Archive for the 'Betting' Category


If there was a CON leadership contest tomorrow my money would go on Javid and Hunt

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Theresa’s travails on Brexit over the past week have made it that bit less possible that she’ll survive as leader and PM to Brexit and beyond. I thought John Rentoul summed this up right in the Indy:

Until this week, I assumed May would be the prime minister who took us out of the EU in March. Her strategy of delay, procrastination and attrition isn’t pretty, and risks cutting the Brexit deadline fine, but it seemed to be working. This week, it didn’t. ..

Rentoul is talking up the prospects of the new HomeSec, Sajid Javid:

“..This week Javid lifted the cap on immigration for NHS doctors and nurses, and .. he helped to change government policy to allow a boy in Northern Ireland to import cannabis oil to treat a life-threatening condition. May’s distraction by Brexit means he can make popular policy changes and take the credit for them.

He has only been at the Home Office for six weeks and already he has ended the “hostile environment” policy on illegal immigration that gave us the Windrush scandal, made his peace with the Police Federation, the toughest trade union after the British Medical Association, and promised to deliver a law against upskirting after a maverick Tory MP blocked it.”

Michael Gove is the current betting favourite, see the chart above, and, of course, there is still Rees-Mogg who has fallen out of favour with punters of late. I think that the former long-term favourite, Johnson, is now out of it and he no longer appears to be the Tory who can reach groups of voters that other leading figures couldn’t. His tenure at the Foreign Office hasn’t helped.

Then there is the HealthSec, Hunt, who has been in the cabinet without break right from the formation of the coalition in May 2010. He’s a survivor and could be the safe pair of hands that the party turns to.

Of course everything in CON contests depends on first being able to make one of the top two places in the voting amongst party MPs for it only their names that go forward to the membership.

Mike Smithson


The lastest Lewisham East odds and expectations

Thursday, June 14th, 2018



Threatened women live longest. Bet against Theresa May going quickly

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

We read in the weekend papers that the Brexiters within the Conservative party are mustering for an attempt in July to despatch Theresa May, once Royal Assent has been received to the withdrawal bill.  Sources close to David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg are covering their retreat in the face of the Prime Minister’s obduracy over future customs arrangements with the EU with a hail of Parthian shots.  Her opponents already have 42 MPs ready to lodge letters for a vote of no confidence, we are told.  48 would mean that a vote would be held.  We are told to expect an “almighty reckoning”. 

Forgive me if I am sceptical.  Such Lear-like ravings threatening the terrors of the earth advertise Theresa May’s opponents’ weakness, not their strength.  If they were sure of their ground they would be acting now.  Because if they were sure of their ground they could impose their will on the rest of the party.  Evidently, they are not.

It’s worth recapping the mechanics of the Conservative Party leadership provisions. If at any time the chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, receives letters from 15% of Conservative MPs so requesting, a vote of confidence is held in the leader. The Conservatives have 316 MPs at present so that is where the figure of 48 MPs comes from.

The vote of confidence is then held by secret ballot among all MPs. If Theresa May wins, even by one vote, she cannot then be challenged for another year. If she loses, she must resign and is barred from standing in the subsequent leadership election contest. So the second important number of Conservative MPs is 158. It’s one thing to trigger a vote of confidence, you then have to win it.

Some suggest that Theresa May’s bar in practice is higher: how could she credibly govern if more than (say) 100 of her own MPs had privately declared that they had no confidence in her? This looks wrong to me. She has a year’s immunity from challenge.

She could and presumably would call for the party now to rally around her given that the question had been definitively settled for a year. She might even risk an aggressive reshuffle, safe from challenge from malcontents for 12 precious months. This would be unlikely to be to the benefit of the hardline Brexiters. You come at the queen, you best not miss.

How certain are the ERG and its penumbra of having 159 MPs ready to vote no confidence in Theresa May?  Not at all, I suggest.  They aren’t that numerous themselves.  So they’re going to have to persuade some of the less monomaniac of their colleagues to join forces with them. 

I have no doubt that there is a lot of dissatisfaction across the Conservative Parliamentary party with Theresa May.  But the question that has hovered over the party for a year now, keeping her in the role, and which has yet to land on a conclusion is: who would be better?  As importantly, who would get the job in practice?

If the ERG cannot identify a leadership solution that appeals to a broad enough cross-section of the Parliamentary party and, just as importantly, confirmation that unacceptable but potentially viable candidates are not going to be in the mix, unconvinced MPs will vote for Theresa May rather than risk making the problem worse. 

So the ERG would need first to identify a suitable candidate and then to persuade them to allow themselves to be advertised to doubters in such a way.  This is at best a work in progress.  From the outside it looks like a work not yet started.

All this leads me to believe that this story is an empty threat.  The ERG and its ministerial allies are seeking to cover their own weakness and perhaps to try to ensure that Theresa May does not seek to pull them further down the soft Brexit line.

Betfair have two markets on Theresa May’s exit date, one divided into quarters and one by year.  In the last few days I have been laying the possibility of her leaving between July and September 2018 at odds of under 3/1 and laying the possibility of her leaving in 2018 at odds of under 2/1.  Both odds have lengthened since, but the continuing absence of a potential successor who plotters can be confident of installing means that Theresa May is a lot safer than she looks.

If you disagree with me, there is an alternative bet (which is a good bet anyway).  Jacob Rees-Mogg is a highly divisive figure and the possibility of him becoming next leader would be anathema to many outside his coterie.  If Theresa May is to be deposed, he will need to make it quite clear that he will not stand for next Conservative leader, or the waverers will stick with the devil they know.  So he’s an easy lay at present prices, which have been drifting anyway, if you think action is imminent.

His route to next leader looks very difficult whatever your view of the timing of the election.  His present appeal is based around his positioning as Brexit’s Robespierre.  But by 29 March 2019, Britain will be on the outside of the EU and at that point Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes just another backbencher with a hobbyhorse. 

He might get there eventually (though he looks a poor bet to me, lacking anything other than superficial fluency and ideological orthodoxy) but it looks highly likely that the next Conservative leader will not have a double-barrelled name.  I’m keeping a big red number next to his name in my book and my current intention is to do so right the way to the contest itself.

Alastair Meeks


The LDs to outperform the Tories in Thursday’s by-election is the best bet out there at the moment

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Ignore the GE2017 result & look at what’s happening on the ground

Yesterday on Betfair someone wagered a few pounds on the Tories at 1000/1 to win Thursday’s Lewisham East by-election. This means that if he bet £10 he’ll lose £10 for all the signs are that the blue team is just running a token campaign in the seat where LAB got 67.9% of the vote in June last year. To make things harder the CON candidate is a leaver in a seat that was 65% remain.

The LDs who came second here at GE2010 are throwing everything at getting a good result and expect a big squeeze on Tory voters to tactically vote yellow. I’d expect their message to be something like “If enough CON supporters lend their votes the LDs they could yet defeat LAB and end years of Labour domination in Lewisham. That outcome would shock Corbyn’s Leadership to the core.”

To LAB voters you can envisage a message on the lines of “A good result for their Lewisham-born candidate could force Corbyn to reconsider his support for Brexit – and help turn the tide in favour getting another vote on Brexit

The signs are that Labour is getting a tad concerned. This is from leading party MP, David Lammy, under the heading “Lewisham is not a done deal” on LabourList.

“… there is a real problem with voter fatigue. The people of Lewisham East have had election after election – a general election in 2015, the mayoral and the referendum votes in 2016, another general in 2017, the council and Lewisham mayoral this year, and now this by-election. Voters really like Janet, and why wouldn’t they? She is an amazing candidate – a local who set up a foodbank, a keen campaigner who has already done a lot for the area. But people still need encouragement to go to the polling station. The fatigue goes for Labour members too..”

The info I’m getting from the campaign has been enough for me to gamble every day the maximum amount that Ladbrokes will allow me on the market featured above. I plan to go on betting almost however tight the odds get.

By-elections are one-off events. People aren’t electing a government and as we have seen voting pattern can be very different from normal elections.


Mike Smithson


The polling that should give great succour to Trump

Monday, June 11th, 2018

The above chart I found really interesting. Trump is retaining his support that is unmatched bar by George W Bush, by the hopefully unique set of circumstances that was 9/11.

Despite the general hostility directed towards Trump this is quite an achievement by Trump. His supporters are very loyal and shifting him from the White House in 2020 will be difficult, as it usually is with incumbent Presidents.

Of those eight Presidents who first became President after being elected in their own right and retained 74% and over of their support after 500 days only two didn’t win re-election. George Bush Senior, lost his re-election campaign and JFK, tragically, didn’t live long enough to fight a re-election campaign.



The July plot to oust Mrs May

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

It appears the patience of the Brexiteers with Mrs May has expired.

Whilst the story involving the Russians is rightly dominating the front page of The Sunday Times, the other major story in the paper is the one which shows how close Mrs May came close to losing over 10 ministers this week, including several cabinet ministers and the majority of the ministers in the DExEU, and her job.

Mrs May’s approach to dealing with the backstop and David Davis has consequences, The Sunday Times report

Four sources said this weekend that there was a plot to unseat May after the withdrawal bill received royal assent, expected in the second week of July, the moment at which the referendum result becomes legally binding.

One source claimed that there were already 42 MPs prepared to trigger a vote of no confidence in May, six short of the number required. One MP said: “We will keep our heads down and then get rid of her. No one trusts her any more.” Another Brexiteer said: “Once the bill goes through there is going to be an almighty reckoning.”

Rees-Mogg texted MPs on Friday to urge caution until the bill is passed but allies say he will lift these restrictions once it has become law.

Another plan under discussion by the plotters is to boycott a Commons vote on an unimportant piece of legislation so May suffers a defeat in order to demonstrate their strength. “We’ll just fail to turn up one day,” one rebel said.

MPs close to Davis say the end could be nigh: “Last week was a dress rehearsal,” one said. Another source close to Davis said: “She thinks she won. She’s f***** anyway. She’s toast.”

Whilst delivering the Brexit Leave promised seems a near impossible job Theresa May has dealt a poor hand very badly. Nearly two years after the referendum she and her government have yet to sort out their positions on Brexit.  That she triggered Article 50 without sorting out the position has the potential to turn out to be the country’s biggest foreign policy blunder since Iraq.

But her other failing is the way she conducts herself, secretive and only sharing her plans with a small band of advisers leads to people feeling they are being ignored and bounced into decisions.

It appears the Brexiteers in the Tory Party have concluded ‘No Theresa is better than a bad Theresa’ but by ousting Mrs May they have increased the chances of Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.


PS – If the plotters oust Theresa May on July 20th then I’m expecting a lot of Godwin’s Law that day.


A good day for backers of Michael Gove

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Is Michael Gove about to break the golden rule about laying the favourite to be next Tory leader?

In the last 24 hours the major betting news has been Michael Gove becoming the favourite in the next Tory leader market, both Betfair and Ladbrokes have seen this shift.

For those of us who have been laying both Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg this is great news and seemingly inevitable given the history of laying the favourite for the Tory leader and their own flaws. This morning Boris was rating lower than Matt Hancock and James Brokenshire in a ConHome poll.

I can see Gove appealing to the Cameroon wing (Brexit apart there’s not much difference in the political philosophies of Cameron and Gove) and the ERG win who expect Gove to deliver Brexit. Gove’s also one of the few Ministers on top of their brief and looking competent which should help his leadership ambitions.

I still have some doubts about Michael Gove becoming Tory leader he’s annoyed and betrayed far too many people, as David Cameron, Boris Johnson, and the Scottish fishing industry will attest to.

There’s also Gove’s public perception, David Cameron on Sir Lynton Crosby’s instruction had to demote Gove to a hidden role to help David Cameron win a majority in 2015. More than a few MPs will remember that.

But Gove’s been here before, a month before David Cameron resigned Gove was leading the ConHome leader polls so he might be peaking too soon once again. 

Sajid Javid appears to be the coming man having been an outsider just a few weeks ago, for those of us who anticipated his ascension to Home Secretary this is a profitable trend.

This maybe my book talking but if there’s a leadership contest this year then I expect the winner to be one of Gove, Hunt, and Javid, the latter would not only be profitable but some on the left would literally go (coco)nuts.



Nearly two years before election day the Tory party is going to select their London Mayoral candidate this summer

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Conservative Home reported earlier on this week that

The Conservative candidate for mayor of London will be chosen this summer, during a three-month campaign culminating in a selection in time for the Party’s annual conference.

The newly-agreed timetable provides for nominations in June, hustings and other campaigning during July and August, followed by a vote in September.

I do think Sadiq Khan is vulnerable, particularly on crime, he might blame Tory austerity but the counter argument might be that the perception is crime didn’t surge under Boris Johnson, particularly knife crime that a heavyweight Tory could exploit but I don’t think a heavyweight Tory will stand.

The things in Sadiq Khan’s favour will be is that London is seriously pro Labour, last month in the locals Labour recorded their best result since 1971 and there’s still the fallout from the Brexit referendum which I expect will be sub-optimal for the Tories.

The next Mayoral election should take place  whilst the UK is still in the transition phase so I’d expect Brexit to still be a factor in this election.

Assuming we don’t fall out of the EU with no deal then the post transition deal will still be being negotiated and that could lead to politics being even more polarised.

I’m also not sure of the wisdom of the Tory party selecting their candidate so far in advance. Labour tried the same approach for the 2012 Mayoral election when they selected the UK’s leading Hitler expert in the autumn of 2010 but an early selection didn’t ensure Ken Livingstone’s victory in May 2012.

A 40% return in less than two years seems like the best option, I expect the only way this doesn’t pay out if Sadiq Khan doesn’t stand, he might have loftier ambitions, especially if the Tories maintain (or extend) their polling lead which leads to Corbyn becoming vulnerable.