Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Leadsom might not ever have a better chance of becoming PM than the 2016 leadership race that she flunked

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Her withdrawal then was a great disservice to the party

It is being reported that Andrea Leadsom is ready to stand if there is move within the parliamentary party to try to anoint a successor to GE2017 failure, TMay, without the necessity of going through a full fledged leadership contest.

The Tory leadership election system dates back to William Hague’s days in the 1997-2001 parliament with the final choice being made by via a members’ postal ballot from a shortlist of two agreed by the party’s MPs.

A year ago Leadsom had, through a series of well documented freak circumstances, made it to the final two and was all set for the next leader and PM to be decided by members’ ballot.

However she pulled out of the contest after an unfortunate interview with Rachel Sylvestor of the Times when she appeared to suggest that she was better qualified to be leader because unlike TMay, she was a mother.

    Leadsom’s decision meant that TMay got the job by default and was never tested fighting for the support of party members – an experience, I’d suggest suggest that would have prepared her better for leading the party at a general election.

May would have had to go through hustings meetings with Leadsom, TV debates and tough probing interviews – all things that the very private Mrs May finds hard to deal with. It would have been much harder ducking out of Woman’s Hour in a leadership contest than as an incumbent PM.

But the overall experience would have honed her up and made her more cautious about calling a general election.

Given what we now know about how the PM performs under such electoral scrutiny there’s also a possibility that TMay might not have beaten Leadsom who did well for her side in her public appearances during the EU referendum.

You can get Leadsom at 20/1 on Betfair to be TMay’s successor.

Mike Smithson


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

For the second year running Andrea Leadsom is ensuring Theresa May is Prime Minister.

Last night I observed the unofficial Tory leadership contest is increasing in its tempo and activity, today The Financial Times have more information on it.

Some speculate Mr Davis might be given a “coronation” as the leadership candidate best placed to deliver Brexit, but few Tory MPs believe that a transfer of power would be anything other than brutal and protracted. “There won’t be a coronation while Andrea Leadsom is alive,” sighs one Conservative MP, referring to the ambitious leader of the Commons who made a shortlived bid for the Conservative leadership against Mrs May last year.

Meanwhile, Tory MPs recount how other potential contenders are suddenly clearing their diaries to spend more time with colleagues. “[Chancellor] Philip Hammond had drinks the other night in his office,” says one Tory MP. “It’s not like him.”

Some MPs argue Mr Hammond might act as a stopgap leader — perhaps serving for two years to deliver Brexit before standing aside — but the idea of the Conservatives fielding three prime ministers in a single parliament is seen as bizarre by many. “What would be the point of Philip Hammond?” says one Tory MP. “It’s like deciding you want to change your Volvo and you come back from the garage with…another Volvo.”

So last year Andrea Leadsom effectively made Theresa May Prime Minister and one year on she’s still ensuring Theresa May continues to be Prime Minister because Mrs Leadsom still harbours ambitions to be Prime Minister and won’t allow a coronation. This also does tend to give credence to the reports that after the general election Mrs Leadsom wanted Mrs May to appoint her as Home Secretary or Foreign Secretary.



This is why you should be laying Boris as next Tory leader/PM

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Video: Boris Johnson being by Eddie Mair a few years ago, the interview did not go well for Boris.

The Spectator have a great piece by James Forsyth about the next Tory leadership contest

Boris, though, has had it even worse than most frontrunners. His problem is that there are not one but four groups who have it in for him. The Cameron/Osborne gang will never forgive him for ending the career of both their king and their dauphin, and they are determined to stop him claiming the crown. Their desire for vengeance blinds them to the fact his liberal Toryism means he is closer to the Cameron project than nearly any of the other contenders.

The second lot are the Tory Europhiles who blame Boris for the referendum result. Then come the May ultras, who regarded Boris as the most immediate threat and so put him in the frame for leadership in order to make him an obvious target. Then there are the men of government who are offended by his unconventional path to one of the great offices of state; I am told that Philip Hammond is ‘obsessed by Boris’. It is little wonder that even the Foreign Secretary’s friends have been reduced to declaring that ‘every-one’s out for Boris’.

Not all of Boris’s problems can be put down to referendum bitterness or tall poppy syndrome. In many ways, he is not helping himself. He is still making too many unforced errors. His spectacularly bumbling Eddie Mair interview was harmful because it played up to the clownish stereotype of him that his opponents want to present. Boris’s ministerial enemies claim, unfairly, that he is shambolic both in cabinet and on the international stage. When Boris mucks up a media appearance, he makes these distorted reports seem more credible. His timing has been off too. His team’s intervention on public sector pay infuriated Tory MPs because it looked like he was jumping on the bandwagon, putting his own interests ahead of the party’s.

Boris’s Falstaffian coming-of-age moment is overdue. Even those Tory MPs who are well inclined towards him want some sign that he has put aside childish things, that he is surrounding himself with serious people. Yet Boris cannot bring himself to say ‘I know thee not’ to some of the less impressive characters who have attached themselves to him in the hope of preferment. That’s an admirable kindness, perhaps, but a great flaw in a politician.

At the same time, Boris needs to get to know his colleagues better, given the tactical voting that will be organised against him. He will need the support of 106 Tory MPs to be sure of making it to the final round. But as one of those who knows him best observes, Boris doesn’t make friends — he receives offers of friendship. The result is he remains a stranger to far too many Tory MPs. When he recently made an appearance on the House of Commons terrace, parliament’s prime spot for summer socialising, it was the first time that most MPs had seen him there.

The whole article is fascinating about the next Tory leadership contest and why the timing of it is so crucial to the chances of so many. As someone who is laying Boris Johnson for the second Tory leadership contest in a row, there maybe a bit of confirmation bias for me, however given the head of the National Audit Office’s intervention in the Brexit debate today where he warned ‘the Government could come apart like a chocolate orange’ this makes me think this a time for a serious politician, and that rules out Boris.

As an aside, this intervention makes for damning read for David Davis with the head of the NAO revealing ‘that David Davis’s Brexit department failed to show him a plan for how leaving the EU will work, despite his requests, and could only offer a “vague” explanation as to why it was unable to.’  

If Brexit descends into a mess then I’d be laying anyone who was involved with Brexit as it appears those charged with delivering Brexit lack the vision, the wit, and managerial ability that God gave pistachio nuts.



Unsurprisingly the betting moves against Trump serving a full term

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Following the recent revelations about Donald Trump Jr the betting on Trump serving a full term dipped below 50% for the first time in nearly two months, though at the time of writing at (12.30pm BST) the odds were 50/50.

I’m still backing him to serve a full term for the reasons stated last night, I just can’t see the Democrats coming anywhere near close to having 67 Senators, as would be needed to convict Donald Trump Snr in the Senate nor can I see enough Republican Senators voting to convict either (I’m assuming the Democrats take the House next year, and that they will vote to impeach.)

It will be an amusing irony if Donald Trump’s Presidency were to be ended by a controversy over emails, given the brouhaha over Hillary Clinton’s emails and email server which many felt derailed her campaign to become President.



Punters are just still expecting Trump to serve at least a full term

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

In the past few days The New York Times have published a story about Donald Trump Jr and his meeting in June 2016 with a ‘Russian government lawyer’ who promised him damaging information about Hillary Clinton.  What makes this latest intervention even more interesting is Donald Trump Jr’s response which some have described as ‘This is the dumbest and biggest crime in the history of American politics. There’s not even a close second.’

Trump Senior has managed to deal with damaging stories in the past which observers including myself thought would stop him becoming the GOP nominee let alone the President, so he might be able to survive this latest controversy. One of the reasons I expect him to serve a full term is that even if Trump is impeached by the House, I don’t expect the Senate to convict him because it would need 67 Senators to vote for a conviction, I just can’t see the Democrats picking up that number of seats in 2018 or even close to it, which probably reflects the betting below.



If there were a Newton Abbot by election this year, the Tories are the 1/25 favourites

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Tony Blair in his pomp would have probably taken a seat like this in a by election but would Corbyn?

Paddy Power have a market up on a theoretical Newton Abbot by election were Ann Marie Morris resign following her use of the n word. I’m not playing this market, I suspect all stakes will become an interest free loan to Paddy Power for nearly six month and I’ve got better things to do with my money.

But given Mrs May’s dire ratings, and the Tories generally behind Labour in the polls it is interesting that the Tories are such overwhelming favourites. It would take a 16.7% Con to Lab swing for Labour to gain the seat, in the 1992-1997 Parliament Tony Blair’s Labour party gained the seats of Dudley West and South East Staffordshire in by elections on swings of 29.1% and 22.1% respectively, so gaining seats like Newton Abbot shouldn’t be out of the range of Labour.



If you fancy an 8% return in under 6 months this might be the bet for you

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

William Hill have a few markets up and as is often the case, most of the markets you wish they’d offer the other side of the bet a well.

If I had to choose I’d take the 1/12 on Jeremy Corbyn not to be PM before the 1st of January 2018, I simply can’t see the Tories wanting to call an early election. I can see a scenario where those Tory Leavers who get tumescent at the prospect of a  ‘Hard Brexit’ bringing down the government if Mrs May (or her successor) go for a more pragmatic Brexit, however I see that as an infinitesimal chance then I remember last year 84 Tory MPs wanted to make Andrea Leadsom Prime Minister.

The other scenario is where the DUP votes against the Tories in a vote of no confidence which will make Corbyn Prime Minister, given his backstory in Northern Ireland affairs, I can’t see the circumstances in which that happens.

So that’s an 8% return in under 6 months, so out of these bets, this is probably the only decent bet going.



Corbyn is a survivor: back him to last until 2019 at least

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

The election has transformed expectations and confidence within Labour

With so much focus on whether Theresa May will survive – or perhaps more accurately, for how long – it’s an opportune time to have a look at the same bet on the other side. After all, the value is often there to be had when people aren’t paying enough attention.

And value there must be for the simple reason that the Corbyn Exit Date market has perhaps the single worst bet I’ve ever seen on British politics. He is 5/1 to leave this year with Ladbrokes, and 8/1 with Paddy Power for each of the third and fourth quarters of this year. Treat these odds as if you could catch ebola from them.

There are three ways that leaders go. They might be forced out, they might choose to go of their own accord, or health issues might intervene. These departure paths overlap of course but they’re still a useful model.

Corbyn will not be forced out. He could not be prised from office when Labour was behind in the polls by double-digits; he certainly won’t go now that they’re comfortably ahead. Indeed, for all the grumbling (and there’s been much less of it since the election), there won’t be any attempt to oust him in the near future: his stock has soared with party members and, for that matter, with MPs. The willingness of former critics to get back on board is not solely down to left-wing pressure locally. Indeed, that is likely to be a relatively minor factor. Far more important is that Corbyn far exceeded expectations, which has caused many to reappraise him in a rather more glowing light.

Nor is there any meaningful chance of him stepping down of his own accord, now that he finally appears to have found his feet. Having clung on for dear life when his position was far beyond tenable in any normal circumstance, why would he go when all is rosy and when the project is far from finished?

As for health, that is always a potential concern. Leading a major political party is a demanding role and Corbyn is 68. However, he looks in good health and his leadership style is such that he is better than most at keeping the job from becoming all-encompassing. The breathing space that the Labour gains at the election have given him should also have reduced his stress levels.

Put simply, we are reduced to Black Swan events in this market for this year. If I had the money, I’d be quite happy to lay the event at up to 50/1, never mind 5/1. I wouldn’t want to be buying until the price reached well into three figures.

All of which means that with an overround of 7.3%, there must be value elsewhere. Where?

Not in 2018, at 5/2. A lot can happen in a year, particularly in British politics at the moment. All the same, the difficulties of Brexit, an economy on the downturn, uncertain fiscal policy and an untrusting party will make life particularly hard for Theresa May through to at least 2019 – if she stays that long. If she does, Corbyn is unlikely to face anything like the pressure that he did during May’s first nine months in office. His Brexit stance will be a difficult issue for a lot of members but for most it won’t be a red line. In any case, there may not be many big Brexit votes this year or next to bring the divide into sharp relief. Labour will be able to hit and run on specific topics as they see fit. Even if May does go and is replaced by someone with better political antennae and communication skills, that’s not going to affect the fundamentals.

Which leaves 4/1 for 2019 and 11/8 for 2020 or later. Both of these offer value, although tying money up for two and a half years at not much better than evens won’t be attractive to many. There is a case to be made for 2019. Brexit is likely to be complete by then, if only in the form of a transitional deal. There could well be a new Tory leader or even a general election. Corbyn will be 70 by then and an underperformance might be viewed more harshly than now. Labour might also have passed the McDonnell Amendment by then, enabling Corbyn to try to hand over the baton to a protégé.

But there’s also a good case for 2020 or beyond, which is essentially the extension of why it won’t be this year: staying in office is the default option and unless he is pushed out or chooses to jump then he stays – and pushing him out will be very hard.

If I was being boring, I’d back both 2019 and 2020. The slightly more adventurous option, and probably the better value, would be to go for 2019 alone.

David Herdson