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

+ READ MORE +

Gabby Goes Favourite

Money is moving on who is set to replace Andy Coulson. Current press secretary Gabby Bertin has just gone favourite. The internal promotion would be a safe option. Does someone in Downing Street know something?[…] Read the rest

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Good Morning, It's Polling Day

As the Old and Sad voters head to the polls this morning, Labour seem certain that they are heading for win. Buoyed by the ICM and Populus poll boosts, Newsnight all but declared them victors last night, excitedly preparing their “dark day for the Coalition” lines.[…] Read the rest

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Old and Sad Tricks From Labour

Paddy Power says that there is more chance of Manchester United coming bottom of the Premiership than there is of the Liberal Democrats winning the Oldham by-election. However with more than a week to play for, Guido is cautious of such as sweeping statement.[…] Read the rest

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Old and Sad Labour's to Lose

Guido thinks that Labour should hold onto the Oldham and Saddleworth seat on January 13. The election will come days after the 20% VAT hike comes into effect. If Ed Miliband can’t win an election after a regressive tax hike is implemented without any mandate from the voters, he should quit politics.[…] Read the rest

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Is Nigel Evans Worth a Flutter?

Speaker Bercow is probably one of the few people in politics with more enemies than Guido. He has proved those former Tory colleagues who warned against him right in their minds by slapping down the PM at PMQs on bizarre grounds, having a stand up row with the Tory chief-whip and being widely perceived as partial by the government benches.[…] Read the rest

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Why Did the Telegraph Hide "War on Murdoch" Story?

Good journalism is about revealing the truth about those in power. Robert Peston’s scoop is that the Telegraph kept back the bigger story, that Vince Cable the minister with a quasi-judicial role in deciding if News Corporation can increase its holding in Sky, had told the Telegraph’s undercover journalists that

“I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win”.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Reshuffle Rumour Round-Up

Ken Clarke faced a second weekend being briefed against in the Sundays. Guido can only presume the talk of reshuffle and booting Ken out is coming from an increasingly infuriated Coulson who doesn’t like to see Ministers being hounded by The Sun for being soft on crime.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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