Egg On Face – Who Will It Be?

The sagely Mike Smithson runs the excellent politicalbetting.com site, which was the lead story on Newsnight last night. He has consistently backed Huhne, Guido has backed Huhne to lead the LibDems as well, but has in the end put his money on Ming.

Huhne was by far the best campaigner, it was aggressive and determined, Ming’s campaign was an establishment campaign, Hughes’ was a hopeless campaign.

Of more concern than who will lead the LibDems is, who will be humiliated, Mike or Guido? Mike has cashed in his bets, Guido is balls deep in Ming…

Poll of YouGov Polls Analysis

Dataset : YouGov 1 & YouGov 2

Analysts : City Tipster + An Anonymous Hedge Fund Trader. The City Tipster is an active political punter.

Disclaimer : YouGov 1 first preference data based on information leaked to Guido and denied by Kellner. Originally received from Huhne allied source subsequently vouched for by Ming allied source. Second preferences confirmed by YouGov. YouGov 2 data taken directly from YouGov.

Assumptions : Both the YouGov private polls had a leading question bias – first toward Ming, second toward Huhne BOTH against Hughes. We looked at bias against Hughes – factoring the polls having the same negative effect on Hughes that they did in turn for Chris Huhne and Sir Menzies Campbell. This factor was found to not be enough to change the final percentage when rounded.

Methodology : This work has many imperfections but hopes to provide a snapshot of what opinion was like at the critical time when many Lib Dem members were casting their votes – voting slips were received by members Feb 7, polling was done Feb 2 and Feb 9.

We have produced average (mean) figures across the two polls. We have also produced a second calculation that attempts to factor in the bias against Hughes that the poll itself indicates.

The first preferences in the first YouGov poll are not exact (note they add up to 98%). However we have confirmed with a number of sources that they are “accurate” +/- 1%. For the purposes of accuracy, those first preferences now do add up to 100% having been adjusted on a pro-rata basis.

First Round Poll of YouGov Polls :

Sir Menzies Campbell : 38% Chris Huhne : 36% Simon Hughes : 26%

Hughes is thus eliminated, 2nd preferences are re-allocated (less those who said they would not cast a second preference).

Final Result Factoring in Second Preferences:

Sir Menzies Campbell : 53% Chris Huhne : 47%

click to enlarge

Email Guido for full dataset spreadsheet with calculations.

+++ FLASH +++ MING 53% v HUHNE 47% +++ POLL OF POLLS ANALYSIS +++

++ ANALYSIS SAYS SECOND PREFERENCES WILL GIVE MING VICTORY ++

++ DATA TO FOLLOW ++

Don’tcha Just Hate Tom Watson

‘Tis not because he was Labour’s first and probably best blogging MP, not because he is now an always-on-message whip for New Labour, nor because his blog has become missable and bland since he became a whip. Not because his blog is always bloody crashing. Because his guest in the public gallery at PMQs today is Shakira. As he told Spy “Why would someone like her want to be seen with an overweight MP like me?” Guido could cry, why, ohhh why… Who cares about Blair, Dave, Ming – BBC Parliament, Guido knows you read this, MOVE THE CAMERA UP, whatever, wherever!

Punters Flip-Flop, Guido Calls It For Ming

With the last chance to safely post voting slips coming tomorrow, Guido is calling the LibDem leadership election for Ming Campbell. Mike Smithson is calling it for Huhne (but keeping an all green screen). Young upstart tipster SpecialBets is also calling it for Ming.

My view is that a Ming backer squashed publication of the phantom YouGov poll (YG#1) when the poll showed Huhne narrowing the gap impressively. The second poll (YG#2), funded by a Huhne backer, had an element of push polling in it with leading questions which even my YouGov source admitted where a tad shady.

The only hard polling evidence is that Ming and Huhne are nearly within a margin of error on first preferences and that the majority of second preferences will go to Ming. The “Greenwash” smear on Huhne looked to me like a petulant Hughes backing op, Hughes also bitch-slapped Huhne early on and Hughes backers suspect Huhne of being more right-wing than he now professes. Hughes is the choice of sandal wearers and they will not switch to a multi-millionaire City refugee easily. Hughes’ second preferences will go to Ming in great numbers. Phone polling by young LibDem activists (enjoy Ming’s gift vouchers kids) also gives it to the old man. While Guido was writing this (a little before midnight) the betting market switched favourites. Guido has been in close contact with one of the biggest political punters throughout the last month (a player who can account for one-third of the daily market volume), he reckons that Huhne’s market manipulator (who disappeared this weekend) will be looking at a middling five-figure loss.

Hail Ming!

Best Odds!

Ming : I Must Do Better

Guido’s man hiding behind the GMTV sofa emails to say that in the interview just recorded to go out Sunday, he was not brilliant. Asked if he would work harder on his performance at PMQs, Ming said

“Well, we have been working on it. Let me put it this way if I’d had to write the script for the opening day then I certainly wouldn’t have written it the way it turned out.”

Meanwhile, his odds do seem to be closing on Huhne with only five days to go.

eBay Charity Auction

London Final LibDem Hustings

Guido attended his first LibDem hustings tonight. The highlight of an otherwise boring meeting was the trio of Southwark urban activists shouting for 5 minutes at Simon Hughes that he was “a racist” and ranting about Nick Stanton – LibDem leader of Southwark council. Now this was awkward, obviously they were going to have to go, but the virtually all-white, hand-wringing liberal audience didn’t want to appear heavy handed.

So for a few minutes the situation was tense (although Nick Robinson was laughing with George Pascoe-Watson from The Sun in the front row at the dilemma). Eventually an African LibDem intervened so no white-on-black pictures would appear.

No surprises, Ming and Huhne were about equal on the clap-o-meter, maybe Ming had the edge with his better sense of humour. Hughes was all earnest and vicar-like, he rambled but the audience was not his, Huhne didn’t inspire but he was competent.

Funniest question from the floor was from someone who looked like a Tory in a yellow tie asking “when would they withdraw from the EU – AS THE PEOPLE WANT?”

Guido was handed a leaflet by a Green beardie-weirdie type which was going to go straight in the bin, except it does have an interesting allegation about carbon-neutral Huhne. He apparently owns substantial shareholdings in two gold mining companies. Gold which has to be smelted, a process which is responsible for 13% of global carbon emmissions. To be honest, Huhne’s conversion from BMW driving city tycoon to Green, electric-car-driving political visionary, does strike Guido as politically convenient.

click to enlarge

Enough With Google Ads

Obviously somebody in Victoria Street reads Guido and has a sense of humour. Key in Chris Huhne and look what you get:

Please no more Google Ads. Please.

UPDATE : Cameron’s advert has gone, possibly something to do with an organised ker-ching click-fest by LibDems.

UPDATE : A co-conspirator tells Guido that Google Ads keywords per click for Huhne cost 2p, for Ming 3p and Hughes 6p. Something to do with the Torygraph.

Ming’s Women

Ming’s campaign has a video interview on his blog where he talks about the women in his life. His mum, his wife, his junior school teacher and.. err, that’s it. Strange, no mention of any other woman.

Ming Sees Huhne’s Google Bid and Raises Him

James F an eagle-eyed co-conspirator of Guido’s, points out that the story about Huhne buying adverts on Google for search results for his rival’s names, obviously upset the Mingers. Look what they have done:

Search for Chris Huhne and you find Ming above him! They will have had to pay more than the Huhney Monster for the privilege.

Ming bidding here…

UPDATE : Mingers seem determined to boost Google’s profits. Guess what you get when you search for “David Cameron“?

Google Huhne Geek Special

If you Google Chris Huhne you get the search results and a Google advert as pictured. Very professional. If you Google Simon Hughes, guess what? Its the same if you Google Ming Campbell.

Huhney Monsters winning online here…

Everyone is a Huhney Monster Now

Punters on Betfair have slashed Huhne’s odds this morning making him the runaway favourite at 8/13. The Big Mo is with the Huhney Monsters.

Q. What’s the connection between Simon Hughes and his Nokia phone?
A. Dem iz both Finnish, innit.

Hughes is being offered at 30/1 for those who like outside bets. Ming has tumbled to 2/1. Guido understands that Ming almost literally tumbled over at the Midlands hustings. He lost his footing on stage and very narrowly avoided going arse over tit. It would have been a defining “Kinnock moment”.

Sunday Morning Quickies

Comment / rant on the above stories below.

Laithwaites - Specialists in great value wine.

Briefing Knives Out for Huhne

The Mingers briefed The Times comprehensively, so we can expect more of the same tomorrow in the Sunday press. Guido is being passed all manner of scurrilous and implausible tales in brown paper emails. Even Huhne’s family it seems is not off-limits. The Times’ article reports a few snide comments about Huhne’s new found Green evangelism as compared to his past enjoyment of a high-powered BMW (with personalised number plate). Detractors point to his Euro-fetishism to emphasise his one-track interest in the dismal science – almost the only area in which he was active in the EU parliament..

Huhne must be ahead of Ming (forget Hughes, he is finished) why else is he under such bitter attack by rivals? Apart from the fact that unlike Clegg et al he had the chutzpah and balls to run, fortune favours the brave they fear…

(Gratuitous irrelevant pictorial comparison of Huhne and Mr Bean suggested by Mrs Fawkes.)

Somebody Wanted to Steady Huhne’s Odds

Somebody wanted to make sure the betting prices didn’t move after Crick’s Huhne story finished on Newsnight. They offered to lay £5000 on Ming and backed £1000 on Huhne. For non-gamblers they were trying to collar the prices – keeping Ming’s odds long and Huhne’s odds short. The money evaporated once the market settled down and the price was effectively unchanged. Clearly somebody with reasonably deep pockets and the motivation did the manipulation.

When Huhne was asked “Are you a multi-millionaire?” he said he did not know. Eh? He is the Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury and an economist – for someone so good-with-numbers that should have been an easy question. No major damage done by Crick, he just made Huhne look a bit shifty. Today has however brought another interesting rumour to the surface…

Waste Bashing Wonks

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The Bumper Book of Government Waste: The scandal of the squandered billions from Lord Irvine’s wallpaper to EU saunas has had a massive amount of media coverage. The book lists £82bn of government waste and the message is hitting home.

The Treasury fielded the financial secretary, John Healey, to bat against it when it was launched. Healey sees himself as an attack dog, but is really more of an attack puppy. He tried the New Labour tactic of rubbishing it (without reading it). Healy described it as shoddy and not worthy of serious consideration. So why field a Treasury minister to rubbish it?

Something tells Guido that Matthew Elliott is getting under the skin of the Treasury. The polite, mild mannered CEO of the Taxpayers’ Alliance is deceptive, beneath the Clark Kent exterior is a superman of a campaigner. The former aide to David Davis is building a relatively broad anti-tax alliance which will make a strong case to a future Conservative government for the proceeds of growth to be shared with taxpayers. It is strategically advantageous for the Tories that there is a non-party grassroots lobby for lower taxes besides the business lobby. Gordon’s penchant for tax and waste is a rich vein of opportunity for the Tories. If they themselves are not willing to make the case, than the quietly combative Elliott will have to lead the charge.

Huhney Monsters ‘Em

Ming’s team is spinning furiously “it does not accord with our canvass returns” (Clegg just sits in the corner, rocking back and forth with his head in his hands, muttering). Guido does not believe the Mingers – they chose not to publish the first YouGov poll. An attempt to suppress what must have been an unpalatable as well as an unpublished poll. They gave YouGov’s Kellner permission to officially rubbish Mike Smithson and Guido.

It is reportedly manic panic at the Ministry of Sound as Hughes’ credibility collapses, his attempt to bitch-slap Huhne yesterday showed his nasty side (remember Bermondsey 1983) and will make life difficult for him in the future if the Huhney Monsters take control. Tonight on Question Time expect a desperate core votes strategy from Hughes, he will play to LibDem beardie-weirdieness issues. But appeals to the core may not be enough, as Basher Davis found out.

Guido had to madly reverse all his Ming bets this morning, but the losses will be worth it. Team Ming are an alliance of treachery and careerism, seeing them lose will be a joy. Hughes is a dishonest operator who would consign the LibDems to electoral disaster. Electing Huhne will be a positive signal that it is time for the new political generation. The three main British parties accepting free markets will be Thatcher’s final victory, even as her own party disowns her.

Huhne taking over the LibDems would be the worst result for Gordon Brown, it will make him seem older and more to the left of the centre than he would if Hughes was leader. His friend Ming would have been a more agreeable ally in a coalition government. What fun!

Rival London Gangs Begin Turf War

As the post-Blair era comes ever closer, the two rival London gangs are squaring up to begin their fight for control of the one crucial piece of turf that matters, Westminster. In the West wearing blue colours it is the Notting Hill gang; hard-boy Hilton, the Govemeister, Bolesy, Georgie O and Ed Vaizey take on the Primrose Hill mob including; the Miliband bruvvers, Dougie Alexander, Ed Balls and Yvette C, all sporting red colours.

The Primrose Hill Blairites of Progress have launched their first pamphlet attack on Cameron’s Notting Hill gang. Guido can save you the bother of reading it, the Tory Clause IV moment is, they say, ‘Accept the Blair legacy’, like they accepted the Thatcherite legacy. So is that, “we’re all Thatcherites now”? Or “we’re all Blairites now”? Or just, “we’re all the same”?

Alan Greenspan’s Advice for Brown

In Greenspan’s seminal essay in Capitalism : The Unknown Ideal he has some good advice for Brown about government borrowing;

“government bonds are not backed by tangible wealth, only by the government’s promise to pay out of future tax revenues, and cannot easily be absorbed by the financial markets. A large volume of new government bonds can be sold to the public only at progressively higher interest rates… The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit… The holder of a government bond or of a bank deposit created by paper reserves believes that he has a valid claim on a real asset. But the fact is that there are now more claims outstanding than real assets. The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money (of claims) increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy’s books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes with the money proceeds of the government bonds financed by bank credit expansion… The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves… This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.”

Gordon Brown initiated mass sales of gold by the Bank of England some years ago when gold was trading at some $300 an ounce. Baby Miss Fawkes got an ounce of gold this Christmas worth over $500 an ounce. The government’s debt (including pension liabilities) has now broken the trillion pound barrier. Gilt edged government debt is no longer backed by gold under the Bank of England, but by ever rising taxes. This is Gordon Brown’s shabby secret…

Brown Needs Advice from Greenspan

The appointment of Alan Greenspan as a Special Adviser to Gordon Brown is unusual – SpAds are often spotty recently graduated party hacks on the make, and are therefore usually young and inexperienced. Greenspan however is the oldest and most experienced maestro of the money markets around.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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