Scare the Voters

FT Calls Cable “Loony”

LibDem activists adore Cable, and are incensed whenever Guido knocks him. Which is frequent because Guido has been calling him over-rated ever since he called for the nationalisation of Northern Rock.

Vince Cable says this of the recapitalisation of Barclays:

This is a scandal of mammoth proportions. Here is a bank which relies on the taxpayer to bail it out if the going gets rough but which has offered Middle Eastern investors a much better deal than the banks are offering to the British taxpayer.

The FT doesn’t mince words – Vince Cable, Loony” :

But, Vince, the taxpayer hasn’t bailed out BARC, that’s the point. No matter:

We have to ask why Barclays is willing to offer a better deal to foreign investors than the British taxpayer… The answer is simple: they don’t want the British Government stopping them from paying massive bonuses to their executives.

So apparently the LibDem Treasury spokesperson would rather the UK taxpayer was taking the risk here. Odd, because not so long ago, Cable was thundering on about the unbearable burden the taxpayer was being forced to bear. More than the other banks, Barclays operate a high-risk casino operation which makes the bank particularly unstable but which gives very rich pickings to the top executives. The British Government must not simply let this pass.

You heard it: only the mediocre will do. Too bad they’re otherwise engaged in the LibDem Treasury team.

Guido has said it before; Vince Cable’s real expertise is in soundbites and faux gravitas.

Brown : Bonkers or a Liar?

Gordon has just told BBC News that he can go on a spending splurge because:

“National debt is low and we’re able to borrow to do it.”

This is just delusional, he has run up the debt burden during his decade of unfunded spending, we have the biggest national deficit of all time, the books have never been so unbalanced as they are now. He fiddles the statistics, we know that, the Office of National Statistics even says so. Journalists know it. His own cabinet knows it. The Civil Service knows it. The City knows it. Foreign investors know it. This is why the pound has plunged against almost everything apart from the Icelandic Krona.

Guido Asked the PM to explain why, for example, the unfunded public sector pension debt is not government debt and hopes he can answer it without evasion. Because if he can’t he must either be (a) bonkers (b) a liar. Which is it?

Friday Caption Competition

Halloween Fright : Gordon Scared of Guido’s Question

The man Alex Salmond called the big frightened feartie from Fife has run away from a couple of tough questions. Where is your courage Gordon?
Yesterday was closing day for Gordon’s “Ask the PM” on YouTube gimmick, Guido and the Taxpayers Alliance uploaded their questions just before the close yesterday evening. Guess what: this morning Downing Street put the closing date back two weeks!
Maybe they only want Andy Marr to ask Gordon a question? Perhaps they will commission Deborah Mattinson to do a citizen’s consultation? Totally pathetic. This exposes the whole Downing Street “engaging with the people online” stuff as bullsh*t spin. This is classic New Labour “consultation” and “engagement”, they want the online equivalent of a Potemkin Village.

Still that means another two weeks for you co-conspirators to Ask Gordon about the economy. To your webcams!

Taxpayers Want Politicians to Share the Pain

The Fink had a go at punk tax cuttersyesterday despite always claiming that he is in favour of lower taxes (in the long term) – it is just that those pesky voters don’t believe politicians who promise them – so don’t promise tax cuts – is his argument. Well a new poll from ComRes suggests he is wrong and that if a credible politician made a credible promise, it would be popular. It found that:

  • 67% of people now think we are paying the price for government overspending.
  • 59% of people agree tax cuts would be a better response to the downturn than increased public spending. Only 18% disagree.
  • 68% supported an immediate and substantial cut in interest rates.
  • 67% agreed that Gordon Brown should take a 10% pay cut.
That last point is interesting, the Irish political class has taken a pay cut, why shouldn’t our rulers* follow suit? Share our pain, consider it pay for performance.

Incidentally, the ever energetic campaigner Susie Squire from the Taxpayers’ Alliance has uploaded her Ask the PM question for Gordon to answer next week:

*With the extended Christmas holiday this year, MPs will work fewer days this year than ever since universal suffrage began. Not as if we have any issues requiring politicial attention is it?

Still Time to “Ask the PM” About the Economy

You have until midnight to ask Gordon about the economy. This is Guido’s simple question using double-sided stickey tape and Miss Fawkes’ crayons:

Don’t forget Guido will be giving a decent prize for the best question to Gordon.

Renegade Economist Called the Bust in 2005

Guido started writing boom to bust pieces in September 2007, Fred Harrison, the Renegade Economist, made his prescient call on the property market in 2005. His 2005 book has just been re-printed, Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010.

He has also produced this video accusing Gordon Brown of covering up his cupability. It is apparently the first in a series. Fred’s diagnosis is interesting, Guido is not sure however that his tax reform proposals are that appealing. Definitely worth seven minutes of your time.

Glenrothes : Punters V Pundits, Round II

Over at Politicalbetting.com Mike Smithson is encouraging the punters to vote on who they think is going to win the Glenrothes by-election – Labour or the SNP?
  • As of 0900 this morning the punters (after 200 votes) are splitting 61% for the SNP and 39% for Labour.
  • Over on PoliticsHome the PH100 Index “daily tracker of uk insider and expert opinion” is calling it 61% / 31% for Labour to win. Strikingly inverse proportions.
Over on Betfair the punters are putting their money where their mouths are and making the SNP odds on favourites. Back in July the punters made fools of the pundits over the outcome of the Glasgow East by-election. The pundits are as fickle as teenage girls, the punters are more calculating.

The London based punditry are out of touch, they talk too much to each other. Our old friend Tom Watson has been briefing the press that Labour will win Glenrothes and this will be a great victory for Gordon. He has convinced Gordon to stake what little political capital he has on a Glenrothes comeback campaigning in the constituency. However, as Ben Brogan has detected, so chronic is the shortage of local activists and supporters Labour are press-ganging English Labour MPs and Northern CLP activists to trek past Hadrian’s Wall to help in the constituency. Not exactly a sign of a forthcoming resounding victory.

Guido thinks the punters not the pundits are right, again. Gordon’s personal visit should, if the curse of the one-eyed son of the manse still holds, have doomed Labour’s candidate. Labour are throwing the kitchen sink at this, heck the 10p tax bailout cost a few billion during the Crewe by-election, this time the bailout of Scottish banks cost tens of billions for this by-election. It will be close…

“Did You Discuss Tariff Cuts With Deripaska?” Four Times Mandy Refuses to Deny Allegation

In a tough interview the BBC’s Richard Galpin asked Lord Mandelson four times if he had discussed cutting tariffs with Oleg Deripaska. Mandy tried using the same kind of spin lines that he bluffed with Sophie Raworth; “I’m not distracted by media squalls, sensationalist headlines… there was no conflict of interest, no impropriety”.

We know, as Trevor Kavanagh reminds us, that Mandelson is a proven liar, however he is not an idiot. He no doubt has heard the rumours of tapes and boasts by oligarchs that they have western politicians in their pocket. So perhaps the explanation for his reticence in answering the question, and uncharacteristic aversion to risking a lie to deny ever discussing tariff cuts worth billions to Deripaska, is the fear that he will be contradicted.

Paul Waugh reckons “the only sensible conclusion to draw is that Mandelson did indeed discuss the tariffs.” He is surely right.

+++ Russell Brand Resigns +++

PMQs Live Chat

+++ Ross and Brand Suspended by BBC +++

No doubt on full pay….

Competition :You Do a PMQ and Win Tickets to Frost/Nixon Movie Preview

This could be a lot of fun. Get your webcam out and ask Gordon your question about the economy and upload it to the YouTube Downing Street channel before the close of tomorrow. Then we all go back and vote on which questions Gordon has to answer next week. Remember WebCameron? The co-conspirators always got their questions voted the ones Dave had to answer…

As well as the fun of asking Gordon a question that will undoubtedly be seen by tens of thousands of co-conspirators, Guido will throw in an extra prize of his own to the video submission he judges best- two tickets to the preview screening of Frost Nixon – An Epic Battle for Truth in London next week. The prize includes the opportunity to quiz the screenwriter and producer Peter Morgan afterwards. The film dramatises how three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency.

This competition requires you to be Frost and ask the question that confronts Gordon about how his handling of the economy will end his Premiership. Go here for instructions on how to upload your question for Gordon, then email Guido the link to your video when you have uploaded it and Guido’s geeks will copy it – just in case Downing Street tries to erase your question in the same way Nixon wanted to erase those tapes. Gordon increasingly reminds Guido of Nixon…

Why Can’t Mandelson Stay at the British Embassy in Moscow?

Surely given that we are in a new cold war with Russia it would be safer from a security point of view to stay at the Embassy rather than the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel? Presumably the embassy is less likely to be as comprehensively bugged by the FSB as Moscow’s most luxurious hotel? It is normal for ministers traveling overseas to avail themselves of the Embassy’s guest rooms.
Could it be that Lord Mandy of Corfu has got so used to the high life of the oligarchs that he would rather lord it at a 5-star hotel. The British businessman he is with are staying in another hotel costing £300 a night, whereas his suite normally rents at circa £5,000 a night. They are paying their own bills of course. No credit crunch worries for Mandy, the taxpayer picks up his bill…

Obama Presidential Internship

Pound Collapse Shows Britain Not “Best Placed”

You can’t buck the market someone once said, perhaps that is why every time Gordon and Alistair tell us that “Britain is best placed to weather the global crisis” the pound falls another notch. As you can see from these charts the pound is down 25% against the dollar and the yen in the last three months and over 10% against the euro this year.

This has one benefit, it helps exporters. However Britain runs a current account deficit and imports more than it exports. Key commodities are priced in dollars, so although oil has fallen 50% in price, the fall in the pound against the dollar means that that benefit is reduced by 25%.

The reason the pound is falling is because foreign investors don’t want to hold sterling assets. Money supply (M4) is off the chart, the government is flooding the debt markets with cash, gilt issuance is going to be a massive £100 billion, the government is still a AAA risk for now, but so were many investment banks until recently. Nobody believes Gordon’s “we have reduced government debt” routine, it is laughable, where did the money for all the schools, hospitals, quangoes and bureaucrats come from Gordon? Include all the taxpayers liabilities and UK government debt is up there with Italy at over 100% of GDP.

There is a lot of scepticism about Gordon’s borrow more, spend more solution. It will be years before any capital infrastructure spending will come through to the real economy, it will worsen the government’s indebtedness and crowd out the private sector. The Tories seem incoherent and without a macro-solution, a little help here and there for small business isn’t going to turn around the economy. “Sound money and economic responsibility” is all very well, if that had been government policy rather than just an opposition slogan we might not be in this mess. It has come to something when the LibDems offer voters more in tax cuts than the Tories. Today Britain desperately needs a real growth package for the real economy. The Tories are too timid and scared of the old Labour attack lines. Voters understand that government spending has to be tightened, Clegg senses that too, why not the Cameroons?

BBC Drama Shock : Not Left-Wing

What has happened to Spooks? Have they got a new script writing team? The heroes in tonight’s episode were MI5 agents, saving the lives of innocent women and children – service families. Adam the hero dies in the process despite having already saved the life of a British soldier from would be Al Qaeda terrorists set on a beheading. The soldier was presented sympathetically, as a father and husband who refused to read out the speech dictated to him, preferring death to dishonour.

The ultimate baddie was a Russian spymaster. What no evil Christians? No duplicitous Americans, no Israeli Mossad manipulators, no big business plutocrat exploiters? This is the BBC, we expect to be force fed left-wing platitudes and propaganda, not given a patriotic tear jerker.

The 10 O’Clock News returns things to normality: “Tonight America is accused of terrorism…” Don’t start paying the TV licence fee just yet.

Osborne Admits Mistake

Mandelson remains unrepentant and says he would be happy to meet Oleg the Oligarch again. At least George Osborne won’t be cavorting around on billionaire’s yachts:

“I think I did make a mistake. In politics it is not just what you say and what you do, but how things look. This did not look very good and I regret that…”

He sounds like he is willing to take his punishment.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

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Quote of the Day

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories. That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

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