On Thursday this week, Biteback publishes a new book called HOW TO CUT PUBLIC SPENDING (AND STILL WIN AN ELECTION) by the TaxPayers' Alliance. It's desgined to advise all political parties on how they can cut government spending, borrowing and debt and still remain popular.
The Government is spending more than £5 for every £4 it raises in taxes, racking up hundreds of billions in new debts. The recession has exposed the parlous state of the public finances. Politicians irresponsible borrowing threatens to create a new economic crisis, driven by excessive, wasteful spending. If serious cuts aren't made then Britons face years of tax hikes and economic decline. All the major parties are planning to cut spending but none of them have set out a credible programme to make the tens of billions of cuts needed. In this book, the Taxpayers' Alliance presents the most thorough investigation yet of this vital issue and a plan to turn things around. Edited by Matthew Sinclair, their Research Director, it includes a detailed examination of the records of the major parties and sets out a detailed programme of potential cuts and essential reforms to ensure taxpayers get better value for money. Expert authors from around the world set out their experience of what it takes to successfully get a country's public finances in order.
I only ask after a weekend which has been dominated by phrases such as " well hung... messily hung... swinging ". All of which of course, refer to the increasing speculation that there will be a hung parliament which is arousing constitutional experts to a state rarely seen or heard. Meanwhile the playground bullies of the political press have failed to goad Nick Clegg into declaring for either Tories or Labour . 'Tis the eternal question that faces Lib Dem leaders " Who do you prefer? Who will you work with?" and much time is spent in Lib Dem leader land trying to find elegant ways of refusing to answer the one question that voters are perfectly entitled to ask, particularly if they're about to switch allegiance. However, Nick's sound bite assertion that he was no kingmaker but the 45 million voters of Britain are is one that should be relayed to everyone who's got the chance to vote in the next few weeks.
I'm not a gambling woman although for a nano second on Saturday I contemplated putting a fiver on West Ham to beat Chelsea on 14 to 1 odds, but if the parties are as close as the polls suggest then all the more reason to get out and vote when it really could make a difference. Even if we do end up with something messily hung that only HM The Queen can sort out.
My co-author Jo Phillips asks what constitutes a pamphlet. If Kevin Maguire is right and Why Vote? is a pamphlet rather than a book, it would make us Pamphleteers, which is the highest praise someone on the Left can bestow.
Among the great Pamphleteers have been Paine, Milton, Locke, Swift, Defoe (Daniel, not Jermain), and Addison. Should the names of Phillips and Seymour now be added to that estimable list? Modesty forbids us accepting that accolade.
But I am sure I speak for Jo, too, when I say that we are grateful Kevin thinks of us that way. Unless, of course, he is not of the Left at all and doesn’t understand what he is saying.
Did an hour with my old friend Ian Collins on his Talksport show last night. Ian and I go back years to when he was a presenter and I was a newsreader on Invicta Radio in Kent and he's always managed to combine a sharp political brain with the light touch of an excellent broadcaster. I was expecting to have to battle to persuade people why they should vote but all bar one of the callers was a committed and regular voter and she'd given up out of sheer disillusionment with politicians . Always hard to argue against that when people feel their trust has been betrayed. Wouldn't it be great if everyone campaigning and canvassing in this election under promised and over delivered for a change,treated the electorate like adults and recognised the implicit contract between the voters and those who get our precious votes.
No doubt more on disillusion, betrayal and broken promises at the Institute of Ideas conference on March 20th where both David Seymour & I are speaking. IoI events are always stimulating, thought provoking and fun so we're much looking forward to being part of this.
And, nice to be wanted after he snub from my local bookshop in Whitstable which isn't stocking Why Vote because ... " we tend to sell remaindered books and customers don't like paying full price. " To which I say, sell the whole series on a special offer !
I literally bumped into Kevin Maguire, the Mirror's political editor who commented on the fact that David Seymour and I had written " a pamphlet".
"It's a book, not a pamphlet", I harrumphed. And then got to wondering is there a definition of length or size for either? Pamphlets have been the mainstay of political and creative writing for years but is there something a bit infradig about a pamphlet - feels like junk mail or some health advisory stuff from the NHS. Is a pamphlet the printed version of a tweet ? Answers on a postcard perhaps.
Biteback Publishing is looking for an intern as part of a three-month internship program which commences on April 5th 2010. The position is unpaid, through reasonable travel expenses are covered. We are looking for someone with a strong desire to pursue a career in publishing, who is enthusiastic, articulate, possess good attention to detail, excellent English language skills and is a team player.
In return we will provide the standard intern experience (including general support to a small publishing team) but also ensure that each intern leaves with a set of marketable skills and the confidence to succeed in the current market. We can offer participation in all facets of the publishing process for a more rounded experience.
The internships will run from 5th April to 2nd July 2010. If you are interested, you should send your CV (no more than one page please) and a covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org