Who Will Be the First to Pull Out?

It is highly unlikely that all six wannabee Number Twos can muster the required number of nominations to run. Which one will fall at the first hurdle?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Reid to Quit as Home Secretary

John Reid has just told the BBC he is resigning when Blair goes in June. Guido wonders if he has given up on leading the Labour party or if he is positioning himself on the backbenches until after Labour’s general election defeat. He says he wants to stand down from frontline politics and “I think it’s a good thing to be able to go out to listen, to learn, to discuss, to get back to the grass roots.”

If you are standing down from frontline politics, why would want to get close to the grassroots? Has he really lost all ambition?

UPDATE : Fraser Nelson is reporting speculation that Brown offered Reid an effective demotion, so Heath-like, Reid flounced off. Let that be a warning to any who dare to stand up to the Dark Lord.

Informed Sources?

Clarke in ‘kamikaze’ challenge
By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON
Political Editor
May 03, 2007

CHARLES Clarke was last night poised to mount a “kamikaze” challenge against Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership. The former Home Secretary has successfully rounded up the 45 Labour MPs he needs to back him in the contest.

Clarke will not challenge Brown
By Sun Reporter
May 05, 2007

…and another classic bit of old media punditry from Alex Bell:

Guardian Media Section,
Monday April 30

This week voters north of the border will decide who to elect to the Scottish parliament, but despite the SNP’s popularity in the polls, not a single newspaper will back it, reports Alex Bell
Four Sunday newspapers in Scotland had endorsed an SNP-led coalition the day before: the Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Sunday Express. As reported here.

UPDATE : Iain Dale has shredded a so-bad-it-is-bonkers article by Melissa Kite-Flier on the shape of the Tory re-shuffle. Honestly some of these dead-tree-press types seem to write any old crap.

Punters Back Reid to Run

As the dire electoral performance drives home to the less lemming-like members of the Labour party the actual value of Gordon, money has shifted over to Reid on Betfair. The graph shows how the price has come in over the last five days. Guido is frankly not convinced that Reid is willing to do battle with the dark forces.

Guido still has a few quid on John Hutton just in case he tries a Kamikaze battle of “ideas” with the man he said “would make a fucking useless PM”. 300/1 seems fair…

UPDATE : Don’t bother with Hutton – he has given an interview to GMTV for broadcast tomorrow where he bends the knee and pledges allegiance to Gordon.

Bookies Make Ming Even Money To Go

Mike Smithson over at PoliticalBetting.com alerts us to fact that Wiliam Hill have opened a book on Ming going before the General Election. His position is clearly weakened by the squeeze suffered by the LibDems nationally. The very real possibility of the LibDems finding themselves near-bankrupted by the necessity of paying back the millions from their fraudster backer adds to the pressure. He could very easily suffer health problems that force him to stand down. Such as a knife protruding from his back…

Where’s Gordon?™The Trail of his Scottish Campaign from Beginning to End

The author of Courage : Eight Portraits is, as predicted, nowhere to be seen today – unlike the last 30 days of campaigning when he was never out of a photo-op, usually well away from hostile voters and in the middle of children. Since the voters have opted for the SNP over Gordon’s Scottish Labour, he can hardly claim that the negative election result was down to Blair. He was all over Scotland for the duration of the campaign.

So why is he in hiding now? There is talk that he is depressed, that internally he realises he has the loser gene. That is the way it looks today.

Click below to interactively follow Gordon’s journey to defeat.
Click on any day to find out what he did, when and where.

Hat-tip : Javelin for “Invisible Gordon”

H4L : How Much is Hain’s Campaign Costing?

Hain, being ex-Liberal party lacks grassroots Labour support, hence his reliance on SpAds and lobbyists to run his campaign. Rank and file members are very tribal – he isn’t trusted.

Despite having an effectively taxpayer subsidised campaign he still has some spending to do. And according to this document that has been passed to Guido he plans to spend little short of a cool six-figures on his campaign.

The campaign’s expenditure summary can be downloaded here.

Notice no allowance made for mobile phones and Blackberries (SpAds have government issued mobiles and Blackberries, you pay for them). Hain is pressing the flesh everywhere he goes and putting the travel down to ministerial expenses (you pay again) he is hosting drinks parties for journalists (as a minister of course, nothing to do with the leadership battle, you pay for that as well).

But who is coughing up for Hain’s expensive campaign? Sleazy lobbyist Steve Morgan is running the show…

Where’s Gordon?™ Today

Hiding until he knows the Scottish result? Blair has given an interview, Cameron has given an interview, even Ming has shown his face. If Labour hold off the SNP, Gordon will be smiling and claiming credit. If they lose he’ll be nowhere to be seen…

Friday Caption Competition

SNP Knife-Edge Choppy for Punters

Guido has been trading the Betfair Scottish Most Seats market on Betfair badly as it bounces around. The odds have been inconclusive. Guido has managed to get himself into a situation where he wins £1.30 if Labour are the biggest party and loses substantially on every other possible outcome.

Which reminds Guido, the Observer’s Mark Townsend still hasn’t paid up his gambling losses despite many hints.

Faker Outed

For Guido the best result of the night came from Lawrence Hill in Bristol, where the the photo-faking Busharat Ali lost to the LibDems. Despite some innovative other uses of the net – Bhangra campaign videos were, errrm, different.

His rather bad attempt at photoshopping a leaflet to show him at a place he was not, probably contributed to him not being on the council.

One good result on the night for the LibDems…

Tomorrow Labour Party Will Sack Blairite Staff

Post elections political parties often cutback on staff. Guido hears that tomorrow a number of party workers who could be described as as loyal Blairites will be getting their P45s. Those who have shown unstinting loyalty to Gordon have more chance of holding on to their jobs in these cash-strapped times. So much for Brownite inclusivity…

UPDATE : Some scepticism in the comments that P45s are going out tomorrow, but am assured by people getting sacked that they know it is coming.

UPDATE II : Just got an email saying “A lot of staff, including me, are leaving after the election. Not sacked, more subtle than that, asked to leave, told we’re not welcome/no future.”

Can He Count On Your Vote?

Hat-tip : Samizdata

Blair Will Still Be PM Next Week, He Won’t Resign

This morning there is some confusion about the Lobby, the PMOS told the Lobby this morning that
“the Prime Minister was not announcing his resignation as Prime Minister next week. That is not what he would be doing. What the Prime Minister would be doing would be setting out his intentions but he would not be resigning as Prime Minister next week. Asked if he was resigning as leader of the Labour Party, the PMOS said it was a Party, not Government matter and the question the PMOS had been asked was about the Prime Minister’s role as Head of Government. After the Prime Minister has announced his intention he will remain Prime Minister. Asked if the Prime Minister would not go and see the HM the Queen next week but after the leadership contest has been concluded, the PMOS said at last the penny had dropped.”

Last week Blair himself said he would be making a party related announcement. Before the 2005 general election Guido suggested that Blair might opt for the Aznar option to square his promise to serve a full term. Look closely at the form of words Blair used prior to Labour’s party conference:
“I think what is important now is that we understand that it’s the interests of the country that come first and we move on. I would have preferred to do this in my own way… The next party conference in a couple of weeks will be my last party conference as party leader, the next TUC conference next week will be my last TUC – probably to the relief of both of us.”

That word formula commits him only to standing down as leader of the party. Nothing about standing down as PM.

Blair can argue that he gave a commitment to the people at the general election to serve a full term and the voters gave him that mandate. He can also argue that he gave a promise to give the next leader of the Labour party time to bed in. If he stood down as Labour leader but not as PM he could keep both promises. It would also let him keep his grip on power as he tries deserately to get radical Blairite policies and reforms implemented.

José María Aznar lost the support of the people who had voted for the Partido Popular in 2000 and had to pledge not to run again. In January 2004 Aznar called new elections and designated his candidate, Mariano Rajoy, sticking to his pledge of not seeking office for a third term.

Is the Aznar option in Britain so outrageous? Has Blair given up the fight for Blairite policies and accepted his legacy will be Iraq and criminal corruption charges against his aides?

Guido is certain that Blair will still be PM next week, he will be resigning only as party leader. Could he shaft Brown one last time? Would the Labour party support him as PM until the next general election? Outrageous? At his last conference as leader he told us “there are no rules in politics”

Censorship and Civility

It will come as no surprise that Guido has no intention of abiding by any Code of Conduct as advocated by Tessa Jowell yesterday. She wants the bloggersphere (sic) to be “OurSpace”, a public commons. Well here is the bad news Tessa, this online space is private property.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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