Women’s Equality: From Maggie to Pink Buses in 40 Years

As Harriet Harman’s plans to spend her election riding around in a pink bus campaigning on female equality are revealed, ironically it is 40 years to the day that Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Tory party. Labour have still never elected a female leader, though at least Hattie is fighting for the sisterhood in this interview with Mehdi Hasan today:

HH: “Unite has provided us with a driver and blow me down they’ve managed to find a woman with one of these licenses. We’ve had lots of doctrinal discussions, such as: should we be alright with a male driver?”

MH: “Has there been any discussion of the colour of her vehicle? Isn’t driving around in a pink van a bit patronizing? A bit clichéd?”

HH: “Well it doesn’t have big eyelashes on the front.”

A union official driving Labour’s sexist bus on the 40 year anniversary of Maggie becoming Tory leader. PMQs gold for Cameron…

UPDATE: The Times say the eyelashes were actually mooted by a Labour frontbencher and genuinely considered.

GUIDO POLL: Foreign Nando’s V British Harvester

The PM has claimed that foreign food from Nando’s is better value than a good old British Harvester. He probably focus grouped his answers, but is he out of touch?

Unemployment Falls to 5.8%

  • employment continued to rise and unemployment continued to fall. These changes maintain the general direction of movement since late 2011/early 2012.
  • There were 30.80 million people in work. This was 37,000 more than for June to August 2014
  • Comparing September to November 2014 with a year earlier, there were 512,000 more people in work.
  • the employment rate was 73.0%
  • There were 1.91 million unemployed people. This was 58,000 fewer than for June to August 2014
  • Comparing September to November 2014 with a year earlier, there were 418,000 fewer unemployed people
  • The unemployment rate was 5.8%, lower than for June to August 2014 (6.0%) and lower than for a year earlier (7.1%)
Via ONS.

We’re Healthier, Wealthier and Longer Living

Oxfam was complaining today that some people were too rich. Truth is globally, thanks to capitalism, we’re all getting richer.

We’re so much better off than our ancestors…

Are You Happier Than You Were Five Years Ago?


According to the Misery Index, the answer is yes. This is officially the least miserable we have been since Guido started recording the nation’s unhappiness before the last election. The fall in inflation today, as well as a slightly lower Public Sector Net Cash Requirement this month, means there is a clear downward trend in misery levels and that we are happier today than we have been in five years.

No wonder Miliband this week proposed a different index to measure the nation’s well-being…

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

Smoke and Mirrors on Tory ‘Treasury’ Doc Cover

It looks like a Treasury document, it’s laid out like a Treasury document and it reads like a Treasury document. That doesn’t make it a Treasury document…

Ironically, Osborne won’t actually let Labour’s figures be analysed officially (by the OBR), stalling until the next parliament citing a lack of resources.

From the red cover, to the green and black text inside the Tories really, really want you to think this is an official document. Still brave of Labour to use the expression “dodgy dossier”…

UPDATE:

Another happy reader…

Relative Values: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

OSBORNE-NELSON

The spat between George Osborne and Fraser Nelson over whether or not the deficit has been halved is very much a Westminster bubble affair of little consequence to anyone outside SW1. Interested voters who even understand the difference between the deficit and the debt know that the government’s target to balance the budget in 2015 has been missed by £100 billion or so. As Jonathan Portes over at the Keynesian redoubt of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research gleefully points out, George Osborne has succeeded in implementing the Darling plan, which his own Financial Secretary to the Treasury condemned, for being endorsed only by The Guardian. The Chancellor deserves a degree of Fraser’s ridicule for only managing to execute the very Plan B that Osborne himself once ridiculed as ruinous.

The Tories are arguing, whilst simultaneously carrying the goalposts, that they have managed to halve the deficit in relative terms, relative to GDP. Professional economists seem to think that is a fair method of measuring the deficit. So how are they doing, in relative terms, on other key indicators?

The national debt relative to GDP is up, from 78.4% under Gordon Brown in 2010 to 90.6% last year. It is still rising, which is in the government’s own self-defined terms a big economic failure.

The Tories like to boast that employment is higher now than ever before, as indeed it was every year under the last Labour government, because the population grows. The unemployment rate is relative to the population. That is down impressively from 8% to 6% thanks to IDS, better still the youth unemployment and long term unemployment rates are also down. A trump card in the economic argument.

Per capita GDP was, as Danny Blanchflower and Ed Balls kept pointing out sombrely with smirks on their faces, falling. We were getting, on average, poorer. According to World Bank figures, the answer to Reagan’s famous question for voters “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” is a “yes”, just about. After inflation voters are on average 1.8% better off now than they were in 2010.*

Quantitative Easing on a scary scale has rigged other economic indicators like inflation and interest rates whilst pumping up asset prices. Great if you already owned financial assets or prime London property…

It seems a long-time since The Spectator was eulogising George Osborne as “the true Tory leader“, the enmity towards the Treasury from the Speccie is near constant nowadays. Guido notes that in a Tory leadership election it is almost certain that the magazine will back Boris, a former editor, against Osborne…

*Although for higher income earners – the income bracket usually well disposed towards voting Conservative – Osborne’s Guardianista pleasing fetishising of the Gini coefficient will mean they are probably worse off. Only a genius political strategist like Osborne would bash his core vote hardest.

Joined Up Campaigning From Labour

“A choice of hope with us or falsehood with Conservatives” says Ed Miliband this morning. Labour are briefing their key election principles will be to fight for victory on streets and doorsteps – not speaking over heads with posters – and secondly offering people hope, not falsehood.

This weekend they launched their campaign with a poster with a proven falsehood on it.

Makes you wonder about the rest of Ed’s ‘cast-iron commitments’…

Rich’s 2015 Election View

Labour Hit Back With Their Own Misleading Poster

Labour’s new poster out tonight is as deliberately misleading as the Tory effort earlier this week. What do the OBR say about Osborne’s spending plans? In 2020 public spending will fall to 35% of GDP, “below the previous post-war lows reached in 1957-58 and 1999-00 to what would probably be its lowest level in 80 years”. So as a proportion of GDP spending falls to 1930s levels, but in actual day-to-day real terms the OBR says: “by 2019-20 day-to-day spending on public services would be at its lowest level since 2002-03 in real terms. Five more months of this to go…

Danny’s Balls

dannys-ball-forecasts2

Guido has in the past reflected on the accuracy of Danny Blanchflower’s economic forecasting. How have his more recent forecasts of doom and gloom fared?

“Pay is going nowhere,” said the sage of Dartmouth last month, warning “we won’t see real wage growth until 2016 at the earliest”. Dopey Danny was following up on his June prediction that there is little likelihood of real wage growth rising in the months ahead”. He also made the same warning in May“I wish the MPC good luck with their forecast that real wages are set to rise in the second half of 2014”.

Lo and behold, today’s ONS data shows that “average earnings are now definitely rising”. He really should throw away his crystal ball…

LibDems Spent £1.5 Million on Winning One Euro Seat

The Electoral Commission today reveals how much each party spent on their European election campaigns. The big bucks splashed by the Tories and UKIP meant they paid six figures for each seat won. Labour got best value for money, spending just over a million quid for their 20 seats, or just over £50,000 per MEP.

The LibDems blew £1.5 million with just one MEP to show for it…

Labour Oppositions Never Gain Ground in Final Six Months

Fascinating analysis on ConHome showing how Labour’s poll ratings six months out from elections have historically compared with the final election result. Guido’s graph above illustrates how “Labour consistently end up winning fewer votes in the general election than the polls would have suggested six months in advance”. Lewis Baston concludes: “Governments gain more often than oppositions: if my Conservative-supporting readers want some comfort, there are no cases of a Labour opposition gaining ground over the final six months”. Something for Tory MPs to cling onto going into next year…

45% of Satanists Vote Tory

Firefighting the somewhat unfortunate endorsement of UKIP by Nick Griffin, telly’s Suzanne Evans produced the stat of the day:

From whence came this macabre revelation? Archbishop Cranmer has found the answer:

“The article to which she refers is ‘Satanism in Britain Today’ by Graham Harvey in the Journal of Contemporary Religion (10:3, 1995). So it’s not so contemporary, but certainly worth a bit of extrapolation. Harvey found that 45 per cent of self-identifying Satanists voted Conservative in the 1992 General Election.”

So Suzanne was only slightly exaggerating. Lynton Crosby’s core vote strategy in action…

77% Increase in Immigration From Romania and Bulgaria

Via the ONS:

  • Net migration was 260,000 last year, a statistically significant increase from 182,000 in the previous 12 months.
  • It remains below the peak of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005.
  • 583,000 people immigrated last year, a statistically significant increase from 502,000 in the previous 12 months. There were statistically significant increases in immigration of EU (up 45,000) and non-EU (up 30,000) citizens.
  • 323,000 people emigrated last year.
  • National Insurance Number (NINo) registrations to adult overseas nationals increased by 12% to 668,000 in the year ending September 2014 from the previous year. Romanian citizens had the highest number of registrations (104,000), followed by Polish citizens (98,000).
  • 32,000 Romanian and Bulgarian citizens immigrated last year, a statistically significant increase from 18,000 in the previous 12 months.

So the government’s net migration figure has gone the same way as the deficit figure, the wrong way…

Which Politician Would You Snog Under the Mistletoe?

Guido is donning his brown cords for the Political Studies Association awards dinner this evening. The PSA have done some very early festive polling to find out who the public would most like to stand under the mistletoe with. Clegg soars to 2%…

Working Klass Hero: The People Back Myleene Over Ed

You know it’s bad when the Staggers have to try to spin Ed’s going over by Myleene Klass on last night’s Agenda. Apparently “this row could work in Miliband’s favour.” Hmm, not if the voting public are anything to go by…

Today’s poll on Metro just about says it all:

At least he didn’t sniff a fellow guest on the show, this time.

Misery Index: Long Term Melancholic Plan Working

It is four years this month since Guido began recording the misery of the nation. One of this government’s crowning achievements must surely be the decline in unhappiness among the population on their watch. Only the continuing deficit is preventing the index declining further. A joyous couple of months – a fall in both RPI inflation to 2.3% and unemployment to 6% – mean we are in one of the happiest periods we have been since records began. Osborne’s Long Term Melancholic Plan is working…

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

90% of MPs Don’t Support Real Recall

Parliament will debate Nick Clegg’s Recall fudge this afternoon. A clear choice for MPs to choose between Clegg’s Bill, which only lets the public boot out corrupt politicians if their fellow politicians agree, or Zac Goldsmith’s Real Recall amendment, which actually gives the public a say. Imagine Guido’s surprise that 90% of MPs are not supporting giving voters the power to sack them without their approval… 

Have We Reached Peak Buzzfeed?

Turns out Buzzfeed may not understand how the internet generation likes to consume news and shareable content…

Via Business Insider.
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