Thursday, September 4, 2008

Some Numbers for Gordon

Gordon is off to read out tractor statistics to the Scottish CBI, here are some taken from that OECD report. This speech is rumoured to have an element of mea culpa…

Falling worse than most in Britain…

Lately we haven’t heard Gordon spin that Britain is “best placed economically” to weather the next 12 months or that he is making “the long term decisions” needed. He seems to be making decisions determined by his need for short term survival….

UPDATE : Based on Halifax figures the last 12 months have seen the biggest house price falls ever – the previous biggest 12 month fall was 8.5% in October 1992. House prices have fallen 12.7% year to date. It took four years from May 1989 to February 1993 for house prices to fall 12.97% that far last time.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wilf Helping With the Re-Launch

Bill Jamieson reports that the former head of the Smith Institute, Wilf Stevonson, is working in the Downing Street bunker on the “economic recovery plan“.  With Ed Balls and Shriti Vadera completing the dream team of wonks.  That would explain why it is going so well…
The worst wonk in Westminster, plus Balls (famous for his endogenous growth theory) and Shriti – the financial genius who designed the tube’s disastrous financing package – are just the brains to get us out of the no growth, over-taxed, rising stagflation hole the economy is in.  The Treasury is we are told cut out of the loop.

Clarke Loses the Plot

In the New Statesman tomorrow Charles Clarke is superficially writing about the use and abuse of the term “Blairism”. The word is insulting, lazy and misleading he says, calling for an end to “deceitful nonsense”
As various commentators consider Labour’s prospects, the term “Blairite” is being deployed to characterise the policies and personalities of some who question the party’s current direction and urge Labour to face the future. Like “Thatcherite”, the word is not used kindly. “Blairite” (even “über-Blairite”) is a lazy and inaccurate shorthand. It is intended not to illuminate but to diminish, marginalise and insult. It was, for example, the stock phrase used by the Brown political briefing team to traduce David Miliband’s Guardian article in early August.

Moreover, this misleading language damages the vital need for Labour to move on to new, post-Blair ground. Those journalists and politicians who use it are fighting the last political struggle, the War of the Tony Blair Succession, in a way that owes rather more to Just William and the Hubert Laneites than to the challenges of modern British politics.

In the newspapers this summer, I have read about “eye-wateringly ‘Blairite’ gospels”; about “Blairites” “thumbing their noses” at progressive politics; about “Blair privatisers” and how “Blairites” are the “business wing” who “play the markets against the ‘progressive wing’ of the party”. Some argue David Cameron is now more progressive than new Labour and that Labour under Blair became a party of the centre-right.

This deceitful nonsense has to end. Everyone in Labour needs to stop obsessing about the past and to start obsessing about the future…. Similarly, there is no Blairite plot, despite rumours and persistent newspaper reports. There is, however, a deep and widely shared concern – which does not derive from ideology – that Labour is destined to disaster if we go on as we are, combined with a determination that we will not permit that to happen.

So why no plot? If you are “destined for disaster” with Gordon you really need to plot a new course. This is really not the time to be losing the plot…

See also Clarke’s September 2006 article on Brown: He Lacks Courage and Vision, He’s Delusional and a Control Freak. That turned out to be completely on the money.

Don’t Tell Mrs Fawkes

So last night Guido gingerly broached with Mrs Fawkes the subject of going missing in Birmingham at the end of the month:

Mrs Fawkes Do you really need to go?

Guido Well you know, important to keep in touch with the base, gain intelligence, schmooze contacts, gossip doesn’t just write itself…
Mrs Fawkes For 4 days and nights?
Guido Well, have been invited to speak at a few events on issues that are important, seems rude not to give back something.
Mrs Fawkes Try not to get arrested this time.

Bizarrely tickets are going well…

Crash Gordon Now Copying Failed Old Tory Ideas

Lamont told Sky News last night “Far be it from me to criticise myself, but I do not think that the Stamp duty holiday we introduced made any difference at all”. Quite, why would anyone hurry to save 1% on Stamp Duty when they can wait and save even more.

Property is down 10%, falling at 1% a month, it could easily be down another 10% next year – why catch a falling knife? The graph below (via Stumbling and Mumbling) shows the negligible effect of the Lamont Stamp Duty holiday.The left-of-centre Chris Dillow has a surprisingly laissez faire conclusion – let prices fall. The market will find equilibrium.


“I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery.”
Gordon Brown, 1997 Budget Statement.

Unfortunately Gordon has to do something, he promised an end to the economic cycle, he promised endless growth, low unemployment, low inflation and a new Britain.

The economic cycle is back, the benevolent economic circumstances not of his making have gone and we are, according to the OECD, the worst positioned Western industrialised nation to weather the tough times. Inflation is rising and unemployment is hitting Thatcherite levels, your economic plans have crashed, Gordon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Trot Along to Socialist Unity’s Session with Newsnight’s Economics Editor Tonight

Newsnight’s Paul Mason managed, as some noted last night, to analyse previous economic downturns by going from Barber (Tory) to Howe (Tory) but skipping Callaghan (Labour) when Britain had to get an emergency bailout from the IMF.

It does seem odd to have a Trotskyite sympathiser as the business reporter on the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs show. It is all very well him briefing his comrades tonight on “The Recession – What does it mean for us?” (Suspect it will mean that capitalism is in terminal crisis since it has always been according to the Trots who sell newspapers).

Guido just wishes Comrade Mason would concentrate less on supporting the workers revolution and more on making sure that Newsnight manages to reliably report whether the FTSE is up or down on the day. How hard can that be?

Not Much of a Stimulus Package

Guido has never met a tax cut he hasn’t liked, so the stamp duty holiday is welcome, but why not make it permanent? The £175,000 limit means it is not going to apply to anyone in the South East or for that matter anyone wanting a family home up north. So not really going to help many hard working families is it? Why not raise the threshold up to £250,000 or even £500,000 for a year?

The sale-and-rent-back scheme will apply to only 6,000 home owners in danger of being repossessed. That is fewer than the government-owned bank Northern Rock will probably repossess this year…

Silly Stat Porn

August is a slow month and traffic was a mere 552,316 page views, from 427,305 visits off 88,101 absolute uniques. This was double last year’s traffic. Most popular story of the month was Is Brown Bonkers?

Guido promised to thank by way of Google juice the owners of the Bianconi Red Lion Restaurant and Guesthouse in Durrow, Laois for their hospitality as well as the Castle Arms Hotel in Durrow, Laois for the full Irish breakfasts and Guinness.

Guido is indebted to his advertisers including Standpoint Magazine, Total Politics Magazine, More Than Insurance, and Microsoft. The wine cellar is filling up faster than Guido can empty it. Almost.

+++ Cleggs Expecting Baby +++

Good news for the Cleggs, a baby due in February.

Nick is the same age as Guido, fortysomething fatherhood has its blessings. Sleep however is not one of them…

Monday, September 1, 2008

Political Daughters

Of course all those senior journalists and editors who self-importantly and ostentatiously held back on non-political news about young Ms Blair will do the same for young Ms Palin? It is the same principle right? They will won’t they?

Seen Elsewhere

Nicky Morgan Hides in Office as Gove’s SpAds are Sacked | Speccie
Socialist Workers in Lamborghinis | Breitbart
West Silent Over Iraqi Christians Driven From Homes | Tim Stanley
Eighth Tory MP Quits | LabourList
Pollster’s Reshuffle Fails to Move the Polls | Nick Wood
Ukraine in Crisis But Ed Just Wants a Selfie With Obama | Dan Hodges
Nigel Farage’s Pub Landlord was Rebekah Brooks Trial Juror | Speccie
Will Blob Eat Ofsted Chief Next? | Chris McGovern
Guido’s Column | Sun
White House Unenthisusatic About Miliband Visit | Seb Payne
Labour’s Love of Inherited Privilege | Toby Young


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Owen Paterson lifts the lid on the Green Blob:

“I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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