Wednesday, February 4, 2009

+++ Whisper Number : ITN / YouGov Marginal Seats Polling Shows Labour 3% Down on 2008 +++

The polling was done in 60 Labour-held marginals.

And the polling was bad in 2008…

NIESR Dismisses Brown/Darling 2009 Recovery Predictions

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research is predicting the UK economy will shrink until the fourth quarter of this year, contradicting the Chancellor’s optimistic forecast for the economy to come out of recession in July. Gross domestic product will fall 2.7% in 2009 the NIESR propellor-heads reckon. Even when the economy stops declining, unemployment will still continue to increase into 2010. Guido predicts it will be half-way through a Cameron government before the economy returns to 2007 peaks. So that is two predictions for the price of one…

UPDATE : Nationwide’s Consumer Confidence Index figure has just come out. It shows that consumer confidence has hit a record low during January, dropping to 40 points. Which is half the level it was at before Jonah became PM.

Prezza Shows Draper How It Is Done

Guido had a famous run in with Prezza once before, where he told the Today programme “is it blogs they call ‘em?” Prescott has since come a long way on the information super – highway, rebutting Iain on video for daring to question if it really was Prezza, or his son David, updating his own status on Facebook. (Guido understands that it is David who is behind the somewhat amateurish Go4th attack videos.)

Credit where credit is due, Prezza gives as good as he gets – with some humour – meanwhile Draper is reduced to ringing up pressure groups to berate interns.

UPDATE 4 Feb, 2009 : Dale has found the exact quote: “I think it’s called the internet or blogs or something. I haven’t got into all this new technology. I’ve only just got used to letters.” and Total Politics has the recording.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

+++ Source : Met Police Have Received MP’s Complaint Re Gordon Brown’s Leaks from 1985 +++

Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has, Guido understands, had in his in-tray since early December a letter of complaint over this:

Legally there is no “statute of limitations” for the offence of “Procuring Misconduct in Public Office”, so Brown could theoretically still be prosecuted. Perhaps the Met have been preparing for nine weeks to raid his offices, more likely they are in a bit of a quandary about what to do until Damian Green is dealt with.

+++ Developing +++

Glenrothes : Ghosts Vote By Post

There appear to be hanging chad issues in Glenrothes, where surprisingly Labour, the underdogs, held the seat with a 6,737 majority against a strong SNP effort.
The Courier, a local newspaper, is reporting that the records have gone missing.
In December the SNP in Glenrothes applied to the sheriff court to obtain a copy of the marked electoral register—on which officials in polling stations score out voters as they register to vote. It is the official record of who presented themselves to vote.

Candidates and their agents are allowed to see a copy of the register, which records only who voted and not how they voted.

However, after repeated requests for the document last month, Councillor John Beare, the convener of the SNP Central Fife constituency, has been told that it has gone missing.

Mike Smithson over at PoliticalBetting.com remarks that the “startling thing about Glenrothes was the massive increase in postal votes compared with the general election – up four-fold if I recall correctly. It all sounds fishy.” Quite.

Vince Gets Aggressive

Vince Cable, writing in the Guardian this morning, has his usual mixed-bag of platitudes and soundbites on corporate taxation. He wants to widen the base, raise the take, simplify and cut corporate taxation. Fantastic, Guido wants world peace and to help children as well, just like any other beauty contestant. Vince also says;
“there is a strong case for a more aggressive approach to tax avoidance. The systematic and widespread avoidance of stamp duty land tax by corporate vehicles can be stopped quickly.”

Does he mean corporations like GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, set up in the Caymans Isles where the corporation tax rate is zero? This corporate vehicle allowed the Guardian Media Group to dodge stamp duty saving itself a mere £600,000. Surely not?

Incidentally, do you think when Cable was Shell’s chief economist, he pestered the board to drop all their tax base narrowing, take reducing, complex corporate tax dodging? Aggression, Guido suspects, has come late to Vince…

Obama Bitterly Disappoints Liberals

The Guardianistas will have to revert to anti-Americanism, the Messiah is a very naughty boy. Sure he is closing Gitmo, but he isn’t going soft on the War on Terror the Networks of Terror Inducers. Fresh from signing the Executive Order barring former lobbyists from joining his Administration, he exempted a Raytheon defence contractor lobbyist, allowing William Lynn to become Deputy Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon – his old customer base. Obama has signed a few Executive Orders which, it is widely reported in the U.S. press, authorise and expand on the policy of extra-ordinary rendition.

He certainly left a few legalistic get-out clauses in the new Executive Orders covering the issue. So if you have no hard evidence that would stand up in court, are squeamish about drowning and electrocution, or too much of a bleeding heart to do old fashioned beating of prisoners yourself, just render them to some foreign dungeon in the back of a CIA contractor’s plane. The military-industrial complex has just had a new makeover.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Stat-Porn : 826,606 Pageloads from 626,069 Visits by 137,467 Visitors

Biggest sources of traffic in January from referrals were iaindale.blogspot.com (41,740) followed by telegraph.co.uk (28,785) and the spectator.co.uk (20,552).

The shift off Blogger is being held up by a bug giving difficulty with transferring 200,000 plus comments out of Blogger’s archive. It times out when we try to do it. Any geek ideas welcomed.

Guido would like to thank advertisers who make this all worthwhile – so do buy your flowers online from Marks and Sparks this Valentines. It’ll make Mrs Fawkes happy…

Make Blunkett Happy

David Blunkett is campaigning to return to the cabinet for the use of yellow buses for schools.

Why don’t we just tell him his campaign has won and make the old guy happy?

UPDATE : Well fancy that, Guido only intended to make a jokey comment and the co-conspirators in the comments pointed out he is paid £25,000-year by a bus company. What do you bet they want to get into the yellow school bus market?

Guardian’s Tax Hypocrisy is Ridiculous

The multi-millionaire columnist Polly Toynbee is this morning ranting against tax dodging corporations in the Guardian. The paper has even set up a campaigning website with fancy interactive graphics. According to the their own annual report Guardian Media Group made £306.4 million before tax. Using astute tax planning and legal manipulation of the tax laws; such as the use of an equity owning trust and a Caymans Islands offshore corporation to avoid stamp duty, they managed to only pay get a rebate of £800,000 in tax last year. That is less than they paid the Guardian Media Group’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, she got a package of £827,000 whereas so the media fat cats got paid by HM Revenue Commissioners a mere £800,000 in corporation tax. Unbelievable isn’t it?

Here it is in black and white:

 

GMG P + L

The hypocrisy of the Guardianistas is just beyond satire, they are starting a campaign to get corporations to pay more tax, just like they campaign to undermine private education yet themselves went to private schools, they rail against City bonuses yet pay the editor and CEO hundreds of thousands in bonuses. Media fat cats attacking City fat cats is just laughable. Polly says “it’s time to rattle and bang in protest at this outrage”. Quite. Guido has tried to mention this on the Guardian’s Tax Gap campaign blog to no avail…

UPDATE 11.55 : Richard Brooks from the Guardian’s “Tax Gap” blog emails to say they are going to explain the Guardian Media Group’s situation using the same approach they used on the FTSE 100 corporations. Incidentally, before anyone points it out, this blog is published by an offshore corporation owned by an opaque charitable trust, in a remarkably similar way to the Guardian set-up. However, crucially, this blog takes an editorial line which is hypocrisy free, Guido is opposed to most forms of taxation in principle: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

UPDATE 12.09 : As some have pointed out, that looks like an £800,000 tax rebate, rather than a payment. Even worse. No wonder the Guardian can afford shiny new fancy offices…

UPDATE 16.50 : Note amendments and strike-throughs, also note that the Tax Gap blog has now let Guido’s comments through. They also cite Richard Murphy as a tax expert who approves of GMG’s tax strategies. Richard Murphy is hardly independent, he is a regular writer for the Guardian. The Cayman’s dodge was tax neutral they claim. Except when, in the future, it comes to capital gains tax of course.


Seen Elsewhere

Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC
No.10 Ambushed by EU Prosperity Tax | Times
10 Years of Guido | Iain Dale


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Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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