Sunday, April 25, 2010

Labour Say Now Want Serious Policy Focus

Labour have released the draft of a letter to broadcasters calling for a greater policy focus in the final days of the campaign – they complain that the other parties have refused to sign it. There is a good reason for that, their copy was signed by Elvis.

Gordon is Leaving the Building (Soon)

Do you think Mandy and Bad Al Campbell are just taking the piss out of Gordon now? “Yeah, it’ll be great, the headlines will be all ‘Gordon’s comeback tour’ like Elvis in Vegas!” It is a farewell tour, isn’t it…

Getting Real : The Change Coalition (Part II)

A few weeks ago Guido asked a CCHQ insider privy to strategy “What is the negotiating strategy with the LibDems?  Is it true Matthew Hancock is in charge of the strategy?” He laughed “the joke of the negotiation strategy is that there isn’t one. If we lose narrowly we’ll leave it up to Clegg to either support Labour or stand alone.  Go on to fight a second election and hope to win more comfortably.”

What, Guido asked, if the differential is big? “Don’t be f***ing stupid.”

That LibDem negotiation strategy might be a higher priority nowadays. Hancock is the Tory PPC for West Suffolk and formerly George Osborne’s chief-of-staff, Cleggmania means the problem now has the attention of those above his pay grade.  Last Sunday Guido sketched out a potential May 7 scenario, Tim Montgomerie was horrified, the feedback Guido got was more mixed – mostly it was sceptical based on contact with the LibDem grassroots.  Left Foot Forward editor Will Straw mirrored Tim Montgomerie, telling Guido in Dimbley’s green room that it was just not going to happen, the LibDems were “progressives”. Well that is a pretty meaningless term, it has even been borrowed by the Cameroons for their agenda.  The confusion in the ranks of Labour and Tory true believers is based on the experience of contact with Libdem activists, many of whom are way to the left of Blairites.  The parliamentary party is not by and large left wing - it is centrist.

Clegg and the people around him are not of the left, Vince Cable is, but he is the exception.  The Orange bookers and the Cameroons share key liberal ideological tenets – localism, decentralisation, transparency and a preference for market based solutions.  On the need for “savage cuts” in government spending, accelerated deficit reduction and NHS reform the LibDems have been more honest than the Tories.  Most Tories can live with LibDem manifesto commitments on tax (apart from the enterprise killing capital gains hike). They are singing from the same fiscal policy hymn-sheet.

There are real areas of discordance, in particular defence and foreign policy.  Here the LibDems betray their liberal radicalism, Clegg is desperately trying to square grassroots weirdie-beardie antipathy to anything nuclear with being in the government of a UN security council member and nuclear power.  Letting the Tories have primacy on defence and foreign policy and the LibDems have primacy on home affairs, localism and open government is the most likely compromise. It would also broadly reflect the electorate’s wishes.

We have come a long way in the last 7 days, the well connected chronicler of the Cameroons Matthew D’Ancona now says get real it is on the cards, Cameron tells the Observer the door is open and One of the keys is the people who are liberal with a small L, Clegg tells the Sunday Times that “You can’t have Gordon Brown squatting in No 10″, Mandelson warns voters that flirtation with Clegg might lead to a Cameroon marriage.  The public  on the other hand always love a big wedding.  The bookies make a hung parliament the strong favourite outcome with a 60% probability and give the Tories only a 37% chance of forming a majority governmentChange is definitely coming and it will probably be in the form of a coalition…

See also : The Change Coalition

Saturday, April 24, 2010

#TV10 Tactical Voting Will Kick Balls Out

Ed Balls has a notional majority of 9,000 in his newly created Morley & Outwood seat. That should be taken with a pinch of salt, it is a new seat created after boundary changes, in local council elections over the last 2 years Labour has polled badly, even coming fourth on occasion.

With Labour nationally polling in third place the swing against Labour means Balls’ notional lead is likely to be negligible, his Tory opponent Antony Calvert is fighting an energetic campaign, he’s raised money online for his campaign and he has caught the imagination of many with his “Balls Moment” advert. George Osborne has decided that even though Morley and Outwood wasn’t even on the Tory’s 200 target seats list, that it is now a priority.  In an email to hundreds of thousands of supporters today Osborne says

Labour’s collapse has opened up new opportunities for us that we will be making the most of in the week ahead. We are expanding our battleground against Labour and now have a good chance of winning many more seats where they are haemorrhaging votes, including Ed Balls’s seat in Morley & Outwood.

Last week Guido suggested that Tories in Islington South should vote for the LibDem to oust the sitting Labour MP, this week Guido is urging LibDem voters who want to wipe the smug smile off Ed Balls’ face to lend their vote to the Tory candidate. The LibDem can’t win, Antony Calvert can. It will be the most memorable moment of election night, just as in 1997 when Portillo was defeated. Are you up for a “Balls Moment”?

UPDATE : Punters are putting their money on Calvert to take the seat, he is now the favourite to win.

Quote of the Day

Guardian Magazine asks Ed Balls today…

Guardian: “What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you?”
Ed Balls: “You look like Gordon Brown in that suit”

Saturday Seven Up

7upIf you were not one of the 77,080 visitors viewing 504,990 pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:

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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Guy News : Inside Spin City

Quote of the Day

Danny Finkelstein says…

“You have to be impressed with Gordon Brown. His two children are only 6 years old and 3 years old. And yet it turns out that at bathtime, they squabble about membership of the European People’s Party.”

Last Night’s Debate in 60 Seconds

Are You a Tory Chihuahua?

Nigel Farage is up against John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, in Buckingham. He is appealing for funds to support his campaign online and he is also running fundraising advertising in the arch-Tory magazine the Spectator.

Buckingham is of course a rock solid Tory seat held by an expense fiddling, mortgage flipping member of parliament.

So why is Farage running there?

Because there are a lot of chihuahuas in British politics – and they  have votes and they are angry.  ChIHUAHuas are Conservatives In their Heads, Ukip At Heart.  Some are hardcore irreconcilable Eurosceptics, some are disappointed with the melting away of the cast iron guarantee and many more are just mainstream conservatives who vote Tory because in their heads they know it is the only realistic choice they have, even though they are UKIP sympathisers at heart. Chihuahuas are off that loyalty leash in Buckingham, which because Bercow is the speaker hasn’t even got a nominally Conservative Party candidate. Bercow is universally loathed by grassroots conservatives as well as more establishment Tories up to and including David Cameron.

Whatever they say publicly there will be cheering in CCHQ if Bercow loses. Many will see it as a conservative gain, Farage’s politics are their politics after a few gin and tonics; cut taxes, stuff the EU, cut spending and show a bit of pride in being British.  Chihauhuas may be small, but they can’t half nip…


Seen Elsewhere

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
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Unionists Outgunned | Times


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


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.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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