Those people who are prepared to back their instinct with a visit to the bookies earn my grudging respect, even when their visit shows them to be terminally clueless. And over the weekend, the cause of cluelessness has been served superbly by the ridiculously overrated Paul Staines, who blogs under the alias of Guido Fawkes, and who is now significantly less cash rich than beforehand.
As the Maily Telegraph splashed the unfortunate David Laws all over its Saturday edition, it became clear that, as I said yesterday, there were two choices facing the keepers of the new and improved two-headed donkey: tough it out and risk more revelations, or sack him. In the event, the coalition has avoided the potential risk, and Laws has been caused to jump before being pushed.
At first, Staines laid out his stall reasonably well, telling that “it doesn’t just look bad, it is bad” and concluding that “Using the ‘we wanted our privacy’ line doesn’t really wash when it comes to public money”. But then, sad to say, the great pundit drew the wrong conclusion, reasoning that “he will probably survive because he is too important to the coalition”.
Er, hello? What is most important to the Coalition is that the Coalition survives, Paul. That means keeping its distance from anything dodgy in the expense department. But Staines wasn’t reading his own analysis: he then, by his own admission, put five hundred quid on Laws surviving the episode. He did this at the same time as noting that the probability of Laws not surviving was increasing.
So, once again, the question has to be asked of Paul Staines: just what part of your own analysis do you not understand?