Back UKIP at Evens to Take 50 Seats

Guido Fawkes Paddy Power

The political establishment is gunning for UKIP, Ken Clarke calls them “clowns”, the newspapers are running front page anti-UKIP stories focusing on some of the oddballs who have attached themselves to the fast growing party. Will the all-party, all-papers attack on the anti-politics party halt UKIP’s progress against the media headwind? This morning on the BBC’s Today programme, John Humphreys claimed UKIP’s support came from taxi-drivers – we’ll find out on Friday if their support is a little more broadly based than the BBC makes out.

Over at the Paddy Power Blog, Guido makes the case for betting on UKIP taking more than 50 seats…

Ashcroft Eastleigh Poll Says Game On

Source: Guardian.

Toby Helm's Twitter Spat With Gove SpAds

Huge handbags on Twitter this week between the Observer’s Toby Helm and the CCHQ @ToryEducation Twitter account. The Tory tweeter told Helm “You’re like Baldwin and Campbell – an activist, not a professional hack”, provoking paroxysms of rage from the Labour Party press office’s favourite broadsheet channel. Particularly after they called Helm a Labour stooge. This will apparently spill over into the paper this weekend when The Observer is going to allege that it is part of a scandalous McBride/Draper style dirty tricks operation. Guido understands that Helm reckons it could bring down Michael Gove…

Judge the robust exchange for yourself:

https://twitter.com/toryeducation/status/295633641202126849

https://twitter.com/toryeducation/status/295647362519539712

It is unclear to Guido whether or not the account is run officially or unofficially from CCHQ or by Gove’s SpAds, or what the exact rules about this would be. As is so often the way with Twitter, exchanges are strongly worded. SpAds are supposed to operate within civil service limitations.  A strongly worded written letter of admonishment to a SpAd from the permanent secretary may result. Not exactly enough to bring down the Secretary of State…

UPDATE: Looks like Toby has been down the bookies:

Paddy Power: Odds on Jesse Norman

Guido Fawkes Paddy Power

Over at the Paddy Power Blog, Guido studies the form for a bet on the Next Tory Leader…

Letwin Settles Up – Bins Carbon Reduction Global Agreement

Another nail in the husky coffin as Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin concedes defeat to Nigel Lawson and accepts that the Kyoto Treaty is dead and nothing will be following it. Back in 2008 the two men made a bet, the details of which were published in a Standpoint interview:

Oliver Lewtin: I’d be very happy to have a wager, and I offer you a £100 bet that before either of us is dead, whichever is the first — our estates can pay — we will see a very substantial agreement on carbon reduction.

Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.

Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.

Letwin has apparently now agreed to settle the bet. Lord Lawson is on a bit of victory lap this afternoon:

“Oliver is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy – which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”

Well quite.

Bet Against Ed’s Mo Farah Tip

andy-murraySpeaking this week Ed Miliband backed Mo Farah to become BBC Sports Personality of the Year tomorrow. This was a clever bit of populism that helped get his speech reported widely. Will the Son of Jonah Brown continue his curse? 

Is this evidence of wonkish Ed’s populist touch with the British public? Well there is one way to test this, put some money on the outcome. Sadly for Mo, Guido reckons Bradley Wiggins will win and Andy Murray will come second in the affections of the voting British public. The other popular vote will be for Strictly Come Dancing. Guido’s triple accumulator third bet is on Louis Smith winning. Mrs Fawkes and the Fawkes girls are certain about this…

Never let it be said Guido doesn’t put his money where his mouth is… this is the betting slip…

UPDATE: Bad Al Campbell agrees:

Labour Panicking About Rotherham HQ Diverting Resources North

Labour insiders are getting nervous about Rotherham after this weekend’s Labour council omnishambles. With Respect’s Yvonne Ridley now at 5/1, Labour HQ are diverting resources from Croydon and Middlesbrough, fearing a Bradford style upset. All Labour politicians, staff and volunteers are being told to head to Rotherham instead of the other two constituencies. Buses are being laid on. Guido understands that Harriet Harman was meant to go campaign for Steve Reed in Croydon today, but is instead heading north. Sounds like they’ve been watching too much Homeland…

With Ladbrokes offering exactly the same price for Respect’s Lee Jasper upsetting Labour’s Steve Reed in Croydon, someone is going to get it in the neck if the upset falls there. Reed, a Marmite candidate from the start, is losing local support fast.

Follow the Money

There is an editorial split in the Guy Newsroom over Hunt: Neo-Guido thinks he’s politically toast, but Guido cannot see any LEGAL bullet that will force him out, yet. If you disagree Guido is the offer on Smarkets and is backing Hunt to survive. Come and take his money if you think he is wrong…

As it stands, punters think Hunt has a 36% chance of survival. Which is up from this morning…

Labour Go Favourite to Be Largest Party First Time Since May 2010

Since the the 2010 general election the bookies and punters have consistently made the Tories favourites to be the largest party in parliament after the next election. Until now.

Since the budget fiasco punters have been pushing the odds closer. This week punters have shifted their bets and are now making Labour odds on favourites to be the biggest party in parliament after the general election. Punters have given up on the Tory prospects…

Dave Wins Backbench Bercow Bet

Though it was all smiles at PMQs yesterday when Dave mocked the Speaker’s address to the Queen, the PM’s “kaleidoscope budget” gag clearly hit a nerve and Bercow was left unable to speak for a good ten seconds. Now Guido hears it wasn’t just a well timed line, but in fact the terms of a bet…

Dessie Swayne, Dave’s PPS, and a few other Tory backbenchers who come in very early every morning have come to be known as The Breakfast Club. It’s mostly ex-lawyers and bankers who are used to an early start. When Cameron broke bread with them on Wednesday morning they bet him a bottle of wine that he couldn’t get the word “kaleidoscope” into a PMQs response. It’s not clear whether the wine will be drunk over breakfast…

UPDATE: Tweeter @ToryOutcast gets in touch to say he had mentioned this last night and the exact terms were a bottle of Krug with Stephen Phillips MP. Cheers…

UPDATE II: Having gone back to the original sources for this story, it seems Dave has been changing his tune. He told the 1922 Committee it was a bottle of wine that he had won in the bet rather than champagne. Looks like the Tory ban on the sparkling stuff is still in place…

Tory Whips Pushing IMF Bailout Arguments

Guido hears whispers that any extra cash to the IMF is unlikely to be pledged before April, which means he could well be running around Smith Square naked on St Paddy’s Day as promised. A man of his word…

That hasn’t stopped the Tory whips preparing the troops for the potential vote though. Yesterday the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee Andrew Tyrie wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

“Some have been arguing that the U.K. should stand aside from any increase in IMF resources and let the euro zone stew in its own juice. That would be a mistake—the cost to the U.K. would be high. Instead, Britain should respond to the IMF’s own conclusion that it has financing needs of an additional $500 billion in coming years by agreeing to our share of a global loan.”

He lays out the argument for more borrowed bail-outs and Tory whips are circulating the piece, clearly trying to soften the ground. With a large chunk of the Tory backbenches loathed to contribute more money, coupled with the prospect of Labour opposing it too, it’s going to take more than the odd article and email to win this one.

Not a Single Billion More

George Osborne gave a cast iron promise last October:

“Britain will not be putting money into the bailout fund either directly or through the IMF… the IMF exists to support countries, it does not exist to support currencies. The IMF contributing money to the eurozone bailout fund, no; Britain contributing money to the eurozone bailout fund, no. That is Britain’s clear position.”

Ed Balls and Tory backbenchers are at one on this, it is for Germany through the ECB to support the €uro. The American and Chinese Treasury ministers agree, it is not the purpose of the IMF to bailout an ill-conceived currency union. Don’t forget your promise George*…

*Guido hasn’t forgotten his IMF promise.

Naked Truth is Osborne Will Back IMF Bailout

Last night Guido tweeted

Guido reckons the spin coming from the Treasury about them saying “No” is bluster. Guido suspects they mean they are not ready to send billions to the IMF just yet…

If by St Patrick’s day Osborne has kept his promise, made to MPs on October 27, that “Britain will not be putting money into the bail-out fund either directly or through the IMF” Guido will keep his promise* and run naked around Smith Square from the EU offices right past Transport House and back. Don’t count on seeing Guido’s bare arse streaking past the daffodils on March 17…

*Iain Dale has yet to “run naked down Whitehall” as promised on election night.

Will Vince Stick to Plan A or Go Nuclear?

As the economic outlook turns from tough to terrible the pressure on the coalition is going to increase. Conservative governments have in their history and temperament the capability to stick to a tough, inevitably unpopular, fiscal line. This is not a Conservative government.

The LibDems have no such history, and in the case of Vince Cable, no such inclination. Reportedly he is already lobbying for an alternative economic strategy, a Keynesian Plan B. George Osborne is not going to alter the fundamental economic mission of the government, nor should he. So will Vince use his “nuclear option” and quit at some point? The bookies have him at 15/1 to resign from the cabinet.

Might be worth a flutter…

Election Results

Going to stay up have a few drinks, watch the politicians make excuses and go to bed before the results are in.

Feel free to amuse yourself and mock the afflicted in the comments. Expect it to be a 1000 seat gain for Labour. Guido expects a very bad night for LibDems and moderately bad for Tories…

Only big bet Guido had was on the Tories coming second in the Leicester South by-election. Some dosh on the SNP giving Labour a kicking in Scotland. Will lose a few quid on the AV vote due to being a bit too clever and trying to buy a Yes bounce. It never came…

Cashing In On Kipping Ken

Guido is gutted he missed the 16/1 Ladbrokes were offering on old Ken not making it through the speech without a bit of shut-eye.

History Boys vs Money Men

Get ready for much more of this after the budget, but this morning twenty-five historians have written to the Times to reject AV as discredited and a historically dead voting system that Britain shouldn’t embrace. Over at the Telegraph a B-list group of eleven business types argue that we must jump on the bandwagon.

A head-to-head on the Today program had the business side, in all seriousness, try the line that because we are the only country in Europe that uses first past the post we should immediately jump on the first offer of change. With the foresight of history, it was an open goal for no voice to remind the audience it was business voices clambering for the UK to join the Euro…

UPDATE: The latest betting prices are here.

Reddies from the Reds

Sometimes there is just easy money to be had. When Guido saw Labour pushing a story that Pickles’ SpAds had been busted “smearing” Jenny Watson of the Audit Commission as incompetent and a public purse milker he couldn’t quite see where a crime had been committed. The truth cannot be a smear.

It got better though, the line was pushed that the Department for Local Government had been forced to spend fifty grand on legal fees consulting about how to deal with the situation. If that is the going rate, who knows what the legal advice concerning McBride ran up to…

Political Scrapbook dived on the story and have been hammering it for weeks. Guido smelt bullshit early on and bet the PS team £50 that the actual sum was more likely to be closer to zero. And guess what?

The sum was infact zero. In reply to a Parliamentary Question on the subject, Bob Neil said:

“I wish to use this opportunity to put on record a short comment. Pursuant to my answer to the hon. Member of 4 November 2010, Official Report, column 937W, no expenditure has been undertaken on legal fees on potential defamation cases relating in any way to that whole topic.”

Guido would like two twenties and two fives please.

It’s not only Political Scrapbook with egg on their faces though. The Local Government Chronicle broke the story, PR Week followed it up and rent-a-quote Caroline Flint was even deployed to ask awkward questions. Funny how it was Tom Watson who asked the PQ that was shot down by Bob Neil. It’s almost as if his fingerprints were all over this from the start…

Government Official Loses Bet on the Economy

This time last year an economist wonk at the liberal-leaning CentreForum took a dislike to Guido’s economic foresight. Deficit denying Liberal Conspiracy made a predictably over the top attempt at playing up the difference of opinion calling Guido innumerate, an allegation later quietly withdrawn.

Subsequently a wager was drawn up with the Freethinking Economist Giles Wilkes: a book of the loser’s choice would be sent to the winner. After a year of month-after-month of above target inflation announcements by the Bank of England, Giles, a good sport and former bookie, has decided to admit early that deflation just isn’t going to happen. In fact the realisation is becoming mainstream that the danger is quite the opposite, as Guido has long pointed out, of runaway inflation resulting from QE. Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. Guido doesn’t want to worry anyone, but Mr Wilkes is now Vince Cable’s Special Advisor…

More Than "A Storm in a Bedsheet"

There is no denying that Sally Bercow makes for hugely entertaining copy, but the odds against a challenge to her husband in the next year tightened last night. This morning’s papers were full of anonymous quotes from ministers In the Times there was one saying “There are limits but this goes too far.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Michael Crick on Safe Seats:

“In effect, new MPs are being elected day by day now, as, amid huge secrecy, small cabals of party bigwigs pick candidates for safe seats.”

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