The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has bought advertising space in the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Morley and Outwood Observer and Wakefield Express, attacking Ed Balls for expenses abuses including flipping his house three times, claiming for a remembrance poppy wreath and taking an £89,000 payment for producing two pamphlets for the Smith Institute in 9 months. As Guido’s co-conspirators know, the Smith Institute charity was a front for Gordon Brown and was criticised by the Charity Commission for supporting Brownite political projects. Gordon Brown’s allies Lord Myners and Wilf Stevenson resigned from the Smith Institute following the report and it was widely perceived to be a slush fund for Brown’s leadership ambitions.
The advert includes footage of Ed Balls at Oxford University wearing a Nazi uniform. This is what they are seeing in the local press tonight:
What will probably have more play with C1, D1 voters is the privileged lifestyle of Ed Balls, his public school education, privileged drinking society partying (in Nazi uniform) at Oxford, on to Harvard, working for the Financial Times before going to the Treasury to serve as Gordon’s aide and trusted henchmen. The milking of expenses by him will play very badly with voters when they know that between him and Yvette they have a household income of £300,000. Claiming £33 for a remembrance day poppy is frankly a disgrace.
In the last few days Guido has noticed a look on Sarah Brown’s face. Sometimes when she is looking at Gordon it is a mixture of protectiveness and despair. Sometimes it is a look which betrays her feeling that it is all so unfair. Eyes are the window into the soul and hers give away her inner sadness. Whatever your politics, it is clear that she is suffering pain at seeing her hero, her husband, being destroyed politically.
When Guido saw Bad Al Campbell’s last tweet:
“Should not get too wound up by bizarre ramblings of candidate in unwinnable seat. Attention seeking takes many forms.”
Guido thought he was talking about Ed Balls calling for tactical voting. Apparently not, he was blaming Sood…
Ed should be careful for what he wishes, tactical voting might not give Ed the result he wants. Balls is as everyone knows the illiberal bullying protege of Gordon Brown, he is he admits still in contact with his friend Damian McBride. Ed Balls represents the worst of New Labour, he is a master at spinning anonymous briefings against rivals. Not the sort of character most LibDems would like to see in parliament.
He has a notional majority of 9,000 in the 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 incredibly energetic campaign, he’s raised money online for his campaign and he has caught the imagination of the media with his “Balls Moment” advert. If LibDem voters want to see the back of Gordon Brown’s closest henchmen and witness the most memorable moment of election night, just as in 1997 when Portillo was defeated, they should vote tactically. If you are up for a “Balls Moment”, LibDems have to vote Tory this time in Morley and Outwood.
UPDATE : Punters are putting their money on Calvert to take the seat, he is now favourite to win.
Is Guido being too cynical? After 23 years of opposing the Tories the FT this morning grudgingly switches editorial support to them. Have the Tories suddenly become europhiliacs? Could it be anything to do with both the re-invigorated Wall Street Journal and City A.M. eating into their readership?
Both those financial papers defend their capitalist readers and take a more robust line, whereas the FT is mainly read by foreigners and the global elite’s limousine liberals. The FT even backed Neil Kinnock against Margaret Thatcher and it is where Ed Balls cut his teeth as a Labour propagandist. Maybe it has finally dawned on the pink ones that their falling circulation might be a result of insulting and irritating their overwhelmingly capitalist readers…
London’s financial futures exchange will, in an unprecedented move, open at 1 a.m. on Friday to allow investors to trade gilts as the election results come in. Investment banks and hedge funds will be at their desks overnight. Given the closeness of the race if key results are not counted until lunchtime market uncertainty will cause volatility.
The gilt market determines long term interest rates, which fix mortgage rates. Labour losing the election is priced into the market, consequently gilt yields have dropped below the psychological 4% interest rate as the prospect of a change of government with a focus on bringing down the deficit has buoyed debt and currency markets. If traders sense a re-run of the 1974 Lib-Lab pact is on the cards they will sell sterling and gilts to the floor. The pound will be devalued by morning and the gilt yields which determine long term mortgage rates will rocket. It would be a nightmare on Threadneedle Street…
The price of a Labour government will be higher mortgage payments and higher inflation imported by a devalued pound. If it goes wrong on Freaky Friday it will f**k the economy before the day is out…
*Threadneedle Street is the location of the Bank of England.
Sadiq Khan MP writes…
“Labour is, and always has been the Party of British Muslims…”
This is the latest rolling average of the last week’s polls. Political punters give Cameron a 84% chance of being the next Prime Minister, which seems like a bit of a sell given punters currently make a hung parliament a 52% probability.
Drilling down onto seat numbers the punters are evenly divided rating the chances of the Tories getting between 300 and 324 seats, 2 short of an overall majority, at 29%. They rate the chances of them getting a majority in the 325 to 349 range also at 29%. The cliche “it is still all to play” for is absolutely true…
It is not just Gove and Whelan bickering over Twitter. Glamourous Gabby Bertin, Mandelson, Liam Byrne, Fraser Nelson and Matthew D’Ancona spinning away, and the odd technical glitch.
If you missed it yesterday, check out a seemingly tired and emotional Alastair Campbell, swaying as much as spinning here.
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
Gilian Duffy said…
“I’d been watching the news bulletins earlier in the day and they were talking about the national debt and how none of the politicians are mentioning that and I thought I’d ask him about that. I wasn’t asking for myself. I’m thinking about my daughter and my grandchildren who are ten and 12. They’re the ones who’ll be paying and paying, aren’t they?
I said to him, “What are you going to do about the debt, Gordon? Greece is down and now Spain and Portugal have lost their credit rating. Who’s next?” I’m going on holiday to Canada and I used to get $2.50 to the £1. When I go to change my currency this time I’ll be lucky if I get $1.50.”