THE NUMBERS AREN’T LYING
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.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE PM
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.
RENDERING UNTO CAESAR
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.
LAFFER FOR LEFTISTS
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.