+++ MFI & Woolies Bust +++

Bankruptcy was not entirely unexpected in the case of these two ailing retailers. Despite Mandelson pleading with Woolies’ bankers into the early hours of this morning they pulled the plug regardless. Tuppence off prices won’t make much difference for them.

Keen readers will notice the change to the portfolio on the right hand side for the first time in a month. Guido has just shorted FTSE futures and Dow futures. Combination of bad local news and a sense that there is a mood of bailout fatigue in the U.S. There is usually a “Santa Claus rally” in the markets at year end. Not sure Santa is going to come this year…

Loans for Lordships Converted Into Donations

At first glance the just released Electoral Commission figures show that the Conservatives raised £5,315,271 (over 20% of which came from taxpayer subsidy) and Labour raised a total of £7,649,747 in donations.

Actually when you break it down it looks like Lord Sainsbury wrote off £2,511,808 in loans and interest, converting the debt into a donation, Sir David Garrard did the same for £352,278 and Sir Gulam Noon likewise for £307,576. J K Rowling put £1 million of her Potter profits into propping up Labour. The rest of the money came from the unions apart from a donation-in-kind from Saatchi and Saatchi for their crap “Not Flash, Just Gordon” campaign.

UPDATE : Contrary to the Press Association report which all the rest of the media (both broadcast and print) are using for their reports, the total figure for loans converted is not £2.25m. It totals £3,171,662 in loans and interest written off from Lord Sainsbury, Sir Gulam Noon and Sir David Gerrard – the latter in the form of a partial conversion of his loan and interest into a donation. Guido just confirmed this with the Electoral Commission. Don’t they check their sources? Guido 1, Big Media 0.

Boulton v Brillo

Have just watched (for the first time all the way through) Sky’s coverage of PMQs and have to say the post-match play-by-play format is superior to Brillo’s post-PMQs style – have a few old political war horses round to chuck in their tuppence on the issues – format. It was a bit stale and boring in comparison.

Sky’s coverage was more like sports reporting, which is how it should be. PMQs is a bloodsport…

PMQs Live Chat – Now 18.5% Bigger

Will be flicking between coverage on Daily Politics and on Sky:

VAT Charade Shows Politicians in a True Light

Gordon’s dithering now appears to be the official government macro-policy stance. We all remember the introduction of the 10p tax rate, the disastrously implemented abolition of it, then Gordon being forced to compensate losers he denied existed. We can see with this inadvertent release of the Treasury document on the implementation of the immediate VAT cut and the planned subsequent VAT hike, how Gordon’s government really operates:
  1. He isn’t able to tell the voters the truth.
  2. He dithers: clearly the intention is to hike VAT later to recoup the revenue lost from the VAT cut now. They were planning to announce that. Cowardice got hold of them and they backed away from admitting it at the last moment.
  3. Incompetence: they hastily re-jig the Pre-Budget-Report to hide this intention, but neglect to delete the truth from all the documents released and fail to fully recalculate the figures. The numbers now don’t add up and there is a £100 billion black hole unexplained. The suspicion is that other tax hikes are being hidden.
These are indeed serious times, so this kind of low political maneuvering is not just politically dishonest, it further damages confidence. It also shows politicians in the worst light, Guido would argue it actually shows them in a truthful light. World weary columnists like Michael White and Polly Toynbee say that Guido’s political analysis is flawed by his hostility to politicians. Guido argues that the public interest is ill-served by pundits who are too sympathetic and close to politicians.

Well here is a chance for them to demonstrate their superior powers of political analysis of this fundamental dishonesty with the voters. Go on Michael/Polly, stop sneering in the margins, explain how this is in the public interest and not narrow party electoral interest. Go on, for once: justify this behaviour.

+++ Labour’s 18.5% VAT for 2011 Tax Bomb +++ +++ Document Signed by Treasury Minister Stephen Timms +++

click to enlarge

Full document below

Labour’s VAT Bomb

Nigel Griffiths Makes An Idiot of Himself

The Tories just packed the Commons debating chamber to win a vote to force the speaker to allow an emergency debate on the PBR tomorrow – something that Labour were resigned to, but keen to avoid since it has gone down like a plate of cold vomit with the public.

Nigel Griffiths jumped up after the vote on a point of order to the Speaker; “Is it in order for MPs to pile into chamber…” he began before being drowned out with laughter from all sides.

Yes, a Labour MP thought it might be out of order for MPs to do their job. Desperate.

Research: Kaiser was Less Expensive Enemy than Brown

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has done the research leg-work and confirms that Brown’s debt bubble is twice what it cost to defeat the Kaiser.*

Total Debt increase 1914 – 1919 (2007 value):

£255,106,544,018

Total Debt planned 2008/09 – 2013/14 (PBR):

£512,000,000,000

(For full methodology, see Sources & Methodology)

*They are trying to find reliable data for the cost of WWII at the moment.

“If Unemployment Reaches 3 Million Most Will Do Well”

Norman Tebbit? Norman Lamont? Nope, this is current. 

The exact quote is

“Even if unemployment reaches 3 million, that still leaves 90% in secure jobs. Most people will suffer not at all in this recession: on the contrary they will

[…]

+ READ MORE +

People Will Bail Out of Bail Out States

Jack Thurston, a former special adviser to Gordon’s enforcer Nick Brown, and one of early New Labour’s more cerebral types, writes in this morning’s Wall Street Journal of the perils ofA Permanent Bailout. Even a perennial

[…]

+ READ MORE +

BBC Business Reporting Was Pathetic Yesterday, Again

The FTSE 100 was up 9.84% and the BBC’s Robert Peston told us yesterday that was because the City liked the PBR, this was repeated by whatshisname the other business reporter on the News at Ten.

Well the Germans

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Osborne Wows

ConservativeHome calls it an outstanding performance by George Osborne, Guido has just got off the phone with Tom Clougherty, policy director at the free market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute, he described it as “the speech of

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Nigel Farage on Jeremy Corbyn:

“North London, bicycles, non-drinker, doesn’t sound very much like me does it?”

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