"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.

Photo: Getty Images
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The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.