Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WATCH: Rachel Reeves Refuses to Deny Her Welfare Wishlist

Rachel Reeves just repeatedly refused to deny she told a gathering of socialists that “it will be much better if we can say that all of the changes that the Government have introduced we can reverse and all benefits can be universal.”. 

The Labour welfare mask slips.

Mark Harper clearly stood down to spend more time reading the Guido Fawkes Blog ‘which one or two members are familiar with’…

Labour Send “Solidarity” to New Newsnight Editor

Just what the new Newsnight economics editor needs when he is being accused of being too close to the Labour Party, the Labour deputy leader sending him public solidarity on Twitter:

Perhaps Hattie’s Twitter expert hubby could teach her how to send a private message…

Rachel Reeves’ £230 Billon Slip of the Tongue

Last week Rachel Reeves let her guard down at a meeting of Christians on the Left, formerly known as the Christian Socialist Movement:

‘It will be much better if we can say that all of the changes that the Government have introduced we can reverse and all benefits can be universal.’

Much better? Really? That’s not what the sums say…

Implementing working-age Universal Benefits alone after the next election would cost Rachel £180 billion a year, which is double the benefits bill now. If you then include reversing all of IDS’s savings made in this parliament  - like £2.1 billion to Housing Benefit Reforms (this year alone) or £1.3 billion to Employment and Support Allowance - you’re looking at another £50 billion needed. That takes Rachel’s bill to £230 billion . How can that figure possibly be seen as ‘much better’?

The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary admitting that she’s against the principle of Welfare Reform, but has been forced into it, hardly fills you with confidence about how she would act should she get her hands on the moneybags.  Tomorrow Labour will finally back a welfare cap, something that they have voted against three times before, yet behind closed doors what has actually changed? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gallery Guido: Labour is Becoming a Byzantine Family Dynasty

The hon-hon Tristram “Hereditary” Hunt in Education questions was followed by Chris Bryant defending the hereditary property rights of council house tenants.

Labour is becoming as much a Byzantine family dynasty as a political party.

In the Labour Shadow Cabinet, the leader is one half of a fraternal duo sired by a scion of the Left. He is followed, or complemented by… twin sisters, a husband-and-wife team, and Harriet Harman – who’s married to a Labour MP for whom she fixed a constituency, and who has a son, Joe, himself looking for a seat.

Then there’s Hereditary Hilary (with his niece Emily – if she makes it she’ll be the fifth generation of Benns in parliament).

Gone to the Lords is another hereditary Hilary, the ex-chief whip who inherited her seat from her father.

Tristram Hunt’s father is in the Lords, too, as we know, as is Lindsay Hoyle’s.

John Cryer’s mother and father were MPs (and he’s married to Ellie Reeves on Labour’s NEC – she is Rachel’s sister).

Keith and Valerie Vaz are brother and sister.

(more…)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

WATCH: Clueless Chris Leslie’s Bedroom ‘Tax’ Bungle

Poor little Chris Leslie always gets given the gigs no one else wants. Yesterday Guido noted that Labour did not include the bedroom ‘tax’ on their list of Tory tax rises, well on the Daily Politics today Andrew Neil asked him why:

As Brillo said, this was an implicit admission that it is not a tax…

Via @liarpoliticians.

Robot Miliband

Ed Miliband has form for robot-like repetition of the same phrases over and over again, just remember his infamous “these strikes are wrong” interview. Well a compare and contrast of yesterday’s Budget response with his responses from previous years suggests someone should turn him off and on again:

Yesterday: The Chancellor spoke for nearly an hour. But he did not mention one central fact. The working people of Britain are worse off under the Tories”.
2012: The Chancellor spoke for an hour. But there was one phrase that did not pass his lips. One claim he has abandoned. ‘We’re all in this together’”.
2011:
 The Chancellor spoke for nearly an hour. But one fact says it all. Growth down last year, this year and next year”.

Yesterday: “It’s a classic Tory con. Give with one hand and take far more away with another.”
2013: “The Chancellor is giving with one hand, and taking far more away with the other.
2012: “All he is doing for ordinary families is giving with one hand and taking far more away with the other”.

Yesterday: “Will he rule out a further tax cut for millionaires to 40p? Just nod your head if you’re ruling it out!”.
2013: “come on. Nod your head if you are getting the 50p tax rate”
2012:Just nod if you’re going to benefit from it. Come on, we’ve got plenty of time.”

Yesterday: “It’s Tory values. It’s Tory choices. It’s the same old Tories
2012: “Wrong choices.  Wrong priorities.  Wrong values. Out of touch. Same old Tories
2011:Every Tory tax cut ends up costing them more. Same old Tories. Same old deceit.”

Yesterday: “2011 – living standards down. 2012 – living standards down. 2013 – living standards down
2013: “Growth last year, down. Growth this year, down. Growth next year, down
2012: “Growth down last year. Growth down this year. Growth down next year”.

Yesterday: “Under them it’s a recovery for the few not the many
2013: “they don’t understand, you need a recovery made by the many not just a few at the top”
2012: “Unfair. Out of touch. For the few, not the many.”

Some of these weren’t terrible the first time round, but please Ed, come up with something new for next time…

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ed Miliband: Prime Minister in Waiting

Responding to the penultimate budget before the election, one phrase that you can not apply to Ed Miliband today was “Prime Minister in waiting”. He was all over the shop, tearing through his list of tired slogans before limping back to his class war comfort zone. It wasn’t as bad as Ed Balls’ terrible Autumn Statement meltdown, but it was not far off.

Of course responding to a Budget you have not seen is tricky – especially one with lots of unknown detail – but Miliband could have at least mentioned it once or twice rather than just yelling. One very loyal government member chortles “Miliband was just a complete car crash… Every Labour MP must be asking the question why they have him as leader”. And it’s not just Tories who think this…

Instead of spending money they do not have on expensive focus groups and polling, the Labour Party should just watch Channel Four’s GoggleBox. The show has people from all walks of society watching TV at home and it captures their reactions. Miliband and his pie-in-the-sky Jobs Guarantee Scheme popped up on the news, and the response will not make for comfortable viewing if you’re a Labour strategist or supporter.

Some of the family friendly comments include:

“F**king hilarious!”

“Ridiculous!”

“He is a bit of a joke isn’t he?”

“I don’t even understand politics, but I understand that is s**t idea.”

“The Labour Party… they must think we are donkeys.”

The people have spoken.

Labour Finally Admit Bedroom ‘Tax’ is Not a Tax

Very helpful of Labour to provide us on Budget Day with a comprehensive list of tax rises that have taken place under this government:

The 24 Tory Tax Rises

1. VAT increased – to 20 per cent from 2011
2. Income Tax age-related allowances frozen and eligibility restricted (“Granny Tax”) from 2013-14
3. Income Tax higher rate threshold cut to £42,475 in 2011-12
4. Higher Income Child Benefit Charge introduced 2013
5. National Insurance Contributions rates, limits and thresholds increased in line with CPI rather than RPI from 2012-13
6. Income Tax higher rate threshold frozen at £42,475 in 2012-13
7. Insurance premium tax increased – from 2011
8. Capital Gains Tax increased – to 28 per cent for higher rate taxpayers from June 2010
9. New Beer Duty introduced on high strength beers from 2011
10. Duty on hand-rolling tobacco increased by an additional 10 per cent from 2011-12
11. ISA subscription limit uprated in line with CPI rather than RPI from 2012-13
12. National Insurance Contributions changes to contracting-out rebates from 2012-13
13. Capital Gains Tax annual exempt amount frozen, 2012-13
14. Stamp Duty Land Tax increase to 7 per cent on properties over £2 million from 2012-13
15. VAT increases on a range of items, including caravans, sports drinks, and listed buildings from 2012
16. Duty on tobacco increased by RPI + 5 per cent in 2012
17. Income Tax higher rate threshold cut to £41,450 in 2013-14
18. Capital Gains Tax annual exempt amount increased in line with CPI rather than RPI from 2013-14
19. Income Tax cap on reliefs introduced from 2013-14
20. Pension tax relief restricted from 2014-15 21.
21. Income Tax higher rate threshold Increase capped at 1 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16
22. Capital Gains Tax annual exempt amount increase capped at 1 per cent, 2014-15 and 2015-16
23. Inheritance Tax threshold frozen in 2015-16
24. National Insurance Contributions ending of contracting-out rebates from 2016-17

Eagle eyed readers will spot that one thing is missing: the “hated bedroom tax” is not on the list. Which means Labour must have at last decided that it is not a tax after all. Better late than never…

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Labour Demand Answers Over Conflicted No. 10 Trade Envoy

Following Guido’s story about the PM’s trade envoy to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan Charles Hendry taking a job with an oil company working in those two countries, Labour MP Sheila Gilmore has tabled two written questions to the Prime Minister demanding answers:

To ask the Prime Minister, whether the appointments of the hon. Member for Wealden as a) a consultant to Vitol Group and b) a Senior Adviser to Atlantic Supergrid Corporation Ltd were considered by the Advisory Committee on Business appointments, and whether any conditions were imposed by the Advisory Committee on either appointment.

To ask the Prime Minister, whether he considers there is any conflict of interest between the hon. Member for Wealden’s position as the Trade Envoy to Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and his paid employment as a consultant to Vitol Group.

Guido predicts Hendry will say his work with Vitol has nothing to do with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Though given two of its main oil production interests are in two of the countries Hendry is trade envoy to, there are serious doubts about whether he can continue to do his government job without a conflict of interest arising. Is Hendry asking us to believe his role as trade envoy was not considered at all by Vitol when they decided to part with £60,000 for him to do 18 days’ work?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stella Faces Parliamentary Standards Investigation
#BiscuitGate Leads to Funding Complaint from Local Opponents 

Following Guido’s story about Stella Creasy’s £31 junk food bill on expenses, the posh Labour MP suggested that the Jammie Dodgers, chocolate fingers and Starburst sweeties were for non-partisan community volunteers in her Walthamstow constituency. It turns out St. Ella wasn’t being entirely truthful…

stella-movement-for-change

Creasy’s #7Days4Stow campaign is advertised on her party website with Labour Party branding, uses Labour Party slogans and is backed by her local Labour Party, the campaign group Movement for Change set up originally by David Miliband – which describes itself as “the home of community organising in the Labour Movement” – is at the centre of Stella’s community volunteering. As if that didn’t make it clear enough that this is a party political operation it is backed by the General Secretary of the Labour Party. After seeing Guido’s report about #Biscuitgate the chairman of the Walthamstow Conservative Association has today written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards asking her to determine whether taxpayers’ money is being used to support community campaigning at the behest of the Labour Party:

To those who say it isn’t much money, this is just the tip of the iceberg in how political parties abuse taxpayer funding and an important principle is at stake – partisan political campaigning should be paid for out of party funds – not out of funds earmarked for the benefit of all constituents. If only Stella had just ‘fessed up at the beginning and said, “yeah, that probably isn’t a proper use of taxpayers’ money” and straight away paid the money back when it was drawn to her attention she would have avoided a full investigation from the authorities…


Seen Elsewhere

NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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