“Your Members Have Had Massive Real Pay Increases”

As ASLEF yesterday announced yet another round of strikes, all the while Britain’s railways continue to crumble, their union boss has met the same fate on the broadcast round. Mick Whelan appeared on the Today programme and was left fumbling when pressed on the reality of train driver pay. Nick Robinson pointed out that drivers had gained a 17% pay rise, in real terms, over the past decade. The national average is 1%.

Robbo’s charge that “you’ve been doing very well, Mr Whelan, haven’t you?” was met by a period of confused mumbling as the rail baron scrambled for a response. If Nick thought his drivers were doing well, wait until he finds out what Mick earns…

This all comes as new polling conducted for the New Statesman found support for strikes is strongly correlated with earnings. A strong majority, 52%, Oppose those earning over £50,000 going out on strike, with just 17% supporting them. The New Statesman conveniently includes a low estimate for train driver’s starting salaries in their article, of £24,000, this doesn’t account for their rapid rise upon qualification. Even the Guardian is happy to admit they do average over £50,000…

mdi-timer 18 January 2023 @ 10:42 18 Jan 2023 @ 10:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Behind Guido, Why Does Boris Want It? Bible Lesson for Welby, Laffer For Leftists


The Guido spreadsheet attracted record daily viewings yesterday and surely stands as the most authoritative tally of MPs’ voting intentions in the election.

The showrunners of the three contenders will have their own spreadsheets, but they are secret, highly-guarded documents. As a result, there will be names featuring in all three lists. They are dealing, after all, with “the most sophisticated electorate in the world” (pause for hollow laughter).

The spreadsheet has empty green cells indicating MPs who have contacted the site to declare their allegiance but who cannot – for reasons of official position in the party – declare themselves.

Sunak has six backers in this category out of his total of 105, and Boris has 17 out of his total of 69. Ignore this finding if you prefer, but all have been verified and constitute the most complete knowledge to date.

This exchange was broadcast this morning on the BBC’s Today programme.

ROBINSON: “Forgive me, [Rishi Sunak] has broken 100, has he?”

RAAB: “Well, I’m going on the public declarations as recorded by the Guido Fawkes website.”

ROBINSON: “We’re at 93 at the BBC.”

As the old English proverb says: You’re either in front of Guido or you are behind.



Among the undeclared Tories are 45-odd MPs associated with the Brexity Right of the party. Of their ilk, a further dozen have come out for Rishi and a score or so have come out for Boris.

It’s pretty clear Boris – currently 30-odd short of the hurdle – is going to make the final two, perhaps in second place. Equally clear is that the membership would choose him over Rishi – perhaps more narrowly than he’d like.

Is the premiership – this premiership – really what Boris wants? The Government is a famous shambles. Old people will die of cold in their homes this winter. A long recession seems probable, a depression not impossible. It’s far more likely than not the Tories will lose the next election.

Add to that – if Boris failed to lift the Tories with an immediate poll bounce from their historic 14% … It doesn’t bear thinking about. The whole party will experience something akin to the last moments of the Hindenburg.

It just doesn’t seem like anything Boris would want to be associated with.

But how can he back out now?

If the declarations are narrowly similar, and he’s below Rishi, maybe he could concede the contest in return for a job he would enjoy. Rebuilding Ukraine, for example, on behalf of the UN.

Would he go for that? There is a rumour – or at least, a rumour of a rumour – that he would.

Is the rumour true?

All that can be said is: it’s true there’s a rumour.



Archbishop Welby has all sorts of opinions unconnected with the spiritual welfare of his parish, the latest of which concerns the top rate of tax. He called the ill-fated proposal to reduce it “immoral”.

The Archbishop’s view on optimal tax rates is as relevant to the debate as Richard Dawkins’ views on the existence of God.

It’s the modern disease. Experts of all sorts breach their circumference, and use their position in one field to elevate their opinions in another. They feel themselves to be laureates but are actually Men in Pubs saying, ‘And another thing.’

When Jesus was asked the famous trick question by Pharisees, ‘Should we pay taxes to Caesar?’ He said (after asking for a coin, and after asking whose face they saw), “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…”

The normal episcopal charge for Bible lessons is £25 a lesson. For archbishops, it is double. The invoice is in the mail.



Does no one believe in Laffer anymore?

The theory, described by economics guru George Bush Snr. as “voodoo economics”, asserts that lowering taxes can increase tax revenues. The increased rewards incentivise greater efforts, more activity, more wealth to tax. Everyone’s better off.

Large sections of the Left like higher taxes whether they produce more revenue or not.

But they might like a bit of Laffer when it comes to the minimum wage.

The Right say a higher minimum wage will increase unemployment. However, there are times when the act of increasing wages above benefits creates an incentive to get back into the workforce, resulting in an increase in employment.

Same for optimal tax rates. There are occasions, depending on where you are on the Laffer Curve, when lower taxes produce more revenue.

It all depends on where you are on Laffer’s Ingenious Curve.

Next week: Trickledown.

mdi-timer 22 October 2022 @ 10:32 22 Oct 2022 @ 10:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Reeves Could Learn from Robinson’s £65 Billion Apology

Since the Bank of England announced market operations to purchase gilts last Wednesday, Westminster politicos have been struggling to get their heads round the intricacies of gilt markets. It therefore comes as no surprise to Guido that Nick Robinson was forced into a correction today, after incorrectly repeating the widely tweeted claim that the Bank of England has spent “£65 billion to prop up the markets”:

The claim is somewhat misleading. The Bank of England pledged to buy gilts to the tune of a maximum of £5 billion a day, over two weeks, to assure markets. This means the maximum possible spend was £65 billion, though the actual number will be far smaller. In reality the bank has purchased around £3.66 billion so far, with yesterday’s purchases coming in at just £22 million. The smaller purchase signals the Bank is comfortable with the current state of gilt markets as its credible commitment appears to have paid off. Guido appreciates that the BBC this time took the effort to get the facts right…

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, who should know better as an ex-Bank of England employee, repeated the same line: “The fact the Bank of England had to step in with a £65 billion bailout with taxpayers money is deeply shameful.” It is not a fact.

Firstly, the market operation will be nowhere near £65 billion. Secondly, it is not money from taxpayers, it is from Treasury reserves, with the purchases even having the potential to make a profit* on resale. So her “taxpayers’ money” claim is also incorrect. Robbo we can excuse, he only has a PPE degree from Oxford. The Shadow Chancellor, a trained economist, is deliberately and wilfully misrepresenting the facts for political advantage…

*A market source says that marked-to-market the Treasury is currently in profit on the trade.

mdi-timer 4 October 2022 @ 10:49 4 Oct 2022 @ 10:49 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
LISTEN: Brandon Lewis Asked Nine Times if Truss Backs Cost of Living “Handouts”

Nick Robinson obviously had his Weetabix today. Speaking to Truss ally Brandon Lewis this morning, Robinson repeatedly grilled the former Northern Ireland Secretary over Truss’s economic plans, with Lewis refusing nine times to confirm if Truss will give cost of living “handouts” to households this winter.

“She also said we will look to do whatever we can to help people – that’s what an emergency budget is about. She’s willing to do more to help people but her focus is around doing it in a way that puts more money in people’s pockets, creates a high-growth economy with higher wages, more people in work. So rather than having handouts, what we do is have a low-tax economy that’s driving growth.”

That wasn’t enough for Robinson, who kept going and going until Lewis eventually said “that would be pre-judging a budget we’ve not had yet.” 

The problem, as Guido pointed out in this morning’s campaign round-up, is Liz never rejected handouts. Her FT interview, from which this row stemmed, saw her state “tax cuts and supply side reforms” are her primary objective, however “Of course I will look at what more can be done”. It seems Brandon forgot to make this point…

mdi-timer 8 August 2022 @ 10:45 8 Aug 2022 @ 10:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Nick Robinson’s Early Morning Jolyon Jibe

Guido almost can’t help feeling sorry for Jolyon these days. Not only is his judicial review empire crumbling around him, he’s now firmly established as a household name for one thing only: his fox murdering. Such is the entrenched perception of the touchy barrister, when Nick Robinson joked on The Today Programme this morning of his recent garden fox prevention improvements, he clarified all he needed was a fence and that Jolyon’s services “were not required”. If even the Today Programme considers you a go-to punchline, maybe it’s time to hang up your barrister’s wig. 

mdi-timer 27 April 2022 @ 08:59 27 Apr 2022 @ 08:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Nick Robinson Sneers at GB News Viewership

Nick Robinson used a Today Programme interview this morning to sneer at GB News’ viewing figures, entirely unprovoked. During a chat with Big Jet TV –who shot to fame yesterday livestreaming planes arrived at Heathrow mid-Eunice – he compared the channel’s one-day peak with GB News’ figures:

“Robinson: And you got 200,000 viewers at one point?

Jerry Dyer: 238,000 live viewers at one point

Robinson: They dream of that at GB News, I’ll tell you that”

Perhaps most awkwardly this sneering jibe got no reaction from the interviewee. It’s not just Guido who thinks this inappropriate; the Mirror’s Rachel Wearmouth described it as “Really unattractive attitude. Arrogant, even.”

It’s one thing for Robinson et al to leech off the licence fee taxpayers for their jobs, it’s another to sneer at independent rivals putting in hard work and taking risks to plug a gap in the broadcasting market – work that’s paying off as their latest Sky News-beating viewership proves. Time will tell whether Robinson reflects on the tone of this high-handed snobbery…

mdi-timer 19 February 2022 @ 09:02 19 Feb 2022 @ 09:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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