Newsnight’s Royal Farce

Oops. A programme to forget last night from editor-less Newsnight, which marked the 70th wedding anniversary of HM Queen and Prince Philip by getting the date of their wedding wrong. The error was spotted by eagle-eyed Times man Patrick Kidd, the piece was premised on the Queen marrying in 1937 and its similarities to today – Tory PM in trouble, conflict in Spain.

The Queen was 11 years-old in 1937…

MPs’ Security Costs Rise 1395%

Since the murder of Jo Cox security concerns have seen IPSA authorisations of security spending rise 1395%. IPSA has made it easier for MPs to get expenses, such as reinforced windows and bomb-proof letter boxes, signed off. IPSA says

 A standard package of measures is available to all MPs that has been recommended by security advisers and the Police. MPs may also claim for enhanced measures that go above and beyond these, upon recommendation by the Police.

Westminster is spending millions more on measures which further harden security, Parliament Square’s temporary barriers are becoming better disguised as permanent architecture that blends in with the surroundings. Whitehall has a truck wall made of steel covered in what looks like Portland Stone running from the Treasury past Downing Street to the Foreign Office. Better looking than Kabul’s concrete blocks even if they perform the same function…

Just 12% of MPs Vote to Stay In Customs Union

A mere 76 MPs – just 12% of the Commons – voted for Ian Murray’s amendment last night to keep open the option of staying in the customs union. 311 voted against. Corbyn whipped Labour MPs not to back the amendment. Staying in the customs union is not Brexit, it’s good to see an overwhelming Commons majority now agrees. Remainers are forever demanding parliament has its say – well parliament has spoken…

Helle Thorning Schmidt Schools Stephen Kinnock

Clip from election night from the BBC. No mystery as to who is the pro here…

New Scottish Labour Leader: “I Support England”

Not going to go down well…

Majority Think Legal Porn on Work PC “Career Ending”

Interesting numbers out from ICM on the public’s attitude towards the nefarious activities of MPs. 54% think having legal porn on a work PC should be “career ending”. The vast majority say it is “unacceptable”. Some interesting polling for Sue Gray’s inquiry…

City Moved on Passporting Months Ago Despite Remain Press Hype

The Remain press is going mad about Michel Barnier saying that banks in the UK will lose their financial passports. See the Indy and the Evening Standard for the usual hyped coverage. The truth is this is no surprise. The City retreated from its previous demand for an EU passport ages ago, with TheCityUK dropping passporting from its list of priorities as far back as January. The same month the International Regulatory Strategy Group, which is co-sponsored by TheCityUK and The City of London Corporation, published a report on “Alternatives to Passporting” and concluded “the focus of the Brexit negotiations should be on designing and delivering a bespoke UK-EU deal rather than reforming or adapting existing frameworks“. The City has long moved on from passporting, though still the Remain media is disingenuously throwing its toys out of the pram.

What do they think financial institutions have been doing for the past year and a half? It was obvious passporting would go, and its importance is often overstated anyway. As a spokesman for TheCityUK explains:
“For our industry, it isn’t the mechanism of the passport itself which is critical, it is the market access rights which passporting enables. That’s why we are seeking a bespoke deal which delivers the widest possible range of market access, similar or comparable to those we currently have. The best outcome will be a comprehensive and ambitious deal based on mutual regulatory recognition and cooperation. Achieving this would set a new gold standard for trade and investment agreements into the future and acknowledges the importance of services to both the UK and EU economies. Such a deal will enable the barrier-free market access that businesses and their customers and clients expect and require, keeping down costs and maximising efficiency.”

The big shift in recent months is that large banks are revising their estimated job moves downwards as they figure out ways to minimise disruption. Indeed, the Europeans are furious that banks are realising they don’t have to shift thousands, more like hundreds. Not that you’ll read that in the Indy or the Standard…

Paperchase Faces Backlash After Bowing to Anti-Press Freedom Cranks

Stationery store Paperchase is facing a backlash from angry customers after bowing to pressure from anti-press freedom cranks not to offer promotions in the Daily Mail. On Saturday Paperchase offered Mail readers two rolls of free wrapping paper. The promotion was attacked by the anti-press freedom loonies at Stop Funding Hate, a group whose stated aim is to censor or bankrupt the free press in Britain. It would not only be pathetic for Paperchase to listen to the Stop Funding Hate extremists, it would be dangerous too…

Yet today Paperchase gave in to the SFH nuts and apologised for Saturday’s promotion, promising not to advertise with the Mail again. The tweet has had over a thousand replies, with hundreds of unimpressed customers now threatening to buy their cards in Clintons in protest at Paperchase’s spinelessness.

The Saturday Daily Mail sold 1.86 million in October, making it Britain’s best selling newspaper. Stop Funding Hate’s mental Twitter trolls number a few hundred at most. Not just pathetic and dangerous from Paperchase, stupid too…

Moment Stephen Kinnock Realises Corbyn Is Staying

The moment Stephen Kinnock saw the exit poll on June 8 and realised Corbyn would be staying as Labour leader. One of many Labour MPs who had been hoping for a worse result…

New Scottish Labour Leader’s Old Boys’ Black Tie Dinner

A Corbynista victory over the weekend as lefty Richard Leonard clinched the Scottish Labour leadership over Anas Sarwar. Leonard’s brocialist credentials are as impeccable as Jezza’s – his election means that all Labour’s national parties in Wales, Scotland and the UK are led by grey, white men. Now Leonard has been elected leader, will he still have time to make it to the Old Pocklingtonian’s black-tie dinner at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Mayfair next week? It’s the annual knees-up for the Old Boys from Leonard’s £25,269 a year Pocklington School… 

Leonard will be right at home when he rings up the Leader’s office. Corbyn, Seumas Milne, James Schneider and John McDonnell all benefited from private education. For the many…

UPDATE: Friends of Richard get in touch to say he went to Pocklington School on a scholarship.

Unilever’s Remain Ultra CEO Threatens to Drop London Listing

Pro-Remain papers and Vince Cable are jumping on reports yesterday that Unilever is considering dropping its London listing and reporting only to the Amsterdam stock exchange (it is currently listed with both). It’s the latest move from Unilever’s Remain ultra CEO Paul Polman, whose previous efforts to fight Brexit include ordering his staff to vote Remain, accusing the Leave campaign of lying, demanding Theresa May seeks an even longer transition, claiming Brexit would cause job losses and even threatening 50% tariffs on ice cream. Remember, for all Unilever’s Europhilia and pro-Remain campaigning, that does not extend to their profits remaining in high-tax EU states. They book their profits in Switzerland

City figures say this is part of a wider campaign by Polman. One says:

“It looks like there’s a nasty campaign by Remainer-in-Chief and Unilever CEO Paul Polman to switch the company to exclusive Dutch listing. He is putting his politics before rational economics. This won’t go down well with shareholders, even after Unilever stitched up a cosy tax arrangement in the most recent Dutch coalition deal.”

Worth noting that none of Unilever’s 7,500 UK jobs would be affected if they drop their London listing. Still, gets a good anti-Brexit headline…

Labour Outsources Flashy New Website to Bernie’s US Consultants

Labour’s flashy new website was outsourced to an American digital firm that worked on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. The source code for the new site shows Labour commissioned Washington DC based Wide Eye Creative, a trendy web design and branding shop that worked for, among others, the Sanders campaign and airbnb. They designed Sanders’ campaign logo – further confirmation that Jezza fancies himself as the British Bernie. For all the Corbynistas’ boasting about how good their digital operation was, they’ve had to call in expensive American consultants to do the actual work. Not sure John McDonnell will be pleased with this sort of outsourcing either. Was there no British digital firm Labour could have hired?

Not only are Labour sending money offshore, they’re also saving themselves a VAT bill by hiring an overseas firm rather than a British one. Political campaigns can’t claim the VAT back on expenses, so by hiring an American company Labour will have saved 20% on their bill. A handy dodge…

UPDATE: A Labour spokesman said:

“Labour’s established lead in online campaigning has been cemented by our successful new website. We use world-class tools to power our campaigns, as well as developing proprietary systems in-house. In common with the Guido Fawkes site, we use WordPress, the software powering 28% of the internet. Unlike Guido Fawkes, our site is hosted in the UK.”

UPDATE: Labour gets back in touch to say the party self-charges 20% on its VAT return for the work done by Wide Eye Creative.

Hammond Re-Announces Existing Tory Housing Policy

Philip Hammond says housing is the “number one priority” for his Budget, well he’d better hope he’s got more in his locker than what was pre-briefed to the Sundays. The top line announcement of 300,000 new homes a year is already Tory policy – just last month Sajid Javid was using the same number. Not only is Hammond’s ‘new’ target not new, it is also entirely underwhelming. Last year 217,000 houses were built and that didn’t make a dent in the housing crisis. A meagre increase of a quarter is nowhere near what Tory MPs have been asking for. Saj reckons they need to spend £50 billion to make a difference, Hammond is offering just £5 billion.

The verdict from the experts is damning – the Times‘ property correspondent says “even for current government’s standards, this has to be the weakest set of measures to fix the housing crisis seen in a long time”. The Chancellor’s other damp proposal to launch an inquiry into landbanking is classic Hammond and already has industry figures groaning. Meanwhile the think tanks are tearing their hair out, with the Institute of Economic Affairs bemoaning his refusal to countenance building on the green belt and the Adam Smith Institute arguing stamp duty should be abolished. Last week the government were promising us “real action” on housing and a Churchillian effort from Hammond to get Britain building. He needs something much bigger than this on Wednesday…

Why Is Hammond Trying to Strangle The Golden Goose?

You’d have thought that as he prepares to lead the UK economy through Brexit, the
Chancellor would be supporting its most productive sectors. Instead, Hammond seems to have it in for the growing and dynamic self-employed sector.

He actually seems hell bent on strangling this golden goose that lays a £255bn golden egg for the economy each year! In fact, since he first set foot in 11 Downing Street, the supposedly pro-business Chancellor has been waging a war on the self-employed. Since last year he has:

  • Tried to increase Class 4 National Insurance for all self-employed people – then
    was forced to make an embarrassing u-turn on it;
  • Increased the burden of dividend taxes at the first chance he got, hitting thousands of small businesses working through a limited company;
  • Introduced disastrous changes to IR35 tax laws for freelancers in the public sector;
  • Delayed scrapping Class 2 National Insurance contributions, costing every self-
    employed person £150;
  • Pushed ahead with Universal Credit, despite it having devastating effects on self-employed people who are just starting out or on fluctuating incomes.

And now it looks like heavy-handed Hammond is at it again. On Wednesday he is expected to announce another attack on freelancers: the extension of the disastrous changes to IR35 into the private sector. Many MPs with small majorities will already have received warnings from their constituents – will the Chancellor get the message too?

It’s not just professional freelancers Hammond has got it in for either! There are also reports he’s planning to lower the VAT threshold, which would hit hundreds of thousands of the UK’s smallest businesses, even hobbyists selling through the likes of Ebay.

It’s already been said that rather than supporting the self-employed sector, he’s stifling it. Well, now it looks like he plans to strangle it with reams of red tape too! When will the Chancellor see sense and call off this destructive war on the self-employed?

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Stanley Johnson Early Favourite to Win I’m A Celeb

Stanley Johnson is the early bookies’ favourite to win I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here after his debut last night. Lovable Stanley impressed viewers as he drew blood manfully thrusting his hand into a box of crabs… 


Stanley, 77, said:

“My hand is totally recovered. I got a couple of pecks from a lobster I should have thought, or a prawn, or maybe a squid. By the way, did you know squids have very nasty beaks?”

Later, Stanley was first to hit the famous I’m A Celeb shower. Phwoarr…

A Twitter search for “Stanley Johnson” reveals thousands of supporters already backing him to win. His odds narrowed throughout the programme and he’s currently odds on to beat Made in Chelsea’s Toff to the jungle throne…

Rich’s Monday Morning View


McDonnell’s Neo-Socialism:
Swapping pensioners’ shares for government bonds will be cost-free nationalisation

Gisela v Bad Al

Polite machine-gunning of Alastair Campbell by the ace Gisela Stuart. Killer line: “You want a bad deal to prove you’re right…”

Grieve: Brexiteer Tory MPs “Unhinged”

Dominic Grieve spent five minutes on Pienaar decrying certain Leave-supporting newspapers for their OTT language, then labelled his Brexiteer Tory colleagues “unhinged“. Well done.

Hammond: There Are No Unemployed

Uh oh. Phil Hammond clumsily tells Marr “there are no unemployed people” – despite the number of unemployed being 1.42 million. In context itis clear he meant technology had not increased unemployment. He was forced to insist he hadn’t “forgotten” them. Labour will be banging on about this forever…

McDonnell: “You Don’t Need a Number” For Nationalisation Costs

Two gems from McDonnell on Marr this morning: he reckons when the government borrows to spend it is guaranteed a profit: “On those returns you will always get more than you pay out”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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MPs’ Security Costs Rise 1395% MPs’ Security Costs Rise 1395%
Just 12% of MPs Vote to Stay in Customs Union Just 12% of MPs Vote to Stay in Customs Union
WATCH Scottish Labour Leader: “I Support England” WATCH Scottish Labour Leader: “I Support England”
Majority Think Work Porn “Career Ending” Majority Think Work Porn “Career Ending”
Paperchase Faces Backlash After Bowing to Anti-Press Freedom Cranks Paperchase Faces Backlash After Bowing to Anti-Press Freedom Cranks
WATCH: Moment Stephen Kinnock Realises Corbyn Is Staying WATCH: Moment Stephen Kinnock Realises Corbyn Is Staying
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