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.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Another PX Wonk to No. 10

James Forsyth reports that Policy Exchange wonk Max Chambers is to join the No. 10 policy unit to take on the home affairs brief. Yet another helicopter head from the finishing school for SpAds. Guess Patrick Rock ain’t coming back any time soon…

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How Charities Spend Taxpayer Millions on Political Lobbying

The Institute of Economic Affairs has done the leg work to expose how charities spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on political campaigns and lobbying. As Guido mentioned earlier in the week, several leading charities are now run by ex-Labour advisers. This is clearly reflected in their work:

  • Save the Children: Receives 16.3% of total income from taxpayer. Run by Justin Forsyth, former No. 10 spinner for Gordon Brown, who has ramped up attacks on domestic government “cuts” since 2010.
  • National Children’s Bureau: Receives more than 50% of income from taxpayer. Current campaigns include minimum pricing for alcohol, votes at 16 and a ban on smacking children.
  • Sustain: Receives 24.8% of income from taxpayer. Campaign for bans on junk food at supermarket checkouts and on children’s television.
  • Balance North East: Receives 100% of funding from taxpayer. Campaigns for minimum pricing of alcohol.
  • War on Want: Receives 8.7% of income from taxpayer. Opposed campaign to spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid, because if they joined they ‘couldn’t be critical of government.’

Worth reading some further work done on this by City AM this morning. A charity that relies in the main part on taxes is no more a charity than a prostitute is your girlfriend…

Friday, January 17, 2014

Top Wonks Slam Osborne’s Minimum Wage Rise

Osborne ruining Ed’s big day by calling for a rise in the minimum wage is politically cunning, though it remains a fundamentally unsound economic idea. Here is a round up of how some of the more sensible think tanks responded to the idea of an increase to £7-an-hour:

Adam Smith Institute “A minimum wage increase will hurt the poor, particularly young people and vulnerable groups like migrant workers. Most of the empirical economic evidence has found that increases in the minimum wage cause increases in unemployment. Even if the immediate impact is not large, this increase will lead to a long-run decline in job creation and standards for Britain’s poorest workers. It will hurt the very people it is supposed to help.”

Institute of Economic Affairs“This move would not only jeopardise the jobs of some of the most vulnerable workers in the country, it will make it even harder for the young and out of work to get a foot on the employment ladder. If an employer cannot afford to hire someone because the minimum wage is too high, then someone who otherwise could have found work remains unemployed. The minimum wage is a blunt instrument. Increasing it will damage both business growth and society’s most vulnerable.”

Centre for Policy Studies – “Those who suffer most from a rise are the unskilled and young, who have low productivity and get priced out of the market – denying them the chance to accumulate “on the job” human capital. Higher minimum wages make it less profitable for firms to take on untested employees. This may be one reason why youth unemployment and unpaid internships became more common, even in a healthy pre-crisis jobs market.”

Still, you’d need a heart of stone not to enjoy Labour’s squirming this morning…

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wonk Watch: Tight Bright Blue Intern Screw

The same day that dripping Tory wets Bright Blue back calls to ‘strengthen the minimum wage’ they have put an advert out for a job of their own:

“Bright Blue is looking for an intern to support the executive of Bright Blue with a range of activities, including research, communications, organising events and conferences, and administrative tasks. We are looking for a creative, hard-working individual who will contribute new ideas to the group.”

So what strength will the minimum wage be for this gig?

“The role being advertised is a voluntary one.”

Zero. Zilch. Kaput. 

They make some noise about paying if there are set hours, but:

 “We would like the intern to support us for 3 months, starting from 20th January 2014. They will be expected to be with the Director of Bright Blue once a week, and attend our monthly executive meeting and any events we host.”

Rich kids only, SVP.


Seen Elsewhere

Full Jenkin/Beckett/Straw Letter to PM | Politics Home
The ‘Buckingham Bonaparte’ is Cornered | Speccie
Coalition: The Movie | Indy
Lefties Moan About Messina Working For Cameron | MSNBC
Karen Danczuk V Louise Mensch: Round 48 | Sun
Jack Straw Slams Bercow | Sky News
Putin Shuts Down Red Square McDonalds | Telegraph
Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion hot-button


Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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