Thursday, 25 March 2010

Post-budget spam of the week

A friend was sent the below.

We've all had this sort of spam, but the timing of this con-artist of this spammer is impeccable, the day after the Government confirmed a deficit of £167bn ...

-----Original Message-----
From: Hon Gordon Brown []
Sent: 25 March 2010 04:10
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Contact Hon David Miliband(


Our ref: ATM/13470/IDR
Your ref:...Date: 25/03/2010


I am The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP,Prime Minister British Government. This
letter is to officially inform you that (ATM Card Number 048000101775550)
has been

accredited with your favor. Your Personal Identification Number is 477.The
VISA Card Value is Ј4,000,000.00(Four Million, Great British Pounds

This office will send to you an Visa/ATM CARD that you will use to withdraw
your funds in any ATM MACHINE CENTER or Visa card outlet in the world with a

maximum of Ј5000 GBP daily.Further more,You will be required to re-confirm
the following information to enable;The Rt Hon David Miliband MP Secretary

State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office. begin in processing of your VISA

(1)Full names: (2)Address: (3)Country: (4)Nationality: (5)Phone #: (6)Age:
(7)Occupation: (8) Post Codes

Forward Reply To:(

TAKE NOTICE: That you are warned to stop further communications with any
person(s) or office(s) different from the staff of the State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs to avoid hitches in receiving your payment.


The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP
Prime Minister
Phone: +447024024522

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Whoops! Who fed ConHome wrong polling data?

Whoops! With all the talk on Newsnight last night about sources, with Rawnsley forced to defend the veracity of his No 10 "bullying" stories, the Tories have their tales between their legs this morning. They had it "from a normally impeccable source" that, as Tim Montgomery tweeted "Tory lead doubles to 12% in immediate wake of Bullygate".

He has in the last few minutes corrected himself via tweet and ConHome: "Many apologies, I published inaccurate information about last night's YouGov poll." The figures were actually unchanged: C39-Lab33-LD17 ... a Tory lead of six points, not 12. Unfortunately bruiser Eric Pickles' bragging from last night are still there for all to see.

So who was this "usually impeccable source"? Apparently The Sun has declined to to the full figures on its site, leaving it to Reuters. Private Eye has recently speculated that Tom Newton-Dunn, old Etonian political editor, has become The Sun's de facto "link man" with the Tories ... Could it be his mistake?

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Fraser Nelson: Balls is a crypto-Soviet, I am a crypto-McCarthyite ...

Fraser Nelson, Spectator editor and arch-Thatcherite, takes issue with what seems a perfectly reasonable - you might even say innocuous - statement by Ed Balls in his Sunday Times interview today:
“I think our family policy now is actually about the strength of the adult relationships and that is important for the progress of the children.”
What is Fraser actually objecting to in this statement? We don't really find out, as he immediately goes off on a tangent, parroting the Tory line about promoting marriage and ending welfare depedency - oh, and of course, Balls is a crypto-Soviet "lefty":

"Does Balls have any idea about the extent of which the welfare state under Labour has robbed the low-income family of its economic function, about how adults are no longer better off together, and incentivised to split up with all the effects that has on the children? But it gets better: children are to be given lessons in the importance of relationships from 2011. More resources may be given to marriage guidance services. It’s like Balls is mentally living in 1975 Moscow. Family problems? Why, the Party will simply ask the schools to simply program the kids to be better at relationships."
Is it just me, or do relationship lessons in school sound like a reasonable, moderate, interesting idea? We have already have Relate for grown-ups. Why not start earlier? Certainly, as evidence of Balls' Brezhnev-style statism, it is pretty weak.

So why are the Tories - and the Right - apparently so scared of Balls, if his politics are so old-fashioned? Are they worried his policies might actually be popular?

Sounds like McCarthyite paranoia to me.
And if Fraser Nelson wants to talk about jobs ...

Unemployment under Thatcher peaked at 3.5m. That's 3.5m families "robbed of their economic function". And the Centre for Economic Policy Research estimates that unemployment in the 1930s peaked at 15% in 1932.

In this recession, at least the Government is trying to do something about it. The UK unemployment rate was 7.9% in the last quarter. Wild predictions of 3m or even 4m unemployed now - touch wood - seem wide of the mark.

This is because of Government action like the Young Britain campaign - a pledge to create 85,000 jobs for the young - more apprenticeships and university places.

Balls may be stuck in the 1970s ... Nelson - who would apparently do nothing but tinker with marriage rules - is stuck in the 1930s, 15% unemployment and all.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Good to see the Thatcherites are calling the policy shots, Dave

The ads in GoogleMail aren't working - they suggested I join these guys:

Their URL,, keeps making me think of Derek Conway ... Conway for PM? Probably not their intention.

I should probably have heard of a group so influential in the Tory party. Indeed, their website gleefully quotes David Cameron: 'The largest and most effective pressure group in the Conservative Party today', he calls them.

Good to see the Thatcherites are calling the policy shots, Dave. Check out their latest pamphlet, for example, which calls for a cut in corporation tax similar to that proposed by John McCain in the presidential election - 10%. It's written by members of the Taxpayers Alliance.

Let's hope the Tories, currently advocating only a 3% cut, adopt the plan and go the same way as McCain come May.

Tasteful tweet of the week

The award goes to @BenBradshaw for this effort earlier today:
the camerons got good nhs care thanks to Labour's investment and reform. is this the "big government" he derides?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Left Foot Forward banned from Tory conference - a backhanded compliment

See this from top new prog website Left Foot Forward:
Left Foot Forward has been banned from attending Conservative Party conference. In a letter dated 23rd September from the Conservative Party’s Head of Conferences, Stephen Williams writes:

“I am writing to let you know that you application to attend the above event [Conservative Party Conference] has been rejected…

“For over twenty years the party has included the following words on its application forms; ‘the completion and submission of this application does not confer any right upon the applicant to attend conference. The Conservative Party reserves the right to refuse admission to any person without ascribing any reason thereto.’

“I am sure you appreciate that these words and this policy were carefully chosen to avoid the development of any misunderstanding.

“I know this is not the reply you were hoping for, and I am sorry for that. However, it would not be sensible for me to fly in the face of agreed and accepted practices.”
Left Foot Forward will, nonetheless, report live from the Conservative fringe.
Take it as a backhanded compliment, I think. It's not like Labour hasn't been known to to do the same. I can think of at least one Labour pressure group that in the past denied a press pass to Iain Dale, then of 18 Doughty Street, for fear of adverse coverage.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Mandy: Even in the 1970s I was relatively influential

Earlier this week, Peter Mandelson castigated the Tories in his Labour conference speech for their lack of commitment to industrial activism

When did you last hear David Cameron or George Osborne last say anything about Britain's industrial future?

Such a line of attack would have been pretty much unimaginable only a few years ago. New Labour bought into the Thatcherite shibboleth that the only indispensible industrial policy was not to have one at all.

The Tories may try to label this as a return to 1970s-style dirigisme. In fact, you get the impression Mandy would quite like that. Labour conference this week was all about stressing the new, post-crash dividing line: government action is needed to deal with the recession, and the Tories would do nothing. The new bogey decade is the Thatcherite 1980s where the Government 'did nothing' to help out-of-work young people.

Mandy warms to this theme in an article on youth unemployment for the Young Fabian Anticiaptions magazine, published this week (as ever, check for modesty):
Back in the 1970s, I chaired the British Youtyh Council and whilst there published what was then a relatively influential report: "Youth Unemployment: Causes and Curses". I remember taking it to the Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, in Downing Street to discuss the issue of young people and their prospects.
Even then, the now First Secretary of State was relatively infleuntial!