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“The Website of Choice for Real Political Anoraks”

December 27th, 2004


    Telegraph commentator says LDs might be a good buy

We don’t know whether Tony Blair is a regular on the site yet but a feature in the Daily Telegraph today by George Trefgarne states that “For real political anoraks, the website of choice is politicalbetting.com.”

Whether the thousands of users who come onto the site each day share that view of themselves we do not know but there is little doubt that a huge amount of detailed knowledge about what is going on throughout the country is shared here by the site’s many contributors.

In an end of year assessment of the current political scene and how the betting markets are moving Trefgarne looks at tactical vote unwind, the latest state of the polls and how well the Lib Dems might do. It’s worth reading.

He observes Like millions of others, the followers of politicalbetting.com are deeply depressed at the surprising uselessness of Michael Howard’s Tories. Prices reflect this malaise. Last summer, Sportingindex was offering a spread of 235-240 on the number of seats the Tories could gain at the next election (they won 166 in 2001). Now the spread has collapsed to just 198-206. However, my guess is that Labour’s lead is wobbly, like a man on stilts. The polls show there is a widespread feeling that Labour ministers – not just Tony Blair – are not to be trusted; that the war is a fiasco; that crime is rising; immigration is out of control; and that public services are chaotic and bad value for money. History also tells us that governments start to fall apart when they lose control of the public finances. Last month, Gordon Brown borrowed £9.4 billion, more than any other chancellor on record. The public are not stupid and sense there is a serious deficit: a recent poll by Populus found that 67 per cent believe Labour will put up taxes after the election.

If you think Labour is pretty awful and the Tories lack spine, you may be left with no choice but to vote Liberal Democrat. Of course, nobody expects them to form a government, and their bizarre policy platform shows worrying signs of multiple personality disorder. They are in favour of 50 per cent income tax for higher earners; joining the euro; congestion charging in London but not in Edinburgh; and as recently as 2002 half the front bench actually voted in favour of ID cards. But they do have the advantage of being neither Labour nor Tories.

Trefgarne goes on to suggest that if the Lib Dem spread price falls to 65-70 Commons seats then a buy might be a good bet. We are not so sure.

Latest General Election seat spreads from Spreadfair – the spreadbetting exchange.
LAB 351.5-352.7: CON 194-199: LIBD 68-71.5: SNP 5-6: PC 4-5: UKIP 0.6-1.1
The spreads are usually much narrower because Spreadfair combines the benefits of a betting exchange with a spread market. Their spreads are also much more market sensitive.

In order to defray some of Politicalbetting’s costs we have reached an agreement whereby we receive a commission on accounts that are opened through the site. We like the way that Spreadfair has a full range of party options though not, as yet, Respect. If you are opening a spread-betting account I would be grateful if you could do it through the site. Many thanks.

Mike Smithson






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