One cabinet minister told the FT…
“Gordon isn’t going to make things any better for us. He’s just got to make sure he doesn’t make things any worse.”
Ed Balls is fighting for his electoral survival in Morley and Outwood, the new constituency into which he was parachuted with the connivance of Gordon Brown. It has only dawned on the arrogant bully this week that he has a real fight on his hands. He has been so busy touring the country lining up support for his post election leadership campaign that he hasn’t noticed he is being out-campaigned in his constituency.
Channel 4 News just covered Balls having a disastrous hustings where he was booed on stage and the crowd jeered him relentlessly.
Local boy Antony Calvert is fighting the first real Obama-style digital campaign in Britain, having raised over half his campaign funds online from supporters giving small donations, he hasn’t stopped there in his online battle against Balls. Look at the websites of the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Morley and Outwood Observer and Wakefield Express – every local newspaper website covering his constituency – he has started running the ad below designed to encourage disillusioned former Labour voters to switch their vote from Balls to him.
Balls isn’t going to sleep easy…
UPDATE : Newsnight’s Michael Crick is reporting back from Morley and Outwood tonight as well. Maybe the media can smell blood…
More from the Spin Room later…
Looks like Kerry McCarthy and her agent will have to explain themselves to the police. She really puts the twit in twitter…
As the campaign rolls on, invitations to the various election night parties are flying around. None of the political parties want to be seen organising anything for fear of the obvious headlines, but that hasn’t stopped the media. The BBC have gone with a boat moored opposite the London Eye, ITV a stones throw away at County Hall, and Andrew Neil is said to be throwing his own exclusive personal bash at a mystery location. Some of the think-tanks are organising smaller parties. The biggest party of the night will be held in the Sports Cafe on Haymarket in Central London.
Serving booze from nine until breakfast time the next morning is the party’s best selling point, but add to that all the news channels playing across fifty screens throughout the night, with Wi-FI, Blackberry and iPhone charging facilities, drinks deals, four bars and live betting market price updates. With 700 guests expected the broadcasters will be using the central London location as a backdrop for two-ways. Guido is planning to swing by, joining the blogging twitterati who look to be setting up camp there for the night. As it will be the only place open when the counts finish, it looks set to be the place where people come to cheer or drown their sorrrows.
UPDATE : Brillo has been in touch to point out that his exclusive personal bash is actually the BBC boat party. Sadly Guido won’t be joining him, as he is under contract to ITV…
Even the Guardian made Cameron the winner of the TV debate and inside Steve Hilton something will have died. Last night the CCHQ team in the back room cheered heartily when their champion came off stage. Why?
There were no mentions of worthy ‘Big Society’ concepts, no vacuous ‘vote blue, go green’ slogans. Time worn, winning Tory messages were pitched; tougher immigration rules, tackling welfare dependency, lower business taxes, sound money and smaller government. Result? Clear win for the Tory leader.
Labour were pinning their last hope on Gordon triumphing on the economy with his ‘substance’. He actually bombed on the substance of the economy – why Labour strategists thought the man who promised he had abolished ‘boom and bust’ could win on the economy baffles Guido. Tractor stats don’t win votes.
At the time it was being spun the Hilton-Fink modernising agenda helped detoxify the Tory brand in the broadsheets and at the BBC, it appealed to the metropolitan media, the commentariat and most of those who shape the public discourse. It succeeded in gaining the Tories a hearing they didn’t have for over a decade. It played well to essentially the elite Newsnight watching class. On the doorstep it gets no real cut through. The time worn, vote winning Tory message was once again on offer last night.
The attack on Brown for confusing the economy with the state was unanswerable, why hasn’t that line been pushed harder in the never ending public spending debate? Clegg was noticeably at his best last night when he stole Tory themes, like cutting personal taxes. The new old message and the revitalised perfomance of Dave himself may have been broadcast just in time to hold off the LibDem surge. We’ll find out this time next week…
The main topic of hack conversation in Birmingham seems to be that the school hall feel of the BBC operation doesn’t really live up to the lavish Sky News debate last week. Guy News is in the there armed with a camera, and you can follow what the right people are saying live:
Guido just got off the phone with Electoral Services in Bristol East a couple of hours ago, after being disturbed and puzzled to see a tweet about the contents of postal votes published a short time ago by Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s Twitter Tsar and candidate in Bristol East.
As it was re-tweeted about the twittersphere with queries as to whether this was legal, Kerry quickly deleted the tweet – before it could be stored in the Google cache, but not before Tweetminster picked it up.
The rules are that postal votes are opened in the presence of every candidate’s agent. They are opened face down, but agents can get a peek in. Because announcing these results prematurely can affect the outcome of the whole election, however, they’re under strict confidentiality rules. Bristol Electoral Services are now looking into it as a matter of urgency…
Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott
Cameron Faces Vote of No Confidence or Rebellion | FT
Cameron Faces Revolt Over ‘Vow’ | Sun
It’s Time to Speak for England | John Redwood
It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
England Must Have Self-Government Too | Mark Wallace
Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:
“Sunday, May 10, 1998
Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.
After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.
I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.
They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].
I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”