Status Quo 2 Evolution 0
Hillary Clinton has beaten Bernie Sanders 53-51. Actually, she hasn’t: the 103rd vote was also a tie, so they did a best-of-five tossed coin to decide it. Hillary won 5-0, the odds against which are 31-1. But deciding a Presidential caucus race on the flip of a coin? It makes penalties after extra-time look positively scientific.
Meanwhile, until three days ago the polls had Bernie Sanders on a roll, having gone -12, tie, +8% over the previous three weeks. Suddenly, last Saturday Hillary pops out front by 8%.
“It was nuts” one Democrat activist told a local Des Moines journalist yesterday, “there was little or no security. Unauthorised people were wandering in and out all the time. It didn’t smell right”.
On the Republican side, Trump was 28% to Cruz’s 24%; like Sanders on Clinton, he had steadily gained ground since last August. The result reversed those numbers and had third-rated Marco Rubio make an 8-point jump to 23%….thus threatening Chump from both sides.
During the 2012 caucus, results were delayed as ‘voting irregularities’ were discovered and ballots ‘went missing’. An investigation later found four people guilty of voter fraud.
There were only two candidates ready to kick The System in yesterday’s election: they both lost, against the odds.
“Not at all,” said a UKip activist I first met at the Buckingham by election five years ago, “most of us [in UKIP] have seen clear evidence of ballot-stuffing in one situation or another, especially in Inner London. Westminster would stop at nothing to keep Nigel out”. This from a bloke who really doesn’t like Farage….and yet can see how the Establishment feels threatened by him.
But there’s more than one kind of vote. Last night, something extraordinary seems to have happened during a UK House of Commons debate. HSBC whistleblower Nicholas Wilson was relying upon an intervention in the debate by SNP MP George Kerevan. Kerevan sits on the Treasury Select Committee, and is widely believed to feel that the FCA is a lapdog, allegedly complicit in dumping further banking regulation. Wilson believes that both in the UK and US, David Cameron has lobbied actively to ‘cover up’ serious fraud inside HSBC, as well as parachuting Rona Fairhead into the top BBC job to protect the bank from damning investigative journalism.
This was the exchange last night:
Kerevan indicated dissent from the standard Rees-Mogg young fogeyness. That was it. He didn’t speak. Mr Wilson is baffled. So am I.
I tried to play the clip on BBC Parliament’s sound recording page this morning. Much buffering, then a long whistle followed by “this process is now over”.
It’s important to keep these issues in perspective. Iowa may be simply about late surges (it’s happened before) and Kerevan may have had genuine second thoughts. But when you’ve already gone along with manipulating gold trackers, the oil price, the LIBOR rate, perverted justice, told lies in Parliament to protect Newscorp and had the police do your political bidding, it really is no big deal to fix a poll. At least one Greek poll on the Greek oxi referendum was obviously interfered with. MPs have been regularly blackmailed by Whips for decades. Doubts persist about both the Irish austerity referendum and the election of Ed Miliband. And the assurances given by Washington to Camerlot about getting the right ‘Stay in’ referendum result are not just wild rumour. (People keep asking me to put up or shut up about that one; in some ways that is fair comment. In other ways – including the existing direction of my knees – it smacks of “You ‘it ’em an’ I’ll ‘old yer coat, Guvnor”).
As to the polls on ‘Brexit’ themselves, they strike me as highly dubious on a number of dimensions. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was a little over-opinionated about the issue yesterday, but it isn’t hard at all to invent a survey, stick it online, ask leading questions – and then discreetly change them to be less directive afterwards. I simply do not believe that 52% of Brits want to say in the EU, and only 38% want to go. And if 65% really are happy to be guided by Dave himself, then using the most polite syntax I can conjure up, there is obviously a very serious brain-virus doing the rounds.
The Camerlot game plan here is like a badly-scripted and entirely predictable sitcom – instead of Eastenders, perhaps, we have Westminsters. “It’s jolly tough and we’re being tough but we’re edging closer to what we want by mid February and then the vote in June will show that my short-term economy with the Truth has paid off”, Mr Cameron did not say last night.