Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tories Thrash Labour

edelman-roundersThe annual parliamentary staff rounders and picnic competition saw the Tories beat Labour 32 1/2 to 17.  Sadly, no pictures of the totty have reached Guido.  Very sad…

UPDATE : Guido pulled a few strings, and here is the victorious Tory Totty Team:

Tory-Team

Government Overspending £258 Million Per Day

The Public Sector Borrowing Requirement for July came in at £8.016 billion.  That means the government was over-spending by more than £258 million per day last month, which is living beyond our collective means by more than  £10 million an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Gordon Brown and Ed Balls reckon the government should spend even more.  John Redwood blogs “No wonder the Governor thinks we ought to print some more money – who is going to lend us all this?” The Zimbabwean dollar rose 15% against the British pound last month…

UPDATE : The FT reports that this morning “saw another lacklustre gilt sale from the UK Debt Management Office.”  Surprised?

Not So Silly

dannat_v_jonesKevan Jones is spinning rather weakly that “It is obviously the ‘silly season’ in the blogosphere” as broadcasters and the dead tree press today follow Guido in naming him as being at the centre of the smearing and briefing against General Dannatt.

If it was just sillyness, why did his boss the defence secretary, Bob Ainsworth, issue a formal warning to him not to brief against Dannatt?  Was he being silly?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dannatt v Jones

Who is the unnamed defence minister in press reports who is behind the smearing of General Dannatt?  Step forward Kevan Jones.

dannat_v_jones

On one side we have an honourable soldier who has seen action in Belfast, Bosnia and Kosovo, serving his country for the last forty years.  On the other we have a graduate of Newcastle Poly who has never had a proper job in his life.  A degree in Government & Public Policy helped him to become political and legal officer of the GMB Union, a local councillor and then an MP, where he has distinguished himself only by being one of Brown’s lickspittles.  He was one of the signatories of the “Tony Must Go” letter – that saw him eventually rewarded by Gordon with the position of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence.

Last summer (while still a backbencher) he submitted dozens of Parliamentary written questions asking about military comforts and perks. Lo and behold, once again Labour MPs have submitted a number of FoI requests regarding wining and dining bills at the Army boss’s home in Kensington, West London in an effort to embarrass him.  Wonder who inspired that trick?

According to the Sunday Times, Gordon Brown personally blocked Dannatt’s promotion from chief of the general staff to overall head of the armed forces as chief of the defence staff because of his repeated calls for better pay and conditions for servicemen.

Kevan is only doing Gordon’s bidding…

Double Digit Inflation is a Black Swan

The Bank of England and most consensus economists, including most right-of-centre monetarists, are stoking deflation fears. The MPC voted to print £50 billion more this month.  Which is very convenient for Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling, it allows them to justify printing money, which they can then use to buy their own escalating government debts.  Which is a little like eating your own leg to stop you starving.

The economic debate on this is confusing, the data is mixed and to some extent depends on your time frame.  The drop in oil prices and other commodities post-crunch had a deflationary effect.  Against this you have U.S. and U.K. government debt levels which are extraordinary.  Terrifying.  Gilt yields (interest rates) are being held down by the Bank of England printing billions of pounds to buy gilts from the Treasury and artificially hold up gilt prices.

The Bank of England’s own pension fund however is heavily invested in inflation protected securities – which is odd given their public stance is that deflation, not inflation is the threat.  Consensus economists are sheep and we need not worry too much about their bleating, more surprisingly some right-wing monetarist economists, such as those on the IEA’s shadow monetary policy committee (who tend to work in the City for investment banks) are also believers in deflation.  Guido’s theory is that the reason they have supported expanding the money supply so drastically is they panicked, remember all those articles in the Guardian and the FT about the “end of capitalism”and the end of investment banking as we know it?  Their morale was low, they were afraid.  Printing money and flooding the market with liquidity would be a short term fix that would shore up the banks and save their jobs.  Hence all these right-wing economists became born again Keynesians and could be found all over the Square Mile screaming at the Bank of England to turn on the printing presses.

Well capitalism survives and thrives.  Some of those economists are now wondering about the wisdom of printing all that money.  Nigel Lawson’s biographer, Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute, changed his mind on quantitative easing a few months ago, the IEA’s shadow MPC is no longer unanimously in favour of quantitative easing.

black-swanNassim Nicholas Taleb yesterday warned of the inflation threat, Cameron conceded the possibility of a British debt crisis.  Guido thinks it highly unlikely Britain would ever default on it’s debt so long as it has a sovereign currency – we would just devalue and pay foreigners in devalued pounds.  Though Britain could have, as Cameron said, foreign investors demanding higher risk premia, higher yields.  That could see mortgage rates above 10% again – both here and in the U.S.

Warren Buffet yesterday was quoting John Maynard Keynes’ road map for political survival amid an economic disaster of just this sort: “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens…. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

Protect yourself from the coming inflation.  Like the Bank of England’s pension fund…

+++ Rose Friedman Dies +++

She died yesterday according to the annoucement on the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation website.

rose-and-milton

Our central theme in public advocacy has been the promotion of human freedom….it underlies our opposition to rent control and general wage and price controls, our support for educational choice, privatizing radio and television channels, an all-volunteer army, limitation of government spending, legalization of drugs, privatizing Social Security, free trade, and the deregulation of industry and private life to the fullest extent possible.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gold-Plated Interns

Interns are a plenty with graduate unemployment high.  Only this government would pay someone with little to no experience more than the average national salary:

Departmental Work Experience

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many interns work in his Department; what terms of reference apply to their appointment; what remuneration they receive; and how long on average an intern appointment lasts. [286823]

Joan Ruddock: DECC currently has one intern. DECC’s terms of reference for interns are still being developed, and are based on giving an individual a personal development opportunity and introducing them to the civil service, while completing a meaningful piece of work.

Remuneration for this contract is based on £29,191 (pro rata) which is in line with the DEFRA HEO starting salary.

This contract is for three months.

Source: Hansard, Column 1630W, 21 July 2009,

Not as if the government has a budget deficit or anything…

Purnell’s Pig-Sty II

purnells-front-gardenJames Purnell has always been a bit shifty with his main residence claims – they tend to get flipped depending on what is the most rewarding in terms of expenses and capital gains dodges. He also got into a bit of trouble for leaving his old flat in a disgusting state. Purnell’s constituency “primary residence” (pictured here) looks like a dump. 

Guido knows he is hardly ever there, but now he has time on his hands he could make a bit more of an effort…

Via : Tameside Mafia

The High Pay “Problem”

David Aaronovitch suggests, not completely seriously, that perhaps it would be better to just publish people’s tax returns publicly rather than having a High Pay Quango to regulate banker’s bonuses.  As Aaronovitch says, it would be fun.

It will also destroy any semblance of privacy.  If private individuals have made money in the private sector why does anyone apart from their paymasters – the shareholders – have a right to know what they are being paid?

On the other hand everyone in the public sector and in public life should be transparent with their paymasters – the public.  So BBC mandarins, Newsnight presenters, civil servants and politicians should reveal how much of our money they are trousering, down to the last penny.  We are the paymasters.

It seems eminently sensible that members of parliament should, as in America, publish their tax returns. It would be nice to know how Mandelson in less than a decade has gone from being broke and tearful in his Hartlepool constituency with “water pouring down the walls”, to being able to afford a £2.4 million mansion off Regent’s Park for cash. He did this during a decade in which he was a selfless public servant.  Multi-millionaire John Prescott’s tax returns would be similarly interesting.  Alan Duncan is wailing that he might be a millionaire, but he isn’t rich, show us the truth Dunky and we will understand.

Polly Toynbee, the multi-millionairess toff and three-house-owning, Tuscan redistributionist friend of the down-trodden,  made the same demand some time back, namely for everyone to have their tax return in the public domain.  Guido emailed her to ask how much she made, she demanded to know details of Guido’s tax return first.  Guido gave the figure, she declined to reciprocate.  She did later reveal she was getting by on a mere £117,000 basic before book advances, royalties and appearance fees.  Barely enough to maintain her three residences.

So Aaronovitch, here is a chance for you to lead by example: how much did you make last year?

*Well not Guido in the case of the BBC, he refuses to pay the telly tax.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning view


Seen Elsewhere

Ministry of Justice Loses Death Inquiry Data “In the Post” | TechnoGuido
Europe’s Crisis is Cameron’s Opportunity | Speccie
Sajid Javid is the Ultimate Thatcherite | Buzzfeed
Ed Argar Selected in Dorrell Seat | Leicester Mercury
88% of New Labour MPs Are Union Bods | Mark Wallace
World’s Second Most Popular Porn Site is Infecting You | Techno Guido
Newspapers No Longer Willing to Toe Party Line | Roy Greenslade
Introducing the New CapX | CapX
Burnham’s Newsnight Debacle Dissected | Dan Hodges
How I Survived Dry January | Nigel Farage
Greens are Commies in Disguise | Andrei Rogobete


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Dan Hodges on Labour unity

“We’ve heard a lot over the past few years about how Miliband has united Labour. But he has not united Labour. He has pacified Labour. He has placed it into a medically induced coma following the trauma of the party’s 2010 defeat.”


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