Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lose the Loser : Harriet 4 Leader!

HARRIET4LEADERCCHQ will be all a quiver at the news that Harriet is back on maneuvers, which she will no doubt deny later today if past performance is any guide.  Her team of volunteers are polling Constituency Labour Party branches for their views on the party leader.  Guido recognises push-polling when he sees it: party activists are being asked to rank Gordon and herself as to who is the “best person to sell the Labour Party” on a scale of 0 to 5. 

It would be very, very interesting if the results “accidently” leaked…

Do you think that it might encourage the penny to drop in few places that she is better than their unelected party leader?  Guido has decided to back her hopes and has come up with a campaign slogan for Harriet. If she was being honest she would campaign to: “lose the loser”.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Suckering Sid?

SidThe FT reckons the Tories are eyeing up a shares sale of some of some of the UKFI Ltd portfolio, this follows Myners on the weekend claiming to Adam Boulton that the taxpayer was sitting on a little nest egg investment in the banking system.  Perhaps, if you ignore the financial black hole that is Northern Crock.

Don’t get too excited.  Moodys has just released research suggesting we will see further losses of around £130 billion from the loan books and securities portfolios of rated UK financial institutions.  The UK economy is nowhere near out of the hole yet:

  • We are in a fifth consecutive quarter of recession.
  • Real GDP fell 0.8% quarter-on-quarter.
  • Output has fallen 5.6% year-on-year, the worst since records began in 1955.
  • The Bank of England base rate at 0.5%, is the lowest rate since the central bank was founded in 1694.
  • The Old Lady has eased £125 billion of new electronic money into the economy to create a false market in government gilts.
  • Nevertheless, the efforts thus far have met with little success: net bank lending to individuals fell to a fresh record low in June, net lending to U.K. businesses has slipped into negative territory in recent months, as repayments exceeded new loans. Sid is saving to pay down debt – unlike Gordon.

Guido’s advice to Sid: buy a little gold for insurance, invest in inflation linked securities  and neither the great British pound or the U.S. dollar are great places to be. Pop one of Gordon’s happy pills, we ain’t out of it yet…

Think Tank Pushes Drugs Policy of Decriminalisation

zero_baseOf all the right-of-centre think tanks the libertarian-leaning Adam Smith Institute has always been a bit more spikey and willing to push the envelope than rival think tanks in Westminster wonk-land.

In economics the ASI was the mid-wife of Thatcher’s privatisation strategies which were exported around the world (the separate consulting arm spun-off from the institute advises foreign governments worldwide to this day). In the last decade it has (to little  avail) been putting the case for not just lower taxes, but flatter and simpler taxes.  Until now the wider libertarian social agenda was seemingly off limits and left to the various pressure groups and single-issue campaigns.

Madsen Pirie has never dodged the drugs liberalisation question in the past but the ASI has never pushed the policy until now.  Madsen Pirie told Guido he felt that the “war on drugs” approach had now been tested to destruction and that the political environment was more “convivial” to drug liberalisation.  Guido asked him “Do you mean that because we have a former self-confessed coke-head in the White House and a former stoner heading for Downing Street we might see change?” Diplomatically he replied “Well, it is fair to say, this generation of ministers will be more familiar with the issues.”

Zero Base Policy has 32 other manifesto recommendations…

UPDATE : Claudia Rubin from the Release campaign says

the last significant drug policy measure in the UK was implemented by Margaret Thatcher with the introduction of the needle exchange programme and it is fitting therefore that the ASI should be taking this view. Were he to become Prime Minister next year, David Cameron could mark 40 years of the failure of prohibition by doing something really necessary and sensible.

Phillip Oppenheim, a former Conservative Treasury minister in charge of Customs says in an interview out today that in office he tried to push government policy in a progressive direction.  There is nothing progressive about locking people up for smoking weed…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

bloople

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bonkers in the Bunker

Over at the News of the World, Fraser Nelson tells it like it is:

Brown is BonkersRumours are swirling around Westminster. Our PM is cracking under the strain, it is said, and may quit on health grounds.

First, the rumours are true. Brown is shouting, screaming, hurling objects around the room, behaving like a maniac. In other words, business as usual. This is how he operates — and has done since he cocooned himself in the Treasury 12 years ago.

It may seem bonkers to promise free healthcare to the Nepalese when so many British kids can’t read and write. But he’ll do so this month.  It seems crazy apologising for the way gay computer pioneer Alan Turing was treated in 1954 — when Gordo was three years old.   Our PM was 49 when he sold the nation’s gold reserves for $275 an ounce. It passed $1,000 last week. Where’s our apology for that? …

It’s amazing that he dares to speak about the economy at all. Because for him to keep on spending like this IS a form of madness.  … The national debt was £340 billion when Labour came to power. Next year, £970 billion. In four years’ time, £1,370 billion. We will NEVER be able to reduce this burden on our families to pre-Brown levels. A trillion-pound debt may be with us forever. The impact of this debt on ordinary households — higher tax bills, worse schools, worse healthcare — will just be incalculable.  It’s an act of vandalism — on the prospects for future generations.

All because a PM could not bring himself to cut spending now. This is the real insanity. Throwing mobile phones around the room is the least of it…  But it will do nothing to change his place in history . . . as a man whose economic madness brought a country to its knees.

The Mail on Sunday reports that three key Labour strategists have had enough of  Brown’s rages.  His former aide and speechwriter Spencer Livermore is too ‘scarred’ to return to the election fray after the Prime Mentalist reduced him to tears during an explosive tantrum, David Hill, who succeeded Alastair Campbell as Downing Street’s spinmeister and DJ Collins, a former speechwriter for Tony Blair, have all turned down pleas to come to the aid of Brown.

eva_brownBrown has instead promoted former left-wing student Kirsty McNeill, his 29-year-old speechwriter, to be his adviser in charge of external affairs.  Lord Mandelson is said to be unhappy and a Downing Street insider* according to the Times despairs “Kirsty has suddenly become one of the most powerful people in Downing Street and it has ruffled a lot of feathers. She is one of the few people who still thinks Gordon is wonderful and tells him what he wants to hear. She has huge influence now.”   Clearly she is the bunker’s new Eva Braun…

*Wonder who that could be?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Seven Up

7upIf you were not one of the 48,333 visitors viewing 280,859 blog pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories that you missed:

  1. McBride’s First Day Back to School : “Greetings from Nadine Dorries”
    Guido provided service with a smile.
    563 Comments.
  2. Who Will Ask the Prime Minister?
    Rumours are flying around. Will the Lobby ask him directly?
    717 Comments.
  3. Off for a Picnic
    The first time McBride bumped into Guido.
    1,294 Comments.
  4. Osborne’s Command Economics
    Depressing lack of leadership in making necessary arguments.
    496 Comments.
  5. Has Tony Gone Non-Dom to Dodge the 50p Tax?
    He is making millions and never in the UK.
    226 Comments.
  6. Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View
    The cartoon of a pill popping PM made more sense later in the week.
    316 Comments.
  7. Pure Capitalism
    Great British idea for developing world disaster zones.
    358 Comments.

You’re either in front of Guido’s blog, or you’re behind…

Sky Hacker Slags Off Debate Idea

windbagSomebody who doesn’t want an general election debate hacked Sky’s campaign site and changed it into an anti-Murdoch rant.  The hacker attacked the idea as a “windbag debate” claiming “Everyone knows Gordon Brown should be el presidenté for life…”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Speccie Paywall Coming

spec_coverGuido hears that the Speccie will within weeks be stealing a march on Murdoch and putting up a paywall around the magazine’s online content.  The web-only stuff on CoffeeHouse will still be free, but the magazine content will be sold so as not to cannibalise the print edition.

The Spectator online was originally behind a paywall, then they dropped it and thus spread the reach of the magazine.  Retreating will certainly strengthen the position of influence held by online rival ConservativeHome. Not really sure this is going to produce much revenue. You would actually have to pay Guido to read Rod Liddle…

Nothing Too Good for the “Workers”

Guido’s man-at-the-match emails:

Ed Balls spotted enjoying corporate hospitality at Club Wembley on Wednesday for England game with his muckers Charlie Whelan and Kevin Maguire (+ another unknown). Cost approaching £100 per head before ticket price.

Guido has texted Kevin, to no avail, to ask who paid for that jolly.  Perhaps it was funded by the union subscriptions from the minimum wage workers represented by Unite?

Last night, in a break from playground litter patrol, the penitent Damian McBride was spotted by Guido’s luvvie-in-the-West-End enjoying a night at the favourite celebrity restaurant The IvyWonder if he has signed for the book deal yet…

Flashback : Limo for Maguire

Friday Caption Contest (Armenian TV Edition)

Iain Dale Armenian TV


Seen Elsewhere

Users of Gay Hook-Up App Grindr Infected | TechnoGuido
ISIS Raising Funds Online Using Bitcoin | TechnoGuido
UKIP’s Youth Challenge | BBC
ISIS Operative: This Is How We Send Jihadis To Europe | BuzzFeed
Shapps Defends Bashir Defection | Seb Payne
Tory Leadership Contenders Jostle Over Europe | Alex Wickham
Cutting Taxes is Good For You | Art Laffer
Suspects Will Now Have to Prove Innocence | Laura Perrins
Labour Cllr: Cops Shouldn’t Stop Petrol Thieves | HandF Forum
Creeping Cultural Acceptance of Anti-Semitism | Eric Pickles
Time For Greece to Leave Eurozone | Allister Heath


Rising Stars
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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.”


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