It's worth recording, as we relish the shambles that is Peter Hain's "campaign" for the deputy leadership, that his share price remains surprisingly high on the Brown market. Sure, we can all have a laugh at the suggestion that Wondertan spent a whacking £200,000 to come fifth in the race for a non-job, far more than any of his so-called rivals. We can enjoy seeing the scourge of Apartheid being exposed as administratively inept. We can can even wonder that someone who can't keep track of £200k is seen fit to run the welfare state (budget of £100bn plus). And then there's his questionable endorsement of an edgy mortgage firm.
Tempting as it is to rush to judgement and demand Peter Hain's resignation over the sheer scale of his error regarding £103,156 of undeclared donations, one has to admit that Labour MP, Paul Flynn was right in counselling caution on Radio Wales this morning.
MPs' Pay: A Suicidal Vote?
Just been chatting to an MP who represents a marginal seat who tells me it would be "suicide" for him and other MPs facing a close fight at the next election to vote for an inflation-busting pay rise. My heart bleeds. Poor dears. This was after Harriet Harman had announced to MPs that the Senior Salaries Review Body's recommendations on MPs' pay, pensions and allowances will be published next Wednesday and then MPs will vote on them on January 24.
You don’t curb MPs salaries by taking the decision out of their hands
Harriet Harman has announced that MPs might lose the right to vote on their own salaries and conditions in the future. She is right in one thing, that the public do not like the fact that MPs vote on their own salaries, but scrapping their right to do it will not give them a lower pay rise.
Really don't understand this
So, in reaction to the news that MPs are likely to vote themselves a larger pay rise than the 1.9% that Brown wants them to have, the Government have announced a review into whether MPs should retain the right to set their own pay levels. Without getting into the wrongs and rights of whether a pay rise of 2.8% is merited (RPI inflation is running at 4% after all) there's something about this that just doesn't sound right.
If Osborne succeeds in killing Brown's economic reputation, it's all over for Labour
Prosperity On New Year's Day we identified George Osborne as the Conservative to watch this year. He has the task of eroding Gordon Brown's reputation for economic competence - the one thing keeping Labour afloat in a sea of broken promises.
What makes one despair about our provincial government’s nuclear power strategy announced today - apart from the fact that it is years late – is the narrowness of vision and the utter cant of the naysayers. Much is heard, for instance, of charges that the new generation of nuclear plants cannot be built without public subsidy, but virtually nothing is said of the fact that the much-vaunted wind power is taking a subsidy of £1 billion this year, under the so-called "Renewables Obligation" – a sum which is set to increase exponentially as these industrial windmills proliferate.
Will the nuclear boom harm global warming?
So the government is to give the green light to nuclear. No surprises there then. Part of me would like to be an optimist, denounce the green lobby for being apocalyptic, line up with Jim Lovelock and David King and comfort myself that nuclear is a better alternative to coal and gas. I certainly am fairly dismissive about the “danger” argument (although moving a hundredfold more uranium and nuclear waste around the world, which appears to be where we’re headed, does strike me as a significant security threat).
Did the greens make a return to nuclear power inevitable?
What do governments do when faced with a crisis? Easy. They spend enormous amounts of money. Which is why the enthusiasm with which the environmental movement has talked up the threat posed by human-induced climate change was always likely to lead to the government deciding to back the nuclear option in a big way.
Boris, Brian and Ken Go Head to Head
In an hour-long special edition of London Talking, the three main mayoral candidates for London pitted their debating skills on ITV, giving us all a good foretaste of what we can expect over the next 111 days. Brian Paddick drew the short straw and had to go first, but he held everyone’s attention and commanded respect. It was fascinating to see how keenly Ken Livingstone was listening to him. Indeed, such was Ken’s deference that I suspected that he was even talking up Brian’s chances, in a Machiavellian attempt to stop wavering voters from backing Boris Johnson.
Why were the polls wrong in New Hampshire?
I don’t regularly report US polls here - there are too many of them and large numbers of dedicated US sites that do it much better than I could, but the New Hampshire primary polls are worth a look: what went wrong? Since the Iowa caucases all the polls had shown Obama leading Clinton, mostly with large, sometimes double digit leads, yet Clinton ended up winning. It’s only one primary, rather than the election itself, but in the scale of the error it’s comparable to the 1992 polls in the this country.