Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Farron’s Bedroom ‘Tax’ Peacocking

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Tim Farron is showing some leg to Labour again this morning, committing to withdrawing the LibDems’ support for the spare room subsidy cut. In a speech to the Centre for Social Justice that could have easily been cobbled together from old Labour Party press releases, Farron will say:

“The onslaught of divisive rhetoric that demonises the poor can never help us to create a fairer society. The bedroom tax causes huge social problems and distorts the market – we as a party cannot support this.”

Farron needs to get his Labour-friendly rhetoric up to date, these days they admit the bedroom ‘tax’ is not really a tax. And does the welfare transfer cause “huge social problems” as Farron claims? The number of evictions caused by the spare room subsidy is tiny, there is evidence it is nudging people into work, it is bringing empty homes back into use and it is saving up to a million pounds a day. But why let the evidence get in the way of another chance to position yourself for 2015…

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Clegg’s “Facts” Turn Out to Be Fiction

Former Clegg spinmeister Olly Grender had no answer when told by Brillo that, despite the LibDem leader’s assurances, the House of Commons library did not back him up on his claim that only 7% of UK law was made in Brussels. Their figure is actually between 15% and 50%. If you’re going to sell yourself on “leaving the rhetoric aside for a minute and sticking to the facts”, telling porkies might not be the best way to go about it…

LibDem Poll Spin: Clegg Actually Lost 65%-28%

LibDem press office is trying to spin its way out of last night’s 22 point thumping, selectively quoting three lines of YouGov pollster Peter Kellner’s methodology to suggest the results were unfair on Clegg:

Yet if you look at Kellner’s reasoning in full rather than the heavily edited LibDem version, if YouGov had done what the LibDems wanted and not “skewed” the poll Farage would have actually beaten Clegg 65% to 28%:

“An alternative approach would have been NOT to have corrected the political skew among our original 3,000 sample. The argument for doing this is that any assessment of audience reaction should take the audience as it is – in this case, accepting that UKIP supporters were much more likely to watch or listen to the debate than supporters of other parties. Had we done this, I estimate that the verdict of the audience would have been Farage 65%, Clegg 28%. Those who prefer to cite this figure, rather than to adjust for the UKIP-rich nature of the audience, are of course free to do so.”

A spectacular trajectory of toys from pram.

How Farage Won Last Night’s Debate

The YouGov/Sun poll speaks for itself: Farage had a 12 point boost in his personal approval rating after last night, narrowly winning the debate on jobs and leaving the EU. Worth noting Clegg also saw a 4 point rise in the “positive impression” category. The LibDems are in full damage limitation mode this morning, claiming “the real winners are the voters” and “it’s a marathon not a sprint”. We’re getting closer to the finish line…

UPDATE: Blurt’s Twitter worm analysis confirms a narrow win for Farage:

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

That UKIP Expectation Management Strategy in Full

Godfrey Bloom is on as message as ever:

“Well Nigel Farage has to win. He can’t draw. A draw is not enough. It’s Nigel’s subject, it’s Nigel’s baby. It’s UKIP’s thing, so consequently he can’t come away having just drawn the game… He has to win and he has to win convincingly… I think he will because Nick Clegg has an Achilles heel in his argument as I discovered when I was in Sheffield.”

Talking the talk…

Clegg Denies Inappropriate Use of Civil Service for Debate Prep

Has Nick Clegg been using civil service resources for party political preparation for tonight’s debate against Nigel Farage? He is not appearing at the LBC Debate in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister rather, as a LibDem spokesman told Guido this morning: “Tonight is the leaders’ debate so Nick is appearing as the Leader of of the Liberal Democrat Party”. It’s a very political event…

As Deputy Prime Minister Clegg is allowed to request factual briefings on government policy whenever he likes, yet sources familiar with the situation have indicated to Guido that they believe he has strayed beyond this and into party political territory. “He’s asking for all sorts of things, beyond government policy on Europe”, one told Guido this morning. It is believed by some that the briefings have been prepared to back up attack lines on UKIP –  a big no, no for civil servants.

Nick Clegg’s spokesman denies that they have done anything wrong, but did confirm that civil servants have briefed the DPM for this specific political event:

“Nick Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister as well as Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He is regularly briefed on all aspects of Government policy, including Europe, before public appearances, such as DPMQs or Call Clegg on LBC. It is very likely that during the debates he be asked about Coalition Government policies and the relationship between the British Government, of which he is Deputy Prime Minister, and the European Union. To that end, he has been given factual briefings and facts and figures on Coalition Government policy and how the EU works in relation to Britain. But the briefings for the debates are being done by political advisers and HQ staff.”

Guido has requested a copy of all the debate preparation from the Cabinet Office under the Freedom of Information Act.

It is worth noting that the ‘General Principle’ of the Ministerial Code states:

“Facilities provided to Ministers at Government expense to enable them to carry out their official duties should not be used for Party or constituency work.”

Point 6.3 makes things a little clearer:

“Official facilities and resources may not be used for the dissemination of material which is essentially party political.”

Should it emerge that Clegg used civil servant briefings on issues beyond government policy on Europe to prepare for tonight’s debate then Guido cannot see how he has not fallen foul of this point. 

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tim Farron Funnels Taxpayer Thousands to LibDems

LibDem president Tim Farron wastes no opportunity to line his party’s coffers with taxpayers’ money. Last year re-renter Farron was one of the guilty men exposed for funnelling parliamentary expenses to his local Westmoreland and Lonsdale party, claiming £6,000 in the last financial year to rent a building owned by his local LibDems and letting them cream off the cash. Now Guido can reveal Farron has recently submitted a £1,554 expense claim for a staffer in his constituency, and guess what, the money was paid to Westmoreland and Lonsdale Liberal Democrats.

Taxpayers are subsidising Farron’s local party to the tune of thousands of pounds a year, with zero checks on whether public money is funding party political activity. It gives him a publicly-funded advantage over any opponent. The LibDems are the most cunning at this and that’s because they are taught how to fiddle centrally – in 2008 they gave a presentation to their MPs urging them to maximise expenses for party benefit.

Hughes Signals FoI Expansion to Public/Private Money

Guido still has to pinch himself when he remembers that Simon Hughes is a Justice Minister, but credit where credit is due. The LibDem told the Commons today:

“We do intend to extend FoI further as soon as it will be practical. We intend to publish a revised code of practice to make sure that those private companies that carry out public functions have freedom of information requirements in their contracts, and go further than that, and we hope that will be in place by the end of this year.”

Let the games begin.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Little Less Representation

Labour won last night’s council by-election in Clifton North, but the only real story was the LibDems being beaten by this man.

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Sounds about right.

Via @FelicityMorse, @cllrjamesdawson.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Tim Farron v Labour Press

Guido never understands why official party HQ Twitter accounts of all colours bother to waste time embarrassing themselves in cringeworthy spats. Labour’s press team does however have a point in highlighting LibDem president Tim Farron’s hypocrisy here. Even if the trash talk is at primary school playground levels:

Tim best not be too rude or he might harm his hopes of being Miliband’s deputy PM…


Seen Elsewhere

Polling Averages Trend | PoliticalBetting.com
Speaker Faces Questions Over Pass for Donor | Sun
Tory MPs’ Visit to Israel Condemned | Guardian
Labour Was Too Slow for the Squeezed Middle | FT
Papers Pan Cam’s Immigration Pledge | ConHome
Deane of St Edmundsbury? | Times
Pay Volunteers and They Become Cheap Labour | Jill Kirby
UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail


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John McTernan told Channel 4 News

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


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