Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Labour’s Westminster Bubble Bursts
Half of Party’s Key Marginal Candidates are Political Insiders 

Researched published in the Guardian today confirms Labour’s bubble problem: half of the party’s candidates selected to fight marginal seats come from jobs in politics. 54% of Labour candidates in marginal and inherited seats have previously worked in politics or wonk world, compared with 46% of LibDem candidates and 17% of Tories. Created in the image of their leader…

The research finds that former or current staff of Ed Miliband, Yvette Cooper, Tessa Jowell, Ruth Kelly, Hazel Blears, Alistair Darling, Hilary Armstrong, Mary Creagh, Lord Foulkes, David Blunkett and Lord Sugar are all running, as are 15 ex-Labour MPs standing again, as readers will remember they include expenses piggies Joan Ryan and Andrew Dismore. They identified four Red Princes so far: Jack Straw’s son Will, Neil Kinnock’s son Stephen, former MP Colin Burgon’s son Richard and ex-MP Shona McIsaac’s husband Peter. They won’t be the last.

In 2012 Miliband championed a new Labour Party programme to find more working class MPs to try to address concerns that too many of the party’s candidates had backgrounds as researchers and SpAds, but as Bath University’s Dr Peter Allen says, “it is more a Labour problem” and it is not going away. An ICM poll finds 44% say they are fed up with careerist MPs who “look and sound the same“, indeed a Times/YouGov poll earlier this year found that not having had a “real” job outside of politics was the least attractive quality for candidates, with 55% saying it made them unsuitable for public office. Even Tony Blair said last year that there was a “problem” with MPs not working in normal jobs before entering politics. Might there possibly be a link between Ed Miliband spending his adult life in the bubble and the public’s perception of him as an out of touch weirdo?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BOURNE SUPREMACY: IEA Wonk Slaps Down Piketty

Woman-beating economist and Labour poster boy Thomas Piketty is factbombed by the IEA’s Ryan Bourne on Channel 4 News.

CPS: Let Her People Go

The CPS have released a jazzy video to mark their Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty that takes place tomorrow. The headline grabbing policy to slash corporation tax for small businesses is already getting the attention it deserves:

Guido will be there to celebrate Maggie’s favourite think-tank’s 40th anniversary – and he will stream it live here for those who cannot join.

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, April 9, 2014

Winner From Manila

Last night’s much-coveted €100,000 IEA Brexit Prize went to Iain Mansfield, a 30 year old member of the diplomatic service based at the British Embassy in Manila. Which the FCO will love.

His winning pamphlet concluded that “in the event of an exit, there exists a scenario for an open, prosperous and globally engaged UK that is eminently achievable”. Also worth reading Lord Lawson, who presented the prize, tearing Clegg a new one in the Times today:

“Mr Clegg may have been trounced, and indeed humiliated, but his determination to strike fear in the minds of the public about the consequences of a British Exit – “Brexit” – was all too evident. In particular there was his absurd insistence that “three million jobs” depended on our membership of the EU, with the clear implication that they would disappear if we were to leave. This is complete nonsense.. The – in my view, beneficial – consequences of a Brexit need to be debated calmly and rationally. The IEA is to be congratulated for its initiative in launching this prize, as is Iain Mansfield for winning it.”

Even if – to the slight trepidation of the room – he doesn’t express an opinion on whether or not we should leave…

And how did David Cameron react to the pamphlet? He told the Commons he would be reading Nadine Dorries’ book instead.

UPDATE: To help Dave with that reading list the IEA have sent him a copy of both Mansfield’s pamphlet and Nads’ book:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Red Prince Will Straw: The New “Emperor of Blackburn”

Red Prince Will Straw doesn’t seem to be taking his bid to follow his father Jack into parliament that seriously. Despite fighting the ultra-marginal seat of Rossendale and Darwen, wonk Will has not yet to moved into the seat and continues to work in London. “Like father like son,” says a suspicious local resident, “his old man barely ever spends any time up here, sweeping in once a month like the Emperor of Blackburn.” Will claims he is staying with family and friends while he looks for somewhere to rent. Jake Berry, his sitting Tory opponent, is scathing: “publishing a picture* of yourself wearing a flat cap doesn’t mean you can pretend to live in Lancashire when you don’t! People round here aren’t daft.” 

*A photo of Will in a flat cap on his website has mysteriously disappeared from the interent. Above is an artist’s impression.

UPDATE: Will Straw has contacted us to say he has never worn a flat cap in Lancashire. He has only worn one in chi chi France…

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…

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bright Blue Director’s SpAd Blocking Temper Tantrum

Over Christmas dripping wet Tory pressure group Bright Blue launched a blistering attack on the Conservative Party’s messaging. The group’s director Ryan Shorthouse slammed the Dave for “pandering to prejudice, uncertainty and anger”. Though now it appears it was Shorthouse who was the angry one – he was blocked by Downing Street in December from becoming a SpAd to David Willets at BIS. Revenge is a dish best served on a slow news day.

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, December 10, 2013

Wonk Movements: All Change at TPA

Big wonk movements last night, with Matt Sinclair leaving his position as chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance to jump ship to Europe Economics. He is replaced by the TPA’s current political director, Jonathan Isaby who has gone from hack, to wonk, to boss in under five years. Research director John O’Connell is promoted to Director. Fact: Isaby owns every single Now That’s What I Call Music album ever released.


Seen Elsewhere

Guido’s Column | Sun
Elite’s Obsession With Climate Change Alarmism | David Keighley
Charities Should Not Demonise Freud | ConHome
Double Standards of Police Leaks to Guardian | Mail
My Year in Court | Charlie Brooks
Legalise Pot | NY Times
Spooks Recruited IRA Paedo | Mirror
How Police Hack Phones and Email | Times
Labour’s Minimum Wage Pledge Not Ambitious | Alan Milburn
Lord Freud’s Comments | Ryan Bourne
Obama’s Credit Card Rejected in Restauarant | Washington Times


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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