Quote of the Day

Liam Byrne told the LSE in January 2012:

“Labour is the party of hard workers not free-riders. The clue is in the name. We are the Labour party. The party that said that idleness is an evil. The party of workers, not shirkers”

Breaking: Lord Marland to Quit

marlandThe Telegraph is reporting that Lord Marland is set to resign as a business minister, after Paul Waugh suggested earlier that another Tory was to quit the government imminently. Another Tory peer quitting public life for the private sector. 

Lord Strathclyde resigned just as the PM was about to deliver his mid-term review, Lord Marland goes just as the government wins the benefits vote. You can’t beat timing like that…

Shirkers v Strivers: The Result

workThe government wins the vote on the benefits uprating amendment by 328 to 262, a majority of 66.

A victory for hard-working families up and down the country, IDS, and general common sense.

Even Baldemort is probably secretly pleased

UPDATE: And the government wins the vote on the second reading of the uprating bill with a majority of 56.

When Baldamort Got it Right

Labour’s shadow work and pensions spokesman Liam Byrne made a big fanfare today raging against the Tories “unacceptable” language.  Rewind back to his 2011 conference speech and Baldamort was singing from a very different hymn sheet:

RESPONSIBILTY TO WORK
But there is one responsibility more that we will not ignore. A renewed responsibility on everyone to take a job if they can. Let’s face the tough truth – that many people on the doorstep at the last election, felt that too often we were for shirkers not workers. We’ve got to deal with that if we want to get re-elected. 

Liam was right then, but was this use of “shirkers” a one off?

No. He told the LSE in January 2012:

“Labour is the party of hard workers not free-riders. The clue is in the name. We are the Labour party. The party that said that idleness is an evil. The party of workers, not shirkers”

Unacceptable language eh? 

Labour's Prince Over the Water Attacks Brown, and Balls

Just one day after the Times was briefed that David Miliband is considering a return to the front this time next year, he has shown the Labour’s current mediocre front-bench how attacking the government is done, and shown the rank and file membership just what they are missing. He managed to employ a level of maturity in attacking Gordon Brown, and by proxy Ed Balls, that evades “Team GB”:

“But this rancid Bill is not about fairness or affordability. It reeks of politics, the politics of dividing lines that the current Government spent so much time denouncing when they were in Opposition in the dog days of the Brown Administration. It says a lot that within two years it has fallen into the same trap. We all know the style. Invent your own enemy. Spin your campaign to a newspaper editor short on facts – or high on prejudice. “Frame” the debate. But the enemy within is unemployment not the unemployed. And I don’t want to live in a society where we pretend that we can enjoy the good life while our neighbours lose their life chances. It is bad enough to have no economic growth or 420 000 young long term unemployed or rising levels of child poverty or declining levels of social mobility. It is hard to stomach a Government that takes no responsibility for their mistakes.”

David cleverly attacks the government, without attacking the concept of reducing the benefit bill. Something that the other the two Eds continually fail to do. The Prince Across the Water spent the rest of the afternoon pressing the flesh with Labour MPs in the atrium of Portcullis House…

UPDATE:

Charge of the Fright Brigade: That LibDem Rebellion in Full

Sarah Teather is leading the devastating charge for the LibDem rebels in this afternoon’s welfare debate. So far five LibDems are understood to be rebelling or abstaining in this evening’s vote:

Andrew George is also reportedly likely to abstain. Whips will be quaking…

UPDATE: David Ward has now indicated he will rebel.

WATCH: Et Tu, Balls? IDS Mauls Balls in Benefit Debate

Ed Balls isn’t even speaking this afternoon and he is still the laughing stock of parliament.

Baldemort was loving it…

Quote of the Day

IDS hits the nail on the head as Alec Shelbrooke asks him when Labour started bribing the electorate:

 “It comes in their DNA.”

Twitter Media Bitch Fight: Continuity-Ken Get One in the Eye

Boris is getting a deserved kicking this afternoon over Ray Lewis’ £20,000 one day-a-week job. In addition to his unpaid position as Ambassador for Mentoring, Ray Lewis is being paid as the London Mayor’s Senior Advisor for Mentoring. Fishy.

Obviously the tin-foil Continuity-Ken brigade are frothing this afternoon, demanding that the Standard splash the story. Discussing the issue with their hack Pippa Crerar, LabourList’s Mark Ferguson, with a new found regard for taxpayer money, scored a spectacular own goal:

Heard the one about the paper covering up a story that they broke…

Knife Out for Chuka

Guido was sad to miss two-faced Chuka Umunna dining in a pub popular with the Guy Newsroom team last night. Judging by his choice of meal, the Shadow Business Secretary was putting on his man of the people act, though a co-conspiratorial vintner whispers that the mask slipped and Chuka awkwardly came a cropper with his cutlery:

“He had a burger and a pint of s**t lager. Dropped his knife and waited for someone to pick it up for him. Nobody did of course.”

He does think he’s a cut above the rest, after all…

Parliament's I-rasher-nal Breakfast Prices

Last year Guido spent many months hamming-up the scandal around the subsidies from the taxpayer for food and drink in Parliament, and the special prices only available to MPs. Back in August 2012 the subsidy was slashed by a huge £600,000, leaving the poor piggies only receiving £5.2 million from our pockets to help them with their bar bills.

It’s good to see that people are still sizzling about this issue, the breakfast menu above has been doing the rounds today. Bacon and egg on toast for £1.05? It would be a bargain wherever you found it, but in the exclusive, rent-free, palatial riverside dining facilities of the Houses of Parliament? Un-egg-cceptable.

Another Dud Labour Spending Call

How many arguments can Labour find themselves on the wrong side of in one day? It looks like they are gearing up to oppose the planned scrapping of the £7m spent on councillor pensions. Hilary Benn is citing European Law in an attempt to delay this blindingly obvious cut. Another one for them to explain on the doorstep: Why does the vested interest of Labour’s councillors lining their pockets come before frontline council services?

WATCH: Piers Told to "Face Hacking Charges" Live on CNN

 His face is a picture…

Lobby Faces Female Backlash

Last night Guido stood in solidarity with the shunned female journalists of the Lobby. After No.10 explained Dave and Nick only granted questions to men at yesterday’s mid-term review because none of the political editors in attendance were female, we named and shamed the chauvinist Mirror and New Statesman as having no female Lobby hacks between them. Guido’s feminist allies agreed:

The usual suspects were still stuck in their old ways however:

Shame…

Vid via @liarpoliticians

Labour On the Wrong Side of the Argument

lab-wagesToday Labour are forcing a vote on welfare reform and the strange thing about it is both the Tories and Labour are happy with the dividing line. Labour’s position is that they want a freeze on public sector pay and to raise benefits – hence the Tory attack poster this morning.

Labour argue that welfare reforms will take money from in work benefit recipents – strivers. IDS argued this morning that since Brown made 90% of workers welfare recipients that is inevitable. In an example this weekend the Observer warned that in-work welfare recipients could lose up to £470 per annum. Ignoring that the tax threshold hike will largely cancel out and compensate for that loss. Taking people off benefits and out of tax – ending Gordon Brown’s madly wasteful money-go-round…

Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls will lose their child benefit today, though with a joint income of some £130,000 they should be able to cope. Millionaires Ed and Justine Miliband probably won’t even notice it is gone with their £400,000 plus income. Labour have to sell on the doorstep paying welfare benefits to millionaires and raising benefits higher than workers’ wages. They think it can be spun as a vote winner…

Dave Sells Out

Tonight will see the PM address his MPs at a briefing about the next election:

From: Government Chief Whip
Sent: 21 December 2012 13:05
Subject: Parliamentary Party Meeting: 8 January 2013

Dear Colleagues,

The Prime Minister has asked me to invite you to an important Parliamentary Party meeting when the House returns in January with a focus on our campaign for the 2015 General Election. There will be a presentation from the Party Chairman and Stephen Gilbert, and the Prime Minister will respond to questions.

This meeting will take place at 17:30 on Tuesday 8th January in the Boothroyd Room.

Due to limitations on space, please confirm your attendance by responding to this email by Friday 4th January.

I hope you have a happy Christmas.

Government Chief Whip

It seems that it’s not just a limited number of hacks that Dave will take questions from, but only a selection of his own Members too. Grumpy MPs were greeted with this last night:

From: Government Chief Whip
Sent: 07 January 2013 19:47
Subject: FW: Parliamentary Party Meeting: 8 January 2013

Dear Colleagues,

Further to this email, due to exceptional demand we are now at maximum capacity and it will not be possible to accommodate those who have not already responded. There will of course be other meetings of the parliamentary party in the future.

Thank you for your patience.

Government Chief Whip

That should keep the troops happy, especially those ones starting to sweat about their seats…



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Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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