Monday, November 10, 2008

Clegg : “I Like Being a Punk Tax Cutter”

The Fink has generously given space to Clegg on his blog to argue the LibDem case for tax cuts. Which seems fair enough given the argument we have been having has featured Clegg’s proposals quite centrally. Danny has mocked Clegg, claiming tendentiously that that the Tories would reach LibDem levels of popularity if they advocated tax cuts. Clegg has come back all guns blazing:

Danny Finklestein is wrong, and cutting taxes is right, and here are some reasons why: Danny thinks that offering people on low and middle incomes a tax cut is a ‘con’- a short term promise intended to fool voters…. Growth is what we need now. Funded tax cuts help give us that. Without growth there’s no earthly way we’ll be able to balance the books over the economic cycle. Far from being irresponsible, as Danny alleges, tax cuts at a time of recession is the responsible thing to do… Why does Danny think it’s impossible after a decade of spiralling Whitehall spending to find 3% of that money that could be put to a better use? That’s what Gordon Brown says – the Government knows best, and the rest of us are not allowed to question the way he spends our money…. this isn’t about the media. It is about being clear and bold on what is needed at a time of growing economic distress. I may have failed to persuade Danny, but I suspect time will prove me right.

Exactly. Growth is the only way out of recession. Stimulus has to be more than just about monetary policy. Danny’s focus on the politics of a tax cut has blinded him to the economic imperative.

UPDATE : Fink fisks Clegg here. Danny has just emailed to say “drawing a party leader into a bloggers debate between you and me is a signal that Hazel Blears is wrong.”

Committee on Standards in Public Life : Public Has Even Lower Opinion of Politicians

Ms Blears will no doubt somehow attempt to blame Guido, but it is clear that the trend in public opinion is negative towards politicians. Interesting how the figures break down:
Party affiliation: Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters (51% and 49% respectively) were more likely to rate standards as high than Conservative supporters (38%). Conservative supporters were more likely than those with no party affiliation (31%) to rate standards as high.

So it is those of us who don’t vote who trust politicians least. Makes sense. Democracy is about choosing between liars.

Of the politico-media class, tabloid journalists are the least trusted, they are trusted even less than estate agents. That will be down to Kevin “make-it-up” Maguire.

53% don’t trust government ministers or MPs in general. They have only themselves to blame. Stop lying to the public if you want to be trusted.

Full data set here.

Tax Cuts are the New Black

Cable and Clegg are already calling for ‘em, Brown and Darling are dumping dogma to talk about helping Britain through the recession with tax cuts, Osborne and Cameron are going to announce their tax relief plan tomorrow. Tax cuts are the new black.

Meanwhile over in Wapping, Danny Finkelstein said yesterday that Guido iseccentric in campaigning for populist tax cuts. Perhaps we have differing definitions of “eccentric”, Guido’s is: unusual or unconventional, a person who has an unusual, peculiar, or odd personality, set of beliefs, or behavior pattern. Now Guido may have been a bit ahead of the curve in advocating a tax cut based package for growth and saying it would be popular. The Fink however believes tax cuts are vote losers – yet the political leaderships of all the parties are now advocating them – why Danny? Who now really holds the eccentric view? Danny has many qualities, but his sense of timing for the political zeitgeist is not one of them. When it comes to political fashion he is what economists would describe as a “lagging indicator” .

Danny says the Tories will be “destroyed” if they advocate tax cuts, that is ridiculous, on the contrary they will be damaged if they do not. It seems to Guido that the Tories have finally realised that Fink is wrong, the old position is not right for now, the voters have moved on. One wonders if Osborne would have reached this point faster without the siren voice of his old friend. Now Nick Clegg, not the Tories, will be able to claim with some justice to have set the agenda.

[Guido also hears that the Speccie will this week be reporting Nigel Lawson claiming that he was misquoted on taxes – he is in favour of an immediate tax cut, so long as it is responsible.]

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lest We Forget

Cover by Holly, aged 17, in memory of her great, grandfather.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

+++ 2/3rds of Tory Grassroots Want Tax Cuts +++

ConservativeHome’s monthly survey is out.

LibDem’s Choose Dullest Candidate to be Party President Lembit Goes Nuclear

Guido despairs of the sandalistas sometimes. Why choose someone so dull and weak? Ros Scott burst into tears at one hustings because the questioning was mildly tough. They had a choice between someone who has a high media profile, someone energetic and someone who is nice but completely in the LibDem comfort zone. They opted for the latter when the problem is the LibDems are in serious trouble electorally. They have just lost their deposit in a by-election. Membership is at the lowest it has been in living memory, down to just a mere 60,357.

Presidential Election Votes Cast
Ros Scott: 20,736 votes (72%)
Lembit Öpik: 6247 votes (22%)
Chandila Fernando: 1799 votes (6%)

Lembit now says is going to campaign for some of his hobby horses – one of which is a “reassessment of our [LibDem] attitude towards nuclear power”. Presumably he wants to move the LibDems towards supporting nuclear power.

Lessons for Gordon and Dave

NZ Labour ran on exactly Gordon’s U.S.P.*, and it didn’t work. The voters in New Zealand overwhelmingly disagreed with Labour’s message, change and tax cuts won big in New Zealand. The “novice” promising tax cuts won.

Danny Finkelstein says voters don’t believe politician’s promises of tax cuts, Fink argues there is a credibility issue. John Key’s first manifesto pledge gave the three actual dates he would cut personal taxes for New Zealanders, a promise to take to the bank. His party won big.

Obama, another novice, ran promising tax cuts for 95% of Americans. The “novice” promising tax cuts won.

The incoherent Tory response to the financial crisis is manifestly weak, Osborne’s performance has disheartened even his own supporters, the lack of a clear message has weakened their credibility on economic issues significantly in the polls. Maybe Michael Ashcroft will have learnt something useful during his recent time with the NZ Nats that will influence the Tories for the better.

Times have changed, voters want the pendulum to swing back from spending towards tax cuts. Rumours are circulating in the Westminster Village that Gordon and Alastair are preparing to announce tax cuts. Which will, even if they are only rhetorical tax cuts, in a stroke make Dave and George look ridiculous as both Labour and the LibDems promise tax cuts and the Tories are left high and dry stranded on the high tax centre ground with only Danny Finkelstein for company. The old strategy may have been strategically right during the decontamination phase of Cameron’s leadership, it is so wrong for now. The recent electoral lessons from the rest of the English speaking world show that to “seal the deal” people now need a positive reason to vote for the Tories.

See also: NZ Nats Tax Calculator.

*Unique Selling Point

Friday, November 7, 2008

NO2ID : Latest Pictures

This is just in via a securely encrypted (to government standard) data transmission source. Somebody handed Guido a USB memory dongle in a pub. NO2ID are processing Jacqui Smith’s biometric data in a secure data acquisition unit at an undisclosed location.

The process is different to that required for merely identifying fingerprints – NO2ID intend to be able to reproduce Jacqui’s fingerprints. They tell Guido they are pretty confident as to the quality of the result.

Friday Caption Competition (Serious Candidate Edition)


Seen Elsewhere

BBC: It Was Guido Wot Won It | MediaGuido
Nick Robinson’s Britain First Selfie | Metro
Dyson: Leave German Dominated EU, Join EFTA |
How UKIP Won Rochester | Seb Payne
Labour’s Islington Problem | Harry Phibbs
Ed Lost More Than a By-Election | Labour Uncut
Labour the Biggest Losers in Rochester | Speccie
Thornberry a Gift to Farage | Nick Wood
Is Left Finally Turning Against EU? | Dan Hannan
Labour Votes Going Green | Guardian
UKIP Winning Class War | Tim Stanley


Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


Ralph Miliband on the English…

“The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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