Amnesty Unions Go On Strike

About half of Amnesty International UK’s workforce went on strike yesterday. Militants from the Unite union object to a pay freeze and overseas expansion at the expense of the Islington HQ. Amnesty globally think the work can be done better and more cheaply in other countries…

Pearson’s Fake Think Tank is Commercial Front

Pearson plc, the owners of the FT, have caused a minor ripple today through their imaginatively named Pearson Think Tank. They’ve published a prophecy of doom about the state of primary education and teacher training:

“A perfect storm of falling teacher training applications, low staff morale and rapidly rising pupil numbers could easily create a future teacher workforce crisis in primary schools if left unchallenged.”

The Department for Education claim that the report “could not be further from the truth”. Crucially Pearson Think Tank recommends the way to solve the problem is for the government to spend more money on teacher training. So what was it that first attracted one of the world’s largest providers of education services to create their own in-house wonk-shop and produce knocking copy about teachers?

Nothing to do with their commercial interests, of course. Who could sweep in and fix the terrible mess that Pearson claim is blighting  the teaching world? Well these guys look like experts in the area:

Predictably Labour’s sub par education team have got all hot and heavy and are press-releasing quotes about the fake think-tank’s report. Without realising, of course, that they are mere pawns in a corporation’s commercial scheme…

IPPR Credibility Gone With the Wind

Earlier this month Guido showed how he who pays the IPPR calls the tune, and now it seems the Labour wonk-shop have been at it once again. Today they have published a report making the case for wind power. Apparently wind is an effective way of reducing carbon emissions and can provide a secure and reliable source of energy for the future. Who would argue such a thing?

Dig a little deeper and you will see that two of the three authors of the report are senior employees of GL Garrad Hassan:

It turns out that GL Garrad Hassan is an energy company that specialises in both onshore and offshore wind projects. As they boast on their website:

“GL Garrad Hassan is recognised worldwide as a provider of services at all stages of onshore and offshore wind projects. It has developed industry standard software products for onshore and offshore wind turbine and wind farm design.”

So we have the IPPR letting a wind energy company write a report on wind power, only for them to inexplicably find that wind is the way forward. Fancy that…

What Do You Know About Debt?

The Centre for Policy Studies is keen on making infomercials to accompany their research. They’re pretty good:

A worrying poll undertaken by the CPS has found that only 10% of the British public realise the Coalition intends to raise the national debt by £600 billion this Parliament.

You thought this government was cutting debt?

£1 Million Council House MP Opposes Council House Sale Plans

Labour MP Frank Dobson has slammed proposals from the Policy Exchange think tank to sell off expensive council houses in order to pay for cheaper social housing elsewhere. Dobson ranted:

“When we look at the social impact, we are talking about the breakdown of communities and the creation of ghettos. Parts of London will be left for rich foreign bankers and nobody else. This mad idea shows this is a government not for people but for estate agents.”

Perhaps Dobson’s vehement opposition has something to do with the fact that he lives in a £1 million council flat in a London mansion block. You could probably build five new council houses from the proceeds of selling it off…

UPDATE: It has come to Guido’s attention that Dobson also owns a posh family home in a town outside York. And yet he still scrounges a council flat off the taxpayer…

Labour Wonks v Page 3 Girls

Labour wonk-shop IPPR have declared war on the Sun‘s Page 3 girls as they publish a report claiming that the government’s bleeding of motorists via high fuel taxes is just a “myth“. Earlier this week the Sun girls jumped on board the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign to freeze fuel duty by showing their support at petrol stations up and down the country. Now IPPR has hit back, laughably arguing that the Chancellor “should make every effort to avoid further delays in fuel duty increases“. Will’s argument is unconvincing and not likely to be taken up by the Labour Party. “Vote Labour for higher petrol taxes” is a CCHQ dream slogan…

ERS Shun Hand Count PCC Elections

Back during the great AV debate of 2011 Guido brought you the news that the Electoral Reform Society owns Electoral Reform Services, the market leader in manufacturing vote counting software. Guido wondered at the time whether the £250 million worth of electronic voting machines run by ERS Ltd had anything to do with the ERS’ support for AV…

Now the ERS have published a paper criticising the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Apparently low turnout means the elections will be completely unrepresentative, with chief executive Katie Ghose asking: “what is the point of having them?

In other news, the PCC election ballot papers will be counted by hand rather than with ERS Ltd’s machines. Perhaps the ERS only supports elections when they stand to make a profit…

Unions Funding Labour’s Left-Wing Dream Team

Militant Unite boss Len McCluskey is continuing his drive to take over the Labour Party by setting up a pressure group to rival Blairite faction Progress. According to the Guardian, the subtly-named Class will aim to “remind Labour of their working roots“. The new think tank’s members read like a left-wing dream team, with Paul Kenny of the GMB and Mark Serwotka’s PCS providing the funding and Seamus Milne, Jack Dromey, Owen Jones and Polly Tonybee sitting on the advisory panel. Sounds more like a union for the 1% to Guido…

The prolier than thou ethos of “class” is to articulate “an alternative that will resonate with working people”. Which must be why they are advised by the Guardian’s Winchester educated Stalinist Seamus Milne and by the three home-owning, multi-millionairess great granddaughter of the Earl of Carlisle. Polly Toynbee was also privately educated (Badminton), went to Oxford (St Annes) and on to the BBC. Toynbee is the daughter of the literary critic Philip Toynbee and grand-daughter of the famous historian Arnold J. Toynbee, his uncle was the philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee after whom Toynbee Hall is named. She was born into three generations of metropolitan elitists…

The downtrodden workers on minimum wage should be grateful that the likes of GMB’s Paul Kenny on £114,000, the PCS’s Mark Serwotka on £113,354 and not forgetting Len McCluskey on £149,312 are leading the charge for equality. Class act indeed.

He Who Pays the IPPR Calls the Tune Leaked Email Shows Wonks For Sale

Labour wonk-shop IPPR are progressive guns for hire. In 2010 they took over €800,000 from the European Commission and their coffers are filled by unions and lefty-charitable trusts. Universities UK, the higher education trade association, are believed to have bunged them in excess of £20,000.[…]


FRANKIE SAYS SACKEDCivil Service Reforms Could See Sir Humphrey Sacked for Failing

Francis Maude was much maligned by right-wing Tories during the opposition years as a wet moderniser, suspiciously tie-less and the éminence grise behind the Cameroon Policy Exchange think-tank.

In office he now wears a tie and has moved from policy wonkery to policy execution; bearing down on spending, battling the civil service bureaucracy, shining sunlight on government data to drive the transparency agenda.[…]


Matthew Sinclair Is New TPA Boss

Matthew Elliott has stood down as Chief Executive of the perennially sound Taxpayers’ Alliance after eight years at the helm. He will be replaced by current TPA Director Matthew Sinclair.

A worthy successor…[…]


Shriti Gives Think Tank Award to Chums

Guido couldn’t quite work out why the zero-impact wonks over at the Social Market Foundation managed to scoop Prospect magazine’s annual “Think Tank of the Year” award. After a bit of digging the mystery has been solved. It turns out the SMF was fortunate enough to have a chum sitting on the judging panel.[…]


Boles: Revoke Rich Rivieria Retiree's Reliefs

Yesterday Guido pointed to Liz Truss advocating tax hikes for the working elderly, today another Tory MP, Nic Boles, is planning to hit the pockets of OAPs. He wants to take away welfare benefits from the wealthy – Brown’s £300 winter allowance for rich retirees on the Riviera is a target.[…]


"Free Enterprise" Group Wants to Tax the Old Even More

Guido bumped into Liz Truss last week and complained that her pamphleting “Free Enterprise” Group of Tory MPs wasn’t very right-wing. She looked at Guido arched-eyed and knocked back her drink before stumbling off. 

As if to prove the point this morning her “Free Enterprise” Group released a pamphlet arguing for an increase in taxes for the working over-65s:

Older workers who continue to work should pay National Insurance contributions on their earned income.  […]


IPPR, the Staggers and the €800,000 Bung

Guido was amused to read Will Straw’s Staggers piece today asking: “Europe, what have you done for me lately?“.

His gushing tribute to the EU’s legislation on mobile charges was as sickly as it was suspicious – after all, his organisation IPPR is hardly renowned for its tech prowess.[…]


California Dreaming

Sipping rosé with media types last night Guido bumped into an academic co-conspirator from Stanford. Conversation soon turned to Steve Hilton, their visiting professor:

“I saw him the other day in flip flops. He appears to be on vacation.”

Sic semper…[…]


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Trump jokes about media bias…

“The media is even more biased against me than ever before. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it. It’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My Wife Melania gives the exact same speech! And people get on her case! And I don’t get it! I don’t know Why!”

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