Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Misery Index: Get Happy

You might be reading this with the ground floor of your house underwater but it doesn’t matter: you are officially the happiest you have been this parliament. Today’s unemployment figures provide a statistical anomaly of seeing the rate rise 0.1% even though the actual number has fallen by 125,000. Choose which stat you want to use as per partisan preference. 

There has been a small increase in Retail Price Index inflation, though the small fall in the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement provides some cheer. As you can see from the chart to the right, seasonally adjusted public sector debt aside, there is a clear trend of a decline in misery since February 2011…

N.B. stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Q4 GDP +0.7%

Everything you need to know about today’s GDP figures in one place:

  • GDP increased by 0.7% in Q4 2013 compared with Q3 2013.
  • Output increased in three of the four main industrial groupings within the economy in Q4 2013 compared with Q3 2013.
  • Output increased by 0.5% in agriculture, 0.7% in production and 0.8% in services.
  • However, output decreased by 0.3% in construction.
  • In Q4 2013 GDP was estimated to be 1.3% below the peak in Q1 2008.
  • From peak to trough in 2009, the economy shrank by 7.2%.
  • GDP was 2.8% higher in Q4 2013 compared with the same quarter a year ago.
  • GDP is estimated to have increased by 1.9% in 2013, compared with 2012.

The ONS’ conclusion: growth is not strong but the economy seems to have “a better tone” than previous years.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everything is ‘Better Than You Expected’, Blanchflower

David Blanchflower, Gordon Brown’s favourite former appointee to the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, has come as close as his arrogance allows him to admitting he was totally wrong about everything. Back in 2009 the out-of-luck economist gazed into his faulty crystal ball and predicted that unemployment would top 5 million if the Tories came into power. In 2010 he forecast that unemployment would surge past 3 million to 3.4 million and in 2012 he predicted unemployment would go up the day before it dipped below 8%. So today’s painful admission that UK unemployment is ‘falling surprisingly fast’, which ‘is welcome good news and better than I had expected’, is a bit of an understatement. Better than expected… to the tune of millions of jobs.

 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

End of Ed’s “Cost of Living Crisis”

At the beginning of the year Guido predicted that the data would soon show that Ed’s “Cost-of-Living Crisis” was at an end. Today inflation fell to 2%, hitting the Bank of England’s target for the first time in four years and last month saw reported UK wage growth hit a six year high. Wage growth is set to outstrip inflation and with that the end of the rationale for Ed Miliband’s “Cost-of-Living Crisis”. The public are increasingly confident:

icm-confidence

All Ed’s slogans turn to dust “too far, too fast” was demonstrated to be wrong and Labour MPs think “One Nation Labour” is vacuous. Back to the drawing board…

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday Seven-Up

Friday, January 3, 2014

Labour’s Gym Spin Machine Needs to Row Back

Top Labour thinker Luciana Berger has already been widely derided for her spandex-clad election winner that she unveiled last night:

“Millions of people across the country will want to kick-start 2014 by getting fitter and more active. There is a real risk however that many people will be put off from keeping to their New Year’s resolutions by soaring gym charges and David Cameron’s failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”

Berger went on to claim: “A yearly pass now costs £368 on average, an increase of £15 since 2010″. Before this intervention is allowed to shift the entire political narrative, it should also be pointed out that it’s complete nonsense.

An increase of £15 since 2010 constitutes a 4.1% rise. However, if subsidised costs had risen in line with CPI over the same period (10.5%) a pass would cost an average of £390. So in fact that is a real terms cut of £22 in gym membership costs since 2010. Not only was Berger’s intervention completely vacuous, it was just plain wrong. Roll on 2014.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top Ten Stories of 2013

2013

WATCH: Sun’s Footage of Terrorist Attack Aftermath 245,343
Rolf Harris Arrested By Operation Yewtree Police 206,236
Sunday Sleaze Special 122,034
Exclusive: Cops Trying to Remove Private Eye From Shops 61,394
WATCH: Serbian PM’s Full Frontal No Knickers Flash Interview 46,115
Leveson Effect: Can You See What It Is Yet? 45,766
Claire Perry’s Website Hacked By Porn Prankers 45,448
Jim Davidson Arrested by Operation Yewtree 43,803
Gloria De Piero Topless Photos 40,572
On the Dole Because He Didn’t Want to Get Up For 8:00 a.m. 38,263
Attorney General Warns Press Over Rebekah & Andy 34,827

These are the top ten traffic stories on the blog this year which helped generate some 30 million page views. The shocking footage of the Woolwich jihadis was seen by more people here than elsewhere because of paywalls andf the ITV website crashing under the strain. We were first with the news of the Rolf Harris arrest and we were first with the news of his house being searched as well. Due to the Leveson Effect we were also first with the news of Jim Davidson’s arrest. We hinted at the Brooks – Coulson Affair, despite the Attorney General’s warning. Sex sells; Serbia’s answer to Kirsty Wark has a different technique when it comes to interviewing Prime Ministers, Claire Perry’s porn issues and Gloria De Piero’s boobs are what our readers really want to know about. Paul the unashamed shirker from Clerkenwell amazed readers more than once this year…

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

UKIP Polling Up to 30% in Key Swing Seats
Donor Buys Page Ad in Telegraph to Rebut Ashcroft

Four more constituency polls from Survation out this morning, bankrolled by UKIP’s millionaire bookie donor Alan Bown. UKIP are up to 28% in Folkestone and Hythe, 30% in Great Yarmouth and 27% in Bognor Regis & Littlehampton. In Crewe and Nantwich they are only on 11%, but the Tories fall behind Labour into second. Indeed the Tories are down by an average of 14 points on their 2010 results across the four seats. You can use the drop down box on the interactive graph above to see the results in full.

Bown has taken out a full page ad in today’s Telegraph to answer Lord Ashcroft’s claim that voting UKIP puts Miliband into Number 10. UKIP have two lines on this. First, that today’s polls show the net gain to the Tories if UKIP were not to field a candidate would be only 2% nationally. Only 26% of voters polled said they would vote Tory if UKIP did not run so, put simply, not enough are not going to ‘come home’ in 2015 as the Tories hope. Second, that UKIP voters do not really care if Miliband becomes PM. 53% said they would rather vote UKIP than Tory even if that meant Ed won, just 33% said they would vote Tory instead of UKIP to stop him. That is the number that will cost the Tories in 2015…

Monday, December 9, 2013

Blanchflower Wrong Again

Poor Danny Blanchflower is at it again. The man that predicted three of this year’s triple dip recessions and said in May “I nearly fell over laughing when I heard Mervyn King say there’s a recovery in sight”, has turned his brilliant mind to pay. Taking to the Indy, Blanchflower has bluntly claimed: “Take if from me: wages are not going to rise much over the coming years”. Just like his predicted 5 million unemployed under Osborne, it turns out Blanchflower is wrong. Again.  According to a survey by KPMG for Markit, pay growth has hit a six year high this month

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wonk Allegiances

Interesting to note the political influence and orientation of some of the lefty wonk shops most willing to take money from the taxpayer compared to their counterparts to the soft right. Economist Andrew Whitby has calculated that the supposedly “non-political” IFS is more biased to Labour than almost any right-wing think tank is to the Tories. IPPR, Compass and the Fabian Society are almost off the chart. No surprise there.

Via @EconAndrew and @GoodwinMJ.

Seen Elsewhere

It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
England Must Have Self-Government Too | Mark Wallace
Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Unionists Outgunned | Times


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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