Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Labour in Scotland: Don’t Believe the Hype

Despite the fact that he had the line written on his hand, John Prescott still managed to go violently off message on his campaign stop. Prezza promised a joint English and Scottish football team, and laid into the evil Tories, echoing SNP attack lines. At least he didn’t punch anyone. It was negative and messy, and pretty much summed up the whole campaign.

Despite today’s unprecedented flap and the cancellation of PMQs, the blame game has already begun. ConservativeHome point out that Better Together – which was meant to be Tory cash and Labour troops/faces – has failed to deliver:

“The problem came when Labour over-promised and under-delivered on Better Together. Citing their own grassroots strength, their many senior Scottish figures and their supposedly deep understanding of Scottish culture and politics, they asked for Tory funding in return for providing the strategy and the boots on the ground. The money, and the agreement to let Labour lead the charge, was forthcoming. But they haven’t really delivered their part of the bargain. YouGov polling suggests Better Together haven’t been as effective as the Yes campaign in contacting voters – be it through leaflets, letters, door-knocking, posters, stalls, email or social media. Where are the army of activists Labour promised?”

It’s Labour voters that are shifting over to Yes.

While things will be incredibly rocky for Cameron should Scotland choose freedom, Ed is hardly in a position to crow. No wonder he said resignations were beside the point…

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Margaret Hedge: Lady Hodge’s Unkempt Garden

Margaret Hodge’s constituents have been driven Barking mad by eyesore gardens, so they will have been delighted to see their MP launch a new campaign clamping down on anti-social mess. Hodge wrote in the Barking and Dagenham Post recently:

“It is extremely frustrating the minority spoil the environment for others. I became an MP to create a fairer society and improve the borough for residents. That is why I have kick-started my cleaner streets campaign. We have to work together as a community to tackle this problem and restore pride in our streets. If you see an area that needs to be cleaned, report it straight away to the council online or by phone. They have a special eyesore gardens programme to tackle unruly gardens. We have some real things to celebrate in the borough and I want to make sure that every resident in Barking and Dagenham can be proud of our streets.”

Guido would never be so presumptuous as to suggest that Margaret Hodge might tell someone to do one thing and then herself practice the opposite, so we present these photos of her constituency office without comment:

A local resident complains:

“I regularly walk past Ms Hodge‘s constituency office in North Street. The front garden is an absolute disgrace and is attracting foxes. Clearly they have mistaken it for some sort of nature reserve, and who can blame them?”

Perhaps she should take some gardening leave?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Through the Keyhole With Lindsay Hoyle

If things do take a turn for the worse for Bercow, the favourite to succeed him is Lindsay Hoyle. With all the grace and favour perks that come with the Speakership – including a huge apartment in Parliament – it’s easy to see why anyone would want the job, and Lindsay has a taste for luxury already. Take a look through the keyhole and see what is to live like a Labour MP (turned Deputy Speaker).

Let no one question Lindsay’s taste, he has decorated his house to look like a House of Commons bar. Guido is pretty sure that bar (complete with snooker table) is a replica of a Commons drinking hole. The grand piano is a classy touch too, it goes nicely with the carpet. All in all Lindsay’s humble abode boasts 5 bedrooms, 2 reception Rooms plus a music room, games room and “leisure complex with swimming pool”.

And it doesn’t stop there. Even though Hoyle says he is “seeing so many families” in his Chorley constituency “in dire straits” using food banks, that hasn’t stopped him from applying for planning permission for a grand orangery and “a single storey rear glazed link” to his pool. It is clearly not tough for everyone in Chorley.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Chuka Takes Donation From Tax Avoidance Firm

Chuka Umunna has received a £2,500 donation from a firm which advises its clients on how to swerve HMRC rules to help them avoid tax. Signature Tax paid the sum two weeks ago, with the money “received through the Labour Party to support the office of Chuka Umunna”.

According to their website, Signature Tax specialise in “non-DOTAS tax schemes”, structures designed to avoid HMRC’s Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regulations, which require those using tax avoidance schemes to inform the taxman. Accountancy Age explains how non-DOTAS schemes offered by Chuka’s donor bend the rules:

“Some of the (tax avoidance) promoters who used DOTAS numbers as tacit approval from HMRC initially, are now promoting schemes outside the DOTAS system. Some promoters are looking hard at their product lines and designing versions that escape the rules. Those rules have become so prescriptive, advisers say, that the longer they become, the easier they are to find holes in. For example, class action group Rebus claims to know of at least two promoters looking for non-DOTAS versions of old products.”

Signature Tax’s website also offers advice on “off shore” tax arrangements. Chuka has been a staunch opponent of such schemes, famously grilling former Barclay’s boss Bob Diamond over his bank’s offshore subsidiaries and urging him to close them down.

And who can forget when he called “on the chancellor to close in on tax avoidance, close in on tax loopholes and deliver greater tax justice.” Adding that: “It is time to close in on tax avoiders, recoup public money and ensure everyone in society pays their fair share.”

In light of this new information about his donor, will Chuka give the money back to avoid any allegations of massive hypocrisy?

Friday, August 29, 2014

71% of Public Think Shaun Wright Should Resign

A YouGov poll for the Times RedBox finds that 71% of the country think that (former) Labour South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner should resign.

Interestingly the poll finds that now more than half of the country “have little or no confidence in the police.”

Even Wright’s own deputy has walked, saying he should go and everyone from the Prime Minister to Yvette Cooper agrees. Apparently Ed Miliband agrees too, but you would not know it from any of his public utterances on the subject (zero).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Miliband Activated For Tory Splits But Silent on Rotherham Rot

Can anyone spot a major news story from this week that Ed Miliband’s Twitter feed missed?

Carswell: The Old Parties Respond

Tories:

“This is a regrettable and frankly counterproductive decision. As  Douglas Carswell said, the only way to get a referendum on the EU is to return a majority Conservative government. The Conservative party will contest the forthcoming by-election vigorously to make sure the people in Clacton have a strong conservative voice in this parliament and the next.”

‘The Conservative Party will contest the by-election vigorously, to ensure that the people of Clacton have a strong Conservative voice in this Parliament and the next.’

Labour:

“Douglas Carswell’s defection is a hammer blow to David Cameron. Confidence in David Cameron is collapsing inside a Conservative party which is divided and running scared of UKIP. David Cameron’s weak leadership has seen him abandon the centre ground, repeatedly trying to pander to his own right-wing backbenchers rather than concentrate on the needs of the country. Now even his own side are abandoning him.”

Panic stations.

Cllr Paul Lakin’s Outside Interests (In Children’s Services)

Labour’s Paul Lakin has been a councillor in Rotherham for a decade, rising to the heady ranks of Deputy Leader.

Not only does he still have a job in Rotherham as Cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families Services, according to his Register of Interests, he is also on the Local Government Association’s Young People’s Board.

He is also Yorkshire and Humber’s Lead Member of the Children’s Service Network.

And don’t forget the member of Rotherham Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Shameless.

Rotherham Town Hall Tyrants – Where Are They Now?

  • Shaun Wright: Still PCC, just. Resigned from Labour.
  • Joyce ‘Ukip foster parents’ Thacker: still in post at Social Services.
  • Ged Fitzgerald: Now chief executive of Liverpool City Council.
  • Paul Lakin: remains Labour deputy leader of the council.

Time to clear some desks.

Pic via the Mail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WATCH: Labour’s Shaun Wright: “I Won’t Quit”

Labour’s PCC Wright says scandal didn’t reach senior political or management level.

Apparently there has been “a huge amount of learning”, so that’s ok then.

How can he sleep at night?


Seen Elsewhere

Government Needs 10.6% Spending Cuts To Meet Target | IFS
What We Learned From the Referendum | FT
Scottish Crisis Moves South | Nick Wood
English Democrats Accidentally Celebrate Yes Victory | Pink News
Union In Its Current Form is Dead | Janan Ganesh
Labour Could Be Split in Two | Sun
Ashcroft Poll: Why Scotland Voted No | Buzzfeed
Boris: Change Barnett Formula | Sun
Cameron is Back | Dan Hodges
What Happens Now | James Kirkup
Cairo of the North | Quentin Letts


VOTER-RECALL
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Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics:

“Labour MPs will unite behind Ed Miliband, once we find out what our policies are.”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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