The public don’t yet trust Boris to be PM, so says some pretty comprehensive polling released by Lord Ashcroft this morning. Only just over a third said he was capable of the running the country, while Tory voters overwhelmingly backed Dave. The UKIP results are arguably the most interesting. 35% of UKIP voters saying they would consider voting Tory if Boris were leader. Tory backbenchers must be wondering just how many would come home…
Appearances on BBC Question Time since the General Election.
Via Martin Robbins
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.
Turns out government borrowing actually rose last year. Revised ONS figures show public sector borrowing for 2012-13 was £118.8 billion, up from £118.5 billion the year before. This week’s Speccie cover article gets to the point:
“When the Chancellor stands up to present his spending review next Wednesday it will be with the reputation of a crazed axeman. Much of the country, whether it thinks it a good thing or not, subscribes to the belief that George Osborne is shrinking the state year-on-year, slicing here, chopping there. In a recent poll 58 per cent of respondents agreed with the proposition that Osborne’s ‘austerity drive’ is ‘harming the economy’… Osborne is no mad axeman but a bodger blundering around with a blunt chisel.”
Osborne wants to portray himself as a responsible, sound money Chancellor making tough choices, streamlining an overbearing state and making government more efficient. The truth is borrowing, and as the graph below shows, spending is still going up:
The Treasury is pushing the fact that borrowing fell last month year-on-year, which is encouraging. But to say they are not doing enough is an understatement…
See also: Tale of Two Austerities.
UKIP’s efforts to do battle online are clearly paying off. According to analysis done by UK General Election 2015, the party is gaining Twitter followers and Facebook likes at a considerably greater rate than its opponents, with the Tories in particular falling way short. By way of comparison, over the same period @GuidoFawkes gained some 7,000 followers and now has 109,745 followers – more than any UK political party. Social media campaigning will have a big part to play over the next two years, so these stats make interesting reading…
Two weeks ago Dave’s key defence against Tory plotters, his relative popularity compared to the party, was wobbling. Today Peter Kellner has some figures that will have Downing Street breathing a collective sigh of relief. Ed is less popular than Labour, somehow Clegg is less popular than the LibDems, though Cameron is again preferred to his party. Kellner says this is the graph that shows the Tories will lose in 2015 if they ditch Dave…
As Putin winds up Obama by offering whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum in Russia, the wheels are beginning to come off of the Glenn Greenwald global gloating tour. Yesterday, in his usual tetchy style, he let slip that he had been working with Snowden in February, before he started working for private NSA contractors Booz Allen in March. As Guy Walters notes it could look like Greenwald and Snowden planned to look for abuses, quite plausibly to serve their own agenda.
David Allen Green notes that no evidence has yet been produced that anyone working for the NSA or GCHQ breached any law whatsoever, or that any information was obtained without a court order. Anyone except Snowden; who likes to type under a hood so satellites cannot see his screen.
Bob Cesca raises real questions over the veracity of Greenwald’s journalism. First, his assertion – repeated four times in his original article – that the NSA has “direct access” to the Google, Apple, Microsoft etc servers, is contested by the companies themselves. They insist the NSA had to pass the safeguard of agreeing consent. Unless they are not telling the truth, the phrase “direct access” is an exaggeration. Guido is still sceptical of their denials, but the Guardian accused them of “direct access” without evidence.
Secondly, the Washington Post has amended its own original story, now saying that PRISM was used to “track foreign targets” and not US citizens. Greenwald has not changed his own story that US citizens were targeted. Why the change from WaPo; why the sudden, unexplained discrepancy?
Once again the Guardian have lit the touch-paper only for it to emerge that the most damning part of the story is evidence free. Maybe it was the NSA that deleted those Milly Dowler text messages? Guido understands that Alan Rusbridger is in New York at the moment. He should be mopping up not boasting…
See also: More Questions for Glenn Greenwald.
UPDATE: This, according to the Mail, is the girlfriend Snowden left in Hawaii:
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have actually put out something interesting for a change. Over the last thirty years, Labour supporters’ attitudes to welfare have hardened considerably. In the late eighties 41% believed social injustice was the main cause of poverty, now that figure is just 27%. This can be explained in part by the number that blame laziness amongst those on benefits, up from 13% to 22%. 31% of Labour backers see welfare recipients as undeserving, compared to just 21% thirty years ago. The biggest jump: 46% now believe the welfare state encourages dependency, up from just 16% in 1987. You can see how attitudes have changed among Labour supporters by clicking on the interactive chart above. Ed may want to lead the party of welfare, but his voters are not with him.
Tory strategists could be forgiven for worrying that after three years of little or no growth and a £120 billion spending black hole this year alone, Dave and George’s reliance on blaming Britain’s economic slump on the last Labour government […]