Does Hain Still Have Campaign Debts?

Peter Black draws our attention to the continuing blame game between Peter Hain and his disgraced former campaign manager, Steve Morgan.

Morgan is widely believed in Labour circles to have been the reason the campaign’s financial reporting went so badly wrong. Morgan is retaliating by casting aspersions on Hain, “My main disagreement with Peter was, and remains, the fact that he was not prepared to pay the Labour Party the full money owed to them on those donations under the rules of the Leadership contest.”

Guido calculated in January 2008 that Hain still had campaign debts outstanding of £41,200, comprised of a 15% tributeto the Labour Party of £16,200 on funds raised under party rules and a debt to Willie Nagel, a diamond broker and former Tory supporter for repayment of an interest-free loan of £25,000.

The £16,200 has still not, according to the Electoral Commission, been paid by Hain to the Labour Party. Harriet Harman and the other candidates struggled to pay off their campaign debts, why should Hain be forgiven the debt just because he was incompetent? Have they written off Hain’s debt as a bad debt? Is it still outstanding?

Friday Caption Competition

What are the Chances of the IMF Bailing Out Britain?

Brown says Cameron is “ridiculous” to talk about the possibility of the International Monetary Fund being called in to bail-out Britain. Brown reckons that is impossible.

The money markets though say different, clearly they think it is a possibility. How probable is a bail-out? Guido listened on Wednesday to Gerard Lyons, Chief Economist at Standard Chartered, Geoffrey Wood, an economist at Cass Business School and Paul Ormerod, author of Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics talk at a Policy Exchange seminar on the Credit Crunch. They were far more sanguine about the economic prospects than Guido. Essentially they thought the recession would run its course over a year or two and we would come out of it with a huge bill in terms of the national debt. The consensus was that Britain probably wouldn’t be humiliated at the IMF again, but it wasn’t impossible. Some joked that if we were going to have to go to the IMF we should get to the front of the queue.

Given most of Britain’s external debt is denominated in pounds, the way to avoid going completely bust is to print more money and devalue the debt. Which is what the markets expect to happen, hence they are dumping pounds…

Economics is a dismal science, but playing www.BailoutBrown.com is a bit more fun. Enjoy throwing your money at Brown for a change…

UPDATE 26 Jan, ’09 : Paul Ormerod emails to correct the impression that he isn’t pessimistic:
I am a great fan of your site. I am sorry you thought I wasn’t pessimistic enough at the Policy Exchange, I thought I was being. I did, for example talk about a 6 per cent switch in GDP purely through consumer attitudes, and on top of this is the impact of tight credit on the corporate sector. So I think things are pretty grim.

+++ GDP DOWN 1.5% Q4 2008 +++

Recession is now official.

+++ Hain Slammed by Standards and Privileges Committee +++

Guido is reading the report:
  • Hain blames Steve Morgan for the original failure to register donations.
  • Accepts he was personally at fault after campaign ended.

Committee concludes:

We agree with the Commissioner that Mr Hain’s failure to register donations on this scale is both serious and substantial. We are bound to take this into account, notwithstanding the facts that Mr Hain has apologised unreservedly, and that he acted with commendable speed to rectify his omissions once he discovered them, without waiting for others to invite him to do so. Because of the seriousness and scale of this breach and noting the considerable, justified public concern that it has created, we would ordinarily have been minded to propose a heavier penalty. However, we accept that there was no intention to deceive and Mr Hain has already paid a high price for his omissions. We therefore recommend that Mr Hain apologise by means of a personal statement on the floor of the House.

Expense Cover-Up – What Really Happened

Margaret Beckett was embarassed on the BBC’s Daily Politics yesterday after PMQs, by vehemently insisting it was clear the Prime Mentalist had just promised a free vote on the expenses Statutory Instrument. Beckett was all over the place and Brillo had some sport out of her discomfort.

In the morning at the Lobby briefing, Downing Street briefed that the expenses Statutory Instrument was to be a whipped vote, yet during PMQs Brown seemed to announce a free vote, until finally it was confirmed at the afternoon Lobby briefing that it had been withdrawn. Downing Street blames Harriet Harman in her capacity as the Leader of the House of Commons.

Guido suspects that the return to a dithering shambles in government spin owes something to the “deputy PM” Lord Mandelson being in India trying to smooth over the mess left by Miliband – though the Indian PM is refusing to meet him in a deliberate snub.

The mySociety organised online campaign against the MPs expenses cover-up saw 90% of MPs contacted by voters opposed to the move. Thousands were mobilised very quickly. Despite this a back room deal was still all set to go ahead until Dave vetoed it.

Shadow Leader of the House Alan Duncan now claims that the Tories rejected the moves on principle, it is fair to say that on this issue Cameron has “got religion” and thinks the old ways are finished. (The LibDems have always been sound on transparency.) However an old school axis of expense fiddlers exists which is cross party. Tory bed blockers and Labour backbenchers all have a highly developed sense of entitlement to pocketing the taxpayer’s money. This particular alliance with Labour, quietly sorted out by Sir Michael Spicer, chairman of the 1922 Committee, in his capacity as shop steward for Tory MPs had agreed a nod and a wink deal with Labour to get the motion passed. Cameron scuppered the deal when he ordered that all Tory MPs be whipped to vote against it. Brown only U-turned after it became clear that the deal was off.

Has Oxygen Deprivation Brain-Damaged Kawczynski?

He may at 6 foot, 8 1/2 inches be the tallest MP in parliament, but is Guido the only one who thinks Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski handing over a constitutent’s letter (without a warrant) to a policeman shows that he is an idiot?

Gordon’s Unfunded Spending

The UK budget deficit for December alone was £11.4 billion. The numbers are so big that you have to break them down. The government is overspending – tax receipts minus expenditure – by over £14 million an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

At PMQs Gordon seemed to boast about his plans to overspend. This is not sustainable.

Miliband Slips on Another Banana Skin

David Miliband travels the world stepping from one banana skin to another. After insulting Manmohan Singh in his own drawing room,* resulting in the worst diplomatic flap with India in living memory, the Indian PM has Guido understands, written a

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Economic Recovery Needs the Audacity of Hope

The City, home of eternal optimists, has begun to seriously price in the all too real risk of national bankruptcy. It would be the first time Britain has defaulted on the national debt since the dark ages. An historic legacy

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Change Has Come

[…]

+ READ MORE +

One Last Encore

Guido won’t be live blogging the inauguration (yawn), turn up the volume, play this one last time as loud as possible and annoy your office lefties before Dubya exits in the helicopter. Guido notices that Brillo’s sidekick, Anita Anand, is

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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