Balls’s Bungled Pledge

Yesterday Ed Balls made a big song and dance about signing a pledge that all interns should be paid the minimum wage. He even released a video of him and one of his own office interns discussing it. Except that’s not quite what he said:

“It’s really important if you are interning or volunteering in a House of Commons office that you get properly paid.”

Interns and volunteers.

So what about his very own voluptuous volunteer Ellie “Stilettos” Gellard, Twitter queen and cursed backer of Gordon? Gellard has been strutting around with a pass, on the Balls campaign, yet apparently isn’t taking a penny?

A volunteer you might say… So it’s fine that all interns and volunteers must be paid, just not Ed’s campaign staff. Or if she is being paid, why hasn’t it been declared?

Mrs Duffy Declares for David

In what can only be described as a shrewd move, David Miliband twisted the knife a little further and went round to Bigot-gate star Mrs Duffy’s house for a wee chat. She helped kick Brown saying:

“I felt David really listened to my points of view and shared my concerns on the issues that matter to working people.”

Whose idea was that?

Does Anybody Really Like Balls?

It is possible that Ed Balls could come last in the leadership contest behind Diane Abbott and Andy Burnham. If so it would be the final humiliation of the TaliBrown, the cabal of bullying second-raters who ousted three-time election winner Tony Blair to install Gordon Brown, a politician who has never won a competitive election in his life.

With rumours* circulating that following Charlie Whelan’s inability to get Unite to endorse him, he’ll withdraw from the contest, Blinky says ‘I fight on; I fight to win. I’m in it to win it. I am the best person to fight this coalition.’ Good, it will give us a good laugh to see him totally humiliated.

*You first read about Balls withdrawing and supporting David Miliband in return for endorsement for the Shadow Chancellorship on this blog.

Quote of the Day

Dan Hodges writes

“This leadership election is dire. The candidates are exhausted. The contest is mired in tedium. There  is lots of sound, but precious little fury. We are a beaten party going through the motions, and it shows.”

Burnham’s Bellenden Boy

Despite basing his campaign out of Manchester, even Andy Burnham can’t resist the lures of t’big smoke:

He has invited the great and good of the business world to a breakfast meeting where he will be trying to boost his lacklustre campaign with answers to some big questions. A chance for a hob-nob and maybe even to tap up a donation or two:

Guido’s bowler-hatted and pin-striped co-conspirator was a little surprised when he tried to RSVP as instructed to Mark Glover, the proud owner of an @andy4leader.com email address. Expecting the campaign office, he was instead put through to Bellenden Public Affairs”, a corporate spin merchants based just over London Bridge from the heart of the City’s Square Mile.

Glover, its founder and a Labour man, may well be volunteering for the campaign by helping  Burnham mingle in the City, but he is using his business line and office facilities to do so. Thus Guido presumes such a donation-in-kind will be properly costed and declared by Andy to the proper authorities? Not sure how using a London headquartered corporate spin merchants will help to dispel “the impression that the elite was running the country” which he bangs on about at hustings…

Punters versus Wonks

It is fair to say that London Labour’s activists and wonkish elite are by and large behind Ed Miliband, unless they are ideological Blairites (like the Progress crowd) or careerist greasy pole climbers like most MPs, in which case they are behind David Miliband. The headbanging Tory hating activists go for Balls and lefties back Abbott with Burnham picking up a Northern token vote.

Supporters of Ed Miliband are adamant, despite polls showing David has more than twice as much support among Labour supporters, that he will win on second preferences.  Will Straw at LeftFootForward has even built a predictive model that forecasts Ed scraping through. Yet punters persist in making David Miliband the runaway favourite. Are the punters or the wonks right?

Guido accepts that Ed will probably win the union’s endorsements, though the Fabian’s Sunda Katawala argues that doesn’t necessarily mean he will win the votes of union members. Punters agree with Will and give Ed a 60% chance of winning the union votes.

Guido and punters make David the 80% favourite to win the MP/MEPs vote.  Will forecasts it will be closer than that but accepts that David will win this part of the electoral college.

It is over the membership vote that Will’s model and punters differ dramatically. Based on a non-representative, self-selecting poll of LabourList’s readers (DM 34.9% EM 30.8%), he predicts that the second preferences from the more left-wing candidates will switch to Ed and he will thus beat his older brother. The argument being that since Ed is positioned to the left of David, second preferences won’t tack right to the most centrist candidate. This is delusional.

Not all the voters will see the candidates in such finely calibrated positions on the centre-to-left spectrum, much of the electorate will vote on character and personality. Apart from Diane Abbott the policy positions of the candidates are in reality very closely bunched and Ed Balls’ new found tactical leftism is transparently risible.  Experience shows that second preferences tend to break in correlation with first preferences. The correlation isn’t perfect, but nor is it so weak as to be insignificant. Yet Labour sympathisers in the media and even more objective pundits like Toby Young believe Ed will come through.

So if it will be decided by the membership vote, is the LabourList poll accurate? It is unlikely that a self-selecting web poll will be. YouGov actually put Balls ahead of Ed Miliband but behind David with Labour voters (and another private poll by Survation put Diane Abbot within 5% of Ed among union members).  With the polling confusion Guido puts little reliance on the sampling and absent of clear polling evidence Guido opts to “follow the money”. David Miliband has raised more money than all the rest and he has the weight of  punter’s money backing him. It will be close, but Guido suspects Ed will lose to his big brother.

Ed Follows Suit

Last month Guido noted, with camp disdain, the appalling suits that wannabe Prime Minister Ed Miliband was wearing on the campaign trail. Compared to his older brother’s Ozwald Boateng numbers, Ed looked like a highly flammable, polyester-clad, mobile phone salesman. Well it seems he hit a nerve as Ed is now proudly sporting a new Clegg-like sharper number, did his brother share the discount he gotNot sure Ed’s really a crushed silk kind of guy though?

Unison Anoints The Younger

In case you missed it before PMQs, the news has emerged that giant health union Unison have backed Ed Miliband. It’s hard to see Unite not following suite next week. The betting markets have moved on the back of it and the Younger can expect money to start coming in.

This is a big blow to the Balls campaign who were depending on these backings to stay in the game…

53% Don’t Care About Labour Leader

A YouGov poll seen by Paul Waugh has the “I don’t care” block dominating the Labour leadership vote. Over half of people polled do not have a preferred candidate. David Miliband is in second with 22%, with Diane Abbott behind […]

Ed Balls Campaign Diary*

Think I have got Gordon off the idea of “helping” with the campaign. Told him I would be proud to have him sit behind me in the chamber. It dawned on him that he wouldn’t be sitting on the front […]

Miliband’s Own Donors Don’t Believe in Him

David Miliband proudly published his formidable donors list on his website yesterday. Intriguingly the law firm Mishcon de Reya have given the favourite in the race £13,077 through a donation-in-kind of legal services. This strikes an odd note given […]

Ed Bankrolled By His Girlfriend’s Parents

Ed Miliband is struggling to raise the cash compared to his brother’s formidable flesh-pressing and begging efforts. Without those Blairite purse-string holders behind you, every donation counts. So £2,500 in cash would be greatly appreciated. Two payments of exactly the […]



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Quote of the Day

Tim Shipman to Adam Boulton on the TV debates…

“If Cameron gets in a car to go to the debate, Lynton Crosby will stage a car crash.”

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