Party conference memorabilia doesn’t come more crap…
Party conference memorabilia doesn’t come more crap…
Don Paskini laments the profound insight into political strategy offered by the Guardian’s Jackie Ashley, the self-confessed Brownite also know as Mrs Marr:
June 2009: “what is silly is to imply that Labour would not make cuts or that they would not have to raise taxes for ordinary families…Better to admit the obvious and draw clear lines between Labour policies and Tory ones. There is a sensible, grown-up argument to be had, and it’s one that Labour could end up winning.”
Labour took the advice and how did it work out?
“It’s certainly now much easier for the Conservative government to make cuts. Labour has provided cover and, deliciously, Ed Balls has started the process.” ConservativeHome.
ConservativeHome is now reporting that
Today Jackie Ashley’s column is on the need for Labour to set out its plans for tax rises.
Guido has some sympathy for Paskini when he foams at the mouth “next time don’t write a newspaper article about how Labour would be more popular if they did what George Osborne wants them to do.” Quite.
Guido was in Bournemouth yesterday speaking at a fringe meetingon the topic of MPs’ expenses organised by Liberal Vision. Greg Dyke was on form, his political promiscuity means the former Labour-luvvie is now a LibDem and he is helping the Tories formulate their media policy.
At the end of the meeting Guido asked the members of the audience to put up their hand if they thought the former LibDem chief-exec Lord Rennard should keep the £42,000 he claimed for overnight subsistence despite living in Vauxhall, just over the Thames from parliament. Not a single hand went up, not even the manicured hand of the Telegraph-beatified ‘Saint’ Lynne Featherstone MP who was in the room.
Even the co-panellist LibDem Lord Teverson, who was sitting next to Guido, said he was abstaining…
The search for a new £100,000-a-year Director-General of the Institute for Economic Affairs has whittled down the sixty or so applicants to a short-list of ten. The final decision will be made by the trustees before the end of next month. Word is the Trustees are looking for someone who can take the fight for free markets to the media more aggressively. The IEA has failed to have much of a media profile since the 80s…
Meanwhile elsewhere in wonkland Guido asked Madsen Pirie, the Adam Smith Institute’s doyen of Westminster wonks, if his new book 101 Great Philosophers: Makers of Modern Thought was aimed at politicians. “No”, he said. It was aimed at aspirational people seeking self-improvement. “Most politicians are not like that,” he told Guido, “They think they are already perfect.”
This 1/2% tax on homes is basically updated Georgist economics. Henry George was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, an idea that has floated around in liberal circles for two centuries. The problem is that implementing the tax would immediately discount the price of your home. Not the smartest thing to do in an era when many are struggling to stay out of negative equity. A middle-class family home in London valued at £2,000,000 would lose £100,000 (1/2% x £1,000,000 x 20 multiple). Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, points out that it would hit the property market hard, because prices well below the £1 million level would be knocked as well:
… home owners would face a double whammy – more tax and a cut in their wealth. The tax would add to Council Tax and Stamp Duty as yet another heavy tax on homeowners. It would be regionally unfair, since virtually the entire tax would be raised in London and the South East, and would be very unlikely to raise the £1 billion the Lib Dems expect – more like £600 million on our calculations. Unfortunately the current crisis is not a time for clever-clever ideas for screwing additional tax out of the already hard pressed middle classes at a time when property prices have already fallen sharply, the top rate of tax has been raised and the tax deductibility of pensions has been largely removed.
“Vote LibDem for more negative equity” hardly seems like a winning slogan…
UPDATE : They seem pretty intent on shooting themselves in the foot with this extra tax on homeowners in the South East, it will be a gift to Tory candidates in LibDem seats. It certainly won’t go down well in leafy Twickenham. Vince Cable has a majority below 10,000…
Patricia Scotland, who was at the Home Office before becoming Attorney-General, has wrongly claimed some £170,000 since 2004. The £38,280 a year over-claim is only for ministers who have a primary residence outside the capital. Patricia has a £2 million home in Chiswick, West London.
Labour MP Graham Stringer told The Mail on Sunday that if Lady Scotland did not make a ‘principled resignation’, she should be fired by Gordon Brown.
‘It is extraordinary that after four days she is still in the post… The whole Government is tarnished. People feel the Government is passing laws it is not applying to itself.’
Despite giving her his full backing, if Brown thinks Patricia Scotland can remain as Attorney General, he is stark raving mad.
Off to Bournemouth, where people go to die and the LibDems are holding their annual conference. Speaking at Liberal Vision’s session on MPs’ expenses. Mark Littlewood says he has a party membership application form waiting for Guido…
The family of Serjeant Paul McAleese blame the Prime Minister for his death. His father John McAleese, a former SAS member who was involved in the dramatic raid that ended the 1980 siege on the Iranian Embassy said his son had said there were not enough troops to monitor areas cleared of explosives. “Top brass have repeatedly told Gordon Brown what they need, but he won’t listen,” he said, “The military must be allowed to get on with the job. If not, Brown should sack himself now.”
Sjt McAleese’s father-in-law, Stephen Minter, wrote to the Prime Minister earlier this month to say that the family was “extremely angry” because his death was “needless and avoidable” and the PM had a duty to ensure that troops had the best equipment available and that the operational tactics were “sound and sensible”…”Failing to ensure this will be seen as an act of neglect and should not be allowed to go unanswered”.
Just watched the Straight Talk interview (on iPlayer here). It starts off easy enough, Cable perhaps expecting the usual “You saw it all coming and you can dance as well Mr Cable?” type of fawning interview he sometimes gets. Brillo lures Cable into admitting to some fundamental policy flip-flops. Twinkle-toes ends up blinking as badly as Ed Balls did under cross examination. How anyone could think Vince called the crisis right after watching this interview amazes Guido. It was like watching a frog boil, Cable got more and more agitated as Brillo turned up the heat.
See also Cable Admits He Got Crisis Wrong
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Boris on British Jihadis. Apparently based on MI5 intel:
“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they typically will look at porn. They are literally w***ers. Severe onanists. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women, and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort — which of course is no comfort.”