Archive for the 'Betting' Category


The prospect of Johnson as leader should make Theresa’s position a bit more secure

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

How many are going to no confidence her if he’s alternative?

Much has been written about the incredible resilience of Theresa May who has managed to hang on to her job now for well over a year after losing the party it’s majority in the June 2017 general election.

She became a contender in the post referendum Conservative leadership race in July 2016 with her backers arguing that she was the one for the party to get behind in order to stop Johnson.

It was a powerful appeal as we saw with Johnson himself bottling out of the fight on that extraordinary Thursday morning in early July two years ago when he realised his MP support base was nothing like as wide as he thought.

One of the ex-Mayor’s problems has always been his relations with many fellow Conservative MPs. Few appear ready to back him and speak up when required. Also the cack-handed way he dealt with Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom during the last contest caused both to enter the race.

At the moment the one CON MP who seems most ready be interviewed and publicly support him is Nadine Dorries – her of “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” fame. She used to attack Cameron and Osborne for being “posh boys” something she hasn’t raised in relation Johnson in spite of his similar educational background.

The experience of the Conservative leader no confidence procedure is that it has only ever been used once and then there was a degree of unanimity about who should be the successor. That was in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was voted out and Michael Howard took over the leadership without there being a members’ ballot.

If when parliament returns 48 CON MPs are bold enough to send letters demanding a confidence vote then you can see ahead of the MP ballot Team Theresa twisting a few arms with the message – “do you really want Boris as PM?” If all MPs voted 155 would have to back a confidence move and Johnson does not have that much support.

The betting has moved away from TMay going this year and if she makes it till 2019 she’s surely going to continue to Brexit and beyond.

Mike Smithson


The Democrats move up sharply in the House majority betting after the GOP won the Ohio special election by a margin of less than 1%

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018


In the US all eyes are on the midterms in November which will the first big electoral test for Trump since he won WH2016 nearly two years ago.

Overnight there was a special election in Ohio in a congressional district won by Trump with a 12% margin two years ago. The Republicans hung on but the margin was less than 1%.

The President had invested an enormous amount in the race and while he’ll be pleased by the victory the margin suggests that GOP control of the House of Representatives in November is in doubt.

This is reflected in the Betfair exchange House majority market shown above. The swing in Ohio was a fair bit greater than that which most national polls are suggesting.

Trump is a great turnout driver for both his party and, alas, his opponents. Losing one arm of the legislature would greatly impede his policy agenda.

All the House seats are up in November whilst only about a third of the Senate seats will have elections.

Mike Smithson


BoJo’ s controversial burka comments don’t seem to have hurt him in the TMay successor betting

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

But they could make it harder getting on the ballot

With TMay herself now joining those attacking BoJo for his Burka comments the big danger he faces is not being able to get enough fellow CON MPs to support him in the first rounds of voting to get on the ballot.

It is precisely this type of comment that raises big question marks over his judgement. It appears to be attention-seeking.

I’ve little doubt that if he got to the final runoff of two that he’d do well with the membership but it is the parliamentary party that he first has to convince.

Like in many things it is his choice of language that might attract the headlines but undermines him with his colleagues.

Mike Smithson


Tonight’s special congressional election in Ohio could be a good pointer to November’s mid-terms

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

There’s a big “special” Congressional election ta1king place in Ohio’s 12th district which was won by the Republicans by 12 points in 2012 and 2016 – the former by Romney and the latter by Trump.

The President has clearly earmarked this as a must hold and has played a key part in the campaign. The signs are that it could be close.

The two final polls suggest that this is a toss-up. Emerson has the Democratic contender 1% ahead while Remington gives it to the Republican by 2 points. Both these are within the margin of error.

We’ve seen in other recent special elections that the Democratic base is very fired up at the moment and there’ve gains by bigger margins than here in Alabama and Pennsylvania. On the end this is about turnout.

My betting rule in toss-up elections is that the option with the longest odds is the value bet. I got on the Democrat with Ladbrokes at 11/10 this morning. That has now tightened to odds-on.

Mike Smithson


History suggests one of Philip Hammond, Jeremy Hunt, and Sajid Javid will be Theresa May’s successor if she goes before the next election

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

On all seven occasions since World War II when parties have changed PM mid term the new PM has always been an incumbent of a great office of state.

On three occasions the incumbent Foreign Secretary has taken over, Sir Anthony Eden succeeding Sir Winston Churchill in 1955, Alec Douglas-Home succeeding Harold MacMillan in 1963, and James Callaghan succeeding Harold Wilson in 1976.

On three occasions the incumbent Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken over, in 1957 Harold MacMillan succeeding Sir Anthony Eden, in 1990 John Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher, and in 2007 Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair.

Last but not least, in 2016 Home Secretary Theresa May succeeded the only Tory to have won a majority in the last twenty-six years.

I suppose the logic is that you need a heavyweight politician for the occasion and being the current occupant of a great office of state helps and gives gravitas. Just look at the way John Major went from relative obscurity to Prime Minister in sixteen months simply because he occupied two of the great offices of states in those sixteen months.

Previously I had dismissed Philip Hammond’s chances of succeeding Theresa May because he had enraged the hardline Leavers over the difficulty of Brexit. Betfred are offering 66/1 on Hammond succeeding Mrs May, so I’ll have a nibble. No time for a novice might have resonance and Hammond is an experienced politician having served as Foreign and Defence Secretaries.

Now precedents are there to broken, particularly in these paradigm shattering times. I suspect many may cite Boris Johnson as the paradigm shatterer, but I have another suggestion given that there was an abundance of a lack of gravitas with Boris.

I originally wrote this piece on Thursday and thought Michael Gove might break this precedent, given his relative competence and his pragmatism on Brexit.

Overnight it emerged David Cameron regards Michael Gove as a lunatic and that might hinder Gove’s chances. I expect if the choice is a hardline Brexiteer or Michael Gove, who apart from Brexit, is pure Cameroon, the Cameroon wing of the Parliamentary party, which still has substantial numbers in Parliament, will swing behind Gove.

In 2016 Michael Gove torpedoed Boris Johnson’s chances of becoming Prime Minister, he may do so again in the next contest.

There’s also the chance that the incumbents of the great offices of state at the time of the next Tory leadership contest maybe different to today.



Why I’m expecting Boris to fail in his bid to be Theresa May’s successor

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Picture: ConHome next Tory leader polling from December 2015

Following the recent ConHome polling Mike noted that Boris Johnson had once again become the favourite to be Theresa May’s successor but I’m going to explain why I’m continuing on laying Boris as next Tory leader/PM.

1) Polls are not immutable.

Look at the picture atop this thread, back in December 2015 George Osborne had led the ConHome poll for a fifth successive month, polls are not static, they can rapidly change. It isn’t hard to see the next Tory leadership contest being held in vastly different circumstances to today.

With Liam Fox saying no deal is now odds on, anyone who is associated with Leave and said no deal was Project Fear will see their ratings fall if we get no deal.

It will be the equivalent of Gordon Brown saying he had abolished boom and bust then overseeing a rather deep recession. We all know what that did to Gordon Brown’s polling and ratings.

2) Not everyone expected to stand actually does stand.

Looking at that ConHome poll from December 2015, of the top eight candidates only three of them actually stood in the next leadership contest. The first choice of 62% of ConHome voters didn’t stand six months later. The person who actually finished second wasn’t even on the list. Boris Johnson has form for not standing in Tory leadership contests he was expected to win.

3) Polls aren’t that good for Boris when you focus on them.

The last few years have not been polling industry’s finest, and there’s a lot of scepticism around voting intentions, particularly amongst the political classes.

The YouGov poll that showed a half percent Lab to Con swing if Boris replaced Mrs May was presented by many Boris Johnson fans as a sign that only their man can win the Tories the next election.

A half percent swing is pathetic given Boris Johnson’s supposed electoral appeal and even if that poll was accurate it would likely result in a Labour led government. With other contenders doing badly the party will look to the next generation of MPs.

A YouGov poll conducted at roughly the same time gave an indication that the appeal of Boris is ephemeral. 43% of Tory voters thought Boris was an asset to the government, and the government would have been better if he had stayed, whereas 39% disagreed.

In these hyper partisan times a net 4% rating on this question from your own side is very bad for someone who hopes to lead his party.

4) Tory MPs control the first part of the leadership contest (This probably the most important factor).

This isn’t something that isn’t discussed often enough, whatever members might like, they may not get because MPs get to control who the final two are.

Tory members might pressure their MPs to vote for a certain candidate, in a secret ballot a Tory MP can back whomever they wish despite their public pronouncements.

Tory MPs have been described as the most sophisticated and duplicitous electorate in the world, Boris may find out that Ted Heath’s reported maxim that the Tory party is composed solely of “shits, bloody shits, and fucking shits” is accurate.

Additionally one thing Tory MPs have learned from the Labour party is that they will not be voting anyone purely to widen the debate, Tory MPs don’t want their own Corbyn, Corbyn after all lost last year’s general election. They won’t risk the possibility of the court jester becoming monarch.

5) The voting system will likely hinder Boris Johnson.

With the quasi-AV voting system the Tory party uses to elect their leader it is very possible for a candidate to win (or eliminate someone before they reach the final two) by being the stop X candidate.

John Major won in part because he wasn’t Michael Heseltine, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith won because they weren’t Kenneth Clarke. You could argue Mrs May won because she wasn’t Andrea Leadsom, nor Michael Gove, nor Boris.

There’s history for winning the Tory leadership because of who you aren’t rather than who you are.

It is very easy to see someone positioning themselves as the stop Boris candidate succeeding.

6) The next Tory leadership contest is going to be brutal, especially for Boris.

With what is at stake for the party and country it will strongly fought leadership contest with no one willingly giving ground and using all the tricks to win

A Westminster acquaintance of mine described Boris Johnson as a ‘Fortnum and Mason Jeremy Corbyn.’ Their logic was given how the Tories are focussed heavily on Jeremy Corbyn associations with various holocaust deniers and anti-Semites, Tories opposed to Boris would focus on Boris Johnson hanging around with Steve Bannon and the fact that Boris has used words like ‘piccaninnies’.

His tenure as Foreign Secretary will not help him win the leadership, just look at the stunts he pulled on the day he resigned. A British citizen had been murdered, most likely by Russia, a COBRA meeting had been called and Boris Johnson skipped the meeting.

My Westminster acquaintance said the actions of Boris could only be described in the language that I use when describing Mark Reckless and that’s even before we discuss Boris launching a pretty naked leadership bid the day a failed terrorrist attack in London last September.

Nobody who says Boris Johnson’s tenure as Foreign Secretary confirmed his suitability to be Prime Minister would be expected to pass a breathalyser test.

If Boris is expecting bouquets he’s going to be in for a shock.

Executive Summary

Like the many mistresses of bonking Boris I’m going to keep on laying him, it was profitable last time and I expect it will be again, there’s plenty of evidence to show why Boris wont be Theresa May’s successor.



If the senior Tory quoted here is right TMay will be out this autumn

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

On Betfair it’s a 38% chance that she’ll be out this year

I’ll believe it when I see it. Tory MPs, surely, will only back a confidence move if they are confident their choice will succeed.

Mike Smithson


BoJo is back heading the betting to be next PM

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Only problem is TMay is hanging on with opponents not having the bottle to try to oust her

In a betting move that looks as though it was driven by this week’s ConHome members’ survey which has BoJo on top the ex-mayor and ex-ForeignSec, is now favourite on Betfair to be the next Prime Minister.  He replaces Mr. Corbyn who is having many troubles in his own party over the approach of his team to antisemitism.

In percentage terms being a 14% chance is not really a big deal and over the past year the hottest favourite has never been rated by punters at above 20%.

There is also the long-term “rule” in CON leadership contests that the favourite almost never makes it. Just think of Michael Heseltine, Michael Portillo, David Davis and of course BoJo ahead of the 2016 contest. 

There are, of course, two markets – next PM, as in the chart shown, and next CON leader. The only serious non-CON figure in the former is Mr. Corbyn and I’ve never quite worked out what his pathway would be bar winning a general election. That of course could take place in 2022 when the world could look very different.

After Mrs. May’s disastrous decision to go early in 2017 it hard to see her or a successor doing the same any time soon.

Mathematically Corbyn’s LAB’s influence is declining because it  is shedding MPs, O’Mara and Woodcock for instance. This reduces the number under Corbyn’s command which has never been sufficient to bring down the government even with the support of all the other parties bar the DUP.

There’s also increasing talk at the moment of splinters within the parliamentary party though I’ll believe that only when it happens.

Mike Smithson