Owen Jones’ Think Tank Helps Pay Off Deficit

The union funded CLASS think tank Owen Jones helped found has been fined £1,000 by the Electoral Commission. Unite veteran Steve Hart was stung with the bill after the Centre for Labour and Social Studies failed to deliver not one but two donation reports on time. “Any penalties that are imposed by the Commission go into the Consolidated Fund. This is managed by HM Treasury.” OJ’s band of deficit deniers are forced to help pay it off…

Nanny Osborne’s Tax On The Poor

Nanny George Osborne

George Osborne’s sugar tax extends the reach of the nanny state, it is a punitive, regressive tax that will hit the poorest hardest. The Chancellor told the House: “We understand that tax effects behaviour. So let’s tax the things we want to reduce”. This is a naked attempt to coerce individuals into behaving how the state desires, making them pay if they don’t conform.

Extensive research from the Institute of Economic Affairs shows that sugar taxes are a highly regressive tax on the poor. They take a considerably greater share of income from the poor than the rich. Lower income consumers are also less responsive to price changes than the rich. This massively exacerbates the regressive impact.

Research also shows that rather than encouraging consumers to cut sugary drinks out of their diets, sugar taxes force them into buying cheaper, inferior products, sometimes switching to higher calorie drinks in the process. Sugar taxes have been tried in various US states, France, Hungary, Finland, Mexico and Denmark. No impact on obesity or health has ever been found as a result of a sugar tax.

Another point: a pint of cider can contain 20 grams of sugar, yet Osborne is freezing cider duty. Will he then be slapping cider drinkers with a stealth sugar tax instead? Millionaire Jamie Oliver won’t notice the sugar tax hit him in the pocket, the families to whom he preaches on telly will…

Sinister Nexus of ‘Eurosceptic’ Think Tank Staff (Who Actually Back Remain)

iea indy 2

“Exposed”, screamed the Indy’s front page last Thursday, dramatically claiming the Institute for Economic Affairs is part of a sinister axis of think tanks conspiring to help the Vote Leave campaign. The spirited piece told of a revolving door culture and an ominous-sounding nexus of right-of-centre organisations whose staff, board members and even offices are linked”, with the IEA at the centre. All good fun, but does it ring true?

In response, the IEA polled their staff to find out if they are indeed a conspiratorial bunch of secret Eurosceptics. It transpires that 37.5% of IEA employees actually support Remain, and another 12.5% are undecided. The IEA confirm they have

“no corporate position on whether Britain should stay in the European Union and a wide range of views are held by the Institute’s staff, trustees and wider supporters”

Hope the Indy’s track-record of rigorous investigative journalism continues in its online offering…

Cracknell’s Coke Confession

Former Olympic rower James Cracknell, the thinking man’s Sol Campbell, has put his name to a new Policy Exchange report calling for a tax on sugary drinks. Cracknell, PX’s “Senior Research Fellow for Obesity and Physical Activity”, praises Mexico’s tax on sugar-sweetened drinks which caused purchases to fall by 12%, concluding:

“The human misery and drain on the public finances is so great that the government has no option but to intervene… [a sugary drinks tax] is on balance a sensible intervention to help prevent the rise in obesity”

Ironically this nannying tax would hit Cracknell himself. Three years ago, the failed Tory candidate confessed to Men’s Health his two “worst vices“:

“I used to put ketchup on everything… Now I just drink a lot of coke.”

Diet, presumably.

Of course, a tax on sugary drinks would disproportionately hit poorer families. And wouldn’t be noticed by multi-millionaire coke fiends like Cracknell…

H/T Christopher Snowdon

Interchangeability of Third Sector Lefties

Darling of the lefty wonk world Faiza Shaheen made her name at the New Economics Foundation, the think tank-cum-charity whose new CEO is former Miliband speechwriter Marc Stears.

She then became Head of Inequality at Save the Children, a charity which was until last week run by ex-Gordon Brown spinner Justin Forsyth.

Today she has announced she is off to CLASS, the Corbynista wonk shop whose ‘advisory panel’ boasts Diane Abbott, Owen Jones, Jon Trickett and Salma Yaqoob.

An illustration of the interchangeability of lefties at charities who use their donors’ money on nakedly political lobbying…

Wonk Watch: Kate Andrews From ASI to IEA

The wonk world transfer window is open and Guido hears the Institute of Economic Affairs are about to make a show-stopping signing. Readers will recognise 25 year-old Kate Andrews from her regular crusades for the cause of freedom on Sky News, which have made her something of a wunderkind of the right. A Texan Newcastle United supporter, Kate is moving from the Adam Smith Institute to the IEA next month to work on their digital content, “unless she is flagged up as a national security risk” by the immigration authorities. The IEA bolstered its ranks before Christmas by taking on Nissy Chesterfield from Business for Britain to do comms. The merry-go-round begins…

More EU Sockpuppetry From IPPR

GDFS

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has today released a pro-European briefing outlining the minor renegotiations on Britain’s EU membership that it thinks would warrant staying in the EU. Titled “Unlocking the EU Free Movement Debate”, the document suggests small reforms in EU policy in five key areas are more than enough to stave off Brexit. Reform in our time indeed…

The IPPR however have omitted one tiny detail from their report: they are heavily funded by Europe. As Guido has previously reported, not only did they receive an €800,000 bung from EU in 2012, but their most recent accounts declare they received between £60,001 and £80,000 from the European Commission during 2014. So much for the “independent policy research” their mission statement boasts about. 

On top of this, its former associate director is none other than Will Straw, an ardent Europhile who left the IPPR recently. To work as the Executive Director of Britain Stronger in Europe. 

Given all this, Guido decided to give the report’s author a bell this afternoon to see if he could clarify the issue:

Guido: As far as I can see it doesn’t say anywhere in the report that the IPPR is funded by Europe.

Marley Morris: Yes, that’s correct, we’re not.

Guido: So you’re not funded by Europe?

Marley: Correct, we don’t receive any funding from Europe. Some people say we do, but we don’t.

Guido: But on your website it says you received between £60,001 and £80,000 from the European Commission during 2014.

Marley: Uhhh… Uhh… Oh yes… Uhh I think there was another project funded by… uhh… Europe that someone was… uhh… working on.

And people said “Marley and Me” wasn’t funny…

Osborne Jokes About Leadership Coup

The Chancellor has been caught joking about bringing down the PM.

Steady on Gideon…

EU Delete Damning Transparency Report From History

The EU has curiously removed from the internet a report on lobbying transparency that they themselves wrote. ‘Lobbying in the EU: the cost of a lack of transparency‘ was published this month and could be found on the […]

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Will Straw’s Spinning Swingometer

will-straw

Will Straw is one of the editors of a pamphlet from the Fabians – Never Again” – which basically argues that under Ed Miliband their policy offer was too left-wing. It also boasts that in the seat in […]

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Digital Government Boss Regrets Lack of Women

mike bracken

The biggest mistake Government Digital Service has made in recent years is failing to hire more women according to Mike Bracken, the head of GDS. Speaking to an audience at Policy Exchange yesterday, Bracken repeatedly refused to say what GDS […]

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IPPR: Tax the Poor

ippr-tax-the-poor2

Labour wonkshop IPPR have published a list of policy proposals today that aim to tackle the adverse affects of the government’s low-carbon programme on low-income groups. That would be the same IPPR who have spend years pushing for the decorbonisation […]

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