Taxpayers’ Alliance Updates Iconic Tory Debt Poster

Remember this?

The crisis is worsening so the Taxpayers’ Alliance have updated the poster:

Now every child in Britain is born owing £26,500.

What is Phil Hammond going to do about the Tory Debt Crisis?

Never-Ending Tory Deficit Reduction Horizon

Today’s Tory manifesto will pledge to eliminate the deficit by 2025, several years later than Philip Hammond vowed just a few months ago and 10 years later than the Tories promised back in 2010. When Hammond became Chancellor he said he would clear the deficit by the early 2020s, in his Budget in March he said the deficit would fall to 0.7% of GDP by 2021-22. Now the Tories say the books will not be balanced until 2025, the middle of the next decade…

George Osborne consistently failed to achieve his deficit forecasts in the last parliament – the deficit in 2015 was almost five times what he envisaged in 2010. The Tories used to say Labour would “load debts onto our children that they can never hope to repay”, May and Hammond now warn voters of Corbyn and McDonnell’s policies: “Where’s the money coming from?” The answer is the same place they get it, the deficit. It isn’t just Corbyn and McDonnell’s Labour who are an anti-austerity party…

UKIP and Farage Seize on Osborne Immigration Revelations

George Osborne has admitted that the Cameron government never tried to keep its promises on immigration and claimed that every senior member of the Cabinet privately opposes the Tory target on reducing net migration. Osborne makes the claims in his latest Evening Standard editorial, writing that “none of its senior members supports the pledge in private and all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative Party such public grief”. Just like Dave’s unhelpful Brexit comments last week, UKIP are already seizing on these revelations. Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“In admitting that the Tories never planned to keep their promises on immigration, and that the Cabinet does not even support reducing migration, I suspect for once George Osborne has got something right.”

And a punchy UKIP spokesman tells Guido:

“Osborne has blown the gaff. For the last 7 years the Tories have been knowingly lying about their inability to reduce immigration. Now Amber Rudd has been passed the baton by the Prime Minister to carry on doing so. It used to be said that it was the job of the Diplomatic Service to lie for Britain. It now seems to be the job of the Home Office to lie to Britain.”

Notable that the unleashed Leave voter-bashing Osborne is using his insider knowledge of Cabinet discussions so overtly so early on in his new job. ACOBA were insistent that he must not used privileged information garnered from his time in office:

“The Committee is mindful of the potential interest the Evening Standard may have in the vast array of information you were privy to as a member of the Cabinet and as Chancellor. Whilst the Committee notes the Permanent Secretary has no concerns about the role in relation to your time as Chancellor, it is concerned that given the specific nature of the role as Editor, there is a risk that your knowledge acquired in office could provide some advantage to the Evening Standard.”    

Every Cabinet member who appears on TV will now be asked if they privately oppose this key Tory manifesto policy, just in time for tomorrow’s launch…

Osborne on Leave Voters

George Osborne’s Evening Standard leader on Leave voters:

“Now, like a duped drunk in a strip bar, voters find that, far from getting their hands on the goodies, they have been left with a large bill.”

Tory Record: More Debt, More Taxes

As is traditional in elections the Tories are warning that Labour will bring more debt and more taxes. That is a given, however what is the Tory record after 7 years?

In 2010 the Tories promised to close the deficit by 2015. They failed to do that, so Osborne shifted the goal posts to aim for 2017/18. Under Hammond the OBR now says the government is unlikely to balance the budget by 2026. If the political will had been there they could have balanced the budget; from a worse position over the same period Ireland managed to balance the budget and cut the debt. Ireland now has a lower debt to GDP ratio than the UK and a higher GDP growth rate. The repeated Tory failure to balance the budget means that the national debt continues to rise and is now 89% of GDP. The Tories have added £500 billion to the national debt in 7 years, Hammond plans to add a billion a week to the national debt under Theresa May...

Taxes have risen under the Tories. The claim by the Tories to be a low tax party has not been true this century. They raised VAT almost immediately upon coming into office. They argue they have cut business taxes, yet they raised dividend taxes on small business owners and tried to raise National Insurance contributions. To be fair it is a mixed bag, some taxes have gone up, others down. According to the OECD the overall tax-to-GDP ratio has risen from 31.5% of GDP under Gordon Brown to 32.5% under George Osborne. Taxes have risen under the Tories…

This is not to say debt and taxes would not rise catastrophically under Labour. If you want to balance the budget you have to cut spending, George Osborne used to say privately that the Tories wouldn’t get re-elected if he slashed spending. Enda Kenny cut Irish government spending by 10% and GDP growth has been much faster than in the UK. He got re-elected and is the longest serving Fine Gael prime minister in Irish history.

Osborne’s First Front Page Toned Down

Fairly common for the Standard to change up its headlines between editions. Commuters heading home tonight are reading a very toned down Osborne first front page compared to the May bashing one he tweeted out earlier…

UPDATE: George gets in touch…

“There used to be one edition but we’re going to be running two editions during the election, to get reaction to news & stories thru the day”

Osborne’s First News Line

It’s George Osborne’s first day in charge of the Evening Standard and he has been given an appropriate welcome on Derry Street, where a group of cab drivers have laid out a ‘huge line of coke’ on the road outside. A gag that’s had Standard hacks snorting into their coffees…

H/T Felicity Morse

UPDATE: George twists the knife with his first front page:

UPDATE II: Osborne’s first leader says Brexit is “an historic mistake”, derides as “unrealistic” claims Britain has a strong hand, repeats the Juncker briefing uncritically as if it is gospel, and blasts Theresa May for an “election campaign [that] amounts to no more than a slogan”. Subtle…

Osborne Quits as MP “For Now”

 “I am stepping down from the House of Commons – for now. But I will remain active in the debate about our country’s future and on the issues I care about, like the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

“I want a Britain that is free, open, diverse and works with other nations to defend our democratic values in the world.

“I will go on fighting for that Britain I love from the editor’s chair of a great newspaper. It’s still too early to be writing my memoirs.”

“At the age of 45, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life just being an ex-Chancellor. I want new challenges.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to edit the Evening Standard. I’ve met the team there, and their energy and commitment to this great newspaper are positively infectious.”

[My editorship will offer] straight facts and informed opinion to help them to make the big decisions Britain now faces about the kind of country we want to be. That starts with the coverage of this general election.”

Scoop in the Standard, naturally.

Friday Caption Contest (Taxi for Osborne Edition)

Evening Standard Editor George Osborne Could Have Been Locked in Parliament

Yesterday raised another question over George Osborne’s appointment as editor of London’s flagship Evening Standard: had the attack occurred in two months’ time, Osborne would have likely been stuck inside a locked-down parliament along with other MPs. Out of the newsroom…

The first edition of London’s Evening Standard hit the streets before the attack, nevertheless the paper says it rushed out a late change to its last editions giving the tragedy comprehensive coverage read by commuters on their way home in print and on their phones. This was all put together in the afternoon, when Osborne plans to be on the parliamentary estate. He would not have been able to judge the tone, choose the front page splash headline or picture. He would not have been able to effectively edit the paper. A source in the Standard newsroom tells Guido that Osborne was not seen on deck yesterday and hasn’t been spotted in the office since the day he was appointed – although he is not due to start until May. Yesterday Osborne would have been perfectly positioned as a reporter, but not an editor…

Osborne Trolls Commons: “We’ve Missed Standard Deadline”

He says he will “listen to the views of colleagues” about whether he should stay as an MP. Get the feeling he’s loving this…

Sack Clegg, Hire Cameron

Modest advice to George Osborne from Piers Morgan on editing…

“Great columnists can make or break a paper, so hire some great ones. That means instantly firing dreary Nick Clegg, whose Standard columns are as inspiring as his broken tuition fee pledges, and hiring someone like me. Unfortunately, you can’t afford me. So go cheaper – Clarkson, Coren, or even your old mate Cameron. He’s got nothing better to do.”

Labour Report Osborne to Cabinet Office

Labour have written to the Cabinet Office complaining about George Osborne’s job at the Standard. Guido has the letter:

John Manzoni
Cabinet office
70 Whitehall
London SW1A 2AS

cc: Sue Gray, Rt. Hon. George Osborne

Sir,

I write to formally raise my concern about a potential breach of the Ministerial Code by the Rt. Hon. Member for Tatton, George Osborne.

Mr Osborne served this country as Chancellor of the Exchequer until July 2016, just over eight months ago. Since leaving this post, the Member for Tatton has drawn considerable controversy over his private appointments and notably his failure to fully declare details of these appointments to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

In October last year, after learning of one of Mr. Osborne’s appointments in the press, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments wrote to Mr. Osborne stating that: “The Committee would also remind you that advice should be sought on all appointments, paid or unpaid, before they are taken up or announced” and that the “the committee is unable to offer retrospective advice on appointments that have already been announced.”

Today many were again concerned to find that Mr. Osborne had repeated this procedure, announcing his new role at the London Evening Standard prior to consulting the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

The rules on Business Appointments are established to counter suspicion that the decisions and statements of a serving Minister might be influenced by the hope or expectation of future employment with a particular firm or organisation; and that an employer could make improper use of official information to which a former Minister has had access to.

Disregarding these rules deeply undermines public trust in the democratic processes and does a disservice to those Members that ensure they follow the rules laid out on these matters.

Furthermore, the rules around this process are outlined in Section 7.25 of the Ministerial Code, which states that:
“On leaving office, Ministers will be prohibited from lobbying Government for two years. They must also seek advice from the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACoBA) about any appointments or employment they wish to take up within two years of leaving office. To ensure that Ministers are fully aware of their future obligations in respect of outside appointments after leaving office, the Business Appointment Rules are attached at Annex B. Former Ministers must abide by the advice of the Committee which will be published by the Committee when a role is announced or taken up.”

In light of the Member for Tatton’s conduct, I request that the incident be investigated to determine as soon as possible if a breach of the Ministerial Code has taken place. The Ministerial Code sets out that in the position of Permanent Secretary, you advise Ministers on potential conflicts of interest, and agree action with them regarding the handling of them.

I therefore ask you to urgently clarify:

Whether the Member for Tatton’s conduct constituted a breach of the Ministerial Code;

Whether you were made aware of the Member for Tatton’s appointment at the Evening Standard prior to it being announced in the press;

Whether you aware that the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments had not been consulted;

And, if a breach of the Ministerial Code has taken place, whether you have consulted the Prime Minister about further steps to be taken.

Given the public interest, I am placing a copy of this letter in the public domain.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Gwynne MP
Shadow Minister without Portfolio

The PM will be consulted on whether it’s a breach…

“Mr Osborne, Are You Going to Resign?”

Friday Caption Contest: First Day Edition

Entries in the comments. Make them witty…

8 Huge Osborne Conflicts of Interest

New Evening Standard editor and sitting Tory MP George Osborne will now have to navigate a minefield of conflicted interests. Guido counts eight off the top of his head…

  • MP for Tatton: The Commons sits on four of the weekday mornings that Osborne will be in the Standard newsroom. He can’t be in two places at once. How can he properly represent his constituents? 
  • Northern Powerhouse: Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse, while fighting for London at the Standard. Those two interests will surely collide at times…
  • Standard’s City pages: Osborne is being paid £650,000 by investment firm BlackRock. He will have a fiduciary duty to the firm. How can the Standard’s City pages now credibly cover BlackRock and its competitors?
  • Press regulation: The editor one of the country’s highest circulating newspapers will now have a parliamentary vote on any further issues relating to press regulation. Osborne voted for the full implementation of the Leveson Inquiry. The whole point of Leveson was to stop politicians and newspaper editors becoming too close…
  • 1922 Committee: Osborne remains a member of the influential 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, whose meetings are held in private. Not with a newspaper editor in the room…
  • Privy Council: Osborne remains a member of the Privy Council, whose members swear an oath to “keep secret all matters treated of in council”. Journalists usually try to discover secrets for their readers.
  • Advertising: The commercial side will be hugely important for Osborne at the Standard. Editors have to keep advertisers sweet. Big business has him over a barrel…
  • Owner’s influences: Evgeny Lebedev’s dad was a KGB Putin crony. Evgeny is pro-Putin’s actions in Syria, Osborne could not be a bigger critic of Russia and Assad. And he is now in the pay of Russians…

And when will he find time for the wife and kids?

UPDATE: Transparency International call for the appointment to be blocked:

“It is inconceivable that ACOBA, the advisory body for political business appointments, could approve this move, and therefore extraordinary that it should have been proposed. If ACOBA approve this they will be signing their own death-warrant , confirming they are not fit for purpose and unable to guard against conflicts of interest and consequences of the revolving door – two of the most prevalent corruption risks in UK politics.”

Standard Newsroom Reacts


Fair to say journalists in the Evening Standard newsroom have had their minds blown at the news that George Osborne is their new editor:

The deputy editor of the Standard diary speaks for his colleagues:

Osborne due to address his staff at 12:15 pm, one of his tougher speeches…

George Osborne New Evening Standard Editor

The BBC’s Amol Rajan reports George Osborne is the new editor of the Evening Standard. He will edit the paper in the morning and do his MP’s duties in the afternoon. Wow!

Evgeny Lebedev says:

“I am proud to have an editor of such substance, who reinforces The Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint – socially liberal and economically pragmatic – closely matches that of many of our readers. George is London through and through and I am confident he is the right person to build on the fantastic legacy of Sarah Sands.”

Osborne statement:

“I am proud to be a Conservative MP, but as editor and leader of a team of dedicated and independent journalists, our only interest will be to give a voice to all Londoners. We will be fearless as a paper fighting for their interests. We will judge what the government, London’s politicians and the political parties do against this simple test: is it good for our readers and good for London? If it is, we’ll support them. If it isn’t, we’ll be quick to say so.

So much is now at stake about the future of our country and its capital city. I will remain in Parliament, where that future is debated. I was elected by my constituents in Tatton to serve them and I intend to fulfil that promise. I remain passionate about the Northern Powerhouse and will continue to promote that cause. Right from the first speech I gave about the North of England, I’ve said that London needs a successful north and the north benefits from its links to a global city like London. It’s not a zero-sum game, but quite the opposite.”

Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse and represent Tatton while editing a newspaper and advising BlackRock…

Osborne Earning £650,000 For Four Days’ Work a Month

Yesterday George Osborne was tweeting about how when he was Chancellor “we were all in this together”. Today this entry in the Register of MPs’ Interests dropped:

That’s £650,000 a year for four days’ work a month. Nice day for that news to come out…

Osborne Drops News of BlackRock Job 17 Minutes Before Trump Inauguration

George Osborne drops the news he’s taking a job at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, 17 minutes before Trump’s inauguration kicks off. He will be joining his old aide Rupert Harrison and keeping his part-time role as MP for Tatton. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Paul Mason tells Emma Barnett he is furious that a BBC journalist could editorialise. Yes, Paul Mason.

“You repeatedly editorialised in a way no trained BBC journalist would, dropping in your own views / unsubstantiated claims.”

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