Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wonk Watch: Loss of Faith But It’s No Talent PX-odus

Nick Faith is leaving his role as comms chief at the shrinking Policy Exchange to set up a new wonk shop with former Cameron adviser turned PX propeller head Sean Worth. It isn’t another talent exodus however, Faith and Worth’s Westminster Policy Institute will still work closely with their previous employer.

Will the last Cameroon to leave please turn off the light?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Through the Roof

Sponsored post.

Property prices and the soaring cost of living are never far from the headlines – and never far from politicians’ lips.

This conference season, all four main parties have discussed ways of cutting the UK’s cost of living. Tax cuts, price freezes and increasing the minimum wage have all been put forward.

But in this new short film from the Institute of Economic Affairs, Director General Mark Littlewood argues that suffocating planning restrictions have the most profound effect on housing costs in the UK.

Watch more videos from ieaTV.

Monday, October 6, 2014

CEBR Predicting London Led House Price Drop in 2015

cebr-house-price

CEBR’s Douglas McWilliams says “the London housing market is being hit by a double whammy of reduced domestic and overseas demand. Sterling appreciation since the start of 2013 means that London property is no longer as attractive an investment as it was a few years ago. In addition, fears of a future mansion tax are eroding the UK’s international safe haven status. This will bring down prices at the top end of the capital’s housing market.” House price apocalypse? Not really, the forecast 2.6% drop will be a pause for breath before the demographics reassert themselves…

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Don’t See Much Sin… Just Taxes

Sponsored post.

Have you seen “Sin Taxes”? This stylish video short – from the Institute of Economic Affairs – shows how the poor are hit hardest by sin taxes. It puts forward proposals that would ease that burden – and boost the economy at the same time. It’s the most watched video of the year on ieaTV – the think tank’s online channel. Find out more here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SpAd Movements: Truss Takes PX’s Porter to Defra

Liz Truss has landed a big name from wonk world as her new media SpAd. Guido understands Policy Exchange brainbox Ruth Porter will be shopping for a new pair of wellies as she heads off to Defra. It’s a strong move all round, Ruth’s media handling experience will help boost the public profile of ambitious Liz, while another PX graduate moving into the heart of government bolsters their reputation as a feeder club for top Tory talent. Politically-ambitious Porter herself must be in line for a decent seat next time round. She will be replaced at PX by former Bank of England economist Steve Hughes. White Dee cruelly overlooked for the job…

Monday, July 14, 2014

Follow the JP Morgan Money

Ed Miliband has all but outsourced the writing of next year’s manifesto to ‘charity’ think-tank IPPR, the Labour wonkshop recently referred to the Charity Commission for breaching impartiality rules.  They don’t really like to shout about who funds their work, yet they’re nicely set up for the next few years with £780,000 this year and a further £1.6 million expected over the next two years from JP Morgan – the investment bankers Ed likes to demonise. As Guido noted earlier this month, IPPR is stuffed to the rafters with former officials from the last Labour government, not least Jack Straw’s son Will, Labour’s candidate in Rossendale and Darwen, who is their Associate Director. Guido will have more on this tomorrow.

IPPR used to be nicknamed Tony Blair’s favourite think tank. Completely coincidental to the £2.5 million bung, Blair is an official adviser to the board of JP Morgan…

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

IPPR Roll Call of Labour Cronies

Political Scrapbook tried their hardest to give the Policy Exchange think tank a slap earlier, finding only a pitiful number of connected people in comparison to Labour wonkshop IPPR. Safe to say the list of Labour-linked acolytes over there is considerably longer:

IPPR Trustees

Lord Andrew Adonis – Labour Peer; Shadow Infrastructure Minister

David Clayton – Economic Advisor to David Miliband, FCO , 2008 – 2010

Caroline Daniel – Worked as researcher to Gordon Brown for 18 months

John Eatwell – Labour Peer; Economic advisor to Neil Kinnock, 1985 – 1992

David Pitt-Watson – Management and Business Policy Adviser to Labour

Jane Roberts – Ex-Labour Councillor; Leader of Camden Council 2000 – 2005

 

IPPR Staff

Nick Pearce (Director) – Former Special Adviser to Gordon Brown

Lisa Perrin (Events Manager) – Former Special Adviser to Gordon Brown

Anthony Vigor (Former Fellow) – Former Special Adviser to Gordon Brown

Richard Darlington (Head of News) – Former Special Adviser in DfID

Graeme Cooke (Research Director) – Adviser to James Purnell 2008 – 2009

Ed Cox (Northern Director) – Policy Adviser to Hazel Blears

Tony Dolphin (Associate Director –  Economic Adviser in HM Treasury

Rick Muir (Associate Director ) –  Labour Councillor in the Hackney

Will Straw (Associate Director)  Labour PPC for Rossendale and Darwen.

Sarah Mulley (Associate Director ) – Senior Policy Analyst at HMT

Graeme Henderson (Senior Research Fellow, IPPR North) – Labour member

Kayte Lawton (Senior Research Fellow) – Labour supporter

Bill Davies (Research Fellow, IPPR North) – Labour Councillor

Mark Rowney (Research Fellow) – Labour member

Luke Raikes (Researcher, IPPR North) – Labour Councillo

 

Policy Advisory Council

Lord Kumar Bhattacharya: Labour Peer

Neil Kinnock: Leader of the Labour Party 1983-1992

Charles Leadbetter: Former Advisor to Tony Blair in No. 10 Policy Unit

 

Associate IPPR Fellows

Will Cook – Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, June 2005 – March 2009

Joe Farrington-Harris – Health Policy Adviser, Labour Party, 2011

Andy Hull – Labour Borough Councillor, Islington Borough Council;

Michael Jacobs – Special Adviser to Gordon Brown at Number 10

Sophie Moullin – , Prime Minister’s Strategy

Will Paxton –  spent two years in Number 10

Nigel Warner – Former Special Adviser to Tessa Jowell at DCMS

Marc Stears – Chief Speechwriter for Ed Miliband

Rob Allen – Executive Committee Member of ‘Labour in the City’,

Gabriel Scally – Aide to Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham

Guido awaits the Charity Commission’s decision on whether IPPR has breached their strict rules on political impartiality with great interest. As will the Centre for Social Justice and the PM’s favourite think tank…

Monday, June 30, 2014

Balls Speech Positions Himself

balls-campaign-diary

In the 2010 Labour leadership campaign Ed Balls positioned himself on the tough-love Brownite left and Ed Miliband outflanked via the in-the-comfort zone soft-left. Today Ed Balls in his speech to the London Business School distanced himself from the Labour leader’s anti-business positions and sounded almost Blairite at times. All these things are nuanced, this sounded like a positioning speech for the post-election, post-Miliband Labour Party. We shall see…

Speech highlights:

  • Balls, despite saying “the third way did not deliver”, explicitly identifies himself with the Clinton-Blair agenda

    “I do not believe that the progressives were wrong in their central belief that a path could be taken between free-market economics and protectionism and isolationism.”

  • Attending Bilderberg Conferences has paid off, Balls explicitly accepts the success of neo-liberal globalisation

    “… this is my starting point: over the last twenty years, the global economy has fundamentally changed – and changed for the better. As communism collapsed and countries have liberalised their economies, there have been significant reductions in poverty and increases in living standards across Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and now Africa.”

  • Straining credibility the former deficit denier now promises spending cuts and a balanced budget

    “I have made a binding fiscal commitment that a Labour government will balance the books and deliver a surplus on the current budget and falling national debt as soon as possible in the next Parliament. It will require tough decisions to cut public spending and social security spending, as well as a fairer tax system.”

The rest of the speech dwells on traditional Labour solutions, more training and education, a mea culpa over (the lack of) EU immigration transitional controls in government, plus some sleight of hand over corporation tax.  To back up the new endlessly repeated Balls “pro-business, just not business as usual” soundbite he also advanced the idea of an industrial policy incentivising long term investment, this time with tax breaks for long term equity investors. Can’t wait to see how the Owen Jones left welcomes the idea of more expensive corporate welfare for stock market investors…

Sunday, June 29, 2014

LISTEN: Dead Hand Ed
Candid Cruddas Concedes Central Cynicism to Compass

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tories Troll Miliband IPPR Speech

Ed is at the IPPR this morning giving a speech to launch the Labour wonk-shop’s latest “independent” report on the ‘Condition of Britain’. The EU-funded think tank enjoys charitable status, so of course they would be very careful not to breach Charity Commission rules which specifically prohibit “any purpose directed at furthering the interests of any political party”, wouldn’t they? Apart from all that work done by IPPR that has been commissioned by the Shadow Cabinet. Tory MP Charlie Elphicke has this morning grassed them up to the Charity Commission and also written to the Electoral Commission over Labour’s failure to declare all the work done for them by IPPR as a donation-in-kind.

And now the television feed is down. Going well then.


Seen Elsewhere

Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay | Techno Guido
Insurgent Parties Plunge Labour Into Crisis | Alex Wickham
Mind-Bending Politics of Drugs | Mark Wallace
PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian
Drug Laws Don’t Work | Times
Our Moral Duty to Cut Taxes | David Cameron
Greens Ahead of LibDems | Guardian
Channel 4 to Spoof UKIP Election Win | Guardian


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David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”



“Digger” Murdoch says:

Is it just me, or is Nigel Farage just a top hat and a monocle away from being a Batman villain?


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