One cabinet minister told the FT…
“Gordon isn’t going to make things any better for us. He’s just got to make sure he doesn’t make things any worse.”
Ed Balls is fighting for his electoral survival in Morley and Outwood, the new constituency into which he was parachuted with the connivance of Gordon Brown. It has only dawned on the arrogant bully this week that he has a real fight on his hands. He has been so busy touring the country lining up support for his post election leadership campaign that he hasn’t noticed he is being out-campaigned in his constituency.
Channel 4 News just covered Balls having a disastrous hustings where he was booed on stage and the crowd jeered him relentlessly.
Local boy Antony Calvert is fighting the first real Obama-style digital campaign in Britain, having raised over half his campaign funds online from supporters giving small donations, he hasn’t stopped there in his online battle against Balls. Look at the websites of the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Morley and Outwood Observer and Wakefield Express – every local newspaper website covering his constituency – he has started running the ad below designed to encourage disillusioned former Labour voters to switch their vote from Balls to him.
Balls isn’t going to sleep easy…
UPDATE : Newsnight’s Michael Crick is reporting back from Morley and Outwood tonight as well. Maybe the media can smell blood…
More from the Spin Room later…
Looks like Kerry McCarthy and her agent will have to explain themselves to the police. She really puts the twit in twitter…
As the campaign rolls on, invitations to the various election night parties are flying around. None of the political parties want to be seen organising anything for fear of the obvious headlines, but that hasn’t stopped the media. The BBC have gone with a boat moored opposite the London Eye, ITV a stones throw away at County Hall, and Andrew Neil is said to be throwing his own exclusive personal bash at a mystery location. Some of the think-tanks are organising smaller parties. The biggest party of the night will be held in the Sports Cafe on Haymarket in Central London.
Serving booze from nine until breakfast time the next morning is the party’s best selling point, but add to that all the news channels playing across fifty screens throughout the night, with Wi-FI, Blackberry and iPhone charging facilities, drinks deals, four bars and live betting market price updates. With 700 guests expected the broadcasters will be using the central London location as a backdrop for two-ways. Guido is planning to swing by, joining the blogging twitterati who look to be setting up camp there for the night. As it will be the only place open when the counts finish, it looks set to be the place where people come to cheer or drown their sorrrows.
UPDATE : Brillo has been in touch to point out that his exclusive personal bash is actually the BBC boat party. Sadly Guido won’t be joining him, as he is under contract to ITV…
Even the Guardian made Cameron the winner of the TV debate and inside Steve Hilton something will have died. Last night the CCHQ team in the back room cheered heartily when their champion came off stage. Why?
There were no mentions of worthy ‘Big Society’ concepts, no vacuous ‘vote blue, go green’ slogans. Time worn, winning Tory messages were pitched; tougher immigration rules, tackling welfare dependency, lower business taxes, sound money and smaller government. Result? Clear win for the Tory leader.
Labour were pinning their last hope on Gordon triumphing on the economy with his ‘substance’. He actually bombed on the substance of the economy – why Labour strategists thought the man who promised he had abolished ‘boom and bust’ could win on the economy baffles Guido. Tractor stats don’t win votes.
At the time it was being spun the Hilton-Fink modernising agenda helped detoxify the Tory brand in the broadsheets and at the BBC, it appealed to the metropolitan media, the commentariat and most of those who shape the public discourse. It succeeded in gaining the Tories a hearing they didn’t have for over a decade. It played well to essentially the elite Newsnight watching class. On the doorstep it gets no real cut through. The time worn, vote winning Tory message was once again on offer last night.
The attack on Brown for confusing the economy with the state was unanswerable, why hasn’t that line been pushed harder in the never ending public spending debate? Clegg was noticeably at his best last night when he stole Tory themes, like cutting personal taxes. The new old message and the revitalised perfomance of Dave himself may have been broadcast just in time to hold off the LibDem surge. We’ll find out this time next week…
The main topic of hack conversation in Birmingham seems to be that the school hall feel of the BBC operation doesn’t really live up to the lavish Sky News debate last week. Guy News is in the there armed with a camera, and you can follow what the right people are saying live:
[orderorder-live-event altcast_code=”15ce9b77d9″ height=”700″ width=”480″]
Guido just got off the phone with Electoral Services in Bristol East a couple of hours ago, after being disturbed and puzzled to see a tweet about the contents of postal votes published a short time ago by Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s Twitter Tsar and candidate in Bristol East.
As it was re-tweeted about the twittersphere with queries as to whether this was legal, Kerry quickly deleted the tweet – before it could be stored in the Google cache, but not before Tweetminster picked it up.
The rules are that postal votes are opened in the presence of every candidate’s agent. They are opened face down, but agents can get a peek in. Because announcing these results prematurely can affect the outcome of the whole election, however, they’re under strict confidentiality rules. Bristol Electoral Services are now looking into it as a matter of urgency…
This just in from a Cowley Street co-conspirator:
Labour have just sent out this poster (except it isn’t a poster, it is a amateurish crap graphic). According to Labour HQ tonight is going to be about Style versus Substance :
Guido has altered it for accuracy : Gordon versus the Voters…
UPDATE : Just checked the latest prices at specialist political bookmakers Smarkets:
Take Guido’s advice and bet against Gordon Brown…
Gordon Brown at a factory in Halesowen…
Gordon Brown tells worker : “Your company’s doing well in China.”
She responds : “Our company’s doing well everywhere but I think it’s in spite of you.”
Mike Smithson reminds us that 313 MPs signed Gordon’s nomination papers 3 years ago today, they didn’t hold a competitive election, they didn’t have a debate in which Gordon would be tested and expected to make his case – a weakness clearly visible in the TV debates.* Guido said at the time they would rue the day.
Like lemmings they followed Gordon and he will lead them over the edge to electoral oblivion. Yesterday the news channels were full of Labour frontbenchers looking constipated with pain, even accomplished TV performers like Andy Burnham couldn’t find a way to spin it – Gordon had just unfairly and without reason called a Labour voter, with legitimate worries, a bigot. Neither Mandelson, Campbell or Maguire could find a way to put a positive spin** on it, our Kevin seems to have thrown in the towel.
They knew Gordon had just guaranteed Labour activists hell to come on the doorstep.
Steve Richardson, a long-time apologist for Brown, writes in the Indy this morning
Goodness knows what is going on in Brown’s exhausted mind when he makes these wholly misjudged, angry exclamations. We can only guess… the mystery at the heart of yesterday’s drama. Why was Brown so angry in the first place?
Gordon was angry because he is a malevolent weirdo, unable to relate people like a normal human being, unable to interpret the emotional signals and body language that we all do instinctively. He is a bonkers, not like an eccentric old aunt, but like a dangerously paranoid political psychopath. Privately aides were grateful yesterday that he hadn’t launched into a foul mouthed tirade or hit anything other than the car “it could have been worse” they were saying yesterday. The voters have now heard a little of the real Gordon, they won’t find it attractive.
*Punters on Political Smarkets currently rate tonight’s TV debate winner probabilities Clegg 54%, Cameron 52%, Brown 12%.
**For a while Mandelson and Whelan tried to blame the Murdoch press / Sky News. When that didn’t work they Mandelson dropped out of view. Whelan and Prescott, in what is pretty disgraceful lying, are now claiming Mrs Duffy is bought and paid for by Lord Bell and the Sun. It is as if Damian McBride had never gone away…
Gordon has just sent this email to Labour Party activists:
As you may know, I have apologised to Mrs Duffy for remarks I made in the back of the car after meeting her on the campaign trail in Rochdale today. I would also like to apologise to you.
I know how hard you all work to fight for me and the Labour Party, and to ensure we get our case over to the public. So when the mistake I made today has so dominated the news, doubtless with some impact on your own campaigning activities, I want you to know I doubly appreciate the efforts you make.
Many of you know me personally. You know I have strengths as well as weaknesses. We all do. You also know that sometimes we say and do things we regret. I profoundly regret what I said this morning.
I am under no illusions as to how much scorn some in the media will want to heap upon me in the days ahead.
But you, like I, know what is at stake in the days ahead and so we must redouble our campaigning efforts to stop Britain returning to a Tory Party that would do so much damage to our economy, our society and our schools and NHS, not least in places like Rochdale.
The worst thing about today is the hurt I caused to Mrs Duffy, the kind of person I came into politics to serve. It is those people I will have in my mind as I look ahead to the rest of the campaign.
You will have seen me in one context on the TV today. I hope tomorrow you see once more someone not just proud to be your leader, but also someone who understands the economic challenges we face, how to meet them, and how that improves the lives of ordinary families all around Britain.
Animation credit : My Left Peg on the Football 365 forum
Gordon is back in Rochdale to apologise in person to Mrs Duffy. He has already called her. If anything this is starting to fuel the story and you would hope they have cleared that she won’t go for his throat before he got in the car. Returning to scene of the crime? Something tells Guido this might all go very wrong again. The baying media scrum is waiting with baited breath…
UPDATE: After forty minutes Brown emerges having grovelled to Mrs Duffy, who refused to come out with him. She is also refusing to talk to the press and the Labour spinners were unable to confirm whether she had accepted the Prime Mentalist’s apology.
Why on earth was he smiling?
Nick Robinson said…
“For those of us that have known Gordon Brown for many years, what we have just seen is no huge surprise I have to say.”
In the first Prime Ministers’ debate, the candidates were asked to answer a question on immigration:
Audience Questioner: Good evening. What key elements for a fair, workable immigration policy need to be put in place to actually make it work effectively?
Gordon Brown : You know, I’ve heard the concerns around the country. I’ve been listening to people. I know people feel there are pressures because of immigration. That’s why we want to control and manage immigration.
No wonder he bombed in the post-debate polls – voters already know not to believe a word they hear from Jonah’s lips…
UPDATE FLASHBACK II: On the 31st March, Brown said: “The question of who comes to Britain, and what they have to do to earn that privilege, is something that should be the subject of open and responsible debate. But how we conduct this debate is as important as the debate itself.”
On the Jeremy Vine show, Brown stressed that he wanted to discuss the issue with Mrs Duffy but, despite wanting an “open and reasonable debate,” couldn’t: “It was the view that she expressed that I was worried about but couldn’t respond to.” Couldn’t? Or didn’t want to?