The Change Coalition

Imagine it is the afternoon of May 7…

The Tories have received 33% of the popular vote, LibDems 29% and Labour 24%, a strong 6% showing by the BNP concentrated in Labour heartlands has shocked the political system and given the party its first Westminster MP in Stoke, where Labour’s vote split. UKIP’s Nigel Farage has taken Buckingham, after two recounts, by 7 votes.  Ed Balls has lost his Morley and Outwood seat to the Tory hero of election night, Antony Calvert.  The SNP has made strong gains strengthening Alex Salmond’s claims for Scotland to be granted more self determination.

Due to the iniquities of the electoral system Labour is still the largest party in Westminster, just.  Harriet Harman has demanded Gordon Brown resigns and announced her intention to seek the leadership, Miliband hasn’t been seen. Charlie Whelan publicly tweets blame on Mandelson’s electoral strategy and “corrupt Blairites” for Labour’s defeat.  Alastair Campbell is bailed at West London Magistrates’ Court after his live on-screen 3 a.m. drunken assault on Nick Robinson.

After unofficial back-channel communications between Samantha Cameron and her third-cousin at Buckingham Palace all morning, the Queen’s Private Secretary calls the leader of the Conservative Party and asks him to come to the palace.  The Private Secretary then calls Nick Clegg and asks him to come to the palace as well.

In what is the iconic picture of the election, Cameron walks out of his Millbank headquarters along the Thames embankment to 4 Cowley Street where Nick Clegg greets him and together they walk purposefully towards the Mall surrounded by photographers and cameramen as crowds cheer and many ask “which one is which?”

In what were reportedly good natured discussions all morning the terms of a “Change Coalition” had been agreed by 3 pm.  Clegg as expected is Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, Cable is Chancellor, Osborne takes his old sparring partner’s job at Business. Phil Hammond and David Laws are tasked with cutting spending and reforming taxation at the Treasury.  Lord Adonis remains as the government’s Transport Minister, Frank Field returns to the Department for Work and Pensions, both take the Liberal whip. Chris Huhne, ominously for the coalition, chooses to go to the backbench rather than accept cabinet collective responsibility as Defence Minister.

The most difficult horse-trading over the coalition was of course over Europe and electoral reform. Hague went to the FCO much to the relief of the Tory base and Ed Davey becomes the cabinet’s Minister for Constitutional Reform (Douglas Carswell gets a promotion as his deputy with special responsiblity for localism).   The leaders realised that they could not take their respective parties with them if they compromised on either of these two issues.

The average age of the cabinet is now 44, the centre-piece of the Queen’s speech is to be a Great Repeal Bill, undoing 13 years of authoritarian legislation and strengthening civil liberties, restricting the growth of the surveillance and database society. The Big Society reform programme promises to fundamentally re-balance state and society in favour of a smaller more open government.  Cable promises an emergency budget within 30 days signalling tough action on the deficit.  The gilt market hits a 3 year high and the pound rallies 12% on the close.

Norman Tebbit, who was by her bedside, blogs the sad news that Baroness Thatcher has passed away.  Her last words were “Norman, they buried the Labour Party before me.”

Punters on Politics Smarkets says there is a 56% chance of a hung parliament

Where’s Gordon?

A quick glance at TheStraightChoice leaflet archive shows that not a single Labour candidate has deemed it a good idea to put Gordon on their literature. Guido will give a copy of The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze to the first person who sends him a scan of such a leaflet. Obviously not from Kircaldy…

UPDATE : David Jessop wins the book, Daniel Zeichner in Cambridge has a tiny picture of Jonah him on his leaflet.

Punters Backing LibDems

As Comres joins YouGov in making the LibDems the second placed party, Graham Sharpe, William Hill’s spinner, emails Guido to say that seven out of every ten political bets they took were for a Lib Dem win :- ‘Pre-debate the Lib Dems would be doing well if one in every ten bet was for them, but their support turned from a trickle to a flood on Friday with a mass of modest bets of up to £100 pouring on them to win with an overall majority or to be the largest single Party, with the larger bets were placed by regular political pundits backing a Hung Parliament.‘ A hung parliament maybe, but backing LibDems to win outright?

If you are bullish about the LibDems here is how the punters rate their chances tonight from on Political Smarkets, the specialist bookies:

Cable looks cheap and worth backing at 21% given the polls are pointing to a hung parliament. Gordon would give him the chancellorship for a Lib-Lab pact at the drop of a hat.

Journalism for Billionaires, by Billionaires

Just perusing yesterday’s Lebedev Evening Standard in which they do a vox-pop to get the views of the man in the street on the golden boy of the moment, Nick Clegg. You know the type of article, a paragraph on a student, another about an office worker and the high earner is for contrast.

This article’s high earner is Bhanu Choudrie, he declares Clegg the winner and says that he will vote Lib Dem in the election. Which doesn’t surprise Guido seeing as he is one of the Lib Dems biggest and most controversial donors. Is he actually on the electoral roll?

The Observer says he is a non-dom who “has been accused of accepting tens of millions of pounds in kickbacks from an arms deal between an Israeli company and the Indian government.” So he is not all bad.

Along with his brother he has donated nearly £585,000 to the party in recent years. Despite coughing up a lot of dosh for them he say “the Lib-Dems don’t have much substance.” A very odd article, was it written by Lebedev himself? Who bumps into billionaire arms dealers in the street?

#TV10 Tactical Voting Against Labour

If Labour drops a few more points in polls and is confirmed as the third placed party, it represents an historic opportunity for Nick Clegg’s LibDems to displace Labour as the official opposition.  Except that the electoral system means that depending on the distribution of votes Labour could, as Kevin Maguire gloats this morning, actually benefit from the strengthened LibDem’s taking votes from the Tories.

In Labour held seats where either the Tory or LibDem* candidate is a strong second place contender with a distant third place contender, the voters who want to get rid of Labour should rationally should switch their vote to the second place contender.  Guido makes no bones about wanting to see the Labour Party wiped out as an electoral force.  So over the following weeks the blog will be highlighting seats where an element of tactical voting would unseat the Labour incumbent.

First up, Islington South & Finsbury, where Labour’s Emily Thornberry clings onto a majority by 484 votes. If true blues want to get rid of the red, they will have to vote yellow.  Free Emily and her husband to concentrate on their multi-million pound property empire…

*The same logic applies to the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

Hat-tip : Poster via LibDemVoice

Saturday Seven Up

7upIf you were not one of the 70,917 visitors viewing 480,403 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…

+ + + YouGov : Lab 28%, Cons 33%, Lib Dems 30% + + +


Brown sinks to third party status…

Guy News : Debate Debate Debate!

Friday Caption Contest (Keep Smiling Edition)

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Castration Strategy Goes Mainstream

Antony Calvert has raised a five figure sum from small online donations towards his attempt to beat Ed Balls in Morley and Outwood. The Daily Politics reported on his campaign and his online fund-raising efforts using YouFund.Me:

Where […]

+ READ MORE +

+ + + ITV/Comres : Con 36% LibDems 35% Labour 24% + + +

Poll of 4000 voters who had watched the programme.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Kevin Maguire’s Alternative Reality

Guido often contrasts the way intelligent hacks treat their readers patronisingly in the tabloids. Compare Fraser Nelson, Britain’s most read political columnist, in the News of the World to Kevin Maguire in the Mirror.  Today the difference is startling.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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