"He was an active supporter of the Labour Party and in 1977 he attempted to win a seat on the Greater London Council for Labour at Putney. In later years he was a financial donor to the party". (wikipedia)
2. Matthew Taylor
"Taylor became a Warwickshire county councillor and fought Warwick and Leamington in the 1992 general election, pulling Labour up into second place, before joining the Labour Party's staff in 1994. He became the Party's Campaign Co-ordinator, then Director of Policy during the 1997 general election victory. He played an important role in drawing up the manifesto and the Party's high-profile pledge-card and developing the Excalibur rapid rebuttal database that was used to campaign against the Conservative Party. Taylor became Assistant General Secretary of the Labour Party under Margaret McDonagh" (wikipedia again)
3. Deborah Mattinson
Switching to The Guardian we find that she is "the prime minister's focus group guru" (that's when Brown was Prime Minister, obviously) and "she said that David Cameron had weaknesses the party could exploit."
So that's three outright Labour supporters from a panel of four. The fourth was Digby Jones, as a former Director-General of the CBI he looked a bit like a token Conservative, but is also a former Labour Minister of Trade.
So you see, when BBC producers make a free choice of a representative panel of political experts they pick three Labour party supporters and one former Labour minister. They are biased in favour of the Labour party in everything they do.
By all means deny that. There's truck loads of this stuff to go through yet.
"These powerful people have convinced the population in general that one job is more valuable than another and should be paid more."
Yes that's right, it's all just a Jedi mind-control trick. There are no objective facts involved at all. Now let's try thinking about it. Suppose all jobs attracted the exact same salary. Do you think we might have quite a lot of news readers? And maybe a bit of a shortage of people willing to work in sewers? If you are trying to make the point that salaries for jobs often seem (or even are) irrational when you compare what is involved in actually doing the jobs, then I agree. However, ...
"When fully considered, there is no real reason why one job should be paid more than another but,"
No. When fully considered, it is clear that some jobs will have to be paid more than others or else why would anyone ever do anything that is dirty, tiring, risky or in any way disagreeable?
We (the long-suffering tax payers) have a Potato Council, a quango that does something or other in support of the potato industry. Why? We don't have a Parsnip Council, nor a Raspberry Council, so why do we need a Potato Council? The Potato Council probably does do a few useful things, and if it were closed down it might inconvenience a few people, but really, at a time like this, do we need it? Of course, when compared to the Pacific Ocean of debt that New Labour are creating, the cost of one quango is just a little teardrop, but this one small example illustrates a more general problem. The same question occurs with ID cards - do we need them? Will the sky fall if we don't have them? And so it goes on - endless spending on ventures that consume far too much money for the little bit of value that they deliver. Now imagine what we would find if we took a detailed look at welfare spending or the whole PFI arena.
And for this, Brown is piling up a trillion pounds of debt.
I don't understand why it has been suppressed. I pointed out that the ONS website - which is publicly available and publicly funded - has a February 2010 report on public finances which says that there have been revisions to the borrowing numbers, but those revisions apply to the whole period from April last year to January this. They do not refer specifically to January. The report also make no mention of the new £43 million borrowing figure.
"Labour are committed to halving the deficit - by an estimated £82bn - over four years."
Well, if a reduction of £82 billion halves the deficit, then currently it must be £164 billion - which is about £10 billion less than the government have been forecasting for months. Maybe, maybe not. We'll see soon enough. However, what the Chancellor actually committed to in his Pre-Budget Report statement was
"public sector net borrowing, as a share of GDP, falls every year and is more than halved by 2013-14;" (my emphasis).
That's rather different. If borrowing this year comes in at, say, 12% of GDP (i.e. better than expected) then more than halving it means reaching a shade under 6% of GDP as it will be in 2013-2014 . Since Brown and his cronies are claiming better than 12% GDP growth by then, they have significantly inflated the size of the deficit that they are allowing themselves at that point.
There are a couple of problems with this.
1. The economy will not deliver the four years of sustained economic growth that averages over 3%, as New Labour need. So they won't achieve their own target without tax rises or spending cuts in addition to those already announced - and that's if you believe that what they've said so far constitutes a credible plan for spending cuts.
2. Even if they could hit these numbers, the total debt will still be growing strongly in 2014 and isn't likely to stabilise relative to GDP until several years after that.
So, even on the highly optimistic assumption that the New Labour plan actually unfolds as they hope, they will still leave us with a peak debt of about 100% of GDP (give or take a few per cent) in about 8 years from now. And that does not include any of the PFI debt nor any of the off-balance sheet support for the banks.
So when we find that ...
"A poll out today suggests that 50% of people believe that the deficit can be dealt with without any impact on the public services. 75% say dealing with inefficiency will do the trick."
How many of them think that total government debt of far more than 100% of GDP can be dealt with without any impact on public services? And how many of those believe in fairies?
In October last year Stephanie Flanders reported Ben Broadbent of Goldman Sachs insisting - repeatedly - that the then ONS estimate of minus 0.4% third quarter growth was all wrong and should in fact have been plus 0.7%. The ONS did subsequently revise it to minus 0.3% but then, in their most recent report, revised it back down again.
One way to read that episode as well as today's, is that Goldman Sachs are cynically talking up the economy, in defiance of the facts - presumably for their own gain. The other possibility is that they really don't know what they are talking about.
"The revision was due to stronger growth in services and production."
It also makes absolutely no mention of any revision downwards in earlier figures.
I'm intrigued by this because I recently looked at the more or less monthly BBC reports on public sector borrowing and they don't add up. If you look at the recent ones, the figures they quote are much lower than they ought to be based on the reports earlier in the year. It's almost as if they are deliberately adjusting the figures to make them look better than they really are - but I'm sure there's a perfectly innocent explanation.