Friday, May 30, 2008

Labour Polls The Lowest Since British Polling Began


The latest polls have Labour at the lowest ever recorded since polling began in 1943 and Gordon Brown is the most unpopular PM in history, he is polling worse than even Neil Kinnock or Michael Foot! How must it feel to be the most hated Prime Minister of all time?

Guido likes to remind all those Labour lemmings, like Tom Watson, who plotted and worked to get Blair out and Brown in, that we told you so. So here is a reminder, again:


John Hutton didn’t mince his words when he gave Nick Robinson his prediction. He was right.


He made this forecast (video here) to a Question Time audience. He got it wrong, it took five months.


They are going to miss three times election winning Blair when he is gone. Wait and see…
26 June 2007

Labour have acted like lemmings, dispensing with their most successful leader of all time for a less popular, less likeable replacement. The more the voters see of Gordon, the worse it will get.
May 13, 2007

You have to wonder if the Labour party is having a collective moment of Lemming-like lunacy... The Brown bounce will be a dead-Lemming bounce.
April 27, 2007

We really did tell you so…

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Downing Street Forces Purnell to Sack Adviser

Whatever the spin being put on this, the truth is that the Brownies do not want to hear criticism. Particularly when the criticism comes from media favourite James Purnell’s speech writer (who was once Blair’s speech writer).

Phil Collins has written in this month’s Prospect Magazine a wonky piece which can be summarised roughly as Brown is crap, Cameron is right. How did the man who after the local elections said he was “listening and would learn from [his] mistakes” react? Gordon and the Brownies went berserk.

Purnell has been forced to sack his speech writer.

The line coming out that Purnell has not sacked Collins, he just now has a civil service speech writer, is of course bollocks. Civil servants don’t write party political speeches. This is the spin from the same people who you may remember insisted that David Pitt-Watson was taking up the General Secretary position and contrary stories from Guido et al were wrong. Just a “few contractual wrinkles” to sort out they claimed. They subsequently admitted we were right and by implication they had lied shamelessly to their chosen interlocutor – Ben Brogan. This is what they do. Lie unattributably. Paul Waugh is their more sceptical chosen interlocutor this time….

Hillary Waits for the 3 a.m. Call,Brown Calls You at 6 a.m.

PR Week reports another failed PR putsch from the bunker…

“Hello? Gordon here. I’m calling about your letter…’

Clare O’Connor and David Singleton

Gordon Brown’s latest comms offensive involves cold-calling members of the public who have written him letters, according to sources close to Downing Street.

The initiative is said to be the brainchild of Downing Street chief of strategy Stephen Carter and is intended to humanise the Prime Minister as his popularity continues to wane.

‘Carter thought it was a good idea to have Brown call people personally,’ said one insider. ‘Carter will choose a letter or email at random, have one of his team at Number 10 prepare a response, then get Brown to call.’

The move is an attempt to spread positive word of mouth for the PM, especially in the regions.

However, one of the first phone calls backfired spectacularly, according to one anecdote told to PRWeek.

‘Brown made a phone call at 6am, without thinking,’ said a well-placed Labour source. ‘Luckily the person he called was a shift worker, so he was awake.’

The source added: ‘Carter’s idea is well meaning, but it’s not working. Improving Brown’s image through PR is now being looked at as a lost cause.’

Downing Street declined to comment on the story.

Source : PRWeek

Pundits Think Politicians Paid Too Little

PoliticsHome’s “Insider Panel” has been polled on politicians pay and surprisingly “Britain’s most authoritative survey of expert and inside political opinion” has a majority of the panel (56%) reckoning MPs are currently paid too little.
Hmmm, a poll of politicians, political insiders and their friends reckons they should be paid more. In other surprise news, a poll of turkeys votes against christmas celebrations.

+++ Oil Tax Windfalls :Treasury Rakes £115m Weekly More Than Budget Forecast +++

Maurice Fitzpatrick, senior tax manager at Grant Thornton, the accountants is quoted in the FT:
Since the Budget in March, the Treasury has already taken an estimated £820m more than its forecasts in North Sea oil tax. The £6bn of surplus revenue would easily cover the cost of U-turns on both fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, where ministers are introducing new bands which could cost an extra £200 for drivers of inefficient cars. Deferring the 2p increase in fuel duty by six months would cost £550m. Scrapping the revamped vehicle excise duty altogether would mean the loss of an estimated £465m next year and £735m next year – although ministers may only remove the retrospective element of this tax.

So scrapping the poll tax on wheels and the 2p hike on petrol taxes would cost about 9 weeks extra than forecast windfall taxes due to high oil prices. Scrap ‘em now…

Labour Insolvent, 30 Days from Bankruptcy

David Hencke has a round-up this morning of the debts coming due for the Labour Party taken from the Electoral Commission’s updated records released yesterday. He also reveals that NEC members threatened to resign unless they were indemnified for their potential liabilities. City lawyers Slaughter & May have warned that NEC members could be jointly and several liable for the debts. That means Gordon Brown himself could be held legally liable for £24 million of party debt…

The Co-operative Bank is calling in £2.61m in loans, Unity Trust Bank owned by the Co-op and the unions has a further £1.54 m due at the same time. In total £7.45m is due next month. Money that Labour simply does not have. Guido is willing to risk buying Labour Party debt at 10p in the £1…

The position of general secretary is still vacant. Guido is surprised.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why is Petrol So Expensive in Britain?

Petrol is now nearly £6 a gallon, or some £1.15 a litre, of which 67p or some 57% goes to the Treasury. But that is only the beginning of how the Treasury makes more out of high petrol costs than OPEC and the oil companies combined.

The price differential between Britain and America is almost entirely due to taxation. Americans are enraged that they are paying $4 a gallon, they would probably have another revolution if they had to pay the equivalent of $12 a gallon as the British do. Even Europeans pay lower fuel taxes than the British, in some cases dramatically lower tax rates.

In the 2005 budget Gordon doubled the tax levy from 10% to 20% on oil explorers. At the time the Offshore Operators Association said it was “shocked” by the chancellor’s decision. “At a single stroke, the Treasury has rewritten the industry’s future. It will severely undermine business confidence,” warned the OOA chief executive, Malcolm Webb, “This has been done not once but twice in the space of just three years and we fear that this time the North Sea will not be as resilient.” And so it has proved.

Former oil trader Alan Duncan, the Tory Business Shadow, says Brown‘s actions over oil production are “not just laughable, but pitiful… he has completely lost the plot.” The government has belatedly today exempted 30 unprofitable oil fields from Petroleum Revenue Tax and granted licenses to two new sites. It was Gordon himself who doubled the Petroleum Revenue Tax three years ago.

What bemuses Guido most is that in the midst of all these difficulties, Alistair Darling is still dithering and doesn’t know if he wants to delay adding 2p a litre to fuel costs. He doesn’t know? He really doesn’t have a clue does he?

UPDATE : Osborne spotted the problem last year.

Jonah Brown Calls for Lower Oil Prices

This lunchtime Gordon made his call for increased oil production by OPEC and North Sea Oil producers. How did the market react? Above is today’s price chart, notice the move beginning just after Gordon’s midday rant at the market.

You guessed it – oil rose over 4 bucks…

Note to Editors : Oil Price is $126 not $135 Doh!

Why are some of the papers this morning reporting oil is $135 a barrel? Could it be because Downing Street is briefing on that basis ahead of Gordon’s meeting with the oil companies and they are too lazy to check? Crude oil for July delivery touched a record $135.09 a barrel last week – last Guido looked at it and wished he was short the market – it was trading at $126.35.

Gordon isn’t going to talk down the market, it will come down when the market believes recession will hit demand…

UPDATE : Larry Elliot, Guardian Economics editor reckons oil “has increased from $10 a barrel a decade ago to $135 today.” If he turns a few pages in his own paper he will see he is wrong.

Bash a Politician – Get a T-Shirt!

Peter Hain’s demise began with the leak of one document – his leadership campaign’s budget. That tip set in train a process that led directly to him being investigated by the police for undeclared donations.

You make this blog happen. Sources are anonymous (unless you want credit*). Who is on the fiddle? Who is lying? If you know “the line” is a lie, ask yourself why you got into politics; was it to cover up the truth or tell it?

Skype gossip and tittle-tattle online to Guido.
(If you haven’t got Skype, download it free here.)

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Seen Elsewhere

UKIP No Flash In Pan | Matthew Goodwin
12 Signs It’s Time to Get Out of Gaza | Slate
HealthCare.gov Construction Cost $840 Million | Wall Street Journal
Why Do Feminists Oppose Stay-at-Home Mothers? | Laura Perrins
Chris Cook’s “Excellent Journalism” | Iain Dale
The Deficit Hasn’t Gone Away | Tim Montgomerie
Doctors Against Burnham | Mail
Privatisation is Good for the NHS | John McTernan
Keep Juncker’s Hands Off the City | Allister Heath
Britain’s New Enemies: Immigrants & Capitalists | FT
Today’s 1914 Parallels | Jeremy Warner


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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:

“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”



TJ says:

And i’ve noticed that 100% of Guido Fawkes staff are men. Looks like Guido has a woman problem. Or is it an hypocrisy problem?


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