Saturday, May 2, 2009

Whisky and Revolver Proffered to Gordon by Pundits

Whisky RevolverPeter Oborne, once second only to Janet Daley as Gordon’s biggest booster amongst the right-wing pundits and the last to lose faith in him, is now calling for Gordon to sit down with a bottle of whisky and a revolver.  Oborne says Brown is imploding mentally.

Polly Toynbee once praised Brown as an intellectual colossus, master-strategist and political titan. Now she says Gordon Brown has no ideas and under his leadership Labour has become a rotten, defeatist rabble. Polly recollects that “Many said he had neither the temperament nor the political skills for the top job. I was among those who hoped he had, because you have to live in hope.”  Now she has no hope.

Tomorrow is the thirtieth anniversary of the coming to power of Margaret Thatcher. Under Gordon’s chancellorship and premiership Britain has tested to fiscal destruction the tax and spend approach, perhaps a return to sound money and fiscal conservativism is the change which will bring hope.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Polly Should Look at Her Bosses’ Fat Cat Bonuses

The Tuscan redistributionist friend of the down-trodden, the three-house-owning, multi-millionairess toff, Polly Toynbee, is ranting against undeserved bonuses. With the colourful prose that earns her £117,000 basic (before book royalties, media fees and advances) she lays into the worth of “performance-related pay” and the bonus culture that sees loss making Northern Rock bosses get a 10% bonus.The loss making Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, got by on a total compensation package of a mere £544,000 up from £473,000 last year. A 15% increase as a reward for losing £26.4 million – no belt tightening for him. His boss, the Guardian Media Group chief executive, Carolyn McCall, was paid a package of £827,000, comprising a salary of £424,000, plus a bonus of £385,000 and benefits in kind of £18,000. An eye watering 90% bonus.

Handy having your friends, rather than shareholders, decide your pay isn’t it? Guido has said it before and he will say it again, Polly merely dislikes the “wrong type” of rich people.

Incidentally, GMG have always been adept at using the Scott Trust and other dodges to minimise tax charges. Guido congratulates them on achieving an effective tax rate 4.99% last year. Remember that the next time Polly Toynbee calls for higher taxes and everyone to pay a fair share.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

“If Unemployment Reaches 3 Million Most Will Do Well”

Norman Tebbit? Norman Lamont? Nope, this is current. 

The exact quote is

“Even if unemployment reaches 3 million, that still leaves 90% in secure jobs. Most people will suffer not at all in this recession: on the contrary they will do well…”

Step forward friend of the down-trodden people, the Tuscan redistributionist, three house owning, multi-millionairess toff, yes, you guessed it, Polly Toynbee – here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wrong Kind of Rich?

Is Guido the only one who finds it a bit of a cheek that Will Hutton and Polly Toynbee are media millionaires who make their money out of condemning other rich people? They both have homes in the country and in London? Polly famously also has her home in sunny Tuscany, yet they endlessly tell us how they deplore inequality. They both sell books in large numbers and their columns are well rewarded beyond the dreams of the average and minimum wage workers they cry tears over.Guido is not going to plead personal poverty, risk brings rewards. What have Hutton or Toynbee ever produced besides words on paper, how many jobs have they created, how many businesses have they financed? Have they ever had to make payroll at the end of the month? Worried about how they were going to pay staff?

Why is making millions from pontificating (as they do) morally superior to making millions from investing in and running companies? It seems that out and out capitalists are the wrong kind of rich whereas out and out media pundits are the right kind of rich, akin to how the aristocracy of old always looked down on those in trade. Remember their own substantial wealth when they condemn capitalism.

Who really has unjust rewards – those who create wealth and jobs or those who condemn them?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hutton & Polly v Mises & Milton

Listening to Will Hutton and Polly Toynbee you would think they were actually monetary economists when in reality they are just soundbite savvy talking heads spouting the latest fashions of the metropolitan media elite. Both property millionaires in their own right, three-houses-Polly and Hutton have substantial family stakes in the property market. If they had such great economic foresight would they have got so badly caught out? Rumours circulate as to the viability of Mrs Hutton’s extensive property portfolio.

Toynbee has now realised that Gordon is staying and that her flirtation with David Miliband was just a passing fancy. Her tune has changed, now saying (once again) that Brown is the man for our times when only weeks ago she was telling the cabinet they were spineless not to get rid of him. Laughable.

Polly’s advice and economic genius is as suspect and as reliable as her loyalty to whichever politician she is championing this month. At the beginning of the year she was still loyal to Gordon and chiding Cameron for his new year message which she claimed

smacks of callow point-scoring, with his five repetitions of “Labour’s hopeless” – and it will look even thinner in retrospect in a year’s time if Brown has steered through economic rapids without most voters feeling any adverse effect.

She was confidently predicting

A minor slowdown with neither inflation* nor unemployment rising will see Brown’s old “no boom or bust” boasts triumph this time next year.

Guido suggests we leave Polly and Will to their studio soundbites and ignore their siren voices – they have been advocating their brand of redistributive social democracy as the solution to everything for decades. If policy makers are looking for guidance on avoiding a depression (alas a recession is upon us already) they should dust off the works of Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman – Mises wrote the seminalThe Theory of Money and Credit. If this book had been read by more central bankers outside the Bundesbank we would not be in this mess. Guido once listened to an LSE lecture by a Bundesbank board member speaking in reverential tones about Mises’ thinking. He is the high priest of monetary theory.

If history is not to repeat itself then reading Friedman’sThe Great Contraction, 1929-1933should be a priority. If you think this is irrelevant to the state we are in you should note that the current Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, pays tribute to this work and is quoted in the introduction to the current edition. Whereas Mises is heavy going, Friedman and Schwartz are essential reading.

Guido can summarise the primary policy response to the situation we are in succintly : cut interest rates, to lessen the pain of the inevitable reckoning.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Class Contradictions of Polly

Polly is whining again about the verbal kicking she gets after almost every column:

…my most constant hate-swipes on Comment is Free and in rightwing political blogs is for being middle class.

Guido frequently questions her judgment, but he has never accused her of being middle-class, for the simple reason she is not. Mary Louisa Toynbee is in fact part of the rarefied metropolitan media elite, she has a comfortable six-figure income and a villa in Italy to go with the London townhouse and house in the country. She is not middle-class by any stretch of the imagination.

Her income is not middle-class, it puts her in the top 1% of earners.

The great grand-daughter of the Earl of Carlisle was privately educated (Badminton), went to Oxford (St Annes) and on to the BBC. A classic metropolitan elite career path. Toynbee is the daughter of the literary critic Philip Toynbee and grand-daughter of the famous historian Arnold J. Toynbee, his uncle was the philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee after whom Toynbee Hall is named. She was born into three generations of metropolitan elitists.

She is perfectly entitled to point to the toffs on the Tory front-bench, but Guido is not going to let her pretend to be middle-class. She is the enemy of the aspirational middle-classes, the high priestess advocate of taxing them to pay for her social democratic utopia.

N.B. See also this for an example of Polly’s consistency, prescience and judgement over Gordon Brown. This “rightwing blog” must have got under her skin…

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Polly : Get Rid of Brown or the Labour Party Will Die

Once he was Polly’s “towering intellect” and the greatest politician of our time. A year later and now Unseating Gordon Brown may be Labour’s last chance.

Polly says Guido is no good at writing about politics because he is unsympathetic to politicians. Perhaps, Polly, being over-sympathetic to a politician blinded you to his faults. Good to see you completely coming round to Guido’s point of view on the Prime Mentalist at last.

UPDATE : “Bogeyman” reminds us in the comments of Polly’s consistency and prescience:

St Polly of the Towering Intellect, 29 June 2007:

“But then, as they stepped into No 10 yesterday, here was as decent and clever a team of ministers as ever graced the cabinet table. Two Milibands, Ed Balls, Jackie Smith, Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, Douglas Alexander, Peter Hain and Hilary Benn – with the likes of John Denham and Yvette Cooper in attendance – present a good front. It’s certainly the most genuinely united government in living memory.”

St Polly of the Towering Intellect, 6 September 2008:

“The smell of death around this government is so overpowering it seems to have anaesthetised them all. One bungle follows another and yet those about to die sit silently by… The ineptitude of Brown’s Downing Street worsens by the week. The shrinking band of those he trusts are now his old rottweilers, who shred what’s left of their leader’s reputation. This week when they mauled Alistair Darling for telling an obvious truth (his actual words much exaggerated in the reporting), they attacked one of Brown’s few truly loyal friends and a decent man. This is the sign of an inner cabal out of control… A cabinet of minnows and spineless backbenchers include many – perhaps most – who want Brown gone, but lack the nerve to act.”

For those who want to savour Littlejohn bitch-slapping Polly again, watch it again here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Coming Next Week : Holding the Punditry to Account

The exasperated collective counter-attack by the establishment Commentariat on bloggers has inspired Guido to start a new regular feature. When the great and the good assembled at the RSA last Wednesday, shepherded by Julia Hobsbawm, John Lloyd (in absentia) and Matthew Taylor*, to bemoan their diminished status, they drew the battle-lines for a battle that should be joined and won for the blogosphere. The Commentariat desperately want to maintain their monopoly role as media gate-keepers, as the sub-edited filters of democracy and the monopoly producers of public commentary. Guido has said this before; in an age of near costless technological disintermediation “the news” is no longer what they say it is, we can make the news ourselves, unfiltered by the metropolitan media elite. Successful boutique news sources are proliferating. The media Goliaths now face an army of blogging DavidsA lot of what was said at the Editorial Intelligence event was plain ignorant, the conflation of blog writing with blog comment interaction in particular. It is true that the comments left here and on the Guardian’s CiF can be pretty vitriolic and profane, but they are genuinely reflective of what readers really think. Polly Toynbee hates the contradictory “barrage” of comments that follow her articles because she has an over-inflated view of the value of her analysis. Many of us only read her articles for the pleasure of seeing them torn to shreds in the comments that interactively follow. Polly is highly paid and successful because she is a provocative columnist, not because she is a better analyst of social affairs than Frank Field. That is a valuable hack talent she shares with Richard Littlejohn…

The fear and ignorance heard last Wednesday did not showcase the “Power of the Commentariat”, it highlighted their decline. They are weakened and rightly so, for they have time and time again failed to hold political power to account successfully. Proximity breeds compromise and the politico-media class has for example tolerated lying about expenses by politicians for decades and that toleration spread to tolerating spin, which is as often as not professional lying. Democracy is worse off because the Commentariat are compromised by being so embedded in the political class – or as Polly Toynbee explains “in sympathy with politicians”.

Laughably the Commentariat simultaneously fear and deride what they perjoratively term the “cult of the amateur”. The irony of this is not lost on Guido. The pundits of the unpopular press really need a re-think here, very few journalists earn as much as top bloggers. Guido can think of a few lone website owners who produce their content and make far more than most journalistsof the Dead Tree Press. They are also profit making publishers, unlike the Independent, Guardian and Telegraph.

This misplaced arrogance of the Commentariat deserves a research-based response. The writings of the Commentariat no longer just end up as fish and chip wrapping, their writing is accessible via the internet forever. So tomorrow, hopefully with the assistance of the wisdom of the blogging crowds, Guido will start putting the profundity of their punditry in context and under the microscope, starting with Janet Daley.

What did she, with all her intellectual authority, tell us about Gordon Brown last summer? Feel free to be profane…

*Matthew Taylor has complained bitterly about bloggers before. Contrast Taylor’s attitude to Rupert Murdoch’s attitude to the democratising of commentary. Overwhelmingly the Commentariat basically has a protectionist attitude, the increasing pluralism of news sources scares them because it devalues them. Shrewdly and counter-intuitively, Murdoch has an enabling attitude, expanding by freeing the market for commentary. He gets it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Smith Institute : Polly Advised Sith on the “Legend for the Left” Against Tories the Month Before 2005 General Election

MPs like Ed Balls, Douglas Alexander, Liam Byrne, Martin Salter discussing with Polly Toynbee anti-Tory political strategies is nothing new, discussing them at a non-partisan, non-political charity event would be very interesting. That is exactly what they did at a seminar held on Tuesday 22nd March 2005 on the very eve of the General Election.Also attending were – surprise, surprise – Deborah Mattinson and Scarlett McGwire from Opinion Leader Research, pollsters for the Treasury.

Polly advised the Labour team about the Tory’s tactics; “Dog whistling is exactly what it is: hitting and running day after day, leaving Labour looking lame, wrong footed, unable to keep up. All the more important is to be able to produce the kind of moral vision that is envisaged here or is beginning to be described here.”

All the more important for who? Ed Balls tells her he was “very taken by Polly’s language in terms of a need for a legend for the left.” The seminar transcript goes on and on. So the question is – does the Charity Commission still believe that the Smith Institute is non-political?

Isn’t it just Gordon Brown’s strategic campaigning arm?

UPDATE : Christopher Hope in the Telegraph has discovered that Ed Balls advocated a new NHS tax at another closed meeting of the Sith.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Polly Gives Tories Good Soundbite

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: Greg Clark, a Cameroonie wonk and party policy guru says “Polly Toynbee is a serious thinker about social policy.” Is he moving into the realms of satire here? Polly is considered by many Blairites to be a deranged 1970s-era leftie. Are the Cameroonies now lauding her high-taxing all-pervading-state vision as a serious policy option? Really?
Clark writes: “The traditional Conservative vision of welfare as a safety net encompasses another outdated Tory nostrum – that poverty is absolute, not relative. Churchill’s safety net is at the bottom: holding people at subsistence level, just above the abyss of hunger and homelessness. It is the social commentator Polly Toynbee who supplies imagery that is more appropriate for Conservative social policy in the twenty first century.”

The Polly Toynbee line is a deliberate headline grab – based on one borrowed metaphor. Clark argues that the desired image for Conservative policy is provided by Polly’s picture of society “as a caravan crossing the desert… If those furthest back fall too far behind, they cease to be part of the whole… Similarly, if the poorest people in this country fall too far behind those further up the income scale our society will pull apart.”

Tellingly the conclusion quotes Adam Smith, the father of free market ideology, not Polly the mother of social democracy. Quoting Polly approvingly reinforces the “Tories have changed” meme – which is their core message. The paper is published tomorrow.

UPDATE: At PMQs today a Labour backbencher fell for the triangulation ruse. Ironically Blair was cautious about endorsing Polly when asked should the Tories take her advice.


Seen Elsewhere

Why Do Feminists Oppose Stay-at-Home Mothers? | Laura Perrins
Chris Cook’s “Excellent Journalism” | Iain Dale
The Deficit Hasn’t Gone Away | Tim Montgomerie
Doctors Against Burnham | Mail
Privatisation is Good for the NHS | John McTernan
Keep Juncker’s Hands Off the City | Allister Heath
Britain’s New Enemies: Immigrants & Capitalists | FT
Today’s 1914 Parallels | Jeremy Warner
David Ward’s Holocaust Denier Friends | Harry's Place
Grayling: Bercow Faces Questions | Sun
Paul Flynn Could Learn a Lot From a Trip to Israel | Breitbart


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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:

“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”



TJ says:

And i’ve noticed that 100% of Guido Fawkes staff are men. Looks like Guido has a woman problem. Or is it an hypocrisy problem?


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