Thursday, August 12, 2010

Where’s the Cut?

Last night John Redwood flummoxed Kirsty Walk on Newsnight (here) when he said that the government was not cutting public expenditure. She didn’t really know where to go with her line of questioning since it was so off her script. The BBC weltanschauung is that we will soon be seeing massive and terrible cuts in government spending which will provide endless material of the grinding down the poor and vulnerable kind for them.

The truth, as Redwood points out, is that the government is still planning on spending rising every year, government debt will continue to rise year-on-year and the deficit will not be closed even in 2015. The unfunded overspending will be restrained in comparison to Gordon Brown, but will continue regardless. This government will continue to spend more than it receives and the budget will not be balanced. There will be no overall cut in spending…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Newsnight’s Olly Grendlestein Problem

Newsnight’s regular political panel, made up of Cameroon Danny Finkelstein, the LibDem’s Olly Grender and Blairite insider Peter Hyman, has a bit of a problem. Ever since the coalition emerged Grender and the Fink have moved closer and closer to each other, not only on the sofa but in terms of argument. They seem to agree on almost everything now with only some nuanced differences.

It’s essentially two pro-government mouthpieces against one for Hyman who has to fight them both – Labour is bound to start really moaning about this sort of thing…

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Newsnight’s Pie Fight : Unappealing Politics at its Best

If you missed last night’s Newsnight, you missed a classic of its kind.

Prezza, Pickles and the Huhney monster trashing each other and squabbling in a manner that would make fish wives embarrassed.  Every now and then Prezza would shoutAshcroftlike he had a politicised version of  Tourette’s syndrome.  Huhne accused Blair of wanting a Labour government to protect his lobbying interests. Pickles tried to out-gruff Prezza.  It was so bad, it was good.

Watch it on iPlayer here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Graphic Example of Media Influence

On Tuesday Guido posted a graph displaying an inverse correlation: every time Gordon showed a whiff of recovery the value of the pound went into free fall. Whenever Labour goes up in the polls the pound goes down on the exchanges.

Well it seems last night the Newsnight economic team not only copied the concept, but Emily Nomates’s graphic too – the start dates and margins are identical to Emily’s original graph.

Nice to know where the BBC’s great and good come for an economics lesson.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Point of Order Order

When Guido reads articles about how powerful and influential this blog is he laughs because it was set up on a whim and primarily for his own amusement. The insight that perhaps makes this blog successful was that political gossip and tittle-tattle is far more compelling than people will admit.   Now bearing in mind that the readership of this blog is heavily concentrated in the media, parliament, political parties, the law and the City, which story do you think was most popular yesterday?

The critical analysis of the political paralysis surrounding the fiscal situation? The report back from the Shadow Chancellor’s benchmark launch? The highlighting of the hypocrisy of a senior political journalist?

No of course not. Kirsty Wark’s Prada skirt wardrobe malfunction topped the lot and was easily the most popular story yesterday, followed up by the Telegraph and the Mail this morning.  Which is why this is the blog you love and they hate. Happy 55th Birthday Kirsty!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kirsty Makes Newsnight More Exciting

And you thought Emily Maitliss was the leggy one…

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jacqui Smith : Crime Without Punishment

Crime Without Punishment

Guido is grateful to Newsnight’s David Grossman for revealing how it passed that Jacqui Smith’s investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and critical report to to the Committee on Standards and Privileges resulted in a mere slap on the wrist.

Guido has, for once, no complaints about Commissioner John Lyon’s report to the Committee.  Paul Waugh says that the Commissioner “confided during the course of his inquiry that he has to “keep a keen eye on the blogs”. Government sources feel that Lyon believed he was under heavy pressure to do a tough report…” Good.  It is fair to say that John Lyon and the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics were in correspondence from the outset – remember the Commissioner at first rejected Sunlight’s original request for an investigation into Jacqui Smith.  Sunlight persisted, citing precedent and the existence of witnesses and he reluctantly began an investigation.  (Sunlight’s correspondence was noticeably omitted from the final report.)

The former Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Alastair Graham, is shocked that despite the findings, which include that the former Home Secretary attempted to mislead the investigation as to where she spent most of her nights, the MPs’ Committee on Standards and Privileges ruled she just had to apologise.  Guido has said it before; MPs judging MPs will always give them the benefit of the doubt, it is like selecting jurors from prison.  In this case the composition of the Committee was disgraceful.  One Tory, Greg Knight, was outnumbered by five Labour MPs, Andrew Dismore, Chris Mullin, Kevin Barron, Paddy Tippin and Dr Alan Whitehead.  So despite being found to have wrongly claimed £116,000, to have mislead the investigation and broken the rules, her ‘honourable’ friends ruled she had to merely apologise.  She was not ordered to repay a  single penny.  This is crime without punishment…

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cuts, Lies and Videotape

Remember Fraser Nelson pleading with the Prime Mentalist to tell the truth?

The tape doesn’t lie.  Unlike Gordon.

UPDATE 23.10 : Newsnight’s David Grossman has just run this pooled clip, without the Sky overlays. If you look carefully you can spot Grossman smirking in the front row.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Newsnight’s Politics Pen

Tim Montgomerie and Iain Dale have got quite worked up about the Newsnight line-up for its Politics Pen experiment. Essentially the charge is they had four Labour insider / cronies vetoing public expenditure control policies from wonks (and a comedian).

pen_participantsThe political Dragon’s Den / Politics Pen types were Lord Digby Jones (former Labour Minister), Deborah Mattinson (Gordon Brown’s pollster), Matthew Taylor (Blair’s Head of Policy) and Greg Dyke (former Labour donor and luvvie of the nineties).

Not being known as one to miss a chance to bash the BBC you might be surprised to hear Guido thinks the Newsnight editor Peter Rippon has a point.  He can balance this panel in another show with a panel of right-of-centre panelists giving the thumbs up or thumbs down to advocates for quangos and big spending departments. 

The next panel could listen to those making the case for spending just as the previous panel listened to those making the case for expenditure control… they will do that, right?

Crowd Sourcing Opinion v Commentariat Opinion

Mindtracker
Until now we have had no way of knowing what the public really think of the party leaders performance. Instead, the members of the commentariat simply form their insider consensus, unsupported by anything other than their own shared metropolitan prejudices.

For example, the current consensus among the pundits is that it’s not a good idea for Cameron to get angry with Brown. “Too much like Flashman” think the hacks. But lots of voters are angry as hell at the PM and want to see him get a great big slap in the face (hence the popularity in Dan Hannan’s viral video in which he gave the PM the full hairdryer treatment).

Are the pundits right? What do swing voters actually think? At the moment that knowledge isn’t available to anyone unless they have pots of cash to spend. In the U.S. Frank Luntz charges corporate clients a small fortune to run dial groups (as seen on Newsnight) which capture exactly how voters feel about what politicians are saying. If you have the money, the effect of every word and weird facial expression can be measured precisely.

Now that technology is about to be democratised… it is time to cut out Sir Michael White and find out what voters actually think.  Let the crowd-sourced experiment begin – click here or on the button above and you will be able to record your responses blow-by-blow to today’s PMQs clash.  We’ll have the results back later…


Seen Elsewhere

Small State Keynesians, Anti-Corporate Hayekians? | Chris Dillow
Ruffley Shows Why We Need a Proper Recall Bill Now | Alex Wickham
How is Miliband’s ‘New Politics’ Working Out? | Speccie
State Should Send More Poor Children Private | Sam Bowman
£1 Million Cost of Ed Balls’ Ego | Laura Perrins
William Hague’s Sausage Fest | Rochdale Online
Public Doesn’t Prioritise Housing | Mark Pack
Mysterious Case of Ruffley’s Missing Letter | Speccie
All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie


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Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



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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