Sunday, April 26, 2009

So Who is the Betting Minister?

The Sunday Times has a story on its front page about a a government minister who stands to win a substantial sum of money after betting that Labour would lose the next election. Great story. Yet it represents much that is wrong with modern journalism. This sentence sums it up.
The minister, who asked not to be named, told friends earlier this month that he was set to win a “substantial” sum if Gordon Brown failed to secure an outright majority and was forced to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. There is nothing in the ministerial code of conduct that prevents ministers betting against their own party at elections.

So the minister asked not to be named. I bet he did. But isn't it in the public interest for his name to be revealed? Wouldn't his ministerial colleagues like to know the name of the minister who might not be quite pulling his weight, as it's not in his financial interest to do so? The Sunday Times should have named him if they are 100% confident of the story.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pity it wasn't in the DT-then we WOULD no who it was!!!

trevorsden said...

I have not gone back to the report but I seem to recall the bet was that they would form a coalition with the LibDems.
This seems to imply they would be the biggest party, which is not strictly losing the election.

Any road up - with another poll putting the state of play 45 27 17, ie the Tory vote outpacing Lab/LibDem combined, it looks a lost bet.

Go to UK Polling Report and look at the Labour share since January. There is a clear steady trend - downwards. The steadiness of this is surely bad news for labour. It indicates an electorate making up its mind.

To dwell on a bit longer - read this report in the Telegraph - about the scale of the debt (and default problem) and the toxic bank debts still to be exposed in Europe.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/5220118/The-capital-well-is-running-dry-and-some-economies-will-wither.html

If only half true - then more dubious stuff is set to hit the fan after the LA and Euro elections and before the conference season. Hardly a good background for a long winded Labour leadership election campaign.

DespairingLiberal said...

Yes, all of which tends to cast doubt on it's veracity.

The only really interesting thing here is why the Lord God (eg, Rupert Murdoch) has deemed it useful to ditch NuLab and go on the offensive against them. Could it be that despite a long-term commitment to a zero tax regime for the likes of Rupie, he has become concerned that NuLab will have to kowtow so far to their unions and lefties that they might have to actually introduce the novel concept of the extreme-rich having to pay taxes? What a terrible thought.

I am sure though that under the wise rule of Mr Cameron, Rupert will be safe and no taxes will at any future time become payable in the UK for lucky News Corporation or it's owners. Thank goodness for all of us.

simon said...

This has all the hallmarks of 'a Sunday Times story'. If the ST knew who the minister was and could prove he had bet the money, they would name him, regardless of his pleas for anonymity.

As it stands, it seems to me that they have picked up a titbit of gossip, which may or may not be true, been unable to stand it up and are reporting it anyway.

subrosa said...

I'm completely with you on this one Iain. It's a non-story without a name tag.

Oldrightie said...

It was Gordon Brown wistfully hoping it comes true so he can stay at No.10.

Obsidian said...

I love the message of confidence - "Gordons got the job, we're all screwed"

It'd be interesting to see who it was, after all they're a person with foresight and financial acumen - the sort of person not normally associated with the coterie of defectives that is New Labour.

Lola said...

I thought New Labour had banned short selling?

But I agree with the unamed minister - everyone should short New Labour.

Markets? Doncha just love them for their ability to reveal truths.

Not a sheep said...

Maybe Guido could find out and let us know as the newspapers seem not to have learnt the new rules...

Simon said...

Didn't The Times say the odds were 66/1? If so the story is rubbish, those odds have never existed.

jailhouselawyer said...

You appear to be missing the point that he stands to win nothing if the Tories simply win the next General Election.

On the other hand, I placed a bet with William Hill at £20 at 20/1 odds for all or the majority of prisoners to get the vote by the next General Election.

Recently, my landlord's agent attempted to place the same bet and William Hill refused to accept it, stating I had already won my money.

What does William Hill know that the number one political blogger does not know?

Non runner said...

This does contravene the Ministerial code - it's a potential conflict of interest. Wouldn't the Minister be motivated to make a complete arse up of his Department?

ranger1640 said...

Its all of them but no one has told gordon brown.

Hamish said...

Iain, there is a bigger issue here which you could tackle.
It's not just people talking off the record who ask not to be named.
Look at the story in "Scotland on Sunday" today about McBride switching from Labour to the Tories.

Calm down, not that McBride.

"A spokesman for the Labour party said 'Mr McBride might be upset with the increase in tax for people earning over 150k'"
Why should that spokesman be nameless?

sunonmars said...

Well its either

A : the one who Brown has it in for and try to sabotage in the press

or

B : the one who's trying his best to get Brown sacked - I'd say Mandelson

IanVisits said...

The story reminds me of this cartoon from the Daily Mail back in 1987.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianvisits/3476265794/

Michael Heaver said...

I hope it leaks, that's frankly disgusting.

Kiera Hardie said...

I made a similar comment to your post on the Sunday Times page and it hasn't been published. Oh well.

If this is true, the Sunday Times should name the filthy traitor. At least we know it's a "he".

If it's a lie, the Sunday Times should stop publishing lies!

sunonmars said...

You know whats curious, Mandelson in the last few days has been doing sob stories in the press about himself.

Something really amiss here.

First he goes on about how he was the "3rd" person in the Brown/Blair Marriage and now in the mail today he's going on about "how he cried about giving away his dog Bobby for higher office.

If I didnt know better, the man is positioning himself for something. Why would they be planting sympathy stories about Mandelson in the press, Just seems very weird - stalking horse?

ConstantlyFurious said...

Suprised you're not commenting on the other total non-story of the day, a very weak smear that the "Independant" (ha!) is running for Labour about David Cameron's trip to South Africa: 20 years ago!
I'm not impressed: is that really the best they can do these days?

Chris Paul said...

What piffle Iain. There is no indication that the journalist knows the name. This person told their friends, allegedly, and one of them told a journalist without naming the MP. The bet could also be a losing bet if it requires GB to win without an absolute majority *and* do business with the Lib Dems.

Any fool know there will be an absolute majority, narrow though it may be, and that in the "confidence" rematch 6 months later, following any number of Tory scams and scandals, there will be another landslide. Also that Labour will enjoy a Scandanavian style total term of 50 years. And that Vince Cable will one day be Chancellor. Having switched to Labour after some McBridivism in his party is revealed.

I can vouch for the truth of all this as I was told by a friend of one of the MPs who knows all this, and one of their friends is my childminders uncle, and they told me. But I promised not to name names. Sorry.

Chris Paul said...

PS I would suspect too that this "Minister" would in fact be a very junior bag carrier, and/or someone winding people up. And is it true as I've heard from some bloke on the Clapham omnibus that Andy Coulson is the Mimicster's friend?

Anonymous said...

From Dizzy' s site
Lets try and work it out. It must have been a realist, that rules out half of them, good start.
It must be somebody who dislikes Gordon, that doesn't narrow the field down much.
They won't own up so it must be one who tells lies - hmm that doesn't help much either.
The odds are good so they must understand maths - that rules out the Treasury.
They must have been in this country at the time - that rules out the speaker.
Harriet would have bet on a woman winning so that rules her out.
I've got it - they all clubbed together - that explains why they are all ****ing everything up.
Anyway we will soon know doubtless the bet will appear on an expense claim in July

mr crackers said...

As usual, the Sunday Times has made up a story. Otherwise, as you say, they'd quite rightly name him. To get that sort of promotion it was probably handed down by the paper's deputy editor Martin Ivens who fancies himself as a bit of a political know-it-all. Suspect he was told it by a third party and not the person allegedly who made the bet. Surely not allowing yourself to be part of a smear campaign? shame on you Mr ivens.

Jimmy said...

"he was set to win a “substantial” sum if Gordon Brown failed to secure an outright majority and was forced to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats."

That's hardly betting against us. Quite honestly based on the current polls I'd happily take that result in a heartbeat.

Chalcedon said...

This minister is assuming that Labour and Lib Dem MPs combined would outvote the Conservatives. If El Gordo and his goons carry on like he is doing, he will be lucky if he gets into double figures.

OK, that's a joke and very unlikely but on this government's form it seems very hard for the Conservatives to lose, especially if what the IMF et al are predicting for our economy comes to pass.

Martin Day said...

Must be Alister Darling going on the long range bet/gamble given his growth foresasts! Must be 66/1 that he will meet those!

Oscar Miller said...

It could be Mandy because he was still out in the European cold back in July 2007, before the grand reconciliation a year later. So it would not have been a conflict of interest at the time. Also there is the Osborne anecdote about Mandy bitching about how badly Brown was doing (before he was brought back). Finally Mandy does seem to be repositioning himself, as rumours of a new rift with the Brownites grows. He might well be getting in some retaliation in early. It certainly fits. Whether or not it's true is of course quite another matter.

javelin said...

The BRIC countries have stopped buying/investing in our Government debt to spend their cash shoring up their own economies - as we stop buying their goods with our personal debt - the money go round is going into reverse.

So the Grand scheme of things - when Ireland, Club Med and several Eastern European countries go bankrupt - the UK will have its credit rating reduced and Brown will claim we don't have it as bad as the other countries.

The dominos are going to start falling once the failing European Governments can't hide they're buying their own debt through brokers.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Just so long as Cameron keeps Pickles and Duncan on short leashes and away from the TV screens.

Each appearance by one of those surely costs us votes.

Iain Dale's boyfriend said...

Iain - your presence is needed over at Cranmer's quite urgently. Your good name is being impugned.

Anonymous said...

http://www.gofourth.co.uk/you-can-still-bet-on-labour

!!

Anonymous said...

Calm down ladies. It's John Hutton.

Oscar Miller said...

And how does Pravda report this fine speech? They have managed a little piece, buried under their top headline about Sri Lanka headed 'Say hello to Dave the Miser'. What is to be done with the BBC? They are on course to ruin this country.

neil craig said...

Since it was the minister who "asked not to be named" it was presumably he who gave it to them & they are, if not 100% sure it is true, at least 100% sure that he said it.

Typical of the lobby.

Oscar Miller said...

April 26, 2009 5:31 PM

Oops- wrong thread. This referred of course to Cameron's speech today, not the 'betting minister'.

Fragmeister said...

Popped over to Go Fourth And Multiply to see the thing about betting on Labour (http://www.gofourth.co.uk/you-can-still-bet-on-labour). Spotted this: "Each week Alastair Campbell and Go Fourth will email you a list of simple things you can do to help secure a Labour Fourth Term".

I might take notice when the email says "We give up. Let Cameron have a go."

Anonymous said...

Does ANY Minister expect NuLab to win next time out?

Flemingcrag said...

This is a hung over April Fools's story.....What "Bookie" would be offering odds against a New Labour defeat? Odds on maybe!!!!
I tell you, since Damian McBride went, these Lobby Journalists (aka, Copy Writers) do not know how to "MAKE UP A STORY".
What next....Ed (so what) Balls to succeed Gordon (50% tax) Brown as Prime Minister.

Forge Lindin said...

I'm sure you can get chucked out of the labour party for wishing defeat on your colleagues

Wasn't this what led to the downfall of Claire Short?

Anonymous said...

It was briefly on the BBC website just now saying it was Lord West; now it's been deleted. Strange...

Paul Halsall said...

James Purnell.

I detest that man.