Jonah Jinx Hits Wales

The dangers of shaking hands with Jonah Brown cannot be overestimated. Keith Dye was proud to welcome Brown on a visit to his offices, it was the pinnacle of his 24 year news career:

Gordon Brown Visits Media Wales
WalesOnline 9 January, 2009
After arriving under a heavy police escort just before 3pm, Mr Brown was given a tour of our multimedia newsroom by Media Wales’ managing director Keith Dye …

Trinity Mirror Redundancies
Press Gazette – 13 January 2009
Keith Dye, managing director of Media Wales has been made redundant and leaves today, following 24 years at the group. Media Wales’ finance director…

Tragedy struck a mere four days later. Beware the dead hand of the accursed One-Eyed Son of the Manse…

Cabinet of No Business Talent

Iain Dale, James Forsyth and Peter Oborne are all ruminating over the complete lack of business experience in the Cabinet. Being a lawyer or a journalist or a PR man doesn’t count (unless you were a business owner). The Shadow Cabinet has people with real business experience (that is why they are millionaires), however neither Cameron or Osborne can really claim to have had to worry about the P & L, covering the monthly wage bill or making the quarterly VAT payment. All Gordon knows about business is how to tax it.

No doubt the fact that not a single member of the Cabinet has run anything like as risky as a whelk stall is the reason Gordon has brought in Mervyn Davies from Standard Chartered (one of the few bankers who has had a good Credit Crunch).

Perhaps the Tories can now bring Digby into their tent since his Lordship is available…

PMQs 2009 Round I

Business Lending Package, Too Late and Too Little

Guido’s main concern about the Tory plan to insure bank-to-business lending was that it would encourage risky lending in a failing economy. The lenders would not really have to worry too much about the risk because the taxpayer would pick up the tab. The government’s scheme will provide banks with guarantees covering 50% of the risk on existing and new working capital up to £20 billion. It shares the risk between the banks and the taxpayer, encouraging the banks to lend for the same profit for half the risk. This is in some ways smarter than the Tory plan.

The small business component is for a £1.3 billion of bank loans with a government guarantee of 75% to cover working capital. Presumably this is to reflect the riskier nature of small business lending. This is a drop in the ocean and will barely be noticed. We are six months into the credit crunch. The options were admittedly not very palatable. Why did it take so long to put a plan into place? Could it be Mandelson wanted to get the politics right to fit his timetable of spin? No rush..

+++ Bush Awards Blair Medal of Freedom +++

Pays tribute to Blair’s friendship, “the might and moral authority of Great Britain”, Blair’s belief in freedom, “his service to peace to peace and democracy in the Middle East”.

Bush citation:

The first day I met Tony Blair, almost exactly eight years ago, he was in his second term as Prime Minister and I was just starting out. After our first meeting, a reporter asked if we’d found anything in common, and I jokingly replied that we both used Colgate toothpaste. (Laughter.)

The truth is I did feel a close connection to Tony Blair. As I said after the first meeting, I knew that “when either of us gets in a bind, there will be a friend on the other end of the phone.” My friend was there, indeed, after America was attacked on September the 11th, 2001. And it just wasn’t on the phone line. When I stood in the House Chamber to ask the civilized world to rally to freedom’s cause, there in the gallery was the staunch friend, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He was there in a moment of trial to affirm the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. And he was there to show America, and all nations, that he understood the stakes in the war on terror. As he said, “just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify it around an idea. And that idea is liberty.” Under Tony Blair’s leadership, the might and the moral authority of Great Britain have been applied to the war on terror from the first day. Our nations have worked proudly together to destroy terrorist havens, liberate millions, and help rising democracies to serve the aspirations of their people.

Tony Blair’s entire career is defined by his devotion to democratic values and human dignity. At his very center, this man believes in freedom — freedom from oppression, freedom from hunger, freedom from disease, and freedom from fear and despair. In the House of Commons, as the longest-serving Labour Prime Minister in history, he fought to lift up his nation’s communities and better the lives of all its people. He helped turn generations of violence in Northern Ireland into years of peace. He drew the attention and conscience of the world to the suffering in Africa, and he continues to serve the cause of peace and democracy as the Quartet Envoy to the Middle East.

Out of office but still in public life, Tony Blair remains on the world stage as a man of high intelligence and insight — and above all, as a man of faith and idealism and integrity. The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will stand tall in history. And today the United States of America proudly honors its gallant friend, Tony Blair.

More Mortgage Questions for Mandelson

Is history going to repeat itself? Greg Hands is asking how Mandelson made the money dealing in property in his constituency to install himself in a £2.5 million Regency villa. Mandelson admits to receiving money from Alain Minc, the mysterious French fixer who was an adviser to former premier Édouard Balladur and now makes his millions “fixing” things. Monsieur Minc is worth examining closely…

When Guido looked into Mandelson finances a few months ago he was given the impression that Mandelson trousered £1 million from his brief involvement with the Clemmow Hornby Inge advertising agency – a pretty good return on the £30,000 he invested. This plus an inheritance enabled him to finance his multi-million pound home. Gilligan reveals that the inheritance was not that big. New information has now come to light revealing something unexplained about the sale of the shares.

Something that didn’t come out in the Gilligan article is the nearly 12 month gap between Mandelson selling his shares for circa £1 million in summer 2007, and the purchase of the property in August 2006. Did he get another bridging loan from a benefactor, or did he get a bridging loan from a bank? If so, did he use the shares as collateral for the loan?

Tory backer David Ross was forced to resign his position for failing to declare that he had used his shares in Carphone Warehouse as collateral to finance property deals. Mandelson has been in trouble and had to resign before over declarations about his mortgage…

How Does Mandy Afford to Live on Millionaire’s Row?

Andrew Gilligan is digging into how Lord Mandelson can afford to buy a £2.5 million Regency villa on Regents Park. After all he has been a poorly paid public servant for over a decade…

Draper Site Crashes Live on TV

Dave Video is Rip of Obama Video

Guido has just noticed that Dave’s new video is a stylistic copy of Obama’s campaign video:

“Change” is the desired message… wonder if they will promise tax cuts like Obama as well?

Indebted Slavery to the Gilt Market

The Tories are highlighting the terrible debt burden being foisted on Britain’s children. Guido was recently chatting to the economist Tim Congdon about the gilt market and the historically unprecedented taxpayer liabilities in terms of the government’s admitted debts, the unfunded public sector pension liabilities and the PSBR trajectory even if the Tories win the next election. We also discussed on the prospects for the U.S. and Ireland.

The conclusion was that if Guido wants his daughters to grow up in an English speaking economic powerhouse in the coming century, unburdened by high taxes servicing government debt, perhaps it is time to look to India. The external debts of Britain amount to approximately $166,000 per person, the equivalent figure for India is some 1% of that, which combined with their better growth prospects suggests that economic opportunities in India might be greater in the future. When it comes to bonded slavery, Britons will be worse off than Indians in the future.

McNulty Slams Brown’s “Desperate” Golden Hello Jobs Plans

Gordon Brown’s Job Summit at the Science Museum in London will announce plans to pay employers “golden hellos” of up to £2,500 for recruiting jobless people. What does the DWP’s Jobs Minister, Tony McNulty, say about the plan?
Press release
Tuesday 11 November 2008
For immediate use

Tories making headlines on the hoof – McNulty

Tony McNulty MP, Labour’s Employment Minister, responding to the Tory announcement on unemployment said: “This is desperate stuff from the Tories, who continue to scrabble around trying to find a coherent economic policy.

“There is no way they can get 350,000 new jobs out of these proposals. There are too many restrictions being applied, the incentive is too small and many of these ‘new’ jobs will simply displace other people seeking work.

“In addition, the Conservatives just cannot pay for this tax cut – it is misleading of Cameron to say he can pay for getting the short-term unemployed back into work by using figures of savings you would make from the long-term unemployed.

“Osborne’s judgment is wrong yet again. They are making headlines on the hoof and they will be found out. “They need to make their sums add up – particularly at such a difficult time for the global economy.”

ENDS
Editor’s notes:
1. Their figures on how many jobs would be created are complete fantasy. The Tory plan assumes that an employer would create a new job for someone unemployed for more than a year for just £2500. The Tories have failed to take account of the displacement of workers who would have gotten jobs anyway. Currently 60% of people come off job seekers allowance within three months – this number would drop dramatically under Conservative proposals as employers would be incentivised to overlook people who have been out of work for 13 weeks or less.

The sharper among you will point out that this is a Tory plan he is criticising as a “complete fantasy” and “desperate stuff”. So what will McNulty say about the plan now the government has lifted it lock, stock and barrel? McNulty’s Shadow, Chris Grayling, welcomed the chance to implement his policy by proxy “I think it is the right step to take. But it is ironic ministers are walking around saying the Conservatives are a do nothing party, then adopting our policies.” Ouch!

UPDATE : Some bloggers copy party press releases, some blogs are copied by party press offices… CCHQ at 10.38 sent out a press release quoting McNulty’s above November attack on what is now government policy. Wonder where they got that idea?

Hat-tip : Bloomberg

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Hoon Blunts Labour’s New Attack on Middle Classes

Guido’s Geoff Hoon story from earlier last week has made it to the Mail on Sunday, where it is used to illustrate the hypocrisy of the political class. Hoon bought his daughter private tutoring in interview technique to successfully give her a better chance of winning an Oxbridge place at a time when Brown is, we learn from the Observer, bringing back Alan Milburn, to “undertake a review of obstacles faced by poorer children seeking to enter careers such as law, medicine and the media” in order to promote social mobility. Chris Grayling hits Hoon on the head, “Time and time again we see double standards from Ministers. They want to change the rules to make it tougher for everyone else while enjoying all the perks for themselves and their families.” Guido understands that Hoon desperately tried to kill the story with a threat to go to the Press Complaints Commission for breach of privacy.

Guido thinks politicians (and candidates) should not be allowed to claim privacy protection, all their behaviour as public office holders and aspirants should be subject to scrutiny in the public interest. We need to know if they are hypocritically extolling one law for us and another for themselves. Which of course Hoon is guilty of here without a doubt, just as Gordon was when he got private dental treatment.

LabourList Surfaces

As Guido exclusively revealed (and named) here last month, Draper’s LabourList has finally soft launched. The grand launch was scheduled for Monday, however that clashed with Gordon’s Downing Street Jobs Summit, which meant that it didn’t fit on Mandelson’s media grid, so it was shunted back another month. That in a nutshell is how you will have to view the operating basis of the site. It is a party controlled forum, unlike ConservativeHome, which is a party supportive site. This is going to be a much more controlled environment than Labourhome, which for all its faults, was also more grassroots orientated.

Therein will be LabourList’s major structural fault, however much they may deny this, it is a top-down tool of Labour HQ. On the right ConservativeHome scares, irritates and frustrates CCHQ, Dale is his own man with his own loyalties and Guido is on the whole contemptuous of CCHQ. LabourList will be far more on message. That is deep in New Labour’s DNA.

Guido wishes it well, Labourhome has never really found an editorial direction, LiberalConspiracy still has promise, even if it will never have broad grassroots appeal or the focus of a party structure to sustain itself. LabourList does seem to be heavy with a lot of the same old faces, with no pesky loony lefties, so it is hard to see it being that exciting. We shall see…

UPDATE : Dale has similar thoughts.

Post-Nataly Fabulous

Does the French Justice Minister Rachida Dati look like she is just returning to work this week a mere five days after giving birth to a baby girl?

In a chic black suit and killer high heels, the 40something minister was at a cabinet meeting at the Elysee the day that she walked out of a Paris maternity clinic.

Not sure this is all necessarily for the best, but all credit to her for looking post-nataly fabulous.

Don’t Fancy Your Dress

The Tory Bear blog ran a story about a Tory student, Matt Lewis, going to a “bad taste” fancy dress party as Madelaine McCann… you can you guess where this is going… the tabloids have gone into full on outrage mode.
Did he really cause any harm or hurt? Only the reporting of it could have hurt the parent’s feelings. Caroline Spelman, the party chair, says Matt’s behaviour is “totally unacceptable” and confirmed that he had been expelled. “This offensive behaviour is not only shocking but intolerable and completely unacceptable,” she said. “There is no place for this sort of person in the party.” There is however a place at the top of the party for someone who fiddles her expenses to pay for childcare at the taxpayers expense.

Friday Caption Competition (Lunchbreak edition)

The Return of Jonah Brown’s Curse

For a moment after Glenrothes it seemed Gordon’s personal reverse midas touch had been lifted, he even wished Lewis Hamilton good luck and he still managed to win the F1 Grand Prix. However the new year has shown the curse to be as strong as ever.

The signs are the curse is back, big time, here are two examples. At a news conference last month with Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Brown spoke before the opening in London of a two-day Palestine trade and investment forum, saying there were “considerable opportunities” for economic partnership between Palestinians and the UK, “The UK enjoys a close relationship with the Palestinian people and I hope today’s conference will cement this. I hope in the coming days we can move further and faster towards the peace settlement that everyone wants to see happen,” he said. Whoops.

This Sunday the Observer reported “Brown is studying a scheme pioneered by Nissan to avoid redundancies in manufacturing, which would see ailing firms given government funding to move staff on to part-time working and use the remaining time for training.” Last year Jonah Brown met Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn to discuss job creation.

Inevitably yesterday “Car manufacturer Nissan has announced it is to axe about a quarter of the workforce at its Sunderland plant. The company, which sent workers at the site home early before Christmas to cope with the economic downturn, said it will cut 1,200 jobs.” The curse of the One Eyed Son of the Manse is back. Email Guido any more examples.

UPDATE : A bean-counting Brummie co-conspirator emails to tell of the consequences of a visit from Jonah and Yvette Cooper.

The Dear Leader visited our Birmingham offices in October to discuss the Credit Crunch. Two floors in the same building were destroyed by arsonists yesterday morning. So instead of rebuilding confidence in the financial system, we’re rebuilding our office. Thanks Gordon.

Jonah opened the Lehmans HQ in London and look what happened to them. KPMG got off lucky.

+++ LibDem Reshuffle Highlights +++

  • Simon Hughes Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – sideways since he had nothing to do as no longer party president.
  • Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – sideways.
  • David Heath Shadow Leader of the House – return of euro-rebel
  • Jenny Willott Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – pad out the female count
  • David Howarth Shadow Secretary of State for Justice – promoted
  • Lynne Featherstone “to oversee the party’s online campaigning”.
  • Susan Kramer “has chosen to leave the shadow cabinet to take up a new role leading the party’s campaign against the expansion of Heathrow Airport.” Hmmm.
The most interesting move is John Sharkey, Clegg’s communications director, he has been appointed Deputy Chair of the General Election campaign. “He will work closely with Lord Rennard, Chair of the General Election campaign”. He will try, with Chris Fox, to shift Rennard into the 21st century and focus more on broadcasters than Focus leaflets.

+++ BoE Cuts Half Point Off Rates +++

Bank of England cuts rates half point to 1.5%, the lowest rate in over 300 years. Is it because we have the economy best placed in the world to weather the recession?

UPDATE :

Am particularly impressed with the insight of Edmund Conway, the Telegraph’s economics editor, with the base rate now at 1.5% he sagely tells us Interest rates are now nearing their bottom”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Dame Laura Cox report into Pestminster slams Bercow and his team…

“I find it difficult to envisage how the necessary changes can be successfully delivered, and the confidence of the staff restored, under the current senior House administration.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Downing Street to Gary Gibbon Downing Street to Gary Gibbon
BBC Flagship Shows Still Have Remain Panel Bias BBC Flagship Shows Still Have Remain Panel Bias