Ed Miliband Woos Unhappy Lib Dems – The Sun
The phone rang last night, it was Jaffa Miliband calling from overseas. Probably from Roland Rudd’s yacht. “Hi David, I was wondering when you would call.” “Oh, hello Ed, errm, is Yvette there?” I didn’t respond, my jaw had just dropped too far for verbal interaction to take place, my blink rate went dangerously high. Yvette somehow knew and strutted over as fast as her knee high boots could carry her, taking the phone from my limp hand.
“David, yes of course, it is the most logical thing to do. No I don’t think it will be a problem with either of the Eds. Excellent.” She handed the phone back to me. I put it back on the receiver and sat down in the armchair. She strutted away as fast as she had strutted over without saying a word.
My campaign is f****d. Even my wife is cutting a deal. Whelan is off fishing. When I called Maguire for advice he said “Ahhm a bit busy like, we’re just off to Emma’s favourite place in the Sowth of France, why don’t you try oor Damian?”
Alex has come up with a last throw of the dice: a 10 clause “Contract with the Labour Party”. When I said it was “a bit Newt Gingrich 1994 isn’t it?”, he said it was actually “a bit Tony Benn 1984”‘ and he cribbed most of it from one of his “Manifesto for a Democratic Socialist Party”. “It makes me sound more left-wing than Diane Abbott” I protested. “Exactly”, retorted Alex, “and it is the only way we are going to stop you coming last. You know you are favourite at the bookies to be eliminated in the first round?”
So now I’m to be the bolshie candidate comrades. Wonder if Ed Miliband will call?
(*As leaked to Guido)
Tomorrow’s Sunday Times will carry the news that Matthew Elliott, founder of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, has been headhunted to run the No-2-AV campaign.
From the beginning of October, Matt Sinclair will take over the day-to-day running of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Eliott will stand down as CEO to concentrate on the new, yet to be officially launched, campaign.
Assuming the enabling legislation passes in September the campaign will then kick off in earnest to determine the outcome of the May referendum. Pollsters and punters make the No-2-AV side the underdogs, and there was some disquiet that opponents of the Alternative Vote system didn’t seem to be getting their act together.
Elliott has the experience and ability to build a campaigning machine, he set-up the TPA in 2004 and after 5 years it become a fearsome media machine, with 55,000 supporters.
With the pro-AV campaign likely to be run out of Cowley Street, or at least by LibDem proxies, it seems wise to choose someone who is not a Conservative Party figure, not least because he will have to win Labour and union support for the campaign as well as keep some of the more ambivalent Tories onside. The aim is to assemble the strongest, broadest based campaign possible to oppose AV regardless wider of ideological differences.
Elliott took soundings before taking the job and has been assured that, despite the Coalition, Cameron will not be neutral on AV.
Labor PM Julia Gillard is refusing to concede defeat tonight, she is trying to woo Independents and fight to form a government. “The people have spoken” she told supporters earlier, quoting Bill Clinton, she said, “it was going to take some time to work out what they’ve said”.
UK bookmakers had Labor as hot favourites, Guido just now got a few quid on the Coalition opposition winning at 35%. Well worth a punt…
UPDATE 21.30 : Coalition now given a 75% of removing Julia Gillard, it’ll all come down to how the independents go.
Guido is heading off to the French countryside bored with the empty Westminster Village. Still managed to amuse 54,370 readers who viewed 249,991 pages over the last seven days. Here are those seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you might have missed:
- Polly’s Fears Strike Home
- UK Film Council Caught Red-Handed
- Labour’s Happy Left Turn
- 100 Days of Dave
- Audit Commission Full of Spin
- Public Accepts Need for Spending Cuts
- Deficit Deniers Exit the Reality-Based Community
You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…
Osborne’s budget has convinced the bond markets that this coalition is serious about tackling the deficit. The rally in gilts since the election and budget has been strong, taking 10-year yields down from 4% to 3% in three months, bringing down long term borrowing rates for mortgage holders and capital hungry growth businesses alike.
There has at the same time been a slew of negative-to-soft data on the economic front, given that the deficit cutting credibility of the government is firmly established, to the nigh on elation of the bond markets, Osborne has now earned a bit of leeway. Having already achieved fiscal credibility, if we do get more soft numbers on the economic front, he could afford to suspend the VAT hike due in January. If he goes ahead with the VAT hike and we do see a double-dip, Ed Balls will be well justified in blaming him for adding to the woes of the consumer. The VAT hike will take £13 billion of spending out of the economy.
David Smith, chairman of the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee group of independent economists, says his budget model calculates the move could increase unemployment by 235,000 over the next decade and reduce GDP by 1.4% over the same period. Do we really need to be reducing GDP at this time? The fiscal flagellation is no longer required to appease the gilt market…