+++ 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…

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!

LibDem Leader’s Backer Clasher”Oh Yes I have”, “Oh No You Haven’t”

Yesterday Whune claimed on his website:

… his campaign has now secured the backing of eight Council Leaders from around England. This is more than the other candidates combined. ‘I’m delighted,‘ said Chris, ‘at the backing of these local party leaders. These Liberal Democrat council leaders are already in power in their own areas and therefore their support represents a significant step forward in my campaign. I want to see the success they have achieved for the Liberal Democrats replicated on a national scale.’

Whuhne’s much boasted grasp of figures (economist, City editor etc.) could take a bit of a knocking here. This evening Ming’s Jaguar pulled up outside Guido’s cellar to decant a liveried flunkey with a list of nine council leaders backing Ming. How does he square that with whathisnames’ claims? Guido has counted for himself (using the fingers of both hands) and thinks Ming has it.

Remember the Tory leadership campaign? Liam Fox claiming the backing of George Bush, how we laughed. This is just tragic – the politics of toytown.

Clearing out the Closet

The Indy reckons that LibDem MPs with skeletons in their closet have been summonsed to the Chief Whip, Andrew Stunell, and told to confess all. No word as to if Ming or Whune have been along.

Ming Races to Victory!

With all the energy, vibrancy, dynamism and environmental sensitivity required of a LibDem leader, Ming demonstrates that he is in poll position, ever ready to drive the LibDems to victory…

Captions in the comments please.

LibDems in Grave Situation

Adrian Graves says the election of David Cameron as Tory leader marked “a fundamental shift in both the direction and political atmosphere within the Tory Party.” The LibDems faced a “nightmare scenario” after the next election of a hung Parliament with “yet another, weaker Labour administration, led by Gordon Brown, propped up by Hughes-led, left-sympathetic Liberal Democrats”.Translation: “I think they’ll give me a winnable seat.”

LibDems will try to paint him out as a nobody, they have already Stalinistically erased his biography and picture from their website.

It gets worse, the Guardian has a focus group giving Hughes the thumbs up by a wide margin against Ming and Whuhne. Whuhne was recognised by only 9 people in the survey.

If Hughes wins, the LibDems face annihilation by the Tories in southern England, something that focuses the mind of LibDem MPs, but doesn’t seem to bother the weirdie beardie membership. They’ll be breaking out the champagne at CCHQ before lunch…

Campbell Campaign Latest News

Guido is yawning at the fast moving nature of the LibDem leadership campaign. Still no sign of Guido’s membership card. Eagerly Guido points his browser at Campbell’s latest campaign news:
The latest news on the fast moving “rolling thunder” campaign website of Ming hasn’t been updated this week. Why is it (note the lower case) “ming campbell”, isn’t that how you pronounce it, not how you spell it? Have they introduced synthetic phonics for LibDem leaders? Stealing Cameron’s policies?

Change to Win : Draft Clegg

My party membership card is in the post, but Guido is confident that he has the LibDem electoral system all figured out. Basically if Ming should get very ill suddenly, say this weekend, and drop out on Monday, Nick Clegg would need 200 members from 20 different constituencies to nominate him by Wednesday.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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