Government’s Plastic Bag Spin Rubbished by Fact Checkers

A surprisingly non-woke fact check from the Channel 4 fact checkers has found that the Government’s claim that plastic bag sales have fallen 90% since they introduced the 5p bag charge is, in fact, rubbish. There was one glaring omission from the figures – they don’t include ‘bags for life’…

Most supermarkets have simply replaced ‘single-use’ plastic bags with so-called ‘bags for life’, forcing long-suffering shoppers trying to buy just a few items to either perform a juggling act trying to get their meal deals back to the office or take a full-size thicker plastic ‘bag for life’ instead that is only a quarter full. Many refuse to provide figures of ‘bag for life’ sales to avoid negative publicity but for the three that did, sales were down less than 2% on the previous year. Almost one billion bags for life were sold in just one year in 2017/2018, the average household uses 44 a year…

As the fact checkers point out, bags for life are much thicker and made of higher-grade plastic, using far more plastic than the old ‘single-use’ bags – which many consumers happily used multiple times anyway. Iceland’s managing director last year admitted that they were now using more plastic overall since switching to bags for life. The fact checkers conclude:

“There is no evidence of a dramatic decrease in the sale of bags for life. And the limited evidence available suggests the introduction of bags for life might have actually increased the overall amount of plastic being used.”

Yet another example of poorly conceived woke policy-making that ends up achieving exactly the opposite effect

McDonnell: We’ll Invent Law to Put Tories in Prison

Today’s spectacular Labour second independence referendum row sparked by John McDonnell has overshadowed a far more sinister policy proposal put forward by the Shadow Chancellor last night in conversation with Iain Dale. His desire to imprison his political opponents.

Corbyn’s notoriously aggressive deputy was challenged about past footage of him calling Tories “social criminals” who should be tried in court, initially shrugging it off and saying “I was angry. It was after the first round of benefit cuts”. When Dale pressed him and asked what law Tories would be tried under, McDonnell repliedI might want to invent it”. Marxists always turn to Stalinism eventually…

Pro-Brexit Anti-War Marxist Running in Islington North

Voters in Islington North are pretty used to being able to vote for a Marxist, anti-war, pro-Palestine, pro-Brexit left winger to be their MP. The surprise this time is that now they’ve got two to choose from…

The Brexit Party’s newly announced candidate, James Heartfield, is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party who abandoned Jeremy Corbyn because of his “prevarication” over Brexit, having only voted for Labour in 2017 because their manifesto promised to honour the result of the referendum. Corbyn may not be too scared of the Brexit Party with his 33,000 majority, but many of his fellow Labour MPs definitely are…

The Lexiteer has previously called Corbyn a “great MP” but it’s not just a one-way-street, the two Marxists have met a number of times and the Labour leader has even attended Heartfield’s book launches. Hopefully they’re more wholesome than Corbyn’s own forays into writing…

Ian Murray Calls on McDonnell to Apologise

Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray has launched another broadside against Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, saying he’s got a “lot of explaining to do” over his IndyRef2 comments last night and calling on him to apologise to Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard. This one is not going to go away, Labour still have yet to clarify what their official party policy now is…

Scottish Labour Go to War With McDonnell Over IndyRef2

The Labour Party has descended into fresh turmoil after John McDonnell’s highly contentious comments last night saying that Labour “would not block” IndyRef2. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP naturally jumped all over it and are now gleefully trying to widen the rift between Scottish and UK Labour.

Unsurprisingly Scottish Labour themselves have erupted at the news which threatens to rip out their electoral base yet further. To be fair, they could have seen it coming given Corbyn himself said he was “absolutely fine” with another go at Scottish independence two years ago…

Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard held what will have been a fairly robust meeting with the Shadow Chancellor this morning, issuing a statement:

I made clear to him that a second independence referendum is unwanted by the people of Scotland and it is unnecessary… The 2014 referendum was a once in a generation vote.

Scottish MPs and MSPs have since piled in. Ian Murray MP led a blistering attack on McDonnell, saying:

“These are utterly irresponsible comments from John McDonnell that betray our party’s values… McDonnell has even bought into the nationalist narrative that Westminster is an ‘English Parliament’, in an insult to the hard work carried out by Scottish MPs from every party.

We were promised by the SNP that the 2014 referendum was once-in-a-generation, and we have a duty to hold the Nationalists to their promise by firmly opposing a divisive second independence referendum.

But one of the architects of the Corbyn project that is destroying the Labour Party now appears willing to destroy our United Kingdom with thoughtless rants at the Festival”.

Murray retweeted fellow MP Stella Creasy who blasted:

Shadow Scotland Minister Paul Sweeney MP has also been on the attack, while Labour’s Scottish Parliamentary candidates have put out a joint statement. Never underestimate Labour’s ability to turn a crisis into a catastrophe…

UPDATE: Rather than apologising for undermining Labour policy, McDonnell has doubled down, saying the approval of a second Scottish independence referendum is also Jeremy Corbyn’s view. It’s clear Scottish Labour are not going to let this argument die down.

UPDATE 2: Labour’s MSPs have released a joint statement condemning McDonnell’s IndyRef2 u-turn:

The SPLP support the stance taken by Richard Leonard as our Leader and back the policy position that he outlined. We deplore any attempts to undermine the official policy position of the Scottish Labour Party and we express serious concerns about an apparent change in Labour’s position on a matter of vital importance to the future of Scotland and of the Scottish Labour Party itself.

Scottish party policy is very clear – that is opposition to a second independence referendum. There is therefore an urgent need for the UK Party leadership to engage constructively with the Scottish Party leadership on the issue of the party’s stance on the future of Scotland.

We are clear Labour’s position on Scotland’s future is a decision for Scottish Labour, which the UK Party must accept. We expect all Scottish Labour MPs and MSPs to vote in accordance with party policy.

The war rages on…

Derby Trainmaker Wins £2.3 Billion Cairo Monorail Contract

Fears over the damaged Whaley Bridge dam this week haven’t left the people of Derbyshire with much to cheer, particularly during unwanted visits from the Labour leader. At least they’ve now got some positive economic news that Derby-based train manufacturer Bombardier have won a £2.34 billion contract to make trains for the Cairo monorail, beating off Pharoah-cious competition from Chinese and Malaysian firms. Remainers still in de-Nile while Bombardier’s own Project Fear warnings get confined to the tomb of history…

It comes less than a week after Hitachi Rail announced a £400m investment in their County Durham plant. The good news just keeps Tutan-khamin’…

Kate Hoey Calls for Electoral Commission to be Disbanded

Labour MP Kate Hoey has called for the Electoral Commission to be disbanded after the “travesty of justice” over the way they handled the Darren Grimes case. Incredibly, the Commission are still considering an appeal against the judge’s decision despite their case being comprehensively dismantled. Blowing hundreds of thousands more of taxpayers’ cash in vindictive pursuit of one campaigner…

As Hoey says, clearly there does need to be a body that oversees elections. The highly partisan members of the current Commission and the asymmetric way they have dealt with the two sides in the referendum since means there is no confidence left in its abilities. Time to start again from the ground up…

UPDATE: Tory MP Craig Mackinlay has backed Hoey’s call to disband the Electoral Commission:

“Couldn’t agree more with @KateHoeyMP. The @ElectoralCommUK has made too many mistakes, hounded too many innocent people (I should know), given too much incorrect advice, changed its mind repeatedly, made interpretations of the law ‘on the hoof’. It has no further worth.”

Dominic Cummings Speaks

Sky News were out with the cameras to doorstep Dominic Cummings this morning, Boris’s top adviser sportingly gave a brief but polite interview – considerably more so than many elected politicians. “Mr Grieve will see what he is right about…”

McDonnell: Labour Would Block Government of National Unity, Won’t Block IndyRef2

Iain Dale’s Edinburgh Festival show continues to generate great news nuggets, last night it was the turn of John McDonnell who gift-wrapped two exquisite presents for Boris Johnson on the Edinburgh stage. McDonnell ruled out Labour supporting any sort of ‘national unity’ Government to try to stop No Deal that wasn’t led by Jeremy Corbyn. It wasn’t an off-the-cuff position, perennially rising star Rebecca Long-Bailey repeated the line last night as well…

This renders any Remainer plot to replace Boris with a ‘caretaker’ Prime Minister like Hilary Benn or Yvette Cooper following a vote of no confidence completely toothless, while it is highly unlikely that a majority of MPs would countenance Corbyn being PM, even temporarily to stop No Deal. Much as the vast majority of Tory Remainer MPs draw the line at Corbyn as PM being worse than no deal, there is nothing Corbyn wants to see less than another Blairite as Prime Minister…

McDonnell wasn’t finished handing Boris gifts, he also said that Labour “would not block” a second Scottish Indepedendence Referendum. Labour have tanked in Scotland since hard-left leader Richard Leonard took over. McDonnell now appears to be doing his best to finish them off…

Brexit Party Select Smash Hit Brexit Singer Dominic Frisby

Fans of Brexit-themed music videos will be delighted with the news that Libertarian Comedian Dominic Frisby – singer of the #1 smash hit “17 Million F**k O**s”is standing as a Brexit Party candidate. Frisby will be bringing his musical comedy and standup, along with some very sound views on Brexit and monetary policy, to the South-East London constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup. The song is more than worth another listen…

James Brokenshire has a 15,000 majority but the constituency voted a whopping 62.4% Leave. He won’t be laughing if Frisby makes it to number one again…

Fat-Cat Corbyn’s Mischievous Manipulations

Since Boris became PM, Labour have been going in hard on the ad hominem attacks to try to counteract the 10% lead the Tories now have in the polls. One line Labour are particularly trying to sell is on Boris’s background and supposedly ‘wealthy friends’, with Corbyn putting a post out on Saturday claiming “Boris Johnson and his millionaire friends won’t be affected by rising food prices in a No Deal Brexit“. Beats being “friends” with Hamas and Hezbollah…

Today however he reposted the same video. With “Boris’s friends” surreptitiously upgraded to “billionaires”.


Surely it’s nothing to do with the fact that Jeremy Bernard Corbyn’s own personal net worth is reportedly a very tidy £3 million. Continuing the proud tradition of revolutionary leaders being much wealthier than their loyal proletariat followers…

As the IFS report this morning pointed out, the top 1% now pay a huge 27% of income tax. There’s going to be an even bigger gaping hole in Corbyn’s public finances if his hardline policies drive the 1% away too…

Sturgeon: Conversations With May Were “Soul-Destroying”

It’s not often that Guido agrees with Nicola Sturgeon but her brutal assessment of conversations with Theresa May at Iain Dale’s Edinburgh Fringe show will have got politicians and dignitaries the world over nodding in agreement:

“Having conversations with Theresa May was pretty soul-destroying and tortuous [laughter]. You know, that was her style and by the end of this interview people might decide that I should have taken some of her advice – she would never depart from a script, no matter where you tried to take the conversation.”

Sturgeon went on to pay Boris Johnson as much of a compliment as he could expect from the leader of the SNP, saying “Boris Johnson does talk a good game. He’s one of these guys that talks utter nonsense with complete conviction and confidence”. Presumably John “Lynch” McDonnell will be equally charitable when he joins Dale for tonight’s show…

Gove: Sad the EU Won’t Negotiate

Gove has taken to the airwaves to reiterate the Government’s position on Brexit, making clear that the UK is fully ready to negotiate but that the deal has to change, and that it’s “wrong and sad” that the EU won’t come to the table. This is not bluster from Gove – in case the EU have forgotten, the deal comprehensively failed to get through Parliament three times…

Meanwhile underpressure Leo Varadkar has said that “there is always room for talks”, provided the talks aren’t actually about changing anything. Pull the other one, Leo…

Fiona Onasanya Struck Off as a Solicitor

Three months after being sacked by voters after her conviction for perverting the course of justice, Peterborough’s crooked ex-MP Fiona Onasanya has now also been struck off as a solicitor. Onasanya was summoned to appear at a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing who found numerous allegations against her proved, including a failure to “uphold the rule of law and proper administration of justice”, failure to “act with integrity” and failure to “behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in her”. Safe to say she won’t be making a return to politics any time soon…

SpAd List Latest: Priti Goes Wild

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have stormed into an even more commanding lead in the SpAd Think Tank league table with the news that their former Research Director Alex Wild is joining the Home Office as Priti Patel’s spinner. You can almost hear the steam coming out of the ‘Who Funds You’ brigade’s ears from here…

Guido can bring you another round of updates as the SpAd List slowly gets filled in. Going to Alok Sharma at DFID are Will Holloway, formerly at BEIS with Greg Clark, and Natasha Adkins who moves from No 10. Geraint Evans is staying with Alun Cairns in the Welsh Office, while Elliot Roy is moving from the Scotland Office to No 10. Focus on the Union…

Sophia True formely of CCHQ and briefly SpAd to Mel Stride is going to work with Nicky Morgan at DCMS, while Tom Skinner is also moving from CCHQ to join Shelley Williams-Walker in the No 10 events team. Get in touch with any updates as they happen…

UPDATE: Guido hears of a few more moves (or lack of moves) – Jonathan Hellewell is staying in the faith and community outreach role in No 10, while Marcus Natale is joining the No 10 briefing team from CCHQ. Tim Pitt stays in the Treasury to help with transition, Jess Prestidge doesn’t have to move far from CCHQ to work with Tory Party Chairman James Cleverly. Former Brokenshire SpAd Peter Cardwell is moving to the MoJ with Robert Buckland. More updates as they happen…

Uni Lecturer Cries in Court Over Extinction Rebellion Fine

A Bristol lecturer and former Lib Dem candidate broke down in tears yesterday while being tried in court for causing major civil disruption as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests back in April. Dr Steve Melia claimed he had always “obeyed the law” despite being arrested twice in two days while blockading bridges and bringing London to a standstill back in April. The 57-year-old bawled as he was given a £500 fine plus costs of £300, blubbering that he had “never even had a parking ticket before.” Probably should have thought of that before causing millions of pounds of economic disruption, his fine is a drop in the ocean in comparison…

In fact the former Government transport adviser arguably misled the court as he does have a history of law-breaking – Melia lost his licence after driving through a red light as a teenager. Ironically crashing into the side of a van from the Police Accident Prevention Unit…

Extinction rebellion arrest

Appearing at Westminster Crown Court, the sobbing subversive performed a swift U-turn from his previous delight at being arrested – at the time he posted a beaming selfie on his website captioned “shortly before arrest at Extinction Rebellion action” and linking to a blog post where he wrote “I, and many others, have decided that we need civil disobedience”. Truly a revolutionary to inspire a generation…

Nonsense of the Disaster Capitalism Brexit Narrative

There is a belief popular with some Remainiacs that Brexit backing financiers – particularly those who donate to Brexit causes – are doing so to profit. Somehow they will make a killing when Brexit goes disastrously wrong and that is the reason why they are funding Brexit causes. The latest manifestation of this is that Crispin Odey is short* £300 million of shares in British companies, proof that he stands to make a killing when Brexit collapses the economy. Literally caught short!

Guido has not spoken to Odey for this article. It is however well known that he runs a long/short fund. A common strategy of such funds is to do pairs trades; a trader might go long Fed-Ex shares and short Royal Mail shares because he thinks Fed-Ex will do better than Royal Mail whether the general market goes up or down. If the market goes down he expects Royal Mail to go down more, if it goes up he expects Fed Ex to go up more. The difference between the moves – the spread – is where his profits or losses will be made. The difference in the shares’ relative performance.

Both shares could go up, so long as Fed-Ex goes up more the trader profits. Sometimes long/short funds will short a stock versus the general market. If the market goes up more than the shorted stock, they profit. The reason the financial press knows Odey is short £300 million of shares is that funds have to make regulatory declarations of short interests. They do not have to declare their long interests. However we know that Odey has billions under management. It is therefore very likely that his firm is net long the UK stock market given he has only £300 million in declared shorts. Not a position you take if you expect disaster.

Odey is often reported as having made millions from the referendum. Guido is sure Crispin is happy for potential investors to think that. However the facts are that his Swan Long/Short Equity fund lost 42.1% in 2016 and 21.8% in 2017. It has only just started clawing back losses by some 39.7% in 2018, leaving it well down since the referendum. So much for profiting from Brexit…

*Shorting is when you borrow and sell shares in the hope of buying them back later at a lower price.

Another Nail in the Coffin of the Dead Tree Press

The launch of The Athletic is yet another nail in the coffin of the dead tree press. 55 sports journalists have been lured over to the £4.99-a-month sports specialist. Many newspaper readers primarily want sports reporting and skip straight to the back of the paper. Now they can skip the paper entirely…

Will it work? Guido expects it will. The bundled approach to news where readers get a bit of everything doesn’t make sense. Half the product is ignored. Some will say that the joy of a newspaper is serendipity, the noticing of a headline that takes the reader in a new direction. Critics argue specialist publications increase our filter bubble making us shallower and narrower in our knowledge. The fact is people generally want to know a lot about the few things that interest them and little about the things that interest them. Love Island doesn’t appeal to everyone…

The Athletic is boasting that it will do quality local sports reporting, something that BBC local radio is killing off. That it will be advertising free because of the revenue from the subscription service. Something the BBC could learn from…

Brussels Tries to Talk Tough on No Deal

Parts of the EU are slowly coming to the realisation that the UK is serious about No Deal – the Telegraph carries the headline “Brussels expects no deal” while the Guardian has “PM intent on hard Brexit and has no desire to renegotiate, EU told.” The EU’s previous calculations have centred around the assumption that Parliament will be able to block no deal, and failing that the UK Prime Minister will back down anyway. They are gradually waking up to the fact that this is no longer the case…

EU officials are now putting out spikey quotes including: “It was clear UK does not have another plan. No intention to negotiate, which would require a plan. A no deal now appears to be the UK government’s central scenario.” This is not accurate, Boris has made clear he will negotiate if the EU drops the backstop. Evidently EU officials have forgotten that “negotiating” does not consist exclusively of grovelling for concessions at Barnier’s door like May did…

However, the memo doesn’t appear to have reached as far as stagnating Germany yet, according to Bloomberg German officials are still banking on Parliament blocking No Deal, even as Remainers start to grasp at increasingly desperate schemes. As the CBI of all people warned last week, the EU is actually less prepared than the UK, while Ireland is continuing to get increasingly jittery. The EU is finally starting to take its cues from what the Prime Minister says, not Dominic Grieve’s wet dreams…

Guardian Smacks of Spin

The hot topic in Welsh politics at the moment is a new Bill from the Welsh Government seeking to ban parents from smacking their children. On Friday the Guardian carried a report on how Welsh society is supposedly falling into line under the headline “Police and teachers back Welsh anti-smacking bill”, while going into extensive detail over how “frontline professionals” are in favour of the legislation.[…] Read the rest

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