Smoke signals

smokesigs  Sally Bercow ‘expected to lose to McAlpine’ say legal sources. Overheard in various eateries, bars and chambers in recent days: that Mrs Bercow’s lawyers have made something of a cod’s arse of the libel suit being brought against her by Lord Alfred ‘Cousin? What cousin?’ McAlpine.

The consensus is that “she should have won, with better (and rather obvious) arguments being applied….as opposed to the ones that were”.

Sources think the verdict will come next week. We pray that the Forces of Darkness will not secure a victory.

‘Former Cabinet Minister to be arrested’. I shrink from posting this, but I’ve now had a threader, an emailer and an MSM hack tell me that an Elm House regular will have his collar felt in the next few days. Every time this rumour pops up, rising expectancy is cancelled out by yet another arrest of somebody aged 102 who groped a Beauty Queen in Skegness during the summer of 1967. So I’m not holding my breath. Except that this time, there does seem to be a consistency and conviction about the imminent arrest.

And talking of convictions, best not to expect one – even if the most likely candidate does wind up in a police station somewhere.

Rising tensions between the German Bundesbank and the ECB. Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann continues to contest every move made by Mario Draghi in terms of debtor nation loan commitments – stressing as he does so that last year’s Karlsruhe Court decision would consider much of it illegal under German law.

The normally unflappable Draghi is more than slightly irritated by all of this. Both sides, meanwhile, are leaking to the effect that they expect the relationship to worsen as the summer unfolds….always assuming we do actually get one.

Insiders at the ECB are muttering that the more fractious this gets, the more convinced they are that powerful forces within Germany (especially in Frankfurt) want out of the euro, and are looking for somebody to blame whose nationality is other than German. No change there then.

Earlier at The Slog: Why Japan is playing with fire that could burn the rest of us very badly