Monday, June 3, 2013

Osborne and Balls on Bilderberg Guest List

Selected guest list for this week Bilderberg meeting in Watford:

Chairman: Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO, AXA Group
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Kenneth Clarke, Cabinet Minister
Peter Mandelson, Chairman, Global Counsel; Chairman, Lazard International
Baroness Williams of Crosby, Member, House of Lords
Eric E. Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google Inc.
José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission
Timothy F Geithner, Former Secretary of the Treasury
Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF
Marcus Agius, Former Chairman, Barclays plc
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.com
Sherard Cowper-Coles, Business Development Director, International, BAE Systems plc
Robert Dudley, Group Chief Executive, BP plc
Thomas Enders, CEO, EADS
J. Michael Evans, Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs & Co.
François Fillon, Former French Prime Minister
John Kerr, Independent Member, House of Lords
John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
H.R.H. Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands
David H. Petraeus, General, U.S. Army (Retired)
Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister
Peter D. Sutherland, Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

Politicians, bankers and arms dealers break bread…

The guest list in full can be seen here.

Balls Abandons Universality to Save His Job

Ed Balls has finally blinked, tearing up the party’s previously unbreakable commitment to universal benefits, alienating the Labour left and cynically conceding to the centre ground. He announced today that Labour would cut winter fuel payments to the rich, something Miliband has previously defended as “a bedrock of our society”. Channelling Osborne, Balls will say:

“In tough economic times we have to make difficult choices about priorities for public spending and what the right balance is between universal and targeted support. So at a time when the public services that pensioners and others rely on are under strain, it can no longer be a priority to continue paying the winter fuel allowance to the wealthiest pensioners.”

This is of almost no financial significance, it is however hugely significant politically. Abandoning such a historically fundamental Labour policy reveals much of Balls’ fears for his own job. He knows that if he cannot improve flat-lining public confidence in his competency by next year Miliband has a decision to make. This LabourList/Survation poll is why Balls knows being fired could easily become a reality:

ed-kinnockIn the Sun today Trevor Kavanagh says Miliband is the new Kinnock. This is a comparison Guido has made in the past, not least to Ed himself, that he would go the same way as Labour’s 1992 leader. It makes sense for Miliband and Balls to change track two years before the election rather than leave it any later and risk their credibility sinking even lower. They have two years to get the party, then the people, on board…

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Low Spinning Balls

Where there are unemployment figures, there is a chance to spin. Especially for Watson-trained Balls Political Adviser / bruiser Alex Belardinelli. There he was, gleefully tweeting killer stats to talk down today’s unemployment figures:

You wouldn’t realise from that tweet that the unemployment rate is actually 0.2% lower: falling from 8% when Gordon left to 7.8% today. The total number of people in employment has risen 880,000 from May 2010. The total number of unemployed has risen by 100,000 from May 2010. With a growing population, Belardinelli knows exactly what he is doing. In reality the facts point to better employment figures today then three years ago, albeit hardly by much more than flatlining. There is spinning and then there is misinformation… 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Darling of the Lobby

The two Eds will have been following Alistair Darling’s Lobby lunch very closely this afternoon. Darling laid down the gauntlet to Balls, showing a fair amount of leg about a possible return: “At the moment I’m totally focused on the referendum. After that I’ll see where I stand. I will maintain an interest in wider affairs.” 

Some choice words for Miliband too. Darling says Ed “needs to do more to argue case for staying in the EU”, but at least apparently he’s “doing better than people give him credit for” and there is “no need for line by line manifesto” with two years to go. He was coy on Gordon: “I have never provided a running commentary on any conversations I may or may not have had”, but was willing to jokingly flirt with another foe: “there are times I have been tempted to join UKIP”. The tease…

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Where’s Ed Balls?

When the going got tough, Gordon Brown would pull his favourite Macavity trick and disappear. It seems his prodigy Ed Balls has learnt exactly the same trick. There has been a lot of grumbling over the weekend in Labour circles that the Shadow Chancellor all but disappeared in the wake of the local election results and was silent on the airwaves, leaving the mop up to the likes of Chuka and Tom Watson. He managed to Tweet his congratulations to the new MP for South Shields, but apart from that has stuck to local issues in his seat and talking about Shepherd’s Pie. His absence has been noted by more loyal colleagues…

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ed Balls: The Movie of the Meme

Friday, April 19, 2013

LISTEN: Caller Tells Balls: “You Live in Denial”

“Is your biggest problem – you are the most annoying man in politics, you live in denial, you smear on behalf of Gordon Brown when you did it, you’re a left wing economist with private education. This is the problem Balls, you don’t listen.”

If Sean from Matfield is anything to go by, Call Balls could become essential Friday morning listening…

Via LBC.

Balls Spins Indy Spending Splash

Labour are getting into a spin over this morning’s Indy splash claiming they will pledge to outspend the Tories in 2015. Balls has told LBC the story “is an exclusive but it’s wrong”, blaming a report from the Fabians: “it is not our policy, it is not our position”. As Damian McBride speculates, the Indy front page is manifestly true, Labour just won’t confirm it until they release their manifesto in two years’ time.

Labour pledging to spend more is a case of when rather than if. They say they don’t have a position now, but you can bet the scoop will be confirmed by election day…

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Wicked Witch of the West End

As the battle rages between ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ and ‘I’m in Love With Margaret Thatcher’ for the highest chart position, you can always rely on Ed Balls’ spectacular lack of timing for a lighter take on the loony left campaign. Asked by the Standard what he gets up to in his spare time this morning, Balls rather unfortunately replied:

“I’ve been to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria five times in the past three years. I can’t wait to go again…”

As Guido is also a fan of musical theatre, we will let him off this time…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

WATCH: Politician Sport Fails

Guido thinks everyone needs cheering up a little. Here’s one way of comparing recent PMs…


Seen Elsewhere

David Ward’s Holocaust Denier Friends | Harry's Place
Grayling: Bercow Faces Questions | Sun
Paul Flynn Could Learn a Lot From a Trip to Israel | Breitbart
50 Shades of Grayling | Speccie
Bercow’s £12,000 of VIP Sporting Freebies | Sun
Aldous Huxley v George Orwell | FatPita
Blinkered BBC is Ripe for Reform | David Keighley
Calls for Bercow to Face Inquiry | Mail
Labour Mad to Fight Tories on Tax | Dan Hodges
Right to be Forgotten is a Disaster | Padraig Reidy
Dave Could Be Finished Before 50 | James Forsyth


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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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