Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Ask the PM" Competition Winner

Guido’s competition to submit a question to Gordon has closed and was won by Luke. His question on the economic value of his Gordon mask (together with clunking fists) amused Guido.

Meanwhile over on the Number 10 site currently there is once again some confusion. Guido spoke with Mark Flanagan from Downing Street’s web team. He says they changed the closing date for entries because they wanted to lengthen the time available (now until November 13) for entries which was previously too short. Nothing to do with Guido or anyone else asking tricky questions about the economy. Well he is a non-partisan civil servant and he wouldn’t fib would he? However the Downing Street site still says that questions have to be in by 30 October.

Guido is happy to send the Downing Street site an extra bit of traffic and thinks it important that you get to ask Gordon about the economy. Alex Masterly has done just that brilliantly – see his question here:

Unfortunately it is over a minute long so no doubt they will rule the question out of order. Remember to keep it non-partisan and shorter than a minute – a little birdie tells Guido that they are going to look for excuses to not answer video questions. Wonder if Gordon will avoid answering Guido’s question?

Poppycock

European Commission Forecasts UK Economy to Fare Worst

Despite Gordon’s claims to the contrary, nobody seems to believe him that Britain is “best placed to weather the global financial turbulence”, not the currency markets, not foreign investors and nor now the European Commission.

The FT reports that the Commission is forecasting EU growth will slow from 1.4% cent this year to just 0.2% in 2009, while the eurozone economy would expand by 1.2% this year and only 0.1% in 2009. Among the EU’s largest economies, the UK would be the worst performer next year, when its economy would contract by 1% the Commission forecast.

Spin that Gordon…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Parties Tomorrow

Tonight is the launch party for AmericaInTheWorld.com, tomorrow however the hot ticket to have is a ticket to the U.S. Embassy Party in Grosvenor Square. The only party to rival the embassy’s party is the one 5 minutes away in Leicester Square being organised by Progressive Vision’s Mark Littlewood. With 750 people seeing in the new president, this will be even bigger than his 2004 election night party (pictured).

Big screens will be showing feeds from CNN and Fox News (depending on taste) and Guido will be making bets as the night goes on via the venue’s WiFi connection. Guido’s betting will be nowhere near as dedicated as that of the PoliticalBetting.com crowd, who will be gambling the night away in a dedicated multi-screen dealing room somewhere in Islington.

There are less than 100 tickets available for the Leicester Square party tomorrow night. See you there…

Exclusive : Paxman : The Faked Evidence of Support

Jeremy Paxman writing in the Mail on Sunday this weekend “Wear a poppy… for the lions killed in war, not the donkeys who send them there” has fine words about the wars that have cost the lives of so many heroes:
“I shall wear a poppy because an act of remembrance once a year is the very least that those of us who have not been asked to risk our lives can offer those who did not have a choice.”

Empty words. In the picture byline above the article bearing his photo he is wearing a poppy. Hypocritically it is faked.

We know what Paxman thinks of faked evidence (watch him grill Policy Exchange’s Dean Godson here). He told Godson with his trademark sneer: “Authenticity is all, as you well know.”

Paxman, who is paid by the BBC £1 million for a three day week on Newsnight, was not available to answer Guido’s questions.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Cameron : BBC is Bloated and Left-Wing, But I Appreciate It

Dave writes in the Sun this morning that he wants the BBC to change its ways, crucially however on funding he would rather stick with a structure that has produced good television and radio programmes, led by an institution — the BBC — that is still respected at home and abroad.” Is the BBC really respected in America and Israel?

Dave is reported elsewhere as telling BBC executives that he is all that stands between them and an angry Conservative Party. Is that his role? To blunt the will of Conservatives?

Poll after poll finds that Conservative supporters strongly feel that the BBC is biased against them. Dave apparently tells Conservative advocates of wholesale BBC reform that “I have an election to win”, suggesting he recognises a problem but does not want to risk the repercussions of taking on the BBC’s vested interests. He writes this morning that the BBC’s funding via the Telly Tax “tends to make the BBC instinctively pro-Big State, distinctly iffy about the free market and sometimes dismissive of a conservative viewpoint.”

Dave seems to be accepting that without a change in the funding model there will be no culture change at the BBC. It will remain a cultural drag on Britain, always wanting government “to do something” and deaf to other solutions. Lets not forget the way the BBC crowds out private sector competition, sucks up technical talent thus stifling innovation and is the primary reason we do not have a vibrant Silicon Valley equivalent. The only way to effect change is to change the funding model in 2013. The BBC does not need to do everything, in fact a larger cultural breathing space for other voices, rather than the current monolithic dominance of the BBC undercutting the competition all the time, would be extremely healthy. It will be interesting to see if the Policy Exchange report on the BBC that is in the pipeline will indicate future policy direction…

UPDATE : The BBC is cutting back the champagne for its huge Obama Victory Party in New York.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Glenrothes : Internal Minutes Show Scottish Labour in Disarray

Highlights from the leaked document (below) include:
  • Cllr Iain Chrichton “The Gordon Brown photo with Thatcher was a big mistake.”
  • Cllr Alex Rowley – election agent to Gordon Brown “The party in Fife is not geared up for modern campaigning.”

Labour Cllr Minutes

Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Clegg : Cut Income Tax 2p Now
Fink : Re-Fight the 2001 Election

After a bad start Guido is beginning to warm to Clegg. He is clearly one of us right-wing “punk tax cutters” that Danny Finkelstein warns his readers about. He is advocating a “socially just” income tax cut of 2p and the LibDems also back substantially raising tax thresholds as well. This would really help millions of people on lower incomes and give them a greater disposable income. We need economic growth and boosting private spending is the best way of doing it.

The Cameroons are being out-flanked here, listening too much to the Fink re-fighting the 2001 election campaign in his column every week. (Did you know he used to work in CCHQ? No? He did, really.)

Like a First World War veteran of the trenches, Fink is so traumatised by the destruction meted out by New Labour to the Hague-led Conservatives in 2001 that he suffers a policy version of post-traumatic stress syndrome. As soon as he hears the phrase “tax cut” he has flashbacks to New Labour’s old line of attack on “cutting public services”. The conditions are very different today, voters attitudes have changed, they know that tax and spend policies can’t be afforded now. Voters realise, as Clegg rightly says, that the public sector is bloated after a decade of big government policies. Voters want, poll after poll confirms, a tax relief agenda – tax cutting was once the Tory Unique Selling Point. The LibDems are the weather vanes of politics, the Tories should not allow them to take the wind out of their sails.

Ask the PM Competition Still Open

This is the current front-runner for Guido’s Ask the PM competition prize. Suspect Gordon is not going to answer Luke’s* question on the technicality that it is not strictly speaking an economics question. Still not too late to enter, details here, competition closes and the prize winner will be announced Monday midday.

*Can you email Guido your postal address Luke.


Seen Elsewhere

What Will Happen if Scots Leave? | David Aaronovitch
Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester


VOTER-RECALL
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George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:

“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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