If as many expect Mili-D wins the MPs’ vote, splits the members vote with his brother, but Mili-E still wins overall because the union vote goes overwhelmingly to him, Guido gets the impression that the few remaining Tory strategists sitting in CCHQ won’t believe their luck. Kevin Maguire can see the danger, Mili-E will he says be “portrayed as the union’s man, lacking a mandate from the Parliamentary Labour Party”. He will be “Red Ed” – the union baron’s preferred puppet…
Is the Labour Party actually going to reject Mili-D, the only candidate who is attempting to reach out to the centre and hasn’t given into the left, for his younger brother? “They’re skipping Hague and going straight to IDS, in tune with what the party members want, out of tune with what the voters want” says one CCHQ source. Polls show that Labour Party members themselves know Mili-D is more likely to beat Cameron, they still don’t care, emotionally they want a leader who tells them what they want to hear. Soon we will find out if Labour’s heart has ruled over its head…
After reading endless tips from Mike Smithson on PoliticalBetting.com to back Ed Miliband, Guido switched his bets on Friday. David Miliband’s implied probability of victory had already dropped from 75% to 65% by the time Guido shifted his money from one brother to the other. He is at the time of writing given a 59% chance of winning the leadership (40% for Ed Miliband). Given it is too close to call that could narrow to 50% / 50% soon. Both camps are of course claiming their internal polling numbers point to victory.
In the humiliation stakes punters reckon that despite Guido’s never-ending support, Ed Balls is still the favourite to to be eliminated in the first round. His odds on avoiding humiliation have improved, dropping from a 62% certainty down to a still not good 41%, with Diane Abbott on 35% and Burnham given 30% a chance of going out first. If you are reading this Sally Bercow, and still think Balls is going to win the leadership, a £5 bet will win you £1000.
Punters still make David Miliband the favourite to win, despite increasingly boisterous noises from little brother Ed. Guido’s source in the Mili-D camp reckons they’re just about there…
Instructions to David Miliband supporters…
“Read your guests a page about David Miliband. But remember, as it’s in the first person, pretend that these are actually your thoughts!”
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.
When Rawnsley’s The End of the Party book came out in January on the heels of Peter Watt’s Inside Out and the allegations of Prime Mentalism committed by Gordon Brown were again denied, Guido predicted that Labour Will Have a Khrushchev Moment of Truth in the End:
When Brown has gone after the election it seems inevitable that we will eventually have a Khrushchev moment, where a senior Labour figure articulates what everyone knows. It will be devastating. Gordon Brown is a malevolent, deeply damaged and unpleasant human being. He is at the centre of a culture of political bullying that has been unhealthy for the Labour Party and the government. The loyalist cabal around him are unpleasant people who have no place in a healthy political culture, they are as secretive and malicious as they are vindictive and vicious.
Gordon Brown was often compared to Stalin, but who will be Labour’s senior Krushchev figure who condemns the previous regime? Mandelson has laid to rest any continuing pretence (if there was any) about the TeeBeeGeeBees, the vicious infighting that paralysed Whitehall for a decade, yet was denied on camera in barefaced lying by Labour politician after Labour politician, including Mandelson. Mandelson is getting all the coverage for his book The Third Man highlighting the failings of Gordon Brown. Less focus is on David Miliband, Mandelson’s new protege gave a speech yesterday that comes near to that Krushchev moment
I agreed completely with Gordon Brown, when he became Prime Minister in 2007, that we needed renewal. I supported and voted for him. I agreed that we needed greater moral seriousness and less indifference to the excesses of a celebrity drenched culture. I agreed with him when he said that we needed greater coherence as a government, particularly in relation to child poverty and equality. I agreed with him on the importance of party reform and a meaningful internationalism that would be part of a unified government strategy. I agreed that we needed a civic morality to champion civility when confronting a widespread indifference to others. But, it didn’t happen. It was not just more of the same. Far from correcting them failings – tactics, spin, high-handedness – intensified; and we lost many of our strengths – optimism born of clear strategy, bold plans for change and reform, a compelling articulation of aspiration and hope. We did not succeed in renewing ourselves in office; and the roots of that failure were deep not recent, about procedure and openness, or lack of it, as much as policy. That is a political fact and now words are cheap but the stakes are high.
It was a backhanded condemnation of Brown’s failure. If David Miliband wants Labour to move on, a frank, uncoded, reflection on the period of Labour brutalism is required. Brown was a disaster for the Labour Party and the country, if Miliband wants a reborn Labour Party he first has to bury Brown in the truth.
UPDATE : Punters give David Miliband a 63% chance of being the next Labour leader.
Ed Miliband, manifesto author and former SpAd to Gordon Brown, says…
‘I am the candidate of change’
Ed Miliband has finally managed to break out of the internal party strife and have a go at the government. While discussing cuts today he said: “The only thing it can remind [the people of Sheffield] of is the 1980s.” A pretty brave line given the last time he attacked the 1980s was one of Labour’s most embarrassing moments of the election:
That didn’t really work out to brilliantly, did it?
Stick to beating up your big bro Ed.
If ever there was a true “heir to Blair” it would be David Miliband. Mentored and politically raised by Tony and Cherie, his old boss is staying out of the race publicly, though he has apparently loaned David some of the Blair Foundation’s staffers for the duration of the campaign. Of all the candidates running David Miliband is meant to be the furthest to the right, but his piece in this morning’s Guardian is quite the eye-opener. Finally a leadership candidate is talking about the economy and the deficit. It doesn’t make for good reading though:
“If the Tories stick to their proposed formula of £4 of cuts for every £1 of tax rises this will see departmental spending slashed by a third outside of the NHS and international development. The balance should be 2:1.”
He goes on to call for an end to the charitable status for independent schools, extending the City bonus tax rather than raising VAT, a mansion tax and with faux naiveté he backs the “Robin Hood Tax“. Anyone would think Miliband was a little worried about his brother’s gaining popularity and is steering quite hard to the left. All good mood music to his party, but is an unconvincing shift in the direction of whacking up taxes really going to give him the keys to No. 10?
How Mervyn King Lost Bank Battle War | WSJ
BBC Corporation Tax Horror Story | IEA
Sally Bercow Judgement in Full | Mr Justice Tugendhat
Commies Blame Capitalism For Terror Attack | The Commentator
Lord Black v Press Regulation | Guardian
Osborne’s Complacency | FT
DWP’s Welfare Failings | Isabel Hardman
Get Used to Coalitions | David Aaronovitch
Woolwich a Showcase in the Banality of Evil | Fraser Nelson
The Enemy Within | Max Hastings
Muslim Led Military-Style Free School Needed | Toby Young
Ed Balls stretches credulity by claiming he isn’t ambitious…
“I would love to be part of Ed’s Labour government but what I do next for me is not an all-consuming passion. I’m more bothered, in a personal sense, about getting to grade 8 piano by the time I’m 50.”
Ned Flanders – Clegg
Lisa Simpson – Natalie Bennett
Milhouse – Hilary Benn
Martin Prince – Andy Burnham
Edna Krabappel – Luciana Berger
Crazy Cat Lady – Glenda jackson
Comic book guy – John Prescott
Carl – Chucka
Lenny – Philip Hammond
Willie – Eric joyce
Poochie – Gordon Brown
Reverend Lovejoy – Tony Blair