George Osborne

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‚Äôs adviser, former BBC producer Thea Rogers, has been branded a ‚Äėpitbull‚Äô 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 ‚Äėtantrums, rants and hissy fits‚Äô when she is unhappy with their work, leaving colleagues in tears.

Well-placed sources say the Treasury‚Äôs Permanent Secretary, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, has spoken to officials ‚Äėbruised‚Äô by Ms Rogers‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄėThea the pitbull‚Äô treating staff badly said last night: ‚ÄėShe is confrontational and humiliates people who displease her ‚Äď 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.‚Äô

The Mail on Sunday has been told Ms Rogers was accused of ‚Äėastonishing rudeness‚Äô 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‚Äôs visits reportedly ‚Äėreached the end of her tether‚Äô with Ms Rogers.

Read more »

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 ‚Äėthe great car economy‚Äô 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‚Äôs announcement echoes the ‚Äėroads for prosperity‚Äô scheme unveiled by Mrs Thatcher in 1989 to boost ‚Äėthe great car economy‚Äô, 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‚Äôs (CBI) annual conference in London today, Mr Cameron will say the Government is to set out the first-ever long term ‚Äėroads investment strategy‚Äô for the UK in Chancellor George Osborne‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄúKing Dick‚Äôs‚ÄĚ (Prime Minister Richard John Seddon‚Äôs) crown of 13 years and 2 months. Just imagine that ‚Äď 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 ‚Äėservices to hairdressing‚Äô in the New Year‚Äôs Honours last week.

His Twitter page is now full of congratulations from colleagues calling him ‚Äėan inspiration to the industry‚Äô.

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

The Ugliest Political Emotion – Pity

No, not envy…which is the chosen weapon of the left usually…now they are using a more despicable weapon…pity.

Brendan O’Neill at The Telegraph explains.

One of my abiding memories from childhood is of the time my dad told the local priest to sling his hook. A newbie in our parish in a rough-ish part of north-west London, the priest was knocking on the doors of the most churchgoing families and introducing himself. Standing imperiously in our living room, he asked my dad where he was from in Ireland. “Connemara”, my dad replied. Whereupon the priest put on his best sad face and said: “Aah ‚Äď from one rough part of the world to another, oh dear.” My dad ‚Äď a lifelong despiser of pity ‚Äď told him to get out. “We don’t need people like that feeling sorry for us”, he told me and my brothers, “especially when there’s nothing to be sorry for!” The priest was all enthusiastic smiles and handshakes when we arrived at Mass the following Sunday.

Maybe this is one of the reasons I have always hated pity. In my view, there’s no uglier emotion in the pantheon of political feelings than pity, especially for “the poor”, whom it treats as an agency-lacking blob that must be cooed over and cared for by better-informed sections of society. The high-handed manner in which that priest expressed his feelings of sorrow for us ‚Äď even though we had a nice house, an actual minibus (you need one when you have a family of eight), a TV and so on ‚Äď taught me at a very early age that pity is a most selfish emotion. It’s not about helping the pitied but rather about making the pitier himself feel puffed up, through allowing him to make a big, public display of his ability to feel bad for the less well-off. As the old saying goes, “Friends help; others pity”. ¬† Read more »

Suffering under stupid green taxes

Subsidies are evil, and doubly so when used to fund stupid green policies that further wreck the economy.

Right so they will attempt to¬†cut household power bills by increasing the household’s tax bill…dumber than a sack of hammers.

Just ditch the dumb “green” schemes.

New taxes to pay for environmental schemes are being considered as part of a deal to cut household energy bills, it can be disclosed.

The taxpayer would foot the bill for two of the ‚Äúgreen‚ÄĚ schemes, all of which are currently paid for through a levy on gas and electricity bills.

The major energy suppliers have repeatedly told ministers the levies are pushing up household bills ‚ÄĒ for which they and the Government have been severely criticised. ¬† Read more »

Another good idea from George Osborne, I hope Paula has him on speed dial

Paula Bennett should get over to the UK or Skype in to George Osborne and follow along with that he is doing to end the culture of bludgers.

Benefits will be stripped from the long-term jobless unless they work full time picking up litter, removing graffiti or preparing meals for the elderly.

George Osborne will today announce details of the US-style ‚Äėwork for the dole‚Äô programme, starting within six months and affecting 200,000 welfare claimants.

Revealed by the Mail last week, the ¬£300million scheme ends the concept of simply ‚Äėsigning on‚Äô, the Chancellor will tell the Tory party conference.

And he will accuse Labour of allowing people to linger on benefits for years ‚Äď with no questions asked ‚Äď while letting uncontrolled numbers of migrants fill low-paid jobs.

Speaking on ITV’s Daybreak ahead of his speech, Mr Osborne said: ‘From now on, people are going to have to do something in return for those benefits.¬† Read more »

Would our Labour Party man up to wasteful rail spending

Politicians love to spend other peoples money, especially on things like “public transport”. So it is a pleasant surprise to see a Labour politician manning up and admitting these things are dogs…pity it wasn’t in NZ.

A high speed rail line between London and the North could be scrapped by a Labour government because costs have “spiralled up and up”, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said.

Mr Balls said that supporting the project without reservation would be “irresponsible” and that there would be “no blank cheque” from Labour.

In his strongest intervention yet on High Speed 2, Mr Balls said that spending ¬£50bn on the project may not be a “good idea”.¬† Read more »

Master strategist with the common touch

There is an excellent article about Lynton Crosby in The Telegraph that explains why int he UK and here in New Zealand Labour goes out of its way to attack both Lynton Crosby as well as Mark Textor. Simply put it is because they are good, and way better than anything they can put up.

There is a dirty little secret at the heart of the ‚Äúscandal‚ÄĚ surrounding the Tories‚Äô political strategist Lynton Crosby. But it‚Äôs not a conspiracy of silence at the heart of No 10, nor is it a tale of undue influence exercised over politicians to gain advantage for commercial clients. It‚Äôs the plain fact that Crosby is actually pretty good at his job.

Just look at how he defused the furore around the Government’s decision not to proceed with plain packaging for cigarettes. Crisply, clearly and definitively, he ruled out any suggestion he had exerted influence; he ruthlessly drew a line under the crisis. What a contrast with David Cameron, whose carefully constructed denials of conversations with Crosby reeked of evasion. No 10 are sticking to the line that the Prime Minister did not want to get into a frenzied scenario in which his every statement was met by journalists with another question. No doubt that was the main motivation, but another one will have been the view that this was another crisis that could be muddled through. The result? A growing sense that murky answers meant mucky business.

The first rule of crisis management is full disclosure. The truth may not set you free, but nothing less gives you a chance. The second rule is that if the facts are going to come out, get them out in one go ‚Äď don‚Äôt let them be dragged from you. No 10 failed, and forced Crosby to give them a masterclass in effective communications,

Has the affair damaged the Australian strategist? Back-room operators are meant to have a low profile, leaving the public stage to their principals. Indeed, it is often said that if they become the story then they have to leave the show. A swift exit means a swift end to a story. This has prompted a change in political attacks. Opponents have calculated that if they can force an effective staffer or consultant out into the open then that person will, in the end, have to go. ¬† Read more »

Shrinking the State, never been a better time

I have never been a fan of the state providing solutions for anything. Any solution proposed by the state is likely to be bloated, inefficient and ineffective. Unfortunately in our  modern society we still have to get over the intellectual poverty that socialism has delivered to the body politic, where there is still an over-arching the belief that the state will provide.

Thatcherism though challenged this and in New Zealand we had Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson to slay the socialist dragons…they are still breathing though, even if the breath is a bit wheezy and spluttery.

Still a generation of kids have grown up knowing that subsidies are bad, unions are useless and free enterprise delivers more often than not. The time has never been better than now to start looking at shrinking the state.

So the experiment is over and the results are conclusive. Part one was carried out under Gordon Brown who, as this column said at the time, tested to destruction the theory that vast increases in government spending would cure all the problems of the public services. The national disillusionment and exasperation which followed on that ideological adventure should have led to an immediate repudiation of it by all rational political leaders. But alas, there was a period of suspended disbelief in which the Conservatives insisted that sticking to Labour’s spending commitments was absolutely necessary if they were to have a hope of being elected. Yes, that was what George Osborne used to say back in the darkest days of modernisation.

We have seen the same thing here. Massive increases in spending in education for no discernible improvement in outcomes. Same in welfare. Money is not the answer. National, like the¬†Conservatives¬†stuck with Labour’s spending…time to start unpicking the excesses of Clarkism.¬† Read more »