Monthly Archives: June 2009

Jim Pickard

We are about to see the full details of Labour’s new policy of giving priority on council housing waiting lists to local residents.

This is an obvious dog whistle to working class voters who might otherwise vote BNP. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

You might have missed an excellent article this morning by my colleague Michael Peel.

He says lawyers are warning that the new threat of up to a year in jail for errant MPs guilty of expense scams is actually less severe than the existing penalty. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Brown is on the wrong side of the spending argument, says new opinion poll

Jeremy Hunt demands greater disclosure of BBC expenses Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Gordon Brown’s set-piece announcement tomorrow morning is the environment. The plan is for the PM to lay out the path to the Copenhagen climate talks later this year. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

UPDATE: It’s a spoof. Ignore the rest of this blog! Here is Paul Waugh on how the whole media were fooled. Glad I’m not alone. (Although David Cameron and Gordon Brown have both come out to express their condolences this morning.)

FURTHER UPDATE: Read more >>

Jim Pickard

The Big Lie – Tory cuts versus Labour investment – is now taken for granted. So it wasn’t newsworthy when Gordon Brown repeated it during an address to a bunch of Labour youngsters in Victoria this afternoon.

I did like this new one though: “They (Tories) would take away all the measures that would help the unemployed.” Read more >>

A jubilant taxpayer approaches Sir Rodrick Whitehall after hearing that Gordon Brown has abandoned plans to increase the public contribution to the MPs’ pension pot.

Tim Taxpayer: Hoorah! At last. They’ve seen sense. Even venal MPs realise the public wouldn’t accept stumping up more cash to feather the Westminster pension scheme. We’re making progress! Read more >>

When it comes to bookshelves, I’m unashamedly nosy. So as Ed Balls gave a briefing on Neet statistics last week, I concentrated on jotting down the books he kept in his office. The results were interesting enough for us to launch an occasional series — “on the bookshelf” — devoted to snooping into politician’s libraries.

Balls is unlikely to be impressed at being our first victim. But he shouldn’t worry. His office collection, for the most part, stands to his credit. There are a couple of odd choices (Gerald Ronson’s autobigraphy?). But the quality is generally high (particularly for an office) and there are no embarrassing texts on “Great Chancellors”. Indeed, I probably regard Balls more highly after having taken a peek into his library. See what you think. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

McBride is a listed company which acts as a “supplier of own-brand products to supermarkets”. Fascinating.

But what is curious is that its share price fell sharply in mid-April just as the fortunes of Westminster’s Damian McBride slumped. (He quit on April 11). A weird co-incidence? Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Anyone hoping that John Bercow would fall flat in his first session of prime minister’s questions (Tory MPs, for example) would have been disappointed. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

The charge against Gordon Brown is that his promise of future investment – instead of cuts – is cloud cuckoo land given the grim public finances. You may think this unfair.

But here is the verdict of the governor of the Bank of England today when asked about the national deficit: Read more >>

Jim Pickard

PMQs is drawing to a close. Crash. Smash. Thud. That is the sound of a prime minister caught in an elephant trap – and one of his own making. Read more >>