Daily Archives: December 16, 2010

Jim Pickard

Bob Russell, the outspoken Lib Dem MP for Colchester – and tuition fees rebel – made it into the news this week after the publication of his robust letter to a constituent who had complained about the cost of the imminent royal wedding.

‘[With] reference to your email raising concerns over the cost to taxpayers for the Royal Wedding next year: Haven’t you got something better to do in your sad life? ‘Bit of a spoilsport, aren’t you? What a miserable person you must be!’ Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Perhaps we should not read anything into this, but new data just released by Downing Street – under its transparency drive – show that David Cameron received 23 gifts worth more than £140 apiece from May to September. Here is a link to the list for the latter months. The largesse included whiskey, jewellery, rugs, wallhangings, a hamper and a tennis racket (most of it was handed in to officials).

Nick Clegg received no presents from May to July and in August and September he was gifted just once: a briefcase from his South African counterpart which he did not keep.

A big announcement is about to be made by the Ministry of Defence.

Bernard Gray — the former Labour adviser and author of a high profile report into defence acquisition — will be taking over as chief of defence materiel. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

There was something faintly depressing – as well as predictable – at the comments from David Cameron’s spokesman this morning ruling out any review of Britain’s drugs policy. And at Ed Miliband taking a similar stance.

The issue has reared its head once again after former cabinet minister Bob Ainsworth called for legalisation. But is such a controversial subject that party leaders fear they cannot even raise the possibility without being mauled by critics. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

A harmless story about Bob Roberts, the new director of news for the Labour party. His name is in fact David.

The change of assumed name occurred more than 20 years ago when young cub reporter David Roberts arrived at the South Wales Evening Post in Swansea. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Chris Huhne this morning criticised a Telegraph headline – suggesting bills would rise by £500 because of his energy reforms – as “ludicrous” and “absolutely bonkers”.

The splash quoted a website called uSwitch predicting that bills would rise per household by £500 from their current average energy bill of £1,157. (Although it’s not clear by when). Huhne said the rise would instead by from £500 per household to £660 by 2030.

The difference can be explained by the fact that the uSwitch figure relates to total energy bills (including gas) whereas Huhne is just talking about electricity, the subject of the review. Both estimates are in real terms, ie before inflation.

Curiously, however, there is not such a massive difference in the proportionate increase. Huhne’s rise amounts to 32 per cent over the period, while USwitch is predicting 42 per centRead more >>