Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nick’s Three Marriages

Guido’s operatic eyes and ears report that Nick Clegg spent last night’s performance of the Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Opera House seductively charming his wife in Spanish. New politics is clearly alive and well as he found time in the interval to smile and nod to his cultural fans. Meanwhile the coalition faced its first crisis weekend and you might have thought the Deputy Prime Minister would have been tending to his other marriage…

UPDATE :A little bordie tells Guido they were out celebrating that it was Miriam’s birthday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Labour Deal is Dying

The fervent  intensity of the negotiations is waning, the LibDems are now merely holding up proceedings. Two clear offers have been made to them and the fact there is still no firm conclusion proves they are stuck in a rut. They need three-quarters of both their parliamentarians and their Federal Executive to give the nod to any deal. Why the delay? Clearly there is a stumbling block toward the approval of the Lib-Con deal, but are there three-quarters in favour of a Labour deal?

A Lib-Lab pact has the backing of old timers like Paddy Ashdown and Vince Cable, who told Nick Robinson today that “he would have stayed in the Labour Party – he once co-wrote a pamphlet with Gordon Brown – if he hadn’t moved to London where the so-called “loony Left” had taken the party over.” However with even prominent Labour MPs speaking out over such a deal, Clegg is in an impossible position. Within his own negotiation team can you really imagine right-winger David Laws being willing to prop up Gordon for another four months or subject the country to yet another un-elected Labour leader? After the vocal outrage for the last three years from the Liberals about unelected leaders and the need for mandates, they would still look ridiculous. But it looks as if the Lib Dems are left with just one option…

The Labour pact is fundamentally weakened, fatally wounded in fact, Mandelson cannot bring the Scottish Labour MPs with him since they refuse to cosy up to the SNP, locked as they are in a bitter war north of the border. 

The Tories now believe Clegg to be in a weaker position than he was 24 hours ago, having flirted with Labour, without being able to consummate a deal….

UPDATE : Latest prices – from bookies shows money shifting back on to a Lib-Con coalition, now quoting a 65% probability versus giving a Lib-Lab coalition a 45% chance.

UPDATE II : Clegg met Cameron this morning and Tory negotiations are restarting at 2 p.m. according to a tweet from Hague. Looks like some punters were in the know…

Monday, May 10, 2010

Deal Making and Deal Breakers

Sources say the negotiating teams have a deal to sell their respective parties.  We’ll know what shape that deal takes shortly…

LibDemVoice has just released a poll of LibDem members – 80% say that without significant progress on electoral reform the deal is off.  So that is one part of the triple-lock that the key may not be in in.  The Federal Executive is the other part of the lock – some 35 strong, which means that if 9 liberal-lefties or PR purists say nay, it will have less than 75% support and the deal is off.

It ain’t going to be easy for Clegg to get 75% support from his MPs and the Fed Exec for a full blown coalition with the Tories unless there’s a solid deal on PR, which it doesn’t seem there is (at least in the eyes of LibDem activists – some of whom think securing anything less than immediate legislation for STV would be a sell out).  So, say the LibDem triple lock stays locked, what next?

It may be that in that situation some of the more right-wing LibDem MPs are willing to propel Cameron into Downing Street anyway. Cameron may also be willing to offer ministerial positions to any LibDems who do go for UDI if the weirdie-beardie party machinery hampers a deal…

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dave Wants Deal

Dave has just written to Tory supporters:-

I want to make clear that I do not believe any future government should give more powers to Brussels, be weak on immigration or put the country’s defences at risk. So we will stand firm on these issues.

But I also believe there are many areas of common ground between us and the Liberal Democrats – such as the need for education reform, building a low-carbon economy, reforming our political system, decentralising power, protecting civil liberties and scrapping ID cards.

There are also areas where I believe we in the Conservative Party can give ground, both in the national interest and in the interests of forging an open and trusting partnership. For example, we want to work with the Liberal Democrats to see how we can afford to reduce taxes on the lowest paid. Of course, we hope to see a similarly constructive approach from the Liberal Democrats – not least on the urgent issue of tackling the deficit. Inevitably, these negotiations will involve compromise. But that’s what working together in the national interest means. I hope we can sort things out as quickly as possible, for the good of the country.

Game on for the “Change Coalition”…

UPDATE : Betting is pretty frantic on the Political Smarkets What form will a coalition government take? bet – if you fancy your luck.

Clegg : We’ll Build New Economy from the Rubble of the Old



Bye, bye Gordon…

Let Sunlight into the Backrooms

The LibDems are haggling in a backroom in Smith Square because they can’t fit inside their HQ in Cowley Street.

When Clegg comes out of the negotiating room he should explain clearly what his party’s position is going to be during intra-party negotiations to the media and thus to the voters. Otherwise it will be a bad foretaste of what would happen under proportional representation. A system where deals are stitched up in backrooms by politicians without reference to voters is not much of a democracy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Change Coalition (Part III)

Now is an historic opportunity to reform politics for the better, to open up politics and government, to roll back an authoritarian state.  If the Tory right is too small minded to allow Cameron to do a deal with Clegg then they are as stupid as they are short-sighted.  This is an historic opportunity to realign politics along a liberal-conservative axis.  It is the chance to destroy the Labour Party as a party of government forever. If the price is real reform of the electoral system then that is a price well worth paying to free us from the economic destruction wrought time and time again, decade after decade, by a statist, big government Labour Party.  Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator, says he will fight Cameron.

Don’t do it my friend, at least see what deal is on the table, this is the chance to achieve Margaret Thatcher’s ultimate ambition of two competing non-socialist parties of government.

See also : Getting Real : The Change Coalition (Part II)

Negative Campaigning Works

Guido thinks the Libdems have learnt a hard lesson. A lesson learnt by Mandelson, Blair and Brown in the mid-90s. When the British press launches an onslaught against you it hurts, you might want to believe it doesn’t work, but it does.

After the post-TV debate Cleggmania the front-page scrutiny of Clegg was brutal, it wasn’t a pretty sight, some of it was loopy, but it definitely put uncertainty into the minds of many voters. You can kid yourself otherwise, but the tabloids can do damage when they go negative…

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Clegg and the Weirdie Beardies

Guido likes Clegg, his anti-statist liberalism is a welcome change from the more-of-the-same social democrats who have dominated the LibDems since the merger.  Clegg and some of his leadership team, like David Laws and Ed Davey, are in policy terms really on the centre-right even if they prefer to describe themselves as centre-left.

That said Clegg is hampered by the democratic structure of his party, the manifesto is written partly by the activist membership, many of whom are radical left-wingers – the infamous weirdie beardies.  Clegg emphasises all the vote winning right-of-centre policies on television; cutting personal taxes, putting more police on the streets, cutting back the health and educational bureaucracies.  His party has also saddled him with a manifesto that is soft on sentencing criminals, backs banning-the-bomb and joining the euro policies.

LibDem MPs and voters are to the right of the weirdie beardie activist party members.  YouGov polling shows that Clegg is the most popular party leader with a 79% approval weighting.  The same polling shows those voters over-whelmingly dislike LibDem policies on immigration and joining the euro. In the event of a hung parliament Clegg should use his enhanced authority to block a Lib-Lab pact however much his activists want it.  Clegg won’t replace Labour as the second party by embracing them and his popularity will dive forever if he does a deal with Labour, taking his party down with it…

Graphic credit : Policy Diffusion

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Getting Real : The Change Coalition (Part II)

A few weeks ago Guido asked a CCHQ insider privy to strategy “What is the negotiating strategy with the LibDems?  Is it true Matthew Hancock is in charge of the strategy?” He laughed “the joke of the negotiation strategy is that there isn’t one. If we lose narrowly we’ll leave it up to Clegg to either support Labour or stand alone.  Go on to fight a second election and hope to win more comfortably.”

What, Guido asked, if the differential is big? “Don’t be f***ing stupid.”

That LibDem negotiation strategy might be a higher priority nowadays. Hancock is the Tory PPC for West Suffolk and formerly George Osborne’s chief-of-staff, Cleggmania means the problem now has the attention of those above his pay grade.  Last Sunday Guido sketched out a potential May 7 scenario, Tim Montgomerie was horrified, the feedback Guido got was more mixed – mostly it was sceptical based on contact with the LibDem grassroots.  Left Foot Forward editor Will Straw mirrored Tim Montgomerie, telling Guido in Dimbley’s green room that it was just not going to happen, the LibDems were “progressives”. Well that is a pretty meaningless term, it has even been borrowed by the Cameroons for their agenda.  The confusion in the ranks of Labour and Tory true believers is based on the experience of contact with Libdem activists, many of whom are way to the left of Blairites.  The parliamentary party is not by and large left wing - it is centrist.

Clegg and the people around him are not of the left, Vince Cable is, but he is the exception.  The Orange bookers and the Cameroons share key liberal ideological tenets – localism, decentralisation, transparency and a preference for market based solutions.  On the need for “savage cuts” in government spending, accelerated deficit reduction and NHS reform the LibDems have been more honest than the Tories.  Most Tories can live with LibDem manifesto commitments on tax (apart from the enterprise killing capital gains hike). They are singing from the same fiscal policy hymn-sheet.

There are real areas of discordance, in particular defence and foreign policy.  Here the LibDems betray their liberal radicalism, Clegg is desperately trying to square grassroots weirdie-beardie antipathy to anything nuclear with being in the government of a UN security council member and nuclear power.  Letting the Tories have primacy on defence and foreign policy and the LibDems have primacy on home affairs, localism and open government is the most likely compromise. It would also broadly reflect the electorate’s wishes.

We have come a long way in the last 7 days, the well connected chronicler of the Cameroons Matthew D’Ancona now says get real it is on the cards, Cameron tells the Observer the door is open and One of the keys is the people who are liberal with a small L, Clegg tells the Sunday Times that “You can’t have Gordon Brown squatting in No 10″, Mandelson warns voters that flirtation with Clegg might lead to a Cameroon marriage.  The public  on the other hand always love a big wedding.  The bookies make a hung parliament the strong favourite outcome with a 60% probability and give the Tories only a 37% chance of forming a majority governmentChange is definitely coming and it will probably be in the form of a coalition…

See also : The Change Coalition


Seen Elsewhere

Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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