Long-Term Rise of Anti-Politics

This morning in Portcullis House researchers from the University of Southampton are presenting findings from a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on the rise of anti-politics, Tristram Hunt and Isabel Hardman are going to stick their tuppence in during an audience discussion. The conclusion is that those of us who want to see our lives de-politicised, and the politics-free space in our culture and society increased, are winning…

anti-politics-trend

Since 1945 and the expansion of the welfare state, the popular general dissatisfaction with government has risen 50%. Bigger government increases dissatisfaction…

Politicians are seen as more out for themselves than they were in the past. Whereas during the Second World War over a third of MPs were seen as doing the best for their country, now only 1 in ten are seen as doing so, and nearly half are seen as merely out for themselves.

pols-4-themselves

The academics see the rise of anti-politics as a problem. The inherent premise being that more politics will be good for us. Therefore the low popular opinion of politicians makes political action more difficult. Guido thinks this is a good thing, that the low esteem in which politicians are held is reasonable, people have made a more realistic appraisal of the nature of those who seek to rule over us. Politicians complain that they feel beset by the media and hostile voters because 72% of people see them as self-serving. Good. People should not be afraid of politicians, politicians should be afraid of the people…

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…

Brexit Debate Live Streaming

Tonight’s debate at the Institute of Economic Affairs (above) is an example of the civil war on the right – two IEA wonks Ryan Bourne and Diego Zuluaga are on opposite sides of the argument, Douglas Carswell and former Tory MEP John Stevens are bolstering the wonks. Such is the demand that they have already had to turn 200 ticket applicants away…

UPDATE: You can rewind the live stream to watch the debate.

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…

Glottal Mobility is Social Mobility

cut-glass

Clare Foges, “the woman who put words in David Cameron’s mouth” when she was his speechwriter, reckons if we all spoke like the Prime Minister the problem of declining social mobility would be solved. Like a modern day Professor Henry Higgins she thinks a veneer of gentility will do more for social mobility than tax credits. At first Guido was amused with Clare’s article in The Times, however on reflection, by George, I think she’s got it.  If only the common people could be more like the PM…

So if the government is serious about social mobility, it is time to revive the tweedy old concept of elocution. Schools should teach children how to speak as well as how to think. Lessons on pronunciation and projection should come as standard.

One school in Basildon has led the way. At Cherry Tree Primary the children learn to pronounce “thought” instead of “fought”, “both” instead of “bofe”. Ambitious parents have long sent their children to elocution lessons to help them get on.

Why shouldn’t we extend those same opportunities to all children? Having polled a smattering of the chattering classes there is clearly profound squeamishness about elocution lessons. One likened them to “verbal social cleansing”. Others saw it as a capitulation to prejudice: the world needs to change its view, not the children their voices. All very right on but it won’t break this invisible sound barrier.

Guido, as someone who has glottal issues, suspects she’s on to something…

Osborne Jokes About Leadership Coup

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

Steady on Gideon…

IFS: Osborne Has Deviated From His Long Term Plan

OSBORNE-TODAY-PORKIE

This morning Guido highlighted several of the Chancellor’s Budget porkies, this afternoon the IFS twists the knife. Osborne told the House that “we shouldn’t go faster, we shouldn’t go slower” on the rate of deficit reduction. Yet Paul Johnson from the IFS confirms we are indeed now going slower:

“the long term plan did change again. In the March Budget, and indeed in the Conservative manifesto, we were promised budget balance by 2018-19. That magic moment has now been shifted back to 2019- 20. In part that reflects a gentler than planned path for spending cuts, including welfare spending cuts”

They explain:

“Relative to the March Budget, borrowing forecasts rose for each of 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018- 19 despite increases in tax receipts resulting both from forecast changes and policy announcements. One result is that budget balance is now expected in 2019-20 not in 2018-19. The increase in borrowing and delay in reaching budget balance is largely down to an easing in the planned public service spending cuts through to 2018–19.”

So cuts are easied and borrowing is increased – all while taxes rise. What was that David Cameron said in the TV debates?

“More debt and more taxes, more debt and more taxes…”

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 should have done differently during his four year tenure other than to have diversified its workforce more.

“I regret not putting forward more stridently a generation of women in GDS at the start, and then in the technology profession. I regret not starting actively on that sooner, because while you’ve got a few great emerging leaders there’s not enough.”

Techno is a fan of the GDS and, of course, an ardent supporter of women in tech, up to a point. It seems Mike Bracken has forgotten about GDS’s failure to meet even half of its targets for online services, or how they borked the Home Office Visa and Immigration site, or how they fell way short of the mark with the Verify program and failed to turn around the disastrous rural payments system. Yet the biggest problem is that ‘only’ about 40% of GDS employees are women? What is the primary mission of the GDS? Gender equality or getting things to work?

Gordon’s Tax and Benefits Mess

tax+benefits

According to an ONS release today the mythical average household is £31 better off after taxes and benefits are taken into account. Think about all the complexities of tax collection collection and benefit calculation, the bureaucracy and time wasted. It […]

+ READ MORE +

Danny Blanchflower Does it Again

Guido has in the past reflected with some scepticism on Danny Blanchflower’s economic forecasting.

There’s been an election and we have a new government, so it’s only fair to offer him fresh start and a chance to prove us wrong.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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 […]

+ READ MORE +

24 Hour Drinking: In Numbers

Today’s new Institute of Economic Affairs report by Christopher Snowdon looks at the impact of 24 hour drinking. Guido has crunched the numbers into a handy infographic:

As the report finds: “Facilitating longer opening hours may have been the best […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Cameron’s closest friend in politics Steve Hilton backs Brexit:

“A decision to leave the EU is not without risk, but I believe it is the ideal and idealistic choice for our times. Taking back power from arrogant, unaccountable, hubristic elites and putting it where it belongs. In people’s hands.”

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