Wednesday, September 3, 2008

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?

Newsnight Economic Analysis

Guido is quite excited. Have had a few Guinnesses. Newsnight are going to do some analysis of the foreign exchange market (they read about it on Guido). These are the same people who called it upsy daisy Friday. (Analysis of Ms Fawkes aged 3, more accurate.)

UPDATE : Ooh – Crick says people really are “pissed off”.

Crisis, What Crisis?

Sterling is down 14% against a basket of currencies since Gordon Brown became PM and Alistair Darling took his old job as Chancellor. Oil is priced in dollars…

Seen Elsewhere

Don’t Underestimate Philip Hammond | Nick Wood
Labour Council Collaborates With Pro-Hamas Group | Breitbart
Qatar Sugar-Daddies of Islamist Financing | Left Foot Forward
Guido’s Column | Sun
Miliband Drawing Attention to His Mistakes is Madness | Lord Bell
Another Renewable Myth Goes Up in Smoke | Matt Ridley
Ed’s Problem is His Policies | Trevor Kavanagh
Ed’s Image is All He Has Going For Him | Boris
Labour a Risk to the Economy and Jobs Growth | Leo McKinstry
UKIP Will Make Miliband PM | Tele
Tories: Ruffley Critics are ‘Minority Feminist Groups’ | Buzzfeed


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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