Party conference memorabilia doesn’t come more crap…
Party conference memorabilia doesn’t come more crap…
Guido was in Bournemouth yesterday speaking at a fringe meeting on the topic of MPs’ expenses organised by Liberal Vision. Greg Dyke was on form, his political promiscuity means the former Labour-luvvie is now a LibDem and he is helping the Tories formulate their media policy.
At the end of the meeting Guido asked the members of the audience to put up their hand if they thought the former LibDem chief-exec Lord Rennard should keep the £42,000 he claimed for overnight subsistence despite living in Vauxhall, just over the Thames from parliament. Not a single hand went up, not even the manicured hand of the Telegraph-beatified ‘Saint’ Lynne Featherstone MP who was in the room.
Even the co-panellist LibDem Lord Teverson, who was sitting next to Guido, said he was abstaining…
This 1/2% tax on homes is basically updated Georgist economics. Henry George was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, an idea that has floated around in liberal circles for two centuries. The problem is that implementing the tax would immediately discount the price of your home. Not the smartest thing to do in an era when many are struggling to stay out of negative equity. A middle-class family home in London valued at £2,000,000 would lose £100,000 (1/2% x £1,000,000 x 20 multiple). Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, points out that it would hit the property market hard, because prices well below the £1 million level would be knocked as well:
… home owners would face a double whammy – more tax and a cut in their wealth. The tax would add to Council Tax and Stamp Duty as yet another heavy tax on homeowners. It would be regionally unfair, since virtually the entire tax would be raised in London and the South East, and would be very unlikely to raise the £1 billion the Lib Dems expect – more like £600 million on our calculations. Unfortunately the current crisis is not a time for clever-clever ideas for screwing additional tax out of the already hard pressed middle classes at a time when property prices have already fallen sharply, the top rate of tax has been raised and the tax deductibility of pensions has been largely removed.
“Vote LibDem for more negative equity” hardly seems like a winning slogan…
UPDATE : They seem pretty intent on shooting themselves in the foot with this extra tax on homeowners in the South East, it will be a gift to Tory candidates in LibDem seats. It certainly won’t go down well in leafy Twickenham. Vince Cable has a majority below 10,000…
Off to Bournemouth, where people go to die and the LibDems are holding their annual conference. Speaking at Liberal Vision’s session on MPs’ expenses. Mark Littlewood says he has a party membership application form waiting for Guido…
Just watched the Straight Talk interview (on iPlayer here). It starts off easy enough, Cable perhaps expecting the usual “You saw it all coming and you can dance as well Mr Cable?” type of fawning interview he sometimes gets. Brillo lures Cable into admitting to some fundamental policy flip-flops. Twinkle-toes ends up blinking as badly as Ed Balls did under cross examination. How anyone could think Vince called the crisis right after watching this interview amazes Guido. It was like watching a frog boil, Cable got more and more agitated as Brillo turned up the heat.
See also Cable Admits He Got Crisis Wrong
Guido has been saying for some time that Vince Cable’s reputation as a seer is much overstated and that his reputation is cashing cheques his actual policy account can’t cover. His ability to provide authoritative sounding soundbites to journalists is fantastic. Hacks never bother to check his prognostications and previous policy flips (who knows what the LibDem policy is on anything besides PR?) He thus gets a free ride in comparison to Labour and the Tories.
So it will be worth tuning into Straight Talk tomorrow where by all accounts Vince Cable gets a mauling from Andrew Neil about his history of changing his position on a range of issues during the financial crisis and Brillo gets him to admit that he was wrong last autumn to support the merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS. Vince admits to Brillo when challenged “you’re right – perfectly fair comment that my first reaction was not the right one.”
Brillo also spotted that in Cable’s just released policy paper for Reform he is proposing to cut items that were only earmarked by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable in February as part of a planned increase of £6.7 bn in spending on childcare and education.
By all accounts it is worth tuning into Straight Talk on BBC News tomorrow night to see Brillo hold Cable’s feet to the fire for all his flip-flopping on economic policy.
UPDATE : Sam Coates over at Red box has spotted another Cable incoherency.
UPDATE II : There is of course the whole Darth Cable / Brillo Skywalker angle about this: Cable was Neil’s economics tutor at Glasgow. Now the circle is complete, the student is the inquisitor. The force is strong…
Not sure if this is actionable. Ed Davey should call his lawyer. To the Daily Mail they really do all look the same (LibDems that is). Well there is the Cameron look-a-like one who leads them, the bald one who used to lead them but isn’t the other old one who can dance and perhaps should lead them. And Lembit of course. Lembit. The only one we all remember.
Chamali and Chandila Fernando have defected from the Libdems to the Tories. The LibDems are, as parties always do, playing it down and hinting that it is sour grapes. Guido spoke with Chandila yesterday, he said that when he ran for LibDem President he got a lot of stick for being on the right-of-the-party and he felt if he was unwanted, why not go where he was wanted.
He has a lot of energy, to be basically be driven out of the party seems a shame. Liberal Vison, the Orange Book factional grouping seem a bit disappointed to lose one of their number. The Cameroon love-bombing of the LibDems will see more traffic in this direction before the general election…
This email from a seat losing LibDem councillor is a cracker
Dear Cowley St and Campaigns Dept.,
Please do not employ apparatchiks to telephone me at home to tell me how well the Party did in the local elections only days after I and many of my colleagues lost our seats.
I do not appreciate being told how the public decided to teach Gordon brown a lesson nor that a General Election is around the corner and we have never been in a better position.
I no longer subscribe to that particular variety of bull****.
I was particularly taken aback to be asked if I would make a substantial donation and increase my standing order. Is that not the equivalent of frisking a mugging victim for any more pickings?
Sally Morgan is not impressed – she cancelled her subscription and membership.
Via Lobbydog (go there for the full letter).
The “Romsey Redhead”, Sandra Gidley MP claimed £50,000 more in expenses than her neighbouring Hampshire MP. For some reason she seems to resent the new rules on making full declarations about payments in kind, judging by the sarky piece on her blog about her latest declaration:
I was asked to spend some time on the “wencher drencher” for charity. The event – on 5th July – was organised by the Rotary Club of Romsey Test and total work time was approximately 25 minutes. This consisted of 5 minutes to get changed. 15 minutes sitting on the device, waiting for people to hit a target and then getting tipped into water a number of times and 10 minutes drying off and getting changed afterwards. A gentleman presented me with a punnet of strawberries (value £1.50) for my efforts but I am afraid it would have seemed rather rude to ask his full name and address so I didn’t.
Pictures would have been appreciated.
Mandela was Christ-Like | Peter Oborne
Maggie Personally Donated £20,000 to Mandela Foundation | Bono
Why Environmentalists Should Favour Fracking | CPS
Balls Gag Falls Flat | Asa Bennett
Mandela the Thatcherite | John Pilger
Balls’ Heckling Hypocrisy | Isabel Hardman
Gordon Dinner Raises Just $350 | Trending Central
Labour Need Darling to Replace Balls | Peter Oborne
Osborne Will Have to Push Harder Than This | Fraser Nelson
No, Cameron Did Not Make Hang Mandela Posters | Buzzfeed
Guido’s Shadow Chancellor Runners and Riders | Paddy Power
Nelson Mandela on Margaret Thatcher, July 1990…
“She is an enemy of apartheid… We have much to thank her for.”