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…

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

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 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…

Has Jonah Cursed Miliband The Younger?

Though publicly he is staying out of the race to succeed him, news is allegedly trickling out of the Brown camp. Apparently he has realised what everyone else knew for a long time – that Ed Balls doesn’t have a hope of winning. If only he had displayed such foresight while in Number 10…

Apparently he thinks Ed Miliband is the best man for the job and is in the best position for victory…

Uh oh, Guido is sure that was appreciated… if this is true, then there goes The Younger’s campaign hopes.

Friday Caption Contest (Bullingdon Lads on Tour Edition)

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Shock: Balls Breaks Promise

In some shocking news, Ed Balls has said one thing and done another. As Guido reported earlier in the week, Balls made a bit of a blunder by promising to pay “interns and volunteers” the national minimum wage, whilst turning […]

+ READ MORE +

+ + + Lord Chief Justices Rules + + +
+ + + MPs To Be Treated As Common Criminals + + +


The three former Labour MPs Elliott Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and an ex-Tory peer Lord Hanningfield facing expenses fraud charges have lost their High Court appeals after a ruling by the Lord Chief Justice this morning that they are […]

+ READ MORE +

Meanwhile in Court 4…


The Court Of Appeal
Criminal Division

COURT 4

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISIONAL COURT

FRIDAY 30th JULY 2010 IN COURT 4 AT 09:15 AM

BEFORE
LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND AND WALES

PRACTICE DIRECTION: AMENDMENT NO […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Preston Council leader Peter Rankin explains rising anti-Semitism…

“You need to think why this anti-semitism is getting worse. It’s because of the actions of the IDF shelling schools and hospitals and killing and maiming thousands of men, women and children.”

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