Things are a little hectic at the moment, so my blogging is running at a snail's pace (or slower).
In lieu of any of my own work, here's some more fine bias-spotting from Not a sheep (pictured). I shall lift three of his latest posts in full and say a big thank you to him for this act of grand larceny. Much more can be found at http://notasheepmaybeagoat.blogspot.com/.
I thought they were probably Labour MPs
The BBC article about MPs (and former MPs) having to repay expenses is missing a few details. The first two MPs named are described as "Tory Liam Fox... and Labour's Shahid Malik". But after that the MPs named seem to be missing their political party affiliations; my suspicions were aroused so I had to do some fact-checking:
"Other MPs who had appeals rejected were Roger Casale, Chris Pond and Betty Williams.
Six MPs had their appeals upheld in full and a further four - John Lyons, Denis MacShane, Alan Simpson and Derek Wyatt - had their sums requested reduced by sums ranging from £121 to £7,866. "
Let's see that's MPs whose appeals were rejected in full or part:
Roger Casale - former Labour MP
Chris Pond - former Labour MP
Betty Williams - current Labour MP
John Lyons - former Labour MP
Denis MacShane - current Labour Minister
Alan Simpson - current Labour MP
Derek Wyatt - current Labour MP
No I can't see why the BBC would drop the listing of party affiliations, can you?
Why is the petrol price going up?
The BBC manage to report that
"Petrol prices could hit a record high of £1.20 a litre in the next few weeks, according to the AA."
without mentioning how much of the price of a gallon of petrol at the pump is taken in duty and tax. I was going to refer to ABD's useful table but that only goes up as far as £1.099 a litre, being a year or so old. So I used the ABD Fuel Tax Calculator and that shows that with a pump price of £1.20 per litre, VAT accounts for £0.1787 per litre, fuel tax for £0.5619 per litre; so tax and duty makes up 61.72% of the price paid at the pump or put another way - the tax and duty rate on petrol is 161.22%. Now why would the BBC not be interested in revealing that sort of information?
A difference in reporting
Moody's Investors Services released a report on the financial position of major AAA rated governments and I was interested to read two rather different accounts of what it said. The financial specialists at Bloomberg reported the headline news as
"The U.S. and the U.K. have moved “substantially” closer to losing their AAA credit ratings as the cost of servicing their debt rose, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
The governments of the two economies must balance bringing down their debt burdens without damaging growth by removing fiscal stimulus too quickly, Pierre Cailleteau, managing director of sovereign risk at Moody’s in London, said in a telephone interview.
Under the ratings company’s so-called baseline scenario, the U.S. will spend more on debt service as a percentage of revenue this year than any other top-rated country except the U.K., and will be the biggest spender from 2011 to 2013, Moody’s said today in a report.
“We expect the situation to further deteriorate in terms of the key ratings metrics before they start stabilizing,” Cailleteau said. “This story is not going to stop at the end of the year. There is inertia in the deterioration of credit metrics.” "
However the BBC reported the news thus:
"The credit ratings of major AAA governments, including the US and the UK, are well positioned, says Moody's Investors Services.
Moody's released a report on the financial position of major AAA rated governments.
This includes the four largest - Germany, France, the UK and the US - as well as smaller ones, including Spain.
The report will reassure the bond markets about the ability of the US and the UK to make future debt payments.
A key finding is that the AAA ratings of the UK and the US are secure because of the capability of their respective governments to reverse recent deficits. "
Both accounts cannot be correct and I think I would rather believe the account of the unbiased Bloomberg than the pro-Labour spin of the BBC in the run-up to a general election.