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On the third Thursday of May exactly a year ago Mrs May launched the Conservative manifesto

May 17th, 2018

The anniversary of the #DementiaTax

On the third Thursday of May exactly a year ago Mrs. May was enjoying huge leads in the polls as she travelled to key Tory target of Halifax (LAB GE2015 majority 428) to launch the Conservative manifesto.

The polling in that week was pointing to a landslide. GfK and ICM had her party 20% ahead with leads of 18% by Kantar and 15% by Ipsos-MORI. The spread betting markets had a CON “buy” level of in excess of 400 seats and virtually no one had any doubts about the outcome. Mrs. May’s gamble of going to the country three years early was going to pay off big time.

The election itself was just four weeks off and postal voting packs were due to go out in the following few days.

    A key proposal that got picked up on social media while she was still speaking was to make people pay for their care if they had assets £100,000+. Suddenly the term “#DemntiaTax” starting flooding Twitter and it became apparent that this was not going well at all.

This became the peg for the media to get public reaction to the whole manifesto and that evening we had vox pop after vox pop of older voters not being happy with the idea.

I must admit that at the time I thought the move was laudable – the Tories being ready to use their apparent strong position to take on one of the toughest issues of the day, funding elderly care, with a very clear proposal that wasn’t going to be popular.

The first round of voting intention polls carried out after the launch suddenly showed a very different picture. YouGov and Survation both had the Tory lead down to single figures.

It was that weekend that I placed what would turn out to be my most profitable political bet ever – I ‘sold’ Tory seats at 393 on the spread betting markets. They ended up with 318 MP a gap of 75 which was then multiplied by my stake level.

Halifax rather than being a CON gain saw LAB increase its majority from 468 to 5,376.

Mike Smithson