Monday, January 30, 2012

Labour need bank bonuses to make their "policy" work

Labour's suddenly discovered hostility to bank bonuses, highlights the chaos into which Labour policy has descended. I am not referring to their 13 years in government in which they actively encouraged the bonus culture. Instead, I am referring to the so-called "Five Point Plan" to solve all the country's ills. I have blogged before about how feeble and back-of-an-envelope this "Plan" is. It is based on a £2 billion bank bonus tax which, Labour claims, will pay for a house building scheme with will solve the housing crisis (which they allowed to get worse in government), take 100,000 young people off the dole (after leaving nearly one million on the dole themselves) and generally will pay to reverse any cut they don't like, even though they are now supposed to be all in favour of these cuts.

None of Labour's figures stack up. The scheme would cost more than four times the money raised to pay for it. But at this moment, that's not the point. The reality is that if Labour is to stand any chance of making their scheme achieve even a fraction of what is claimed of it, bank bonuses will have to be paid big style so that they can be taxed. This £2 billion is a great deal of money but Labour can't have it both ways - arguing for lots of tax to be raised from the banks when bonuses are paid and then in the next tv interview, arguing for an end to bank bonuses. The reality is that Labour policy rests on big fat bonuses being paid by the banks. You can't kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs and then demand the corpse of the goose continues laying!
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

An interesting world when Lib Dem policy launch is the lead new story

Despite carelessly leaving my blackberry switched on overnight, the email to Lib Dems from Vince Cable at 6.19am didn't wake me. So an hour later when I was awake, I was even more awake after reading Vince's message. So, Nick Clegg was calling for an earlier implementation of the Lib Dem policy of raising the tax threshold to £10,000. Excellent stuff.

What was of most interest however was watching the BBC News 24 throughout the morning. Nick's tax call was for most of the time the lead story. Go back just a couple of years and the possibility of getting a positive story about Lib Dem policy as the lead news story was, at best, very slim. My experience of the media on policy was that the press would only take an interest in it if there was a possibility of a row at conference. Evan Harris would have his time in the tv limelight as he sought to be friendly to the leadership by moving a hostile amendment. Conference would debate the issue and then back it (unamended) by a healthy majority. And at that point, the media would lose interest and the policy would never appear again in the news.

Well, how things have changed. And my faith in the media has been partially restored with some great coverage today that highlighted that the policy of cutting income tax for those on low and middle incomes being pursued by the Coalition comes from the Lib Dems.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

My record year on YouTube

I have just done the stats for 2011 and have found that during the year, my videos were viewed 625,638 times on YouTube. And though my travel videos continue to have the most individual viewings (the one I shot in a former Soviet submarine base in the Ukraine has nearly 240,000 viewings though only 40,000 of these are from the past year), my gardening and cookery videos are now breaking into my top ten. For the past two months they have had the highest viewings. As it's shooting season, my video on how to pluck and gut a pheasant has been flying high with typically 250 viewings a day.

This is not just an interesting exercise in ego grooming. As a YouTube partner, I get paid advertising revenue so I need to work hard to produce a constant supply of new videos to encourage the viewers to keep returning.

The channel can be viewed at