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Are the bookies scared of Blunkett?

November 29th, 2004

    Why no WILL BLUNKETT SURVIVE markets?

In recent years a healthy tradition has grown up of betting on whether politicians in trouble will survive.

Within days of the David Kelly case last year you could back or lay on whether or not the main players – Alastair Campbell, Geoff Hoon, Tony Blair, Andrew Gilligan, Gavyn Davies – would hold onto their jobs beyond September 30 2003. In terms of taste the Kelly case was far worse than the Home Secretary’s current predicament.

A week or so later last autumn it was the hapless IDS who became the focus of betting attention and whether he would still be in post in mid-November. Then in the run-up to the publication of the Hutton report the main players came into the frame again and money could be won and lost.

Currently you can bet on whether Peter Mandelson will serve his full term as a Euro Commissioner. So why no market on Blunkett?

    Could it be, we wonder, that the betting industry is worried about the promised Government plans to tighten up the law on gambling, particularly on the internet?

There’s a huge interest in the story and lots of speculation on whether or not he can carry on as an authoritarian Home Secretary laying down the law to all of us with the papers full of his private life. People want to bet but the only Blunkett market about is whether he’ll be the next Labour leader. Even at 20/1 we do not think that this is a value bet.

Meanwhile the affair – political that is – has taken the wind a little out of Labour’s sails on the main General Election market. Although the bookie price on Labour is still 1/7 the Betfair odds have moved a touch to 1.22. They were 1.18 a week ago.






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