Monday, November 17, 2008

Liam Byrne’s twist on "There’s Only Rubbish on TV"

While investigating his cappuccino control freakery, Guido came across this brilliant use of YouTube by Liam Byrne. Credit where credit is due – what a good idea. Highlight rubbish tipping on a YouTube video, upload it to the local MP’s blog-like website. He can be bring quick results when the council executive responsible for street cleaning can see where he has missed rubbish. Videoing and shaming…


Cost of operation to Liam Byrne and the taxpayer? Nothing, digital camera, upload to YouTube for free, call council and tell them it is there. So what if only 50 people watch these videos – doesn’t matter so long as the person responsible for street cleaning is one of them and takes action as a result.

Guido hears a lot of nonsense about Web 2.0 and politics – this is a really simple, effective idea.

Pound Opens Higher – "George Who?"

Markets don’t care what Osborne says…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brown’s Empty Claim to Economic Leadership of the World

Only Nick Robinson would give Brown’s ludicrous claim a serious hearing:
“BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the fact that a series of countries now look likely to implement packages of tax cuts and spending increases would allow Mr Brown to claim the UK is in the lead when it came to dealing with the economic crisis.”

Well it will allow the Prime Mentalist to make that claim to “leadership” only if Nick fails to ask the right questions. Here are a selection of packages already announced from around the world:
  • The U.S. fiscal stimulus plan worth $150 billion went into play in February with bi-partisan support.
  • The Chinese stimulus package is a $586 billion public works acceleration plan announced last week.
  • The German Cabinet approved a stimulus package weeks ago, as did the French.
  • Australia’s second stimulus package was announced last month – though they have the advantage of a massive budget surplus after a decade of Conservative economic policies.
  • Spain’s fiscal stimulus package was announced in April.
  • Conservative run Canada also has for years run a budget surplus and remains determined to balance the budget and cut taxes.
  • Japan has been doing fiscal stimulus for two decades.
In fact of the G7 countries it appears that only Berlusconi and Brown have yet to announce a fiscal stimulus package. Of course Brown is way behind the curve on this, because he was until a few months ago delusionally claiming that our economy was strong and in better shape than the rest of the world including America. Brown’s last budget as chancellor was a fantasy in forecasting. Some leadership…

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How the Tories Could Lose in 2009

Robert Winnett in the Daily Labourgraph maps out the Brownies fantasy scenario for power. It has some elements of truth in it. ConservativeHome summarises the map succintly:
Brown cuts taxes… Osborne doesn’t find room for serious tax cuts… Infighting breaks out inside Tory Party… Lots of interest rate cuts… Caroline Spelman forced to resign over nannygate… Barack meets Brown… Then narrow Labour election win early next year…

Feasible? Gordon is clearly going to throw some bribes the electorate’s way next year. In that context the Osborne-Letwin “no punk tax cuts” hair-shirt is political masochism.

If Labour does a Bush-style tax rebate, and Guido will not be in the least surprised if Gordon performs the mother of all U-turns, Osborne could talk about budget deficits, Gilt-yields and sound money until he is blue in the face. The electorate will see tax rebate cheques and the shadow chancellor saying they shouldn’t have ‘em…

The Tories need to follow the LibDem lead (not a phrase often seen). Point to the £20 billion in savings identified. £20 billion is 3% of government expenditure, expenditure which has nearly doubled under New Labour. Dropping ID cards alone could save nearly half that amount. It costs some £6 billion to raise thresholds £1,000 for everbody, it will defuse the Tory Tax Bomb blowing up in their face.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crash Gordon : Saviour of the Universe

Friday Caption Competition (Corfu Edition)

Gordon Endorses Bush Policies Warns Obama Against Protectionism

Back in February George Bush pushed through a tax cut based growth package with bi-partisan support. Reported on this blog thus:

Guido looks at the economy and sees real trouble ahead, it needs decisive action, not hand-wringing words from politicians about tax simplification. The property market is seized up and consumer confidence is draining away. A massive pro-growth tax package is required now, the earlier the better.

George Bush is pushing a bi-partisan growth package targeting $150 billion in tax relief at individuals and businesses to kick-start private sector spending. That is a stimulus equal to 1% of U.S. GDP.

Speaking at an interfaith conference at the UN General Assembly in New York this morning, Gordon Brown has just called for global tax cuts, “a temporary and affordable fiscal stimulus” was needed to tackle the downturn he said. Gordon told journalists that he intends to ask leaders at the G20 summit to produce fiscal stimulus packages of tax cuts and spending increases to “stimulate growth in our economies”.

Perhaps Gordon didn’t notice that George Bush actually got his temporary stimulus in at the beginning of the year, whilst our far-sighted financial genius has yet to even announce his growth package, which is probably why US GDP growth last quarter was not quite as bad as UK GDP growth (-0.5). How is he going to blame that on America?

Gordon also warned against protectionism, a strategy that has proved to be “the road to economic ruin in the past”. Obama ran on a protectionist ticket.

The Tories are calling it a “tax con”, because debt may rise and taxes may have to go up later, of course if we don’t cut taxes and growth is even worse, tax revenues may well still fall and government debt will rise anyway. Under the Tory plan however the economy will have been additionally weakened by the heavier tax burden. This used to be orthodox Conservative economic analysis, it seems the last supporters of Brownite fiscal rules are in the Tory treasury team…

Gordon’s G20 Plan

Gordon is going to Washington with a few key spin objectives:

  • To present himself as the respected elder statesman of international finance – never mind Sarko’s pretensions.

  • To frame Britain’s problems in an international context. Sterling’s collapse is to be spun as nothing to do with Brown’s bubble.
  • To frame any domestic tax cut U-turn as a co-ordinated international action. This will give him cover for abandoning everything he has told us is important for all his front-bench political life.

Why Gordon thinks it imperative to be portrayed as some kind of respected international finance genius eludes Guido. It won’t save anyone’s job, not even his own.

There is obviously an international angle to the credit crunch, but there are also domestic disasters which happened on his watch.. Sterling’s collapse is not random. Who for instance decided to exclude house prices from the Bank of England’s inflation target which meant we had a ridiculously loose monetary policy?

If the G20 endorses a policy of tax cuts - if – Gordon will have political covering fire to return to Westminster to cut taxes and bugger the deficit. The Pre-Budget Report on Monday week will be his chance to unveil an epic tax-cutting stimulus package U-turn. The Osborne-Letwin* designed response as it stands will be “we shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t do that”. Preaching fiscal sobriety to the fiscally hungover after the party has finished and the house is already wrecked.

The Tories have boxed themselves into holding to a Brown orthodoxy on tax cuts to which he himself no longer adheres. Time to think outside of the box…

*Letwin’s aversion to tax cuts might have something to do with the 2001 election campaign fiasco when as a junior finance spokesman, he was forced into hiding after disclosing that the Tories had longer-term plans for £20 billion of tax cuts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is the Labourgraph on a Crusade Against Osborne?

Today’s coverage:

Iain Martin has been becoming noticeably increasingly incensed with the Tory’s incoherency on the economy. Today it looks like the whole editorial collective over in Victoria has decided they have had enough of George.

Seen Elsewhere

#TM4PM: It’s On | Speccie
Path to Defeat Obvious for Both Labour and Tories | Rafael Behr
It’s Boris v May | Sun
Farage is Outflanking the Tories | Guardian
Boris is Right About Grammar Schools | Conservative Women
‘Obsolete’ Cable | Speccie
Why are Tories so Upbeat? | Alex Wickham
Clear Public Interest in Newmark Sting | Mirror
Boris Invites Farage to Join Tories | Guardian
RAF Too Run Down to Fight Islamic State | Con Coughlin
Osborne’s Personal Cuts Regime | Quentin Letts


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David Cameron on political promiscuity…

“On May 7 you could go to bed with Nigel Farage and wake up with Ed Miliband. Not one bit of that works for me.”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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