Vote at 16, Stay in School Until 18

Ed Balls plans to force kids to stay in school until they are 18 because they are so feckless. The government plans to give them the vote as well. Joined up government…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Huhne : Sue Me,”Labour Sold Honours”

Huhne has told the Indy that “the whiff of corruption has become a nauseating stench..there was an organised arrangement whereby a very large amount of money was donated to the Labour Party and at the same time the major donors received peerages and knighthoods”.

“It’s quite clear what was going on,” he said. “This was basically a supermarket in honours. It is completely mad to suggest other than this was an organised matter. I am very happy to say that on the record. If they [the Government] think otherwise they can very happily take me to a libel court.”

Huhne is no idiot, that is too vague to be libellous if it were untrue. You would have to say something more specific, such as “Lord Levy was intimately involved in the trading of honours for donations to the Labour party.” That would only be libellous if it were untrue, and that is why Lord Levy isn’t going to sue anyone.

Friday Caption Contest (Clegg Cops It Edition)

Perhaps irritated by Simon Hughes coming out for Clegg we learn that Huhne has been characteristically bitchy about his rival in a GMTV interview. He doesn’t quite say “Clegg is crap” but you know what he means.

Huhne says Clegg is similar to Cameron in age and looks before laying into David Cameron in a way that sounds like a proxy attack on Nick Clegg. Huhne also gets very niggledy about criticisms by Clegg of the lack of impact that the LibDems are making on the environment compared to the Tories (or rather the LibDem environment spokesman is making compared to the husky-hugging glacier-riding Tories).

“I want to fight a positive campaign, so I just simply say that I think Nick has great strengths. … The record is that last summer, for example, the Tory blogs were criticising my Tory opponent because he wasn’t getting as much coverage on the floods and foot and mouth as I was, and in fact some of them were calling for his resignation. If you look over the last year, I’ve consistently been ahead in terms of media coverage of my Tory opposite number, and that’s one of the reasons why I think that we’ve done so well in terms of public perception on the environment.”

He then implicitly has a go Clegg

Well, one of the things that I know as an economist and as a journalist is that both politicians and journalists tend to be very bad at numbers, and numbers are often the evidence so you need to look at things like poll numbers before you shoot from the hip, and that does worry me slightly, but I think that you need to actually go back and look at what the real situation is we’ve done very well on the environment over the last couple of years and I think that if you compare that with any other area you’ll see that it’s the only major area where not only are we in the lead over other parties, but it’s also the only area where we’ve built up our lead over the other parties.

He obviously is pointing to the LibDem numbers which show them polling badly on Home Affairs issues compared to the authoritarian-populist Labour party and the Law and Order loving Tories. Clegg is the Home Affairs spokesman…

The Poster Doesn’t Mean What It Says

The Daily Mail’s Ben Brogan followed up Guido’s story about the Tory poster committing them to a referendum on the constitution EU Reform Treaty whenever the Tories get into power.

The poster says “A vote on the European constitution” is “now delayed until the election of a Conservative government”. Pretty clear. Yet Dave’s office told Brogan “The point the poster is making is that if there had been an election today and if the Conservatives had been elected we would have had a referendum”.

Well it is coming up to panto season, so all together: “Oh no it doesn’t!”

Is Gordon A Handshuffling Bundle of Nerves?

At least it stops him picking his nose

So If Gordon Hadn’t Bottled It, Tomorrow’s News Would Be…

Above is Guido’s prophetic vision from December 2005.

What No SpAd List? Cock-Up or Conspiracy?

Is there some reason why an up-to-date list of SpAds post-Blair has still to be produced?

Guido needs to have a handy list of targets, is this tardiness government incompetence, cover-up or what? What is Konrad Caulkett’s exact role?

Brown Bottom

As the price of gold today hits a historic 27 year high, Guido wishes he had bought more for his daughters. We all make mistakes as traders don’t we? Gordon Brown’s great mistake is of a different order altogether and is remembered by the gold market players with much fondness and clinking of champagne glasses.

In an act of macro-economic stupidity bordering on treason, he told the market – in advance – that it was his intention to sell off Britain’s gold reserves. When selling a lot of something, and this was 200 years of accumulated gold, it is not thought wise to loudly forewarn buyers in an open market. The market immediately sold off and went short the yellow metal. The dip in prices during what followed is known in the market as the Brown Bottom and was a twenty year low.

Today, the old fashioned solid-state store of value is now 230% higher than when Gordon unloaded the Treasury’s reserves. The fiat dollars he bought with some of the proceeds have halved. The government’s debt (including pension liabilities) has now broken the trillion pound barrier.

Gilt edged government debt is no longer backed by gold under the Bank of England, but by ever rising taxes. Gordon’s reputation in the City is a joke.

Stat-Porn for Blog Voyeurs

Top ten identifiable organisations loafing on the blog (in order) : Houses of Parliament, BBC, Oxford Uni, Cambridge Uni, CCHQ, GLA, News International, Associated newspapers and Manchester Uni.

Dale will be chuffed that he has smashed Guido traffic-wise this month as a result of all his top lists linkages. Guido had a mere 364,825 pageloads from 279,709 unique visitors. Dale is clearly trying too hard – Guido will still not be working the weekends regardless.

The most popular stories in October were about Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley at Tory party conference, Indy-gate and our new hero MP. Hard news values triumph here…

UPDATE : Sam Coates brags that ConservativeHome had 697,797 page views from 298,834 unique visitors, Iain that he had 519,104 from 276,072, the obssessive anoraks at Mike Smithson’s PoliticalBetting.com re-loaded 1,560,751 times from an undisclosed number of visitors. Guido would guess that would be from a similar quarter-of-a-million or so individual visitors. No willy waving yet from the other big swinging dicks of the political blogosphere, Slugger and Anthony Wells of Polling Report or any of the main left-of-centre political bloggers. Would be very interesting to know how Boulton & Co, Danny Finkelstein and Ben Brogan measure up with the backing of their Big Media sites behind them…

UPATE II : Da Fink has exposed himself to Guido – Comment Central had 303,047 page views from 176,015 unique visitors. His biggest post this month was about Richard Dawkins and the Jews.

Tory Poster Blunder Commits Party to Tear Up EU Treaty

On the tight-rope issue that is the EU treaty, the Tories are campaigning hard for a referendum, which Gordon will not concede. What Cameron has refused so far to concede to his own right-wing is a retrospective referendum should they be in power in 2010 – two years after the treaty will have been confirmed by Parliament.

Hague has been firmly evasive on this point, Tory EU-headbangers have also been, well, as headbanging as always on the same point. Tomorrow’s new “CANCELLED” poster from the Tories has now muddied the waters. As soon as it appeared on ConservativeHome, UKIP supporting Chad Noble spotted that the poster implies “A vote on the European Constitution” is “now delayed until the election of a Conservative government”.The Lobby are lined up to hear a speech from Cameron tomorrow on his “vision”, what is the betting that they will be asking him about this commitment? It is an issue the Brownies have deliberately been trying to stoke up in the press to cause trouble and division with the Tory ranks. Somebody at CCHQ is going to get a bollocking tomorrow…

UPDATE : The Devil has taken a more detailed look at the Tory (non)commitments overnight. Are they meaningful? He thinks not.

Scare the Kids

Geek Note : Service Interruption Possible

Guido is doing a full dress-rehearsal of his host mirroring system today. There should be no noticeable interruption to the blog. The Californian server’s 70 megabytes of contents were mirrored on a back-up server in an entirely different legal jurisdiction yesterday.

The intention is to switch servers seamlessly, see how it performs under the traffic load, then switch back to California – without losing a single comment. Isn’t technology wonderful?

So anyone thinking of wielding a legal hammer, better get a bigger hammer.

Clegg – ID Cards – “I Will Defy Law”

LibDem politics is so very often the politics of gestures. Huhne’s position on Trident isn’t of any consequence since he won’t have a dog in that fight.

But the politics of the personal is a place where their gestures are more significant. Clegg is going all Gandhi-like and promising mass civil disobedience on ID cards. He told supporters last night “If the legislation is passed I will lead a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience to thwart the identity cards programme … I, and I expect thousands of people like me, will simply refuse ever to register.” “I am not a number” he (almost) shouts.

Which is all very well for private citizens like Guido to do, it is another thing for legislators. Guido’s defiance of the state is one thing, a law-maker becoming a law-breaker presents a dilemma of an entirely different order. Unlike private citizens, Clegg is an integral part of the system representative democracy, if he rejects the outcome of majoritarian politics he is rejecting the system. Good luck to him, but he can’t simply pick and choose the laws he obeys if he is a law-maker.

Unhappy Halloween

Gove does the intellectual attack muttering about a sad loss of idealism one minute, next minute CCHQ rolls out this poster to commemorate non-election day. Coulson wouldn’t have had a hand in this would he?

CH4RLIE 4 Boris

Who was the stilletoed brunette who exited this Bentley with Boris last week at the back of the Norman Shaw building? Answers to editorial@thefirstpost.co.uk.

Flying Lion Ordinary Rendition

Bob Piper and few other left leaning bloggers are getting excited about Flying Lion Limited and bemoaning Guido’s lack of digging into it. They have been digging into the company (now known as “Con Air” because it ferries Tories around) in the hope of uncovering something murky. The Bahamian registered company has got them more than a little agitated.

It is hard to see why they are getting so excited since they should already know it is owned by Ashcroft and a quick perusal of the Electoral Commission website shows £19,819.60 given in the last twelve months. In the year before more than £50,000 worth of flights were registered as reported by The Times in May 2006. So the only reason Guido hasn’t been digging into it is because it is not news…

(Incidentally Dave flew BA to Berlin last week.)

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Friday Caption Contest

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Quote of the Day

Jacob Rees-Mogg on Number 10’s customs partnership:

“It’s completely cretinous… it’s a betrayal of good sense, I cannot understand why government is faffing around with this system. I’m on the same side as Mr Barnier on this, god bless him.”

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