Monday, March 10, 2014

Dave’s Barrister Brother Backed Legal Aid Cuts Strike

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, Dave’s barrister brother was sympathetic to Friday’s strike over Government cuts to the legal aid budget that will leave some junior lawyers paid less than the minimum wage. Alexander Cameron’s case was not sitting on the strike day so he did not picket. But a source at his London chambers tells Guido: “He would not have gone to court even if his case had been sitting.”

Friday, January 3, 2014

Environment Agency Massively Over-Staffed
Arguably World’s Most Bloated Quango

ea0prospect

Prospect, the union which represents workers at the Environment Agency, is taking the opportunity of the floods to protest job cuts – “The government must call an immediate moratorium on 1,500 job cuts in the Environment Agency in the light of the flooding that has swept the UK this winter” – as if that would stop the rain. 1,500 job cuts sounds like a lot until you realise that it is only 10% of the bloated workforce.

Bloated? Well it is by international comparisons. Equivalent quangos in the rest of the world are much smaller, the Environment Agency for England alone has more staff than the Canadian, Danish, French, German, Swedish and Austrian equivalents, combined!

Only the US Environmental Protection Agency has more staff, (15,913 versus 11,200) hardly surprising given the US is some eighty times larger than the UK with six times the population. According to a whistle blower, blogging for Inside the Environment Agency“, based on international comparisons it has 9,000 too many and a billion plus budget that should be slashed in half. Some serious Treasury axe wielding required here…

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ed Ballses Up Brillo Interview

Under pressure from Brillo earlier, Balls coughed that he believed “the cuts are deeper than they need to be” for the spending review. Meanwhile spinners were pushing the line that Labour will stick to spending cuts if elected in 2015. Which was even on the rather unfortunate ticker scrolling along the bottom of the screen while Balls was speaking. So these cuts are too deep but Labour will stick to them, eh?

Here is the video:

This is What Austerity Looks Like

The Chancellor has revealed how much the UK will spend in 2015/16: £745 billion. For the first time we have an accurate picture of the widespread devastation that Osborne’s austerity agenda has wrought:

At the next election, the Coalition will be spending £76 billion more than Labour were five years ago.

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Picture of Liam Byrne’s Infamous “No Money” Note

Turns out it was “I’m afraid there is no money”, not “I’m afraid there is no money left”.

If we’re being pedantic…

Via ITV

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Patten’s DCMS Anguish

Things must be bad for the increasingly troubled Department for Culture Media and Sport when a loathed Chairman of the BBC has to ride to your defence. Chris Patten told a Press Gallery lunch that the department must not be scrapped, despite the Olympics being over. Since then Maria Miller has driven press regulation into a brick wall and their only other significant project – broadband – is being rolled out at dial-up speed. Patten’s hand wringing will do little to convince Tories that scrapping the department is a bad idea.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Witherow Gets Axe Out at Times

Media Guido is hearing of big movements over at the Times. Witherow is, as expected, swinging the axe…

Roland Watson is out as Political Editor – he’s been told to apply for Foreign Editor apparently – a desk getting squeezed.

Cameron biographer Francis Elliot will replace him and Sam Coates is coming back  from the scaled-back business desk to the Lobby.

Guido is hearing conflicting reports of his job title, though it is expected to be along the lines of Deputy Political Editor or Associate Political Editor.

Some twenty newsroom sackings are said to be imminent.

In lighter news, the much missed Times Diary is set to return.

UPDATE: US sources suggest that Witherow has also axed the Times’ Wall Street correspondent with the expectation being that they will share content with the Wall Street Journal. The New York features writer has also been given the bullet. Developing…

UPDATE II: Guido understands no more cuts are hitting the business desk beyond Coates and the Wall Street correspondent. Apparently the brunt of the staff cuts are in sections with less affluent readers.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Chris Leslie…

Poor little Chris Leslie. He’s getting all the tough gigs for Labour’s Shadow Treasury team this week. Yesterday he was forced onto the airwaves to not answer on whether Labour would cut departmental budgets and today he has the pleasure of trying to respond to OECD’s spring report. Why would Balls want to avoid this?

Leslie, forced to play Ed Balls’ Chloe Smith, says:

“The OECD has once again cut its growth forecasts for the UK economy, warning that youth unemployment is too high and that weak growth means wages are not keeping up with price rises. And the OECD is just the latest organisation to say that the Government needs to increase the number of homes being built and that investing in infrastructure now will improve our economy for the future.”

Sure. But are you not forgetting something Chris? Turn to page 95 of the report. Leaving aside the bit where the independent experts say “employment performance has been good”, what do you say to their call for further fiscal consolidation?

Are you just going to ignore that? Is that really the plan? They are saying further cuts are needed to sustain our economy. You’re arguing for fewer cuts, but how’s that going to work? And no, taxing bankers bonuses is not the answer this time.

Hammond Surfaces to Defend MoD Bureaucracy

Phillip Hammond popped up for a passive aggressive performance on the Today programme:

“We can look for efficiency savings which everyone should be seeking all the time. If we need to go beyond our efficiency savings, we would need to have a discussion over how and where these would be achieved.”

It sounds like defence secretary would make sure that conversation happened in public. He might not want to cut more troops, but there are still savings to be made. The MoD has 400 press officers and communications staff, for example. There is a battalion of cuts there Mr Hammond.

UPDATE According to data obtained by Think Defence

The latest figures for the numbers involved in specialist communications roles are for financial year 2009-10 and were produced in support of a Cabinet Office led exercise to capture such information across Government. They are as follows:

MOD/armed forces Trading funds Non-departmental public bodies
Press officers 112 8 1
Internal communications officers 52 8 0
External communications officers 365 26 0
Communications strategy officers 67 2.5 0
Other 101 7 3

Presumably these numbers have been reduced over the last three years.697 spin-doctors of one kind or another is 600 too many…

See latest update: Latest MoD Figures: 604 Spinners


Seen Elsewhere

Labour Failed Those Victims | Labour Uncut
We Cannot Ignore the Race Issue Here | Dan Hodges
74 MPs Who Back Stop Mills Motion | Speccie
Milibande | Ian Birrell
The True Meaning of Political Correctness Gone Mad | Speccie
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel! | Bloomberg
Bercow Blinks | Guardian
Speaker on the Ropes | Indy
Outgoing Clerk Slams Bercow – Row Goes Very Public | BBC
Darling Was Wrong on OBR | Speccie
Climate Change Cools Off | Washington Times


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Shaun Wright’s understatement about the Rotherham child abuse scandal…

“..I could have taken more action and probably dealt with this issue better.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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