Letwin Settles Up – Bins Carbon Reduction Global Agreement

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.”

Well quite.

Bet Against Ed’s Mo Farah Tip

andy-murraySpeaking 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:

Labour Panicking About Rotherham HQ Diverting Resources North

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.

Follow the Money

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…

Labour Go Favourite to Be Largest Party First Time Since May 2010

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…

Dave Wins Backbench Bercow Bet

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…

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

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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.[…]

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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.[…]

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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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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 allegation later quietly withdrawn.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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 Times there was one saying “There are limits but this goes too far.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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