Cable Flip-Flops

Osborne was on all the news shows at lunchtime giving an interview outside the Treasury after his meeting with the chancellor – his message echoing Cameron’s speech this morning that the Tories would work with the government on legislation next week. Vince Cable has in response just done a waltz around the Westminster studios joining in with his own call for cross-party co-operation in the national interest – “We have to avoid getting caught up in narrow partisanship.”

The press releases sent from his office in the last 24 hours had a very different message:

“Gordon Brown’s response to the economic crisis has been too little, too late.”
“Conservatives don’t have a clue on the banking crisis”

This afternoon’s willingness to avoid point-scoring contrasts with the press release that arrived in Guido’s inbox from Cable at 10.23, just half an hour before Cameron’s hastily arranged emergency statement on the economy. In that press release Cable claimed only the LibDem’s plan would put money back in consumers pockets, cut energy bills, and stop home repossessions:

Gordon Brown and Labour can’t offer that. They got us into this mess. Now they are veering between complacency and panic. Dithering on key decisions, muddling along on half measures.

David Cameron and the Conservatives won’t offer it. At a time when those on the breadline are struggling more than for a generation, their top priority is tax cuts for millionaires.

…There is only one party in Britain today with a serious and credible plan ….

Politically astute operator that he is, Cable changed his tone pretty sharpish this afternoon as soon as he saw which way the wind was blowing….

Rapid Rebuttal Unit Arrives in Person

Guido has just spotted Derek Draper himself, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sandals combination, checking into the Hyatt conference hotel. A well judged outfit calculated to make him blend in here in rainy Birmingham. Guido did not get a photo because he was laughing.

Market Action Overshadows Tory Conference

There is a sense here in Birmingham that, as it was during the LibDem conference, the real news story is on Wall Street. Cameron is going to give a hastily arranged speech focusing on the financial market mayhem later this morning.

Still it is not all bad news,* Gordon’s favourite financier Paul Myners and appointee as chairman of the Low Pay Commission, is doing well. The massive hedge fund of which he is a director, GLG, had the biggest short in the market in Bradford and Bingley. Peter Oborne points out that Ronnie Cohen, “Gordon’s private banker” and a huge Labour Party donor, has just set up a new hedge fund to take advantage of the market situation. Good to see some people doing well out of the misery and mayhem…

*You won’t read this news in the Guardian. Paul Myners is the chairman of Guardian Media Group.

Conference Quickies

Alex Hilton of introduced by Michael Crick to Michael Ashcroft, “Can you give me £50,000 for my campaign?” Ashcroft “Send me your business plan.” Later, explaining to a very, very, pretty girl, what he does; “My fund is short the market”.

Spotted: Tim Montgomerie and Nadine Dorries sharing a lap-top.

Bell Pottiinger party: we-left-Labour-for-the-Tories to pour champagne down their throats. Not a shadow cabinet member to be seen…

Guido looking gutted, despite being bearish, decides to take time out from the market. Market collapses.

Evil Short Sellers Part III Gordon Brown’s Millions from Hedge Fund Shorters

Paul Myners is a director of the hedge fund manager GLG, which with $25 billion under management is one of europe’s biggest hedge fund managers. It was until recently 10% owned by Lehmans. Paul Myners gave money to Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign and he also gave money to Gordon Brown’s think-tank the Smith Institute. Gordon rewarded him with appointments to the Treasury’s pension review.

Derek Tullet has also given huge amounts of money to the Labour Party. Tullet’s broking firm specialises in servicing hedge funds who want to go short stocks and derivatives.

Gilad Hayeem of the Lehman Brothers backed $2 billion hedge fund, Marble Bar Asset Management (Cayman), contributed to Hilary Benn’s deputy leadership campaign.

There are plenty more “evil speculators” who have backed the Labour Party. Just in case you are wondering why Labour is silent…

Maybe Later this Evening

Judging by the banner hanging over the front door, the Rocket Club lap-dancing joint is not exactly embarrassed by all the free publicity it has received. Guido has his discount voucher. Should be more fun than having a drink with David Willets.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Miliband, the Fiddler Wife, Kids and Heavies

Guido just bumped into David Miliband and his family (plus two heavies) enjoying the sunshine on a waterside terrace restaurant outside the Barbican. Scruffy in jeans and his shirt hanging out. Presumably the missus is performing because she was carrying a violin. No photo because the kids were in shot and, well, that doesn’t seem fair on a Sunday. Did not see him pull any of his funny faces…

Evil Short Sellers Part II

The hysteria against short-selling of shares is as crazy as was the political hysteria against long-buying of oil. Every trade has to have a buyer and a seller, how else could a market function? Nevertheless journalists didn’t take long to figure out that they could compare the FSA register of declared short sellers against the Electoral Commission’s register of donors.[…]


Hodge Quitting as Minister

Tim Walker is reporting in The Telegraph that Margaret Hodge, the Blairite culture minister and friend of Tony has had enough and will be standing down as a minister from Brown’s cabinet in the next re-shuffle.

Another day another Blairite departs.



What Kind of Liberal Waters the Beer?

How they can describe themselves as “liberal” sometimes baffles Guido. Responding to Nick Clegg’s announcement today that the LibDems will support a minimum price on the sale of alcohol, Progressive Vision – the properly liberal think tank run by Mark Littlewood, ex-head of spin for the LibDems – has rightly called the proposals “nannying, patronising and regressive”.[…]


Brum Business

Guido hasn’t booked a bed in Brum – any good recommendations? Preferably within falling down distance of the epicentre. Ended up staying in between a brothel and a lap-dancing joint last year in Blackpool. Didn’t say it was a complete disaster…

UPDATE 14.00 Saturday :

Have managed to find somewhere 4 star for less than £200 a night.[…]


Friday Caption Contest (Clegg Crime Caught on Camera edition)



He Who Pays the Piper….

The Senate Banking Committee is the ultimate legislative oversight for U.S. financial regulation. The members of the committee have almost all had donations from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Now they are to decide on bail-out terms?
Incidentally Guido bailed out of all his speculative positions in the early hours of Wednesday morning when it hit the wires that Warren Buffet was taking a $5 billion stake in Goldmans, given his reputation Guido felt Buffet might single-handedly turn market sentiment.[…]


Tory Site Makeover Goes Live

The look and feel is bang up to date with an Obamaesque “It’s time for change” slogan with a wall of Tory talking head videos. Under the hood is more regionalisation, uploading facilities for user generated content and single-issue campaigning. The blue blog is live and Dave is doing his chatty engagement thing…


You Read it Here First : How Not to Lift a Story from a Blog

The naming and shaming of parasitical journalists continues because Guido finds it cathartic. On Tuesday Guido ran a nice little story about Miliband’s SpAd sending a pleading text out to MPs.
The next day the Times Diary fairly quoted it with a credit.[…]


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Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

“I’m sorry to be boring.”

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