Who’s been a naughty boy David?

Oh my. Not-Lord Ashcroft is not amused.

David Cameron was facing a growing backlash from his own MPs and party grandees today over the conduct of an election campaign that left him short of an overall majority and trying to make a deal with the Lib Dems.

The Observer can reveal that Lord Ashcroft, who pumped £5m into marginal seats, is furious with the Tory leader for having agreed to take part in television debates that he believes undid much of his work for the party.

Friends of Ashcroft also say the peer is angry because he believes Cameron failed to stand up for him properly in the row over his “non-dom” tax status, which harmed the Tories in the run-up to the election.

Ouch.

There is another thing to brighten your mood too.

Today, one senior frontbencher rounded on the Conservative leader, demanding that he sack key figures involved in the campaign, including the man who ran it, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor.

I’m beginning to like this Ashcroft fella…

Rule Twittania: An ironic phrase indicating realisation that the New Media doesn’t always live up to expectations

Frankly I am a bit sick of everyone involved in this election.

Clegg and the Orange Book liberals are stitching up their activists who despise the thought of a coalition with the Tory party.

Brown has led Labour to their worst result since 1983.

Cameron appears to be immovable on electoral reform in a country crying out for it.

Our Press have probably taken the biscuit with their over-inflated sense of importance and utter removal from the material facts of the situation.

Twitter is a source of constant information which made election night all the more exciting but it also has a spectacularly high noise to signal ration.

The Civil Service however, have come out of this pretty well but of course at the expense of everyone else.

Here’s Sir Gus O’Donnell in February this year:

O’Donnell said he had decided to publish his guidance now to ensure there was clarity before the election. But he said he doubted that financial markets would be destabilised by a hung parliament.

So that is a no to financial market panic. In fact, it is a fairly polite nod to the efficient market hypothesis.

The Daily Mail and The Telegraph scent panic, their product  and pounce. They just know Sir Gus was wrong.

The Daily Mail: Fear of power vacuum wipes £35billion off shares

A Lib Dem Nightmare

Guildford has not been won by the Liberal Democrats. Worse actually, there was a swing towards the Conservatives away from the Liberals. That this happened in the Liberals number one target seat is especially worrying. This has been followed by a 13.2% swing which has unseated Lembit Opik. The Lib Dems are in real trouble and thus so is British democracy.

The Lib Dems will not win too many seats this election regardless of what vote share they get, the tables are stacked against them. As it is it doesn’t look like they’ll be winning as many votes as we thought in mid-April at the height of Cleggmania.

That’s the big story, the Lib Dems are going to increase their vote share a bit and it looks like they’re going to lose seats. The Lib Dems are going to, yet again, have a vote share that vastly outperforms the number of seats they will win.

A few months ago that would have translated into a mandate for reform. The unfortunate thing is if they don’t get the seats, even with the vote share they won’t be able to push through reform. They will lack the political power in the face of a surprisingly strong Conservative performance to turn their mandate into action.

A worrying development.

Other things that have happened today

Declining stocks on the New York Stock Exchange out numbered advancers by a ratio of over 32 to 1 on Thursday as major stock indexes plunged as much as 8 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI dropped 480.73 points, or 4.42 percent, to 10,387.39.

This is what happens when nobody knows what is going to happen in Greece. Although this graph is one of those naughty ones that doesn’t start at 0 it is still pretty representative of what this uncertainty over Greece can do.

Well there is some certainty – but not the sort you want – the certainty of riots and public unrest and a savage possibly counterproductive fiscal retrenchment involving rising taxes and falling public spending.

Quite the graphic reminder for those involved in today’s election. A great deal is at stake today but we are only a small part of a global and unpredictable system.

May you live in interesting times

Aprocraphral Chinese Proverb

What the rags say: The slightly less awful papers

Here is what the proper papers say on their front pages. They aren’t that funny, outrageous or stupid but I thought I could at least document them.

Most of them are boring, but this one from the Guardian is the most dull, well done.

https://i1.wp.com/news.sky.com/sky-news/content/StaticFile/jpg/2010/May/Week1/15626161.jpg

The independent is dull but at least they’re still going with their slightly confusing, slightly too much going on front page style.

https://i1.wp.com/news.sky.com/sky-news/content/StaticFile/jpg/2010/May/Week1/15626162.jpg

The Telegraph is a bit pretentious. No news there then.

https://i2.wp.com/news.sky.com/sky-news/content/StaticFile/jpg/2010/May/Week1/15626206.jpg

The FT of course leads with news on how terrified the markers are of anything other than a Tory victory, no propaganda here… move along.

https://i2.wp.com/news.sky.com/sky-news/content/StaticFile/jpg/2010/May/Week1/15626163.jpg

What the rags say: The Daily Express

https://i1.wp.com/news.sky.com/sky-news/content/StaticFile/jpg/2010/May/Week1/15626192.jpg

Only one thing to compare Dave to, yep, fucking World War Two.

For a paper which often proclaims how important it is to BACK OUR TROOPS or of course that Labour has BETRAYED the memory of those who died to keep this country free I do think it a little despicable to use imagery in this way.

David Cameron is our “only” hope? Hope for what? I can only presume hope from some measure of perspective in this whole sorry situation.

David Cameron has decisively won the case for change. But he needs a clear mandate. So the Daily Express urges readers to vote Conservative tomorrow.

The future of our nation is at stake.

By change the Express obviously mean gerrymandered electoral systems and economic policies rubbished by Nobel Laureates, The Financial Times and The Economist then yes! Forward David Cameron!

Of course otherwise you could vote for some real change.

What the rags say: The Daily Mail

https://i2.wp.com/news.sky.com/sky-news/content/StaticFile/jpg/2010/May/Week1/15626205.jpg

Vote Brown and Die.

PANIC

ANARCHY

MURDER

If you’re looking for sensible analysis you’re obviously not a Daily Mail reader but even this takes the biscuit.

Britain was given an election wake-up call yesterday as Greece’s battle with massive debt erupted in blood and anarchy.

Three bank workers died after a mob protesting against spending cuts set their building ablaze.

With UK opinion polls still pointing to a hung Parliament, economists warned that Britain could ill-afford a period of political uncertainty.

Nice country you got around here… Be a shame if something happened to it.” Drawled Mr Dacre. “You know” *spit* “a lot of my friends are worried about your boss. You better ditch him or things are gonna get messy, see.”

When talking about the UK and Greece it is relatively safe to dismiss out of hand any direct comparison.

  • Britain’s debt burden is at something only just over half that Greece faces.
  • We don’t have to refinance a large amount of debt in the next few weeks.
  • The average maturity of our debt is 14 years whereas most of theirs is much shorter.
  • Our manufacturing sector is surging ahead while theirs is stagnating.
  • We have our own currency while Greece is locked into the Euro and is almost hopelessly uncompetitive.
  • A thousand other factors.

Of course on top of this there is the fact that the Mail are attempting to create a causal relationship between hung parliaments and murder.

The need for decisive leadership was underlined by official figures showing the UK’s budget shortfall will be the biggest in the EU this year – even overtaking Greece.

Of course Greece elected a strong Government a few months ago which is now trying to push through the swinging cuts the Mail salivates for.

The Fact that these cuts have ignited violence, not the lack of a parliamentary majority, seems to have passed by the editorial team at The Mail. Wonder Why?

What the rags say: The Sun

https://i0.wp.com/news.sky.com/sky-news/content/StaticFile/jpg/2010/May/Week1/15626204.jpg

Fucking Seriously?

The Sun has given up on news, if it wasn’t so absorbent and strong I’d say it had given up on being a paper as well.

David Cameron, the man who at best 38% of us support, give or take a few old dears who get confused between hum and David Lloyd George is BARACK OBAMA.

BARACK OBAMA he who represents HOPE is equivalent to David Cameron. It is a nice thought of course but lacking in any kind of substance.

When I wrote this at around 11 I couldn’t find the text of the leader online. I predict bullshit and I would like to see someone disagree with me on the strength of the front page above.

Paul Krugman Endorses the Liberal Democrats and the FT and Economist abandon their principles

For sure, Gordon Brown — like the Rubinites here in America — made the great mistake of buying into the promises of high finance. But is there any doubt that a Tory government would have done the same?

And I understand the sense that Labour has been in office too long. If I were British, I might well consider voting Lib Dem.

That’s nobel prize winner and all round good egg Paul Krugman today.

But its not just him who are confused that anyone would support the Tories, the endorsement for the Tories from the Financial Times and The Economist have brought some other big guns of the American Blogosphere out in shock. Brad DeLong succinctly titles his post “The Financial Times and the London Economist Lose Their Minds.”

DeLong quotes Matthew Yglesias who explains why so many across the pond are confused that the Tories are being widely supported by our press.

[The] FT, in the course of endorsing David Cameron, concedes that “As a crisis manager, Gordon Brown has been a better premier than his critics claim” and simply doesn’t say anything about the substance of the Tories’ opposition to stimulus, a policy that had it been adopted would have sank the economy.

The Economist does take this issue head-on and concludes that the Tories “were wrong to oppose the economic stimulus after the banking crash” but endorses them anyway….

Britain confronted a giant economic challenge and the center-right party responded with such bad policies that even center-right business-focused newspapers think they were wrong, but… [urge] voters are urged to vote Tory anyway…

I’m no Brown fan, but the Tories have managed to get pretty much every important call of this financial crisis and recession wrong.

These papers both once supported Labour and have been relatively impressed with Labour’s performance throughout this recession but they are breaking ranks now. But what strikes me is that they are really unenthusiastically breaking ranks.

The only convincing explanation is that they’re doing this because they’re rats and the Labour Party appears to be sinking. The Tories are not doing dreadfully and are certainly in the ascendant even as their poll lead wobbles.

This makes sense for these papers, they have their circulation to think about and that will partially rely on the access they can get to the next Government and they are betting on a Tory win. This seems a sensible policy even if the Lib Dems do well, they are not going to begrudge a non-endorsement from papers they were not expecting to back them anyway.

However, the support from across the pond for the anyone but the Tories vote illustrates just how foolish their economic pronouncements have been at times. These American bloggers don’t have particular axes to grind against the Tory party, they’ve just looked at the policies and personalities and decided they are a really unsafe pair of hands.

Can’t say I blame them really. I’m glad that David Rendel now has the nobel laureate vote sewn up.

Why I’m voting for the Lib Dems and David Rendel in Newbury

Not long until election day. This has been an exciting election campaign hasn’t it?

Nice to see everyone still hates immigrants and knows that anything approaching honesty with the electorate is going to be punished. I suppose that is why no one has released details on more than 25% of the the spending cuts sorry, efficiency savings, they are going to make from May 7th.

Regardless, this election has been far from the boring pick you favourite colour that I had worried it may have been. As a political blogger I suppose I’m not really the person election campaigns or the leaders debates are aimed at. I care far more about policy than the average voter. Unlike much of the electorate it seems I care more about electoral reform than who cram the most “tough”s into a speech about  Law and Order.

But I hope my readership, such that it is, care about what I’ve got to say on the election. I’ve got a vote to cast I am going to tell you who’s getting it.

My vote will be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats and their local candidate David Rendel.

Despite that fact that I am drawn to Labour by instinct I have not contemplated voting Labour for a variety of reasons. One is predominantly tactical. I live in a seat that has never returned a Labour member and maybe never will.

As you can see, it really is a two horse race here in Newbury. Labour can’t win here, as the leaflets say. In 1993 it was won by David Rendel of the Liberal Democrats with a swing of 28.4% from the Tories. Only the third non-Tory MP for the area since 1900, David Rendel lost the 2005 election to the Conservative Richard Benyon. David and Richard are facing off again in their 4th meeting.

I have a good liberal candidate in David Rendel and he has an admiral voting record in parliament from when (data from They Work for You). David has never voted on replacing Trident but I know and support the Lib Dem line that it would be foolish and wasteful to renew it.

  • Has never voted on replacing Trident. votes
  • Voted strongly for removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. votes
  • Voted very strongly for a wholly elected House of Lords. votes
  • Voted very strongly for equal gay rights. votes
  • Voted very strongly against introducing ID cards. votes
  • Voted very strongly against introducing foundation hospitals. votes
  • Voted very strongly against the Iraq war. votes
  • Voted very strongly for an investigation into the Iraq war. votes
  • Voted strongly against introducing student top-up fees. votes
  • Voted moderately against greater autonomy for schools. votes
  • Voted very strongly for the hunting ban. votes
  • Voted very strongly against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws. votes
  • Voted for laws to stop climate change. votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against introducing a smoking ban.
  • Like I said I am lucky to have a good candidate in my area however, as seen below, David Rendel is hardly a working class hero, but then the Tory Candidate Richard Benyon is the great-great grandson of former Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury.

    Educated at Eton College, Magdalen College, Oxford and St Cross College, Oxford, Rendel was a member of the University of Oxford boat race crew of 1974.

    David Rendel is a great-grandson of civil engineer Sir Alexander Meadows Rendel, and a great-great-nephew of Liberal MP Stuart Rendel.

    But with me personality and somebody’s antecedents never matters as much as policy and I like the Liberals’ policies.

    Importantly this election there are substantive policy areas where I am closer to the Lib Dems than I am to any other party and there are large areas where I disagree fundamentally with what Labour have done while in power.

    What I have seen on topics I care about such as immigration is a Labour Government behaving every bit as bad as a Tory one would have. That alienates me and although I’m used to supporting least worst options, its hard to get motivated.

    As Jamie said, Labour had this man shot to placate the anti-immigrant vote, its hard to support that. I understand this is politics and it is messy and ugly, but there’s lines that I do not like to see crossed by those I support, even as the least worst option.

    Why some argue their plan to raise the tax threshold to £10,000 does nothing for the poorest it does something for me, which lets be honest I won’t complain about. This policy also goes some way towards making the move out of the poorest into the less poor into even more attractive. Simple and fair even if it appears I must break ranks with Chris Dillow on this.

    As I’ve said, I like their policy on Trident and they are less cut happy than the Tories are. Their general position is something I can support this May 6th.

    Of course not everything the Lib Dems do is perfect. The Lib Dem policy on immigration is disappointing, but then whose isn’t? From their manifesto we have the unavoidable acknowledgement of the good immigrants do before explaining what to do about them. Regardless of their bizarre, illiberal, probably unworkable and economically illiterate policy to force immigrants to stay where they think jobs are (rather than let them go where jobs actually are) this is an improvement on the Labour position.

    Exit checks should never have been abandoned and I’m glad the Liberals are bringing them in (The Tories in the mid-90s), the public and officials need this information. That the final policy promise in their manifesto has to be to not deport people to be murdered or tortured shows how far down the road to barbarism we have come, but I welcome its inclusion. Likewise, the end of indefinite detention for immigrants is a good move. Their proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants is something I’ve marched for so I am happy to say I am more enthusiastic about this than Nick Clegg. Like Sunny and Chris the Lib Dem immigration policy is the least inhumane of the alternatives.

    Importantly these days the Lib Dems also want to clean up politics. Proportional representation and the removal of “safe” seats is something I support to these ends. Not only would it give you and I a more powerful voice in elections but it would bring the a plurality to party politics that is badly lacking in this country.

    I’m voting for the Lib Dems on the 6th May, maybe you should too.

    Is this a joke?

    No. Conservapedia is real and really weird.

    “Hey guys, what picture should we use on the page about Evolution?”

    “Hitler of course!”

    Utterly barmy.

    But wait there’s more! Want to know some examples of liberal bias, deceit, frivolous gossip, and blatant errors on Wikipedia? Conservapedia has 205 (!). One of my favourites is this, because it uses the word “boondoggle.”

    Wikipedia’s article on engineering[19] features a photo of … an offshore wind turbine, which is an inefficient liberal boondoggle and certainly not a representative example of engineering. None even exist off the shores of the United States because they are not competitive.

    The site is funny and worrying in equal measure.