Huge handbags on Twitter this week between the Observer’s Toby Helm and the CCHQ @ToryEducation Twitter account. The Tory tweeter told Helm “You’re like Baldwin and Campbell – an activist, not a professional hack”, provoking paroxysms of rage from the Labour Party press office’s favourite broadsheet channel. Particularly after they called Helm a Labour stooge. This will apparently spill over into the paper this weekend when The Observer is going to allege that it is part of a scandalous McBride/Draper style dirty tricks operation. Guido understands that Helm reckons it could bring down Michael Gove…
Judge the robust exchange for yourself:
It is unclear to Guido whether or not the account is run officially or unofficially from CCHQ or by Gove’s SpAds, or what the exact rules about this would be. As is so often the way with Twitter, exchanges are strongly worded. SpAds are supposed to operate within civil service limitations. A strongly worded written letter of admonishment to a SpAd from the permanent secretary may result. Not exactly enough to bring down the Secretary of State…
UPDATE: Looks like Toby has been down the bookies:
Rush of money for Michael Gove to be next Cabinet Minister out. Odds cut from 25/1 to 8/1.—
Ladbrokes Politics (@LadPolitics) February 02, 2013
Another nail in the husky coffin as Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin concedes defeat to Nigel Lawson and accepts that the Kyoto Treaty is dead and nothing will be following it. Back in 2008 the two men made a bet, the details of which were published in a Standpoint interview:
Oliver Lewtin: I’d be very happy to have a wager, and I offer you a £100 bet that before either of us is dead, whichever is the first — our estates can pay — we will see a very substantial agreement on carbon reduction.
Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.
Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.
Letwin has apparently now agreed to settle the bet. Lord Lawson is on a bit of victory lap this afternoon:
“Oliver is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy – which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”
Speaking this week Ed Miliband backed Mo Farah to become BBC Sports Personality of the Year tomorrow. This was a clever bit of populism that helped get his speech reported widely. Will the Son of Jonah Brown continue his curse?
Is this evidence of wonkish Ed’s populist touch with the British public? Well there is one way to test this, put some money on the outcome. Sadly for Mo, Guido reckons Bradley Wiggins will win and Andy Murray will come second in the affections of the voting British public. The other popular vote will be for Strictly Come Dancing. Guido’s triple accumulator third bet is on Louis Smith winning. Mrs Fawkes and the Fawkes girls are certain about this…
Never let it be said Guido doesn’t put his money where his mouth is… this is the betting slip…
UPDATE: Bad Al Campbell agrees:
Just gone London to Manc Velodrome Britain very wet. Enjoying Ed Miliband speech but he's wrong – Bradley Wiggins should be SPOTY—
Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) December 14, 2012
Labour insiders are getting nervous about Rotherham after this weekend’s Labour council omnishambles. With Respect’s Yvonne Ridley now at 5/1, Labour HQ are diverting resources from Croydon and Middlesbrough, fearing a Bradford style upset. All Labour politicians, staff and volunteers are being told to head to Rotherham instead of the other two constituencies. Buses are being laid on. Guido understands that Harriet Harman was meant to go campaign for Steve Reed in Croydon today, but is instead heading north. Sounds like they’ve been watching too much Homeland…
With Ladbrokes offering exactly the same price for Respect’s Lee Jasper upsetting Labour’s Steve Reed in Croydon, someone is going to get it in the neck if the upset falls there. Reed, a Marmite candidate from the start, is losing local support fast.
There is an editorial split in the Guy Newsroom over Hunt: Neo-Guido thinks he’s politically toast, but Guido cannot see any LEGAL bullet that will force him out, yet. If you disagree Guido is the offer on Smarkets and is backing Hunt to survive. Come and take his money if you think he is wrong…
As it stands, punters think Hunt has a 36% chance of survival. Which is up from this morning…
Since the the 2010 general election the bookies and punters have consistently made the Tories favourites to be the largest party in parliament after the next election. Until now.
Since the budget fiasco punters have been pushing the odds closer. This week punters have shifted their bets and are now making Labour odds on favourites to be the biggest party in parliament after the general election. Punters have given up on the Tory prospects…
Though it was all smiles at PMQs yesterday when Dave mocked the Speaker’s address to the Queen, the PM’s “kaleidoscope budget” gag clearly hit a nerve and Bercow was left unable to speak for a good ten seconds. Now Guido hears it wasn’t just a well timed line, but in fact the terms of a bet…
Dessie Swayne, Dave’s PPS, and a few other Tory backbenchers who come in very early every morning have come to be known as The Breakfast Club. It’s mostly ex-lawyers and bankers who are used to an early start. When Cameron broke bread with them on Wednesday morning they bet him a bottle of wine that he couldn’t get the word “kaleidoscope” into a PMQs response. It’s not clear whether the wine will be drunk over breakfast…
UPDATE: Tweeter @ToryOutcast gets in touch to say he had mentioned this last night and the exact terms were a bottle of Krug with Stephen Phillips MP. Cheers…
UPDATE II: Having gone back to the original sources for this story, it seems Dave has been changing his tune. He told the 1922 Committee it was a bottle of wine that he had won in the bet rather than champagne. Looks like the Tory ban on the sparkling stuff is still in place…
Guido hears whispers that any extra cash to the IMF is unlikely to be pledged before April, which means he could well be running around Smith Square naked on St Paddy’s Day as promised. A man of his word…
That hasn’t stopped the Tory whips preparing the troops for the potential vote though. Yesterday the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee Andrew Tyrie wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
“Some have been arguing that the U.K. should stand aside from any increase in IMF resources and let the euro zone stew in its own juice. That would be a mistake—the cost to the U.K. would be high. Instead, Britain should respond to the IMF’s own conclusion that it has financing needs of an additional $500 billion in coming years by agreeing to our share of a global loan.”
He lays out the argument for more borrowed bail-outs and Tory whips are circulating the piece, clearly trying to soften the ground. With a large chunk of the Tory backbenches loathed to contribute more money, coupled with the prospect of Labour opposing it too, it’s going to take more than the odd article and email to win this one.
Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester
Scotland Surges for Freedom | Times
George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:
“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”
Owen Jones says:
We also need Zil lanes.