RIP Political Scrapbook

10 days, zero posts; there is no sign of life over at Britain’s leading left-wing blog. Not even – if their lefty pals are to be believed – the death of the welfare state and the privatisation of the NHS could revive Political Scrapbook. Nor could IDS’ £53 petition or Osborne’s dodgy figures wake them from their blogging coma. The Scrapbook twitter account, posting tweets from “the whole Scrapbook team”, has lain dormant for over a week. Rest in peace…

UPDATE:

Edwina Curries Favour

Rule number one when wading into a debate on welfare, don’t do this:

Doh…

IDS Hits Back: I’ve Lived On £53

IDS has told his local paper: “I have been unemployed twice in my life so I have already done this. I know what it is like to live on the breadline.” He says the petition “is a complete stunt which distracts attention from the welfare reforms which are much more important and which I have been working hard to get done.” The quiet man is turning up the volume.

A Masterclass in Miliband Spin


How convenient that “fascist” Di Canio gave David Miliband the perfect chance to loudly leave his £25,000 job at Sunderland Football Club on a matter of principle. How convenient too, that the former Labour-leader-in-waiting is getting away just at the time widespread anger is boiling over in Africa at the club’s sponsor: a sponsor that David Miliband secured. Regular readers will remember Tullow Oil.

According to the Guardian, David played a vital role in forging the Sunderland deal with Tullow, the African oil firm who have been humiliated this week after accusing the Ugandan President of being involved in a $50 million bribe, leading to the company making a grovelling apology.

This sort of hiccup cannot have gone down too well with Miliband’s other employers – he is an advisor to African leaders through Tony Blair’s African Governance Initiative. Along with his escape to New York, a cynic would say Miliband saw a perfect excuse to spin this one…

Dr George and Mr Osborne Different Figures in Different Versions of Chancellor’s Speech

Two versions of the Osborne speech have been distributed today. One via the HMT press office, that stated:

“That means about one in every six pounds of tax that working people like you pay was going on working age benefits.”

Yet the version that CCHQ pushed half an hour later said:

“That means about one in every seven pounds of tax that working people like you pay was going on working age benefits.”

The Treasury version stated:

“In 2010 alone, payments to working age families cost £90 billion.”

Yet the CCHQ version says:

“In 2010 alone, payments to working age families cost £75 billion.” 

Which figures are accurate?

Via Sam Coates.

That Osborne General Election Message in Full

Click to enlarge. You can read his speech in full here.

UPDATE: Buried in his HMT promoted speech is Osborne’s general election campaign message:

With all our welfare changes, we’re simply asking people on benefits to make some of the same choices working families have to make every day.

To live in a less expensive house.

To live in a house without a spare bedroom unless they can afford it.

To get by on the average family income.

These are the realities of life for working people.

They should be the reality for everyone else too.

No wonder the Tories were PRing the speech too. Whose side are Labour on? Simples…

Chloe Smith Forgets Cosy Lobbyist Supper

Here is what the minister responsible for lobbying reform said when asked how she was getting on with tackling the “next big scandal waiting to happen” last week:

Miss Chloe Smith: Cabinet Office Ministers have had no meetings with interested parties on the Government’s plans for a proposed statutory register of lobbyists since September 2012.

The Government is committed to introducing a statutory register of lobbyists. We are continuing to carefully consider the evidence submitted in response to our consultation and will publish revised proposals in due course.

No meetings with anyone related to the lobbying industry since September, says Chloe. Oh dear. Funny then that she was spied dining with a lobbyist at Tory party conference in October. Must have slipped her mind…

Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh nails it:

“Labour – its front bench and back rooms alike – is now led by people who spent a decade believing that Tony Blair was a problem and Gordon Brown was the answer.”

Galloway Pals Up to Terrorists, Again

Recognised as a terrorist by Israel, the US, Britain, the EU, Canada and Japan, but not by Bradford West apparently:

Parliament’s very own Hamas donor gets his man…

Ingrams to Hislop: Time to Move On

An interesting snippet from the Press Gazette interview with Richard Ingrams, who reflects on Private Eye:

“It’s very, very different from what it used to be, I think the satirical part of it is different – it’s become a lot of little pieces as opposed to a few quite long pieces. It’s much more bang, bang, bang. There’s a lot more factual stuff than there used to be, particularly at the front of the magazine. I find I could do with less of it. I think Ian Hislop’s attitude is that the punters have to be given their money’s worth but you do feel slightly that every page is crammed with as much copy or jokes as you could get in.”

Ingrams, who is 75, ended his official involvement with Private Eye at the beginning of 2012 when he gave up as chairman, though he points out that this was always an “honorary” title after he stood down as editor in 1986. Although Ingrams appointed Hislop to replace him, he also suggests that perhaps it is time for his successor to start thinking about stepping down – “I’m a great believer in resigning”.

Guido is hearing more and more moaning about l’enfant terrible turned BBC six figure game keeper. A subject he shall return to…

Labour Advocate Tax Avoidance

Nottingham’s Labour council have found an especially underhand way of getting council tenants out of paying the bedroom tax: encouraging tenants to redefine two-bedroom flats as having one-bedroom. If Labour are standing by their line that the spare room subsidy is a tax, then surely using a loophole in the rules to get out of paying it is tax avoidance? Either they admit they are lying to voters, or they admit they are advocating tax avoidance. What’s it going to be?

EU Spanner for Dave

eu-dave-chamberlain

Though the PM has rescued a dying lamb, there probably won’t be a triple dip recession and set the dividing lines for next election that see Labour playing to the wrong crowd and arguing against every cut in benefits, it’s not all good news. The FT reports those EU renegotiations are going well:

“The Foreign Office invited Berlin and Paris to take part in its so-called “balance of competences” study, which is examining whether powers should flow back from Brussels. But after high-level discussions between the French and German governments, they have decided not to assist the British review. The exercise, launched in July, has been blackballed by most other member states as well…”

That should help stop the UKIP vote haemorrhage.



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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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