Tag Archives: fraser nelson

Fraser Nelson is wrong: Cameron’s supposed EU re-negotiation allies are set on a very different path

european union starsLike so many Eurosceptics, Fraser Nelson was at it again this morning in the Telegraph: taking a couple of things they heard from foreign politicians and adding it all up to make something that matches exactly what they want: less Brussels.

Nelson was continuing his theme from the Spectator a couple of weeks ago, describing a Northern Alliance Cameron had been building to reform the European Union in his image. There is one problem with all that: it simply is not true.

In the UK, the Dutch are …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 8 Comments

Fraser Nelson’s must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy

Fraser Nelson has written a must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy today. My guess is he’s reliant on Tory intelligence, which in this case is an oxymoron.

Much of it is the usual half-fair/half-unfair admixture of insults regularly thrown at the Lib Dems by the right-wing media. We are, says Fraser, “a hodge-podge of a party defined by its lack of definition”, “conservative in Somerset and socialist in Solihull” (has he met Lorely Burt?). Unlike the Conservatives, of course, where the small-l-liberal outlook of Ken Clarke and Nick Boles dovetails perfectly with the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 12 Comments

Are employment levels one of the “better stories” of the Coalition, as Fraser Nelson claims? Not really.

The Spectator’s editor Fraser Nelson is — rightly — very hot on politicians being accurate in their use of stats. For instance, he’s — rightly — called out both Nick Clegg and David Cameron for confusing (whether accidentally or deliberately) the terms ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’, claiming the former is falling when they mean the latter.

However, Fraser is sometimes a bit casual with facts himself — for instance, wrongly claiming that an old report for the Department for Education ‘proved’ the pupil premium was flawed when it did no such thing.

And today he makes a point of highlighting …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 10 Comments

Fraser Nelson attacks pupil premium using report that, erm, doesn’t attack pupil premium

fraser nelsonFraser Nelson is in bold form today: Spending more doesn’t improve public services.

His basis for this judgement is a report prepared for the Department for Education by Deloitte (available here). If there’s a headline conclusion it’s the fairly uncontentious point that simply spending money on schools does not, in itself, guarantee good outcomes. It matters at least as much how you spend it.

So far, so obvious. And if Fraser’s article had stuck to that basic conclusion it would’ve been fine. But he wanted to make a …

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A headline I didn’t expect ever to write: Tory right-wing calls for affirmative action in public sector

I did a bit of a double-take on reading Fraser Nelson’s latest column in the Telegraph complaining that David Cameron has been ‘strikingly relaxed’ about appointments to government-funded bodies.

‘His allies say that he has been too much of a gentleman to play Labour’s game and start stuffing quangos with Tory placemen,’ says Fraser, whose tone suggests he’d like nothing better than for the Prime Minister to start stuffing quangos with Tory placemen.

His plea for greater patronage was taken up with alacrity by Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome who …

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LibLink: Jonathan Portes on wealth taxes & ensuring the ‘rich’ pay their fair share

Jonathan Portes, director of NIESR and former senior Treasury official, is not a Lib Dem — he recently contributed to LibDemVoice to critique the Coalition’s economic policy — but he is addicted to robust evidence. And the recent spate of right-wing commentators rubbishing the Lib Dems’ call for increased wealth taxes to help tackle the current economic crisis has roused his ire:

The Liberal Democrats call for a “mansion tax” (that is, a higher rate of council tax for the most expensive properties), possibly supplemented by some form of wealth tax seems to have provoked a peculiarly illogical misuse of

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

What do we Lib Dems want from a reshuffle?

While the massed ranks of the mostly right-wing political commentariat obsess about the imminent Cabinet reshuffle, Lib Dem interest has been relatively muted.

In one sense this isn’t surprising.

As it stands, 18 of the party’s 57 MPs are on the government payroll, so Nick Clegg has little room for manouevre even among the middle ranks of government. And with only five cabinet positions (four if you exclude Nick himself as Deputy Prime Minister) there’s even less wiggle-room at the top table. Nonetheless, this reshuffle will most likely be …

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Opinion: we can not allow ourselves to be used as scapegoats by the Tories

It was an amazing coincidence that Lady Warsi’s interview on BBC2’s Newsnight spoke so lamentably about the state of the coalition the evening before YouGov put the Tories 11 points behind Labour. The Conservative Party chairman without hesitation accused us of being immature and failing to accept collective responsibility within the coalition.

Patrick Wintour’s article in yesterday’s Guardian  highlights the despicable manner in which Lady Warsi, as a cabinet member showed no loyalty to her coalition partners by putting the boot in as soon as the going got tough and the Tories started struggling in the opinion polls.

The whole episode …

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EXCLUSIVE: Standards Commissioner rules four journalists broke Parliament’s rules

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon, has ruled that Martin Bright, Melissa Kite, Andrew Neil and Fraser Nelson all broke Parliamentary rules by failing to fully declare their financial interests in the Register of Journalists’ Interests. The ruling follows a complaint I lodged with the Commissioner.

They have all been lobby journalists, giving them special access to Parliament and politicians. Given the possibility of lobbyists and interest groups paying members of the lobby to raise issues on their behalf, there is a financial register which – in theory – provides a degree of transparency and hence protection against abuse of …

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Lord Ashcroft and the Conservative Party: the financial controversies

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

With Michael Ashcroft back in the news over his financial support for the Conservative Party, this post provides a quick recap of the past controversies over Michael Ashcroft, the Conservative Party and political funding.

Ashcroft’s sequence of senior Conservative posts

Under William Hague, Ashcroft was Treasurer of the Conservative Party (1998-2001), becoming a peer and member of the House of Lords in 2000. He was involved in a protracted dispute with The Times, which had been investigating some of the sources of his wealth. A libel action was settled out of court, with both sides paying their own legal costs.

After Hague’s departure, there was a gap of several years before Ashcroft once again held senior office in the Conservative Party, coming back as Deputy Chairman after the 2005 general election. This role, combined with his financial contributions, have given him huge influence over the Conservative Party’s target seats operation.

Ashcroft’s influence on the Conservative Party’s direction

He paid privately for an extensive polling operation during the 2005 campaign, the results of which – along with his book, Smell the coffee: A wake-up call for the Conservative Party – played a significant part in the modernising debates in the Conservative Party.

Tim Montgomerie has commented on ConservativeHome that, “I think his polling operation and Smell The Coffee report did too much to send the Cameron project in an über-modernising direction.”

Ashcroft and the House of Lords

Prior to being made a peer in 2000, Michael Ashcroft promised that he would return to the UK and pay income tax:

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