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Could the Tories risk a young leader again?

June 27th, 2005

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    Has the Hague experience blighted Cameron’s chances?

Apart from having gone to Eton – his parent’s decision, one assumes, and not his – the other concern about David Cameron’s candiditure is his age. After the experience of William Hague, who was surely promoted too quickly, there are worries about handing the leadership to someone in their 30s.

The Howard pattern – going for someone in their 60s – was going in the opposite direction and this might be another factor that could hurt Ken Clarke.

My current favourite market on the contest is Sporting Index’s BetHilo spread on the age of the next Tory leader. The current spread is 51-53 years which, in many ways, looks a more cost effective way of betting on David Davis than the current best bookie price of 1/2.

Assuming that the new leader will be in place on November 1st 2005 this is what a £50 a unit spread bet would produce for each of the leading contenders:-

Ken Clarke born 2nd July 1940 +£600
Malcolm Rifkind born 21st June 1946 +£300
David Davis born 23rd December 1948 +£200
Andrew Lansley 11 December 1956 -£250
Liam Fox born 22nd September 1961 -£350
David Cameron born 9th October 1966 -£700

So a BUY bet gives you Clarke, Davis and Rifkind while with a sell bet you are on Lansley, Fox and Cameron and your winnings or losses will be determined by the actual age of Michael Howard’s successor when the transition takes place.

My sense is that the party will go for an old ‘un rather than a young ‘un and the buy bet might produce a good return.

Mike Smithson






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