Guido Co-conspirators’ Top 12 Book Buys

Guido’s blog reading co-conspirators are massive consumers of books, usually bought online courtesy of Amazon. According to the online retailer our reader’s favourite top purchases of 2011 were:

  1. Let Them Eat Carbon: The Price of Failing Climate Change Policies
  2. The Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy
  3. Zetter’s Political Companion
  4. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
  5. The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze
  6. The Triumph of the Political Class
  7. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics
  8. Back from the Brink: 1,000 Days at Number 11
  9. Ed: The Milibands and the making of a Labour leader
  10. Dirty politics, Dirty times
  11. The Rise of Political Lying
  12. A Walk-On Part: Diaries 1994-1999 (Mullin Diaires 3)

E-editions and books were combined. Pugnacious Mehdi Hasan really should be less chippy given how many of his books Guido helps shift…

Dead Ed: The Graph CCHQ Rein in the Hounds

Newsnight gave Ed a pasting last night, but sometimes a graph is all you need. Left Foot Forward have hit the spot:

Half the country thinks he possess absolutely no qualities worth noting. Guido hears that CCHQ strategists have scrapped an attack on Ed’s leadership pencilled in for Friday morning, post by-election defeat…

Here's the Fear for Osborne

Back in July the government won a vote to send £9 billion to the IMF by just 28 votes, the tightest margin yet for the Coalition government. Despite the best efforts of the whips some thirty-two Tory MPs rebelled against the government. With Osborne’s pledge today to increase British contributions to the IMF before the cash is sent on its way to Greece, an even trickier vote lies ahead:


Labour voted against the government last time and Guido can see no reason why they would change their vote next time. If you add the 81 EU rebels on the Tory benches to Labour’s vote the government will be defeated. There is some obvious panic in the Treasury as the realisation has dawned that if Ed Balls marches Labour through the no-bailout door followed by the Tory rebels, the government will lose. Excluding minor parties it will be 339 votes to 282 against more bailout cash.

There are more Tory €uro-rebels than LibDem MPs, yet it’s Clegg and the swivel-eyed Europhiles with their hands on the tiller…

Watson Criticises Sam & Dave's £30,000 Refurbishment Labour MPs Tom & Iain Claimed £100,000 for Lavish Flat

Former Minister for Dirty Tricks Tom Watson thinks he can redeem his past sins on the back of pummelling Murdoch. The media are too terrified to say a negative word about him, so not for the first time it falls to Guido to highlight some hypocrisy ignored by the craven Old Media. A Labour Party press release in Watson’s name yesterday bleated:

“At a time when David Cameron is squeezing the income of millions of hard working families, he has decided to show off his grace and favour accommodation which he has lavishly and unnecessarily refurbished at the taxpayers’ expense. £30,000 of taxpayers’ money was reportedly spent on refurbishing the flat – more than most workers earn in a year… This is blatant hypocrisy and shows just how out of touch Cameron is.”

What our Tommy fails to mention, “wilfully” you might say, is that the refurbished flat will last far longer than Cameron’s premiership and will remain the property of the people. Unlike someone else’s lavishly fitted out residence…

The personal flat that Watson shares with fellow former Minister Iain Wright has seen them claim over £100,000 for refurbishments and such like for their pad including their shares of the legal costs involved in buying it, as well as the fees to buy the freehold. Unlike the PM he will be able to sell and keep the profit from his taxpayer feather-bedded nest. Interesting to note that Watson is suddenly willing to bring Cameron’s family into play. Given that the Watson clan have collectively taken £300,000 off the taxpayer you might wonder whether Tom is really one to be criticising anyone…

Vince Attack Shafted By History

The most memorable sound-bite from Vince Cable’s speech will be his attack on his coalition partners and the right in general:

“What I will not do though is provide cover for ideological descendents of those who sent children up chimneys.”

Like his attack on “spivs” last year, this one will stick for all the wrong reasons. Who was it that brought an end to children being sent up chimneys? Lord Shaftesbury and his 1864 Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers. Shaftesbury was a Tory. You would think Vince would remember voting on it…

Misery Index: An ONS Nightmare

A rare surplus in the public sector net cash requirement seems to have distorted the misery index, despite the gloom on the horizon and rising unemployment. Guido is definitely not happy, having just spent longer than ever necessary trying to navigate around the utterly shoddy, messy and overly complex new website for the Office of National Statistics, he’s in need of a drink. Another spectacular public sector IT success…

From now onwards the Misery Index will be bought to you using Bloomberg data.

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Evidence Based Blogging: Flat Taxers Lead Growth Chart

There’s nothing more former Treasury spinner Will Straw and his band of merry progressives like doing more than talking down the UK. So eager are they for any chance to kick Osborne that they leave their flanks vulnerable. Their graph showing Britain’s tragically anaemic growth while tragic has unintended consequences for the tax and spenders. Have a look at the three countries leading the growth figures:

Osborneeffecteurope.JPG

We on this blog are huge fans of the Baltic model, but apart from pretty blonde girls, what do Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have in common? Well flat taxes of 24%, 25% and 33% respectively for one. Discuss…

Misery Index: It's Not Just the Unemployment Figures

With unemployment up by 38,000 to 2.49 million, the Misery Index is nearly at our most miserable this year. However the bad news isn’t all due to the rise in joblessness. The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement is not seasonally adjusted and is up considerably on last month. Either way we are 7 points more miserable then we were this time last year…

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

UK Now Safer Haven than Germany

Over at the “evidence based” LeftFootFoward blog they have an opinion piece claiming “Osborne’s ‘safe haven’ view is delusional”. Let’s examine the evidence, starting with Sovereign Credit Default Swap rates:

Exhibit A

CDS rates reflect the cost of insuring against the risk of default. UK gilts have got their edge back, German government bunds are now seen by international markets as a higher risk than British gilts. So Osborne is right to claim that Britain is seen as a safe haven, with the resultant benefit of lower cost long term borrowing. Guido’s second piece of evidence is the disparity between German and UK government borrowing rates:

Exhibit B

German 5-year borrowing rate: 1.41%

UK 5-year borrowing rate: 1.29%

UK rates are lower, though not as low as that other traditional European safe haven, Switzerland, where interest rates have turned negative. This means that effectively you have to pay the bank to deposit Swiss francs. Below are last night’s closing money market rates for Swiss LIBOR futures, usually quoted as 100 minus the rate, they are now confusingly trading above 100 meaning that money market rates are now negative. Not something Guido has ever seen before…


Elsewhere in Europe the banking system teeters on the edge of disaster. Anecdotally there are tales of Italians driving their Alfa Romeos across the border to convert their paper euros into hard currency in Switzerland. To paraphrase Sarah Palin: How is that monetary unity thing working out for europhiles?

Misery Index: Anaemic Growth Reflected in Minor Misery Bite

On the day that David Cameron’s blue-sky, million pound happiness index is widely mocked, allow Guido to give you a little dose of reality. With the anaemic growth and a high public sector cash-requirement, there has been an increase in how miserable we feel, however the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show our misery, like our growth, flat-lining around the “not as bad as it could be, but pretty low” area. Things will get a lot uglier if we don’t get economic growth…

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Macintyre and Hasan Hit Ed Where It Hurts

Mehdi Hasan went into damage control mode over at the Guardian this morning, with a long piece that essentially boils down to “please don’t blame my book for Ed’s nosedive in the polls”. He goes on to offer helpful advice about how the struggling Leader of the Opposition might be able to up his game. But it’s a bit late to be trying to curry favour again. 

Miliband’s office deny suggestions that Shadow Cabinet members were told by Tom Baldwin not to attend the book launch on Tuesday. Guido’s sources denied any edict went out either on or off the record. Neil Kinnock pulling out as the speaker at the last moment was unfortunate. Could it be that the former unsuccessful leader of the Labour Party didn’t want to be seen to be endorsing the book about the so far unsuccessful current leader of the Labour party? Seems ungrateful since he got his party back.

Ban or no ban, it’s clear Team Ed are rather angry with their former cheerleaders-in-chief. And they have good cause to be. Take a look at the ICM/Guardian net approval ratings before and after the Mail on Sunday serialisation of the book. The latest Ipsos-Mori data confirms the ICM findings:

The book led the storm of bad publicity for Miliband in the weeks that saw the six point approval-rating drop. Despite what Hasan argues in his piece, the evidence is to the contrary. 

Misery Index: Public Sector Dip Eases Pain

As the unions square up for a fight Guido’s Misery Index, the reality-based antidote to Dave’s blue-sky happiness index, is showing that people should be a little happier than they were in the last month. From the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics the decrease this month in the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement has eased the pain, slightly. The likelihood now that the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is firmly in the hands of inflation-doves is that inflation will rip. One MPC member, Adam Posen, actually voted in favour of increasing the size of the Bank of England’s asset purchase programme (QE) to add fuel to the inflation fire.

Inflation has now been above target for two years, the Bank of England itself is predicting that it will continue to miss the target until early 2013. This could end badly…

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Casual Racism Is Fine If You're Labour

Imagine the outrage if a Tory MP had said “migrant workers do things like picking strawberries and digging potatoes“. They would be rightly slammed as hideously out of touch and bigoted, yet barely an eyebrow was raised when Glenda Jackson said it at the Work and Pensions Select Committee meeting this morning. Glenda should do her homework. Despite her patronising comments, via the ONS, we learn that agriculture has one of the lowest migrant employment figures of any sector:

Guido isn’t sure many of Britain’s foreign-born multi-billionaires got rich picking fruit…

UPDATE: Seems Guido wasn’t the only one who thought Glenda was a bit off:

How The Commons Should Be Run

Guido has been amusing himself with a new toy this afternoon. The Commons Performance Cockpit is designed to introduce some business metrics to the Commons. Using expenses data and MPs attendance and performance information, you can rank Members on value for money.

One fact caught Guido’s attention:

“MP Dennis Skinner wins Commons voting record: He voted in 98.4% of all debates in 2010. Compare this with the member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath who managed to vote in only 33 (13%) of the debates. Relate this to their total costs per debate they voted in and we find Mr Skinner cost £321 whilst Mr Brown cost £3,164 each time they voted.”

Now there is a surprise.

Misery Index : Misery Up As Inflation Rises

Today’s inflation rose with CPI increasing 4.5% in April from 4.0% in March the highest rate since since October 2008. Guido’s Misery Index however uses the Retail Price Index, which though dropping slightly, is essentially flat lining. Misery has risen again due to a rise in the Public Sector cash requirement, which soared this month. We were happier in April, but as the Coalition reaches a year, the Misery Index reaches a high of 20.50. Nearly the most unhappy we’ve been all year…

The Misery Index adds on the government’s deficit divided by the GDP taken from the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Retail Prices Index + Unemployment rate + ( Public Sector Net Cash Requirement / GDP ) = Misery Index

Plugging in the latest available figures for this month gives you:

5.2% + 7.8% + (24.8 / 330.8 x 100)  = 20.50

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Arianna & Dale, They Can Huff & PuffBut They Won't Blow Guido's House Down

So Arianna Huffington is coming to London and Iain Dale is having his second coming. He tells the Guardian:

“I’ve recruited 40 or 50 friends to write for the site. Some are well known, others aren’t. The thing they have in common in that they’re all great writers. And I’m giving a second life to some of the best bloggers who’ve stopped blogging over the last year. Will it work? No idea. But it’s costing nothing and if it fails the only red face will be mine.”

Which is the Arianna strategy and AOL paid her $315 million. Dale reckons the mainstream media has ‘eaten up the blogosphere’. It is true to say of the Dead Tree Press “we are all bloggers now”, but has it hit our audience? Guido thinks not, look at the numbers (and this is excluding RSS, Twitter, Kindle and other pay per view distribution platforms) the trend is still positive :

In terms of mindshare if anything our audience is firming up where it matters – amongst opinion leaders. Comment is free, but news is what people want, and news is what people don’t want you to know, all else is advertising. Bring it on…

POLL : Permanently Marred?

As the anger grows over Andrew Marr’s audacity at paying to hide his own public interest story, while being paid to probe the lives of the rest of the political class, Guido thought he would gauge opinion:

Don’t forget we pay him £600,000 a year for the pleasure. No wonder he could afford the luxury of an injunction and to support a child that wasn’t even his.

Revised Misery Index : Unemployement Fall Eases Pain Further

Thought you were happy yesterday with the unexpected inflation dip?

Well today you are not exactly happier, but even less miserable than you were at the weekend. The surprise dip in unemployment of 17,000 has increased the spike in happiness that Guido’s Misery Index showed yesterday.

Ed Balls is quiet today.

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Official: Twitter is a Leftie Echo Chamber

Boffins at the University of Cambridge have confirmed what Guido has long suspected – Twitter is a leftie-dominated echo chamber. Analysis the influence of US media outlets on the site came out with some worrying numbers:

“We assumed that a user follows media sources that match his political leaning if all the media sources he follows are of one political leaning. These users with clear political preference, whom we call seeds, accounted for 7 million or 50.8% of all audience. Most seeds were either left-wing (62%) or center (37%). Only 61,164 users (1%) were right-wing.”

Despite the numbers not being in their favour, the right does still apparently hold their own. Retweets could be the key: “17.8% of the left-wing seeds received retweets from right-wing media and 57.2%, vice versa.” So the lefties retweeting the righties weakens their inbuilt advantage. Not sure Sally got the memo…

If nerdy numbers are your thing, you can read all of “Media landscape in Twitter: A world of new conventions and political diversityhere.

Misery Index : Inflation Falls, Happiness Spikes

On the day that Action for Happiness launches, a genuine membership organisation for the promotion of happiness, we have re-calculated the Misery Index with the latest RPI off highs but at a still eye-watering 5.3% in March. Guido’s Misery Index is taken from the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics and incorporates inflation and unemployment as well as a deficit component.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Watch: Caracas Corbyn’s Venezuela Shame Watch: Caracas Corbyn’s Venezuela Shame
Ignore Remain Spin: Tory Leavers Support Transition Ignore Remain Spin: Tory Leavers Support Transition
Monbiot Fouls Up on Chlorine Chicken Monbiot Fouls Up on Chlorine Chicken
Now Abi Slurs Cancer-Stricken John McCain Now Abi Slurs Cancer-Stricken John McCain
Diane Abbott Tweets Fake May Quote Diane Abbott Tweets Fake May Quote
Labour’s Brexit Shambles Labour’s Brexit Shambles
Stop the War Getting Free Tours at Imperial War Museum Stop the War Getting Free Tours at Imperial War Museum
WATCH: We Fixed Momentum’s Nepotism Video WATCH: We Fixed Momentum’s Nepotism Video
Anti-Grammar Labour MP Sent Sons to Grammar School Anti-Grammar Labour MP Sent Sons to Grammar School
Petrol and Diesel Ban Hypocrites Petrol and Diesel Ban Hypocrites
Abi Says Is Abi Exempt from 100% Inheritance Tax Abi Says Is Abi Exempt from 100% Inheritance Tax
Former MP Abusing Parliamentary Pass Former MP Abusing Parliamentary Pass
Exclusive: New Government Appointments in Full Exclusive: New Government Appointments in Full
Corbyn Deletes Another Wrong Tweet Corbyn Deletes Another Wrong Tweet
Everything is Awesome for Manufacturing Everything is Awesome for Manufacturing
HMT Predictions Way Off HMT Predictions Way Off
#DespiteBrexit: A Classic of the Genre #DespiteBrexit: A Classic of the Genre
Hat-Trick of Brexit Good News Hat-Trick of Brexit Good News
Guido’s Student Debt Story on Standard Front Page Guido’s Student Debt Story on Standard Front Page
Watch: Shadow Minister Makes Student Debt Promise Watch: Shadow Minister Makes Student Debt Promise