To get these figures into perspective – The Guardian itself claimed 67,000 absolute unique visitors online in February for the Guardian Politics pages as measured by comScore. Deborah Summers, Guardian Online’s politics editor, is going to have to increase her readership by 50% to match Guido. More people are interested in reading Dale’s take on politics – who is the mass media now?
Guido’s most popular story of the month was the Richard Littlejohn slapdown of Polly Toynbee…
For comparison here are some (non-blog) comparative absolute unique numbers as measured by comScore (February 2008):
• BBC News UK Politics 1,090,000
• itn.co.uk 96,000
• theyworkforyou.com 69,000
• Guardian Politics 67,000
• barackobama.com 56,000
• conservatives.com 40,000
• bnp.org.uk 37,000
• democraticunderground.com 32,000
• labour.org.uk 29,000
This was Guido’s best month on record, no taxpayers were harmed in the production of the blog. Many thanks to advertisers.
Follow up with Deborah Summers here.
Guido will be supporting them in the sunshine and then moving on to the Guinness Guzzling fund raiser (see below for how to donate).
By happy coincidence this knees-up is on the last day that Londoners will still be allowed to drink legally on the underground. All who are still standing after the Irish bash (and those light enough to be carried) will be heading over to Liverpool St for the “Last Orders on the Underground party“ on the Circle Line. Unfortunately that starts at 9pm so Guido won’t be able to make it…
UPDATE : I Want a Referendum campaign just called – there will be free Guinness for all who turn up!
*Guido can legally donate to the Irish No Campaign because he is an Irish citizen.
Guido likes to remind all those Labour lemmings, like Tom Watson, who plotted and worked to get Blair out and Brown in, that we told you so. So here is a reminder, again:
He made this forecast (video here) to a Question Time audience. He got it wrong, it took five months.
They are going to miss three times election winning Blair when he is gone. Wait and see…
26 June 2007
Labour have acted like lemmings, dispensing with their most successful leader of all time for a less popular, less likeable replacement. The more the voters see of Gordon, the worse it will get.
May 13, 2007
We really did tell you so…
Phil Collins has written in this month’s Prospect Magazine a wonky piece which can be summarised roughly as Brown is crap, Cameron is right. How did the man who after the local elections said he was “listening and would learn from [his] mistakes” react? Gordon and the Brownies went berserk.
Purnell has been forced to sack his speech writer.
The line coming out that Purnell has not sacked Collins, he just now has a civil service speech writer, is of course bollocks. Civil servants don’t write party political speeches. This is the spin from the same people who you may remember insisted that David Pitt-Watson was taking up the General Secretary position and contrary stories from Guido et al were wrong. Just a “few contractual wrinkles” to sort out they claimed. They subsequently admitted we were right and by implication they had lied shamelessly to their chosen interlocutor – Ben Brogan. This is what they do. Lie unattributably. Paul Waugh is their more sceptical chosen interlocutor this time….
PR Week reports another failed PR putsch from the bunker…
“Hello? Gordon here. I’m calling about your letter…’
Clare O’Connor and David Singleton
Gordon Brown’s latest comms offensive involves cold-calling members of the public who have written him letters, according to sources close to Downing Street.
The initiative is said to be the brainchild of Downing Street chief of strategy Stephen Carter and is intended to humanise the Prime Minister as his popularity continues to wane.
‘Carter thought it was a good idea to have Brown call people personally,’ said one insider. ‘Carter will choose a letter or email at random, have one of his team at Number 10 prepare a response, then get Brown to call.’
The move is an attempt to spread positive word of mouth for the PM, especially in the regions.
However, one of the first phone calls backfired spectacularly, according to one anecdote told to PRWeek.
‘Brown made a phone call at 6am, without thinking,’ said a well-placed Labour source. ‘Luckily the person he called was a shift worker, so he was awake.’
The source added: ‘Carter’s idea is well meaning, but it’s not working. Improving Brown’s image through PR is now being looked at as a lost cause.’
Downing Street declined to comment on the story.
Source : PRWeek
Since the Budget in March, the Treasury has already taken an estimated £820m more than its forecasts in North Sea oil tax. The £6bn of surplus revenue would easily cover the cost of U-turns on both fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, where ministers are introducing new bands which could cost an extra £200 for drivers of inefficient cars. Deferring the 2p increase in fuel duty by six months would cost £550m. Scrapping the revamped vehicle excise duty altogether would mean the loss of an estimated £465m next year and £735m next year – although ministers may only remove the retrospective element of this tax.
So scrapping the poll tax on wheels and the 2p hike on petrol taxes would cost about 9 weeks extra than forecast windfall taxes due to high oil prices. Scrap ’em now…
The Co-operative Bank is calling in £2.61m in loans, Unity Trust Bank owned by the Co-op and the unions has a further £1.54 m due at the same time. In total £7.45m is due next month. Money that Labour simply does not have. Guido is willing to risk buying Labour Party debt at 10p in the £1…
The position of general secretary is still vacant. Guido is surprised.
The price differential between Britain and America is almost entirely due to taxation. Americans are enraged that they are paying $4 a gallon, they would probably have another revolution if they had to pay the equivalent of $12 a gallon as the British do. Even Europeans pay lower fuel taxes than the British, in some cases dramatically lower tax rates.
In the 2005 budget Gordon doubled the tax levy from 10% to 20% on oil explorers. At the time the Offshore Operators Association said it was “shocked” by the chancellor’s decision. “At a single stroke, the Treasury has rewritten the industry’s future. It will severely undermine business confidence,” warned the OOA chief executive, Malcolm Webb, “This has been done not once but twice in the space of just three years and we fear that this time the North Sea will not be as resilient.” And so it has proved.
Former oil trader Alan Duncan, the Tory Business Shadow, says Brown‘s actions over oil production are “not just laughable, but pitiful… he has completely lost the plot.” The government has belatedly today exempted 30 unprofitable oil fields from Petroleum Revenue Tax and granted licenses to two new sites. It was Gordon himself who doubled the Petroleum Revenue Tax three years ago.
What bemuses Guido most is that in the midst of all these difficulties, Alistair Darling is still dithering and doesn’t know if he wants to delay adding 2p a litre to fuel costs. He doesn’t know? He really doesn’t have a clue does he?
UPDATE : Osborne spotted the problem last year.
Gordon isn’t going to talk down the market, it will come down when the market believes recession will hit demand…
UPDATE : Larry Elliot, Guardian Economics editor reckons oil “has increased from $10 a barrel a decade ago to $135 today.” If he turns a few pages in his own paper he will see he is wrong.
You make this blog happen. Sources are anonymous (unless you want credit*). Who is on the fiddle? Who is lying? If you know “the line” is a lie, ask yourself why you got into politics; was it to cover up the truth or tell it?
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- the reasons for departing from the previous fiscal policy objectives and operating rules;
- the approach and period of time that the Government intends to take to return to the previous fiscal policy objectives and operating rules; and
- the fiscal policy objectives and operating rules that shall apply over this period
Well the government could honestly specify:
- We recklessly overspent in the good times and when things went wrong and we nationalised Northern Rock, we bust even the fiddled limits.
- We will probably carry on spending like a drunk sailor in port and leave the mess to George Osborne to sort out, just as Geoffrey Howe had to sort out our mess last time.
- We will just throw money at any electoral problem even though we seem to have run out of people and things to tax.
The penny has dropped for Denis MacShane of all people:
“the prime minister can announce that he will leave more money in the pockets of the British people by reducing their taxes. This can be targeted at the indigenous working class, furious at the incessant year-on-year council-tax increases above the rate of inflation… I do not know of a single minister who privately does not despair at the waste of money on pointless projects, publications, or legions of press officers that add no value.”
Welcome to economic reality Denis. When even former Labour Ministers are calling for tax and waste reductions the tax argument is won (without any help from the Cameroons).
Meanwhile, fresh from telling the banks to lend more mortgages at lower rates in defiance of LIBOR, Gordon is today going to tell the oil companies to drop prices in defiance of supply and demand. What is the point of Gordon’s market bucking fantasy rants? To get a photo op and show he is “doing something”, he will subsquently in interviews say that he told the oil companies to drop prices, just like he told OPEC to stop laughing at him. There is only one thing in his pwoer which will reduce petrol pump prices.
Given that some three quarters of the petrol price is tax, perhaps reducing the tax take on petrol would be the best way to help hard pressed voters. The Golden Rule is bust, we need economic growth. We can only boost the faltering economy if, as Dennis MacShane says, we “leave more money in the pockets of the British people by reducing their taxes”. You can’t buck the market Gordon, but you can borrow from the bond market…
.. and no – the source is not Drudge – a mid-level Hillary campaign source.
Johann Hari has an article today in the Indy arguing that since Gordon Brown is going to lose the election anyway, he might as well go down with all guns blazing. Liberated from the need or indeed possibility of winning an election, he can swing madly to the left. Hari reckons Gordon should apologise for Iraq to the Iraqis and in doing so shame the Americans. Then Gordon should put up tax rates to 60%, price big family cars off the road, and as a finale, fly in Iraqi refugees from Syrian and Jordanian camps. Hari advocates all this political Hari kari for Gordon with the cheerful words “If you are going to lose, Gordon, lose with style”.
Gordon will no doubt be chuffed to bits with the, errrm, sensible advice Johann offers. This follows on from Hari’s article last Thursday; “Why bananas are a parable for our times“, in which we learnt about the CIA’s use of the banana to fight communism. On Sunday Hari wrote an article entitled; “Are GM bananas the answer?“ Apparently if genetically modified they will overcome “the current bananapocalypse” caused by mega-corporations because “we have to muddle through now as best we can, trying to keep six billion people alive.”
Guido is a teensy weensy bit concerned and called Hari to ask – “Are you on drugs?” It turns out that he was but he is alright now. He was necking Modafinil earlier this month, a stimulant cognitive enhancer that is a “wakefulness promoting agent” used to treat narcolepsy, depression, schizophrenia and fatigue related conditions.
We touched on Xanax use – which he pops before hopping on a flight – Guido suggested that based on his own experience some drugs seem positively subtle at first but manifest themselves in ways not immediately recognisable by the user, but easily identified by others. No, no, no says Hari, with Modafinil he “was just able to glide into a state of deep, cool, effortless concentration.”
“It was as if I had opened a window in my brain and all the stuffy air had seeped out, to be replaced by a calm breeze… The next morning I woke up and felt immediately alert. Normally it takes a coffee and an hour to kick-start my brain; today I’m ready to go from the second I rise. And it continues like this for five days: I inhale books and exhale articles effortlessly…”
Not at all bananas…
The recommendation that MPs get a tax-free £23,000 lump sum payment is a piss-take. This is equivalent to an extra £40,000 on their salary, which together with the pay rise they want will bring their package up to £115,000 plus gold-plated non-contributory index-linked pensions. Their reasoning is that the expense fiddles have become too embarrassing and they realise they will no longer be able to get away with them now they are out in the open.
We have serving soldiers in war zones on the poverty line, their starting rate of tax just doubled. MPs award themselves £400 a month for groceries when they are in their cosy Westminster homes, those same MPs voted for soldiers to have to pay for their own rations. Children in state schools are fed on 50p per diem, MPs claim £20 per diem. MPs get their snouts deep into the public trough way ahead of more deserving children and soldiers. So much for politicians putting the public interest first…