The Red Rag: Independent conservative political commentary in pictures and a few words from Peter Thompson Please feel free to use any of my original images.

Red Rag on Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Ashcroft's nice little earner?

If I was to tell you that I had written a book and was giving my royalties to military charities I bet you would think I wasn't making any money out of it. You may well be wrong, you see if I was to own three quarters of the publisher, then I would make three quarters of the publishers proceeds, let me give you a real life example.

Given Lord Ashcroft owns three quarters of BiteBack Publishing is the noble lords commitment to donate his royalties quite as noble as it first appears. Well lets take a little look, Ashcoroft's ownership of Biteback, the company's dire performance and it's accumulated losses are described here. Iain Dale (Ashcroft's minority partner) railed against both the BBC and Sky news for not giving the the book the publicity that BiteBack Publishing so desperately need for it.

Lord Ashcroft used twitter to remind his forty seven thousand followers, including many in the press and other media that the royalties are being donated to charity:
Iain Dale passed the message on to his sixty three thousand followers:
This gave me a hundred thousand reasons to wonder if they were telling the full story, or if the royalty donation was just a marketing ploy for BiteBack Publishing and in fact most of the proceeds are being kept by Ashcroft on an entirely commercial basis. So I asked:
When he didn't reply I asked Ian Dale:
Iain who is ever up for a chat on twitter didn't reply either so I think it is reasonable to conclude they are planning on keeping the dosh, though it is not too late for them to make clear that it is ONLY the author royalties and NOT Ashcroft's 75% of the publishers proceeds  that are being donated, or even better donate his proceeds as many people would have understood his initial claim to be.

They of course are perfectly free not to comment, as we then are to draw our own conclusions, after all we know the publishing company is struggling, it has lost two million quid in three years, we also know they are prepared to publish an unsubstantiated scurrilous juicy pig story that even their hired hand Isabel Oakeshott has had to confirm on TV has "no idea if it's true". If we are expecting integrity we may be waiting a long time.  

Red Rag on Monday, 21 September 2015

A pig in a poke.

There exist a subculture of people who are prepared to believe the worst of people, they require no evidence, as long as the scurrilous anecdote  supports their prejudices they will spread it freely. This is what Ashcroft, Oakeshott and Dale have relied on to market their unauthorised biography of the Prime Minister 'Call me Dave'.

Ashcroft has worked to undermine Cameron without success since 2010, as far back as 2013 Peter Oborne wrote in the Telegraph "The Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft’s vicious and damaging public criticisms of the PM have gone too far." Well not far enough for Ashcroft, it seems his petulance knows no bounds.

The book was published by Biteback Publishing Limited, a company of significant negative net worth. It reports shareholder equity of minus £1.5 million. It is 75.19% owned by Political Holdings Ltd and 24.81% owned by Iain Dale. Political Holdings Limited is owned 95.83% by Lord Ashcroft and 4.17% by Iain Dale. Biteback has spectacularly turned a net worth of £650,000 in 2011, into -£240,000 in 2012 a loss of £890,000 in it's value. By 2013 (last published accounts) it had lost a further million bringing it net worth down to minus £1,232,381.00.

This is proving to be a very expensive toy for Lord Ashcroft, but given their relative wealth it is a far more serious situation for Iain Dale. No wonder he was furious that the BBC and Sky didn't give his book the free plugs he so desperately needed.
Ask yourself the question, "If your publishing company was losing a million pounds of value a year, might you be tempted to include a salacious unsubstantiated juicy pig anecdote." Political nerds like Dale and Ashcroft will be well aware of the old LBJ legend which has it that Johnson told one of his aides to spread the story that his opponent fucked pigs. The aide responded "Christ Lyndon. we can't call the guy a pigfucker, it isn't true." "Of course it isn't true." Came the reply, "but I want to make the son of a bitch deny it.".

Take a look at Iain Dale's reply to very reasonable question as to whether he has seen the alleged photograph and you will see how Dale is playing the LBJ aide role to Ashcroft.

I suspect he cant say yes, because it doesn't exist, he can't say no because it puts the payday at risk, and will piss off the dominant shareholder. I have seen Iain become furious at the slightest challenge, I wonder how he would have reacted to such a story about him or his loved ones.

Update: Perhaps bankruptcy has been staved off for another year.

Red Rag on Thursday, 7 May 2015

An Entrepreneur's Tale

With the support of my wife I took a huge risk. I gave up a well paid job as an oil industry executive, we sold our house and we started our own business. We moved into rented property and put all our savings into our first store. It had been a failed bar in Cheshire that had been empty for some time. We employed about thirty people, some full time some part time. It was a thin margin franchise business but a good one, we knew from the onset that to make a living we would need at least three stores. We took bank loans to expand and soon had a second and not long after a third.
We struggled in all honesty, long hours with little reward and had a decision to make, get out or grow. I learned of something called a SIPP, this was a pension fund where you could make your own investments. I transferred my company pension fund into it and invested every penny into the business, we didn't tell anybody what we had done for fear they would think us mad. Of course we were, we had spent everything, mortgaged the business up to the hilt and now risked our future as well.
With the help of our sons we grew the business, after five years we started to make a profit, yes it really did take that long, soon we had nine stores employing over two hundred people. At this point we decided to sell it. The proudest legacy is the hundreds of jobs we left, and that business under it's new owner is still growing.
We used the proceeds to build our first bar and restaurant, sadly now gone due to the town centre redevelopment but it was great fun. The council have started the demolition and we retain the option to re-open in the new development.
Again we risked everything, we opened a second in Lancashire, both of these sites had been empty and derelict and with the help of a fine architect we restored them beyond their former glory into modern bars and restaurants. Times have been tough, back to square one in many ways, but we can see daylight.
Should we continue to try and grow the new business? Well, it It isn't our decision, it is the entire countries. For people like us to take the massive risks to grow the economy we have to believe that there will be a reward. So we have a choice, vote for Ed Miliband who thinks we are predators and will tax us out of existence, or for David Cameron, who has cut taxes, national insurance and business rates. If Labour win today I will not take that risk, I couldn't because I am old enough to remember the last Labour government that was as left leaning as he is. Free unicorns that shit candy for everyone. Great until the businesses that pay for them go bust and like every Labour government in history the jobs go.
What about the NHS you cry, what about it? Look at Labour run Wales, it's a disaster, health migrants getting taxis to hospitals in England. Or look back at the devastation for so many grieving families that was Mid Staffs. NHS funding has INCREASED in real terms under this government whereas in Labour ran wales it has been cut. This government has pledged the £8 Billion the NHS needs, Labour has not.
But but but, THE BEDROOM TAX, do you know what that really is? There is no tax, simply that you taxpayers now pay only for the rooms that people on benefits need, if they want more they pay a small contribution to their rent. Labour propose a real BEDROOM TAX that is the tax they will make me take out of our hardworking staff's pay packets every week to pay for other people's spare rooms.
Labour want prosperity for all, but you can't deliver that simply by taking a slice off one person and giving it to another, we have to grow the economy. The Conservatives want the same things but have a solid plan to deliver it. More kids are in outstanding schools than ever, record growth, new apprenticeships. Please don't throw it away. Don't tax our children and our grandchildren for Labour to piss it all away, again.
It wasn't Labour's fault it was a global economic crash caused by the bankers. Bollocks! Yes there was a crash, yes it was caused by the bankers, Fred the Shred that Labour knighted was one, but we didn't have any money to deal with it. Labour ran a deficit every year from 2001, that was seven years before the crash when times were good. Instead of fixing the roof while the sun was shining they stripped it bare and inevitably the storm hit and hit hard. That is why it has been so tough.
WELFARE CUTS THOUGH, Every penny somebody receives but did not earn, someone else earned but did not receive. Remember this when in the ballot box. It isn't fairy dust, it's your money, welfare is right and proper, but it is a safety net not a lifestyle choice. Don't tell me there are no jobs when I struggle to fill them.
Today the choice could not be more stark, finish the job of fixing the broken economy for ourselves and future generations by voting Conservative, or throw it all away until the next inevitable economic collapse under Labour.
It's your choice. If you got this far thank you for taking the time.

Red Rag on Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ed Miliband is almost there...

Which Labour MPs are still on the bus with Ed?

David is right behind Ed Miliband

You had better watch your back then Ed.

Red Rag on Friday, 31 December 2010

My Predictions for 2011

  1. Lib Dems will narrowly win the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election with a Tory swing in their favour.
  2. All 3 main party leaders (Cameron, Clegg and Miliband_E) will still be in post by the end of the year.
  3. The AV referendum will be comprehensively defeated.
  4. Sarah Palin will do something that will effectively end her chances of being a serious candidate for the 2012 US presidential election.
  5. A number of Lib Dem MPs will resign the party whip (see 3 above) to either sit as independents or join other parties.
  6. England will win the Rugby World Cup.
  7. I predict that Mark Thompson is wrong for the third year running and Eddie Mair will not become the new host of BBC Question Time.
  8. Liam Fox will no longer be a cabinet minister by the end of the year.
  9. Including Old and Sad and Belfast West there will be 6 by-elections during the year.
  10. A petition signed by more than 100,000 people will trigger a debate in parliament about leaving the EU.
h/t Mark Thompson

Related Posts with Thumbnails