Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Storm in a Breakfast Tea-Cup

Nicky CampbellJust for the record, since the Guardian is trying to make something of it. Guido is satisfied that  BBC Radio 5’s Nicky Campbell meant nothing malicious and it was a bit of early morning banter that went a bit too far. Campbell apologised on air there and then and later in person.  His apology is accepted.

It is indicative of the BBC mindset that it is often the case that Guido is pigeon-holed by way of  introduction, in contrast when say Will Hutton is on the BBC, he is not introduced as “the left-wing commentator”.  This is not the first time this has happened.  When Michael Crick referred to Guido as “the right-wing blogger” the immediate retort was to refer to “Michael Crick, the left-wing broadcaster”See how you like them apples…

Who Got Nicked at the Pickles Bash?

Following a party thrown by Eric Pickles a drunken fracas took place – inquiring minds want to know who got nicked and had to sober up in the cells?  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt…

UPDATE : Paul Waugh has the full story.

Bank of England Pension Fund Surges Betting on Inflation

Bank of England Pension FundGuido is one of the small number of British market commentators who does not buy into the deflation scenario – Liam Halligan is another – it is just too convenient an excuse for politicians to print money.

The Bank of England pension fund is managed on behalf of a very select and savvy group of people with access to a lot of market insight – the employees of the central bank.  With great market timing the fund sold out of equities entirely at the end of 2006 cutting a 21.6% holding down to 0.1%, thus avoiding a 35%  drop in UK equities since that time.  Awesome market timing, the fund was consequently up 12% last year when all around markets crashed.

The fund’s holding of Index Linked Gilts has shot up from 25.6% of assets to a 70.7% proportion of assets during the same period.  That is a big bet of the pension pot owned by everyone who works at the Bank of England.  Index Linked Gilts are linked to RPI – the inflation rate – you buy them if you are worried about inflation.  They are a hedge against inflation.

Hold on, if deflation is (as the political elite and their client media commentators claim) the big threat, why is the Bank of England’s pension fund betting 3/5 of the £2.2 billion pot on hedging against inflation?  This is their personal pension fund.  Money talks.

Source : Bank of England Pension Report [pdf]

Hat-tip : Peter Oborne

Monday, March 30, 2009

+++ BBC to Break Sale of MP’s Receipts Story +++

Of course if they didn’t keep it secret from us – the people who pay the bills – there wouldn’t be anything to sell.  So release the receipts now…

UPDATE : Newsnight just flashed a trailer for a claim that the receipts are being offered to newspapers for £300,000 – uncensored.

LibDems Claim Highest Expenses

The averages:

  • LibDems claim £140,217

  • Labour MPs claim £136,116

  • Tory MPs claim £131,275

Half of MPs Claim Within 10% of the Maximum

Fiddlers

This breakdown of the second home allowance graphically shows how MP’s milk the system. Over half of them claim within 10% of the maximum £23,083 allowed…funny that…

UPDATE : Jacqui Smith claimed £135 under the maximum £23,083.  Tsk, tsk.

+++ MP’s Expense Totals Released for 2008 +++

Download them here [pdf]. See your how much your MP has fiddled..

UPDATE : Guido has now uploaded the expenses as a webpage.

Lunchtime with Jamie Oliveoil

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has gone viral to promote their new report out today showing that the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy costs each household in Britain £400 a year.  Jamie Oliver is actually cooking for the G20 Summit.  Unfortunately this recipe for protectionist EU fudge sticks in the gullet…

GMTV Can’t Get Dale to Appear, So They Have to Make Do

twitterdaleGuido laughed when he saw the crack on Tory Bear about the shock of Iain Dale turning down a TV appearance.   Guido laughed even more when he saw that GMTV had found a substitute politician to take his placeA nice younger politician called, errm, David Cameron…

MPs Fear Expenses Whistle Blowers

Note that the anger MPs are feeling about the expenses revelations is directed not at those MPs who are abusing the system and bringing them all into disrepute, but at those who are exposing them. Labour MPs are convinced there is a “Tory mole”* in the fees office, others think that digitised versions of their soon to be released receipts are being shopped around the papers.

MPs are after blood – the blood of the whistle blowers rather than the blood of those robbing the public.

That is how morally compromised they are, no longer able to see that what they are doing is wrong.  They just want to stop the sunlight shining on their dodgy practises.

*Having been involved in a few of these expense fiddle stories coming to light, MPs should realise that the sources are often constituents, outraged staff, disgusted civil servants, sometimes rival politicians from the same party and often the result of plain old digging. Politicians are now widely despised as a class, don’t be surprised that your dirty secrets are becoming public knowledge.


Seen Elsewhere

Rise of Angela Merkel | New Yorker
May SpAd Removed From Candidates List | ConHome
Clodagh’s Law | Press Gazette
Whitehall Bosses Ban Christmas | Sun
Meanwhile, in Russia… | Media Guido
Christmas TV Tips | Laura Perrins
Labour Marginal Fright | Lord Ashcroft
Osborne’ Real Deficit Reduction Record | ConHome
Blameronism | Peter Oborne
Everyone Can Lose | Staggers
Splintering of the Left | Tim Montgomerie


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