Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is the Labourgraph on a Crusade Against Osborne?

Today’s coverage:

Iain Martin has been becoming noticeably increasingly incensed with the Tory’s incoherency on the economy. Today it looks like the whole editorial collective over in Victoria has decided they have had enough of George.

Hain : Foreign Funded Electoral Strategy Conference "This is Not a Labour Party Event"

Hain is trying to spin his way out of trouble claiming that the conference he has organised is not an official Labour Party event. It is quite clear that it is a Labour Party supporting event and attended by party members and their German allies.

He is therefore in receipt of declarable benefit in kind under Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

Part IV Control of donations to registered parties and their members etc.
Chapter I Donations to registered parties
Donations for purposes of Part IV

51 Sponsorship

(1) For the purposes of this Part sponsorship is provided in relation to a registered party if—

(a) any money or other property is transferred to the party or to any person for the benefit of the party, and

(b) the purpose (or one of the purposes) of the transfer is (or must, having regard to all the circumstances, reasonably be assumed to be)—

(i) to help the party with meeting, or to meet, to any extent any defined expenses incurred or to be incurred by or on behalf of the party, or

(ii) to secure that to any extent any such expenses are not so incurred.

(2) In subsection (1) “defined expenses” means expenses in connection with—

(a) any conference, meeting or other event organised by or on behalf of the party;

(b) the preparation, production or dissemination of any publication by or on behalf of the party; or

(c) any study or research organised by or on behalf of the party.

Clearly if only the Labour Party is benefiting from this conference it is a declarable donation. The Bevan Foundation took the view that it was a party political event and withdrew – quite rightly.

Hain can try to argue differently until he is blue (rather than orange) in the face, here is the evidence of the conference agenda that shows that when Hain told local reporters “This is not a Labour Party event” yesterday, he was lying:

Winning Economically

Get your own at Scribd or explore others:
It is clear that the purpose of the event is to assist the Labour Party, it is designed to help the Labour Party win and concerned only with helping Labour secure power in Wales. Hain is breaking the terms of the Act in organising this by accepting a donation from an inpermissable donor.

Gavyn Davies Advocates Mugabenomics

Some of the more excitable co-conspirators have been warning in the comments on this blog for that Britain is heading the way of Zimbabwe. Guido has until now discounted them as being over the top (yes the comments here do occasionally go ever so over the top).The government’s economic policies do sometimes seem to be a form of voodoo economics involving uncounted debt, faked statistics and ever changing “rules”. Gavyn Davies, a former Goldman Sachs managing director and MPC wise man is close to the Brownies – his wife Sue Nye was Gordon’s diary secretary and is now the Director of Government Relations in Downing Street. So when he advocates, as he does this morning, turning on the printing presses at the Bank of England and just printing more money to solve our woes, you can believe this is being discussed in Downing Street.

Are we now at the dead end of the New Labour era and Mugabenomics is a serious policy option? This is madness.

Welsh Charitable Think Tank Pulls Out of Hain Organised Event Electoral Commission to Examine Foreign Funding

Peter Hain has organised a conference today in his Neath constituency on “Winning Economically, Winning Politically”. Labour politicians and German SPD politicians will be discussing strategy and tactics in a session titled “What was done, what went wrong and how to win back voter support”. The event is financially supported by the SPD’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung think tank. The Welsh Bevan Foundation, an educational charity, was co-sponsoring it.

On Tuesday following complaints made by Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, the Bevan Foundation pulled out because it feared its charitable status could be compromised.

Price wrote to the Bevan Foundation’s director Victoria Winckler:

“You will no doubt be aware that the Charity Commission began a formal inquiry into the Smith Institute last year occasioned by not dissimilar circumstances, after the Democratic political consultant Robert Shrum was shown to have given electoral advice to Labour Party members based on US experience.

Commenting on the publication of its report into the institute’s political activity, Andrew Hind, the chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: ‘Trustees of charitable think tanks have a responsibility to ensure the political neutrality of the work they do. When a charity operates close to the political environment, it must safeguard its independence and ensure that any involvement it has with political parties is balanced.’

Clearly the event was political, Price was entirely right to cite the Smith Institute precedent. The Bevan Foundation secretary Mick Antoniw now says:

“Our reputation is everything and because of the concerns raised and the advice the trustees have received, the foundation will be withdrawing from the event….”

Price is not letting the matter rest: “I will be writing to the Electoral Commission as to whether the funding of what in the afternoon is effectively a Labour election strategy seminar amounts to an impermissible donation. I will also be asking the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to investigate whether the involvement of Peter Hain’s political researcher in organising the conference in any way constitutes a misuse of parliamentary resources.”

Hain is a creature of habit, once again another think tank’s funds are being used to further his political ambitions. Just as with the Progressive Policies Forum there appears to be a case to answer for breaches of electoral law – a foreign foundation funding electoral strategy advice is illegal. You would have thought given he is currently under police investigation for funding irregularities Hain would be more cautious, he already has one criminal conviction, he is asking for another…

Full story in the Western Mail.

Gordon Brown Worst PM of All Time for Pension Funds

Alan Layng, a co-conspirator, sent Guido this neat piece of research* :-

I took UK stock market performance since 1902 assuming reinvested income and adjusting down for cost of living to give real terms equity market growth for each of the last 106 years.

I matched this up to the dates of each of the twenty prime ministers who have run this country since 1902 (interpolating to the right dates as required). This gave me a proxy for how much the equity markets had risen (or not) under their stewardship.

From there, it is a small hop to a comparable figure – compound annual growth rates – and, hey presto, we can compare the financial performance of each of prime ministers, and also of the parties, to see if one party has a better long term track record.

It makes interesting reading.

It sure does. It doesn’t even take into account his plundering of pension funds during his Chancellorship. He robbed pensioners by taxing pension funds and he robs children by running up the national debt…

*Historic data taken from 2008 Barclays Equity Gilt study.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cameron Strips Den Dover of the Whip

This afternoon a source told Guido that the Tory NW Regional HQ was trying to find out which association Den Dover was formally a member. Guido wondered what was going on…

The Tory MEP is being expelled from the party after the EU Parliament’s fraud investigators told him to repay £500,000 in expenses paid to his family for office work. The former chief whip says he will repay all the money and has denied breaking any parliamentary rules.

Below Guido reproduces his June 5 story about Den Dover:

Guido treads warily with this one since Den Dover MEP got The Sun (at the hands of Carter-Ruck) to apologise for accusing him of expense fiddling. Clearly Den Dover is very sensitive to suggestions that he is an expense fiddler.


He is the chief-whip of the Tory MEPs led by Giles Chichester, who has himself been caught whoops-a-daisy paying £445,000 of public funds to a company of which at one time only he and his wife were remunerated directors. So what of his colleague Den Dover? Here is an extract from his recently updated declaration of interest (full document here)

click to enlarge

It was updated shortly after Open Europe’s Transparency Initiative started asking him questions about his expenses. Den Dover said repeatedly he had nothing to declare in the past, but mentioned this time for no apparent reason, in passing, that his wife and daughter work for the company that he pays out of his expenses. Fancy that!

He didn’t mention that as well as paying his wife and daughter some £376,916 in salary, the company in question is based at his home address. The company has spent £32,462 on “repairs”. Presumably repairs to a property. Guido wonders which property could that be getting repaired at the taxpayers expense?

Did Guido mention that the family firm has had £56,411 in motoring expenses off the taxpayer as well? Finally, and this takes the euro-biscuit, the family firm makes five figure profits. Whoops-a-Bloody-Daisy….

Why is his wife’s family firm profiteering out of his expense claims? Shouldn’t the claims and payments be made on a costs basis, rather than a profiteering basis? The family is troughing enough at the taxpayers expense already without rubbing our noses into it and profiteering.

The profiteering factor from bills from his wife, authorised by him, to a business based in the family home is worse than Derek Conway. In total he has authorised payments of £758,143 to his family’s firm since he joined the Euro-gravy train…

It takes time, but in the end…

+++ Hain : New Think Tank Funding Controversy +++

… more to follow.

+++ BBC Pre-Budget Report Monday November 24 +++

Gordon is Emotionally Retarded

For all his many failings Tony Blair had a brilliant sense for the public mood, he was able to articulate on emotional subjects sensitively. The most talked about issue this morning in offices and workplaces across the country is not the unemployment figures, it is how could this happen again in the same borough again?

Gordon has just demonstrated that he is completely incapable of sensing the popular mood. Asked a straight forward question about the death of Baby P he went into a prepared answer full of bureaucratic jargon. His tone was really off key and made worse when he made a cheap partisan allegation. Clearly something is wrong in the Haringey Children’s Services department despite the Victoria Climbié inquiry.

The Children’s Services director should not investigate her own department. Sharon Shoesmith should resign.

PMQs : You Love to Hate


Seen Elsewhere

India’s Modi Bypasses Mainstream Media | Index
Bercow on the Knife Edge | Quentin Letts
Welcome to Mississippi | Conservative Women
LibDems Select Hancock Replacement | Blue Guerilla
Carswell Resigning: “Moment Labour Won Election” | Labour Uncut
Why We Need Change | Douglas Carswell
The Howard Roark of Westminster | Guardian
Carswell, the Clacton Cassandra | James Ford
Love Bomb Carswell | ConservativeHome
Denis MacShane’s Ex is Now Hacked Off Spokesman | Speccie
How the Carswell Story Unfolded | Sky News


VOTER-RECALL
Get the book Find out more about PLMR


Douglas Carswell’s side-kick Dan Hannan MEP pours water on the obvious question:

“I won’t be joining UKIP, though I wish Douglas Carswell all the best. He has been a superb MP, and it’s honourable to stand for re-election.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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