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.

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…

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…

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

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.

Flaws in the Ed Balls "Cost of Living Crisis" Attack Line

Labour’s developing retail offer to the voters centres on the cost of living, in essence they will ask the voters on election day “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” Which is why this week – with good economic news abounding – Labour’s twitterati were ignoring jobs and growth and instead chorusing in North Korean style synchronised tweeting this infographic:

lab-cost-of-living

The infographic shows that real wages have fallen behind inflation. A factually correct statistic.

Guido fails to understand why the government parties are not  aggressively countering the Ed Balls cost-of-living crisis attack line with the truth that the average mortgage is £1,000 cheaper because of lower interest rates. Mortgage affordability is clearly illustrated by the fact that, according to data released yesterday by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, mortgage arrears are dramatically lower now compared to where they were when Ed Balls was last in government:

cml-arears

Throw in the income tax threshold hike (£493), the savings from holding down council taxes (£210) and you have already countered the Balls attack in cash terms – and some – at £1,703. Meaning that in terms of disposable income the “average working person” is better off. So why is this point not being made by Tory and LibDem attack dogs more forcefully?

If in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor rolls back some green taxes, brings back the 10p income tax rate or raises the tax threshold again, in terms of disposable income the voters will be even more better off in 2015 than they were in 2010. To the question “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” the answer has to be “yes”. If it isn’t, the Coalition parties will deserve to lose in 2015.

GRAPH: Majority Support Removal of Spare Room Subsidy

More evidence to show that Labour are consistently losing the debate on welfare. Even on the spare room subsidy – Labour’s “hated bedroom tax” – the public support the government. 54% say it is fair that people living in social housing who have more bedrooms than they need should receive less housing benefit. Just 27% disagree. The bedroom ‘tax’ is Labour’s favourite means of painting the Tories as callous and out of touch, the only problem is the public supports the policy…

"The Personal is Political"Gender Inequality at the Patriarchal CLASS Think Tank

class-gender-inequality

The union funded Class think-tank Owen Jones helped found is, despite being very left-wing, not very right-on it seems when it comes to ‘fair’ representation of woman. Their insanely large ‘advisory panel‘ has 48 members, only a third of whom are women. Inexplicable for an organisation devoted to furthering equal rights…

All three of their ‘officers’ are men and only 2 out of 11 of their management committee are women. Of course, their two junior staff are both women – typical the men have all the power and the women do all the work. Disgraceful. Surely Owen Jones, Unite’s Len McCluskey and the Guardian’s Seumas Milne will resign in protest from this blatantly unfair patriarchal organisation…

Q3 GDP +0.8%

osborne7

Everything you need to know:

  • Change in gross domestic product (GDP) is the main indicator of economic growth. GDP increased by 0.8% in Q3 2013 compared with Q2 2013.
  • Output increased in all four main industrial groupings within the economy in Q3 2013 compared with Q2 2013.
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Public Are Still Welfare Sceptics

The Beeb have jumped on this year’s British Social Attitudes report as apparent proof that pro-welfare policies are now back in fashion. Take a closer look however and the truth is just 34% say benefit spending should be increased:

The suspicion that large numbers of people claim benefits falsely remains strong at 81%, up from 67% in 1987:

Ed can bang on about zero hour contracts all he likes, this is what resonates with the electorate…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Why Mansion Tax is Electoral Suicide

Knight Frank has crunched the numbers and calculated that to raise the target £2 billion, the mansion tax would have to start at £1.25 million, hitting 775,000 households. This would of course be levied overwhelmingly on London and the South East, 86.4% of the properties affected would fall in these areas.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Saturday Seven Up

This week 108,444 visitors visited 312,727 times viewing 494,906 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

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

+ READ MORE +

Saturday Seven Up

This week 102,458 visitors visited 311,435 times viewing 500,336 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

  • Weiner Sexting Girl Shoots Celeb Porno
  • WATCH: Dr Tucker
  • Peers Confused By Twitter, Call Each Other Usernames in Lords
  • Nothing is Too Good for the Worker’s Lunch
  • Godfrey Lands Himself a Brace of Bongos
  • An Honest Labour Politician
  • Labour’s Zero Comment on the Co-Op
  • You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…[…]

    + READ MORE +

    Saturday Seven-Up

    This week a mere 97,212 visitors visited 295,677 times viewing 498,781 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

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

    + READ MORE +

    More Flaws Emerge in Government Transparency Website

    The Register has followed up Guido’s story yesterday about the government’s less than transparent new transparency website. They have delved a little deeper and found that when they downloaded the raw data of a department selected at random , this is what appeared in Excel:

    Useful.[…]

    + READ MORE +

    No Interest in New Government Spending Website

    GIST is the government’s new spending website, the beta version of which is up today. On the surface it all looks very sharp and transparent, showing you how much each government department has spent in each quarter and allowing you to click through to more detailed information.[…]

    + READ MORE +



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    Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

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