Will There Be Tears at the Leaving Party?

Spencer Livermore has been at Gordon’s side for over a decade. He is now off to Saatchi. His departure had been rumoured for some months – since Gordon’s ranting started reducing him to tears. The hard-drinking Damian McBride is said to be next…

Gold, Girls, Brown & Bust Banks

Guido wishes he had bought his daughters more gold each when they were born. Still with gold at $1030 an ounce, tripling in three years is satisfactory. Thanks Gordon for depressing the price.

When Brown and Darling try to present themselves as the safe pairs of hands in this coming time of economic crisis, remember that Brown was the financial whizz who sold Britain’s gold reserves at the historic low for dollars. Now as the dollar goes into freefall the total loss from that idiotic decision (he even told the market to get short before he sold off the reserves) will dwarf the few billion lost by the Bank of England on White Wednesday. Brown’s judgement is neither good or timely.

We have yet to have the final reckoning for Northern Rock, where some estimate that over 20% of the loans are to mortgagees with negative equity. The Fed arranged the sale of Bear Stearns in comparable circumstances over this weekend. It took dithering Brown months to make the wrong decision on Northern Rock. Remember how Lloyds TSB was interested in buying Northern Rock in much the same way Morgan Chase has just bought Bear Stearns?

The Tory benches are full of people who have worked in financial markets, Letwin, Redwood, even Andrew Mitchell and many more understand the markets far more than the student union activist turned TV producer cum PM and the dull barrister ever will. Faced with the worst financial crisis since the seventies what did they do? Implement a pre-emptive growth package in the budget? No, they threatened to tax plastic bags and put up car duties and taxes for those on lower incomes. Pathetic.

UPDATE : The LibDem benches, it has been pointed out in the comments, also have their fair share of brains acquainted with financial markets – Cable and Laws to name two. The Labour benches are devoid of experience.

Guido is M.I.A. in Vietnam

Where, incidentally, Guido has discovered that the governing Communist Party is privatising the provision of state-funded education and cutting taxes on business. So Brown’s government has more Stalinist policies than the Vietnamese Communist Party…

No Guinness to be found however, ah well… Happy St Patricks!

Rich & Marks Monday Morning View

Guido is in Hong Kong…

Hong Kong is nominally now under communist control, yet has a low income tax rate of 16%, a free market economy and limited government. This combined with its free trade port status makes it a reform model for the developing post-communist world.

It consistently tops the Reaganite Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. Judging by reports Vince Cable would love it here – at an off-the-record* post-budget briefing he gave to clients of pollsters ComRes, he lauded Nigel Lawson’s tax reforms and Ronald Reagan’s rolling back of big government. Vince was happily quoting Reagan’s dictum that the most chilling thing you can be told is “We’re from the government and we are here to help you.”

As George Osborne promises to stick to Gordon Brown’s tax and over-spend policies, maybe the most fertile political ground for the LibDems to stake out is to be liberal on economics rather than social democrat. The centre-right German Free Democrats and the Irish Progressive Democrats have been in government more often than not since the late 80s, despite being small liberal parties. Something to think about as we contemplate a hung parliament…

*Guido was not there, so not bound by the off-the-record convention.

UPDATE : Have just discovered that the Hong Kong finance minister has now abolished all taxes on wine and beer. How refreshingly civilised…

They have also introduced Green tax cuts! Financial Secretary John Tsang also announced last month tax incentives for “Greener” vehicles and a concessionary profits tax reduction for capital expenditure on “Greener” machinery and equipment. Corporate taxes were also reduced this year 1% to 16.5%. Pay attention Osborne at the back.

Friday Caption Contest

Question Time : Recess Monkey v Iain Dale

No not the main show, the extra bit afterwards on News 24. Iain Dale will be battling for the post match spin with Alex Hilton of Recess Monkey and LabourHome on Question Time Extra tonight (BBC News 24, 11.35pm).

You can email the show using this link to submit questions.

How Much Have You Been Clobbered for Car tax?

Buried in the small print are some hefty increases on car taxes. Not just big cars either – ordinary family cars are getting whacked as well. The Taxpayers Alliance have put it all online for some 4000 car models in a handily digestible downloadable format. Once again middle-class families bear the brunt of Brown’s unfunded spending commitments…

UPDATE : Curly points out that taxing a Nissan Micra will cost £40 more!

Budget 2008 : Cameron’s Putting Down of Ed Balls

By popular request, watch Blinky’s face:

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So What Did You Think?

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Scottish Presbyterians Hate Drinkers, Don’t They?

Quick, you have only until Sunday to get hammered before beer is up 4p a pint, wine 14p a bottle and spirits 55p. These Calvinistic bastards would tax smiling if they could…

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+ READ MORE +

MPs £5,000 Food Allowance Should be Taxed in the Budget

Guido first drew attention to the £400 food allowance given to MPs in 2005. Strictly speaking the allowance is £20 per diem. In reality this tax free allowance is worth some £33 to 40% tax rate payers. There is

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+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cameron tells MPs after voting:

“Wouldn’t miss this for the world. Secret ballots very important. Remember the Chartists.”

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