Tory Whips Pushing IMF Bailout Arguments

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.

Not a Single Billion More

George Osborne gave a cast iron promise last October:

“Britain will not be putting money into the bailout fund either directly or through the IMF… the IMF exists to support countries, it does not exist to support currencies. The IMF contributing money to the eurozone bailout fund, no; Britain contributing money to the eurozone bailout fund, no. That is Britain’s clear position.”

Ed Balls and Tory backbenchers are at one on this, it is for Germany through the ECB to support the €uro. The American and Chinese Treasury ministers agree, it is not the purpose of the IMF to bailout an ill-conceived currency union. Don’t forget your promise George*…

*Guido hasn’t forgotten his IMF promise.

Naked Truth is Osborne Will Back IMF Bailout

Last night Guido tweeted

Guido reckons the spin coming from the Treasury about them saying “No” is bluster. Guido suspects they mean they are not ready to send billions to the IMF just yet…

If by St Patrick’s day Osborne has kept his promise, made to MPs on October 27, that “Britain will not be putting money into the bail-out fund either directly or through the IMF” Guido will keep his promise* and run naked around Smith Square from the EU offices right past Transport House and back. Don’t count on seeing Guido’s bare arse streaking past the daffodils on March 17…

*Iain Dale has yet to “run naked down Whitehall” as promised on election night.

Will Vince Stick to Plan A or Go Nuclear?

As the economic outlook turns from tough to terrible the pressure on the coalition is going to increase. Conservative governments have in their history and temperament the capability to stick to a tough, inevitably unpopular, fiscal line. This is not a Conservative government.

The LibDems have no such history, and in the case of Vince Cable, no such inclination. Reportedly he is already lobbying for an alternative economic strategy, a Keynesian Plan B. George Osborne is not going to alter the fundamental economic mission of the government, nor should he. So will Vince use his “nuclear option” and quit at some point? The bookies have him at 15/1 to resign from the cabinet.

Might be worth a flutter…

Election Results

Going to stay up have a few drinks, watch the politicians make excuses and go to bed before the results are in.

Feel free to amuse yourself and mock the afflicted in the comments. Expect it to be a 1000 seat gain for Labour. Guido expects a very bad night for LibDems and moderately bad for Tories…

Only big bet Guido had was on the Tories coming second in the Leicester South by-election. Some dosh on the SNP giving Labour a kicking in Scotland. Will lose a few quid on the AV vote due to being a bit too clever and trying to buy a Yes bounce. It never came…

Cashing In On Kipping Ken

Guido is gutted he missed the 16/1 Ladbrokes were offering on old Ken not making it through the speech without a bit of shut-eye.

History Boys vs Money Men

Get ready for much more of this after the budget, but this morning twenty-five historians have written to the Times to reject AV as discredited and a historically dead voting system that Britain shouldn’t embrace. Over at the Telegraph a B-list group of eleven business types argue that we must jump on the bandwagon.

A head-to-head on the Today program had the business side, in all seriousness, try the line that because we are the only country in Europe that uses first past the post we should immediately jump on the first offer of change. With the foresight of history, it was an open goal for no voice to remind the audience it was business voices clambering for the UK to join the Euro…

UPDATE: The latest betting prices are here.

Reddies from the Reds

Sometimes there is just easy money to be had. When Guido saw Labour pushing a story that Pickles’ SpAds had been busted “smearing” Jenny Watson of the Audit Commission as incompetent and a public purse milker he couldn’t quite see where a crime had been committed. The truth cannot be a smear.

It got better though, the line was pushed that the Department for Local Government had been forced to spend fifty grand on legal fees consulting about how to deal with the situation. If that is the going rate, who knows what the legal advice concerning McBride ran up to…

Political Scrapbook dived on the story and have been hammering it for weeks. Guido smelt bullshit early on and bet the PS team £50 that the actual sum was more likely to be closer to zero. And guess what?

The sum was infact zero. In reply to a Parliamentary Question on the subject, Bob Neil said:

“I wish to use this opportunity to put on record a short comment. Pursuant to my answer to the hon. Member of 4 November 2010, Official Report, column 937W, no expenditure has been undertaken on legal fees on potential defamation cases relating in any way to that whole topic.”

Guido would like two twenties and two fives please.

It’s not only Political Scrapbook with egg on their faces though. The Local Government Chronicle broke the story, PR Week followed it up and rent-a-quote Caroline Flint was even deployed to ask awkward questions. Funny how it was Tom Watson who asked the PQ that was shot down by Bob Neil. It’s almost as if his fingerprints were all over this from the start…

Government Official Loses Bet on the Economy

This time last year an economist wonk at the liberal-leaning CentreForum took a dislike to Guido’s economic foresight. Deficit denying Liberal Conspiracy made a predictably over the top attempt at playing up the difference of opinion calling Guido innumerate, an […]

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More Than “A Storm in a Bedsheet”

There is no denying that Sally Bercow makes for hugely entertaining copy, but the odds against a challenge to her husband in the next year tightened last night. This morning’s papers were full of anonymous quotes from ministers In the […]

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Gabby Goes Favourite

Money is moving on who is set to replace Andy Coulson. Current press secretary Gabby Bertin has just gone favourite. The internal promotion would be a safe option. Does someone in Downing Street know something?[…]

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Good Morning, It’s Polling Day

As the Old and Sad voters head to the polls this morning, Labour seem certain that they are heading for win. Buoyed by the ICM and Populus poll boosts, Newsnight all but declared them victors last night, excitedly preparing their […]

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