Cable Flip-Flops

Osborne was on all the news shows at lunchtime giving an interview outside the Treasury after his meeting with the chancellor – his message echoing Cameron’s speech this morning that the Tories would work with the government on legislation next week. Vince Cable has in response just done a waltz around the Westminster studios joining in with his own call for cross-party co-operation in the national interest – “We have to avoid getting caught up in narrow partisanship.”

The press releases sent from his office in the last 24 hours had a very different message:

“Gordon Brown’s response to the economic crisis has been too little, too late.”
“Conservatives don’t have a clue on the banking crisis”

This afternoon’s willingness to avoid point-scoring contrasts with the press release that arrived in Guido’s inbox from Cable at 10.23, just half an hour before Cameron’s hastily arranged emergency statement on the economy. In that press release Cable claimed only the LibDem’s plan would put money back in consumers pockets, cut energy bills, and stop home repossessions:

Gordon Brown and Labour can’t offer that. They got us into this mess. Now they are veering between complacency and panic. Dithering on key decisions, muddling along on half measures.

David Cameron and the Conservatives won’t offer it. At a time when those on the breadline are struggling more than for a generation, their top priority is tax cuts for millionaires.

…There is only one party in Britain today with a serious and credible plan ….

Politically astute operator that he is, Cable changed his tone pretty sharpish this afternoon as soon as he saw which way the wind was blowing….

Cable Shows His Ignorance Again

The over-rated Vince Cable said yesterday that hedge fund managers have made money out of shorting bank shares because taxpayers and governments underwrite the banks. John Redwood (who incidentally is the only politician worth reading on financial matters) calls him on this piece of populist idiocy:

Could someone explain to Mr Cable that the last thing someone short of bank shares wants to happen is an announcement of official support for that bank. That puts the price of the shares up which means the Hedge Fund Managers shorting the shares lose money.


Clegg Speech : Tax Cuts and Social Justice

He also said the Labour Party was finished. Not a bad speech.

The Over-Rated Vince Cable

Vince Cable is much over-rated, he sounds plausible, reasonable even, but in reality he talks in populist platitudes. He was for the nationalisation of Northern Rock before he was against it. He was for tax hikes before he was for tax cuts. The LibDems now say they are looking for £20 billion in spending cuts, yet they also are telling party activists they are not going to cut the overall burden of taxes, merely shift the burden on to the rich. How are they going to simultaneously boost public sector housing by buying up empty and unsold private sector capacity?

It doesn’t add up. Ask them where the spending cuts are going to come from and they mention ID cards and getting rid of BERR. – nowhere near the amount required. LibDem activists think Cable is some kid of economic seer, “he warned about debt” – so did every orthodox economist, “he told them to nationalise Northern Rock” and the taxpayers will have to pay the high price for that.

His latest populist policy wheeze is to force every state bureaucrat on over £100,000 to re-apply for their job and/or take a pay cut. As much as Guido hates public sector profligacy this gimmick is not the way to tackle it, the legal difficulties are legion (they have contracts). The practical difficulties are so immense it is bordering on crackpot. The LibDem conference loved it…

“Cameron Effect” Research : 2/3rds of LibDem MPs in England to Lose Seats

At the LibDem conference this lunchtime a fringe meeting has been organised by Liberal Vision, a new pressure group set up by Mark Littlewood, the former chief of spin for the LibDems under Kennedy and Ming.

The Liberal Vision wonks have dug into the local election results, where traditionally LibDems do better, and extrapolated the results nationally taking into account boundary changes. Their data suggests that two-thirds of LibDem MPs in England could lose their seats. Devastating.

Guido has never seen a research paper with more bar-charts and the message is, “LibDems losing here”. The paper argues that in order to counter the Cameron effect the LibDems should promise to reduce the overall tax burden, not just reducing taxes for those on lower incomes. They need to reduce taxes on the middle classes with household incomes in the £60,000 to £70,000 range. The paper argues the LibDems won’t hold onto seats without appealing to the middle class “soft Tories” who have returned to Cameron’s now decontaminated liberal Conservatives. Not a message the sandalistas will like to hear.

DownloadHow to Combat Cameron paper (pdf).

Third of LIbDems Dissatisfied With Clegg

A third (33.4%) of LibDem grassroots activists privately polled by the party are dissatisfied with Nick Cleggs leadership rating it “ineffective” or “very ineffective”.  Of those that expressed an opinion a similar number (31.7%) thought that the LibDems were on the wrong track.   
The ever ambitious Chris Huhne will take comfort from the fact that not one of the 46.9% who said they voted for him to be leader said they had any regret about doing so.  He has been suspiciously quiet lately…

+++ Cleggs Expecting Baby +++

Good news for the Cleggs, a baby due in February.

Nick is the same age as Guido, fortysomething fatherhood has its blessings. Sleep however is not one of them…

Tory Candidate Pleads Guilty to Harrassment of LibDems

Councillor Ian Oakley, the Conservative PPC for Watford, today pleaded guilty to five charges of criminal damage and two of harrasment. He also asked for 68 other offences to be taken into account, making a total of 75 offences.

Pictured here standing behind Ming, the LibDems were on the receiving end of most of Oakley’s activities, which crossed the line by a long chalk. Although it was actually Vince Cable who stabbed Ming in the back in the end…

UPDATE : Danny Finkelstein admits that at the final selection committee he “thought Watford hadn’t necessarily selected the best future MP but they had chosen the one who seemed most assured, self confident and politically mature. I thought him a very stable, solid choice even if he didn’t do all that much for me.” The Fink, in his judgement, also thinks promising tax cuts is a vote loser for the Tories.

*He has quit as Conservative candidate and left the Conservative group on Hillingdon Council.

Clegg Does Realpolitik, Ends Policy of “Equi-Distance”

Nick Clegg says he is shifting resources to target what they see as the 50-most winnable Labour seats, pouring efforts and campaigners into fighting Gordon.

This is a sensible strategic move in the face of the reality of the polls, a change of government won’t happen if LibDems and Tories swap seats, a change of government will only happen if the LibDems and Tories take seats from Labour.



Can Clegg Carry His Party?

Yesterday Clegg announced plans to “streamline” decision making in the LibDems, in reality giving him more control, today he announces that the party will reduce the overall tax burden. Effectively he is moving the party away from social democracy and back to liberalism, shifting the party from the centre left to the centre right.[…]


Called to Account

Clegg’s office just called. They will be handing the aforementioned expense claim details for Clegg over* on Wednesday. Can’t wait to find out if he has spent on bedroom furnishings…

*See what Guido did there?



Where Are Clegg’s Expenses?

It is 43 days since Nick Clegg told us with regard to MP’s expenses

“…there is no earthly reason why the rest of the information should not be published immediately. Any delay will only add to the British public’s distrust in their politicians.”

It is a month since they were due to be delivered according to the time-table given to Guido by his spin-mistress Hannah Gardiner.[…]


Still No Sign of Clegg’s Expenses

Do you remember back in March when Nick Clegg righteously boomed that the delaying of publication of MPs’ expenses is a “hammer blow” to public confidence in the Commons?
Do you remember Guido called his office and asked when he would be publishing his expenses.[…]


Vince Backs McCain

He has just told Brillo on the Daily Politics that he would rather support McCain against Hillary Clinton. This puts him to the right of many Cameroons…


+++ Cable : Clegg’s Position “Unassailable” +++

Vince has just recorded an interview for GMTV, telling Jackie Ashley that the LibDems were not doing well enough. She asked if Clegg’s position was “unassailable”? The ballroom dancing Ming assassin said Clegg was “completely unassailable”.

Be afraid Nick, very afraid…


Clegg : the FCS Days, Denials and Delays

Calamity Clegg is denying this story that he was a member of the Cambridge University Conservative Association, unfortunately nobody believes him. Greg Hands MP says “There was only one Nick Clegg at Robinson College, and Nick Clegg was a member of CUCA.” He should know, he was counting on Clegg’s votes in the internal CUCA elections.[…]


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Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

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