All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

Moss Bros were unavailable for comment…

To AV or not AV? |This is the Question:

“Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the ‘alternative vote’ system instead of the current ‘first past the post’ system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?”

Bit wordy, and the legislation may yet be blocked by Labour and Tory backbenchers and the Nats.

Currently punters give AV a 64% chance of passing…

Burnham’s Bellenden Boy

Despite basing his campaign out of Manchester, even Andy Burnham can’t resist the lures of t’big smoke:

He has invited the great and good of the business world to a breakfast meeting where he will be trying to boost his lacklustre campaign with answers to some big questions. A chance for a hob-nob and maybe even to tap up a donation or two:

Guido’s bowler-hatted and pin-striped co-conspirator was a little surprised when he tried to RSVP as instructed to Mark Glover, the proud owner of an @andy4leader.com email address. Expecting the campaign office, he was instead put through to Bellenden Public Affairs”, a corporate spin merchants based just over London Bridge from the heart of the City’s Square Mile.

Glover, its founder and a Labour man, may well be volunteering for the campaign by helping  Burnham mingle in the City, but he is using his business line and office facilities to do so. Thus Guido presumes such a donation-in-kind will be properly costed and declared by Andy to the proper authorities? Not sure how using a London headquartered corporate spin merchants will help to dispel “the impression that the elite was running the country” which he bangs on about at hustings…

Punters versus Wonks

It is fair to say that London Labour’s activists and wonkish elite are by and large behind Ed Miliband, unless they are ideological Blairites (like the Progress crowd) or careerist greasy pole climbers like most MPs, in which case they are behind David Miliband. The headbanging Tory hating activists go for Balls and lefties back Abbott with Burnham picking up a Northern token vote.

Supporters of Ed Miliband are adamant, despite polls showing David has more than twice as much support among Labour supporters, that he will win on second preferences.  Will Straw at LeftFootForward has even built a predictive model that forecasts Ed scraping through. Yet punters persist in making David Miliband the runaway favourite. Are the punters or the wonks right?

Guido accepts that Ed will probably win the union’s endorsements, though the Fabian’s Sunda Katawala argues that doesn’t necessarily mean he will win the votes of union members. Punters agree with Will and give Ed a 60% chance of winning the union votes.

Guido and punters make David the 80% favourite to win the MP/MEPs vote.  Will forecasts it will be closer than that but accepts that David will win this part of the electoral college.

It is over the membership vote that Will’s model and punters differ dramatically. Based on a non-representative, self-selecting poll of LabourList’s readers (DM 34.9% EM 30.8%), he predicts that the second preferences from the more left-wing candidates will switch to Ed and he will thus beat his older brother. The argument being that since Ed is positioned to the left of David, second preferences won’t tack right to the most centrist candidate. This is delusional.

Not all the voters will see the candidates in such finely calibrated positions on the centre-to-left spectrum, much of the electorate will vote on character and personality. Apart from Diane Abbott the policy positions of the candidates are in reality very closely bunched and Ed Balls’ new found tactical leftism is transparently risible.  Experience shows that second preferences tend to break in correlation with first preferences. The correlation isn’t perfect, but nor is it so weak as to be insignificant. Yet Labour sympathisers in the media and even more objective pundits like Toby Young believe Ed will come through.

So if it will be decided by the membership vote, is the LabourList poll accurate? It is unlikely that a self-selecting web poll will be. YouGov actually put Balls ahead of Ed Miliband but behind David with Labour voters (and another private poll by Survation put Diane Abbot within 5% of Ed among union members).  With the polling confusion Guido puts little reliance on the sampling and absent of clear polling evidence Guido opts to “follow the money”. David Miliband has raised more money than all the rest and he has the weight of  punter’s money backing him. It will be close, but Guido suspects Ed will lose to his big brother.

Ed Follows Suit

Last month Guido noted, with camp disdain, the appalling suits that wannabe Prime Minister Ed Miliband was wearing on the campaign trail. Compared to his older brother’s Ozwald Boateng numbers, Ed looked like a highly flammable, polyester-clad, mobile phone salesman. Well it seems he hit a nerve as Ed is now proudly sporting a new Clegg-like sharper number, did his brother share the discount he gotNot sure Ed’s really a crushed silk kind of guy though?

Catty Cabinet Clash

While Liam Fox vs. No. 10 may be the more high-profile simmering cabinet tension, it is no secret that Michael Gove and Andrew Lansley despise each other. This is no new feud, there was talk of a muttered “see you next Tuesday” from Lansley after a Shadow Cabinet meeting a few years back and both men are equally contemptuous of the other’s ability and intellect.

After the recent bad few weeks Gove has had, taking quite a battering and generally looking glum, there is apparently one smiling, happy, ring-fenced, Secretary of State reaffirming his predictions of “I told you so”. Yes, Guido hears Lansley is positively beaming every time he has the opportunity to preach to the odd MP that he always knew Gove would be a disaster…

Amess Can’t Stay Off the Drugs

David Amess MP has been busy drafting a Private Member’s Bill demanding better methods of predicting the “effects of new drugs on humans”.

Given his previous attempt to legislate against the sale of ‘Cake’, after warning the public to avoid these “big yellow death bullets”, it’s understandable that he wants access to more comprehensive sources of information.

Guido hopes he did his homework though this time and has avoided ‘made-up drugs’.

Unison Anoints The Younger

In case you missed it before PMQs, the news has emerged that giant health union Unison have backed Ed Miliband. It’s hard to see Unite not following suite next week. The betting markets have moved on the back of it and the Younger can expect money to start coming in.

This is a big blow to the Balls campaign who were depending on these backings to stay in the game…

PMQs Live: Spot the Difference Edition

[…]

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From Shorts to Trousers

Anticipation is brewing for the Clegg PMQs special at midday. And to think we all laughed when he said “I want to be Prime Minister” at the last LibDem conference.

The Cowley Street press office is furiously spinning the joyous […]

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Dolly Delves Deeper

In what is becoming an increasingly common sight, Guido hears Derek Draper was again out last night on the Westminster scene. Co-conspirators report he was mingling at the ComRes and Apex Communications party, though the pollsters were quick to put […]

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Drinky with Blinky?

Summer party season is in full swing, but you would think there would be some coordination with diaries. Although there are a limited number of days before the MPs jet off for the holidays, crowds will be dissipated tonight. Village […]

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Quote of the Day

Cameron on Trump:

“I have to say that knowing the gruelling nature of the primaries and what you have to go through, anyone who makes it through that extraordinary contest to lead their party into a general election deserves our respect.”

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