Daily Archives: July 9, 2010

Jim Pickard

Francis Maude has come up with a genius money-saving wheeze. The only tiny downside is that it won’t kick in for another 10 years.

As the Telegraph reveals in Saturday morning’s splash, the Cabinet Office minister hopes to scrap the census – Britain’s official population count – in an attempt to save its £480m cost.

However, he admitted that next year’s census would still have to go ahead. He vowed instead to cancel the next official headcount – which will not occur until 2021.

To get to that point the Tories (or coalition) have to win the 2015 election and then the 2020 election. And still be in a cost-cutting mood. That’s a whole pyramid of ifs. Read more

Jim Pickard

Tonight’s big story had looked set to be Lord Mandelson’s big interview in the Times - ahead of the serialisation of his memoirs next week in that newspaper.

But his interview with Ginny Dougary – an attempt to get under the skin of the peer – does not seem to have been a huge success; judging by her own comments. At one point she describes his “abhorrence of laying himself bare.”

Elsewhere she suggests that his manners are “not all that brilliant” after he ignores her coughing fit. When she compliments him on his “amazing house” he replies defensively: “In what way, ‘amazing’?” Read more

Jim Pickard

This is a little unfair, because tonight’s Keir Hardie speech is meant to be intellectual and the audience will expect nothing less. This is the kind of rhetoric that plays well within the party heartland. Still, some of Mili-D’s comments seem more than a little confusing: is it just me?

I’ve put my own translations in bold – they may well be wrong. (Here is the entire text of the speech).

In our concern with meeting people’s needs we seemed to sever welfare from desert and this led people to think that their taxes were being wasted, that they were being used: Some people got benefits who didn’t deserve them

Our lack of distinction between the proceeds of financial capital, which was often concerned with its short term multiplication not its long term investment, and manufacturing capital, which was embedded in the real economy, led to a real lack in private sector growth throughout the country. We concentrated too much on City of London casino banking and not enough on manufacturing. Read more

Jim Pickard

David Miliband may or may not have been right to have abstained from toppling Gordon Brown when he had the chance. I sympathise with his view that the subsequent civil war would not have been worth it; as he tells Alex Smith at LabourList today: “I don’t think anyone would have benefited from a second Kamikaze pilot.

Now that Brown has gone, however, Miliband is not holding back. Here are some key lines from this evening’s Keir Hardie speech in Wales: Read more

Kiran Stacey

The Dark Lord's memoirs promise the inside story on New Labour

The Dark Lord's memoirs promise the inside story of New Labour

Amid the usual PR-speak in hyping up Peter Mandelson’s memoirs, which are published on Wednesday (“Frank, honest and revealing”; “First published account of one of the founder members of New Labour”, etc, etc), comes a rather revealing fact: the publisher is not advertising the book. At all.

It might seem strange that a publisher would not want to do everything it could do drum up excitement for one of the best scoops of the memoir season (not least because it is out before Tony Blair’s effort, The Journey, due out in September). But HarperCollins is actually running a canny marketing campaign. Read more

Jim Pickard

Even with David Baddiel at the helm, Channel 4′s distant programme “A Stab In The Dark” was notoriously unfunny. Witness the young Michael Gove – about six and a half minutes in – interviewing a pretend robber as a group of badly dressed youngsters try to laugh along. Words fail me.

hat-tip: New Statesman Read more

The Office of Budget Responsibility faces a big credibility test today. Chris Giles, the FT’s economics editor, has an agenda-setting story that raises doubts over its very purpose and independence. It is far more significant than any speculation over Sir Alan Budd’s departure.

Through persistent questioning, Chris uncovered that the OBR tweaked its Budget forecasts at the last-minute to erase around 175,000 public sector job losses by 2014/15. Read more

Jim Pickard

How the independent OBR lowered its unemployment forecasts at the last minute – FT exclusive

Revolution in NHS with GPs given new powers. You might have already read it in the FT on Monday Read more