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So what does the South Staffs result mean?

June 24th, 2005

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    Does Cormack’s victory have implications for Cheadle?

The victory by Patrick Cormack in the delayed South Staffordshire election with an increased majority is very much in line with our first call on the contest on May 24th when we urged users to get on SkyBet’s Labour vote share market which was then offering evens at 30% or less.

Fortunately Skybet’s withdrawal from the market at the weekend meant that anybody tempted by my forecast that UKIP would eat into the Tory vote did not lose any money. Thank you SkyBet. UKIP did get into double figures but the party must be very disappointed not to have made greater inroads especially at a time when the EU is very much in the news.

    What yesterday’s result underlines is that electors will only come out for Labour to stop the Tories returning to power. When you take that element away, as in the Euro elections last year or in South Staffordshire, then Tony Blair’s party does badly.

The Lib Dems have always struggled in South Staffordshire and they continued to do so in the latest contest. The inability to spend money as though this was a Westminster by-election prevented any real band-wagon effect.

The Cheadle contest on July 14th should be totally different because the limit on expenses will be many times more than was available to the parties in South Staffordshire. The one Cheadle betting market has the Lib Dems as 1/10 favourite.

    Against that there’s little doubt that Tory morale will have been boosted enormously by the Cormack victory and this could make the coming by-election closer than the betting odds suggest.

Mike Smithson






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