Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gordon’s Big Porkie

At PMQs Gordon told Dave that around the world “no one except him is proposing we cut public spending at this time”. Not true Gordon, the Irish Times reported yesterday that the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, has told senior trade union officials that the state’s borrowing figures are unsustainable, billions will be cut from exchequer spending this year. Guido will bet a lot of Guinness that as a result Ireland will be out of the recession before Britain.

Merrill Lynch has just issued a warning that “In our view, the UK faces a unique set of challenges making the sovereign and the banks especially vulnerable… We believe the issue for the UK is that asset quality deterioration across all lending types is pretty much certain.” Credit markets are roughly assigning a 10% probability that the UK will default on government debt within the next five years. If government spending is not controlled, Gordon really could bankrupt us…

UPDATE 15 January : Simon Carr’s sketch this morning makes a good point:

Cameron was wading into the VAT reduction (at a national cost of £12bn it’s giving two packets of crisps to the average family a day). Brown defended it and cited Conservative support for the policy. Chief supporter: Lord Lamont. Gordon has spent 10 years denouncing Lamont as an incompetent, malevolent, economic illiterate who was responsible for the destruction of British economy. And Cameron isn’t suitable to be in public life because he was once standing beside him in a photograph. He really is shameless, our PM.

Jonah Jinx Hits Wales

The dangers of shaking hands with Jonah Brown cannot be overestimated. Keith Dye was proud to welcome Brown on a visit to his offices, it was the pinnacle of his 24 year news career:
Gordon Brown Visits Media Wales
WalesOnline - 9 January, 2009
After arriving under a heavy police escort just before 3pm, Mr Brown was given a tour of our multimedia newsroom by Media Wales’ managing director Keith Dye …

Trinity Mirror Redundancies
Press Gazette – 13 January 2009
Keith Dye, managing director of Media Wales has been made redundant and leaves today, following 24 years at the group. Media Wales’ finance director…

Tragedy struck a mere four days later. Beware the dead hand of the accursed One-Eyed Son of the Manse…

Cabinet of No Business Talent

Iain Dale, James Forsyth and Peter Oborne are all ruminating over the complete lack of business experience in the Cabinet. Being a lawyer or a journalist or a PR man doesn’t count (unless you were a business owner). The Shadow Cabinet has people with real business experience (that is why they are millionaires), however neither Cameron or Osborne can really claim to have had to worry about the P & L, covering the monthly wage bill or making the quarterly VAT payment. All Gordon knows about business is how to tax it.

No doubt the fact that not a single member of the Cabinet has run anything like as risky as a whelk stall is the reason Gordon has brought in Mervyn Davies from Standard Chartered (one of the few bankers who has had a good Credit Crunch).

Perhaps the Tories can now bring Digby into their tent since his Lordship is available…

PMQs 2009 Round I

Business Lending Package, Too Late and Too Little

Guido’s main concern about the Tory plan to insure bank-to-business lending was that it would encourage risky lending in a failing economy. The lenders would not really have to worry too much about the risk because the taxpayer would pick up the tab. The government’s scheme will provide banks with guarantees covering 50% of the risk on existing and new working capital up to £20 billion. It shares the risk between the banks and the taxpayer, encouraging the banks to lend for the same profit for half the risk. This is in some ways smarter than the Tory plan.

The small business component is for a £1.3 billion of bank loans with a government guarantee of 75% to cover working capital. Presumably this is to reflect the riskier nature of small business lending. This is a drop in the ocean and will barely be noticed. We are six months into the credit crunch. The options were admittedly not very palatable. Why did it take so long to put a plan into place? Could it be Mandelson wanted to get the politics right to fit his timetable of spin? No rush..

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

+++ Bush Awards Blair Medal of Freedom +++

Pays tribute to Blair’s friendship, “the might and moral authority of Great Britain”, Blair’s belief in freedom, “his service to peace to peace and democracy in the Middle East”.

Bush citation:

The first day I met Tony Blair, almost exactly eight years ago, he was in his second term as Prime Minister and I was just starting out. After our first meeting, a reporter asked if we’d found anything in common, and I jokingly replied that we both used Colgate toothpaste. (Laughter.)

The truth is I did feel a close connection to Tony Blair. As I said after the first meeting, I knew that “when either of us gets in a bind, there will be a friend on the other end of the phone.” My friend was there, indeed, after America was attacked on September the 11th, 2001. And it just wasn’t on the phone line. When I stood in the House Chamber to ask the civilized world to rally to freedom’s cause, there in the gallery was the staunch friend, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He was there in a moment of trial to affirm the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. And he was there to show America, and all nations, that he understood the stakes in the war on terror. As he said, “just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify it around an idea. And that idea is liberty.” Under Tony Blair’s leadership, the might and the moral authority of Great Britain have been applied to the war on terror from the first day. Our nations have worked proudly together to destroy terrorist havens, liberate millions, and help rising democracies to serve the aspirations of their people.

Tony Blair’s entire career is defined by his devotion to democratic values and human dignity. At his very center, this man believes in freedom — freedom from oppression, freedom from hunger, freedom from disease, and freedom from fear and despair. In the House of Commons, as the longest-serving Labour Prime Minister in history, he fought to lift up his nation’s communities and better the lives of all its people. He helped turn generations of violence in Northern Ireland into years of peace. He drew the attention and conscience of the world to the suffering in Africa, and he continues to serve the cause of peace and democracy as the Quartet Envoy to the Middle East.

Out of office but still in public life, Tony Blair remains on the world stage as a man of high intelligence and insight — and above all, as a man of faith and idealism and integrity. The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will stand tall in history. And today the United States of America proudly honors its gallant friend, Tony Blair.

More Mortgage Questions for Mandelson

Is history going to repeat itself? Greg Hands is asking how Mandelson made the money dealing in property in his constituency to install himself in a £2.5 million Regency villa. Mandelson admits to receiving money from Alain Minc, the mysterious French fixer who was an adviser to former premier Édouard Balladur and now makes his millions “fixing” things. Monsieur Minc is worth examining closely…

When Guido looked into Mandelson finances a few months ago he was given the impression that Mandelson trousered £1 million from his brief involvement with the Clemmow Hornby Inge advertising agency – a pretty good return on the £30,000 he invested. This plus an inheritance enabled him to finance his multi-million pound home. Gilligan reveals that the inheritance was not that big. New information has now come to light revealing something unexplained about the sale of the shares.

Something that didn’t come out in the Gilligan article is the nearly 12 month gap between Mandelson selling his shares for circa £1 million in summer 2007, and the purchase of the property in August 2006. Did he get another bridging loan from a benefactor, or did he get a bridging loan from a bank? If so, did he use the shares as collateral for the loan?

Tory backer David Ross was forced to resign his position for failing to declare that he had used his shares in Carphone Warehouse as collateral to finance property deals. Mandelson has been in trouble and had to resign before over declarations about his mortgage…

How Does Mandy Afford to Live on Millionaire’s Row?

Andrew Gilligan is digging into how Lord Mandelson can afford to buy a £2.5 million Regency villa on Regents Park. After all he has been a poorly paid public servant for over a decade…

Draper Site Crashes Live on TV

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dave Video is Rip of Obama Video

Guido has just noticed that Dave’s new video is a stylistic copy of Obama’s campaign video:

“Change” is the desired message… wonder if they will promise tax cuts like Obama as well?


Seen Elsewhere

Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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