Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Off to Debate Sir Michael White on the “Liberal Elite”

Guido is off to the Institute of Economic Affairs to debate the whats and wherefores of the “liberal elite”. As is traditional whenever Guido goes head-to-head with Sir Michael White, Guido is wearing national dress tonight (pictured).

The Free Society and Liberal Vision will be discussing:

Who holds the liberal torch in 2010: Libertarians, Lib Dems or the “liberal elite”?

Tuesday June 29, 2010 Chaired by Mark Littlewood (Institute of Economic Affairs), speakers include Julian Harris (chairman, Liberal Vision), Chris Mounsey (leader, Libertarian party), Brendan O’Neill (editor, Spiked!), Paul Staines (aka blogger Guido Fawkes), James Delingpole (writer, journalist and broadcaster), Mark Pack (co-editor, Liberal Democrat Voice) and Michael White (assistant editor, Guardian).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Is Fink Now Going to Campaign Against the Government?

Readers will be aware that Guido and Danny Finkelstein have been squabbling for years about raising the tax thresholds for the working poor. Guido was even christened a “punk tax cutter” by Fink and at one point Nick Clegg himself intervened in our argument. Fink generously gave Clegg the space on his blog to tell Fink that he was wrong saying “I’m not sure I’ve ever been called a “punk tax cutter” before. I quite like the label… Danny Finkelstein is wrong, and cutting taxes is right… Growth is what we need now.” Fink gave a fair summary of his argument in January:

Is raising the income tax threshold, paid for by other rises, a good reform?

First, there are those who argue that it is a tax cut aimed at the working poor. This misunderstands who would actually gain from the measure. The vast bulk of the money goes to those earning more than £10,000. It is a very expensive tax cut, very poorly targeted on the working poor.

Second, there is an interlocking relationship between income tax and working families tax credit. Many of the working poor would find the money they gained from the tax cut clawed back because their increased income attracted less tax credit.  Those of us who believe in lower taxes are always attracted by proposals to reduce tax bills. But there are good reasons to argue that this is neither the moment, nor the measure.

So Fink is squarely against the coalition government’s key tax pledge and we should expect to see columns and blogs by Fink resisting this policy using the rationale he has advanced time and time again.

Fink also argued inWhy the Tories Can’t follow the Lib Demsthat if the Tories followed them down the tax cutting route, it would be a total disaster, in The tax debates: A response to Guido Fink argued that “the Lib Dems are in a fundamentally different position to the Conservatives. They are not offering to be the next Government and their credibility doesn’t matter. Nick Clegg has been hilariously unconvincing on the question of where the money for his tax cuts is coming from.” Is Fink laughing now?

One final claim that Fink never deigned to justify, despite repeated attempts by Guido to get him to, was that:

If the Tories were now to cut taxes immediately upon on entering office, what would happen? It would, erm, destabilise the economy, wouldn’t it.

Gilts are up a point since the coalition agreement, including Clegg’s tax cuts, was published. Game, set and government to Guido.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Losers Take to the Screens

Guido was under the impression that MPs lost their seats because they are unpopular and people were fed up with listening to them. So of course BBC feel the need to turn two such washed-out LibDems into permanent pundits – unelected failures still preaching.

Dr Evan Harris and Lembit Opik haven’t been off the air-waves ever since the delicious news of their defeats emerged. If anyone thought we might finally be free of Harris’s evangelical atheism then think again. Though his new career path is more respectful than his previous choices…

The  Liberal Democrats have been notoriously short of talking heads in the past and as they are thrust into the limelight their lack of decent people to push their line is becoming painfully clear. Laughing-stock Lembit is hardly a reassuring presence on the screen. At least we can still keep an eye on him this way. Due to their imminent oblivion, at least it isn’t Labour losers the cameras are turning too. Being lectured by Jacqui Smith and Shahid Malik would be a step too far…

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gordon Not the Only One Outwitted in Brussels

Guido is increasingly fascinated with the coverage of EU affairs by the Thunderer.  Last month it crowned Tony Blair president of Europe on  the front page.  Guido said at the time this was a delusion.

Yesterday it reported on a great British diplomatic triumph over the damned French in Brussels.  “French foiled” ran the headline:

The Times’ Brussels correspondent David Charter then turned around 180 degrees and today reports a British defeat by the French.

This is the kind of insight they are going to put behind Murdoch’s pay-wall?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Profundity of the Punditry : the President Blair Delusion

It was only a few weeks ago that the papers were full of punditry warning that Tony Blair was about to become the President of Europe.  He would, we were assured, stop the traffic…

The Thunderer front-paged the news that “Tony Blair is in line to be proclaimed Europe’s first president within weeks if the Irish vote “yes” in today’s referendum. Senior British sources have told The Times that President Sarkozy has decided that Mr Blair is the best candidate and that Angela Merkel has softened her opposition” written with authority by the paper’s chief political correspondent, Philip Webster.

“Tony Blair’s star in the ascendant as presidency chances grow.” “EU prepares to welcome President Tony Blair” wrote David Charter in Brussels for The Times. Blair “is now a front-runner to become the second most powerful man on the planet after President Obama” claimed a breathless Andrew Pierce. “Number 10 believes that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, will add her support to the move if she is allowed to choose a German for the other new role created by the Lisbon Treaty, the high representative for foreign affairs” said Porter, also in the Telegraph.

The idea that Tony Blair was the favourite for the job was taken as read by most of the serious broadsheet pundits from across the political spectrum (and James Macintyre).  A form of parochialism that was much more than just a collective fantasia of social-democratic and europhile wishful thinking.  How did the pundits get it so wrong?

Broadsheet pundits are quick to dismiss bloggers, but the error of their ways was pointed out here:

“…overlooked by our somewhat delusional and europhile media elite is one glaring inconvenient fact; centre-right parties are politically dominant in Europe currently, the President is likely to come from their ranks.”

And what happened?

UPDATE : Co-conspirators have pointed out some more missing names from the directory of the deluded; even Fraser Nelson succumbed, Simon Richards frothed Blair is The Only Man for this Job, Oliver Kamm, Jackie Ashley, Matthew d’Ancona (“the former PM is certainly the best candidate available”), John Rentoul “Yes, Oui, Ja”.  Who called it right?  The Telegraph’s Dan Hannan, who has a day job as a eurosceptic MEP.  Perhaps he understands the EU reality better than his chattering-class critics…

UPDATE II : The Indy’s John Rentoul emails to protest “I said he SHOULD be.  I said he WOULDN’T be.  Get me out of that list of losers.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tune In, Turn On, Hang About

Do pay attention chaps, PMQs is at 3pm, not midday today…

Speccie BoobooThe PMQs live-chat will be live on this blog starting at 2.55 pm…

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Speccie v Staggers on Communism and Circulation

speccie-v-staggers

In the week we celebrate the Fall of the Wall (more in this coming week’s Guidogram) the covers of our political weeklies are worth comparing.  The Speccie reveals and condemns Soviet agents at the highest levels of the Labour Party.  The New Statesman glories in a cover with a flattering (old) picture of the communist tyrant Fidel Castro.  On the inside is a feature on his allegedly ‘popular’ variant of socialism.  So popular is Castro’s socialism that he has turned the island into a prison, locked up dangerous poets, not held an election in half a century and jailed dissident democrats.  No mention in the article of the people who to attempt to flee to Miami on floats made out of car tyres or the level of destitution to which the country has been reduced.  Perhaps Castro is popular in the same way that the Staggers is ‘popular’.   Up to date ABC circulation figures are no longer available, but the suspicion is that since they have got rid of the adult political reporters the weekly circulation has gone below 20,000 – less than the daily readership of this blog.  Online data  since the beginning of the year shows the relative downward trend:

Relative Trends

Perhaps if it was more in the real world politically – the latest claim is that the Chief Rabbi of Poland is a Tory stooge – the downward trend of the Staggers might be arrested.  Perhaps they are hoping, vainly in Guido’s view, that a change of government will boost circulation…

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Blair Delusion

Splashed across the opinion pages of Britain’s lower-circulation, loss making newspapers the punditocracy claims Blair is The Only Man for this Job. Steve Richards, Oliver Kamm, Jackie Ashley, Matthew d’Ancona (“the former PM is certainly the best candidate available”), John RentoulYes, Oui, Ja, and most of the rest of the Islington chattering classes are agreed:  Blair should be president.eu-blair

For a reality check let Guido quote the Süddeutsche Zeitung

The chances of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair going to the post of President of the European Council’s are zero…  At the meeting of Socialist leaders before the start of the EU summit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was not listened to in his plea in favour of his predecessor… Thus Blair is in fact out of the race, because for this task no one wants to trust him.

Also overlooked by our somewhat delusional and europhile media elite is one glaring inconvenient fact; centre-right parties are politically dominant in Europe currently, the President is likely to come from their ranks.

Yesterday Brown fibbed in Brussels that “People would be pleased if a British person became president. I think most people would prefer a British person taking this job rather than citizens of other countries.” Polls show that less than a third of Britons support ‘President Blair’.  Brown has perhaps the worst case of delusion, out of touch with the will of his own people.  Guido knew that Blair would definitely not get the job once Brown cursed threw his backing behind him

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Assinder’s Dark Unsubstantiated Hypocrisy

HypocriteOn his somewhat dark looking blog, Nick Assinder, fresh from resigning from PoliticsHome on a point of high principle, suggests this morning that as a result of The Sun switching “Brown will be hurling staplers and mobiles across his hotel room tonight.” Suggesting that the Prime Mentalist is prone to uncontrollable rages and throwing office equipment around the room.

Who said

So, here is a classic example of a dark, unsubstantiated rumour about the Prime Minister’s personal life that owes its existence entirely to a single blog.

about allegations that the Prime Mentalist pops pills?

Does Nick Assinder have a shred of first hand evidence that Gordon Brown is prone to Nokia throwing? Or is this just a classic single example of a blogger’s hypocrisy?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Steve Richards Says “No Bank Collapsed”

Steve Richards in the Indy begins his panglossian column with “Labour activists heading for their pre-election conference in Brighton this weekend have cause to be in a mood of giddy euphoria. The Government called it right during the recession. No bank collapsed.”

Apart from Northern Rock of course. Oh, the Royal Bank of Scotland as well. Errrm, didn’t Halifax Bank of Scotland almost bring down Lloyds TSB into the bargain?  Almost forgot Bradford & Bingley. Every UK household has the equivalent of £3,000 invested in shares in RBS and Lloyds.  The taxpayer 100% owns Northern Crock and Bradford & Bingley because they collapsed.

Giddy Steve Richards’ grasp of the facts is worse than his analysis…

See also The Case for Elite Politics and Not Listening to the People, Steve Richards: Fails Numeracy Test and Steve Richards : “Voters Aren’t As Clever As Me”.


Seen Elsewhere

Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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