Guido is on the Beach

Have however just noticed that the readers of ConservativeHome.com have voted their favourite use of new media to be Guido’s 2007 video of Gordon Picking and Eating His Nose Bogies.

It is gratifying to see how successful that video has been – it is probably the most successful British political YouTube video of all time (there are about 4 different versions of it doing the rounds, including a viral one formatted for mobile phones). To put it in perspective, that one YouTube video has been seen more than all of the Downing Street YouTube channel’s output combined.

Guido would like to remind you how Paxman and Michael White et al sneered about it. Who had the better judgement about what people really wanted to know about Gordon? They wanted to know for themselves – did he really pick his nose? In the end even BBC News reported it, though they described it as “alleged evidence on the internet”. The video has also been seen around the world on various conventional TV broadcast news shows. Canal Plus in France has a late night equivalent to Newsnight, where the prettier female equivalent to Paxman was in fits of laughter that the English would make someone like Gordon, who would do that in public, Prime Minister. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched it. Why is it so popular? Because we like to laugh at our rulers, that is a very healthy thing – unlike eating your bogies…

It remains Guido’s favourite single production. So, just for all the fans, one more time:

Analysis of MPs Expenses Shows Labour Most ExpensiveBrown and Cameron Fiddle Housing Allowance

There should of course be no reason why expense claims should vary in aggregate across party lines, yet they do. Guido reckons this says something significant about their attitude to the stewardship of taxpayer’s money. Of the 50 most expensive MPs 74% are Labour, 18% LibDem and one is a Conservative – David Mundell. The rest are SNP members who Guido will excuse on the clear grounds that they have, by definition, justifiably higher travel expenses.

The ten most expensive users of stationery are also Labour MPs, in category after category it is the same with Labour MPs always claiming the most. One stand out example of expense padding is from Janet Anderson, the Labour MP for Rossendale & Darwen. She has the most amazingly expensive car habit judging by her mileage allowance.* With a claim of £13,851 – which equates to a claim for over 50,000 miles – assuming she drives at an average of say 40 mph – that is 1,200 hours of solid driving, or 50 days and nights non-stop. Enter her for Le Mans!

The only honourable exception to Labour prolificacy is Dennis Skinner. Party leaders have no shame either:-

  • Why does Dave claim £20,563 for staying away from home? We all know he lives in Notting Hill, the kids go to school locally, it is his primary residence isn’t it. Is he claiming the Witney constituency home is his primary residence? The same fiddle that the Yvette and Ed Balls pull?

  • Why does Gordon claim £17,017 for the same when he already has his 10 Downing Street residence paid for by the taxpayer?

Out of 646 MPs only 54 don’t take the mortgage subsidy. Further digging would reveal how many are fiddling. You need to check your MP’s addresses online in the Land Registry records (costs a few quid) to see if the property is mortgaged. If it isn’t and they are claiming, they are fiddling. The expense breakdown in full is here.

Sir Michael White and the rest of the apologists for our political class like to claim that our politicians are largely uncorrupt. This is only because they have voted themselves transparent fiddles which may be legal, but are not right. In the private sector the same practises would lead to fraud charges or at the very least questions from the taxman. Our politicians have voted for themselves to be above the laws that they apply to the voters…

*She still manages to claim for rail travel more than hundreds of other MPs.

Credit : Via original number crunching from Letters from a Tory based on 2006/7 data.

UPDATE : The excusing of the SNP was poorly phrased and has been deleted from the above, for the purposes of this article Guido is excusing their high spending. As pointed out by many in the comments, David Mundell also holds a (or rather the) Scottish seat for the Tories, so he should be excused on the same grounds as the SNP. Guido did not research the location of all 646 seats because he has important cocktails to deal with. No doubt some of the other high spending LibDems and Labour MPs are Scottish. The general point is still good. Most of the highest spenders (ex-transport) are not from Scotland in any event.

Gordon is Hiring Two Web Specialists

This should be a laugh given Labour’s cack-handed approach to web-politics. The two new hires will report to David Muir, the new Downing Street director of political strategy brought in from WPP.

WebGordon with a manically innappropriate smiling Brown will be cringe making…

UPDATE : Alex Hilton says he is not one of the hires.

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:

So What Did You Think?

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…

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 no real justification for it, it is equivalent an extra £5,000* or so a year on MP’s income.

There is no reason why this should not be abolished and a more honest and transparent picture of the compensation package of MPs given to the public. At the very least Alistair Darling should announce today that it will be taxed in the normal way as a benefit. Guido does not see why MPs should be treated differently from other self-employed business people who have to account for every penny to the revenue commissioners.

Some MPs claim to have been totally unaware of the allowance. Perhaps that is true. Guido would still like to know the details of who is claiming it.

*Guido is guesstimating, we do not know the details of the payment system and the authorities are resisting FoI requests.

Leaked Labour Party Document Shows Quality of FCO Analysis

The Foreign Secretary’s SpAd, Madlin Sadler,* put together a briefing on today’s European Union Bill Third Reading for Labour MPs. Brushing aside the fact that the taxpayer should not be paying Madlin Sadler to produce Labour Party briefings in breach of the Code for SpAds, it makes an extraordinary claim:

“The Tories are isolated in Europe.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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