Friday, August 10, 2007

SNP Surge 15% Ahead of Labour in Scotland

The SNP in power have not performed as disastrously as Labour’s pre-election scaremongering depicted. Remember the dire warnings of capital flight and businesses re-locating? Which explains why in office their poll ratings have surged – expectations were so unrealistically low.

A lot of Scottish Labour MPs will be very worried by the prospect of an early election in Scotland… no “Brown bounce” in to be seen at home…

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Contrarian? Crazy?

Six months ago the Tories looked set for victory at the next general election, they were the odds on favourites, Labour activists were downhearted. Now things have reversed, Dave is in trouble and can do nothing right. So Guido just put £50 on Betfair on the Tories being the biggest party after the general election.
Why? Well look at the price chart, it appears to have topped out recently with firm support from punters at an implied probability of 40%. Clearly Guido is not the only one who thinks it can’t get any worse for the Tories.

The Ashcroft marginal seats machine is purring away quietly, the SNP control Scotland and seem to be doing well and that will require Labour to divert resources to shore up their crumbling position. The Cameron project’s problems coming now mean they have plenty of time to recover and adjust their approach before the general election. Brown is spinning that the election is around the corner, it ain’t – Labour is bust financially.

Talking of of bust, boom to bust is the other factor. The U.S. economy is spluttering, the property market has some worrying signs, unemployment is as high as it was under Thatcher in 1979*, interest rates are up, inflation is up, government debt is prolific, mortgages payments are ballooning, home repossessions are astonishing and bankruptcies are at a record rate. Brown has not abolished the economic cycle.

So in six months the economic and political picture could, Guido is betting, look very different. Don’t bet against it.

*In 1979 unemployment was 1.4m, in 2007 unemployment is 1.7m, Source: Unemployment ONS Labour Force Survey.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Romsey Redhead Silent on Merial

Sandra Gidley MP, AKA the Romsey Redhead and Big Pharma’s best friend in parliament, was paid for by Sanofi Aventis to go to Paris and Budapest last year on a junket.

They are one of the co-owners of Merial, the company suspected of being the source of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in Guildford. Guildford is all of 60 miles away from her constituency. No word from her about the outbreak as yet…

Blogs Drove Iraqi Interpreters Issue on to Agenda

The left-wing blogosphere has scored a rare victory. Taking time out from pledging not to buy Alastair Campbell’s book, obssessing about Guido being a baby-eating Nazi and Iain Dale being a Tory media-tart, they actually did something productive.

They drove the disgraceful treatment (by the government) of Iraqi military interpreters up the political agenda. It was not an exclusively left-wing blogosphere affair, on the right Donal Blaney isn’t happy about their treatment. He is also not happy about the government “posturing” over non-British citizens locked up in Gitmo. Can’t say that Guido agrees with him on that. British governments should protest violations of human rights wherever they occur. Would it be “posturing” to call for the release of Chinese political prisoners?

UPDATE : Thursday morning the Tories are calling for action. Doc Fox says the UK has a clear moral duty to protect the interpreters, William Hague says it is a matter of honour, and Damian Green is protesting at the official bureaucracy surrounding their case.

Basra : British Defeat Bodes Badly for Afghanistan

Guido takes no pleasure in reporting this, but it seems to be going unsaid in the British press. British forces are painted, particularly by broadcasters, as having achieved a measure of success in Basra due to superior British peace-keeping techniques honed in Northern Ireland.

The truth is very different. To quote from a report by the ICG;

Three major Shiite political groups are locked in a bloody conflict that has left the city in the hands of militias and criminal gangs, whose control extends to municipal offices and neighborhood streets. The city is plagued by “the systematic misuse of official institutions, political assassinations, tribal vendettas, neighborhood vigilantism and enforcement of social mores, together with the rise of criminal mafias that increasingly intermingle with political actors,” a recent report by the International Crisis Group said.

The Washington Post reported a senior U.S. intelligence official yesterday saying that “The British have basically been defeated in the south”.

The article went on to say that British forces

… are abandoning their former headquarters at Basra Palace, where a recent official visitor from London described them as “surrounded like cowboys and Indians” by militia fighters. An airport base outside the city, where a regional U.S. Embassy office and Britain’s remaining 5,500 troops are barricaded behind building-high sandbags, has been attacked with mortars or rockets nearly 600 times over the past four months.

In May Blair visited the Basra HQ and came under mortar attack – not a sign of pacification.

The head of the armed forces, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, told the BBC that success depends “upon what your interpretation of the mission was in the first place… I’m afraid people had, in many instances, unrealistic aspirations for Iraq, and for the south of Iraq.” The reality is that once Britsh forces exit Basra the fighting will escalate into a full-scale civil war. Mission failure.

This begs the question – what now is the plan in Afghanistan? They are a people who fought the Red Army and won. The Soviets were brutal and were still defeated. Is NATO going to match and exceed that brutality in pursuit of “victory”? Afghanistan should be monitored closely and elements that present a clear and present external danger should be eliminated. It is not the job of NATO to impose Western values by force as Rome’s Imperial Armies once imposed Roman law.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

If Beef is Good for Benn, it is Good for Us All

Here in Ireland the biggest story on the news shows is Foot and Mouth. The British government seems to have a better grip on things this time – unlike the last time when it was horrific.

No doubt it will come to an end, hopefully soon. Then we will need to re-assure the public, particularly the foreign, meat-export buying public, that British meat is safe to eat.

What better way to do that than to be pictured eating it, nothing so crass as feeding it to your daughter, just be pictured taking a smiling, hearty bite out of a British beef burger. That will re-assure the public.

Hilary Benn, the farming minister, should do it as soon as practicable, shouldn’t he?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday Caption Contest (Ainsworth Edition)

Stat Porn – Neck & Neck with Dale

In July 250,654 unique visitors made 321,734 pageloads. So slightly more people came here than to Dale’s, but fewer times – an indication perhaps that he had a more active comments section lately.

The most popular posting of the month was the Alastair Campbell cartoon on July 9.

UPDATE : PoliticalBetting had 3/4 million hits last month.

$100bn Price of the Special Relationship

Guido’s bond trading days are long behind him, but he keeps an interest in the markets. Why have UK holdings of US Treasuries tripled in the last 12 months ($55bn to $167bn) when France and Germany have maintained stable and much smaller holdings? The dollar is in benign decline. China and Japan obviously have to recycle their dollar surpluses. The UK has a deficit. Any City lurker on here care to explain?

Source : US Treasury.

UPDATE : Guido bought his first daughter an ounce of gold for her first Christmas, she is well ahead on that and the way the economy looks another ounce will be going to his second daughter for her first Christmas. Chinese insurance…


Seen Elsewhere

Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Jenni Russell and Her Child’s Godfather, Ed Miliband | Breitbart
Labour’s Left and Right are Growing Restive | Staggers
Corrupt, Incompetent UN Has No Right to Lecture Us | Dan Hannan
Mirror’s Lazy Lie | Guardian


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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