Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Betting on who will be Philip Hammond’s successor

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Why Mrs May might replace her Chancellor with someone who appeals to the hardline Leavers in her party.

It is well known that many hardline Leavers want Philip Hammond sacked as Chancellor, I can see certainly envisage a scenario where Mrs May sacks Mr Hammond to save her own skin. To paraphrase Jeremy Thorpe, greater love hath no woman than this, that she lay down her friends for her life.

Plus Mrs May appears not to be very keen on Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd was going to be replace him as Chancellor after the 2017 general election until Mrs May soiled the bed and lost David Cameron’s majority.

With all of that it is worth looking at Paddy Power’s market on the next Chancellor, but who to back?

I can see why Gove is 6/1 but I think he’s just too divisive, Jeremy Hunt being the favourite is a reflection that his career is in the ascendancy. David Gauke spent six years at the Treasury working for the finest Chancellor of this century/since Ken Clarke, makes him probably the most qualified for the role, however my money is going on Liam Fox, my logic is as follows.

If Mrs May needs a Chancellor that appeals to the hardline Leavers in the party then Liam Fox fits that bill, she might also like the fact he’s been personally loyal to her and shored up her position when it was under attack a few weeks ago. 

Having had to previously resign in disgrace as Defence Secretary might be bar to high office but if someone with such a colourful back story as Jeremy Corbyn can come within a few hundred votes of becoming Prime Minister then Liam Fox’s past shouldn’t be a hindrance to him becoming Chancellor.

At 40/1 might be worth a flutter, I’m staking a few quid on it.



Amber Rudd now clear third favourite in the CON leader betting

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

JRM 18%..Bojo 10%..Rudd 8%..Gove 6%..Hunt & Raab 5%..Davidson & Williamson 3%

However you look at the next Conservative leadership betting there’s one thing that is probably not going to happen – that the two men heading the betting at the moment, old Etonians Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, are going to be fighting each other in the membership ballot which, of course, is of the two who top the secret ballot of party MPs.

BoJo and Moggsy, I’d suggest will appeal to the same broad audience within the parliamentary party that the chances are that one of them will not make it. My view at the moment is that the former mayor is probably more popular amongst Conservative MPs than Rees-Mogg but that could change.

The interesting Befair movement in recent days has been more support from punters for the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, the woman, who of course, stood in for Theresa May in the TV debate against Corbyn at the general election.

She comes over as very much a safe pair of hands. The only question mark about her is that she has a minuscule majority in her home seat of Hastings and Rye.

Generally, party leaders do better in their own constituencies than the party as a whole particularly at their first general election after their elevation. A big exception to this was last June when Theresa May saw decline in her seat which was very much against the run of what was happening to the party in the country as a whole.

Rudd, of course, was a remainer and a lot would depend on the timing of the election. She’d probably do better after Brexit has happened than before.

Mike Smithson


On the biggest current political betting market Trump now given a 64% chance of survival

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Trump amazing powers to distract are stopping bad news taking hold

With all the focus on Brexit and Theresa May’s survival in the UK it is sometimes easy to forget that from a political betting point of view the big markets are in the US and particularly on whether Donald Trump survives his first term.

We’ve not looked at this for some time but as the chart above shows the price, on Betfair, have moved quite sharply in his favour from a position when he was 50/50 to the current 64% chance that he’s going to make it through to the end.

    One of the abilities that Trump appears to have is being able to move the subject when a very difficult story appears about him in the media.

So much White House news comes out almost everyday it is very difficult for a particular story to take hold and events that would have brought other presidents to their knees have somehow been bypassed. Remember all the news that was coming out before Christmas on the book about Trump in the White House with comments from his former chief of staff which were less than flattering to the president. Yet now that is long forgotten.

Whether this can continue in the next three years we don’t know and there’s a suggestion from Taegan Goddard that this might be getting harder.

I’ve not bet on this market and I don’t think I will do because I think that Trump is going to survive and I don’t locking up cash in odds on positions that won’t resolved for three years.

Mike Smithson


Moggy moves to his highest betting level yet for next CON leader following negative reaction to BoJo’s Brexit speech

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

You can get better odds on JRM as next PM

I’ve not bet on Moggy for next CON leader because I still don’t think that he’d get to the final membership ballot round of a leadership contest. As the chart show he’s now soared on the Betfair exchange.

The other big question mark is whether there will be an early contest and that is far from clear especially given current CON poll ratings and TMay’s huge resilience. She is still regarded by many within the party as the safest pair of hands.

There’ve also been some suggestions that Rees-Mogg’s Catholicism could be an issue in a leadership contest

If you want to bet on JRM then you can get better odds on him for next PM.

Mike Smithson


On the day of BoJo’s big Brexit speech the TMay successor betting edges further to an Etonian, but not the Foreign Secretary

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Moggy is still dazzling the markets

I had a thought before the Foreign Secretary’s big Brexit speech that there might be a case for putting a small amount on him on Betfair’s next Conservative leader market. Generally betting can respond to news coverage and clearly Mr Johnson is going to get a lot of that today.

Only problem, looking at the chart, is that what betting movement there has been has not gone to Mr Johnson but to Mr Rees-Mogg so I’ve probably saved myself a bob or two.

I still think that Moggy might struggle under the current Conservative leadership rules to make the final two which goes to the membership. He needs the support of enough fellow CON MPs to get to that stage and I thought that David Herdson’s analysis at the weekend had this right.

Of course, as we always say, Mrs May is still there and seeking to struggle on with her target being the next general election which is not due until 2022.

I’ve just got a feeling that there’ll always be a reason why the time will never be ripe for the party to get involved in what’s likely to be a divisive contest and she could survive.

Mike Smithson


None of the Above takes 44% lead in new CON leadership poll

Monday, February 12th, 2018

With a new week opening and Mrs Msy still there at number 10 there is a new poll out in the Independent on who voters think should be her successor.

The outcome is far from decisive for although Johnson has a lead he is 44% behind the number saying none of the above.

This really reflects the situation we have known since July the 9th after Theresa May failed to retain the Conservative majority in the general election. Her situation was then in real doubt but she has carried on because there is no clear alternative.

In many ways this is not surprising because the nature of her leadership since winning in July 2016 has been that it has all been about her. No other names within the party have been able to develop a significant profile for themselves excluding, perhaps, Jacob Rees Mogg who is not a minister.

She has also been careful with her cabinet not to promote others who perhaps could develop into bigger figures within the party if they were given the chance to evolve in a manner that gave them a lot of public exposure.

There is, however, little comfort for Mrs May elsewhere in the poll. More than half (51%) say they are dissatisfied with her leadership, with only 33% happy with her performance. Corbyn had 44% dissatisfied to 34% satisfied.

So the ongoing Tory leadership narrative trudges on.

Mike Smithson


A few assorted bets for your perusal

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

William Hill have a few markets on various events, a lot of these appear designed to enrich William Hill or ones that I wish William Hill offered the other side of the bet. I’d really like to bet on UK GDP growth to be lower than 1.8% one calendar year after Brexit.

The 4/7 on the Democrats to win a majority in the House of Representatives seems like the safest bet. On the principle on betting on something NOT happening is usually profitable, the 5/6 on Mrs May being PM on Christmas Day looks of interest.

However I suspect if she promotes a pragmatic Brexit deal that is not the full fat Brexit the likes of the ERG wants, she will be toppled, this should come to a head in the next few weeks.

With talk of nearly 90 Tory MPs backing Jacob Rees-Mogg as next Tory Leader & PM, I can see Michael Gove uniting behind Rees-Mogg to once again to stop Boris Johnson from ascending to the Premiership. Gove could expect to occupy one of the great offices of state for his support, or Rees-Mogg might wish to make Gove his deputy.

Given that Rees-Mogg has no ministerial experience, he might see the advantage of appointing an experienced minister who has a vision to help him run the government, Gove certainly fits that bill. One of the most damaging criticisms of Mrs May and her Government is that there’s no strategic vision, whilst many might not agree with the vision Gove offers, nobody can deny he lacks a vision.

With the parliamentary arithmetic being so tight, Gove’s experience as Chief Whip could help in running the government.

In the past Deputy Prime Ministers have on occasion served concurrently in one of the great offices, Gove could revive that tradition.

At 25/1 I’m going to have a small stake on this, Gove being Deputy PM to Prime Minister Rees-Mogg seems unlikely but not 25/1 unlikely.



If not May, then who?

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

Assessing the runners and riders of the next Tory leadership contest

Correctly identifying the next Conservative leader is a notoriously tricky task. While the golden rule is to lay the favourite – something which can accumulate good profits over a prolonged period – it’s still quite a cautious strategy. The more ambitious, but much more difficult, one is to try to back the winner.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible and now that the latest bout of speculation over a potential Vote of No Confidence in Theresa May’s leadership has subsided, it’s as good a time as any to try to do so. Before going there, however, two points: one on the timescale and one on the process.

The betting is that May will go this year (evens), with 2019 by far the next most favoured (9/4 – both Ladbrokes). I think that’s a little too weighted to this year. As I wrote last month, any change this year will be hugely disruptive to Brexit; the earliest clean change that can be made is in the summer of 2019. However, as we know, a VoNC could be triggered at any time by the threshold-reaching letter being sent – and it could be sent over just about anything at just about any time. A serious stumble or just a sense that ‘this can’t go on’ could precipitate an election much earlier.

Either way, the crucial point as far as the betting market is this: the election is overwhelmingly likely to be in the next 18 months. That means that there’s going to be little opportunity for people to rise through the ranks. Anyone currently outside the cabinet who fancies their chance will very probably have to fight from where they are now.

Who ends up winning is also very much influenced by the dynamics of the MPs’ votes, which itself is a factor of the overall field (something even harder, if not impossible, to predict). In particular, the nature of the penultimate round – when three candidates remain – will be crucial. A candidate with a sizable lead will look a clear favourite and will be treated as such by the media and, to an extent, politicians. To give an example, the 2005 election might have looked very different had Clarke beaten Fox for third place in the first vote. In that case, instead of the actual second round scores of

Cameron 90
Davis 57
Fox 51

The scores might have been

Davis 92
Cameron 62
Clarke 44

In that case, the momentum that Cameron had built up to that stage would have come clattering to a halt and Davis would have appeared the clear leader going into the members’ vote.

So this time. The contest, whether it comes before or after March 2019, will be dominated by Brexit, with the core Brexiteers reverting to their referendum rhetoric on one side and the ex-Remain pragmatists looking beyond the need to deliver Brexit to the need to not crash the economy while doing so. Here, ironically, if one wing is the stronger but not substantially so, that ‘divided vote dynamic’ could work against them – a final MPs’ round line-up of, say, Gove, Hunt and Boris could see Hunt hoover up enough transfers from the ex-Remain wing to finish comfortably first. By contrast, a line-up of Rees-Mogg, Rudd and Williamson would likely see the backbencher top the poll.

What then of the possible candidates?

To my mind, Rees-Mogg’s odds are absurdly short; a consequence of people wrong reading the Labour election across to the Tories’. For all the caricatures, the Tory membership is relatively pragmatic. Certainly it has an ideological edge (why else would people join) but it also elected Cameron ahead of David Davis in 2005, and – according to polling – would have backed May ahead of both Boris and Leadsom in 2016. There is no equivalent of the three-pound Corbynite. Similarly, those reading across from Rees-Mogg’s huge support in his bid for the Treasury Select Committee chairmanship, or his election to lead the European Research Group, to support for a full leadership bid are making a mistake. The roles and skills required are very different and MPs – whose jobs are on the line if they mess up a leadership contest – will recognise that. In addition, both his policy stance beyond Brexit and his life away from politics are likely to be limit his chances. It’s far from obvious that he would even stand but if he does, I’d expect him to be knocked out relatively early.

Of the other Brexiteers, Gove and Boris again remain best-placed to run. The shine has come off Boris a little since the referendum – government is hard work and he’s not a natural administrator – but come an election campaign, his star is likely to shine a little more brightly. In truth, it is Boris, not Rees-Mogg, who is closer to being the Tory Corbyn (albeit that Boris’s politics are more flexible). 8/1 (Ladbrokes) is about right.

And if Boris is the heart of Tory Brexit then Gove is the head. Hugely unpopular at Education – though effective in what he wanted to do – some would have that he’s reinvented himself at Justice and then Environment but in truth politicians are rarely easy to neatly pigeonhole as ‘right’ or ‘left’ and Gove is one such. After Theresa May’s problems with Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, Gove would likely be required by MPs to sign in blood that he wouldn’t invite Dominic Cummings into Number Ten before being assured of their support. There are plenty of reasons as to why Gove shouldn’t be elected but much the same can be said of the rest of the field (which is why May is where she is); however, no-one else is likely to go into the contest with such comprehensive policies and ideas across the board. The 12/1 Betway are offering is good value.

After those three, two ex-Remainers sit at 16/1. Amber Rudd has been relatively anonymous at the Home Office (though having an ex-Home Secretary as PM was always likely to make that the case), but she did reasonably enough in the general election. Her more vocal support for Remain in 2016 will probably be enough though to ensure her unelectability. By contrast, Jeremy Hunt remained quiet during the referendum and has since, like May, transitioned to backing the Will of the People. Tory leadership elections are often as much about who people are not as who they are and with so many big characters potentially in the race, it’s entirely possible that Hunt could literally come through the middle. The NHS’s capacity problems shouldn’t be a limiting factor: he will have no difficulty blaming the Treasury. His odds should be shorter.

Of those with odds in the 20s, Leadsom (22), and Davis and Davidson (25) should be written off. Leadsom showed her unsuitability last time; Davis is preoccupied with Brexit detail and in any case, his time, such as it was, as a future leader has now passed; while Davidson, not being an MP, isn’t eligible and is highly unlikely to become so.

The other two in that range – Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson – shouldn’t be written off but I don’t think their odds offer value. The election is likely to come too early for the former, whereas the latter is being just a little too obvious in his actions, which is never well appreciated by colleagues.

Is there any value with the candidates at 33/1 or longer? That is, after all, where any number of future winners have come from, even at this relatively short timeframe. At the risk of looking foolish, I don’t think so. The fact is that the person who would traditionally have been the long-odds outsider is in fact currently favourite. It’s entirely possible that JRM’s prominence could wane rapidly following some badly-judged remark and, were that to happen, some other backbencher could become the new Voice of Pure Brexit. Identifying who that might be though is very much a game of chance – and with likely odds on request of no more than 125/1, not a very attractive one.

For someone to come from so far out, they have to light up the campaign with something new – hard enough in opposition, never mind government. Prior to May, every person for well over a century who became PM mid-term, outside of wartime had served immediately before as Chancellor, Foreign Secretary or the effective deputy PM. Even counting May, and others who didn’t become PM but could plausibly have done, the circle is traditionally confined to the senior roles in cabinet, for two good interrelated reasons. Firstly, that’s where the most effective politicians (however defined) are usually found: PMs are obliged to give big beasts big jobs; and secondly, those who choose the leaders require evidence of the candidates’ suitability, which is again most easily found in the big jobs. (Not that this evidence is fool-proof but it’s the best anyone has to go on). We discard this lengthy precedent at our peril.

The conclusion from all that? As things stand – and quite probably, as they will stand when the election comes, Gove, Hunt and Boris have the best chance of making the final three. If so, Hunt will have a structural advantage in the final MPs’ round but would be then up against someone with more ideas or more charisma in the run-off, which will be close. If were forced to make a prediction at this stage though, I’d have to say that ideas will win out.

David Herdson