Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stranger Things Have Happened…

… Though not many. The baronetcy heir apparent tests the effects on the working man of his 1p cut to the price of beer, pulling a pint for Tom Watson in parliament’s Strangers bar last night. Sampling the latest from his local brewery, called Pennies from Eleven apparently. Must not make eye contact…

Via @michaeldughermp

Monday, June 10, 2013

Safe Hands Harrison

As Guido reported in his Sun column yesterday, congratulations are due to the man known as the Chancellor’s “brain”, Rupert Harrison, on the birth of his son. Returning to work following 3 weeks paternity leave, the Treasury whizz kid has been christened by his boss George Osborne as “safe hands Harrison”. After the midwife was delayed on the way to the home-birth, Harrison delivered the baby himself.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Osborne Rattled? Chancellor Goes on Tax Attack Mid Mili-Speech

As Ed took to the stage the Tories thought they would have some fun with this morning’s Telegraph splash involving John Mills donating in shares rather than cash in order to, allegedly, minimise his tax bill. Osborne has written to the Miliband:

“The Labour Party registered a donation of shares in JML worth £1.65 million in January 2013, from Mr John Mills. By making a donation in shares rather than as a single cash dividend, it has been reported that Mr Mills managed to avoid a potential tax charge of £724,710. Alternatively, it is estimated that to make a donation of £1.65 million in cash Mr Mills would have had to earn £3.1 million, and pay £1.46 million to HM Revenue and Customs.

The tax affairs of individuals are a matter for them and HMRC. My questions are for you and the Labour Party rather than Mr Mills. Can you confirm that the Labour Party advised Mr Mills on how to avoid tax on his donation? As leader of the Labour Party, and given your previous statements on tax avoidance, such actions by your party appear to be directly at odds with your public statements. Most importantly, will you now pass the amount of tax that has been avoided to the Exchequer?”

You can expect the reply to be along the lines of sod off.

And you have to wonder how rattled the Tories are by this welfare shifting speech when they put the Chancellor up to be the attack dog, mid flow…

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.

Friday, May 17, 2013

WATCH: Tax For Dummies

The wonkish equivalent of a motherly lesson in life from the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Osborne’s suggestion that he would merge income tax and National Insurance two years ago has – surprise, surprise – gone absolutely nowhere. Hardly a shock seeing as the status quo lets him tax workers three times on the same income. It should be as easy as ABC…

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Unemployment Figures in Full

The line Labour types will be pushing today, the January to March figures compared with the previous three months:

And the saving grace for Osborne, this month compared to last:

Select as per partisan preference. Those figures in full here. Essentially little has changed…

Saturday, May 11, 2013

These Are Not The Jokes You Are Looking For…

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Voters Still Blame Labour For Economic Woes

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 might be wearing thin with voters. Apparently not.

A study by media agency OMD of over 2,000 adults from across the UK has found that 53% still blame the previous Labour government for Britain’s ongoing economic problems, compared with just 39% blaming the coalition. 39% say Gordon is the main culprit, with just 27% fingering Cameron and 23% Osborne. Numbers Downing Street will be clinging onto…

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Q1 GDP +0.3%

  • GDP increased by 0.3% in Q1 2013 compared with Q4 2012, subject to revisions of on average 0.36%.
  • GDP was 0.4% higher in Q1 2013 than in Q3 2011 and therefore has been broadly flat over the last 18 months.
  • Largest contribution to Q1 2013 GDP growth came from services; these industries increased by 0.6% contributing 0.47 % to the 0.3% increase in GDP.
  • Before the sharp fall in output in 2008 and 2009 the economy peaked in Q1 2008, the lowest level was in Q2 2009.
  • GDP fell 6.3% from peak to trough.
  • In Q1 2013 GDP was estimated to be 2.6% below the peak in Q1 2008.

No triple dip…

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Misery Index: Roll on Thursday

Public sector net borrowing is barely changed from last year, down slightly to £15.1 billion. Crucially, after distortions, the drop in borrowing is a paltry £300 million. Osborne can still say borrowing is falling, but only just. Unemployment was up last week to 7.9%, as was the Retail Price Index to 3.3%. Public sector net cash requirement rising to £31.3 billion caps off a set of bad figures for Chancellor Zero. Unsurprising that the misery index is up. Will Thursday cheer us up?

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

Seen Elsewhere

Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie
Whitehall Doesn’t Work | Dom Cummings
Russell Brand’s Tax Avoidance Firm | Sun
1 in 7 Young Britons Back ISIS | Times
Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay | Techno Guido
Insurgent Parties Plunge Labour Into Crisis | Alex Wickham
Mind-Bending Politics of Drugs | Mark Wallace
PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian


VOTER-RECALL
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David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”



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Is it just me, or is Nigel Farage just a top hat and a monocle away from being a Batman villain?


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