Blair’s Sleaze-Master General

The real treasurer of the Labour party is Lord Levy, Jack Dromey (a.k.a Mr Harman) has the title on his business card, but admits that he knows nothing about what is going on and that the real money is raised via No. 10.

Levy first came to Blair’s attention in the mid-90s, when he was introduced to the then leader of the opposition by an Israeli diplomat, the ex-music business accountant went on to raise £7m for Blair’s “blind” trust that ran his office. That trust was closed amid allegations about the lack of blindness of the trust and the rewards that went to suppposedly anonymous donors.

The level of coincidence between getting a 7-figure shakedown from Levy and a peerage by return post is approaching mathematical certainty. Levy is certainly adept at manipulating money, the Bentley driving millionaire managed famously to get his tax bill down to £5,000 one year (a fact he went to court to suppress being published by the Sunday Times – and lost). Jack Dromey has timed his intervention well, Blair is looking a bit wobbly today and an extra round of Downing Street sleaze stories will not help. A cynic might wonder if Jack Dromey is not positioning to ingratiate himself with the left-wing union where his future beckons.

Labour sleaze is of a different order to the Tory sleaze of old. The figures are of a different order and the money sloshing about went through No. 10, with the knowledge of the PM he admitted today. Neither Thatcher nor Major would ever have got involved in rattling the begging tin so directly.

N.B. Google now has a mere 115,000 references to “Tory Sleaze” versus 485,000 references to “Labour Sleaze“.

Go Forth and Multiply

Eric Forth is having a good day so far, and it could get better. When Ming slowly stood up at PMQs (unsupported) to venture a question on pensions, the magnificent Forth heckled “Declare your interest!”, the whole house laughed and Ming was mortally punctured.

The expectation is that Eric will not vote with Blair and Cameron for the Education Bill tonight, which is what Blair was seeking, rather pathetically, to capitalise on. Dave retorted effectively that Blair should concentrate on whipping his own party and leave him to worry about whipping the Tory party.

Forth will do what he wants, but the hope is that he finds something other to do. You know, like give a few cyclists a kicking, send some children up chimneys or just basically any of his hobbies besides voting against Blair.

Contra Cafe for CCHQ

The news that Cameron has ordered that CCHQ should serve Fair Trade coffee had some spluttering into their cups – Fair Trade coffee is not renowned for it’s great taste.

But the boys and girls who might find this difficult to swallow can rest assured that there is a premium, tasty coffee that also pays producers more than the Fair Trade price, but unlike Fair Trade, isn’t a handout, it is paying what this outstanding coffee merits and there is an ideological angle for Conservatives.

At the height of the Cold War, the Contra rebels fought for political and economic freedom in Nicaragua. Their heroic efforts forced democratic elections and led to the fall of the Marxist Sandinista government. Today, a cooperative of former Contras grows an exceptional coffee high in the mountains of northern Nicaragua. Contra Café roasts this outstanding coffee and delivers it fresh to your home. In addition a portion of Contra Café revenues are donated to Lt. Col. Ollie North’s Freedom Alliance charity which provides scholarships for the children of active duty service members killed or disabled in the line of duty in Iraq.

Of course you should really drink it out of a Free Trade Coffee Mug, in the Fawkes household we won’t drink it any other way. So order the coffee online and help third world farmers who fought for freedom.

What About the Jag Ming?

It is 50 days since Ming promised to sell the Jag. He also promised the LibDems will be a party of the centre-left, but now says he’ll drop the suicidal 50% tax rate and privatise the post-office.

Honesty is not a great leadership quality in politics.


Click Here to shop at eBay.co.uk

Blogging Minister Boggles the Mind

It was getting tiresome enough to see journalists starting blogs – Nick Robinson and Adam Boulton forinstance have spurred Guido on to bring forward plans to set up his own 24-hour broadcast news channel, see how they like that…

Now the prospect of a cabinet minister, David Miliband, setting up a blog has made Guido laugh and wince. The example of Tom Watson MP tells us that it will be one long press release. Tom’s blog was interesting, than he became a whip and it became boring. How much worse will the robotic Miliband’s blog be?

Guido detests Miliband, monotonously on message, he spins readily and has zero personality. Guido cherishes the Andrew Neil interview with Milband where he lies to Neil about something. Neil calls him a liar, the boy repeats the lie and Brillo says if you lie to me again we may as well stop here. A chastened Milband gave in and was much more timid after that.

Surreal Moment at the LibDem Count

Guido’s eyes were glued to the Betfair dealing screen yesterday during the count with an ear on Sky, who tend to be brave enough to call results before the Beeb. Adam Boulton was at the count and saying that the Huhney monsters were looking glum and Clegg was chirpy so it looked like it was going to be Campbell, than he said something like “the people who know about these things, the political website Guido Fawkes, has called it for Ming”.

It was a surreal moment, it made Guido hesitate and probably miss taking a few hundred extra quid off deluded Huhne backers as the market went crazy. The Huhne price collapsed and liquidity dried up. So Adam, as much as Guido appreciated the kudos, thousands of pounds of money for Huhne disappeared from the screen in the next minute. Money that could have been re-invested in Margaux.

Whilst on the subject, the City Tipster and Guido would like to thank our benefactor, the Huhne market manipulator, we think the way “the collar” was often placed points to it being someone with financial market experience. Whomever you are, our only regret is that we didn’t hit you harder and more often. As for YouGov getting it wrong, they didn’t, it was in our opinion how you factored in the commissioner bias, we thought that averaging the two polls from the two opposing camps cancelled out the push polling bias. Also the rise of Huhne galvanised the Mingers into getting their act together, by YouGov 2 they were no longer complacent. After that they really hit the phones and cracked the whip on MPs to bring the vote in from the constitutencies.

LibDem Turnout 72% Up 10% On Last

Ming call centre campaign reached armchair activists…

Egg On Face – Who Will It Be?

The sagely Mike Smithson runs the excellent politicalbetting.com site, which was the lead story on Newsnight last night. He has consistently backed Huhne, Guido has backed Huhne to lead the LibDems as well, but has in the end put his money on Ming.

Huhne was by far the best campaigner, it was aggressive and determined, Ming’s campaign was an establishment campaign, Hughes’ was a hopeless campaign.

Of more concern than who will lead the LibDems is, who will be humiliated, Mike or Guido? Mike has cashed in his bets, Guido is balls deep in Ming…

Poll of YouGov Polls Analysis

Dataset : YouGov 1 & YouGov 2

Analysts : City Tipster + An Anonymous Hedge Fund Trader. The City Tipster is an active political punter.

Disclaimer : YouGov 1 first preference data based on information leaked to Guido and denied by Kellner. Originally received from Huhne allied source subsequently vouched for by Ming allied source. Second preferences confirmed by YouGov. YouGov 2 data taken directly from YouGov.

Assumptions : Both the YouGov private polls had a leading question bias – first toward Ming, second toward Huhne BOTH against Hughes. We looked at bias against Hughes – factoring the polls having the same negative effect on Hughes that they did in turn for Chris Huhne and Sir Menzies Campbell. This factor was found to not be enough to change the final percentage when rounded.

Methodology : This work has many imperfections but hopes to provide a snapshot of what opinion was like at the critical time when many Lib Dem members were casting their votes – voting slips were received by members Feb 7, polling was done Feb 2 and Feb 9.

We have produced average (mean) figures across the two polls. We have also produced a second calculation that attempts to factor in the bias against Hughes that the poll itself indicates.

The first preferences in the first YouGov poll are not exact (note they add up to 98%). However we have confirmed with a number of sources that they are “accurate” +/- 1%. For the purposes of accuracy, those first preferences now do add up to 100% having been adjusted on a pro-rata basis.

First Round Poll of YouGov Polls :

Sir Menzies Campbell : 38% Chris Huhne : 36% Simon Hughes : 26%

Hughes is thus eliminated, 2nd preferences are re-allocated (less those who said they would not cast a second preference).

Final Result Factoring in Second Preferences:

Sir Menzies Campbell : 53% Chris Huhne : 47%
click to enlarge

Email Guido for full dataset spreadsheet with calculations.

+++ FLASH +++ MING 53% v HUHNE 47% +++ POLL OF POLLS ANALYSIS +++

++ ANALYSIS SAYS SECOND PREFERENCES WILL GIVE MING VICTORY ++

++ DATA TO FOLLOW ++

Don’tcha Just Hate Tom Watson

‘Tis not because he was Labour’s first and probably best blogging MP, not because he is now an always-on-message whip for New Labour, nor because his blog has become missable and bland since he became a whip. Not because his blog is always bloody crashing. Because his guest in the public gallery at PMQs today is Shakira. As he told Spy “Why would someone like her want to be seen with an overweight MP like me?” Guido could cry, why, ohhh why… Who cares about Blair, Dave, Ming – BBC Parliament, Guido knows you read this, MOVE THE CAMERA UP, whatever, wherever!

Punters Flip-Flop, Guido Calls It For Ming

With the last chance to safely post voting slips coming tomorrow, Guido is calling the LibDem leadership election for Ming Campbell. Mike Smithson is calling it for Huhne (but keeping an all green screen). Young upstart tipster SpecialBets is also calling it for Ming.

My view is that a Ming backer squashed publication of the phantom YouGov poll (YG#1) when the poll showed Huhne narrowing the gap impressively. The second poll (YG#2), funded by a Huhne backer, had an element of push polling in it with leading questions which even my YouGov source admitted where a tad shady.

The only hard polling evidence is that Ming and Huhne are nearly within a margin of error on first preferences and that the majority of second preferences will go to Ming. The “Greenwash” smear on Huhne looked to me like a petulant Hughes backing op, Hughes also bitch-slapped Huhne early on and Hughes backers suspect Huhne of being more right-wing than he now professes. Hughes is the choice of sandal wearers and they will not switch to a multi-millionaire City refugee easily. Hughes’ second preferences will go to Ming in great numbers. Phone polling by young LibDem activists (enjoy Ming’s gift vouchers kids) also gives it to the old man. While Guido was writing this (a little before midnight) the betting market switched favourites. Guido has been in close contact with one of the biggest political punters throughout the last month (a player who can account for one-third of the daily market volume), he reckons that Huhne’s market manipulator (who disappeared this weekend) will be looking at a middling five-figure loss.

Hail Ming!

Best Odds!

Ming : I Must Do Better

Guido’s man hiding behind the GMTV sofa emails to say that in the interview just recorded to go out Sunday, he was not brilliant. Asked if he would work harder on his performance at PMQs, Ming said

“Well, we have been working on it. Let me put it this way if I’d had to write the script for the opening day then I certainly wouldn’t have written it the way it turned out.”

Meanwhile, his odds do seem to be closing on Huhne with only five days to go.

eBay Charity Auction

London Final LibDem Hustings

Guido attended his first LibDem hustings tonight. The highlight of an otherwise boring meeting was the trio of Southwark urban activists shouting for 5 minutes at Simon Hughes that he was “a racist” and ranting about Nick Stanton – LibDem leader of Southwark council. Now this was awkward, obviously they were going to have to go, but the virtually all-white, hand-wringing liberal audience didn’t want to appear heavy handed.

So for a few minutes the situation was tense (although Nick Robinson was laughing with George Pascoe-Watson from The Sun in the front row at the dilemma). Eventually an African LibDem intervened so no white-on-black pictures would appear.

No surprises, Ming and Huhne were about equal on the clap-o-meter, maybe Ming had the edge with his better sense of humour. Hughes was all earnest and vicar-like, he rambled but the audience was not his, Huhne didn’t inspire but he was competent.

Funniest question from the floor was from someone who looked like a Tory in a yellow tie asking “when would they withdraw from the EU – AS THE PEOPLE WANT?”

Guido was handed a leaflet by a Green beardie-weirdie type which was going to go straight in the bin, except it does have an interesting allegation about carbon-neutral Huhne. He apparently owns substantial shareholdings in two gold mining companies. Gold which has to be smelted, a process which is responsible for 13% of global carbon emmissions. To be honest, Huhne’s conversion from BMW driving city tycoon to Green, electric-car-driving political visionary, does strike Guido as politically convenient.

click to enlarge

Enough With Google Ads

Obviously somebody in Victoria Street reads Guido and has a sense of humour. Key in Chris Huhne and look what you get:

Please no more Google Ads. Please.

UPDATE : Cameron’s advert has gone, possibly something to do with an organised ker-ching click-fest by LibDems.

UPDATE : A co-conspirator tells Guido that Google Ads keywords per click for Huhne cost 2p, for Ming 3p and Hughes 6p. Something to do with the Torygraph.

Ming’s Women

Ming’s campaign has a video interview on his blog where he talks about the women in his life. His mum, his wife, his junior school teacher and.. err, that’s it. Strange, no mention of any other woman.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Sky’s Faisal Islam on the mood in Parliament at the moment:

“It’s a totally febrile atmosphere here. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards – and if you chuck in the Labour Party – Laurel and Hardy too.”

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