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Is Charles really running out of time?

December 30th, 2005

    Kennedy’s secret critics fail to impress punters

The Lib Dem leader’s firm post-Christmas response to those private critics who say, amongst other things, that he does not have the charisma of a Cameron or a Blair has reinforced the doubts of reluctant punters in the Next Lib Dem leader market.

For in spite of all the coverage there has been very little betting on his replacement. Betfair’s market has seen just £5,302 in matched bets with barely £800 going on the ambitious Home Affair spokesman, Mark Oaten. Menzies Campbell is involved in half the matched bets while Simon Hughes is at less than £500.

Gamblers are keeping their money firmly in their wallets because until something happens in relation to Kennedy there is no race. It could be four or five years before punters get a return.

    What’s going for Kennedy is that none of his critics are prepared to go public. By his re-statement that he’s staying the only option for those wanting him out is a formal challenge – something for which so far they have not had the stomach.

Things could change quickly, of course, but with the Lib Dem’s still polling at 20% or more it is hard to make the case that Kennedy is an electoral liability. The surveys in next couple of months, particularly ICM and YouGov, could be crucial, particularly if party support drops to 16% or below.

In the meantime it is hard not to admire Kennedy’s resilience.

Mike Smithson






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