End of Ed’s “Cost of Living Crisis”

At the beginning of the year Guido predicted that the data would soon show that Ed’s “Cost-of-Living Crisis” was at an end. Today inflation fell to 2%, hitting the Bank of England’s target for the first time in four years and last month saw reported UK wage growth hit a six year high. Wage growth is set to outstrip inflation and with that the end of the rationale for Ed Miliband’s “Cost-of-Living Crisis”. The public are increasingly confident:

icm-confidence

All Ed’s slogans turn to dust “too far, too fast” was demonstrated to be wrong and Labour MPs think “One Nation Labour” is vacuous. Back to the drawing board…

Labour’s Gym Spin Machine Needs to Row Back

Top Labour thinker Luciana Berger has already been widely derided for her spandex-clad election winner that she unveiled last night:

“Millions of people across the country will want to kick-start 2014 by getting fitter and more active. There is a real risk however that many people will be put off from keeping to their New Year’s resolutions by soaring gym charges and David Cameron’s failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”

Berger went on to claim: “A yearly pass now costs £368 on average, an increase of £15 since 2010″. Before this intervention is allowed to shift the entire political narrative, it should also be pointed out that it’s complete nonsense.

An increase of £15 since 2010 constitutes a 4.1% rise. However, if subsidised costs had risen in line with CPI over the same period (10.5%) a pass would cost an average of £390. So in fact that is a real terms cut of £22 in gym membership costs since 2010. Not only was Berger’s intervention completely vacuous, it was just plain wrong. Roll on 2014.

UKIP Polling Up to 30% in Key Swing Seats
Donor Buys Page Ad in Telegraph to Rebut Ashcroft

Four more constituency polls from Survation out this morning, bankrolled by UKIP’s millionaire bookie donor Alan Bown. UKIP are up to 28% in Folkestone and Hythe, 30% in Great Yarmouth and 27% in Bognor Regis & Littlehampton. In Crewe and Nantwich they are only on 11%, but the Tories fall behind Labour into second. Indeed the Tories are down by an average of 14 points on their 2010 results across the four seats. You can use the drop down box on the interactive graph above to see the results in full.

Bown has taken out a full page ad in today’s Telegraph to answer Lord Ashcroft’s claim that voting UKIP puts Miliband into Number 10. UKIP have two lines on this. First, that today’s polls show the net gain to the Tories if UKIP were not to field a candidate would be only 2% nationally. Only 26% of voters polled said they would vote Tory if UKIP did not run so, put simply, not enough are not going to ‘come home’ in 2015 as the Tories hope. Second, that UKIP voters do not really care if Miliband becomes PM. 53% said they would rather vote UKIP than Tory even if that meant Ed won, just 33% said they would vote Tory instead of UKIP to stop him. That is the number that will cost the Tories in 2015…

Blanchflower Wrong Again

Poor Danny Blanchflower is at it again. The man that predicted three of this year’s triple dip recessions and said in May “I nearly fell over laughing when I heard Mervyn King say there’s a recovery in sight”, has turned his brilliant mind to pay. Taking to the Indy, Blanchflower has bluntly claimed: “Take if from me: wages are not going to rise much over the coming years”. Just like his predicted 5 million unemployed under Osborne, it turns out Blanchflower is wrong. Again.  According to a survey by KPMG for Markit, pay growth has hit a six year high this month

GRAPHS: Labour 20 Points Clear in Key Marginals

Two more Survation polls on key marginals out this morning. If the trends in the three constituencies polled so far turn out to be representative, it is pretty clear what the consequences are for the Tories. In Great Grimsby Labour are 20 points clear, as UKIP rise to second place on 22%:

In Dudley North Labour have another 20 point lead, with the Tories down 12% on 2010 and the LibDems on 2%, almost competely wiped out. UKIP are up on 23%.

More worryingly for the Tories, 70 percent of UKIP voters say they did not vote Tory in 2010. So they are aren’t exactly going to come home. The UKIP effect on 2015 is becoming ever clearer…

Wonk Allegiances

Interesting to note the political influence and orientation of some of the lefty wonk shops most willing to take money from the taxpayer compared to their counterparts to the soft right. Economist Andrew Whitby has calculated that the supposedly “non-political” IFS is more biased to Labour than almost any right-wing think tank is to the Tories. IPPR, Compass and the Fabian Society are almost off the chart. No surprise there.

Via @EconAndrew and @GoodwinMJ.

Flaws in the Ed Balls “Cost of Living Crisis” Attack Line

Labour’s developing retail offer to the voters centres on the cost of living, in essence they will ask the voters on election day “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” Which is why this week – with good economic news abounding – Labour’s twitterati were ignoring jobs and growth and instead chorusing in North Korean style synchronised tweeting this infographic:

lab-cost-of-living

The infographic shows that real wages have fallen behind inflation. A factually correct statistic.

Guido fails to understand why the government parties are not  aggressively countering the Ed Balls cost-of-living crisis attack line with the truth that the average mortgage is £1,000 cheaper because of lower interest rates. Mortgage affordability is clearly illustrated by the fact that, according to data released yesterday by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, mortgage arrears are dramatically lower now compared to where they were when Ed Balls was last in government:

cml-arears

Throw in the income tax threshold hike (£493), the savings from holding down council taxes (£210) and you have already countered the Balls attack in cash terms – and some – at £1,703. Meaning that in terms of disposable income the “average working person” is better off. So why is this point not being made by Tory and LibDem attack dogs more forcefully?

If in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor rolls back some green taxes, brings back the 10p income tax rate or raises the tax threshold again, in terms of disposable income the voters will be even more better off in 2015 than they were in 2010. To the question “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” the answer has to be “yes”. If it isn’t, the Coalition parties will deserve to lose in 2015.

Misery Index: Least Miserable We’ve Been Since Election

Chipper Mark Carney’s good news day seems a good time to check in on our Misery Index. Unemployment is down, inflation is down and growth is up, so across the land there are warm smiles and happy faces everywhere. Maybe. The seasonal drop in public sector borrowing has had a big impact too. We are the least miserable we’ve been since 2010.

N.B. stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

UPDATE:

misery-breakdown

Co-conspirator Tom Cook says breaking it down into components “still shows the overall picture clearly but shows which factors lead to changes – especially helpful given some of the wild swings in the total.  This presentation shows that most of the volatility is from public sector borrowing, while the longer term trend is from falling inflation and unemployment.”

GRAPH: Majority Support Removal of Spare Room Subsidy

More evidence to show that Labour are consistently losing the debate on welfare. Even on the spare room subsidy – Labour’s “hated bedroom tax” – the public support the government. 54% say it is fair that people living in social […]

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“The Personal is Political”
Gender Inequality at the Patriarchal CLASS Think Tank

class-gender-inequality

The union funded Class think-tank Owen Jones helped found is, despite being very left-wing, not very right-on it seems when it comes to ‘fair’ representation of woman. Their insanely large ‘advisory panel‘ has 48 members, only a third […]

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Big Government: Clegg’s Key Message

government

The key message of Nick Clegg’s speech is not very subtle.[…]

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Where Does “Most of the Money” for Labour Come From?

Yesterday the Labour press team were very insistent that Guido got his a story wrong when he claimed that Rachel Reeves was being less than honest when she said: “most of the money that the Labour Party receives comes from […]

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