Labour Say Now Want Serious Policy Focus

Labour have released the draft of a letter to broadcasters calling for a greater policy focus in the final days of the campaign – they complain that the other parties have refused to sign it. There is a good reason for that, their copy was signed by Elvis.

Gordon is Leaving the Building (Soon)

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Do you think Mandy and Bad Al Campbell are just taking the piss out of Gordon now? “Yeah, it’ll be great, the headlines will be all ‘Gordon’s comeback tour’ like Elvis in Vegas!” It is a farewell tour, isn’t it…

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

#TV10 Tactical Voting Will Kick Balls Out

Ed Balls has a notional majority of 9,000 in his newly created Morley & Outwood seat. That should be taken with a pinch of salt, it is a new seat created after boundary changes, in local council elections over the last 2 years Labour has polled badly, even coming fourth on occasion.

With Labour nationally polling in third place the swing against Labour means Balls’ notional lead is likely to be negligible, his Tory opponent Antony Calvert is fighting an energetic campaign, he’s raised money online for his campaign and he has caught the imagination of many with his “Balls Moment” advert. George Osborne has decided that even though Morley and Outwood wasn’t even on the Tory’s 200 target seats list, that it is now a priority.  In an email to hundreds of thousands of supporters today Osborne says

Labour’s collapse has opened up new opportunities for us that we will be making the most of in the week ahead. We are expanding our battleground against Labour and now have a good chance of winning many more seats where they are haemorrhaging votes, including Ed Balls’s seat in Morley & Outwood.

Last week Guido suggested that Tories in Islington South should vote for the LibDem to oust the sitting Labour MP, this week Guido is urging LibDem voters who want to wipe the smug smile off Ed Balls’ face to lend their vote to the Tory candidate. The LibDem can’t win, Antony Calvert can. It will be the most memorable moment of election night, just as in 1997 when Portillo was defeated. Are you up for a “Balls Moment”?

UPDATE : Punters are putting their money on Calvert to take the seat, he is now the favourite to win.

Quote of the Day

Guardian Magazine asks Ed Balls today…

Guardian: “What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you?”
Ed Balls: “You look like Gordon Brown in that suit”

Saturday Seven Up

7upIf you were not one of the 77,080 visitors viewing 504,990 pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…

Guy News : Inside Spin City

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Quote of the Day

Danny Finkelstein says…

“You have to be impressed with Gordon Brown. His two children are only 6 years old and 3 years old. And yet it turns out that at bathtime, they squabble about membership of the European People’s Party.”

Last Night's Debate in 60 Seconds

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Are You a Tory Chihuahua?

Nigel Farage is up against John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, in Buckingham. He is appealing for funds to support his campaign online and he is also running fundraising advertising in the arch-Tory magazine the Spectator.

Buckingham is of course a rock solid Tory seat held by an expense fiddling, mortgage flipping member of parliament.

So why is Farage running there?

Because there are a lot of chihuahuas in British politics – and they  have votes and they are angry.  ChIHUAHuas are Conservatives In their Heads, Ukip At Heart.  Some are hardcore irreconcilable Eurosceptics, some are disappointed with the melting away of the cast iron guarantee and many more are just mainstream conservatives who vote Tory because in their heads they know it is the only realistic choice they have, even though they are UKIP sympathisers at heart. Chihuahuas are off that loyalty leash in Buckingham, which because Bercow is the speaker hasn’t even got a nominally Conservative Party candidate. Bercow is universally loathed by grassroots conservatives as well as more establishment Tories up to and including David Cameron.

Whatever they say publicly there will be cheering in CCHQ if Bercow loses. Many will see it as a conservative gain, Farage’s politics are their politics after a few gin and tonics; cut taxes, stuff the EU, cut spending and show a bit of pride in being British.  Chihauhuas may be small, but they can’t half nip…

Friday Caption Competition (Fool and Fuld Edition)

+ + + GDP Growth Weak : 0.2% + + +

Consensus economists were predicting 0.4%.  Gordon will use this to spin that this means he can’t cut the deficit because it would take spending out of the economy.  Cutting taxes would of course boost the private sector and keep more money in the economy.  In recent years Cananda and Sweden have both cut government overspending by 10% in a recession and achieved strong economic growth…

Happy St George's Day

As my own country inches towards unity and complete self-determination, Guido will say a prayer to St George that within two weeks England too can achieve sovereignty and freedom from rule by foreigners from the North of the British Isles.  Guido will say another prayer for the re-Catholicisation of England and that you will succeed in driving the Scottish Presbyterian overlords from your lands.

Even if your patron saint is actually a Turk and sadly you don’t get a national holiday today, St George’s day should be celebrated. With both a German-descended head-of-state and a Scots dominated government, it must all be a little demoralising.

Nevertheless, this Irishman would like to wish all his English readers a happy St George’s day. Cheers!

Second Debate – The ANTI Spin Room

Click HERE for a live stream from our sister station Sky News.

The stage is set, the polls are down for Clegg and the spin is already beginning. Below you can see what the right pundits are saying. Emily Nomates will be filing from the Bristol spin room, Tory Bear has fired up the TweetDeck and Guido is hitting Smarkets hard. Welcome to the Guy News ANTI Spin Room.

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Emily Nomates will be sending in behind the scenes pictures. Wonder what these two really wanted to say to each other.  They look like they are getting on like a house on fire.

UPDATE: During the angry Dave leaflet ding dong Gordon denied that he had authorised any such leaflet. Meanwhile in the Spin Room Gove calls Whelan: “Did you pay for them Charlie?” Cue look of absolute death.

Prezza Avoids Punching Protester

A fat man dressed up as John Prescott has ended up nicked after he followed the original  around while he was campaigning in the East End. The heavies were called in and the police led the alleged Tory council candidate away.

Sadly before Prescott had the opportunity to thump him.

Quote of the Day

Britain has delusions of importance” says Simon Hughes.

Ban The Bercow

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The non-partisan online fund-raising site YouFund.Me.uk has raised thousands in small online donations to beat Ed Balls, hundreds to unseat Nadine Dorries and is aiming to raise even more money for Nigel Farage in his bid to unseat Bercow.  Guido will bet that a lot of conservatives around the country will be donating to get rid of Bercow.  The unprecedented “Friends of the Speaker” slush fund has ensured Bercow will be fighting for survival hard, so why not throw Farage a tenner to oust the troughing flipper…

Sky's the Limit

Sky News are obviously very excited about their debate tonight, but projecting the leader’s faces on the side of the white cliffs of Dover is perhaps a little bit of an over-kill. The nation’s media is descending on Bristol, ready to whip itself into another circus. Guido will be bringing you the Anti Spin Room Live from seven…

+ + + Fire Alarm Has Gone Off at Labour HQ + + +

Staff milling around aimlessly outside.  Bit of a metaphor for the campaign really…

Balls Upsets the Townsfolk

It’s an increasingly tight race in Morley and Outwood and Ed Balls is getting desperate. Punters give the Tories a 47% chance of taking the seat. Last weekend the town turned out for its annual St George’s day celebration. Despite an unofficial ban on politicking, guess who put in an appearance, keen to get some local flavour onto his website…

First he muscled his way into a photo with the Mayoress of Morley, ignoring pleas to keep things non-political and exclaiming, “Do you know who I am?[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories. That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

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