Thursday, July 31, 2008

Disquiet Grows About Hypocritical Guardian’s 4.99% Tax Rate

The Telegraph’s city pages have caught up this morning with Guido’s revelation yesterday that GMG, the owners of the Guardian, perfectly legally had an effective tax rate of 4.99% after taking advantage of a tax holiday last year despite making a headline profit of £300m from the disposal of 49.9% of Auto Trader.
The hypocrisy of them attacking Tesco for tax avoidance when they themselves pay an even lower rate of tax is laughable. (They are currently in the libel courts and look like they are going to lose to Tesco having already admitted their story was bollocks).

The Telegraph quoted Grant Thornton’s senior tax partner Mike Warburton saying: “Guardian Media Group has enjoyed a tax holiday courtesy of some very helpful rules introduced by their friend Gordon Brown. They are taking full advantage of the relief legally available to them, which all businesses should do. That’s fine, but don’t knock people who do exactly the same.”

This is almost as much fun as Polly hypocritically banging on about airplane carbon emissions before hopping on a flight to her Tuscan villa. See Richard Littlejohn’s fantastic bitch-slap here

Tots for Tots

Dave advocated a continental approach to familiarising children with alcohol, a small glass of wine at the dinner table was the example he used. Sensible and far better than teenagers learning about boozing from Barcardi Breezers behind the bike sheds. Melissa Kite shrilly calls it a blunder and fatuously asks
…why don’t the Tories propose giving away free Dubonnet and soda in schools during break time, or perhaps little bottles of vodka and red bull at lunch.

This error of extrapolation is possibly the result of a good lunch?

Guido’s mother was known to dip his dummy in brandy when he was teething. Look how he turned out…

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guardian Underestimates Fat Cat Editor’s Package

Must be tricky reporting the compensation package of your fat cat boss – could be a career choice moment. Here is how Stephen Brook, press correspondent for the Guardian handles it:
GMG Execs’ Salaries Revealed

The Guardian editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, received total salary and benefits of £401,000 in the past financial year…

Which is odd because the annual report released this morning says Alan Rusbridger gets £401,000 in salary/fees and benefits in kind* plus £143,000 employer’s contribution to his pension. A total of £544,000 as reported on this blog this morning…

*The benefit in kind is not what you think, she denies it. Guido believes the minx.

Miliband Takes Aim

It appears the game is very definitely on. Team Brown is now fighting for survival in the only way it knows how – anonymous briefing. The Standard quotes “allies”, presumably Damian McBride, saying that Miliband is being “disloyal” and “self-serving” and of lacking “judgment and maturity”.

It goes on “People at least thought he was a serious figure and a grown-up politician but by allowing his head to be turned by this leadership nonsense, he has revealed a surprising lack of judgment and maturity.”

It was of course about this time 2 years ago that a not at all disloyal or self-serving crowd of Brownies sent a letter to Mr Blair telling him to go. Has anyone got a stamp?

Policy Exchange Hires Katy

Katy Taylor-Richards is leaving the Daily Express bunker to take over media relations for Policy Exchange under James Bethell. Both will be joining the growing think tank at the end of the month.

No news as yet as to who will be taking over from ex-boss Anthony Browne now he is off to do policy for Team Boris…

Nick Robinson : Politicians Are Two-Faced Liars

Nick Robinson is doing holiday cover on the Today show* and has been uncharacteristically candid on his blog. Nick says “that the public words of support for the PM often do not reflect the private misgivings I hear… It is the job of journalists to look for them but it is also our job to report the difference between talk and action.”

Great, go on, do your job then Nick. Tell us who is saying one thing to you and another to the public. Or is this a secret just for you and not the people who pay your wages? Who are the two-faced liars?

*Have to admit he is preferable to Jim Naughtie.

Guardian Lost £26.4 Million Last Year

Guardian News & Media (GNM), publishers of the Guardian and the Observer increased operating losses to £26.4m. The parent owners GMG would also have reported operating losses of £24.8 million were it not for the £334.8m sale of a 49.9% stake in Auto Trader, to Ronnie Cohen’s evil capitalist private equity vultures, Apax Partners. The online arm’s separate Guardian Unlimited identity has been dropped (it was more unkindly known by some as “Guardian Unlimited Losses”).

Incidentally the annual report reveals they paid £15.3 million in taxes last year despite claiming a group profit before taxation of £306.4 million after the sale of Auto Trader. GMG have always been adept at using the Scott Trust and other dodges to minimise tax charges. Guido congratulates them on achieving an effective tax rate 4.99%. Remember that the next time Polly Toynbee calls for higher taxes and everyone to pay a fair share.

Controversial Smith Institute trustee and Chairman of the Guardian Media Group Paul Myners warned: “We expect the uncertainty within the UK economy to have an impact on a number of the group’s revenue streams in the coming year.” Translation : we will lose more money next year.

Incidentally, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger got by on a total compensation package of a mere £544000 up from £473,000 last year. A 15% increase as a reward for losing £26.4 million – no belt tightening for him.

Handy having your friends, rather than shareholders, decide your pay isn’t it?

In the Bunker After the Glasgow East Result

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Clegg Does Realpolitik, Ends Policy of "Equi-Distance"

Nick Clegg says he is shifting resources to target what they see as the 50-most winnable Labour seats, pouring efforts and campaigners into fighting Gordon.

This is a sensible strategic move in the face of the reality of the polls, a change of government won’t happen if LibDems and Tories swap seats, a change of government will only happen if the LibDems and Tories take seats from Labour.

Guido advocated a Tory – LibDem non-aggression pact when Labour were riding high (Time for Tactical Decisions from CCHQ and Cowley Street). It still seems like a good idea. Having the LibDems as the official opposition to a Tory government would realise Margaret Thatcher’s oft stated ambition – to have a non-socialist alternative to the Conservatives, that would be her final victory. If Labour are attacked by Lib-Dems from second place and don’t waste money attacking second placed Tories in Labour seats they have a chance of becoming the official opposition. Over the border in Scotland the SNP have also removed Labour’s perpetual grip on on power. The total destruction of the Labour Party as a political threat is within grasp if the opposition parties are imaginative…

Is it Silly Season Yet?


Seen Elsewhere

Redwood Exposes Constitutional Vandalism | Nick Wood
No Campaign Has Been Inept | Mail
PM Faces Friday Bloodbath | Mail
Will Miliband Bottle English Devolution? | Mary Riddell
Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott
Cameron Faces Vote of No Confidence or Rebellion | FT
Cameron Faces Revolt Over ‘Vow’ | Sun
It’s Time to Speak for England | John Redwood
It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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