Labour’s Think Tank Funding Foul-Up

During the collapse of the Truss government, Labour weren’t shy in attacking what they claimed was the “malign impact” of “opaquely-funded think tanks” on the agenda of the Government.

Guido’s old enough to remember Angela Rayner claiming “lobbying in Britain is a black box”, and promising “Labour will look to broaden the scope of lobbying rules, including transparency on who funds them.” Business as usual so far…

Given Labour published their hefty manifesto blueprint yesterday – with a section on “cleaning up Westminster” – Guido was interested to see how they’d go about enforcing this new era of transparency.

The word “lobbying” doesn’t appear once in the document.

Perhaps the exclusion of this urgent reform is related to the following reference:

“We also drew significantly on primary research conducted by Our Scottish Future, including Scotland in a Zoom and original polling and focus groups carried out over the summer of 2022.”

Our Scottish Future is, of course, a think tank masterminded by Gordon Brown, with an advisory board and staff made up of former politicians, SpAds, and lobbyists. Yet their funding is entirely opaque.

The recently relaunched Who Funds You campaign, run by left-wingers at OpenDemocracy, also mysteriously omits Our Scottish Future from their opacity index. A bit odd: the think tank is over two years old, and the pet project of a former PM. It is self-evidently lobbying to set the agenda for the next Government. Apparently, where thinking the unthinkable is concerned, it’s one rule for bodies sympathetic to Labour, and another for everyone else…

mdi-timer 6 December 2022 @ 16:30 6 Dec 2022 @ 16:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Miliband Comes A COP-er Over Climate Summit Hypocrisy

Labour is furious – absolutely incandescent –over Rishi Sunak’s announcement that he’s not going to next month’s COP27 summit in Egypt during his second week in office, and while getting to grips with a financial crisis.

Having the PM fly to Sharm El-Sheikh, a flight that would emit 3.35 tonnes of carbon, is clearly the only thing standing between Britain and environmental armageddon. On Sky News yesterday afternoon, Miliband said Rishi not going is “abdicating leadership” and a “big mistake”.

Reminder that when we hosted it last year, and Boris did go, it resulted in Alok Sharma crying on stage as pro-emission countries blocked the environmental proposals Britain was pushing for…

The shadow minister’s attack is particularly eyebrow-raising given that in 2008 Gordon Brown didn’t attend COP14, instead sending one Ed Miliband to stand in for him. That was certainly “abdicating leadership”…

In fact, Guido’s analysis of whether PMs attended the climate summits shows that Tony Blair didn’t attend a single one. Gordon Brown attended once in 2009, David Cameron attended in 2015 and Boris Johnson attended in 2021. Labour PMs have skipped 12 out of 13 summits – 2:1 to the Tories…

  • 2021 COP26 – Boris Johnson, Prime Minister 
  • 2019 COP25 – Lord Ian Duncan, BEIS Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Climate Change
  • 2018 COP24 – Claire Perry, BEIS Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth
  • 2017 COP23 –  Thérèse Coffey, DEFRA Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment
  • 2016 COP22 – Nicholas Hurd, BEIS Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry
  • 2015 COP21 – David Cameron, Prime Minister 
  • 2014 COP20 – Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
  • 2013 COP19 – Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
  • 2012 COP18 – Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
  • 2011 COP17 – Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
  • 2010 COP16 – Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
  • 2009 COP15 – Gordon Brown, Prime Minister 
  • 2008 COP14 – Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 
  • 2007 COP13 – Hilary Benn, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 2006 COP12 – David Miliband, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 2005 COP11 – Margaret Beckett, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 2004 COP10 – Margaret Beckett, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 2003 COP9 – Margaret Beckett, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 2002 COP8 – Margaret Beckett, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 2001 COP7 – Margaret Beckett, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 2000 COP6 – Margaret Beckett, DEFRA Secretary of State
  • 1999 COP5 – John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister
  • 1998 COP4 – John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister
  • 1997 COP3 – John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister
  • 1996 COP2 – John Gummer, Environment Secretary
  • 1995 COP1 – UK did not attend

Guido reckons Zoom will be perfectly adequate for the UK to get its point across this time around…

mdi-timer 28 October 2022 @ 16:15 28 Oct 2022 @ 16:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Liz’s Lyrical Theme

Liz Truss is currently delivering her Party Conference speech, and Guido couldn’t help but take notice of her walk-out song choice of 90s classic ‘Moving on Up’ by M People. Although she went with the chorus, the first verse contains the lyrics “you’ve done me wrong… go on pack your bags”. Which will do nothing to calm reports from the Telegraph that Liz is planning a clampdown on Tory Rebels…

The song has strong Labour links as songstress Heather Small’s son was elected as a councillor for the party in May. It had also previously been used by Gordon Brown in his 2008 conference speech. Just as the wheels were starting to come off his premiership…

 

mdi-timer 5 October 2022 @ 11:45 5 Oct 2022 @ 11:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gordon’s Tax Time Bomb Finally Exploding Will Have Him Laughing

Foreign Office Minister Gillian Keegan was spot on when she told Times Radio this morning that the top rate of tax was a political time bomb left behind by Gordon Brown:

“I always knew that it was going to be a political problem. I mean, let’s be honest, this was a political trap that was set by Gordon Brown in the dying days of his role as PM, right. And I paid the 50% tax. I was in business then. And I remember how devastating it was because actually, it meant you were paying about 65% tax. And there’s something in your mind, which is like, really, you know, only 35% for me? And I’m doing all these hours. I was a business person, then it was set as a political trap…. In theory it [the top rate of tax] should never have been there.”

There is something immoral about the government taking the majority of your income in tax. It is also a disheartening disincentive; reversing this spiteful tax is the correct policy, though this might perhaps be the wrong time. Getting rid of a political tax that was only set up by Gordon Brown when he knew he was likely to be ousted –to hurt the Tories rather than raise revenue – was the right thing to do. Even the IFS’ Paul Johnson thinks in revenue terms “It might plausibly cost nothing at all”. The tax was not about raising revenue – it was about political positioning.

Back in Fife, Brown will be rocking in his chair laughing that his tax booby trap, announced only weeks before he left office, and which was expected to cause problems for his successor David Cameron, has finally exploded in the face of a Tory Chancellor. The fuse wire on Brown’s time bomb turned out to be 12 years long…

mdi-timer 3 October 2022 @ 11:55 3 Oct 2022 @ 11:55 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gordon Brown Still the Most Unpopular PM of the Century

The usual blowhards like Alastair Campbell and James O’Brien like to claim that Boris was the worst Prime Minister of all time. That’s not a view reflected by the public. According to data compiled by Britain Elects and published by the New Statesman, during his premiership Boris never reached the depths of unpopularity reached by most of his recent predecessors as PM. Tony Blair was more unpopular before he left office, Gordon Brown was far more unpopular during his tenure and Theresa May sunk lower in popular esteem than ever Boris did. Of recent PMs only David Cameron was less negatively perceived at his lowest point. Dave didn’t have the almost universal and unforgiving disdain of the europhile chattering classes against him though…

mdi-timer 5 September 2022 @ 15:09 5 Sep 2022 @ 15:09 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Brown Loses IPSO Ruling Over Speccie Article

IPSO has dismissed a complaint by Gordon Brown against the Spectator, over an article reporting that his office had received £124,494.99 for a four-hour speech for Sberbank in 2012. The Russian bank was sanctioned in February this year following the invasion of Ukraine. The primary basis of the former PM’s complaint was that the luxury all-inclusive speaking engagement — at a cost of £8 a second — was paid to ‘The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown‘, rather than, as he believed the headline implied, him directly. This is not the first time Gordon has bullied newspaper editors.

Brown argued that “an apology was merited, where the inaccuracies were: serious; had caused significant personal distress; and had caused serious harm to his reputation.” His evidence included two tweets from members of the public. 

In short, IPSO ruled that “reading each version of the article as a whole, the true position was made clear: that the money paid by the bank for the complainant’s speech had not been received in a personal capacity, and was held by the office of the complainant and his wife.”

IPSO summed up their conclusion:

“The Committee did not find that any version of the article included significant inaccuracies or misleading information in need of correction.”

Gordon’s staffers should be on the lookout for flying paperweights this afternoon…

mdi-timer 25 August 2022 @ 13:40 25 Aug 2022 @ 13:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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