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Could Gord pull off another conference coup?

August 31st, 2009

Why I’m not risking any cash at the moment?

Over the past four months I have studiously avoided the spread betting markets on the number of seats each of the parties will get at the next election – something that’s felt very strange because for years this has been my main betting arena.

My Labour sell and Lib Dem buy contracts have been closed down at reasonable profits as I have waited to see how things look in for the post conference season in mid-October. For so much can happen at this time of year.

Who forgets how gloomy things looked for Mr. Brown twelve months ago. The polls, see here, were even worse for Labour than they are at the moment culminating in the September 2008 Ipsos-MORI survey that had CON 52: LAB 24: LD 12.

Then we had the Lehmans collapse followed a week or so later by Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour conference in which his comment about now “being no time for a novice” seemed to hit home against both David Miliband and David Cameron. By the end of November one poll had Labour just one point behind suggesting the possibility of a fourth Labour majority government.

Could Brown pull of something at this year’s Labour conference in Brighton? Certainly if there is no move on the leadership then Labour will unite round the PM. And don’t under-estimate Brown when he’s doing set-pieces especially when they are as important as this.

What will matter are not the immediate post-speech polls but the ones that are carried out a week or so after the Tories have finished their gathering in Manchester.

I still think that the Tories are on their way to a big victory – but at the moment I’m not risking any cash on it.

Mike Smithson