Daily Archives: April 8, 2010

Jim Pickard

Interesting to see James Caan, the Dragon’s Den star, come out in favour of the Tories’ NI policy.

I’ve spoken to another (well, former) Dragon’s Den panellist. It’s Simon Woodroffe, founder of YO! Sushi.

I called him because last year he was one of the few enterpreneurs to back the 50p income tax, saying that it was time for them to return something to society.

But Woodroffe does not support the National Insurance rise. Not was he very complimentary about Britain’s business leaders. Read more

British business may be selfish but labour is wrong on NI - the FT
UK election 2010: National Insurance nonsense – the FT
Another Mandy adviser backs Tory economic policy – Iain Dale’s blog
What they think they need to do – Nick Robinson’s Newslog
Norman Tebbit on Gordon Brown – the Telegraph
The battle over the paperclip vote - the Guardian

The Conservatives have been winning the argument about National Insurance Contributions (NICs) – but not because they have got the arithmetic right. The Tory numbers are as flaky as Labour claims.  David Cameron has thus far come out on top because: 1. Lots of business chiefs say he is right; 2. His is the simpler case to put across; and 3; The media is inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

As far as the numbers go there are two areas of controversy.

The first concerns whether an increase in NICs is more likely than other tax rises (an increase, say, in VAT) to cost people their jobs. I heard Stuart Rose of Marks & Spencer pontificating on this on Radio 4. My instant reaction was that Sir Stuart would do better to stick to retailing. The real answer is we don’t know. Read more

Some years ago – actually nearly 20 – when I was a junior reporter on the Daily Telegraph I was assigned the less-than-plum election job of finding out how celebrities would be voting. It wasn’t very difficult. Each party had someone whose job it was to co-ordinate the celeb endorsements and so it was just a matter of getting the lists and ringing up the named individuals to check they were indeed supporting the party in question (Jeffrey Archer had compiled the Tory list and some of those on it were rather surprised to be accused of backing John Major or at least were reluctant to be identified as such.) Read more

A remarkable IpsosMori/Reuters poll in some of the marginals David Cameron must win to secure a majority. The overall numbers show a swing of 5.5 per cent to the Tories — which is short of an overall majority.*

But the most striking finding is the renewed confidence in Gordon Brown’s leadership. Cameron loses on every count. I’ll leave it to these charts to tell the story. Read more

Jim Pickard

This morning’s Labour press conference wrapped up with Gordon Brown gushing about how his wife Sarah was the love of his life:

Lord Mandelson did not seem overwhelmingly enthused.

His response: “Isn’t that lovely? Goodbye.” Read more

Daily agenda:

Tory savings plans are incoherent – Gerry Grimstone for the FT
Voters want change but unsure about Dave – The Times
No one has been deceived, Gordon – Simon Wolfson for the Times
Ignore Tory muzzling over Europe at your peril – The Guardian
Have a wager on high turnout – Bet of the Day for the Guardian
Tories think they’ll win majority with a five point lead – Coffee House blog
Hope springs eternal in British politics – Benedict Brogan for the Telegraph
Pity the next chancellor – Hamish McRae for the Independent
The emotional strain of interviewing Gordon – Tom Bradby for itv
Victory in campaign for election night counts – Iain Dale

Jim Pickard

“I wouldn’t be an academic, I like writing”, Brown tells John Humphries. Read more

Jim Pickard

Unless you read the financial pages you may not be aware of Corporate Britain’s latest eye-catching payout: a £92m remuneration package for Bert Becht (not to be confused with Bertold Brecht). He is the chief executive of Reckitt Beneckiser, which makes products such as Vanish and Dettol.

To be fair, Becht has set up a charitable foundation to which he has given more than £100m. Even so; isn’t there an issue with this kind of payout just months after the credit crunch?

Vince Cable told me last night this was “extraordinary” and “unbelievable” and showed the often painful differential between the highest and lowest-paid workers. Read more