You’re either in front of Guido, or you’re behind…


You’re either in front of Guido, or you’re behind…

Data Shows Cost-of-Living Crisis About to End



Guess the giant corporate BBC is a long way behind the tiny, but highly successful, Blogger


The Government has announced that wages are inching ahead of inflation.


The BBC’s own Iain Watson said that (from 12:10):

Labour’s figures on the economy go unchallenged…Labour is dominating the debate….This  is undoubtedly the political battleground .

Peter Kellner (YouGov) said…..‘This economic argument is absolutely central to who comes out of top at the election.’


So you kind of get the idea that the economic statistics are important….and that the BBC has allowed Labour’s propaganda to go unchallenged.


But Watson adds…

Will the government’s claim resonate with the public?  The Tory claim is obviously ‘so political’.


The Tory’s claim is ‘so political’...and Labour’s aren’t?

This is the crux of the problem with the BBC’s coverage of this debate, this so-called debate.

The BBC has entirely failed to challenge Miliband’s claim that there is a ‘cost of living crisis‘….they fail to challenge his narrative based on wages having fallen £1600 since 2010.

The BBC has recently taken to labeling any policy statement or announcement from Cameron or Osborne as ‘electioneering’ …or as above, ‘political’.  No such label is attached to Miliband’s statements.


Watson was otherwise pretty even handed it has to be said in his analysis…..his final word was that:

The Government are not overclaiming, it is just one piece of evidence that we are going in the right direction.’


In other words nothing to get really excited about…and yet we have had a day of relentless dissection of the Government’s claim…..hardly making a ripple in the newspapers….rapidly off the frontpages whilst it was top story until very late evening on the BBC Frontpage.

Why? Because this completely undermines Labour’s last remaining line of attack…the ‘cost of living crisis’…which in fact is just the usual ‘Marxist’ approach….so not even new.

Unfortunately when it comes to the broadsweep of events the BBC loses sight of such expert analysis as Watson provided and imposes the ‘Party line’ which seems to be remarkably always in Labour’s favour.  News bulletins report half the story or puts the emphasis on something that distorts the truth and presenters more often than not ignore the specialist reporter and continue to push their own interpretation of events.


The BBC cast aside its lack of interest in investigating Labour’s statistical claims today as the Government moved to put its side of the story:

‘The government has released figures which claim to show that real take-home pay has increased for most people in the last year.


Using the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the government said pay has increased for all but the top 10% of earners.


But how true is that? The answer, as so often, is that it depends on which data you look at.’


I’m not sure the BBC is so concerned with the ‘truth’ as with undermining the Government’s message.

The BBC  launched a massive operation to counter the Government’s ‘good news’ on the so called ‘cost of living crisis‘ that tells us that wages maybe inching ahead of inflation…it was relentless, all day long barrage of ‘analysis’ designed to cast doubt on the figures….no such barrage for Miliband’s ‘cost of living crisis’ claim.

The ‘good news’ is disastrous politically for Labour’s recent line of attack.  Having failed miserably in their attempts to promote ‘Plan B’ as a credible policy, heavily supported by the BBC, they were forced to change tactics and adopt the new line saying that there was a ‘cost of living crisis’...that being… since 2010 (note selective choice of date) wages had fallen behind inflation by £1600.


This is what the IFS said last year (2013):

Once inflation is taken into account, real-terms pay has fallen by more since the recession began in 2008 than in any comparable five-year period, said the think-tank in a working paper for the magazine Fiscal Studies.
The research found that the period since 2008 has seen “the longest and deepest loss of output in a century” but that the downturn is different from previous slumps.
Productivity levels have fallen “to an unprecedented degree” but employment has held up far better than in previous recessions and inequality has declined, in sharp contrast to experiences in the 1980s.


Note that…real-terms pay has fallen by more since the recession began in 2008 than in any comparable five-year period,…the period since 2008 has seen “the longest and deepest loss of output in a century”….Productivity levels have fallen “to an unprecedented degree” ‘
Since 2008 not 2010.   Labour’s legacy.  Wages fell massively and will obviously struggle to catch up with pre-2008 rates.


And remember this from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation:

Always Interesting What The BBC Chooses to Highlight

Poverty (relative of course) is almost at a record low.

Living standards have been declining since 2003…not since 2010.

Fewer working adults were in poverty in 2011/12 than in 2008/09 under Labour.

Child poverty is lowest for 25 years.

Pensioner poverty at lowest in decades.


All ignored by the BBC’s report in favour of Labour’s narrative:

Most people classed as being in poverty ‘have job’


Which in itself is misleading…..for the JRF explains:

The fall in poverty among those in workless and retired families is obviously related to the fall in pensioner poverty.

In other words there isn’t a rise in families in work who are in poverty but a fall in out of work poverty changing the ratios.

The BBC tells us….’the number of working poor has steadily been rising for years.’

But hang on….the report tells us that there are 3,060,000 working adults in poverty in 2011/12…..but in 2008/09 there were 3,500,000 working adults in poverty.

Yep….3,500,000 in 2008/09……with a drop to 3,060,000 in 2011/12.

So there are in fact fewer numerically in poverty now….proportionately they have risen but that is a statistical quirk due to non-working people being taken out of poverty.


The ‘working adults in poverty rise’ has been a Labour line, used in PMQs by Miliband this week, and indeed by Lefty Jonathan Freedland given airtime on the BBC, coincidentally also this week, who claims….

‘A new challenge is growing, the growing number of people in work who are also facing poverty.
That’s the story today with a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showing that the number of working families in poverty has now outstripped those without employment.


And yet that’s an outright lie……as a quick read of the report, as shown above, would show.

It’s pure left wing propaganda, a Labour Party broadcast,  courtesy of the BBC.


However today, not only are the BBC rigorously challenging Government claims (‘But how true is that?’) but their journalistic instincts kicked in and they also set out to forensically dissect Miliband’s claims…here’s the indepth report:

Tumbleweed gif


Nothing to see there.

But as said….today is different. This morning the Government announced its good news.

And the BBC immediately mobilised and launched its dawn counter attack on Wake Up To Money where we heard the positive, beautiful thoughts flowing….apparently 99.9% of the Public don’t trust statistics… curious how we only find that out when it is the Coalition statistics being questioned.

And now suddenly the inflation figures are wrong also…we should be looking at RPI not CPI…therefore the Government’s pay rise claims are wrong!…oh and Big Business is sitting on piles of cash whilst slashing wages of the workers…up the revolution!


The Today programme then tackled this and John Humphrys actually did some real journalism…… no doubt complaints were penned and are bulging in the Trust’s inbox already.

Humphrys laid into Labour’s Treasury Spokeswoman, Cathy Jamieson, saying ‘So you ignore the statistics then, you ignore the facts.

Jamieson tried to use the IFS to back her argument up…but then Humphrys quoted Paul Johnson, the Director of the IFS, who had been on half an hour before saying…let me quote, as Humphrys said:

‘The overall picture is that people have stopped getting worse off.’


That though was the last of the ‘Good News’ from then on it was all downhill on the BBC….on Nicky Campbell, Victoria Derbyshire, on Sheila Fogarty’s show (Iain Watson aside)….and on and on…no doubt on Newsnight as well.


Every news bulletin led withLabour says the Government is misleading the Public’ rather than ‘Wages rise faster than inflation…yippeee!!!’…they also missed out the IFS statement that wages are above the cost of living whilst reporting the IFS also saying that there are alternate figures on the economy.

Curiously that was the approach to headlines also taken by the Labour supporting New Statesman (by coincidence George Eaton of the Staggers being a guest on Nicky Campbell this morning to talk on this very subject):

Labour: PM’s ‘good news’ misleading

David Cameron in Crawly

Cameron says take-home pay is rising, but ONS data shows household incomes unlikely to rise before next election



That is another major problem with BBC reporting….whatever is said in the longer programmes is then condensed by the News bulletins, either deliberately or due to incompetence, in a manner that completely distorts the reality…the nuances and complexity, never mind the truth, are lost and the listener is left with something that will leave him badly informed, changing his perspective on events, and his subsequent actions such as voting, based on false information.

This is especially pernicious as most people probably get their news from these bulletins and haven’t time to listen to the longer, indepth analysis.

As the BBC has consistently all day led with the same headline you have to think it is the ‘party line’ they have agreed upon.

It is a curious thing that the criticism of a policy becomes the headline rather than the policy itself.


Finally the BBC is quick to report a speech to be given on Saturday by Ed Balls (Just as they were with Miliband’s speech last week for which they gave him two sets of headlines)….but they totally ignored Mark Carney’s statement that dismissed Miliband’s plans to cap bank market share as unworkable…considering he is the Governor of the Bank of England you might think they would think his views were worthy of note.

Ed Balls will pledge to ‘balance the books’ by 2020

Just wonder how much analysis from the BBC this will get.

There is this last word in the BBC report:

The last time the government ran an absolute budget surplus – meaning that it generated more in revenues, including tax yields, than it spent – was in 2001.

The UK has only balanced the books in seven out of the last 50 years.

aAslight note of scepticism?

Let’s hope that isn’t really the last word on this subject and Labour’s ‘pledge to balance the books’ doesn’t become an unchecked vote catching legend promoted by the BBC as the ‘cost of living crisis’ has become.








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29 Responses to You’re either in front of Guido, or you’re behind…

  1. DICK R says:

    Balls, remember was an economic adviser to Gordon Brown a great thing to have on his CV !!


  2. Guest Who says:

    “This is especially pernicious as most people probably get their news from these bulletins and haven’t time to listen to the longer, indepth analysis.”
    Especially the kind long on narrative and short to the point of bent on relevant context.
    Now, breakfast. Maybe a pizza? No. Clearly unaffordable. Soup then.


  3. Beeboidal says:

    Good post, Alan. Labour see the ‘cost of living crisis’ as a key plank in its election strategy. The Tories took a swipe at it and the BBC went all out to deflect the blow.


  4. Beness says:

    Labour still up to their old tricks. Sounbites:

    Cost of living crisis:
    Bedroom tax:

    Back to the good old days of

    Tough on crime,tough on the causes of crime:
    24 hrs to save the NHS.

    IT’s tired and old but it grabs the mind of the lazy thinkers, easily.


    • Dysgwr_Cymraeg says:

      Indeed, it’s the old cliche, you don’t have to fool all of the people all of the time. Albeeba is aware they only need to fool enough of the gullible to make a difference, and Lord knows, there sure are plenty of them.
      Dopey David Cameron sits idly in number 10 fiddling while albeeba busies itself shilling for Liebor, and he doesn’t even notice.
      What a knob.


  5. DownBoy says:

    The cost of living crisis is the last economic fig leaf the Labour party have, following crashing the economy and promoting Plan B. BBC know this, hence the attempt to cast as much doubt on the gradually improving figures, whilst yet again allowing Milliband, Reeves etc. a free ride. Love the tumbleweed, Alan!


  6. johnnythefish says:

    What a pity the BBC in the ‘New’ Labour years never saw fit to dissect Gordon Brown’s extraordinary claim regarding the end of boom and bust* the way they do with Conservative stats on the economy.

    *And still haven’t.


    • Dysgwr_Cymraeg says:

      Hey! He DID abolish boom and bust, oh…..what’s that? Oh yes ok then but at least he abolished the boom.


  7. The Sage says:

    What cost of living crisis? I’ve never experienced one, but I do note the following: BBC license fee frozen, Council Tax frozen, fuel duty frozen, beer duty cut, income tax abolished for those earning up to £10,000 p.a. and so on.


  8. You What!!! says:

    This post illustrates Alan’s economic illiteracy.

    The fact that ” wages are inching ahead of inflation” in the current period does not mean we are becoming better off. Since 2009 (as the graph shows) year on year inflation has exceeded year on year wage increases.

    As such, individuals will only become better off when the historical shortfall in earnings has been reversed by a period of earnings increases exceeding CPI rises.

    To put it simply the CPI has risen from 110.83 in 2007 to 124.4 in December 2013. This is an increase of 12.24% over the period. To be better off in 2014 an individual will have to have had to see their earnings increase by more than 12.24% since 2007.


    • John Anderson says:

      You are leaving out the important effect of the tax reductions for low-to-moderate earners.. It is take-home pay that matters.

      Did you leave it out deliberately, as Labour tries to? Don’t tell usyou don’t know about it.


    • Doublethinker says:

      Yes that may well be true but who caused the decrease in wages in the first place. Well Labour of course, but the BBC manage to avoid ever saying so.


    • alan says:

      That’ll be inching ahead of inflation…not making up all lost wages since the start of the recession.

      And as the director of the IFS said:

      ‘The overall picture is that people have stopped getting worse off.’

      Which means they’ve reached a crossover point.

      Is he also ‘financially illiterate’…or is that just you?


      • Dysgwr_Cymraeg says:

        Another rebranded same old, where DO they find the cute names?


      • You What!!! says:

        Don’t disagree with Alan or he blocks you – bit like David Vance on Twitter. (you can get round the block by getting a new email)


        • DownBoy says:

          Recovery in spending power will always lag behind a genuine recovery as we gradually come out of the economic Balls-up bequeathed to us by the last Labour govt. who vastly overspent. Basic grown-up economics, but too much for ‘You What’ to comprehend.


  9. pah says:

    If only the BBC had been so diligent in dissecting Labour economics when in power we might not have ended up in the hole Labour left us in.


  10. Pounce says:

    So this morning even with the luxury of a Parliament channel the bBC put on hold all the worlds news in which to bring us….Balls up for the Nation courtesy of the Labour Party Party. Yes the Party which only 4 years ago left the country with the biggest deficit in History, allowed a man who was found guilty of robbing the Tax paying public of fiddling his expenses claims to publically declare that the present people in Power are crooked and that by trusting them they will in 6 short years ensure that they ensure that UK PLC is running in the black. And how is he going to do all this..why tax everybody (While the bBC headlines scream out tax the rich, the bBC are somewhat reticent on how Balls is going to add 10p tax to those on low incomes.

    Yeh, hoorah and all that jazz. Hang on bBC, there’s a Parliamentary channel for all this shite, why couldn’t you shove Fat Ed on there while he puffs and pants like a good one. Instead I had to endure Fat boy stuttering away unable to decipher just what the prick was trying to say. Meanwhile on Sky news they at 11am went on to report the News, Al J did a fantastic job of reporting the news switching back to the bBC I was regaled to the modern day version of Fatty Arbuckle in need of a sugar fix.


  11. Doublethinker says:

    If we had an impartial state broadcaster with its near monopoly then Labour would be struggling to get 20% in the polls. If the BBC investigated and reported accurately then everyone would know that, as after every other time that Labour has been in power, the country’s finances were left in a complete shambles in 2010.
    The bias of the BBC in favour of Labour is now so blatant that even the most clueless among us must realise that they are being told lies on an epic scale. Some in the public sector won’t mind of course because they know which side their bread is buttered on.
    If the BBC told the truth then everyone would know that Labour just lie through their teeth about everything: immigration, education, welfare reform, finance and tax. It wasn’t just Harold Wilson who lied whenever he opened his mouth. This fine Labour tradition was made into an art form by Blair and Brown and now by E. Miliband and E Balls aka What A Load Of.


  12. Pounce says:

    Bloody classic from the bBC
    Labour would reintroduce 50p tax rate
    A Labour government would reintroduce the 50p top rate of income tax for those earning over £150,000, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said.The last Labour government raised the upper tax band from 40% to 50% in 2010 in response to the recession but the coalition has since cut it to 45%.
    Yeah nasty Tory Party saving rich people money while the poor get poorer. I wonder why the bBC didn’t mention that Labour only upped the tax to 50% 1 month before they lost power, for the previous 13 years they kept it at 40%, so really the Tories have upped the tax rate


    • M says:

      “The last Labour government raised the upper tax band from 40% to 50% in 2010 in response to the recession but the coalition has since cut it to 45%.”

      Utter bollocks and totally misleading. They did it as an election gimmick for the 2010 election. It had fuck all to do with repsonding to the recession, But what would you expect from Al Beeb


  13. therealguyfaux says:

    Never mind all the nonsense about how many this or how many that– those figures are easily manipulated, and manipulated they most certainly are. The most important question is the Rawlsian one of whether the least well-off are, in absolute terms, better-off than they started. That would be the most telling statistic. And truth be told, it’s the only one that really matters, after all.

    But of course, what Party is going to tell anyone out there to count their blessings and be content with what they have, for right now, at any rate– at least, directing it to those on the lowest rungs (a message like that is directed to those who have a few bob stashed away, to instil fear, don’tcha know!). Such a message to the little guy out there won’t go down so well in certain precincts, you understand. It just sounds so– “heartless.”
    Ronald Reagan’s “Are you doing better than you were four years ago?” is not a question even to be asked, let alone answered, if the idea is always to stoke the insecurity fire and make it the Government of the Day’s job always to be the Lord and Saviour of everyone. That a particular State institution is more in tune with one Party’s approach, and critical of the other’s vis-à-vis just how much Governmental intervention is required, obviously begs a giant question of whether intervention is any damned good, either in practice or in theory.


  14. Arthur Penney says:

    One way of looking at it is that the figures show that on average people’s position is the same as in 2003. Can’t remember much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth then from the BBC.


  15. johnnythefish says:

    The mystery in all this is why anyone should feel they have a right to be ‘better off’ after the biggest public and personal borrowing and spending binge in the country’s history.

    So what is it about ‘lived beyond your means for too long’ and ‘cut-back’ they don’t understand?


    • chrisH says:

      Brown, Blair, MacShane, Prescott, Harman,Hewitt, Milburn, Campbell,Blunkett all did rather well out of that biggest car crash that they caused between 1997-2010.
      Scargill, Crow, Bickerstaffe…didn`t do too badly either.


  16. Robin says:

    I thought Labour were proud to import in all that cheap labour to keep wages low ! How can you be better off with a policy like that ?


  17. chrisH says:

    I see that tomorrows Telegraph quotes the ex-city Labour stooge-one Paul Myners( a Lord no less)-as saying that Balls economics re his “big oidea!” on 50 tax rates wouldn`t even get him a GCSE!
    The BBCs website quotes him as saying it`s “not clear how this will help us in the global market”…or some quisling guff that the BBC deem is “analysis”.
    Trust the BBC to give us the anodyne quote of their own choosing-I`d have thought the BBC would crave to see the blood and feathers scraps of two of Browns Boys saying nothing…classic Beeb bitchslap showing “divisions in the Party between these two Big Beasts…eh?”
    But no-Zen-like harmony and a quiet chat over the canapes at any BBC Green Room!
    Oh the BBC…Pravda, Peoples Daily…Tiananmen Wall…basically hushing up the Labour pigmies and getting them all scrubbed up and electable for the most exciting and important election in years…1997-2010…we must all have dreamed it!


  18. lojolondon says:

    Anytime you see a quote from Peter Kellner, of the independent polling group ‘YouGov’, remember that he is so independent as to be married to a woman called Catherine Ashton, alias Baroness Ashton of Upholland, a jumped-up Labour MEP who’s job depends on the EU florishing. So when you look at the polls, UKIP always trails quite markedly on the Yougov polls compared to the rest… just another little bit of bias I thought I would mention!