The EU is getting Value for Money From IPPR

Leaving aside IPPR’s massive shift to the left, that has culminated in quotes for Seamus Milne’s knocking copy, Guido had to chuckle at their latest email:

IPPR event series:
Where next for Europe?

The ‘democratic deficit’ and reform of the EU’s machinery

Tuesday 21st February 2012
12:30 – 14:00
IPPR Offices, 14 Buckingham Street, London WC2N 6DF

Nothing to do with the fact that IPPR stays afloat thanks to an €800,000 bung from the EU…

Balls Adopts Osborne’s ‘Plan A’ Tells Fabians “There Is No Alternative”

Today sees the evil Fabians holding their “The Economic Alternative” conference and Ed Balls is the keynote speaker.  To raise the curtain he has an interview with Mary Riddell in the conference edition of the Fabian Review. Print deadlines however mean the interview was given some weeks ago when the party line repeated ad nauseuam was different to what it is this morning. In the interview Balls says of the Tory deficit reduction strategy “Nobody in the Labour Party should get into the idea that it has to be this way”.

What a difference to his Guardian interview this morning in which he claims “My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts.”

Same line of questioning, very different answers. The reality of public scepticism regarding Labour’s credibility on the economy and pressure from Shadow Cabinet realists combined with the weakness of Ed Miliband’s authority has forced Ed Balls to switch to George Osborne’s ‘Plan A’. There is no alternative.

High Pay Commission Criticises Rusbridger’s Pay Rise

Guido had better things to do than attend Chuka Umunna’s speech yesterday at an event organised by the re-energised IPPR, but that’s not to say he didn’t have eyes and ears in the room. There was a panel discussion afterwards featuring, among others, Lord Myners and Deborah Hargreaves, the Chairman of the self-appointed High Pay Commission. The event was trailed with a suitably hand-wringing leader in the Guardian which, once again, left them open to accusations of rank hypocrisy. Editor Alan Rusbridger’s package was up 7% to £605,000 last year and when a hack in the audience asked the High Pay Commission panel if this reward for failure was acceptable, with his characteristic charm, Myners instead chose to play the man rather than the ball, describing the hack that had asked the question as “embittered”. Deborah Hargreaves was more forthright:

“The answer is no and maybe that is why they need an employee representative on the remuneration committee.” 

Which was rather honest considering Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was until recently her boss, when she was his business editor and she still contributes occasional articles. Sadly nobody mentioned City tycoon and hedge fund boss Paul Myners’ multi-million pound modern art collection…

Exclusive: James O’Shaughnessy Returns to Policy Exchange

After leaving Downing Street a few months ago, in less than clear circumstances, policy-chief James O’Shaughnessy popped back onto the radar in this morning’s Times. Not only has he penned a passionate article about Gove’s education reforms, but he’s put his money where his mouth is:

“This is why I left Downing Street to start a new social business that aims to operate schools and to provide educational services based on a blend of traditional values and positive psychology: because after ten years as a policy wonk I believe that lasting change will only happen from the bottom up.”

However his blue sky days aren’t quite over yet. Having left Policy Exchange in 2007 to go to work for Cameron, Guido hears on the wonk-vine that he is on his way back to his ideological home. Policy Exchange are heading into their tenth year and are said to be lining up some big projects to celebrate. Guido understands that O’Shaughnessy will be coming back part-time to work, surprisingly enough, on the education side of things. You read it here first…

Social Justice and the Housing Benefit Cap

The Labour left and the Guardian are getting very worked up about the perfectly reasonable housing benefit cap proposal

“for example Louise Ryan, 41, who lives with her husband and two children in Islington, north London, will see the £438-a-week benefit, which covers the rent, reduced to £340 under the changes to housing benefit introduced this month.”

To just afford that £438 rent those of us who work would have to earn as below:

Yearly Monthly Weekly
Gross Income £30,000.00 £2,500.00 £576.92
Pension Deductions £0.00 £0.00 £0.00
Taxable Income £22,525.00 £1,877.08 £433.17
Tax £4,505.00 £375.42 £86.63
National Insurance £2,733.00 £227.75 £52.56
Student Loan £0.00 £0.00 £0.00
Take Home £22,762.00 £1,896.83 £437.73

That rent alone is higher than median wages. It takes the taxes of four people on median wages to cover Louise’s rent. Add on her other benefits and Louise has a household income equivalent to a working family with a household income of over £40,000.  Where is the social justice in paying welfare benefits to people that are higher than the majority of the tax paying working people’s take home pay? This simply cannot continue.

To be fair the Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne recognises this, so the Labour left have begun excoriating him as “a reactionary”. The ubiquitous Owen Jones, author of “Chavs, is representative of the Labour left. He thinks it is “progressive” to pay out to welfare recipients more in benefits than the majority of working people earn:

The Guardian reckons thousand of benefit recipients will have to move out of Kensington and Chelsea. Doesn’t your heart bleed? Guido really hopes that Owen Jones succeeds in getting the Labour Party to go into the election with a manifesto commitment to reverse the cap. It will be a huge electoral liability on the doorstep…

Second Policy Salvo Against MilibandMandelson Backed Think-Tank Launches Another Broadside

For the second time in a month Peter Mandelson’s think-tank, Policy Network, has launched a policy salvo against the direction the Labour Party is taking under Miliband. Mandelson privately is contemptuous of young Ed, these high-minded wonkish policy exhortations are the respectable manifestation of that contempt.

Last month his think-tank published “In the Black Labour: Why fiscal conservatism and social justice go hand-in-hand” is a discussion paper in which the authors; Graeme Cooke, Adam Lent, Anthony Painter and Hopi Sen, called for Labour to embrace fiscal conservatism. The paper was an explicit rebuttal of the kamikaze economics of Ed Balls endorsed by Ed Miliband, which poll after poll shows is not seen as credible by the public. Despite the state of the economy Cameron and Osborne are supported by the British public to a far greater extend than Miliband and Balls.

In exactly the same vein shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont MP and Oxford historian Ben Jackson have written a paper for the think-tank warning that austerity governments often defeat opponents and that historically the Tories have achieved this on multiple occasions. They also urge Miliband to abandon his “predators and producers” rhetoric and “put forward a more convincing strategy for private sector growth than the Conservatives”. McClymont and Jackson further warn that Ed Miliband must avoid the “tax and spend” trap and “a simple defence of the public sector and public spending”Alas that is Labour policy in a nutshell..

See also: Labour-Centrists Laying Down Reality-Based Policy Ideas

£250,000 Prize Christmas Cryptic Challenge

It is a fact of life that they stop manufacturing news over Christmas, which is why the papers are filled with even more dross than normal. Double-page jumbo cryptic crosswords help you while away the time between Christmas lunch and the turkey sandwiches. Guido has something equally as cryptic but far more rewarding…

If you can figure out how a Eurozone state can leave the Euro you could win £250,000. Guido isn’t joking, the Wolfson Economics Prize will be awarded to the person “who is able to articulate how best to manage the orderly exit of one or more member states from the European Monetary Union.”

You have a month until the deadline for submissions on January 31, 2012. So instead of snoozing in the armchair after lunch dreaming of escaping to sunny lands dream of rich sunlit post-Euro uplands. According to the Wolfson Prize announcement the detailed issues that exiting the Eurozone raises include:-

  • Whether and how to redenominate sovereign debt, private savings, and domestic mortgages in the departing nations.
  • Whether and how international contracts denominated in euros might be altered, if one party to the contract is based in a member state which leaves EMU.
  • The effects on the stability of the banking system.
  • The link between exit from EMU and sovereign debt restructuring.
  • How to manage the macroeconomic effects of exit, including devaluation, inflation, confidence, and effects on debts.
  • Different timetables and approaches to transition (e.g. “surprise” redenomination versus signalled transitions).
  • How best to manage the legal and institutional implications.
  • A consideration of evidence from relevant historical examples (e.g. the end of various currency pegs and previous monetary unions)

The Wolfson Economics Prize, worth €286,000, is the second biggest cash prize to be awarded after the Nobel Prize. It aims to ensure that high quality economic thought is given to how the Euro might be restructured into more stable currencies. Guido is read widely in  City dealing rooms, crammed with bond market vigilantes and Phd wielding economic analysts. Given the paucity of bonuses this year, best get your thinking caps on…

Full details from the website:
policyexchange.org.uk/WolfsonEconomicsPrize

Labour-Centrists Laying Down Reality-Based Policy Ideas

Talking to Labour insiders, ambitious young PAds, think-tankers and old hands alike, the candid admission is that they are stuck with Ed Miliband because as with Gordon Brown, there is no-one else. Ed gets a regular mauling at PMQs despite a terrible economy, still looks and sounds like the kid who does the photocopying, has failed to impress the British public and is unable at this stage of the electoral cycle to push further ahead in the polls. His shadow chancellor can never win the argument, because the argument he makes is that the British public is wrong and because it is Ed Balls who is making the argument. Dislodging Ed Balls would risk fraticidal conflict and not getting him off the television screens will guarantee Labour won’t be given a hearing on the economy.

The Labour Party’s centrists and the realist operators who just want power have written off the 2015 electoral prospects of the Labour party under the two Eds. So it is against this backdrop that we should look at two new publications that have just come out. Labour’s Business written by Luke Bozier and Alex Smith argues that the party should be pro-business, it even has one brilliantly simple business-friendly idea that the government should steal immediately – small businesses should have one person as their point of contact at the HMRC. One person who is responsible for dealing with issues arising from the complexity of the myriad of taxes – VAT, NI, capital gains, corporation taxes and the like – burdening small businesses.

“In the Black Labour: Why fiscal conservatism and social justice go hand-in-hand” is a new Policy Network discussion paper in which the authors; Graeme Cooke, Adam Lent, Anthony Painter and Hopi Sen, call for Labour to embrace fiscal conservatism. Policy Network is backed by Peter Mandelson, so is not exactly a fringe ginger group. The paper can be seen as a direct rebuttal of the kamikaze economics of Ed Balls endorsed by Ed Miliband, which poll after poll shows is not seen as credible by the public. Despite the state the economy is in George Osborne is believed and supported by the British public.

The policy details in the two papers won’t worry their Coalition opponents, they will however be seen as part of a slow move back towards the electorally potent reality-based politics of New Labour, rather than the one-more-heave-to-the-left politics of Ed Miliband. Ed Miliband and those around him believe the electorate is moving towards the positions of the Occupy and UK Uncut activist groups, a strategic error that will guarantee them electoral defeat in 2015. If Labour’s reality-based wonks want to be in government before they are old men, they have got to either get rid of the Eds or convince them to tack to the centre. These are the opening salvos…

Quentin Letts on the Institute for Government…

“a silo of Guardianista gibberish”

CBI Beats TUC at Football Now Fighting for Right to Hire and Fire

Yesterday saw the third CBI-TUC annual footy match; the pro-business lobby beat the anti-business lobby 4-3 to win the cup pictured above. There must be a metaphor there somewhere, especially given that Guido hears that things were quite heated with penalties awarded against both sides. The row has continued off of the pitch today in the wake of the brave suggestions, leaked to the Telegraph, from Adrian Beecroft. The venture capitalist advising the government has finally put the employment “rights” stranglehold on growth to the top of the policy agenda:

“The rules both make it difficult to prove that someone deserves to be dismissed, and demand a process for doing so which is so lengthy and complex that it is hard to implement… This makes it too easy for employees to claim they have been unfairly treated and to gain significant compensation.”

These employment rules are far more complicated than the offside rule and prevent British businesses from competing on a level playing field with international competitors. Interviewed on Sky News, Mark Littlewood of the IEA called the rules “a real burden and a real fear” in the business world, and it’s true that there are now untouchable elements within all sectors, but the public-sector in particular. It’s nearly impossible to sack a useless teacher…

There are five million small businesses in the UK. If just half of them can be persuaded to take on one more member of staff then this country would not be facing an unemployment crisis. If businesses could hire and fire flexibly they would be less reluctant to take the risk of hiring new staff. There is some suspicion that this report has been trailed today in an effort to move on the debate from Europe with something that appeals to right-wingers, but if anything it is yet again reminding Tory backbenchers of the disproportionate power the LibDems have in government. Before a proper debate has even begun, Norman Lamb, the voice of Nick Clegg, has already come out to say that it’s “madness” and they will block such a move. Sound familiar..?

Downing Street Needs Ideological Wonks

Guido has been marking various comings and goings in Downing Street and at the Policy Unit – supposedly the key ideas engine of a reforming government. Now run by non-political, technocratic, civil servants not known for radicalism. Chris Brown, referred to yesterday, is the education adviser whilst Paul Kirby and Kris Murrin run the unit. It seems to Guido that the Policy Unit could do with some outside talent.

The most obvious candidate to run a centre-right government’s policy unit would be Neil O’Brien who heads Policy Exchange, the biggest centre-right think-tank that basically supplanted the old, now slimmed-down, Conservative Research Department as the main source of Tory policy thinking.  James O’Shaughnessy, the former Policy Unit head, was ex-Policy Exchange…

mark_littlewood

Given we have a coalition government perhaps a former LibDem wonk might be appropriate. Mark Littlewood, now at the Institute of Economic Affairs, is the most orange of Orange Bookers and a former LibDem head of spin with a reputation for shaking things up. Coincidentally they have both been spotted coming and going to Downing Street…

O'Shaughnessy Has Left the Building

The big Downing Street change around continues. There has been much speculation that policy head James O’Shaughnessy was on his way out. With the re-jigging of Ameet Gill to replace Tim Chatwin as Head of Strategy, plus the arrival of Julian Glover in the speech-writing team, Guido has been waiting for the expected announcement. To no avail…

Guido tried calling O’Shaughnessy’s extension to be greeted by a confused staffer who first claimed that James was on “annual leave”, when Guido asked if the policy wonk was ever coming back from his “holiday” they said they didn’t know what was going on. Other Downing Street sources are refusing to deny O’Shaughnessy has left the building. Guido understands that a civil servant, Chris Brown, is running the policy unit.

Shades of dysfunctionality in Downing Street…

Oborne Has Guilty €urophiles Squirming

Younger readers will not know that “Guilty Men” was a book written by Michael Foot,  Frank Owen and Peter Howard, published in 1940, attacking the leading establishment figures of the day for their appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. As denunciations go it is the classic and an equal to Émile Zola’s J’accuse. Peter Oborne and Francis Weaver have entitled their new pamphlet to be published by the CPS tomorrow Guilty Men in a conscious echo of that great score settler. It is a coruscating attack on those who would have entangled Britain in the disastrous euro.

Their premise is that “Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons.” This is not a mere opus of a gloat, they name and shame the establishment figures who shamelessly exaggerated, lied and eulogised on behalf the euro and the European Project and have yet to apologise for the disaster they would have wrought. The institutions who are guilty include the CBI, BBC and of course the Financial Times. The guilty men include the shameless pundits who smeared their opponents, for example David Aaronovitch, who compared David Owen to Oswald Moseley and Enoch Powell because the founder of the SDP had become sceptical of the wisdom of the euro currency. Andrew Rawnsley, Chris Patten, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, Charles Kennedy, Danny Alexander and from business Niall FitzGerald, Adair Turner and David Simon figure among the guilty men. It is instructive and amusing to remind ourselves of the hysterical claims and wild accusations made by these europhiles. Though this isn’t referred to in the text, it occurs to Guido that many of the same guilty men are currently making the same kind of hysterical claims about global warming.

Oborne has employed his usual panache in delivering the charges. It is well worth reading if you enjoy the thought of europhiles squirming guiltily. 

Left-Wing Think-Tank Wants Labour to Tax the Poor More

The best policy idea to come out of LibDem conference was Danny Alexander’s call for tax thresholds to be raised to £12,500, effectively taking minimum wage earners out of income tax. Reversing Gordon Brown’s complicated tax – the – poor – and – pay – them – benefits strategy. Brown effectively and deliberately made those in work on low earnings recipients of welfare benefits. Brown wanted everyone to be on state benefits (welfare “universalism”) for purely political reasons so as to maximise buy-in from all classes into the welfare state. Hence the cynical Brown/Balls attachment to child benefit for millionaire mums and winter fuel allowances for Michael Winner.

Raising the tax threshold is simple, has popular appeal and will benefit those on low earnings proportionately more than those on higher earnings. It will take some pressure off the “squeezed middle” and won’t increase the welfare trap. It isn’t a perfect policy, prominent Orange-booker Mark Littlewood, a wonk the Institute for Economic Affairs, is wary that it will result in millions of voters being unaffected by the basic rate of income tax who therefore won’t be incentivised to vote for parties and policies that favour lower taxes. He fears that low-earners will have no reason to buy-in to tax cuts if they are taken out of the income tax bracket entirely.

ippr

The organised opposition to this policy however is coming from the left-wing, EU-funded think-tank IPPR. The IPPR was founded and funded by the unions back in the Kinnock era to drag the Labour Party to the centre, in the post New Labour era and under new management it is dragging the Labour Party away from the centre towards the left. IPPR is arguing against raising tax thresholds because it won’t help the poorest who are on benefits and not working. This criticism cuts no ice because tax cuts, by definition, are designed to help taxpayers. IPPR argues that targeting benefits, sprecifically towards childcare, would be more effective and cheaper. It is as if they are speaking a different language, the problem of welfare dependency won’t be solved by paying out more benefits.

Nevertheless Guido wishes IPPR well, their wonkish sophistry may well appeal to Ed Miliband. If in 2015 the coalition parties are standing on a platform of reducing taxes on the working poor with the Labour Party standing on a platform of taxing the poor, Miliband will be on the wrong side of the dividing line. “Vote Labour and tax the poor” is a winning campaign slogan – for the coalition parties.

Why Can't Progressives "Be the Change They Want to See"?

Guido had a bit of a dig at the three-houses-owning, multi-millionairess, anti-poverty campaigner Polly Toynbee last week. She responded that Guido was laying the charge of “Champagne socialist” against her, something which Guido has yet to do. More on the money was this part of her rebuttal:-

“…you say we should be Gandhi-like saints and give everything away before we can advocate being taxed more. The point about tax is that’s it’s collective – it’s an “I will if you will” deal. I see no hypocrisy in any of this – but no doubt you will go on spreading ad hominem empty spite – instead of engaging fairly with the substance of the argument.”

Engaging with the substance of her argument, Guido asks, why is progress towards her social democratic utopia an “I will if you will” deal? If it is conditional on reciprocation from the likes of Guido it will never happen. Millions of us already feel over-taxed, like her employers we’re going to hold on to every tax break and tax haven we can come hell or Edward Balls. If she thinks she is under-taxed she can do something about it tomorrow, pay the Treasury more, they really do accept donations to bring down the deficit. Polly could give her own self-defined “unjust rewards” – for that is how she describes her own income – to charity and live more like the common people. Instead she chooses to keep the rewards that put her in the top 1% of income earners.

The home in London worth a million-and-a-half, the house in the country, the villa in Italy, the sheer inequality of it all must play on the conscience of a progressive social democrat. Her get out for keeping all is that she won’t make the sacrifice unless the likes of the greedy and privileged bankers in the neighbouring villas do so as well. Do you see the flaw in this aspiration?

Polly’s excuse for educating her children in private schools is that the state schools were crap at the time. The exact same reason the Fawkes girls go to schools whose existence Polly Toynbee now campaigns against. Another case of “do as I say, not as I do”.  

Meanwhile the next generation of progressives is lining up to be no less hypocritical than the last. Will Straw commends Tory MPs Matthew Hancock and Nadhim Zahawi who in their new book Masters of Nothing argue that the banking crisis was partly due to a lack of women in trading rooms. Too much testosterone contributed to the debt crisis apparently, well that and a lack of pay transparency among other things.

ipprWill is a wonk at the IPPR, the key policy and propaganda think-tank of the progressive soft left. So how does IPPR do on the gender equality and pay transparency front? Guido asked Will, IPPR’s associate director, how much he earns he refused to say or even give an average for associate directors at the IPPR. Pay transparency is only for bankers, not policy makers it seems. 

On gender equality the IPPR has 9 male serving directors out of 12 at the top. At the bottom 7 out of 8 operations staff are female. Another progressive case of “do as I say, not as I do”.  

Fatherless Feral Youths

Yesterday Guido tweeted that he “Would bet that the majority of the homes of those looting youths are fatherless”. Andrew Neil chimed in pointing out that “Surveys suggest that in areas like Tottenham as many as 80% families have absent/no fathers. Similar to worst ghettoes in US… Pointing out most underclass families are fatherless [is] different from blaming single mothers”. The progressive twittersphere went spare, as if this observation was somehow controversial.  

It is self-evident that the welfare state has fundamentally undermined the family, enabling and actually encouraging fatherless families to become commonplace. This is a social disaster. Welfare incentives are powerful nudges in a negative direction. Downing Street wonks should understand that “nudge theory” works two ways, not always in a positive direction.

The scale of the problem is immense, in a generation since the sixties the percentage of births outside marriage has risen from 5% to 40%. Some of those are in co-habiting couples – which unfortunately are more fragile than traditional marriages – however the majority are brought up in fatherless households. A Civitas study found that children living without their biological fathers are more likely to get into trouble at school, to have adjustment problems and eventually go to jail. Iain Duncan Smith can’t solve deep social problems with welfare reform alone. Society needs to reverse decades of failed “progressive” thinking about the family and social norms. A culture which makes no value judgements about how we raise our children is creating tomorrow’s looters and rioters.

PM's Speech Report

Couple of  jokes in Dave’s Policy Exchange speech, the best of which was:

Dave also cracked a joke at Clegg’s expense, saying this was the first time he had seen the deputy-PM’s school (the party was in the grounds behind Westminster). Though it was surely not the first time Sir Michael White (in attendance) has seen the school to which he sent his kids. In the spirit of coalition, Miriam Clegg’s law firm, DLA Piper, sponsored the drinks. Muchas gracias.

Outgoing chairman Charles Moore, having slipped the surly bonds of of wonkery, passes the chairmanship to Danny Finkelstein, who is not giving up his secret day-job behind the Times paywall to lead the think-tank closest to Downing Street. Fink is a former head of the Social Market Foundation, so he knows the Westminster wonk world well. At PX he will be able to continue his ideological mission…

Charles Moore is going to concentrate, he says, on his Thatcher opus. Unfortunately Guido didn’t attend the night’s competing party launching the Mehdi Hasan and James Macintyre opus, Ed, the biography of the Labour leader. Oh well…

An Unexpected Disinvitation

Summer Party season is upon us. So Guido was shocked and, to be honest, a little hurt when he was told on the phone that he wasn’t to come along to tonight’s book launch for James Macintyre and Mehdi Hasan’s “Ed”.  What did they think Guido was going to do, take the mick? 

The publishers have subsequently emailed to say Guido can come, if he behaves, and doesn’t upset James Macintyre. Unfortunately we have a prior appointment.

Guido is off to the Policy Exchange party to drink Pimms in the sunshine, with the Prime Minister…

Political Matthew Taylor Risks RSA's Charitable Status

Guido likes Matthew Taylor, he is a smart operator, shares Guido’s view of Gordon Brown and now runs the Royal Society of Arts. He is unfortunately turning this august institution into a third-way “progressive” think tank. He shouldn’t, hard as it might be for Tony Blair’s former Chief Adviser on Political Strategy and a former director of the IPPR to depoliticise himself, he really ought to separate his personal agenda from the RSA’s mission.

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce has a mission to “embolden enterprise, enlarge science, refine art, improve our manufactures and extend our commerce”. Past members have included Benjamin Franklin, Adam Smith, William Hogarth, Charles Dickens and Guglielmo Marconi. That is a great heritage.

Last year ahead of the AGM one Fellow, Angus Stewart, challenged the RSA, claiming that

“The real problem with the RSA is its management. It’s a political body. The title should go and it should be hived off to be a consultancy firm. The same thing happened to The Industrial Society. There is no validity here, everyone is uncomfortable, and management are uncomfortable as they know they are not liked or admired by the ordinary Fellows. In terms of quality thinking this society has no standing anymore.”

Will Hutton notoriously ran the Industrial Society into bankruptcy, the RSA is financially solid, however it is becoming intellectually bankrupt, an ideologically narrowed think-tank reflecting only Taylor’s hobby horses. Matthew will no doubt cite the invitations to George Osborne to speak and the chairmanship of right-leaning Luke Johnson. It doesn’t really deflect the central charge.

Another Fellow, Kevin Cahill, Chair of the South West Region, also challenged Taylor, arguing

“We have a perfect mandate and a simple mission, there is nothing in our mandate about reforming society or changing humanity, those are the wild utopian missions of the person in charge.

Last Thursday Taylor gave his annual keynote speech to the RSA. It was an attack on the profit motive and Milton Friedman in particular. Taylor will no doubt argue that this is perfectly in tune with the RSA mission – he has argued this before to Guido face-to-face. The Charity Commission may take a different view if he is going to turn the RSA into the IPPR Mark II. More importantly the Fellows of the RSA may not stand for it much longer. Many of them are closer in their thinking to former members the free marketeers Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith, than to Taylor’s “twenty first century progressivism”.

See also: Matthew Taylor is Ruining the RSA, February, 2009

Wonk Watch: Blond's Swerve

Steve Hilton’s cipher-wonk Phillip Blond is often a good gauge of what is going on at the no shoes, blue skies end of the Downing Street operation.  There was the briefest point back in 2010 when it looked like some of the more “progressive” bunch might back “Yes to AV” and Phillip, in his position as pope of the Tory wets, set out the reasons that Conservatives should not fear AV” 

“AV or not the Tories will still be able to win that game gain a majority and govern from a position of strength” he declared, after furiously attacking First Past the Post.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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

Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Davis Accepts Donations from Top Blairite and TV Remainer Davis Accepts Donations from Top Blairite and TV Remainer
BBC #NotOnTheList Stars Paid Via Production Companies BBC #NotOnTheList Stars Paid Via Production Companies
Pants-Wearing Councillor Boasted He Had “Vaz in My Right Pocket” Pants-Wearing Councillor Boasted He Had “Vaz in My Right Pocket”
Champion: ‘Not Possible’ to Keep Student Debt Promise Champion: ‘Not Possible’ to Keep Student Debt Promise
BBC Rich List Revealed: Salaries In Full BBC Rich List Revealed: Salaries In Full
Torbynista Greening Loses Fight for New Money Torbynista Greening Loses Fight for New Money
New Labour Spinner Boasted of Bullying Angela Eagle New Labour Spinner Boasted of Bullying Angela Eagle
Remainers Behind Smears and Negative Briefings Remainers Behind Smears and Negative Briefings
Sunday Shows Sunday Shows
Byline Fined For Defamation in First Impress Ruling Byline Fined For Defamation in First Impress Ruling
Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom
Milne & Blonde Pictured in Restaurant Milne & Blonde Pictured in Restaurant
Corbyn Spends Evening With Assad Loving Genocide Denier Corbyn Spends Evening With Assad Loving Genocide Denier
Osborne Defends Blackrock’s Investment on Front Page Osborne Defends Blackrock’s Investment on Front Page
Taylor Review Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets Taylor Review Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets
Assange Lawyer Named as Milne’s Mystery Blonde Assange Lawyer Named as Milne’s Mystery Blonde
The Great Fairtrade Scandal The Great Fairtrade Scandal
Stewart Jackson Tapped for Davis Job Stewart Jackson Tapped for Davis Job
Robbie Gibb New No 10 Comms Chief Robbie Gibb New No 10 Comms Chief