Thursday, April 3, 2008

Government’s Authority Draining Away

26 Labour MPs have signed a motion calling on the government ot reverse the budget tax hike on low income earners. The wording could have been written by George Osborne:

ABOLITION OF THE TEN PENCE TAX RATE
02.04.2008

That this House notes that, despite assurances to the contrary, many people are being made worse off by the abolition of the 10 pence tax rate; notes with concern that this is having a disproportionate impact on people who can ill afford to be made worse off; accepts that this was not the intention of the Government but is dismayed at the response to the plight of those adversely affected; and calls on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bring forward measures to correct this damaging change to the taxation system.

This is how John Major started to crumble. When even Ministers are getting in on the act you know it is bad. Gerry Sutcliffe follows Ivan Lewis as another ministerial critic…

UPDATE : Just noticed that Ben Brogan has posted almost the exact same thought.

Political Junkie Home Launches Monday

Guido is looking forward to the launch of PoliticsHome for one reason, it promises to make political reporting a numbers game, like U.S. sports reporting or financial news. Anyway in a cunning ruse to get coverage they are giving an insight into the kind of numbers they are polling daily from their politically balanced “insider” panel.

They are selectively giving tasters of their polling results out for us to nibble on, today it is Guido’s turn to discover that:

5% of insiders think “the British political system is not in any need of any significant reform”.

The other 95% breakdown as follows:


  • It would benefit from some constitutional tweaks, but no more: 32%


  • We need to make some fundamental, far-reaching reforms: 50%


  • We need something like a revolution in our conception of how British democracy should work 12%


  • None of these 2%

That 5% must be crackers. Guido would like the reporting of politics to be more like a blood sport…

Councillor Watson Claims £3,723 Per Meeting

Joanne Watson, a member of the Watson Family Clan, is a councillor in Sandwell. In the 2006-2007 municipal year she has managed to claim £14,894.20 in allowances for attending a total of 4 meetings.
That is an incredible average of £3,723 per meeting.

According to official attendance records obtained by Guido, she has as Vice-Chair of the “Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel” managed to attend in this municipal year 1 meeting out of the 4 held by that panel. She attended none of the six meetings of the Health and Older People Scrutiny Panel of which she is a member. She attended 1 meeting out of the 5 held by the West Bromwich Town Committee, 2 out of the 7 full Council meetings and none of the meetings of the Education Staffing Committee. A grand total of 4 recorded meetings attended last year.

She also works for Pat McFadden MP and Michael Cashman MEP, so the taxpayer chips in a bit more there in addition to the payments she gets from the Labour Party and Amicus.

Is she the most overpaid local council fat cat? Are all the Watsons getting fat off the backs of struggling taxpayers?

UPDATE : Some suggestion in the comments that a massive 7 meetings were attended in the relevant year which would make it a mere £2127.74 per meeting. McKinsey charge less than that…

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Halls of Residence for MPs?

Well if coppers, fireman and nurses can do it, why not MPs? What makes them so bloody special? They are just another public sector profession with housing problems. Plenty of cheap property over the river in South London, even Peckham isn’t too far…

Elisabeth Murdoch to Host London Obama Fundraiser

Guido has received his invite to the £500-a-head Obama fundraiser being hosted by Elisabeth Murdoch at her Ladbroke Terrace home in Kensington and Chelsea at the end of the month. Guido won’t be going because (a) he wants McCain to win and (b) the invitation says only American citizens can donate (it asks for your U.S. passport number by RSVP).So unless Ms Murdoch wants to let Guido off the ticket price, Gwyneth Paltrow and her will have to drink the champagne without him…

87% of Tories Behind CameronHow Many Labour MPs Behind Brown?

It seems pretty clear that Brown’s attempt to placate Labour MPs by attending the meeting of the PLP on Monday was not successful. Labour MPs actually criticised him to his face about putting up taxes on low income earners. When Brown went into his tractor-production-is-up mode around the room “there was a collective murmur of disagreement. It was like a collective heckle”- according to an unnamed MP quoted by the Guardian’s Nicholas Watt.

On the opposition benches the grassroots polling carried out by ConservativeHome is reporting high levels of satisfaction with Dave. Labour’s Charles Clarke MP helpfully produced a doomsday list of southern seats that will see Labour MPs out come the general election. Those marginal MPs will be the ones who start agitating for a change of direction and perhaps a change of leader. Ivan Lewis, a government minister, laid into Brown on the weekend. He said the government is out of touch with ordinary Labour voters. Even the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire agrees – “Labour must prove it’s in touch with voters”.

Brown will be fighting on two fronts, his own benches restless and fearful, the opposition benches hungry and united. How long will the Blairites restrain themselves? Guido suspects that the psychological impact of Mayor Boris will be huge. It will signal that a Brown led Labour Party is facing certain electoral defeat.

The civil war will begin on May 2…

Never Mind Seal Clubbing, What is Hague Going to Do to Harman?

Recess Monkey admits that Labour MPs and activists are resigned to witnessing horrific and possibly brutal cruelty at PMQs today.

So let’s get the popcorn in and sit back and enjoy the show…

UPDATE : Fantastic comedy value and very entertaining. She gave Hague as good as she got. Guido would go as far as to say she did very well. Better than Prescott ever did at PMQs against Hague…

*Guido of course abhors unnecessary cruelty to advertisers seals, but he does wonder what they taste like…

+++ Irish PM Bertie Ahern Announces Resignation +++

RTE News has more

March Stat-Porn : 458,475 Page Hits from 352,291 Visitors

The most popular story last month was about Nick Robinson’s expenses and Cameron’s slap down of Ed Balls. Invariably the top referring sites to Guido over the last couple of years have been Iain Dale, ConservativeHome and PoliticalBetting.com. Of late however some of the Big Media political blogs have started coming up the rankings. This month (for the first time) the Speccie’s Coffee House blog sent more referrals than Political Betting, putting it at #3. Google sends more referrals by far, however the top ten referrers after Google and Yahoo are:

#1 Iain Dale
#2 ConservativeHome
#3 Coffee House blog
#4 PoliticalBetting.com
#5 Times Blogs (Red Box and Comment Central)
#6 BBC (Nick Robinson, Newsnight and Daily Politics)
#7 Telegraph Blogs
#8 Biased BBC
#9 Dizzy Thinks
#10 House Price Crash Forum

What this tells Guido is that Big Media is beginning to catch up on us new media insurgents. The surprise is that we have held the lead for so long. When you consider the resources being poured into blogging by media organisations with existing high traffic news sites and cross marketing opportunities, it is nothing short of phenomenal.

The Centre for Policy Studies produced some research comparing political blogs using data supplied by Hitwise. Hitwise uses technology embedded at network level with ISPs and is generally considered by the online industry to be the most reliable source of competitive data. Hitwise draws data from millions of British ISP accounts tracking internet activity. It does not rely on cookies or toolbars so is not skewed or possible to “game”.

The data above is for unique users. Below are some other well known (in the blogosphere) sites with surprisingly small traffic numbers. Ben Brogan’s blog is read by everyone in the Westminster village, but it seems to be read by few outside it. As you can see, Labour’s leading blogs just don’t have much of a reach in comparison to their right-of-centre equivalents.
Guido has bad news for his Big Media rivals, he has plans to ratchet up the content this year and the stickiness of the site to drive traffic over the million hits a month level…

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Was the Ken Video "Leak" a Ploy?

Ken’s supposedly accidental leak of this video doesn’t add up.

Sam Coates on The Times got it first. “So where did it come from?” Guido asked, Sam is obviously not saying. The video is clearly recent, filmed by a campaign-friendly video-camera, rather than a hostile journalist.

Guido suspects that given that the Labour Party is polling double digits behind the Conservative Party, Ken is shrewdly distancing himself from the party that is a liability. Why else when asked “what would you say was your proudest moment?” would he laughingly reply: “Oh it’s taking on and smashing the New Labour machine in 2000 when Tony Blair wouldn’t let me run for mayor and just grinding them into the dust. But you won’t be able to use that one.”

But they did use that one, didn’t they? Ken got coverage and distanced himself from the party to which he is only semi-attached at the best of times. Smart tactics? Ken is no April fool…


Seen Elsewhere

Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph
All Three Parties Mulling Leadership | Staggers


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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