It’s Not Just the Leaders Debating
Hague, Miliband and Davey Next

Given the profound effect ninety minutes of television has had on the fickle electorate, it will be worth keeping an eye on the other debates happening in the run up to polling day.

The Daily Politics have organised almost all of the contenders for the senior cabinet positions to have a grilling from Andrew Neil. Today sees the first of such battles between William Hague, David Miliband and Ed Davey. The Beeb’s specialist reporter in each field will also be taking part in the interrogation.

If you want to put your money where your mouth is, Smarkets punters right now reckon Hague is still favourite to be the next foreign secretary and Ed Davey has only a 12% chance of getting the job. The fun and games begin this afternoon on BBC Two at 14.15. Miliband has been on fighting form butting the boot into the Tories since the campaign began, though anyone should be wary of entering the ring with Hague. Especially Davey who is notoriously dull on camera…

Punters Backing LibDems

As Comres joins YouGov in making the LibDems the second placed party, Graham Sharpe, William Hill’s spinner, emails Guido to say that seven out of every ten political bets they took were for a Lib Dem win :- ‘Pre-debate the Lib Dems would be doing well if one in every ten bet was for them, but their support turned from a trickle to a flood on Friday with a mass of modest bets of up to £100 pouring on them to win with an overall majority or to be the largest single Party, with the larger bets were placed by regular political pundits backing a Hung Parliament.‘ A hung parliament maybe, but backing LibDems to win outright?

If you are bullish about the LibDems here is how the punters rate their chances tonight from on Political Smarkets, the specialist bookies:

Cable looks cheap and worth backing at 21% given the polls are pointing to a hung parliament. Gordon would give him the chancellorship for a Lib-Lab pact at the drop of a hat.

Clegg : Winning Here!


On Tuesday Guido predicted that Clegg would be the big winner, and so it came to pass.  Bad Al Campbell and Mandy must now realise that they have an impossible job to do in polishing the turd that is Gordon Brown.  Mrs Fawkes was scathing about the stiffness of Dave who did seem to be playing it safe too much. Labour and Tory spinners are reluctantly conceding victory to Clegg, before saying their guy came second.

In reality the slightly more objective measures, the immediate reaction polls, are unanimously scoring it Clegg first, Cameron second and Gordon last.

The focus group reactions will be studied carefully in the party campaign HQs and the leaders messages will be recalibrated for next Thursday accordingly.  The punters’ smart money at specialist bookmakers Political Smarkets went from heavily backing Cameron to making Clegg favourite to win the debate half-way through the ninety minutes.  Punters this morning reckon there is a 25% chance Clegg will win all three debates and a 60% chance that Brown will win none.  Guido thinks that it is a racing certainty that Brown is a no hoper in the debates…

Labour Site Becomes Tweet Spin Room

Labour’s trusted twitterers are on the front page of the party’s website, further confirming the belief in Labour circles that twitter is some kind of alternative to democracy.  They have made sure that it won’t be easily hacked.  Not sure what the value is – presumably they are hoping that hacks will consult the page to see what the Labour faithful think of the debate.  A virtual twitter spin room… hmmm…  come back to Guido’s later this evening for a rival virtual twitter spin room…

Spin is cheap, punters put their money where their mouth is, currently the punters on Political Smarkets rate the chances of victory for the leaders in the debates thus:

16:45 David Cameron 55%  Nick Clegg 48% Gordon Brown 29%

18:30 David Cameron 65%  Nick Clegg 48% Gordon Brown 20%

Gordon’s price has improved from this morning where punters where giving him only a 10% chance of winning* tonight’s debate, Clegg was favourite though in late betting Cameron has pulled ahead.   All to play for…

*Winning defined by ICM’s post debate polling results.

The Success Benchmark :
How Many Will Watch the Debate tonight?

After months of speculation, hype, arguments, tantrums and rule changes the first of the debates are finally here. Guido hears that after all the effort that Sky News put in to make the debates happen, they might be a little miffed that they won’t be chairing the first of its kind. But what will tonight actually achieve for the political class and more importantly how many will actually watch?

Ten million people watch Coronation Street, a similar number tuned in to Doctor Who on Saturday. Eight million tuned into see Nick Griffin on Question Time. The BBC are sending over sixty staff to cover ITV’s debate, so who know’s how much taxpayers cash will be spent when it’s actually their turn. For these debates to be worth the millions being spent they need to be a game-changer and need to pull in the viewers.  They need, in the jargon of spin, to get cut-through…

The smart money seems to be on nine to thirteen million viewers, less than a quarter of the forty-five million registered voters. Guido has a feeling the debates may just be stirring up apathy…

State of the Campaigns

Tonight is debate night, the single event with the potential to alter the direction of the campaign more than any other. Punters on the PoliticSmarkets website can bet on who will win the debate tonight : the smart money gives Gordon Brown a 10% chance of emerging victorious, David Cameron a 47% chance and makes Nick Clegg the narrow favourite with a 48% probability of winning tonight’s debate.  In one sense Clegg is already the winner just by getting equal billing…

Who Has Really Learnt About Campaigning from Obama?

A few months ago Guido was speaking at events and pontificating on panels with politicians who were going on about how they had learnt from Obama’s campaign.  We were told there was going to be online fund raising on a major scale in the manner of Obama.

So far as Guido can tell Compass, 38 Degrees, Old Holborn and Anna Raccoon‘s smoking landlord campaign, MyConservatives.com, YouFund.Me.uk and the Taxpayers’ Alliance are the only groups successfully raising money from the many via small online donations resulting from advertising and email lists.  Even so we are talking thousands of pounds rather than tens of thousands of pounds.  Labour’s efforts so far have not borne much fruit by all accounts.

The stand out candidate who has raised more online than any other candidate ever is Antony Calvert, who is standing against Ed Balls in Morley & Outwood.  Although trying to over-turn a notional majority of 9,000 against the Unite-backed bruiser, Ed Ball’s price at the bookies has steadily moved in from sure-fire favourite towards only a 50% chance of  him holding his seat.  Antony Calvert  is running him neck and neck.  Why is that?  Could it be because Antony Calvert is Britain’s unlikely answer to Obama, having raised more money in small online donations than other candidate in Britain.  George Osborne singled out Calvert’s campaign for praise in a speech to CCHQ staffers, calling it “a castration strategy”.

The truth is, if Antony Calvert takes Morley and Outwood, he will be Britain’s first digital election winner…

(Incidentally, you can donate to his campaign here and you can bet on him winning Morely & Outwood at PoliticSmarkets.)

VIP Maguire Enjoys the ‘Sport of Kings’ at Cheltenham

Kevin Maguire never tires of telling us thatnothing is too good for the workers so it was no surprise when a co-conspirator sent this picture of our Kevin with the toffs in the VIP enclosure at Cheltenham.

Guido’s tipster at the races revealed that Kevin had the “Premier” package, including a table for the day, champagne reception, morning coffee, 4 course luncheon including wine, afternoon tea and a complimentary bar.

Whilst his mate Charlie Whelan brings the country to a halt Kevin was enjoying the sport of kings and cheering on his bets. 

Guido caught up with Kevin yesterday just before the last 5.15 race, it was clearly a long hard day:

Kevin Maguire Blackberry bloke was so obvious it was laughable.
Guido Fawkes You could have smiled.
KM Got any tips for the 5.15?
GF Free World at 7/1
KM I’ll put £5 on cause couldn’t bear it to win and not be on.

It lost.

Get Down to William Hill Fast

Just got £100 on Labour to win Glasgow East tonight @ 1/2. A 50% return overnight?  Seems way too generous.  Labour should be home easily…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guido Laid Widdecombe

That is not something many can say. Laid her at the bookies on Betfair of course. Selling her price down….

UPDATE : Sir George Young has gone favourite in late betting.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Punters Shun Bercow, Beckett Now Favourite Horse for Speaker

speaker-betting

Nag BeckettLadbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison says: “Bercow has been drumming up support since Michael Martin announced he was stepping down. But his chances now appear to have gone for a walk.” Punters on Betfair have also shifted the smart money […]

+ READ MORE +

Euro Results

Euro Vote 09Everyman and his blog is doing an election results service based on, well, mostly watching TV, so Guido won’t bother with that. Very disappointed that Guido’s Libertas vote looks like it went to waste. At the New Ross polling station […]

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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