Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where’s Ed Balls?

The silent Shadow Chancellor is still keeping quiet despite some heavy briefing against him from colleagues at the weekend. One Labour MP told the Mail:

“Balls used to throw his weight around in Shadow Cabinet meetings and ignore Ed Miliband when he spoke. Now Balls is totally out of sorts. He doesn’t say much at Shadow Cabinet meetings and when he does, he is the one who is ignored. He has lost his mojo.”

Silence yesterday as well. So where was he? Hidden away at a very safe distance up in Scotland bravely knocking on doors with his old boss Gordon Brown, it turns out:

Anyone would think he was cursed…

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Data Shows Cost-of-Living Crisis About to End

The consensus of broadsheet pundits is that Ed has, with his cost-of-living crisis line that prices are rising faster than wages, nimbly and cleverly switched from a losing argument on the economy to a winning “retail offer”. Guido thinks this successfully plays into the British national psyche; grumbling about both the weather and the cost of things rising. However as the economy rises unemployment falls and earnings will caeteris paribus begin to outstrip inflation as sure as the sun rises. The ONS data shows this is about to happen…

cpi-v-median-earnings

Guido is beginning to worry that Miliband, like his former mentor Gordon Brown, hasn’t really got a strategy. The whole “too far, too fast” thing was bound to end in tears unless there was a permanent recession. As it happened the predictions by Ed Balls of a triple-dip turned out to be über-pessimistic, statisticians say there wasn’t even a double-dip. The only recession the UK suffered originated under Gordon Brown.

The energy cost argument still generates headlines, however international comparisons show that UK energy costs are middle of the league table for Europe – though US fracking and shale gas means their energy costs are way below ours. Fracking however is opposed by Ed Miliband.

What then? Having lost the argument on debt and the economy, followed – food banks notwithstanding – by the cost-of-living crisis evaporating, Labour will have to change tack again. Labour can’t fight on economic competence, because so contaminated is Ed Balls that he even loses to George Osborne. Labour are blamed for the economic mess and are suspected by the voters of still being untrustworthy on dealing with the deficit and debts. They would be unwise to fight on leadership; “weak and weird” Ed versus “posh and out of touch” Dave is not a great prospect for Labour.

Guido’s guess is they will try to have it both ways, partially accept the coalition’s spending envelope and pretend they can tax their way to prosperity. A policy Miliband’s socialist frère Hollande has now abandoned. All the chatter (spun by his adviser Stewart Wood) about Ed’s plans for “big changes in our economy” - a strategy based on East Coast academic theories from Harvard professors on new “Varieties of Capitalism” – will have Lynton Crosby crying with laughter into his (Australian) Chardonnay. Doesn’t mean Miliband isn’t going to try it…

UPDATE: The FT has surveyed economists and they mostly think households will start to feel better off – this is after consumer confidence surged 20% in 2013. Well spotted economists…

ft-survey-economists

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gordon’s Mandela Speech in Stats

“I” x 12.

“My” x 4.

“Me” x 2.

“Nelson Mandela” x 13.

Total: Gordon 18, Mandela 13.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Labour Expenses Zombie Can’t Stop Fibbing

More bad news for Labour’s Enfield North candidate, expenses trougher Joan Ryan. Just this month the former Labour whip was bragging to voters about her spotless record on Enfield’s Chase Farm Hospital when she was their MP, before she was kicked out following the expenses scandal.

“As your MP I worked alongside the local community, health professionals, patients’ representatives and my fellow Labour colleagues for 13 years to keep Chase Farm maternity services and a blue-light Accident and Emergency department.”

Well that’s not what the minutes of her November 2009 Downing Street meeting with the former Prime Mentalist to discuss Chase Farm say. According to Gordon’s records, Joan didn’t sound too bothered about standing up for the hospital. They report:

“she was tempted to bow to the inevitable. Although she did not want to concede on the clinical arguments, she accepted that we had to move on.”

Who would have thought an ex-MP with a history of creaming her constituents would not be entirely honest with them?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“Ex-Politician” Gordon Paid £349,501 in One Month

No wonder the Prime Mentalist has forgotten he is still an MP. In October alone he has declared payments for outside work of £349,501, including for speeches and junkets to Shanghai, Johannesburg, Monaco and New York. As ever Gordon warns the press:

“I am not receiving any money from this role personally. It is being held by the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown for the employment of staff to support my ongoing involvement in public life.”

Presumably that’s the “ongoing involvement in public life” he cannot remember he is still supposed to be doing.

That “office” flies Gordon around the world first class and puts him up in five star hotels, refuses to disclose how much it gives to charity, how much it pays Sarah Brown, how much is sitting in its bank account for when he finally quits. Who does he think he’s kidding…

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WATCH: Gordon Brown Forgets He is an MP

Gordon Brown, speaking to Mishal Husain and the Queen of Jordan in Qatar today, reveals he sees himself as an “ex-politician”. Someone should tell the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath…

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Prime Mentalist Going Loco Down in Acapulco

Parliament has a full schedule this week, so of course Gordon is instead jetting off to a Mexican party town to address a conference on the financial crisis. He has clearly brought the Curse of Jonah with him. Just this week Acapulco has been battered by storms and heavy flooding, if that wasn’t enough CNN reports on its recent “economic devastation”. It is also reportedly set to go bankrupt. Hurricane Jonah strikes again…

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hodge Blames Gordon For Vodafone Tax Dodge

Margaret Hodge isn’t wasting any opportunity to bleat about the £84 billion Vodafone/Verizon deal today:

“We must demand reassurance that HMRC has thoroughly examined this proposition to ensure British taxpayers get their rightful share of this massive profit. If there’s a flaw in legislation it has to be urgently addressed by Treasury ministers. I don’t understand how anyone can justify such a massive windfall without handing a fair share to the Exchequer. If this is an instance in which Vodafone has simply played the system then clearly they themselves have an obligation to UK consumers, on whom they depend for their business, to do the right thing.”

Flaws in legislation, you say? Well the two companies are exploiting the so-called “Substantial Shareholder Exemption” loophole to legally dodge the tax, the very same loophole used by Guardian Media Group when it sold Autotrader. SSE is a corporation tax exemption for businesses disposing of a substantial shareholding in a part of their business. The idea is that businesses should be able to restructure their businesses without having to worry about chargeable gains implications. And who was it introduced by? One Gordon Brown…

UPDATE: That “flawed tax law” Hodge is complaining about? She voted for it.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Where’s Gordon?

An MP sitting in the chamber texts to confirm the former Prime Minister is not present for a debate on a major international crisis that could ultimately result in British troops being committed to military action.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gordon’s Alive!

Perfectly timed as Ed goes for MPs with second jobs, the Prime Mentalist will speak in the House this evening for just the third time in the last year:

ADJOURNMENT DEBATE

Until 7.30pm or for half an hour (whichever is later) (Standing Order No. 9(7))

Dalgety Bay radiation: Mr Gordon Brown

Always an occasion…


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