"Secret polls" show New Democracy leading in Greece

Market surges amid rumours of Syriza loss.

Polling in Greece is banned in the two weeks leading up to an election, so we have very little information as to what the likely outcome of the 17 June vote will be. It will definitely be New Democracy, the conservative party, and Syriza, the radical left, in the top two places; and the margin is unlkely to be more than 3 per cent either way. But beyond that, everything is very up in the air.

Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal, however, points out that the Greek stock market has surged today:

He says:

According to Greek stock market participants, there are "secret polls" that show the pro-bailout New Democracy party is leading and likely to win this Sunday's election. Technically, polling is banned for the two weeks prior to the election, but the parties and so forth are still keeping tabs on the mood of the electorate, and these polls can get out. 

Furthermore, Greek betting sites have shown also a spike in bets placed on New Democracy, and this too is seen as evidence of a shift. So traders like the stability of the pro-bailout, conservative New Democracy party over the chaos of the left-wing Syriza party, and thus at least right now are speculating that the status quo wll remain.

All of this is to be taken with the biggest grain of salt possible, of course. It's an inference from an inference – no one is on the record as having actually seen these polls and it's all too easy for a rumour like this to become self-sustaining. But the market is hungry for information from Greece, and any will do.

A Greek worker adjusts flags before a speech by the leader of Pasok, the party in third place. Credit: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Jeremy Corbyn's Labour conference speech shows how he's grown

The leader's confident address will have impressed even his fiercest foes. 

It is not just Jeremy Corbyn’s mandate that has been improved by his re-election. The Labour leader’s conference speech was, by some distance, the best he has delivered. He spoke with far greater confidence, clarity and energy than previously. From its self-deprecating opening onwards ("Virgin Trains assure me there are 800 empty seats") we saw a leader improved in almost every respect. 

Even Corbyn’s firecest foes will have found less to take issue with than they may have anticipated. He avoided picking a fight on Trident (unlike last year), delivered his most forceful condemnation of anti-Semitism (“an evil”) and, with the exception of the Iraq war, avoided attacks on New Labour’s record. The video which preceded his arrival, and highlighted achievements from the Blair-Brown years, was another olive branch. But deselection, which Corbyn again refused to denounce, will remain a running sore (MPs alleged that Hillsborough campaigner Sheila Coleman, who introduced Corbyn, is seeking to deselect Louise Ellman and backed the rival TUSC last May).

Corbyn is frequently charged with lacking policies. But his lengthy address contained several new ones: the removal of the cap on council borrowing (allowing an extra 60,000 houses to be built), a ban on arms sales to abusive regimes and an arts pupil premium in every primary school.

On policy, Corbyn frequently resembles Ed Miliband in his more radical moments, unrestrained by Ed Balls and other shadow cabinet members. He promised £500bn of infrastructure investment (spread over a decade with £150bn from the private sector), “a real living wage”, the renationalisation of the railways, rent controls and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Labour’s greatest divisions are not over policy but rules, strategy and culture. Corbyn’s opponents will charge him with doing far too little to appeal to the unconverted - Conservative voters most of all. But he spoke with greater conviction than before of preparing for a general election (acknowledging that Labour faced an arithmetical “mountain”) and successfully delivered the attack lines he has often shunned.

“Even Theresa May gets it, that people want change,” he said. “That’s why she stood on the steps of Downing Street and talked about the inequalities and burning injustices in today’s Britain. She promised a country: ‘that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us’. But even if she manages to talk the talk, she can’t walk the walk. This isn’t a new government, it’s David Cameron’s government repackaged with progressive slogans but with a new harsh right-wing edge, taking the country backwards and dithering before the historic challenges of Brexit.”

After a second landslide victory, Corbyn is, for now, unassailable. Many MPs, having voted no confidence in him, will never serve on the frontbench. But an increasing number, recognising Corbyn’s immovability, speak once again of seeking to “make it work”. For all the ructions of this summer, Corbyn’s speech will have helped to persuade them that they can.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.