Monday, February 18, 2008

U.S. Markets Closed for Public Holiday Today

Just Guido being helpful. Wouldn’t want you guys to get it wrong. Again…

UPDATE 20.15 : A co-conspirator points out that BBC Radio 4′s 6 o’clock news has reported the Dow down 29 points – which was Friday’s change. Doh!

Gordon’s Jinx : It Is Official!

At the Lobby briefing this afternoon the PMOS confirmed that Gordon is a Jonah. A member of the fearless Lobby asked the PMOS “Which football match had the Prime Minister attended on Saturday?”

“Raith Rovers” replied the PMOS.

” They lost, didn’t they,” said the correspondent.

” I don’t know,” said the PMOS. ” They must have done – every team he goes to watch loses,” continued the PMOS.

Things are now so bad in England under Gordon that residents in the Northumberland town of beautiful Berwick-upon-Tweed have voted in favour of becoming part of free Scotland under the SNP.

According to a poll for ITV1′s Tonight programme (to be broadcast 8pm, errm, tonight) 60% want the town to be administered by Scotland. Better public services, including free care for the elderly, were the main reasons. The SNP’s Christine Grahame has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for the town to “return to the fold”.

If only we could return Gordon to whence he came so easily…

Spot the Missing Blog Competition

The Telegraph’s leader writer, Robert Colvile, has written a very well judged pamphlet “Politics, Policy and the Internet for the Centre for Policy Studies. Guido comes in for some praise for shaking things up a little in the Lobby and some criticism for letting the co-conspirators throw tomatoes at politicians and use rude words. Fair enough, but that’s the way we like it here isn’t it? This chart on page 7 caught Guido’s eye, it is based on industry data from Hitwise. Can you spot one missing blog that might have slightly more market share? As it is it shows Colvile’s Telegraph colleagues to be the most successful political bloggers in Britain.

Colvile also got quite a lot of coverage for saying that the BNP’s website was the most popular politics site. It wasn’t. Can you guess which gossipy politics site beat them all with the most visitors last month?

Guido contacted Robert Colvile immediately on seeing the chart, he blamed the CPS and insisted that he had told them to include Guido in the chart. The CPS’s Tim Knox told Guido “sorry” and that they would correct it immediately. Of course if Guido has been included it would put all those millions spent by the Telegraph on new media in a different light – wouldn’t it? To come second to one not-always-sober Guy with a lap-top after losing £10 million on developing your website last year?

This grumble aside, it is still worth reading, particularly the point about voters now expecting government to be as good as Google. Responsive instantly, open and transparent. Something that Guido would have emphasised, is the idea of the blogosphere as the Gramscian “site of struggle” for the politico-media world’s mindshare. In this world new media can compete vigorously with Big media. In the U.S. the Drudge Report, according to the respected Pew Research Centre, is the second most important online source of campaign information in politics, behind only the New York Times and ahead of the Washington Post. So it will be over here too, and the readers will still enjoy insulting the politicians…

First Draft of the Dodgy Dossier Released

Download it here. There is no mention in the FCO’s first draft of “45 minutes…” This will result in many trees slaughtered and much ink spilt by hand wringing lefties over the government lying to us. Old news…

UPDATE : As pointed out in the comments, this was a different dossier. Now corrected. Guido never read any of them. Not a fan of fiction…

+++ IAIN PAISLEY JUNIOR RESIGNS OVER SLEAZE +++

UPDATE : More on Slugger.

Usual fiddling politician resigning for no reason. “I am not going because of some hidden or some revealed wrongdoing”. So why resign?

Seventies Socialism Returns

In 1975 Britain was told by Tony Benn that the nationalisation of British Motor Holdings and the Leyland Motor Corporation would be “partial”. Alistair Darling today says the nationalisation of Northern Rock will be “temporary”.

It is worth taking a moment to reflect on how we got here. When Northern Rock’s troubles became critical there was no systemic risk to the financial system. There was a risk to 6,000 regional jobs which was a political risk in a period of election fever in Labour’s North East heartlands.

If Northern Rock had been put into administration the shareholders and probably the employees would have lost out. No mortgage holders would have been worse off, depositors would, since we are told by the government the bank’s assets are good, have got their money back.

The only cost to the taxpayer would have been the unemployment benefit payments to redundant Northern Rock staff – most may have kept their jobs with new owners of the business (Lloyds TSB was said to be interested). Instead of the normal commercial and legal run off process taking its course, the government intervened. The result is the biggest nationalisation of the century.

Many would argue convincingly that depositors would have not been able to extract their money in the event of a liquidation, or at least not in good time. The government could have in that case guaranteed the deposits and collected the money back as a normal creditor. For a moment in the beginning that did seem to be a real possibility. That would have been a much smaller risk to the taxpayer.

Now we have a situation where £100 billion of taxpayer’s money is being bet on the UK property market as it teeters on the edge. Gordon Brown repeats the mantra that the public’s money is secured against the bank’s assets. The bank’s assets are what exactly? The equity in mortgagee’s homes belongs not to the bank, it belongs to the homeowners. The only properties Northern Rock has an interest in are it’s own branches and offices. The only homes it owns are those where it forecloses, usually and increasingly at a loss due to negative equity (remember all those 125% offers). The other major asset the bank owns is it’s profit stream from the spread it makes on lending versus borrowing. That has disappeared because of the credit crunch. Right now there is no profit stream to speak of, that is why the bank is bust.

What is most disturbing about the new legislation being proposed is that it will empower the state to nationalise more banks. Which seems to contradict Darling’s claim that this is a “temporary and exceptional” measure. It has always been the objective of British socialists to nationalise the banks. Thirty years ago they wiped out the British owned car industry, now they are coming for the banks. New Labour is dead. Socialism is back…

UPDATE : Anatole Kaletsky agrees – wind-up the bank.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Sleaze Round-Up

Due to the quantity of political sleaze being reported Guido has introduced a simple Pigs in Shit rating system for guidance on the misdemeanors of porcine politicians (guide here).
Speaker Fiddled Family Flights on Taxpayer’s Airmiles
Press Association

Gordon’s Undeclared Rent Under Investigation
Press Association
Wendy Praised Campaign Donors in Parliament
Sunday Post
24 London MPs Claim £20,000+ Overnight Accommodation
Sunday Times

Has Guido missed any sleaze? Answers in the comments please – will update above.

44% Want Chancellor Darling to Go

The damning poll in the Sunday Times this morning reinforces Guido’s view (expressed at some length here) that Darling is the fall guy for Brown and Balls. Darling will be blamed for their mess, Balls will be shuffled in to “resuscitate” the economy just before the election in the hope that it will by then be out of the worst and Balls will be in a position to succeed Brown whether Labour win or lose the general election.

So they will need Darling to suffer meekly for another 2 years…

The Mail on Sunday’s frontpage reports that the Ed Balls has come up with a plan to plug Brown’s black hole in unfunded public spending. Issue Sharia Law compliant “sukuks” designed to allow the government’s Debt Management Office to raise money from the Saudis:
Britain is to become the first Western nation to issue bonds approved by Muslim clerics in line with Sharia law, which bans conventional loans involving interest payments as ‘sinful’.

The scheme would mark one of the most significant economic advances of Sharia law in the non-Muslim world.

It will lead to the ownership of Government buildings and other assets currently belonging to British taxpayers being switched wholesale to wealthy Middle-Eastern businessmen and banks.

Such is the parlous state of the public finances that the Treasury can no longer rely on the centuries old method of financing government debt, demand for Gilt edged securities. No Western nation has ever relied on Sharia financing and the U.S. Treasury bans banks from engaging in the practise because of potential links to Middle Eastern terror financing. Ed Balls first came up with the Sharia sukuk strategy when he was Gordon Brown’s Treasury SpAd and final consultation on the plan closes this Thursday. Alistair Darling is expected to give full approval for H.M. Sharia Treasury issues before the March budget…

Seen Elsewhere

Jason Groves New Mail Deputy Pol Ed | MediaGuido
Cocaine Conservatives | Standard
Jezza Browne Responds to LibDem Haters | LibDem Voice
Why Britain Needs to Leave the EU | Douglas Carswell
Who Tells Ed When He’s Wrong? | Speccie
Hands Off Our Cojones, Mr Clegg | Laura Perrins
London Live Averaging Just 2,400 Viewers | Forbes
Ed’s Constitutional Failure | ConHome
UKIP Poster Girl’s Naked Photos | Sun
Miliband’s Radical Old Labour Agenda | Fraser Nelson
Meet Team Miliband | Dan Hodges


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Dan Hodges on Team Miliband:

“‘Poisonous’, was the picture painted by one former senior advisor. ‘Dysfunctional,’ said one shadow cabinet member. ‘A bunch of medieval courtiers, not an office,’ said another. The most positive description I could get was ‘It’s a work in progress. They’re learning. Slowly. But they are learning.’”



Nick Clegg says:

Do you want lies with that?


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