Archive for June, 2005


Will South Staffs be a turning point for UKIP?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005


    Could the anti-EU party produce a sensational result tomorrow?

There are increasingly bullish comments coming out of the UKIP web discussion forum about how well their campaign is going in the delayed South Staffordshire election which takes place tomorrow. If this long report by a senior party official on UKIP’s website is to be believed then tomorrow’s ballot in South Staffordshire is not the foregone conclusion for Conservatives that it might appear.

In fact the contest is being set up as a make-or-break for UKIP – highly dangerous stuff unless it is based on real activity on the ground. He says “If UKIP do not do well here, then we will never do well anywhere. Fact. He then goes on to conclude: If we don’t do well here, then you have to question if the brand UKIP is ever going to do anything.

    In his detailed commentary on the campaign the official claims that the party is winning the poster wars with the ballot itself being presented as a means of voters making it their referendum on the EU, something that has been refused by Blair.

The sitting MP, Patrick Cormack “has been targeted specifically and the good news is he bites every time. Quotes from Hansard over his Europhile leanings have shown him to be the two-faced lying career merchant that he is. The fact that he is a nasty, pompous old-school Tory doesn’t help either…

In his analysis the official notes two key elements 1) It is not a general election. Government is not being chosen, so a protest vote is much more likely. 2) The EU is all anyone is talking about. I have never heard such hostility to the EU from the average Joe. It warmed my heart!

He concludes If we don’t do well here, then you have to question if the brand UKIP is ever going to do anything. The people are very positive and say they will vote UKIP and funnily always come back and say keep the pound (not used in this campaign!). We will see.

This election has taken place without any real coverage from the media and we are having to rely on reports like this one to get a feel for what is happening. If this man is right then “Doing well” for UKIP could mean getting into second place behind the Conservatives. If that happens the party would dominate the Cheadle by-election and provide the backcloth for Tony Blair’s campaign to get EU financial reform.

Only two betting markets remain on the election: Betfairs “winning party” where the Tories are 1/33 and the size of majority where the 1.2/1 on less than 5,000 look a great bet. Skybet have closed their vote share markets.

MY PERSONAL BETTING. I have put as much as the bookmaker would allow me on the Tories getting less than 50% at 5/2; Labour being below 30% at evens and the Lib Dems being more than 15% at 5/6. I think that I will be smiling on Friday.

Mike Smithson.


Punters pile onto David Davis

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

    Best bookie price now 1/2

The chart shows how the best betting price on David Davis for the Tory leadership is continuing to tighten as punters see no alternative to him getting the top job. The best bookie price is 1/2 although you can still get 0.7/1 with Betfair.

This compares with the 5/2 that was available on May 6th – the day that Michael Howard said that he would be standing down by the end of the year. A £100 winning bet placed on that day would have produced a profit of £250. Today’s price means you would only get £50 – or a fifth of what was available seven weeks ago.

With no other candidate having emerged the betting markets, at least, seem to have made up their minds – it is going to be Davis so why not make some money on what appears to be a certainty? It is hard to go against this logic whatever supporters of David Cameron, Ken Clarke or Sir Malcolm Rifkind might say.

    Could it be that the Shadow Home Secretary’s succession to the top job will fly in the face of the conventional wisdom about Tory leadership contests that the early favourite never ends up as winner?

The uncertainty over the leadership is certainly hitting the party’s position in the polls – the latest from ICM in the Guardian today giving Labour a 7% lead. The online version of the Guardian’s story fails to mention the Liberal Democrat share – fair enough, they want us to buy the paper!

At this stage after an election poll figures are pretty meaningless and the only interest to anoraks like me will be the post-election mathematics that ICM is now employing to deal with the increasing problems that phone polling has in finding representative samples.

Mike Smithson


Another good bet on South Staffordshire?

Monday, June 20th, 2005

    Will UKIP eat into the Tory’s vote share?

With just three days to go before the delayed South Staffordshire election it looks as though UKIP might do considerably better than if this election had taken place on May 5th when the rest of the UK was electing a Government. That consideration won’t apply on Thursday and it’s possible that we’ll see a big vote for UKIP which got 28% there in the Euro Elections.

This could mean that there’s great value in betting on the Tory vote share which Skybet was operating until late last night. If the bookmaker puts up the market when it opens this morning then take the 5/2 that was available on the Tories getting below 50%.

In both the 1997 and 2001 General Elections the Tories managed to get just over the 50% mark. But because of the different nature of the ballot on Thursday the shares that Labour and the Tories will get will be nothing like what would have happened if the election had taken place on May 5th.

In the Euro Elections in the South Staffordshire local authority area last June this was how the vote split: CON 8,984: LAB 4,319: LD 2,728: UKIP 7,819: GRN 1,101: BNP 1,989: OTH 977. Although these figures cover more than just the South Staffs seat they do show good performances by UKIP and the Freedom Party. This will, surely, eat into the Tory share.

Labour, meanwhile, will see votes migrate to the Lib Dems and Greens and could also be hit by UKIP.

This view was reinforced by a post on the site last night by David Seary who filed this excellent first hand report “…..impression on the ground is that UKIP doing reasonably well, working hard, seemingly quite well organised. Appear confident of hitting Tories quite a bit. Labour and Lib Dems are fighting each other Labour most of all, Lib Dems also attacking Cons. Impressions are that Labour losing some support to Lib Dems. Labour called Lib Dem candidate 2 seats Crotty, Lib Dems saying the Labour candidate is only a second choice. Hey Ho!!! Lib Dems up to now anyway not adorning lamp posts as much as the others. Some areas had 3 leaflets already from Lib Dems and Tories. UKIP seem to be using the free post well, however their campaign is a one issue and tonight they were claiming big switch of support from the Conservatives – I say they claim because what is “big”….

Assuming Skybet reopens the market bet on the Tories getting less than 50% – even if the price is tighter than the 5/2 of last night. Another good bet to capitalise on a rising share for the minor parties is in Betfair’s Winning Majority market. More votes for UKIP, the Lib Dems, the Greens and the Freedom Party should cut the overall winning majority. The current 1.76/1 on it being less than 5000 is great value.

Mike Smithson

Picture courtesy of


Will Thursday be bad for Labour in South Staffs?

Sunday, June 19th, 2005


    SkyBet stops taking money on Labour getting less than 30%

Nearly a month ago we urged site users to make money on the postponed South Staffordshire election by betting that Labour would get less than 30% on June 23rd. At the time SkyBet were offering evens on this outcome which we felt was great value for money.

Since then the price has tightened and tightened and reached 4/7 a week ago when Skybet suspended all betting on the party shares in Thursday’s election. They’ve now re-opened the South Staffs markets but are not taking any money at all on Labour getting below 30%. Our view on how Labour will do has not changed.

  • If South Staffs follows the May 5th national swing then Labour would end up with 29.5%.
  • At the General Election Labour saw its biggest vote drop in places where it did not matter – like South Staffs.
  • Labour supporters can stay at home or switch parties without the risk of Michael Howard becoming Prime Minister – unlikely as that prospect now appears seven weeks on
  • The Labour share might be vulnerable to the Lib Dems and coming third is a possibility
  • It’s hard to call the Tory vote but we think that the Lib Dems at 15% or more looks like a good bet even though the price is now 8/13.

    The General Election in the seat had to be put back because of the death of the Lib Dem candidate between the closure of nominations and polling day.

    Mike Smithson


    Will Blair outlast Chirac?

    Saturday, June 18th, 2005

      What does the Euro-spat do for the Brown succession?

    With the leaders of the EU nations returning to their home countries after the deadlock in Brussels there’s speculation this morning that the latest Euro-mess could mean that Tony Blair will have to stay in office longer.

    According to Andrew Grice in the Independent today ….some Blairites are talking about their man outlasting M. Chirac, who faces re-election in 2007, as well as Mr Schröder, who seems destined for electoral defeat this September. He notes as well that “the economic and political problems facing M. Chirac and the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder make Mr Blair look like the relatively strong man of Europe”.

    Whether this is right there’s little doubt that the abandonment of the UK Euro referendum has taken away the major political event that would have been a convenient moment for Blair to step down.

    A good bet in all of this is BetHiLo’s spread on the length of Tony Blair’s third term. The current price is 19-21 months which means that a buy bet would start producing profits in March 2007. This is out of line with the Spreadfair market on the number of weeks that the third term will last. This has 108-117 weeks which takes us into the summer of 2007.

    The market from Sporting Index’s off-shoot, BetHiLo, looks like the one to be in but be quick. On Thursday we suggested going for their “Age of the next Tory leader” spread as a cost effective way of backing David David and covering yourself if Clarke or Rifkind made it. The then spread was 50-51.5 years – it is now 51-52.5 years. The firm’s price on David Davis also moved sharply after we said it was great value and you can get out now at a big profit.

    Mike Smithson


    Have you booked for next Saturday’s party?

    Friday, June 17th, 2005

      An evening to see the faces behind the names

    Everything is now set for the Politicalbetting Post-General Election Party which takes place at a pub in Central London next Saturday night.

    Thanks to the generous sponsorship from IG Index and one or two other people who have made donations we have enough in the budget to pay for the room hire and the the food. Hopefully there will be enough left over for at least one free drink for every attendee.

    Those who have indicated that they will be there have been sent an email. If you have not received yours or have not booked yet then please send a message as soon as possible to

    The event has been organised by Book-value (Philip) and I’m really grateful to him and those who have contributed and have made this get together possible.

      Every user of the site is welcome to the event. It’s not just restricted to those who contribute to the discussions so please come along if you can.

    It promises to be a very interesting evening. We start at about 6pm and food will be available from 7pm.

    Mike Smithson


    The fight to become the main challenger to David Davis

    Friday, June 17th, 2005

    Cameron RED: Clarke YELLOW: Fox GREEN: Lansley PINK: Rifkind BLACK

      How the betting has changed on the main contenders

    The above chart shows the changing best betting prices available on the main challengers to David Davis in the Tory leadership race. The start date is May 6th – the day after the General Election when Michael Howard surprised everybody by announcing that he would be stepping down.

    Since then there has been the wrangle on how his successor should be chosen and the calls for Howard to step down early.

      But the main move in the betting has been a steady tightening of the Davis price and the consolidation of Cameron’s position as the main challenger.

    David Davis has been the hot favourite throughout this period but at the start it was Liam Fox who was making the running. The 38 year old Education Secretary, David Cameron, got into the second favourite position within the first week and that is where he has remained ever since.

    There was the huge move to Ken Clarke just after the French referendum but the former Tory Chancellor’s position has eased back since.

    The only other contender who has seen recent movement in his favour has been Sir Malcolm Rifkind – the former Tory Foreign Secretary who lost his seat in the 1997 General Election and only returned to the Commons last month.

    Mike Smithson


    Will the new rules impede the Davis bandwagon?

    Thursday, June 16th, 2005


      The David Davis price tightens to 4/5

    Any idea that the new Tory leadership election rules could impact on the Shadow Home Secretary’s so far undeclared canditure for the Tories leadership have been rejected by gamblers who have pushed his price down even further.

    The latest odds put Davis in the range of 4/6 to 4/5 and the signs are that this will get tighter. The fact that Tory MPs will get the final say, unilike with IDS last time, has had no impact.

      In spite of the huge range of possible contenders no single person has emerged as a challenger who could take on Davis and the race is starting to look like a foregone conclusion.

    The issue now is moving from who will be the next leader to when the change might happen.

    A GREAT VALUE TORY LEADERSHIP BET. By far the best price you can get on Davis is in Sporting Index’s BetHILO market. This is a form of spread betting where the winner gets 50 points. Currently the Davis price is 19-22 – so you would get well above evens. But even more interesting from the firm is a spread on the age of the next Tory leader. The current range is 50-51.5 years. David Davis will be 57 in December. David Cameron is 38. A buy bet here would make you a winner if Davis, Malcom Rifkind or Ken Clarke got it. Both these spreads offer great value but the age of the next Tory leader seems to be the best one.

    Mike Smithson