Archive for the 'Budget' Category


Best of luck today Theresa – you are going to need it

Friday, July 13th, 2018

With the American President, Donald Trump, on the second day of his visit to the UK the Sun is carrying an extraordinary interview with the President in which he gives his views on how Mrs May should tackle Brexit.

Views of the occupant of the White House are so negative in the UK that I wonder whether this sort of bombastic approach might just attract a lot of sympathy to Mrs May as she seeks to steer a course through one of the most challenging situations for a prime minister that we have seen in decades.

The Trump approach appears to be to “stir shit” wherever he goes and it is hard to see how the US, or the Western alliance benefits by this.

This biting Tweet is from Robert Reich who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Here is another extraordinary Tweet coming out of the Trump visit – From ex-deputy PM Nick Clegg.

Mike Smithson


For the first time since GE2017 consecutive polls have Corbyn’s Labour behind

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

His ambivalence over Brexit impedes LAB on the biggest issue

Two Westminster voting intention polls in the past 24 hours have both got the COM in the lead and of course LAB in second place. This is the first time since the general election that consecutive polls have showed this.

    Labour’s real problem is that it is failing to have a clear distinctive voice that resonates with the vast numbers of Labour voters Who are strongly for remain.

Brexit is by far the biggest issue of the day yet Mr Corbyn seems extraordinarily reluctant to talk about it and exploit opportunities where the Conservatives appeared to be divided. An opposition leader worth his salt would have seized upon the divisions in government and be piling the pressure on now.

Last week at PMQs, it will be recalled, the Labour leader totally failed to mention what was then the biggest embarrassment for the government – the statement by David Davis earlier to a committee that there were no impact assessments as he had been talking about for months.

Today an opposition leader worth his salt would have really being tearing into the government over the comments made by David Davis which have now been seized on by other European leaders has reasons to delay proper trade talks.

Corbyn has two problems: He doesn’t really believe in staying in the EU which means he is very much out of line with party voters. Second is that he simply does not have the mental flexibility to seize issues that could embarrass the government and develop them.

One of the findings in today’s YouGov poll has Theresa May extending her lead by five points as who is the best prime minister. She was up and he is down.

How different it all looked in the summer when he made his Glastonbury appearance a week or so after the general election. Then we were being told that he had predicted that he would be in Downing Street by Christmas . Well it ain’t going to happen.

Mike Smithson


In defence of John McDonnell. Don Brind denounces the “interview as humiliation”

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

“If only we Germans had a word for it”.

The BBC’s comedy news programme The Now Show came up with an imagined quote from Chancellor Angela Merkel reflecting on how her failure to form a new German coalition government was being relished by her detractors.

Two alleged car crash interviews by the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell also inspired Schadenfreude and it was probably not confined to Tories. Over the years McDonnell has rubbed up against plenty of his PLP colleagues who would no doubt have felt that joy at the humiliation of another.

The Shadow Chancellor’s first encounter with Andrew Neil on the BBC Budget programme had them salivating . The second, with Mishal Hussein on the Today programme produced a splash for the Standard (remind me, who is the editor?). It claimed McDonnell was “ridiculed today when he repeatedly failed to put a figure on Labour’s borrowing plans”

McDonnell is one of Team Corbyn’s best communicators but he was below par on his early morning outing. He nonetheless made a perfectly sound case for investment in infrastructure “Every infrastructure project you put out there immediately starts employing people, they start paying their taxes and as a result of that you cover your costs.

But he threw in a complaint about “the type of journalism where you go into an interview and someone asks you a question of a particular figure, is to be honest, a trite form of journalism.”

It came across as a whinge but whenever I hear an interviewer ask repeat a simple question and then complain the politician hasn’t answered it I hear echoes of the Jeremy Paxman’s signature Newsnight interview in which he directed the same question to the then Home secretary Michael Howard twelve times.

That 1997 interrogation was widely admired and emulated but it became increasingly clear that Paxman’s journalism stemmed from deep cynicism and contempt for politics and politicians. This was confirmed five years later when he authored The Political Animal. It was reviewed in the New Statesman by John Lloyd . I made his powerful critique required reading for my students when I turned my hand to teaching politics and journalism.

Paxman, argued Lloyd, sees politicians as “demented, empty, lickspittle bunch; indeed, many may be psychologically flawed.” and Parliament as a “pantomime”.

According to Paxman, MPs see the fact politics has moved away from the Commons to the studios as a “Bad Thing, since it deprives them of the opportunity to hold the government to account in the cockpit of democracy. They have yet to explain why this process can be done only in a converted chapel under rules of conduct, some of which date back to the 16th century.”

Lloyd concluded gloomily “Paxman – as an approach rather than an individual – has won. His style of journalism – the interview as humiliation, or personality clash – is now the preferred type

“Broadcast news and current affairs, for all its many splendours, is now an anti-democratic conspiracy. No one, it seems, can do anything about it.”

That’s undoubtedly an overstatement – I certainly don’t believe that McDonnell’s interrogators, Andrew Neil and Mishal Hussein, share Paxman’s cynicism and contempt. But when you hear a question repeated over and over it’s worth asking whether that question is aimed at enhancing understanding of a complex issue or whether it’s about making the journalist look good and showing the politician is a fool.

Don Brind


From YouGov: The budget in five charts

Saturday, November 25th, 2017



This betting strategy is guaranteed to return you a profit

Friday, November 24th, 2017

A rare opportunity for an arb.

By backing Philip Hammond to deliver the 2018 Autumn budget with Ladbrokes at 5/4 and simultaneously backing Philip Hammond not to deliver the 2018 Autumn budget at 2/1 with Paddy Power with the same stake amount, and you’re guaranteed a profit at these odds.

If only betting was always as simple as this.

Overnight the first post budget polling was released.



The echoes of 2008? A Marf cartoon first published in 2008 and it could apply to today’s situation

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017


Stop, Hammond Time

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Usually budgets have problems after they’ve been delivered, this one seems to falling apart before it has been delivered. You get the feeling that this will be Philip Hammond’s last budget, only 16 months after becoming Chancellor, those YouGov figures are quite damning for Philip Hammond, no wonder Ladbrokes have a next Chancellor market up.



Today’s budget buzzword bingo

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Ladbrokes have put up their customary Budget buzzword bingo, I’m avoiding this market as nothing leaps out as value and I really don’t fancy contributing to the Ladbrokes Christmas bonus fund. Ladbrokes also have a market up on the colour of Philip Hammond’s tie, this is another market I’m going to avoid for the same reasons.

There is one bet that does intrigue me and I think is worth a few pounds, 16/1 on Ken Clarke to fall asleep during the  budget.

The greatest Prime Minister we never had has form for this, he was accused of falling asleep during the 2011 budget, he denied it, but Ladbrokes paid out on it, because they had a similar market up then as well and they took Ed Miliband’s accusation as proof.