Danny Finkelstein seems set on winding Guido up (again). Having fought a long media campaign against the Tories making the case for lower taxes in The Times, on Newsnight and via text messages to George Osborne, he is now arguing for higher pay for MPs to make up for their reduced future opportunities to fiddle their expenses.
MPs’ expenses alone almost match average mean earnings, in fact after tax is deducted, MPs’ tax-free perks alone exceed average (net) mean earnings. Their salaries are triple what the average voter / taxpayer earns, add in their perks and it is quadruple what the average voter / taxpayer earns. The chart above (source) shows income distribution in Britain. See how MPs are way over-paid already.
The “mob” referred to last night in his set-to* with Kelvin MacKenzie on Newsnight might not be part of the metropolitan media class struggling to get by on six figures, but they know self-serving bullshit when they see it. MPs don’t deserve the salaries they are actually on, there can be no question of them deserving a pay rise. Unemployment is above two million, there are plenty of better qualified people available who would do a better job than the parasitic, all-party, interchangeable professional political class currently in control of Westminster. Not a single penny more for the pigs.
*Worth watching from 10 minutes in: Kelvin telling it like it is about Alastair Darling’s “quasi-criminality”…
There have been a few newspaper stories about the BNP’s popularity online suggesting it is surging in ‘popularity’. It is even claimed that it is the most popular political site online. The BNP boast that this is the case based on Amazon’s Alexa rankings. The problem with Alexa is that it is easily gamed, download the free toolbar or extension and you boost your own ranking when you visit your own site. If BNP activists are encouraged to download the toolbar, they will make it appear that they are more popular. Of necessity given the BNP are not given mainstream space they are (disproportionately to their size) very active online with a well developed web presence. It appears to be true that they have the highest traffic of any official website of any UK political party. They are not however quite as popular as they claim.
The online advertising industry demands independent, verifiable metrics. Three firms dominate the online metrics business, ABCe, Comscore and Hitwise. They all use different methodologies and none are perfect. ABCe is more precise but is paid for by the publisher and uses verified data from the publishers own servers. Comscore and Hitwise are by nature inexact but have the advantage of sampling on sound methodologies and are very good at measuring relative market share, even of competitors. If you know your own traffic you can therefore derive the approximate traffic of your rivals relative to your own. Below is the Hitwise ranking data for April 2009 for blogs and political sites viewed in the UK:
click graphic to enlarge
So given that last month Guido knows he had circa 3 million page views, the BNP (with half the relative market share) probably had circa 1.5 million page views. You might note that the Guardian’s Comment is Free, with all the cross marketing, budget and staff only manages to have 31% more readers than Guido. It must drive them crazy at Guardian HQ that a part-time, rarely sober, lone blogger with a lap-top and a site that costs a couple of hundred quid a month to maintain, runs them so close. No wonder they lose so much money…
Today Guido learnt that the Minister for Work and Pensions, Rosie Winterton, claimed close to the maximum allowance for second homes – including soundproofing her bedroom. The MP, John Prescott’s former mistress, claimed for the work in February 2007, before the fees office reduced the payment to £3,800 after refusing to pay for the use of acoustic felt and wool slabs.
The full claim was for ‘soundproofing of bedroom wall and redecoration to bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, staircase’. What is she was so keen on us not hearing about?
You campaign for years for troughing MPs to go and then three come along at once.
Goodbye and good riddance.
Yesterday Guido did momentarily consider voting for Fine Gael, Libertas however have guaranteed one more vote in Wexford today. This is obviously not some cheap photo-opportunity publicity stunt putting words in the mouth of page three girl Amy Diamond :“I am delighted to bare all for Libertas. What have MEPs got to hide? I want them to get everything off their chest like me. Stop covering up if they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”
Robin Matthews, who leads Libertas in the UK, makes the point that: ‘The expenses scandal is rife in Europe, it is not just our MPs here at Westminster with their noses in the trough. Greater abuse is taking place at the European Parliament. The only way to sort this out and make change is by MEPs baring all and letting us see what they have spent our money on’. Quite.
They are going like skittles today…
Hull is not the most economically successful region in the best of times. Nevertheless yesterday morning the Hull Daily Mail launched a campaign for economic optimism in the face of a recession. The first edition announced the support of the […]