No Natalie, Capitalism Has Delivered an 80% Decline in World Poverty

As newsrooms across the land stop what they are doing to read the Green Party’s response to Labour’s non-dom announcement, it is worth picking Natalie Bennett up on this:

“The last four decades have seen wealth accumulate at the top of society while those at the bottom struggle to get by.”

Now hold on just a darn prosperity-spreading cotton-picking second. Over the last four decades the world poverty rate – people living on a dollar a day or less – has plummetted. As this graph from CarpeDiem shows, in 1970 almost 30% of the globe was impoverished. 40 years later that number is as low as 5%:

Rather than more of “those at the bottom struggling to get by” over the last four decades, the world poverty rate has fallen 80%. For all the ideological socialist rhetoric, the cold hard facts show that capitalism has freed hundreds of millions from the clutches of poverty.

More Fantasy Election Numbers

It’s Labour’s big health day, so Guido was amused to find this leaflet in his inbox over the weekend. Under the Representation of the People Act 1983 it is illegal to knowingly provide false statements on election literature. Just ask Phil Woolas if you think they are joking…

Up in Wirral West they are throwing the absolute kitchen sink at Esther McVey, but given all the ammo they have with her, this Labour leaflet looks very sloppy:

“Tories have: Cut thousands of nurses, doctors and GPs”? Odd, given that since 2010 there are 9,500 more doctors and 6,900 more nurses providing healthcare, according to official NHS statistics. Even odder that Shadow Public Health Minister Luciana Berger had no qualms delivering this leaflet when she visited the seat on Saturday. Given that the local Labour candidate Margaret Greenwood claims to be an NHS expert, you might have thought she would know what she was talking about.

Saturday Seven Up

SATURDAY-SEVEN-UP-2

This week 201,487 visitors visited 573,123 times viewing 989,617 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Reality Check: Nothing Changed

post-debate

As the spin-room packs up after the only TV debate the PM will take part in, what has really changed? The candidates were prepped for weeks, even Natalie Bennett remembered her talking points, each will have gotten something from the debate. Cameron got to look Prime Ministerial, Miliband looked a lot better than the he does when eating a bacon sandwich, Farage confirmed his Marmite status, fervently liked and disliked, Sturgeon really showed her mettle. Clegg was reasonable, Leanne Wood will have made them proud back in Wales. The spin-doctors will highlight where their candidate won on the issues, satisfied at least that their candidate didn’t screw up. 

On the numbers there was a great deal of variation between the pollsters on the key question of who won the debate? Leaving out the also rans of Clegg, Bennett and Wood the pollsters really differed – ICM said Miliband shaded it on 25% and Sturgeon came fourth after Cameron and Farage, YouGov had it in exactly the opposite order with Sturgeon first, followed by Farage, Cameron and then Miliband on only 15%. The double digit difference between first and fourth place and the exact reversing of the order does nothing for the collective credibility of pollsters.

In these circumstances is averaging the poll results really meaningful?  There was more clarity with the issue based polling which confirmed what we already know; Cameron is a clear winner on the economy, Miliband wins on the NHS and Farage wins on immigration. No news…

Did the TV debate enhance democracy? Last night two-thirds of TV viewers didn’t even care enough to watch the TV show that the political class has obsessed over for months. With only 7 million viewers it had a million fewer viewers than that other exemplar of participatory democracy, The Voice.

Are You Happier Than You Were Four Years Ago?

Depending on whether you believe the IFS or Ed Balls, the jury is out on Reagan’s question of “are you better off than you were four years ago”. One barometer that cannot be statistically disputed however is the question of whether or not we should, based on economic indicators, be more miserable than we were in 2010. There has been a clear decline in Guido’s Misery Index during this parliament and we should be happier today than we have ever been in the last five years.

Cameron and Osborne inherited an unemployment rate of 7.9% when they took office, a number which rose as high as 8.4% in March 2012 but has now fallen to a low of 5.7%, the lowest since 2008.

Falling inflation should make us happier. Though the Retail Price Index remained around 5% for the first year or so of this government, it then embarked on a steady decline reaching a current low of 1.1% in February.

Today’s very slightly revised GDP figures – up from 0.5% growth in the last quarter of last year to 0.6% – also contribute. While the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement – the individual monthly borrowing requirement – this month stands at zero. When we are borrowing less, we should all be much happier.

On all four measures of the Misery Index, there has been an improvement under this government, albeit small. Guido started our version of the traditional Misery Index – it is actually a variation on the Robert Barro version of the original Misery Index created by economist Arthur Okun – back before the last general election. Adding in the PSNR to the composite to give the deficit reduction objective of the government some weight. Are we happier than we were five years ago? Statistically the numbers say yes…

Another Shot Fox: IFS Say Yes To Reagan Question

Last year Ed Balls wrote:

‘”Are you better off than you were four years ago?” That was the question Ronald Reagan famously asked the American people in his first Presidential election campaign.

The answer back in 1980 was no — and his Democrat opponent Jimmy Carter was thrown out of the White House after just one term of office.

Thirty-five years on, it’s clear that Reagan’s famous question will be centre-stage in next year’s general election. Every previous British prime minister in my lifetime has always been able to answer it in the affirmative. But David Cameron is currently set to buck that trend…’

Today the IFS announce:

“Average household incomes have just about regained their pre-recession levels. They are finally rising and probably will be higher in 2015 than they were in 2010, and possibly higher than their 2009 peak.”

Are you better off than you were four years ago? Yes, probably.

Which MPs Will Lose Their Seats In May?

Given the polls are all over the place and the pundits are running out of ways to say that they have no idea what is actually going to happen, we’re left to follow the money. Bet2015 shows the live betting odds in each seat and which ones are going to change hands, as well as projecting the national picture based on the insight from the turf accountants. Right now it’s showing a dead heat between the Tories and Labour:

You might recognise at least half of those behind the site:


Bookies think Reckless will lose, that the polls are overestimating the SNP and the Liberals won’t be completely screwed. Track it here.

Clegg and Cameron at Sixes and Sevens

Red magazine have been quizzing the party leaders…

Tell us in six words why we should vote Lib Dem?

“Stronger economy. Fairer society. Opportunity for all.”

Yep, that would be seven words.

Tell us in six words why we should vote Conservative?

“Security for you, your family and country.”

Yep, that would also be seven words.

It must be a coalition thing…

Comprehensive Study Finds 64.7% of UK Laws Made in Brussels

BfB UK law Made in Brussels

Research from Business for Britain published today takes a detailed statistical approach to the question of who makes Britain’s laws. On the one hand we had Nick Clegg claiming in his debate with Nigel Farage that only 7% of British […]

+ READ MORE +

Women’s Equality: From Maggie to Pink Buses in 40 Years

As Harriet Harman’s plans to spend her election riding around in a pink bus campaigning on female equality are revealed, ironically it is 40 years to the day that Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Tory party. Labour have still […]

+ READ MORE +

GUIDO POLL: Foreign Nando’s V British Harvester

The PM has claimed that foreign food from Nando’s is better value than a good old British Harvester. He probably focus grouped his answers, but is he out of touch?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Unemployment Falls to 5.8%

  • employment continued to rise and unemployment continued to fall. These changes maintain the general direction of movement since

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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