Daily Archives: September 17, 2010

Jim Pickard

Having not attended yesterday’s Konigswinter conference I didn’t pick up the entire speech from Vince Cable, business secretary – other than his controversial comments about immigration.

But Labour sources have pointed me towards Vince’s thinly-guarded warning about where growth will come from if Britain and all its trading partners are all on an austerity drive.

These comments would be unexciting if they were from an independent economist, FT leader writer or Labour MP. From a coalition cabinet minister they are quite striking.

 

Jim Pickard

In a startling piece of analysis by Philip Cowley, one of Britain’s foremost psephologists, over at Left Foot Forward. Prof Cowley, who works at Nottingham Uni, points out that strong polling after a general election defeat can be a hugely misleading augur for future performance. Labour take note.

Cowley argues that the 1997 experience – whereby New Labour maintained a poll lead for years after 1997 – was atypical. He offers up three intriguing counter-examples. 

Jim Pickard

As Paul Waugh points out today, David Miliband has questioned whether anyone really knows who is pulling ahead in the Labour leadership race. Most amusingly he has reminded people of the April/May opinion polls that put Nick Clegg in the front of the general election popularity stakes – only for the LibDems to lose seats at the final tally in a humiliating denouement. In Miliband’s words:

Just look at Nick Clegg during the general election he consistently claimed he’d beat Labour into third place. He didn’t. 

Jim Pickard

The government figures on Right to Buy make fascinating reading. The number of deals has fallen to just 3,860 last year – a mere twentieth of the 84,100 figure only seven years ago. I’ve repeated the stats below.

It suggests that the issue may be a sideshow to the real priorities around social housing that the government needs to address in the coming months. The main one being that with the DCLG (communities department) facing cuts of around 30 per cent to its budget, social housing will inevitably be hit very hard. 

Jim Pickard

It would be a hugely totemic move if the government did scrap council housing tenants’ right to buy their own home. After all it was one of Thatcher’s more popular domestic policies.

Grant Shapps, housing minister, has denied* a frontpage report in the Guardian today suggesting that “right to buy” is under review. That newspaper had reported that Lib Dems had been told Shapps was looking at ways to increase the number of social homes in Britain. In theory ending “right to buy” would be one way of doing that – or at least preventing the existing stock from eroding further

Jim Pickard

Vince Cable repeats warning about impact of immigration cap – FT
I’m not a Tory, insists Nick Clegg - Times (£)
Union plot to stop David Miliband – Sun (as we informed you in July)
Think again before Trident is all at sea - Menzies Campbell, FT
I’m not sure Mervyn King is right; we should “cross the river while feeling the stones” - Martin Wolf
OBR will turn from caterpillar to lovely butterfly says Chote - FT
Advice for Lib Dem conference newcomers – Iain Martin