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Who is the Cleggie who owes me 500 pounds?

December 19th, 2007

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    Why is a “senior member of the party” reluctant to pay?

Followers of the Lib Dem leadership threads over the past couple of months will have become familiar with contributions by “The Observer” who has been a passionate, and at times aggressive, backer of Nick Clegg. He is also, apparently a “senior member of the party”.

In a post on November 5th at 8.38pm he asserted that Huhne’s vote share would not be as big as 2006 and issued a wager challenge in these:“…I would expect Chris to poll less than he did last time vs Ming – and if anyone would like to wager on that – I’ll accept a bet.”

I posted that I would be happy to bet on the proposition and at 8.54pm The Observer responded “…Mike @ 95. I’m referring to the 42.14% counting second prefs when the contest became a 2 horse affair – are we on the same page? I have £500 @ evens.”

This I agreed to and I asked him for some contact details. At 9.01pm The Observer wrote: “Mike! Will do!! Will I get posted up the agreed wagers section and everything?! Exciting!”

    It should be emphasised that it was “The Observer” who was making the challenge; it was “The Observer” who was suggesting the £500 and it was “The Observer” who defined the terms of the wager.

He did not contact me and nearly a month later, after he began taking part in the discussion on December 1st I posted reminding him that he had still to send me the information. At that time the YouGov Lib Dem members poll was just out and this showed that Huhne was going to achieve a share that was somewhat better than 42.14% and my bet looked like a winner.

The Observer then wrote, at 6.41pm “Mike, after some consideration, and owing to my position in the party I’m unable to provide you with my real name and address. Could we ask Betfair to put up a % market and we’ll match on there?”

Others on the thread suggested that to get round his predicament that he might like to use an honest broker such as Peter the Punter.

Since then “The Observer” has continued to participate in discussions and at 1am yesterday morning this “senior member of the party” sought to influence my future coverage of the Lib Dems. He wrote: – ” When the new leader is announced, I hope that you Mike, a fellow Lib Dem can be the Big Man and think of the party over your own quite clear personal preferences. ..”.

I hope that you “The Observer” understand the seriousness of welching on bets. I entered into this arrangement in good faith and would have paid if Huhne had not achieved the required share of the vote. I expect “The Observer”, however senior he is in the party, to do the same. I look forward to hearing from him.

Arrangements for recorded wagers:
Peter the Punter has agreed to operate and keep up to date this section of the site. New arrangements will be put in place in the New Year.

Mike Smithson






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