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.

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.

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.

 

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 Seven-Up

In the last 7 days 68,743 visitors visited 174,969 times viewing 282,820 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

If you want to see a round-up of the stats for 2013 with fireworks, take a look here.

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

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 […]

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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”[…]

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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 – […]

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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 […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Adam Boulton says David Cameron campaigned as a neo-Thatcherite…

“The manifesto programme, with its sell-off of social housing, clampdown on public sector strikes, EU in/out referendum and benefit cuts, represents a much more traditional, neo-Thatcherite conservatism than that offered by Cameron Mk 1…”

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