Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Brown : “I Don’t Look at Polls”

Brown has just told Sky’s Adam Boulton that he doesn’t look at opinion polls. An absolutely blatant lie.

He even has a personal pollster – Deborah Mattinson – who must now dread telling him the bad news. After Mattinson told him he would lose the marginals, he bottled having an election. When he told the press pack that they weren’t a factor they were incredulous. When he told Cameron the same at PMQs the Tory benches fell about laughing. He is like most politicians, poll obsessed.

Facts :

  • Labour is polling at levels not seen since the nadir of Blair.
  • The News of the World tomorrow will report that on “economic competence”, Labour has finally lost the positive poll differential it has enjoyed over the Tories ever since the 1992 ERM debacle.
  • The Mail on Sunday has a poll rating Brown as less competent than John Major and Darling as less competent than Lamont.
  • If Blair were leading Labour they would be neck and neck with the Tories instead of 5% behind according to the same BPIX poll.

Maybe it would be better for his state-of-mind if he doesn’t look at the papers tomorrow…

Cameron : “We are Libertarians”

Dave is in Prague this morning to address the party conference of ODS, the future European parliamentary partners of the Tories. Founded by Thatcherite ideologue Václav Klaus, the party is receptive to what is a very rare message today from a politician – “fight for freedom”.  His speech has more ideological content than his normal stump speeches:-

“So there are many battles we must fight together, and my message to you today is a simple one – a message that I know you will understand more than most. The battle for freedom and opportunity is never finally won. In each generation, those of us who believe in freedom, in human potential, in the idea that the strength of our society comes from the energy and industry and creativity of our people; those of us who believe in these things must be ready to fight for them because the enemies of freedom are never finally vanquished. They always live to fight another day. Today we can see the enemies of freedom preparing a renewed assault on our liberty. They do not mean to harm us. In fact, they mean to help us. But their ideas are out of date, their methods have failed and their advance must be derailed. I am speaking of the politicians and public officials who believe that they know best how to organise our lives. That they are the experts, so they must have the power. You can find them everywhere – in my country, in your country and in the EU itself. They are the last defenders of the bureaucratic age, an age before the information revolution and our new world of freedom that makes it possible to put real power in people’s hands. But in their desire to control, to regulate, to direct, the defenders of the bureaucratic age have over-reached themselves. They have gone too far. They have tried to do too much. And it has exposed the historic error of their ways.

In Britain, bureaucratic over-reach has seen the Labour Government creeping further and further into the lives of British people. Millions of families sucked into a complex system of tax credits. An army of tax collectors that is now almost as big as our actual army. Fingerprinting children at school. And this week we saw a shocking consequence of this bureaucratic over-reach: a scandal where the government has lost the names, addresses and bank details of almost every family in the country. Are they learning the lesson? Do they accept that bureaucracy has gone too far? Of course not. They are stuck in the bureaucratic age. So they now want to take personal information about everyone in the country and store it on a national identity register. We are seeing this bureaucratic over-reach in the EU too. The desire for harmonisation and homogenisation – on tax, on regulation, on so many aspects of public and private life. It is the last gasp of an outdated ideology, a philosophy that has no place in our new world of freedom, a world which demands that we fight this bureaucratic over-reach and lead Europe into the hope and potential of a new, post-bureaucratic age.”

Dave is no Churchill, or even a Reagan, but it is refreshing to hear a politican talk optimistically about freedom. Amidst all the fear-mongering about security that is peddled in the war-on-terror, what we are fighting for, rather than against, is forgotten. The government is far too willing to trade real liberty for fake security.

Bottler Gives Remaindered “Courage” Book to African Kids

In an attempt to shift remaindered copies of his vanity published book on Courage Gordon is today giving away copies to Ugandan school children.

Whose brilliant idea was that? The travelling press pack are laughing at him. As many co-conspirators have pointed out in the comments, what is it with Gordon and photo-ops at schools. Do his media team have any other ideas? It just looks awkward, him smiling away at the kids and forcing his book on them.

What did the kids do to deserve this treatment?

Fox News

Liam Fox just came out with a great line about Des Browne; “He spends more time fighting the SNP than the Taliban”. Stinging…

UPDATE : Former Labour defence Minister, Lord Gilbert, told Channel 4 News that the troop’s families would find it very hard to understand when their loved ones were risking their lives in Afghanistan, why the Secretary of Defence was opening a Scottish golf course.

Friday Caption Contest (Why Me Edition)

Boris Ups His Work Rate

Londoners tuned into Capital Radio this morning to hear Boris on with Johnnie Vaughn, not sure if it was to do with his new single release. Wednesday he gave a speech on housing, yesterday he was banging on about Heathrow and the execution of De Menezes. Earlier in the week he did a photo-op down Portobello Road.

He has now visited every one of the 32 boroughs in London, a campaign source tells Guido he has also completed a month long immersive education in the details of policy. The grid for the campaign kicks off in earnest in January. Ken’s policy response is a proposal to nationalise all trains coming into London. With the LibDems choosing the PC PC, Brian Paddick, it is all going to be fun…

Incidentally, the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh have Boris as guest speaker next Thursday night. If you want to attend and see if he can make it through dinner without upsetting another nationality, email Jane, (tickets are £15).

Browne’s Part-Time Priority

Gordon Brown is treating British troops with “contempt” by appointing a part-time defence secretary says Admiral Lord Boyce. Troops feel insulted by the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Des Browne as Scotland Secretary as well as Defence Secretary. Boyce, who was chief of the defence staff in 2003, puts it bluntly:
“I feel that Mr Brown has let the armed forces down by not appointing a secretary of state who is full-time. When you have got people who have been killed and maimed in the service of their Government, and you put at the head of the shop someone who is part-time, that sends a very bad message. And that is the message I get back from our soldiers, our sailors and our airmen. They feel insulted, they feel that he is treating them with contempt.”

The New Labour spin machine does what it always does when panicked, it started rubbishing the five former top brass who have come out on behalf of the troops, it went on attack, briefing that they are only speaking up after they have got their peerage and pensions. Derek Twigg, Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans. is going around the news studios ludicrously claiming that army morale is high and everything is tickety-boo.

It is not just retired generals, the former Labour defence minister Lord Gilbert has backed the criticism. If the defence of the nation is a part-time priority, the government has no sense of priority.

UPDATE : Guido fan John McTernan, the former Blair henchmen, spins for Browne. Good to see he is doing such a good job.

Marr Criticises Sky’s Accuracy

Giving evidence to the House of Lords Communication Committee this afternoon, Andrew Marr criticised Sky News for their lack of accuracy. This picture was hung on the wall of Sky’s newsroom after Gordon called in Marr to make the official “Brown has bottled the election” announcement. Do you think there is some enmity developing between BBC News and Sky News?

Advertising Pays

Some people say Guido has sold out to commercialism, in fact Sir Michael White includes in his critique of Guido the quantity of adverts on the site. (Hint: they might have something to do with why Guido is more profitable than the Guardian.)

This topical ad featuring the Chancellor from data back-up specialists made Guido laugh out loud. They do of course have an obligatory Facebook Help Track Down the Missing Benefits Disks site as well.

Guido was not paid for this extra plug.

Northern Rock Contagion, the Wheels are Coming Off

Buy-to-let lender Paragon Group, slumped 36% yesterday, plummeting for a second day, making the stock down 68% in the past month. Sub-prime fall out is spreading…


Every week 2,000 people go bust, triple the rate during 1991 recession.

Home affordability is at a historic low.

Brown’s supposedly successful stewardship of the economy was based on debt and mirrors.

The wheels are coming off the economy, Alan Greenspan himself, recently appointed by Gordon Brown as his economic adviser, says “Britain is more exposed than the United States.”

Guido Knows the Feeling

Spotted in a burger chain on the weekend; two fraught looking parents trying to cajole their kids out of the front door. “Pleeeease,” they begged them, “can we just go?”

The father in particular looked to be on the verge of tears of frustration. George Osborne may be able to best Alastair Darling, but he is no match for his kids…

Via : FirstPost

FT Drops Northern Rock Memo Fight With Schillings

“We were looking at funding a principled legal case about news that was looking increasingly historic by the day,” says Paul Murphy, the editor of the Alphaville blog. The FT reckons the revelations about the government’s support for the bank are now common knowledge and events had superseded information contained in the memorandum.
The memo is hosted on Wikileaks if you are still interested in reading this bit of financial history. Schillings wrote to Guido arguing that he was breaching the High Court Order by linking to it and would suffer all manner of comeback unless he gave undertakings and removed all links etc. Guido’s legal people told Schillings last Friday to serve the Order properly or get stuffed. Haven’t heard anything from Schillings since – so that’s them stuffed.

Gordon Will Do PMQs

Such is the fame of Gordon for having the courage only to disappear, in the manner of Macavity, when there is trouble about, that a rumour went round yesterday that he would not be doing PMQs.

What with banks collapsing despite Treasury bail-outs, (total risk to each and every taxpayer £900 and rising) and with 25 million bank and National Insurance details available unencrypted to crooks courtesy of the tax office, it looked possible he could go on an “emergency” foreign trip.

However according to the Downing Street website he will show up to be ritually thrashed at PMQs today.

Rejoice for England! Downing Street Confirms :Gordon Will Not Be at the Croatia Match

According to the official report of the Lobby briefing, even the PM’s Spokesman admits “that some people had argued that the Prime Minister had not necessarily been the best of omens so far but he would let others make that judgement.”

Guido has made that judgement. It is a fact that at every football and rugby match Gordon has attended as PM, England has lost…

“Miliband Visit Relatives on Settlement” FCO Panic

Guido was listening to the news from the Middle East on Radio Galatz* (he finds it has a more balanced approach to Israel/Palestine issues than the BBC), when he heard the news that David Miliband had dinner with his relatives who live in a settlement near Jericho.[…]


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Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

“I’m sorry to be boring.”

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