Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Comments on the TaxCutter's A list stats

I have received a number of eMails on the stats I produced. Here are the best two contributions, both of which I have anonymised and edited, but hopefully not so much that the author's message has been altered.

I will produce more statistics when I get time ... I do have a totally non-political job to do during the day. Please note that I've not suggested that there is any difference between the male and female A listers from the stats I've produced - the results to me appear to be near-enough equal

From an A lister high up on my list

Extract below ..... some useful comments here maybe for the rest of the A list

I attribute my result to:
(a) Bloody hard work - still the determining factor to my mind
(b) Strong local campaigning, particulary on crime and a myriad of local issues
(c) Michael Ashcroft's support in 2005; and
(d) my 'normal' (comprehensive school, worked in business, young family) background which has helped me to reach out to far more people in my life than any gender, sexual preference, race or religon ever would.

From an A lister lower down my list

..... can you produce an adjusted index, or possibly two, adjusting for number of Conservative Party members in the Constituency – I had 3 – and time spent in the post before the election – I had 3.5 months.

Also, an adjustment for time spent working in nearby target seats might be appropriate – I worked half my time for [major Conservative MP in key marginal], in the spirit of teamwork and wishing to add value to the Conservative Party, rather than squeeze every last decimal point in [constituency edited for anonymity]. Perhaps this was not the best strategy, in retrospect.

and from the same source in a later eMail

Incidentally, Andrew Percy effectively ran David Davis’s campaign at Haltemprice and Howden as well as nominally fighting Normanton. He worked probably 12 hours a day, on average, for DD throughout the entire campaign. At the time,H&H was at risk and he achieved a very good swing. There must be a number more like that on the list. I do understand your point, but there are so many factors. There is also the fact that women were very significantly more represented in the unwinnables and Northern seats than in the country overall and, how about this one, being such team players, women no doubt worked a lot in their neighbouring marginals, as instructed...

Candidates already selected thump The A list

This is the corresponding performance, using precisely the same methodology, for seats where the candidate for the next General election has already been selected. All the same caveats about the usefulness of these statistics apply as before.

Mark Garnier 50.26%
Rob Halfon 28.35%
Justin Tomlinson 12.76%
Paul Offer 11.18%
Nick de Bois 9.09%
Robert Buckland 8.14%
Caroline Nokes 5.46%
Karen Lumley 5.26%
Nicky Morgan 5.10%
Iain Stewart 3.28%
Penny Mordaunt 3.00%
Andrew Bingham 2.41%
Lorraine Fullbrook 0.79%
Marcus Wood 0.55%
Christopher Pincher -1.33%

Looks like these constituencies got this right. On average they increased the Tory vote as a proportion of the voters by 9.62% and outperformed the national performance of 2.21% when comparing 2005 General Election to 2001.

The A list candidates who stood reduced the Tory vote on the same basis by 4.01%.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Responses to comments on Conservative Home

There has been some reaction to this post on ConservativeHome. Here's my view on the comments:

1. Tim Montgomery made a number of very sensible remarks about the usefulness of the statistics. Please note them but bear in mind that the pool is large enough to represent a trend, and the trend is not good.

2. This is not an anti-A list statistical analysis. The data is compiled in a purely objective manner despite my own belief that local constituencies, that those who donate their spare time to fighting the elections are perfectly capable of selecting their candidate by democratic vote. If you wish to see the data, then let me know and I will forward it.

3. The analysis cannot say whether having an A list is good or bad. That will not be possible until an A-list of candidates stand and I have some electoral data to analyse. What these statistics aim to discover is whether the composition of the A list looks right. It doesn't.

On the other hand, as Tim alludes to, the accusation that the male A-listers are superior to the female A-listers is not borne out by the analysis which suggests relatively equal performance.

4. There are a few comments about individual candidates and circumstances. Kit Malthouse has written to me to inform me that he did stand in 1997 and heavily outperformed the national performance. Tim Collins fares well as his performance takes in account his result in 2001 as well as 2005, suggesting Labs voting Lib Dem cost him his seat. Karen Bradley was as someone rightly says, parachuted in at the last moment. Unlike that commentator, I do know Karen and she would make an excellent candidate and MP - given suitable time to campaign.

5. When I get the time, I will be happy to do more analyses, as a number of commentators suggest, eg

- benefits of Ashcroft money
-taking regional swings into account
- those not on the A list
- impact of selecting candidates shortly before the general election versus selecting 2 years ahead

- comparison to elected MPs

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The A list - the VoteWinning Index Results

So which A lister should you choose to win your key marginal. The purpose of this study is based on past performance at Parliamentary Elections, to deduce who are the biggest votewinners among the A List.

I have compiled a survey of all those on the A list, (with thanks for Tim Montgomery and Sam Coate's sterling work on Conservative Home), and per Guido Fawkes disclosure of the candidates for South Northamptonshire, have added a few other potentials. The index factor is determined by comparing Conservative Votes at the 2005 General Election and compares them to the 2001 Election as a percentage of total votes and hence aims to be wholly objective. For A listers who stood in both 2001 and 2005, or in 2001 only, the schedule has been adjusted by the National Swing between elections to try and make a 2001 performance comparable to a 2005 one. Obviously this ignores certain factors, eg local swings, strength of incumbent, independent candidates etc. However it does give some indication as to which A listers are more likely to win those key marginals!

Anything below 2.21 is a performance below the national average. 22 A listers are above the national average. 48 A listers are below the national average, a worrying factor given the fact these will stand in key seats.

Results in order.

1. Mark Coote 24.75%
2. Carolyn Abbot 18.55%
3. Caroline Dinenage 16.49%
4. Andrew Griffith 16.43%
5. Cllr Brandon Lewis 16.31%
6. James Bethell 14.39%
7. Mark Pawsey 12.39%
8. Anne McIntosh MP 12.33%
9. George Freeman 11.99%
10. Margot James 11.83%
11. Andrew Griffiths 8.82%
12. Syed Kamall MEP 8.28%
13. Melanie McLean 8.03%
14. Conor Burns 7.95%
15. Esther McVey 7.26%
16. Andrea Leadsom 6.03%
17. Amanda McLean 5.67%
18. Alexandra Robson 3.85%
19. Mark Menzies 3.43%
20. Steve Barclay 2.89%
21. Hannah Hall 2.88%
22. Tim Collins 2.82%
23. Heather Wheeler 1.84%
24. Damian Collins 1.32%
25. Antonia Dunn 1.32%
26. Matthew Collings 0.86%
27. Clive Allen 0.47%
28. Fiona Kemp 0.31%
29. Fiona Bruce 0.00%
30. Dr Richard Evans -0.63%
31. Laetitia Gunn -0.65%
32. Peter Cox -0.73%
33. Elizabeth Truss -1.38%
34. Anna Soubry -2.09%
35. Vicky Ford -2.36%
36. Pauline Latham -2.92%
37. Paul Maynard -2.99%
38. Julia Manning -3.21%
39. Sharon Buckle -3.28%
40. Kim Humphreys -3.52%
41. Sayeeda Warsi -3.97%
42. Nicholas Boles -4.70%
43. Tariq Ahmad -5.15%
44. Harriett Baldwin -5.88%
45. Jane Ellison -6.19%
46. Philippa Stroud -6.19%
47. Katy Lindsay -6.47%
48. Judith Symes -6.52%
49. Ashley Gray -6.68%
50. Amar Ahmed -6.94%
51. Pamela Singleton -7.02%
52. Maggie Punyer -7.80%
53. Lucy Shersby -8.41%
54. Andrew Percy -9.26%
55. David Gold -10.44%
56. Ali Miraj -11.11%
57. Pam Chesters -13.24%
58 Caroline Flynn-MacLeod -14.14%
59. Chris Heaton-Harris MEP -14.72%
60. Cordelia McCartney -16.70%
61. Suella Fernandes -19.59%
62. Priti Patel -21.43%
63. Dorothy Luckhurst -29.82%
64. Kulveer Ranger -30.68%
65. Alan Lockwood -31.10%
66. Jason Steen -31.25%
67 Karen Bradley -31.37%
68. Amber Rudd -36.77%
69. Jeremy Middleton -53.59%
70. Phillip Lee -69.33%

No rating awarded

A number of A listers have never stood for Parliament and are not included, or have not stood since the 1997 General Election. This raises the issue for some A listers as to the alternative experience they have that justifies their A list place, although a significant number are councillors.

Howard Flight is of course an oddity in this respect. If his vote in 2001 is compared to the 2005 General Election result he would have one of the highest ratings.

Louise Bagshawe
Gavin Barwell
Steve Brine
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
Howard Flight
Jackie Foster
Zac Goldsmith
Sam Gyimah
Rebecca Harris
Kay Hemmings
Pippa Hill
Kevin Hollinrake
Maria Hutchings
Jack LoPresti
Emma Moffett
Julie Moody
Wendy Morton
Beverley Nielsen
Hannah Parker
Adam Rickitt
Caroline Righton
Julie Rook
Laura Sandys
Jane Scott
Andrew Stephenson
Mel Stride
Simon Walker
Susan Williams
Kit Malthouse
Dr David Bull
Martin Callanan MEP
Timothy Coleridge
Angie Bray

If anyone would like to comment on the methodology then please let me know. Also, I'd quite like to do a second paper, on those denied A list membership despite great performance, so please let me know any suitable names. If you would like the data then please eMail me at - it will be released provided you agree to give me some credit

and in the papers today....

I can't be bothered to watch Andrew Marr on Sunday 9am. Despite his best attempts, Steve Coogan does Alan Partridge so much better. So I reviewed the papers myself.

Minette Martin has an excellent article reminding us that the 80s are a period in our history to be celebrated, not avarice soaked as some wish us to believe.,,2088-2189965,00.html

Sounds like Frank Lampard Junior is onside.

Surely its no surprise that a well-paid sportsman living in the south-east, the son and nephew of 2 of the more business like characters in football, votes Tory. Maybe he's thinking of the A list - you can't fault the bloke for hard work and if Chelsea are anything to go by, he should have a liberal approach to immigration.

No-one seems to have asked how Cameron got invited to the Beckhams in the 1st place. Becks is a known patriot and the southern Spice girls declared themselves as Thatch supporters years ago. Add in that arch-enemy Sir Alec is a long time Labour supporter, and it appears that DC supports DB, and vice-versa.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Being out of the office and the Canary Wharf area for most of yesterday and today was most disappointing. Certain big shot partners and city bruisers must have trembled with the news that stay-at-home wives are entitled to large parts of their fortune.

A victory for women? I've been lectured, ad tedium, by females for the last 15 years on how precious their independence is........

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Guest Blog: Scousers Special Annoucement

We, the Scousers, formally declare that Cherie Booth-Blair QC is no longer one of our number. Us Scousers have a long and proud tradition involving our close knit community, love of footie, petty-thieving, our brand of humour, The Beatles, not having proper jobs and voting for useless lefties.

We therefore consider that having a job that means taking substantial sums of taxpayers for no useful efforts aka legal fees, signing a Report concerning a man's suicide, purchasing dodgy flats and taking large fees for speeches when only morsels end up with the charity concerned and nicking £2,000 of goods from an Australian store which was giving you gifts, are beyond a little bit of scouse cheekiness. Even Paul MacCartney gets stitched up by his wife less than the PM does.

We consider that the PM's wife should relocate to somewhere more suited for her personality. Given her love of suicide bombers, the borderlands of Palestine should be ideal, and given the desolation maybe slightly remind her of home.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Flat Tax - improving Heath

Many would benefit from a perusal of Allister Heath's Flat Tax. Especially the parts covering the benefit of lowering marginal tax rates and the morality of high taxes on the successful.

Two quibbles on an otherwise fine work

1. Heath claims as his own statistic the number of pages of UK tax legislation in 2005 compared to 1997. This statistic was fed to him last summer by Conservative Research Department, I know as I counted the pages for the press release I thought of that got into The Times. Naughty

2. He advocates relief for capital expenditure in the year it is incurred. This is what happened in the UK for corporates until the mid-80s when Lawson stopped such nonsense. Why, because it distorted the economy to make capital more attractive than labour and helped contribute to the 3 million unemployed at the time.

Capital is paid for over time, hence corporates borrow and pay interest. Profits taxes should be based as far as possible on accounting profits, the best non-distortionry measure available and the simplest to use.

Little Red Book of Labour Sleaze

When this appears on Monday it should contain entries by my goodself, although none of the headlines on the cover

Found at Waterstones, Politicos or the cheaper Amazon

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The mystery of Gordon Brown

A good question from an apolitical type I know. Why did Gordon Brown make the Bank of England independent?

Pre-1997 it was a policy of the Tory right. Blair apparently knew next to nothing about it. Brown gives the impression that he has never thought that there is one person who could do the job anything like as well as he could, let alone seven. His micromanagement attitude to both government and individuals' lives does not point towards a man who believes in independence.

Why? I don't buy the Brown is anti-EU argument. Its merely Brown posturing himself to make the most of Blair's defeat, had Blair ever been daft or democratic enough to put the Euro or the EU Constitution to a referendum. So why? The thinking behind Brown's only success remains unknown.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A list: Based on past performance ... get worried

The membership of the A list does not point towards a Tory victory next time around.

Let's look at their 2005 General Election performance. The better candidates, eg Andrew Griffith and Conor Burns increased their share of the vote. But others based on 2005 are very lucky to get on the A list. Many got a lower share of the vote than the Conservative candidate in 2001, including Tim Collins, Liz Truss, Nicholas Boles, Philippa Stroud, Katy Lindsay, Phillip Lee, Paul Maynard, Jason Steen, Amber Rudd, Maggie Punyer, Suella Fernandes, Sharon Buckle and Sayeeda Warsi. Hardly a record that suggests you want them fighting the key marginals next time.

Nouveau droit

Give our Brian's kid some credit - at least he's been Tory for a few years.

Liz Truss, now only 30 I believe amazingly claims to have held senior positions in both the Oil and Telecoms industry. And in the LibDems? Googling Mel Stride doesn't produce a lot of Tory activism. Zach Goldsmith is an ecologist. Maria Hutchings hasn't exactly got a long history of party membership. Louise Bagshawe must be the only person who ever joined the Labour Party because she didn't like ERM and Back to Basics - like New Labour isn't pro-EU and moralistic. And what did she blame it on - the Catholic Church! This is reality not chick-lit darling.

It would be good if the above conversions are genuine corrections of error by genuine people. Please note wannabe celebs -being a Tory PPC in a key marginal is serious business - its not for the light-hearted, the workshy or the fickle.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Why? Why? Why?

oh new members of the EU, notably Lithuania, Slovenia and Estonia want to join the Euro?

Here's a test they should try first!

1. What was your countries growth rate in the following periods (1) since 1 January 2002, the date the Euro coins were introduced, (2) 1 January 1999, when the Euro currencies were pegged together. Is this higher or lower than the Euro area?

2. How successful have other attempts to fix the price of currencies been? Please examine the French and UK economies after they rejoined the Gold Standard in the 1920s + check out the UK experience of ERM as well.

3. Why did the Danes and Swedes reject the Euro in post 1999 referenda?

4. Has convergence been achieved in your economies with the Euro area? If the answer is no - so do why do you think that convergence is not required?

5. Do you think your economies can converge with the Euro zone given the success of your Flat Tax systems compared to the complex, high rate systems commonly found in the Euro zone. Please consider other differences between the role of the state in your economies compared to the Euro area.

6. Should you trust the existing Euro members - given the general bending of certain rules to fit within the Euro criteria and the fact that they are to blame for the EU being such an inefficient, and at times, corrupt body?

7. Why risk a system that could end up overpricing your goods and services, when floating your currency ensures a suitable price. Has it hurt similar size countries like New Zealand when they have floated their currencies?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

If only they'd have got him to do the purge

Rumours circulated today that CCHQ was being purged. We now have Olly Letwin as chairperson of CRD, Bridges heads up political unit, John Glen in charge of CRD. And a few people have moved desks. Ever heard of a purge which meant the same people ended up in the same jobs!

Noises and inside info from Labour HQ tell of highly motivated individuals with long-term party activism being employed. My inside experience of CCHQ was many weren't party members, + in 1 case had never voted Tory, the then lead Treasury guy played computer games and indoor cricket all day + they campaigned against Nick Herbert getting selected in Flight's seat. Whilst there were some good guys + the occasional girl actually had talent - the simple truth was they weren't recruiting people with enough passion and ability. Going to a posh uni is 1 thing, actually having a perceptive brain and some initiative is another.

CCHQ is meant to be the top political campaigning body - not a gentleman's club. Never mind Prezza's antics and Blair and Brown's latest round of handbags - Labour is a high quality and hard-working political machine and the Tories must stretch every sinew to match it.

We shoot to kill and we always will

Highly unlikely that it is, The TaxCutter desperately hopes that the rumour about an A-list woman and Lemmy, warts and all apparently, is true. She'd get my vote in Finchley and Golders Green PPC selection for her services to rock.

Lemmy's lyrics don't make great soundbites though - can't see her using "She's jailbait and I just can't wait".

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cameron's deft political touches

DC is all for 'change'. Traditional political wisdom says that when your enemy is struggling, go in for the kill. Dave's attitude to Labour's malaise is to start a civil war in his own party. No change there then.

The wrongs and wrongs of having an A list and who is on it are covered elsewhere. But the master manifesto writer should not use that furore to escape censure for his tactic. Promoting the nouveau droit, release the list at a time when you should be focussing on the enemy's failings, not bothering to properly interviews candidates you were never going to pick in the first place, upsetting long-term activists, pretend the list won't get publicly known, effectively telling the enemy that those not on the list are 2nd rate PPCs in your eyes, annoying non-DC voters when the party most needs unity.

The A list shows the arrogance of Dave and his set. Cameron lectures Labour on its failures but he should focus on his mismanagement of his own party first.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Less Balls please

Gordon Brown's imagination has now extended to appointing his spare brawn as Economic Secretary. Brown has now spent nearly 14 years in the Treasury or Shadow Treasury. Balls has been there for most of the time. Primarolo has been aTreasury minister since 1997, long enough that even she should have realised she doesn't know what she's doing.

Gordon's lot = Same job, same people. My reckoning is that Blair is sharp enough to know that like the economy, Brown's ship is starting to sink, so no harm in chucking another rat onboard. And it all plays into Blair's hands, once Labour MPs and the public realise that Gordon can't think outside of an all too familiar box, they'll realise that a diplomat + team manager he ain't so let's not rush to be rid of wide Tony. Brown's obstinacy in staying as Chancellor means that he's too one-dimensional to be PM. And its hard to tell whether Cameron or Blair are most pleased.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cutting Council taxes wins local elections

Hammersmith and Fulham turned in top results last Thursday, having gone large on Council Tax cuts. Council tax cuts aren't mentioned on Enfield Tories' website.

The TaxCutter is concerned about the strange silence from DC and CCHQ acknowledging the electoral success of a clearcut lower tax message.....

Friday, May 05, 2006

Make way for the big boys

Nevermind Blair, DC needs to think about his team. Too many aren't punching Alan Duncan's, let alone their own weight.

Anyone new to the UK would think the Opposition spokesman for Health was called Reform. Lansley's MIA when the knife in Hewitt should be twisted. Willets might have 2 brains but what has he thought up on education. Letwin is Head of Policy but opposes having policies. Theresa May couldn't lead a Wendy House, let alone the Commons. Ainsworth is in no danger of any emissions at the environment and Heald stays silent as Labour increasingly bypass Parliament. Maude has castrated the candidates list and our chances in key marginals. Osborne needs to take time to read up on electoral history and see how tax cuts win votes. Some are excited about David Davis vs John Reid. Sod that for a game of territorial soldiers - the arch-assassin should be Shadow Chancellor + target the next PM. Fox is wasted at Defence but did DC intend that?

The Big Men need to be in the Big jobs.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dawn raids and Project Dave

The perils of election day. Following a local party member thinking it was ok to slag off the Tory council whilst at the polling station, I subbed her in the telling process. This subjected me to 1.5 hours from the sitting Labour councillor about how Iraq war - bad, Polly Toynbee - good.

The TaxCutter was most impressed with the 4am Dawn Raid he soldiered in. But he still stresses that the Tory Party as a whole has got to move away from working safe seats (take a random example - er ... Hampstead Garden Suburb) when key marginals need help.

On the doorstep, I noted no enthusiasm for Project Dave, the few comments on DC were negative. Maybe the public are ahead of Dave, its the economy that counts most, and Dave's not yet got any ideas, let alone big ones, on it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

ECJ - the anti-tax competition agenda

The Advocate General's opinion in the Cadbury Schweppes case was published today. This latest dent in the UK's rights to set its own tax laws concerned the choccie and soft drink makers moving activities to Ireland to benefit from the lower tax rate, and whether the UK rules that seek to subject income arising in tax-havens to UK tax are against the EU Treaty Freedom of Establishment. The European Commission was on the opposite side to the UK government in this case. Guess what, the AG held in the Commission's favour!

AG Leger, pictured here, showed a typical Brussels statist attitude as he sought a way to attack tax competition. To quote -
  • "It may be regrettable that [tax] competition operates between Member States in this field without restriction"
  • "The fact that that tax system may also be classified as State aid incompatible with the common market...."
  • "However, the harmful effects of a total absence of harmonisation of the rates of taxation of company profits call, as we have seen for a political solution..."
The TaxCutter suspects his views are all too prevalent among Brussels judiciary. The most harmful tax measures in the EU are the stonking tax rates applied to income and corporate income by Old Europe, causing the EU to have the lowest economic growth in the OECD. Indeed, just what is the UK doing having a tax system that treats Ireland like it was some Cayman style offshore-tax haven.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Should a foreigner be England's Financial Manager?

The fuss about whether the England football manager should be English, raises an interesting question - should the British Chancellor of the Exchequer actually be British.

There are a number of Eastern European, Irish, Australian and American politicians who have had great success in increasing economic growth, improving inbound investment and cutting and simplifying their tax system and would be ideally qualified to improve the UK's financial systems.

Maybe we could learn from them, eg that economic stablility and tax cuts are not mutually exclusive.