Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Caption Competition (Lunchbreak edition)

The Return of Jonah Brown’s Curse

For a moment after Glenrothes it seemed Gordon’s personal reverse midas touch had been lifted, he even wished Lewis Hamilton good luck and he still managed to win the F1 Grand Prix. However the new year has shown the curse to be as strong as ever.

The signs are the curse is back, big time, here are two examples. At a news conference last month with Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Brown spoke before the opening in London of a two-day Palestine trade and investment forum, saying there were “considerable opportunities” for economic partnership between Palestinians and the UK, “The UK enjoys a close relationship with the Palestinian people and I hope today’s conference will cement this. I hope in the coming days we can move further and faster towards the peace settlement that everyone wants to see happen,” he said. Whoops.

This Sunday the Observer reported “Brown is studying a scheme pioneered by Nissan to avoid redundancies in manufacturing, which would see ailing firms given government funding to move staff on to part-time working and use the remaining time for training.” Last year Jonah Brown met Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn to discuss job creation.

Inevitably yesterday “Car manufacturer Nissan has announced it is to axe about a quarter of the workforce at its Sunderland plant. The company, which sent workers at the site home early before Christmas to cope with the economic downturn, said it will cut 1,200 jobs.” The curse of the One Eyed Son of the Manse is back. Email Guido any more examples.

UPDATE : A bean-counting Brummie co-conspirator emails to tell of the consequences of a visit from Jonah and Yvette Cooper.

The Dear Leader visited our Birmingham offices in October to discuss the Credit Crunch. Two floors in the same building were destroyed by arsonists yesterday morning. So instead of rebuilding confidence in the financial system, we’re rebuilding our office. Thanks Gordon.

Jonah opened the Lehmans HQ in London and look what happened to them. KPMG got off lucky.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

+++ LibDem Reshuffle Highlights +++

  • Simon Hughes Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – sideways since he had nothing to do as no longer party president.
  • Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – sideways.
  • David Heath Shadow Leader of the House – return of euro-rebel
  • Jenny Willott Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – pad out the female count
  • David Howarth Shadow Secretary of State for Justice – promoted
  • Lynne Featherstone “to oversee the party’s online campaigning”.
  • Susan Kramer “has chosen to leave the shadow cabinet to take up a new role leading the party’s campaign against the expansion of Heathrow Airport.” Hmmm.
The most interesting move is John Sharkey, Clegg’s communications director, he has been appointed Deputy Chair of the General Election campaign. “He will work closely with Lord Rennard, Chair of the General Election campaign”. He will try, with Chris Fox, to shift Rennard into the 21st century and focus more on broadcasters than Focus leaflets.

+++ BoE Cuts Half Point Off Rates +++

Bank of England cuts rates half point to 1.5%, the lowest rate in over 300 years. Is it because we have the economy best placed in the world to weather the recession?

UPDATE : Am particularly impressed with the insight of Edmund Conway, the Telegraph’s economics editor, with the base rate now at 1.5% he sagely tells us Interest rates are now nearing their bottom”. Well spotted Ed.

Wheel Barrow Based Monetary Policy

Anatole Kaletsky, who incidentally has been telling his readers to buy shares for two years, has flipped. This morning he is calling on policy makers to Punish savers and make them spend money. He wants to tax savings.

He is not the only one, Rachel Reeves, former Bank of England economist turned Labour candidate for Leeds West, writes in the latest Fabian Review:

Print More Money
Quantitative easing, a radical policy option which was used in Japan in 2005 to end their 15 year recession, could be used now in the UK. Quantitative easing is a policy tool used when conventional monetary policy no longer works – as they nominal interest rate approaches zero. The Bank of England can either print more money or buy government and corporate debt so that long term interest rates fall. Quantitative easing is not without risks (it can push up inflation) but the potential benefits now outweigh these risks. Such a strategy is increasingly seen as a way to kick-start the economy and should be adopted.

Guido warned about the coming of Mugabinomics in November, when Gavyn Davies advocated a wheel barrow based monetary policy. What should you do in this situation? If you don’t have productive assets (such as being a business owner) exchange cash for hard assets, gold is the traditional refuge.

Sir Michael White sneered at Guido last year for telling co-conspirators to buy gold. In a period when stocks fell some 30%, sterling denominated investors who bought at the beginning of the year have seen it rise 41% from £424 to £599 an ounce today. If this year we see “quantitative easing” (printing money), holding gold will be insurance as much as an investment. The economic prospect is frightening, this isn’t about making a profit, it about holding on to what you have got…

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not a Hoon Tall Story

Cambridge educated Geoff Hoon was leaving nothing to chance with his daughter’s own entrance interview. A co-conspirator was surprised to see him back in November (Sunday, 23 November 2008) at the expensive Interview Preparation Day held at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Edgbaston run by Mayfair based Oxbridge Applications. Guido would of course do the same if he thought it would give his daughter an edge, however Guido isn’t an advocate of comprehensive education and egalitarianism like Geoff Hoon. So it is a little hypocritical to see him buying his daughter a private educational advantage.

A Guido co-conspirator writes:

With my (state school educated) son trying for Oxbridge, I decided to give him a better chance against the private school competition by shelling out £295 for an interview training day, held in Birmingham.

As I waited for my son in the foyer, I was suprised to see Geoff Hoon, Minister of Transport, sitting a couple of seats away from me. Labour Minister gives offspring an unfair advantage in applying to top university? Surely not!

Mr Hoon was studiously perusing a sheaf of papers, writing notes in the margin. Perhaps some papers relating to the third runway at Heathrow? Our Transport Minister had to answer a call of nature, and left the room, leaving the pile of papers unattended on his chair. As a loyal citizen, I kept a protective watch over what may have been very important documents. I should have taken a picture too…

In due course his six foot tall daughter emerged from the lecture room and the two left in a hurry.

Miss Hoon is in fact so tall that she was identified by the UK government’s Sport’s “Sporting Giants” scheme. The scheme was launched in conjunction with the English Institute of Sport to identify those tall athletes who have the potential to excel in handball, volleyball and rowing, and at 6ft Miss Hoon was among those attending a Manchester session in the summer of 2007.

Wonder if Hoon got his money’s worth and she got an offer?

IDF Video : Gaza Terrorists Launch Mortar Attacks from School

The deaths of women and children taking shelter in a UN school are a tragedy. The IDF do not target indiscriminately, whereas the terrorists who fire unguided rockets into Israel do not care who they kill. Nor do they hesitate to use schools and hospitals for military purposes.

This video from 2007 shows a Palestinian terrorist firing a mortar from a UN school (the Beit Hanoun Elementary School for Boys) in which he was sheltering. A clear breach of the laws of war.

Those on the extreme left accusing Israel of genocidal intent should ask themselves why then it is that Palestinian children are today being treated in Israeli hospitals.

Source : IDF News Desk

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

If Spelman is Cleared, It Stinks

The London Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh is reporting that Spelman will be cleared of wrongdoing over her taxpayer funded nanny.

If, as sources claim, the Lyon inquiry reports that there is no evidence of deliberate wrongdoing or a breach of Commons rules, Cameron will not sack her from the Shadow Cabinet.

This will infuriate many parents who have to pay for childcare out of post-tax income, to pay a nanny costs middle-class parents some £40,000 a year in pre-tax income. No private sector employer will pay for a nanny. We are expected to believe that Spelman’s nanny was actually her constituency secretary* paid for by the taxpayer and that in return for her childcare duties her only compensation was room and board. Who really believes that the money was not payment for her childcare duties? Unbelievable, it simply does not wash.

If anyone knows of a nanny willing to work for only room and board can you please let Mrs Fawkes know, because we have never heard of such a deal. This is a complete and utter piss-take out of the taxpayer. Here is the acid test – if it really was completely above board and as she claims – why stop the arrangement?

Before anyone complains that she is a woman and she was new in a tough job, bear in mind that her and her husband are more than wealthy enough to afford a nanny. She is a smart, tough cookie, not some weak innocent. She has been caught abusing the system, at the very least she should pay back the money she fiddled.

*Spelman’s family home at the time was in Kent, some 140 miles from her West Midlands constituency. The nanny, Tina Haynes, told Michael Crick last year that she also took occasional phone messages and posted documents. For this she was paid tens of thousands of pounds.

Clearly Blurred

More profound insight from Steve Richards in the Indy this morning:

“The dividing lines between the parties remain blurred.”

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Hold on a second:

“It’s taken a recession for Brown to be candid about what it takes to make a fairer society. Suddenly the dividing lines in British politics are vividly clear.”

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Still, it fills the space, here as well as there.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Do You Want £20,000 to Work for Draper?

A co-conspirator points Guido towards this advert wondering if it is for Draper’s new initiative. Guido emailed Derek to ask him if this advert was in fact for his new hush, hush rapid rebuttal unit, to which he retorted “well, if you applied i guess you’d find out ;)”. Loving the emoticon Derek, so down with the kidz. So we will take that as a yes.
Based in central London this person will act as the administrator / organiser for a new independent Labour supporting campaigning organisation. They will have close contact with senior party figures and will assist with a brief that includes research, media management, writing and new media initiatives. The work will be rewarding and exciting and would be an excellent step to further work in Labour circles. It requires someone with good Labour party knowledge and contacts and will initially run for a three month trial period.

Guido suspects that this means legally it should be a regulated financial unit of the Labour Party under PPERA, with all details of donations available on the Electoral Commission website.

Guido is sure Derek said it was going to launch before Christmas. Can’t wait…


Seen Elsewhere

What We Learned From the Referendum | FT
Scottish Crisis Moves South | Nick Wood
English Democrats Accidentally Celebrate Yes Victory | Pink News
Union In Its Current Form is Dead | Janan Ganesh
Labour Could Be Split in Two | Sun
Ashcroft Poll: Why Scotland Voted No | Buzzfeed
Boris: Change Barnett Formula | Sun
Cameron is Back | Dan Hodges
What Happens Now | James Kirkup
Cairo of the North | Quentin Letts
Labour are the Biggest Losers | Phil Collins


VOTER-RECALL
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Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics:

“Labour MPs will unite behind Ed Miliband, once we find out what our policies are.”



It was only a tiny tiny collision.


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