Item Club Quadruples GDP Forecast

Independent economic forecaster the Item Club – sponsored by City professional services giant EY –  today reports a headline prediction of 1.8% GDP growth for 2017. This is well up on even the 1.3% prediction it made last October. And it is incredibly well up on its post-referendum forecast…

The Item Club sent shock-waves through the City last summer when it downgraded its forecast for 2017 GDP growth to an absolutely dismal 0.4% after the Brexit vote. This prediction of dread set much of the business media agenda: the Item Club is taken seriously because it uses the same economic models as the Treasury. Between July 2016 and today the Item Club has revised up its forecast by an eye-popping 1.4%…

Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the Item Club, said today:

“Although the starting gun for Brexit has just been fired, the UK economy has been adjusting to life outside the EU since the referendum…”

And the Item Club has been adjusting its numbers…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Ridge on Sunday Highlights

Thornberry Swerves Labour Backing Military Action

Woolfe: Full Length Interview

Saturday Seven Up

This week 195,533 visitors visited 609,738 times viewing 965,667 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

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

Trump in Mar-a-Lago Situation Room

President Trump receiving a briefing on the Syria military strike from his National Security team in a secure room in Mar-a-Lago.

Diane Abbott On Top of Her Brief As Usual

This Question Time clanger from Diane Abbott has been overlooked: she killed-off the asylum seeker who is recovering in hospital after being attacked in Croydon. Abbott said:

In the months after the Brexit vote we had a 41% rise in race hate. We saw that terrible killing of that Kurdish boy in Croydon”

Kurdish Iranian Reker Ahmed suffered terrible injuries during the attack. But he is not dead. Diane is the Shadow Home Secretary. This is simple stuff.

Tories Accuse Labour Gorton Candidate of “Anti-Semitism”

Tory MP Mike Freer gets in touch following Guido’s revelations on Labour’s Manchester Gorton candidate Afzal Khan. Freer says:

“It appears to be becoming clear that anti-Semitism spreads the width and breadth of the Labour party. Yet again they are showing just how out of touch they are with the values of ordinary working people.”

Meanwhile, remember how a Labour council candidate in Birmingham Hall Green was suspended by the party for anti-Semitism? Unbelievably, her Tory opponent in the same seat has now also been suspended for anti-Semitic tweets. Obaid Khan seems like a charmer:

What on earth is going on in Birmingham?

Friday Caption Competition: Half-Baked Response Edition

Stir up some trouble in the comments…

EU Regulators to Approve 21st Century Fox Takeover of Sky

Reuters is reporting that EU anti-trust regulators are “expected to approve” the takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox.

LibDems on the March

Though these are only local council by-elections it is worth looking at how the LibDems have surged over the last few weeks. Their unashamed opposition to Brexit is gaining massive swings from blue to yellow in Remain-voting Tory areas, while Labour’s capitulation is even seeing them pick up seats in the North. Britain Elects polling average currently has the LibDems on 10%, up from around 6.5% this time last year.

Leaked polling by Lynton Crosby claims the Tories would lose up to 30 seats to the LibDems if there was an election now (note: this is likely to have been briefed out by the Tories). Tim Farron’s media operation is strong, he is in the papers every day either bashing Brexit or Corbyn. It is a sensible strategy – 48% of the country voted to Remain and around 15% want to obstruct Brexit. Both those numbers are higher than anything the LibDems have managed since the Coalition…

Corbyn Condemns Trump Strike

Corbyn criticises Trump, no condemnation of Assad or Russia:

“The US missile attack on a Syrian government air base risks escalating the war in Syria still further. 

“Tuesday’s horrific chemical attack was a war crime which requires urgent independent UN investigation and those responsible must be held to account. 

“But unilateral military action without legal authorisation or independent verification risks intensifying a multi-sided conflict that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. 

“What is needed instead is to urgently reconvene the Geneva peace talks and unrelenting international pressure for a negotiated settlement of the conflict. 

“The terrible suffering of the Syrian people must be brought to an end as soon as possible and every intervention must be judged on what contribution it makes to that outcome.

“The British government should urge restraint on the Trump administration and throw its weight behind peace negotiations and a comprehensive political settlement.”

For: Tories, LibDems, Labour moderates. Against: UKIP, Corbyn…

Alt-Reality Alt-Right Off the Trump Train

The alt-reality alt-right are off the Trump train – you could say they’ve been triggered. It is the Donald who changed his mind:

Number 10, the LibDems and Labour moderates support Trump, Corbynistas and UKIP are condemning him…

“Disgusting Lie”: Diane Abbott Faced Down by Furious Brexiteer

Diane Abbott was faced down last night by a furious Brexiteer over her claims that Leave voters are racist. An audience member branded the shadow Home Secertary’s comments a “disgusting lie” on Question Time. He was referring to Abbott’s statements at last year’s Labour conference, where she told a fringe meeting:

“The people that complain about the freedom of movement will not be satisfied because what they really want is to see less foreign looking people on their streets.”

As Abbott attempted to deny she had ever made the claim, another frustrated audience member roared: “you did say that“. Abbott also struggled to muster a defence when she later faced strong criticism over refusing to say Ken Livingstone should be expelled from her party. Another Diane broadcast appearance, more votes lost…

Trump Bombs Assad Airbase

The US has launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base used during this week’s gas attack. President Trump said in a statement:

“It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.” 

Number 10 said:

“The UK Government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airbase was “almost completely destroyed”. At least four Syrian soldiers were killed in the strike. At last the west stands up to Assad…

Who’s on Question Time Tonight?

Corbynistas Demand 30 Pages in New Statesman

Staggers pol-ed George Eaton appears to be stuggling to keep a straight face. What happened to “we are his media”?

Labour Fields Two Candidates in Same Ward

Labour has dropped a clanger in Scarborough: a nomination form mix-up means the party has put up two candidates in the same ward. Local reports say it was an “accident” and Guido understands the cock-up is “under investigation” by Labour’s regional office. Talk about splitting the vote!

Buzzfeed Go to Court to Demand Journalist Reveals Communications With Sources

Buzzfeed has gone to court in the US to attempt to force the editor of British media trade website Press Gazette to reveal his journalistic sources. A motion filed by Buzzfeed in a New York court seeks to compel Press Gazette’s editor, Dominic Ponsford, to provide material in relation to this article he published in April 2015, a report about a Buzzfeed investigation doing in one of its rivals.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories. That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

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