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Take Khan to the bank

December 2nd, 2018

The tip I’m about to give is not particularly exciting, or thrilling and it certainly won’t get you rich overnight seeing as the potential payday in question is top price 2-5 and 542 days away at the time of writing this article.

But it is highly likely to win, more than the implied 71.4% that the odds suggest.

The bet is Sadiq Khan to win the London mayoral election in 2020. Unlike many long term political bets (Tory & Labour leader say) where there is no set time and date for the race, we know the London mayoral election will take place on or before the 7th May 2020. So there is no issue that a contest will take place.

We know too that it is highly, highly likely Sadiq runs. Here he is confirming in June that fact. It was more or less confirmed back in September.

Now there is a non zero chance he won’t run, perhaps an unexpected vacancy will arise in the labour leadership that he feels is too good an opportunity to miss will arise (It probably won’t, and he probably won’r run if it does).

Also actuarial and health concerns are present for everybody – but Khan is healthier than the average 48 year old, his London Marathon time of just over 4 hrs 19 mins is nothing to be sniffed at (I say this as someone who runs a few times a week). Also, being a good muslim he doesn’t drink. The essential point is his morbidity and health risks are surely no more than a couple of % and most likely considerably lower given his fitness and clean lifestyle.

Taking all this into account and being the incumbent, fiercely pro EU (A fact that means he has pretty much zero chance of being ‘primaried’ by anyone else within Labour) and not seen on any particular side of the Labour ideological wars (Think Corbyn/Blair) means the probability he runs must be at or over 95% or so.

So if he is running come March 7th 2020, what is the chance he wins ?

Well back in 2016 he achieved 44.2% on first prefs, rising to 56.8% on 2nd prefs. But what has happened to London since then – do we expect him to do better or worse ?

Brexit happened, and Brexit has been devastating for the Tories in particular in London. Labour tallied up 54.6% to the Tories 33.2% in London in 2017. And what of the 2018 local elections, Labour achieved 43.9% to the Tories 28.8% – but don’t forget the mood music at the time, Labour was engulfed in an antisemitism row that most likely lost Barnet for them, also the Labour expectations were set ludicrously high – taking Westminster was probably never on for example; though they did win the popular vote in Wandsworth. Still 28.8% for the Tories was a very poor showing indeed.

There won’t be an antisemitism row around Sadiq Khan come 2020 (That’s a very Corbyn/ Labour leadership specific issue), and the solidly red areas of Labour can count more so than in local elections or general elections with huge weight of Labour vote. The Tories do not really have any Islingtons or Hackneys where the vote will be weighed stonkingly in their favour.

Meanwhile Shaun Bailey is still going to find an anti-Brexit backlash in the capital – I can’t see Theresa May coming up with a deal to satisfy pro EU Londoners any time soon.

Now you might believe that Bailey is a better candidate than Khan, but the simple fact is he is highly unlikely to win, London is right now a Labour city.

I’d make Khan around a 1-10 shot at this point – and that is why at 2-5, he is an excellent bet to continue his mayoralty to 2024. It could just set him up well if there is a Labour leadership contest after that too if he fancies a return to Westminster…

Pulpstar

Pulpstar is a longstanding contributor to PB.