debts run up by those same pensioners when they were working in the public sector. The deficit financing of Labour’s years of prolifigacy isn’t fair either, it puts the debts of the old on our children and on our children’s children. There is nothing fair about mortgaging our children’s future taxes to pay for Labour’s past mistakes.

“A fair deal for all” is a better slogan than “higher welfare payments for the unemployed”. Steve Hilton should send out one of his famous memos instructing all to replace “progressive” with “fair” in their vocabulary.

Davided Endorsements

With the candidates back from holiday, the finishing line is finally in sight for the Labour leadership. The news that the New Statesman has fallen in line with the Labour youth and trade union movement to back Ed Miliband shouldn’t really come as much surprise. What is shocking is how seriously Labour hacktivists seem to be taking the endorsement of a magazine that barely scrapes 15,000 copies a month. To describe it as “big media endorsement” beggars belief. It seems the Staggers knows it’s audience though – all the university library readers were voting Ed anyway.

Word is lefty firebrand Jon Cruddas, whose second preference votes gave Harman the deputy-leadership in 2007, is set to endorse David Miliband imminently – real votes that would blow the New Statesman’s mere words out of the water.

UPDATE : Cruddas has endorsed D-Mili as expected.

+ + + Florence Rose Endellion Cameron + + +

Flo Cam.

Tory MP Shows His Cock to Kids

A great spot by Labour-Uncut.

Uber-self promoting Tory MP Chris D. Kelly even let the children stroke it.

UPDATE: As Dizzy points out it seems the Uncut team are somewhat in denial describing Kelly as the “Conservative MP for the Labour seat of Dudley South”. It’s not on loan lads…

Looks Like a Bentley

Big Guido fan Tim Walker over at the Telegraph’s Mandrake is offering readers a bottle of champagne if they can identify the mysterious “B” on that baseball cap:

Looks a lot like a B for “Bentley” logo to Guido. So […]

+ READ MORE +

Keeping It* In the Family

One of the rules MPs managed to block when it was proposed by Sir Christopher Kelly’s Committee on Standards in Public Life was the ban on employing family as staff members. Nepotism being the oldest and most basic form of […]

+ READ MORE +

Lobbyists Still Bending Access Rules

Parliament has finally got round to publishing the list of pass-holders and their various sponsors. Tory Mark Garnier has given one to the nice lady who organises his dining society. For his life Guido can not work out why Labour’s […]

+ READ MORE +

+ + + Sam Cam New Mam – It’s a Girl + + +

6lbs 1oz and an early caesarean… Many congratulations.

UPDATE: Official statement comes through:

“The Prime Minister and Mrs Cameron are delighted to announce the birth of their fourth child, a baby girl. Both the baby – who was born weighing

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Cameron on Trump:

“I have to say that knowing the gruelling nature of the primaries and what you have to go through, anyone who makes it through that extraordinary contest to lead their party into a general election deserves our respect.”

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