Gardiner: Labour Would Continue With Brexit

The People’s Gardiner hasn’t been giving much truck to the People’s Vote, saying it is the responsibility of the government to unite the country, not divide it as a second referendum would do, and confirming that Labour would press ahead with negotiating Brexit if they won a general election. Sorry, Chuka…

Peter Bone Scraps Statue of Theresa May

The people of Wellingborough won’t be getting their statue of “Brexit Queen” Theresa May after all after local MP Peter Bone shelved his plans to build one in her honour. Sad…

Saturday 7-Up

This week 147,493 visitors visited 393,981 times viewing 604,233 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Fiona Onasanya’s “Inspired” Moment

Fresh from the news that she has been expelled from the Labour Party following her conviction last month, an inexplicable video has surfaced of Fiona Onasanya telling the camera “I’ve just come out of a meeting and I feel inspired” before proceeding to mime the actions for snorting an imaginary substance of ill-repute off a desk. At least she can’t really ruin her political career any more than she has already…

UK Ranked As World’s Second Most Powerful Nation

The UK has been ranked the world’s second most powerful nation despite Brexit. The Henry Jackson Society‘s Audit of Geopolitical Capability used a model involving four attributes, 33 indicators and 1240 potential data observations and placed the UK after the US but slightly ahead of China.

The Audit’s Chief Analyst, James Rogers, said that the UK voting to leave the EU “has had no discernible impact on the UK’s fundamental ability to apply itself around the World”, but does recommend increased R&D spend and armed forces’ projection capacities to prevent the UK falling behind, particularly in light of China’s naval buildup. Politicians who like to call Britain a small island in the North Atlantic would do well to read the report in full

Caroline Lucas Calls For Meat Tax

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, the former leader of the Green Party urged the Government to urgently explore policies that will “massively reduce livestock production.” She stated that “we need serious consideration of measures like a meat tax”, treating the staple food as if it were cigarettes or alcohol. Is nothing sacred anymore?

She went on to say other types of food may need to be more expensive too, in order to regress move to “more sustainable” farming methods. Preempting the obvious charge that this may be fine for the posh hipsters who typically vote Green, not so good for those on lower incomes, Lucas said “to the extent that higher prices might be necessary, then welfare and minimum wage payments will also need to increase.” Raising living costs AND raising welfare spending. Genius.

Labour Voters Unenthusiastic About Leadership Contenders

Labour’s leadership hopefuls have some work to do if they want to establish themselves as successors to Corbyn among the Labour faithful. Polling by the ESRC Party Members Project somewhat surprisingly found Keir Starmer to be the slight favourite among Labour members with 18% support, ahead of John McDonnell on 15% and Emily Thornberry on 12%.

Starmer is hardly the obvious Corbynista choice but with Brexit in the spotlight Starmer’s Remain tendencies are more in tune with the Labour membership than the euroscepticism of the old left. Still a far cry from Boris’s regular double-digit leads among Tory members…

Among Labour voters as a whole, not a single contender breaks into double digits, with “don’t know” polling at a hefty 56%. Starmer is again the best of the bunch on 9% with McDonnell trailing on 5%. Thornberry and Chuka are tied on 3%. Self-promoting Sadiq doesn’t even get a look in – only 1% of Labour members back him and less than 1% of Labour voters at large…

PMI Data UK Up, Eurozone Down

December services PMI numbers are out, for the UK it was 51.2, compared to 50.4 in November; estimates were for 50.7. So the UK surprised on the upside and is rising…

In the Eurozone the number was also 51.2 compared to 53.4 in November, with Germany at 51.8 (November was 53.3), France dropped significantly to 48.7 (November 55.1). European optimism about the economy is declining..

The UK economy grew 0.6% quarter over quarter in Q3 which makes for annual growth of 1.5%. The French economy grew 0.3% quarter over quarter in Q3 which makes for an annual increase of 1.4%. They’ll want to keep that cross channel trade flowing…

Cash-Strapped Sadiq Splurging £30,000 on Social Media PR

After turning London’s £3 million firework display into an attention-seeking exercise for himself, Sadiq is now blowing yet more taxpayers’ cash on a swanky PR firm to promote his #LondonIsOpen campaign on Twitter. Despite TfL facing a £1 billion operating deficit and Crossrail now requiring emergency loans of up to £2 billion – which Londoners will have to pay back – Sadiq has somehow managed to find £30,000 down the back of the sofa to splurge on PR outfit Freud CommunicationsTheir job is to find high-profile people to tweet about it…

Guido readers may remember Freud Communications as part of the nexus of Remain campaign groups which sprung up in the final month of the referendum and had over £1 million funnelled to them by a tiny handful of mega-rich donors.

Publicity-obsessed Sadiq has overseen a £2.8 million increase in PR and marketing spend since becoming Mayor and already employs fifteen press officers at City Hall. Was there not a single one who was capable of doing this job themselves?

Onasanya Expelled From Labour Party

No longer just suspended as an MP, the disgraced former Labour Whip who compared herself to Jesus after her conviction has now been expelled from the party. Labour chairman Ian Lavery announced that she was booted out of the party after refusing to stand down and force a by election, allowing a new Labour candidate to stand in her place. She intends to sit for the remainder of the parliament. She might need to update her Twitter account…

Inuit Leaders Plead For Vicious Polar Bear Population Control

Inuit leaders have told the Mail on Sunday that there is a growing crisis of polar bear maulings, killing many members of Canada’s Inuit community. Far from the cuddly creatures that are depicted in Western media, Inuits see polar bears as vicious killing machines. Local Mayor Bob Leonard told the Mail that “people are angry and afraid…”

As Guido reported last year, numbers of polar bears are thriving despite what gloomy urban media says. Local senior Inuits say Hudson Bay’s polar bear population “has increased by 300 to 400 per cent. Everywhere the hunters go, they see polar bears. There are a lot more than in the past.” Locals are pleading to be allowed to “increase their permitted polar bear hunting quota” which currently stands at just 28 for Canada’s entire West Hudson Bay.

Sadly, state government is unlikely to respond to their plea, not least because of the backlash to Japan’s proposed liberalisation of whaling. Woke politics puts Inuit lives at risk…

Car Insurance Premiums Fall 8% in January

With the new year in full swing, the cost of the average car insurance premium has fallen by as much as 8%, as UK insurers look to offer more competitive rates.

In December, insurers tend to offer less competitive rates as they wind down for the Christmas period. Hence, the average policy for insuring a car can be 13% higher than compared to the rest of the year. The average policy in the UK now costs around £800 per year, which is the highest on record.

“Most UK households tend to avoid shopping for insurance in December” explains Andrew Speer from price comparison site, Proper Finance. “Instead, the priority falls on spending on the festive season, including days out with the family and presents.”

At the same time, insurers have less incentive to lower their prices unless they really need to hit targets. Also, there are a lot of motorists that like to run their cover over one calendar year, so they are in a position to find new deals or renew their policies in January, when it is also likely to be cheaper.”

“This is a great opportunity to start off the new year with a good saving, especially after an expensive December period. Those that can benefit the most include young drivers and those that have a history of claims in the past.”

Despite the rising costs of average policies, there is now more technology available to help reduce the cost of policies on the road. This includes using a telematics box to monitor your quality of driving and mileage – which typically results in a saving for safer drivers. There is also the use of dashboard cams which can record footage of your driving and any potential accidents and improve the legitimacy of a claim.

At a policy level, savings can be made by avoiding claims and using a no claims bonus and paying off an entire premium in full, rather than monthly instalments. Households can also look at buying group cover through multi car policies, adding an experienced named driver to the account or combining both multicar and home policies too.

For commercial vehicles such as vans, lorries and couriers, companies have the opportunity to buy insurance in a fleet to save money. By putting all your vehicles under one single policy, you save on admin and benefit from one straightforward renewal date. Add-ons to your policy can include goods in transit insurance, business interruption and contents insurance too, and buying in bulk allows you to save as much as 20% on your overall policy. (Source: Fleets Insurance).

Content produced by Tudor Lodge Consultants.

Tory Members Back No Deal Over May’s Deal by More Than 2 to 1

Theresa May’s hopes that her MPs will have come back from their Christmas breaks in their constituencies feeling more sympathetic towards her Brexit deal have been dealt a fresh blow by the latest round of ESRC Party Members data. The YouGov study found that in a three-way choice, 57% of Tory Party members would back no deal, while only 23% would support her deal. Just 15% supported remaining in the EU outright…

The backstop was particularly unpopular, with only 11% of Tory Party members saying that they thought the backstop made sense at all. Not surprising when the UK, EU and Ireland have all committed to not putting up a hard border whatever happens. May is going to need more than just “Operation Figleaf” to get her deal through…

When Parliament Debated Outlawing French Words

This fantastically bizarre Ten Minute Rule Bill debate from 1994 has been unearthed and is well worth a watch in today’s climate of a little cross-Channel rivalry. South Hams MP Anthony Steen proposed to outlaw the use of French words in the UK, following the French National Assembly and Senate passing legislation banning the use of English words and expressions in theirs. It turns out his tongue was firmly in his cheek…

This vintage Parliamentary TV has everything, young familiar faces of Nigel Evans, Michael Fabricant, Gyles Brandreth, and a youthful Jeremy Corbyn acting as a teller, Tony Marlow raising a point of order while the Commons rule of having to wear a top hat in order to do so during a vote still stood. The motion even went to a division before being defeated by 45 votes to 149. The UK remained open to the world even as Europe closed in on itself…

h/t Christian Calgie

EU Preparing to Clobber Ireland on Tax After Brexit

Any illusions Ireland might have had that the EU is going to reward them in some way for being its Brexit patsy have evaporated today with the news that the European Commission is pressing ahead with its plan to abolish national vetoes over a swathe of taxation issues. Removing one of the last major hurdles towards an EU-wide tax policy…

Ireland will be particularly hard hit by the changes as their competitive corporation tax rate is central to their impressive growth rates. The EU does not like tax competition or regulatory competition because they expose its own glaring inefficiencies. Hence why their long-term goal is for unaccountable commissars to set all the taxes for 500 million people – and collect them too. It’s only a matter of time before Ireland starts to feel the costs of the EU far more heavily than the benefits…

Number 10’s DUP Charm Offensive Falls Flat

Number 10’s DUP charm offensive appears to have fallen flat, with DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds releasing a statement following lunch with the PM today, confirming that in his party’s view May’s deal still “flies in the face of the Government’s commitments on Northern Ireland”. Dodds also hit out at “nonsense propaganda” about a hard border, arguing that it was “becoming clearer by the day that no one is ever going to construct a border”. He’s not wrong.

Downing Street have been focusing their efforts on the DUP in the hope that moderate Tory Brexiteers will fall into line if the DUP’s concerns over the backstop are assuaged. That is not going to happen without legal changes to the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop in particular. Not how Downing Street wanted to start off the year…

Facebook Algo Change Hits Online Political Traffic

Guido predicted at the beginning of last year that the change to Facebook’s algorithms would impact online traffic dramtically for those websites that specialised in making content go viral to drive traffic. Taking a look at some of our rivals; one site that bucked the trend was ConservativeHome, the turmoil in the party has been good for their trade, with pageviews up by 13% on the year, although the number of unique users has fallen slightly, likely as a result of there being no general election in 2018. Guido is relieved to only be down 1.89% year-on-year, not so bad in an off election year. On the left it would seem that The Canary, which used to be neck and neck in traffic terms with Guido, finished the year much weaker. Is that because of Facebook or outrage fatigue?

The other sites impacted badly by the Facebook algo change were the newspapers’ websites. According to ABC figures Mail Online was down 16% year-on-year and Sun Online was down 12%. Guido understands that because of the New Statesman’s new semi-permeable paywall it too has seen an even more dramatic collapse in online traffic… 

David Davis Hasn’t Urged May to Delay Meaningful Vote

A number of media outlets are reporting today that David Davis has urged Theresa May to delay the meaningful vote again in an op-ed in the Telegraph. He hasn’t.

As his op-ed actually reads:

“And let’s be clear: the Withdrawal Agreement does not respect the referendum result. That is why the meaningful vote had to be delayed and one wonders if even the January vote will go ahead.

“Attempts to frighten MPs into supporting it are unlikely to work, because voting down this substandard deal will not result in no Brexit. How could it? There is no mechanism for that to happen. The UK will leave the EU on 29 March. That is nailed down in primary legislation and international treaty commitments. There is no wriggle room.”

At no point does he urge May to delay the vote. His main points are the importance of no deal preparations and that MPs should ignore “briefings that Continuity Remain elements will seek to extended Article 50 or force a second referendum”. Guido understands that DD is in fact a bit miffed that this misinterpretation of his remarks has taken hold. Not helped by the Telegraph’s own front page

Delaying the vote again will not change the fundamental lack of support for May’s deal in the Commons, nor the fact that the EU currently sees no need to move on its position. May actually losing the vote will force the EU to make a choice – does it throw away the possibility of any deal or come back to the table? It will be the latter…

MPs Will Debate TV Debates

Sky News’ dogged campaign to #MakeDebatesHappen may be about to finally start yielding results with MPs set to debate the issue on Monday. After several months, Sky’s petition to establish an Independent Debates Commission has now hit the 133,000 mark after a relentless campaign to promote it that even included Kay Burley asking Jon Bon Jovi whether he supported the idea. We’re half way there…

TV debates haven’t really caught on in the UK after Nick Clegg’s surge in 2010 put the two main parties off. Small parties naturally all want to get a look in but the anarchic seven-way debate last year generated much heat and very little light. On balance Guido reckons it’s a good idea as long as the commission is politically independent and not funded by the taxpayer. Since it’s the broadcasters that stand to benefit, surely they can stump up the cash for it…

AC Grayling: Corbyn Is A Tory

Nutty academic AC Grayling, who led our 2017 list of ’10 People Driven Mad By Brexit’, has taken to Twitter to call the serial rebel leader of the Labour Party a “Tory-supporting lickspittle.” Guido supposes Tony Benn would be a Tory too? […] Read the rest

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