George Osborne

An explanation of why the left are so stupid

The New Statesman has an explanation of why the left are so stupid:

Correcting and decrying the perceived wrongness of others is the chief political preoccupation.  David dismisses Ed, Andy elbows Harriet, Jeremy and Nigel condemn everyone else and on it goes.  People who say they dislike this denounce others as pursuing yah boo, negative politics and these people are, in turn, are impeached for failing to provide proper opposition.

If the goal is to persuade people to change their minds, then attack and rebuttal has a mixed record.  On one extreme, SNP attacks on Scottish Labour clearly moved voters dramatically at the last election.  But on the other hand, think of all the criticism that a George Osborne or a Harriet Harman has faced in their careers: it hasn’t seemed to have really held them back from their political projects.

One explanation may be found in the idea of “backfire” or “boomerang” effects that students of persuasion often talk about.  Being told that Protestants are conservative can make Catholics more liberal.  Saying that vaccines have no side effects appear, at least sometimes, to reduce the chances of someone getting a vaccination. No smoking signs can increase the desire to smoke. Informing American conservatives about the dire consequences of climate change on France has been found to reduce support for addressing carbon emissions.

Once we hold an opinion, it seems that we will try and defend it.  Suppose you tell me all the reasons why you hate the West Wing.  I’ll take the time to mentally dismiss each one of your criticisms: why shouldn’t every major political issue be resolved with a 90 second speech and some rousing music?  I’ll begin to delve into my memory for my favourite episodes.  By the end of the conversation, I’ll have applied myself to building the case that the West Wing is brilliant and my own counter-arguments may stick with me for much longer than your criticism.

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That’s telling them, a good pommy politician tells a journalist what she thinks

Liz Kendall is  good pommy politician.

Very good in fact.

This must surely be up for quote of the year.

Liz Kendall has labelled a journalist “unbelievable” after he asked the Labour leader contender about her weight in an interview.

Simon Walters, the political editor of the Mail on Sunday, asked Kendall how much she weighs whilst interviewing her for the weekly paper.

Walters, noting she “looks about the same weight as the Duchess [of Cambridge] – about 8st,” was told by Kendall to “f*** off,” before supposedly adding quickly “don’t print that”.

Walters’ hard hitting exposé also revealed the Labour leadership hopeful maintains her figure by jogging 20 miles a week, and she sometimes wears trousers from Reiss.   Read more »

If you want more kids pay for them yourself

In the UK budget George Osborne has moved to limit family tax credits to just two children and put a cap on benefits as well.

It brings to the fore the debate over how many children should the state provide for. The left-wing of course are using the Simpson argument…won’t someone think of the children.

Others though are more blunt…want more children? Pay for them yourself.

Poor people are being told to stop having children. It’s an outrage!

Within minutes of the Chancellor George Osborne announcing in his Summer Budget that those starting a family after April 2017 will only be entitled to child tax credits for their first two children, there was uproar.

This announcement, then, was tantamount to Osborne standing in the street, presumably while wearing a top hat and tails, and shouting “Poor people – stop breeding!” This was the State trying to take away the fundamental right for people to have the family they choose.

Except – and apologies for making this small point of fact – it isn’t anything of the sort.

Poor people remain in poverty the more children they have. We only had two children because that was what our finances could afford.

The reality is that there are only two groups of people in this country who get to choose how many children they have without worrying about the costs of raising them: the very rich, and the very poor.

Everyone else in the middle has to make a financial decision, long before anyone thinks about buying prams, about whether they can afford to have them or not.

For the very rich, money is no object: just build another nursery in the east wing, hire another Norland nanny and make sure you put them down for Eton before they’re out of nappies.

Those living on benefits (and, yes, tax credits are a benefit) may not have a lifestyle most of us would want – but they can rely on the fact that for every extra child they have, their entitlement to taxpayers’ money goes up too. They get more in child tax credits, child benefit, housing benefit and even a legal right to a bigger home with more bedrooms to house those children.    Read more »

What a good idea, the next logical step is a TABOR

George Osborne is looking at legislating for surpluses.

George Osborne is to announce a return to the public finances of the Victorian age, with plans for permanent budget surpluses designed to cut the national debt and to make life uncomfortable for the Labour party.

The chancellor will use his annual Mansion House speech on Wednesday to exploit the political advantage of the Conservative victory in the general election with a “new settlement” that would allow the government to borrow only in exceptional circumstances.

Labour, still shaken by the scale of its defeat last month, will be forced to decide whether it wants to back the proposal that tax revenues should cover spending on both infrastructure and the day-to-day running of government when parliament votes on Osborne’s tougher approach to the public finances later this year.

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As Bill English borrows and spends George Osborne wields the axe

Bill English is still droning through his budget, which by all accounts won’t deliver a surplus and while he is doing that the Chancellor on the UK, George Osborne is taking an axe to government spending.

George Osborne has told the Ministry of Defence and other Whitehall departments that they still need to find billions of pounds worth of cuts this year to help Britain go into “that extra gear” and secure the economic recovery.

Mr Osborne said that “the more you can do early, the smoother the ride”, as he said that unprotected departments will be expected to find £13 billion worth of departmental savings.

The chancellor disclosed that Greg Hands, the new chief secretary, has written to every government department except health, education and international development ordering them to find cuts.

It comes as the government faces a potential back-bench rebellion unless it commits to spending 2 per cent of Britain’s national income on defence.

In a speech that underlined his credentials as a potential future leader of the Conservative Party, Mr Osborne said he wanted Britain secure “higher living standards for the next generation to come”.

He said: “We are two weeks into a five year Parliament. The team around the Cabinet table is strong and experienced. Confidence in the British economy is at its highest level in 12 years. If we don’t, together, fix our country’s long term weaknesses now – when will we?”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that unprotected departments could be forced to make the equivalent of 18 per cent of additional cuts in real terms, about the same amount as over the past four weeks.

It has been suggested that the Ministry of Defence, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Ministry of Justice could bear the brunt of the austerity measures.

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This will bend the left out of shape

David Cameron is making moves already, and one of his first is guaranteed to bend the left completely out of shape.

He is going to abolish the Human Rights Act.

Michael Gove is making a dramatic return to front-line political combat as David Cameron puts him in charge of Conservative plans to abolish the Human Rights Act.

In the latest moves in the Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister appointed Mr Gove to the post of Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, which is set to be one of the highest profile positions in the new government.

Mr Gove was demoted to Conservative Chief Whip – a back-room role – last year after antagonising teachers with his radical reforms to schools during his time as Education Secretary.

He fell out of favour with Mr Cameron after causing a major row with Theresa May, the Home Secretary, over slow progress in dealing with Muslim extremism, and was also said to have irritated the Prime Minister by suggesting there were too many old Etonians in the Cabinet.

However, Mr Cameron appears to have rewarded Mr Gove, a long-term friend, for his staunch loyalty as well as his ability to drive through controversial reforms, by putting him in charge of the Ministry of Justice.

[…]   Read more »

Harden up, it’s politics, not tiddlywinks

Some weak panty waists in the UK are having a sook about some sweary behaviour.

The glamorous aide behind George Osborne’s trendy new image has been accused of bullying in a real-life The Thick Of It-style Whitehall row.

The Chancellor’s adviser, former BBC producer Thea Rogers, has been branded a ‘pitbull’ by Treasury officials, who claim she shouts and swears like TV spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi.

They say she hurls four-letter insults and has ‘tantrums, rants and hissy fits’ when she is unhappy with their work, leaving colleagues in tears.

Well-placed sources say the Treasury’s Permanent Secretary, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, has spoken to officials ‘bruised’ by Ms Rogers’s behaviour.

Ms Rogers, a former producer to BBC political editor Nick Robinson, has been credited with transforming the Chancellor’s public image since he hired her two years ago.

Mr Osborne’s dramatically reduced waistline, Caesar-style, close-cropped haircut and his high-profile tours of factory floors across the country have all been overseen by the aide.

But a Treasury insider who claims to have witnessed ‘Thea the pitbull’ treating staff badly said last night: ‘She is confrontational and humiliates people who displease her – often in the middle of meetings.

‘She has tantrums, rants, hissy fits and screams at people whose work she finds unacceptable. Some people were reduced to tears.’

The Mail on Sunday has been told Ms Rogers was accused of ‘astonishing rudeness’ in the run-up to a major speech by the Chancellor earlier this year in Tilbury, Essex, when Treasury aides struggled to find local bosses to join the audience.

A female civil servant involved in arranging the Chancellor’s visits reportedly ‘reached the end of her tether’ with Ms Rogers.

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We’re not scared of no Green Taliban – let’s build more roads!

The righties in the UK aren’t pussy footing around – they know that their economy will be boosted by a good roading network, and instead of pandering to minority hand wringers, they’re out and proud.

David Cameron will today embrace what Margaret Thatcher called ‘the great car economy’ as he unveils plans for the biggest roadbuilding programme for almost half a century.

The Prime Minister will announce a £15billion boost for more than 100 projects to be completed by the end of the decade, resulting in hundreds of miles of extra lanes on Britain’s motorways and trunk roads.

Can you imagine headlines like that for New Zealand?  All you would get is wall to wall whining from the Greens and Labour through their MSM mouthpieces, with just one or two little op-eds here and there saying it might actually be a decent idea.

Mr Cameron’s announcement echoes the ‘roads for prosperity’ scheme unveiled by Mrs Thatcher in 1989 to boost ‘the great car economy’, which promised the largest expansion of the roads network since the Romans.

But many schemes were quietly abandoned in the mid-1990s after environmental protests and spending cuts.

Addressing the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual conference in London today, Mr Cameron will say the Government is to set out the first-ever long term ‘roads investment strategy’ for the UK in Chancellor George Osborne’s forthcoming autumn statement. Read more »

Key is “a twenty-first century Holyoake” – Chris Trotter

Chris Trotter has written a very good post about why he thinks John Key may well go on to become NZ longest serving Prime Minister…but for the foibles of MMP.

IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2 months) would be surpassed and the title of longest-serving National Party Prime Minister would pass to the incumbent. How tempting it would then be for John Key to set his sights on “King Dick’s” (Prime Minister Richard John Seddon’s) crown of 13 years and 2 months. Just imagine that – a fifth term! By then the youthful Jacinda Ardern would be 41 years old!

Some will dismiss Key’s musings as yet another example of his celebrated political bravado. But there is another message to be drawn from his speculations concerning a fourth (or even a fifth) term. The Prime Minister’s suggestion that he and the National Party are good for another two or three election wins may also be read as his pledge to the electorate that any government he leads will be moderate and restrained in its policies.

Sir Keith Holyoake could not have governed New Zealand from November 1960 until February 1972 as anything other than a consensus-seeking prime minister. By indicating that he is not adverse to such a lengthy term of office, John Key is signalling to us that he, too, is a consensus politician.  Read more »

Services to Hairdressing?

Michael Cullen got a gong for services to the Australian Shareholders Association (Railway sub branch) which to be frank was a bit of a shocker but this is on a whole other level.

He is the architect of David Cameron’s eye-catching shift to the left.

But critics have questioned why Lino Carbosiero, the hairdresser responsible for the Prime Minister’s side parting, has been given an MBE.

The crimper to the stars, who has also styled Madonna, Adele, Sir Paul McCartney and Amanda Holden, was recognised for ‘services to hairdressing’ in the New Year’s Honours last week.

His Twitter page is now full of congratulations from colleagues calling him ‘an inspiration to the industry’.

It is understood that he was not nominated for the honour by the PM.   Read more »