J. D. Bercowspoon

Mutterings around the Palace of Westminster this morning as Bercow announces he is rightly slashing £12 million from the Commons budget. Select Committees have had £800,000 pulled from their junket kitty and £500,000 pounds worth of the booze subsidy is going. Writing to MPs last night he said he pledged to “bring cafeteria prices into line with typical workplace venues and bar prices into line with a competitively priced high street pub chain.” That’s a Wetherspoons then.

It’s a good start but the subsidy has clearly not been lifted completely. Bercow deserves some credit here but he has hardly been an austerity Speaker. Bag carriers and hacks were more than a little disgruntled when he announced that Bellamy’s bar, fresh from it’s £48,000 make over, was to be shut down and turned into a non-sound proofed crèche. Late and well over budget, more than a £200,000 has been wasted on a PR stunt…

Worth Its Weight In Gold

Given the Chief Secretary of the Treasury is himself somewhat lacking in financial expertise, you would think he would select his Special Advisor carefully for their financial prowess. Instead he has thrown yet another lifeline to a friend. Like he did with Willie Rennie in the Scotland Office, Danny Alexander has made another failed LibDem MP, Julia Goldsworthy, his SpAd. If the public wanted these people to stay in Westminster they would have voted for them.

Given her boss is in charge of reining in public spending it’s hardly reassuring to know a woman who spent over a grand of taxpayers’ money on a rocking chair is whispering advice in his ear.

Initially the position is unpaid since Goldsworthy had, with a lack of foresight, just taken a £30,000 MP’s resettlement grant which kind of disqualifies her from taking an immediate government salary. Though with her spending habits that can’t last long…

Hunt for Parliament's Pretty Boys

Anyone who is anyone in the fashion world is honoured in the new “Online Fashion 100”. So imagine Guido’s surprise when browsing the list to see Trilby-toting Vince and Cameron-lite Jeremy Hunt included in the list of players, up there with Jordan…

Now fashion may be a changing art, but Guido can only imagine this is for their service to the business side of things rather than their aesthetic contributions…

Quote of the Day

Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, defending New Labour’s target culture…

“(Those targets) improved the NHS immeasurably over the last decade”

If Ain't Hurting, It Ain't Working

[vodpod id=Video.3875954&w=480&h=300&fv=videoId%3D86514533001%26amp%3BlinkBaseURL%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fchannel.tate.org.uk%252Fmedia%252F86514533001%26amp%3BplayerID%3D42529797001%26amp%3B%26amp%3Bdomain%3Dembed%26amp%3BdynamicStreaming%3Dtrue]

Yesterday’s cartoon mocking David Ruffley’s train jumping has variously been described as ‘indefensible’, ‘sick’ and ‘a step too far’. The cartoonist is delighted.

Some, who really shouldn’t, laughed, others ranted, texted and threatened. Will Ruffley be harmed in any way? No. Political cartoons have offended people for centuries, long may it continue. Please don’t bother complaining, go to Tate Britain instead and see some really rude cartoons…

Osborne Ties Up the Bookies

Given the last thirteen budgets have been dominated by cheap tactics and false flags, it was  no surprise George Osborne had a trick up his sleeve. Well closer to his collar actually:

The cunning coin-keeper chose a tie of bluey/green today which caused a bit of headache for Ladbrokes who were offering bets on both blue and green and had to pay up for both. At least someone was a winner out of this budget.

Ouch

The VAT rise and freezing child benefit across the board will be the headlines tomorrow morning. It’s a painful budget but a million people out of income tax is pretty “progressive”. The Corporation Tax cut will probably bring in more money than the current rate does now, something Harman clearly could not grasp. While VAT is irritating, booze and fags are protected, not that they could have gone up much more. A council tax freeze was long overdue. However the hike in Capital Gains Taxation to 28% is Cable’s fiscal spanner in the works, unlikely to reap more revenue and hits the prudent.

LIVE: The Emergency Budget

[orderorder-live-event altcast_code=”63c1abd957″ height=”700″ width=”480″]

+ + + Capital Gains Up To 28% + + +

Hearing CGT up, Corporation Tax down. No news yet on VAT.

UPDATE: Clearly the no smiles memo was circulated:

[…] Read the rest

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Labour's Missing Economic Genius

Labour are running round like headless chickens this morning. Alastair Darling has had a lie-in, attack dogs like Liam Byrne are nowhere to be seen, while Harman and the leadership candidates are all trying to get a look in. The airwaves have no-one of economic authority to hand from the opposition benches.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

In 2007 Chris Huhne was asked by his local paper about the Mark Oaten sex scandal…

“I’m very comfortable with my life, so nothing like that will emerge…” […] Read the rest

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Go for Growth George

Government spending is approaching 50% of GDP, taxation is almost 40% of GDP and the consequent budget deficit is unsustainable. The choice is either taxes rise to finance government spending or government spending is reduced to balance the budget in line with tax revenues.[…] Read the rest

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Breaking News from South Africa :Boris Caught Playing On Vuvuzela Away from Home

Rumour has it that the Daily Mail has caught Boris playing on the vuvuzela away from home.  Best he remember to bring five of them home for the kids…[…] Read the rest

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Rory Campbell's Close Shave

Bad Al Campbell’s son Rory is, like many privileged Balliol Oxford* graduates before him, currently on a “gap yah” jaunt in Asia, doing what you do when you are young in Asia. Guido’s beach-dwelling-co-conspirator-in-a-smokey-haze reports Rory spends his days showing off his shaved legs to girls in the bars of Saigon.[…] Read the rest

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America's Revenge

The Environment Agency have been called to Southampton to investigate a leak in a pipeline controlled by American oil giants Exxon (Esso to Brits). It is believed this Yankee oil could be seeping into the English channel. Will the coalition now embark on a sustained trashing of Exxon’s share price? […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Quote of the Day

Frank Field says…

“We should pay fathers to stay with their families, not pay them to live apart, which is what we do now. We have a tax and benefits system that discriminates against two parents, yet this is what most people aspire to.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

The FT’s Wolfgang Munchau on the “fake maths” of economic forecasts:

“The truth is that our ability to forecast the future beyond the current quarter is limited… The curse of our time is fake maths. Think of it as fake news for numerically literate intellectuals: it is the abuse of statistics and economic models to peddle one’s own political prejudice… The fakeness of the maths lies in an exaggerated inference. Economic models have their uses, as do opinion polls. They provide information to policymakers and markets. But nobody can see through the fog of the future.”

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