Archive for the 'Labour' Category


Well red, Alastair Meeks on Labour’s new MPs

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

One in five of Labour’s current MPs did not serve in the last Parliament.  With more than 50 new MPs, the new crop is going to make a big difference to Labour’s political balance.  So what does it look like?

As with the new Conservatives, many of the new Labour MPs have been assiduous in tidying up their online presence.  It’s only human to wonder what indiscretions lurk among the deleted tweets.  I expect we’ll find out in due course.  I expect that some of the new MPs on both sides of the house will find that it isn’t the crime but the cover-up that really causes damage.  Part of the damage that’s caused is that these MPs don’t stand out from the crowd.  If they’ve expressed forthright views in the past, it would be good to hear them.  Who knows, those views might find a ready audience.

There are five returning MPs: John Grogan, Chris Ruane, Tony Lloyd, David Drew and Chris Williamson.  Four out of these five are on the left of the party (John Grogan is the exception), and two are strong supporters of the Corbynite wing of the party.  Four out of these five have immediately been given jobs by Jeremy Corbyn (John Grogan is again the exception).

The new Labour MPs include plenty who come from the traditional routes of Labour power: Parliamentary and union apparatchiki, charity executives, public sector officialdom and a sprinkling of lawyers, teachers and health workers.  But this time there are several new MPs who have significant experience of running small businesses.  This is a departure for Labour and one that might provide an infusion of fresh thinking.  What’s missing?  As with the Conservatives, I can see no significant experience of science, nor any of engineering.  It seems like Britain is going to have to wing it when it comes to really technical stuff.

Nearly half the new intake are women, and it also includes the first turbanned Sikh MP, the first MP of fully Cypriot origin, at least two disabled MPs and at least four gay MPs.  For all the discussion about anti-Semitism in the Labour party, one of the new MPs is in the Jewish Labour movement.  At least two are very committed Christians.

There are two obvious tests for incoming Labour MPs: their attitudes to Brexit and their attitudes to Jeremy Corbyn.  For different reasons, quite a few seem reticent about expressing their views on both fronts.

The new Conservative MPs spanned a wide range of opinion on Brexit.  Not so for the new Labour MPs.  Only David Drew looks like a likely Leave voter.  A couple more seem pretty uninterested in the subject.  The rest were Remain supporters of varying degrees of intensity.  Many Leavers had hoped that Parliament would become much more evenly balanced between Leavers and Remainers after the election.  With no more than a quarter of the new intake originally supporting Leave, that hope has been dashed.

For now, most of the new Labour MPs look set to be quiescent on the subject.  They had their opportunity to make their feelings known when they were given the opportunity to vote on the Queen’s Speech amendment to seek to stay in the Single Market.  Only three took that opportunity.

Almost all the new Labour MPs seem enthusiastic about Jeremy Corbyn for now.  That was not always the case.  Some, like Paul Sweeney, called for him to stand down last year, but are now enthusiastically extolling his virtues – since he has immediately been appointed a shadow Scotland minister it seems that Jeremy Corbyn has a forgiving nature.  On my reading, just 9 or 10 could be called Corbynites and a further two or three seem to be Core Group Plus.  However, when you consider that only 40 of the Parliamentary Labour party supported Jeremy Corbyn last year and only 36 pledged their nomination for him in 2015 (with quite a few of those being loaned), that represents a considerable proportionate increase in his support as compared with the older part of the Parliamentary Labour party. 

I was surprised to see just how strongly many of the newbies had supported the outrageously-named Women Against State Pension Inequality.  This grouping of 50-something women, who contrary to their name wish to retain the preferential state pension terms (relative to men) that they were originally in line to receive, have succeeded in bagging the very active support of more than a fifth of the newcomers.  This should be an inspiration to any group with a grievance, no matter how misplaced – if such a ropey cause can enlist so much Parliamentary support, there’s hope for anyone.

Who should we watch out for?  Jeremy Corbyn is not afraid to promote new talent – in part this has been a necessity for him given the past refusal by old hands to serve under him.  And he has already promoted some brand new MPs into shadow positions.  The most senior is Lesley Laird, his shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.  He looks to have chosen well in this case.  She comes across as a highly capable pragmatist who hasn’t forgotten why she’s in politics.

He has also immediately promoted Afzal Khan, who has a long political pedigree in local and European politics.  Some of his past (and regretted) comments on Israel will not allay concerns among some about the direction the Labour party is taking on that subject but again he comes across as a pragmatist.

Anneliese Dodds has a special interest in tax justice which she has already pursued as an MEP.  It is no surprise to see her already appointed as a shadow treasury minister.

Ellie Reeves (sister of Rachel, wife of John Cryer) is already a very well-known figure on the Labour right.  She is immediately going to be the focus of attention, both friendly and unfriendly.

Laura Smith looks like a doer. She expresses herself clearly and simply, and seems like the type to roll her sleeves up and get on with things.  Ged Killen looks cut from the same cloth.  In a just world, they would be given the opportunity to show what they can do.

You can view a document on the Labour’s new intake by clicking here

Alastair Meeks


The scale of LAB’s lead in the parliament’s first polls is unprecedented

Monday, June 26th, 2017


Never before has main opposition party had such margins after an election

We have now had three voting polls since the general election and all of them, as can be seen in the table above, have shown clear leads for Labour.

This is highly unusual and almost unprecedented. Almost always the first polls after a general election see the winner doing better than it did in the voting on the day.

Thanks to Mark Pack’s excellent Pollbase place we can ascertain that there has only ever been one case before of the main opposition party beating the election winner in the early polls of a new parliament.

The exception could bring some cheer to the Tories because Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives struggled in the early days of her Parliament after her 1979 General Election win. Then Gallup and NOP recorded LAB leads of up to 1.5% in the first surveys and we all know that Mrs T went on to win a landslide four years later.

But 1.5% is nothing like the scale of the first three voting intention polls of this parliament which have seen gaps of 3-6%.

My reading is that Corbyn is still benefiting from the sheer shock of the June 8th result partly because most of the pollsters got it so wrong. If all of them had been producing numbers like Survation then my guess that the impact could have been less.

We move on this week to the vital vote on TMay’s Queen’s speech and what has actually been agreed with the DUP.

Mike Smithson


From loser to leader – and beyond

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

After Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning general election vindication, he must now show real leadership by reaching out to all parts of the Labour party, argues Joff Wild

So, Jeremy Corbyn will be able to take a holiday in August. After spending the last two summers fighting Labour leadership elections, this year he can head off for a fortnight at a socialist poetry workshop in the sun safe in the knowledge that he stands triumphant and unassailable as leader of the party.

True, Corbyn has just led Labour to its third successive general election defeat, but whatever moderate naysayers might wish he has undoubtedly proved us wrong. His past record of associating with apologists for terrorism would be exposed and the electorate would recoil, we said; well, it was and his ratings went up. His economic policies would not stand up to scrutiny, we claimed; but Tory Garden Tax and income tax scares cut no ice. His Brexit stance would put off Remainers and Leavers alike, we warned; nope, voters on both sides had little problem with it. He would crack under the relentless pressure of a long campaign, we predicted; actually, unlike Mrs May, he gave every impression of having a really good time.

But it was not just that. During the election campaign, Corbyn showed that you can pitch policies from the left and get a hearing; while, crucially, he also demonstrated that you do not have to live in fear of the right wing press. Previous Labour leaders have focus-grouped policies to death, stage-managed their every appearance and carefully measured each word in order to avoid unhelpful coverage in the Mail, the Sun and the Express, but Corbyn just carried on regardless. He knew that the negative headlines and the character assassinations would happen whatever he did, so he did not bother kow-towing. There are, he understood, other ways to get to the people you want to address. How Ed Miliband must wish he had pursued the same strategy in 2015.

And there’s more. Although no detailed studies of the election will emerge for the while, when they do they are likely to show that Corbyn energised younger voters to turn out in a way that they have not done for many years. More importantly, though, he also grabbed a large proportion – if not a majority – of all working age voters. The Tories are reliant, more than ever, on the elderly to keep them ahead. Then there is Scotland, where Labour started to win again. After a long decline, the party’s vote increased and it gained seats, while becoming competitive in a number of others. That could be huge for future general elections. At least some of the credit for the revival must go to Kezia Dugdale and her Scottish Labour team, but there is no doubt that Corbyn was a powerful factor, too.

In short, Corbyn played a blinder. Against all expectations and despite a polling deficit of 20 points at the start of the campaign, Labour gained millions of supporters, its vote share went up and so did its number of MPs. Depriving the Tories of a majority has probably killed off the ridiculous threat to destroy the UK economy and the living standards of millions of people by walking away from the EU without a Brexit deal; while within months it is likely that the current prime minister will have departed the scene. By contrast, there will be no Labour leadership contest now until Corbyn decides to stand down.

But, here’s the rub: despite all of the above, Labour did lose. Mrs May’s mind-numbingly poor campaign and her utter mediocrity notwithstanding, the Tories won more votes than Labour and many more seats. If Labour ever wants to be in government again, it is vital the party does not forget this – especially as its next opponent is highly unlikely to be Mrs May.

Corbyn has demonstrated that being opposed to austerity is nothing to be afraid of. What is less certain, though, is whether Labour’s economic package was seen as sufficiently credible by enough voters in enough marginal constituencies. John McDonnell – who will undoubtedly remain the shadow chancellor – would be well advised to ponder on whether the state acting as a guarantor of high quality service provision at a reasonable price, rather than mass nationalisation, is the way forward for the Labour party in the 21st century.

For all her manifold faults, Mrs May has opened the way to having a sensible discussion about funding social care for the elderly – Labour should seize the opportunity. A return to Andy Burnham’s 2010 policy proposals, killed off by the Lansley/Osborne/Cameron Death Tax slur, is a possible way forward. A more enlightened approach to Corporation tax than a straight, across the board rise might also be worth a look; along with a rethink about where education spending priorities should lie. Labour must stand for redistribution and this can be radical in nature, but to get to a majority more voters have to be convinced that the sums add up and money will not just be frittered away.

As we have seen to such tragic effect, in a rapidly changing, highly connected world, threats can emerge from anywhere. Voters rightly want to be certain that their government will keep them as safe as possible. Corbyn’s past did not hurt him, but Labour still trails the Tories by a large margin on security and defence. Until that changes, the party will find it very hard to form a government. This is an area that definitely needs more thought and much greater work. It would also help greatly if Labour could embrace patriotism. It is not a bad or embarrassing thing; most people of all political persuasions are naturally patriotic about their country.

The last two years have seen Labour in a state of almost permanent civil war. A ceasefire was declared six weeks ago and look what happened. After showing all of us what a great campaigner he is, Jeremy Corbyn must now turn his hand to real leadership – something that he has struggled with up to now. Since he took charge, policy creation has been ad hoc, often contradictory and almost totally opaque – generally confined to a small group of close Corbyn advisers, many of whom hail from the Marxist left and have no strong affection for the wider Labour family. This needs to change.

There are many excellent MPs in all parts of the Labour party and they should now be used. If the leader can find it in himself to open up the policy-making process, to reach out to the soft left and moderates and to put together a shadow front bench of all the talents – one that includes not only the likes of McDonnell, Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Angela Rayner and Jon Ashworth, but also figures such as Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna, Dan Jarvis, Ed Miliband and Stella Creasy – then Labour will very quickly begin to look like a government-in-waiting.

For their part, Corbyn’s critics in the Parliamentary Labour party and the wider movement must now accept that the left has won the civil war and that he is here to stay. Jeremy Corbyn has definitively earned the right to set the party’s policy direction and to be its face to the world. With Theresa May emasculated and the Tories in seeming turmoil as the uncertainty of Brexit approaches, the UK needs a strong opposition. By reaching out to his opponents and showing magnanimity in victory, Jeremy Corbyn can give the country what it craves, so paving the way for Labour to assume power whenever the next general election is called. If he fails to do so, we may just find that 8th June 2017 marks the high point of Labour’s appeal to the electorate.   

Joff Wild

Joff Wild posts on Political Betting as SouthamObserver. You can follow him on Twitter at @SpaJW


A Labour view as the campaign draws to a close

Monday, June 5th, 2017

The prospect of a landslide’s now being averted

I was an eye witness to the last terror attack in London on March 24th. As walked into New Palace Yard at Westminster on that afternoon I heard one of the shots that killed Khalid Masood and saw him and his victim PC Keith Archer laying on the cobbles, before I was ushered indoors by security staff.
The following day in the Commons I was impressed at the way both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn rose to the occasion the following day. Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition captured a mood of national determination not to be cowed by terrorism.

Fast forward to Sunday June 4th and here’s the Prime Minister, having allegedly suspended the Tory election campaign using the privilege of the Downing Street podium for what in part felt like a campaign speech about future measures to tackle terrorism.

The conclusion I draw is that she is rattled. She was getting her retaliation in first against the inevitable questions about the 20,000 cut in police numbers on her watch in the Home Office. Compared to that day in March Theresa May is a diminished figure.

As Mike Smithson tweeted For the first since she became Prime Minister  YouGov have come up with a negative rating for her. He observed that her Doing Well score dropped 7% to 42% while the Doing Badly climbed 7% to 49%.

Meanwhile, says PB’s supremo, Corbyn has enjoyed “one the most extraordinary turnarounds in leader ratings that I have ever seen.” Doing Badly has dropped 14% to 44% while Doing well is up 12% at 42%. The “dementia tax” debacle has raised questions the Prime Minister’s fitness for the job of negotiating Brexit, according to a quarter of pundits I quoted in last week’s post  , Phil Collins and Rachel Sylvester of the Times, The FT’s Janan Ganesh and the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson.

And Corbyn sought to exploit those doubts about May temperament and skills by emphasising that Brexit negotiations are a team sport. He gathered together Labour’s Brexit team together at an election rally in Essex . Alongside the leader were Shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer, (who got an endorsement from the Independent the best person to negotiate Brexit), Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner – who has emerged as one of the stars of the Labour campaign.

Corbyn said: “ On June 19, Labour will be ready: ready to negotiate a Brexit for the many and not for the few … ready to deliver a deal that gives British businesses and society a chance to thrive”. In my humble opinion, as they say, that Labour Team is more than a match for the bluster and wishful thinking of their Tory counterparts May, Davis, Fox and Johnson.

Much as I’d like to see it, however, I’m not expecting Starmer et al to be on the plane to Brussels. The polls still point to a May majority but maybe one short of the landslide she hoped for.

May’s desire for a landslide had nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with being able to crush Tory dissidents. They forced her to back down over the national insurance increase for the self employed, they oppose grammar schools, they are queasy about school cuts and they oppose her hard Brexit approach.

There is now a realistic chance of averting the landslide and making it possible for brave Tories to combine with Labour and others at Westminster to pull the country back from the damage of a hard Brexit.

Don Brind


It’s the economy, stupid. And Team Corbyn aren’t stupid.

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Don Brind on final phase of the LAB campaign

It may all end in tears but for now the diverse team of Corbyn fans and old media sweats who make the Leader of the Opposition comms team can pride themselves on helping the party and their leader to narrow the yawning gap in the polls since Theresa May called the snap election the best part of a month ago.

Because they are smart I expect them to make a decisive switch to highlight economy and business in the last ten days of the campaign. And they have plenty of ammunition to fire.

British families will be getting poorer over the next few years as incomes fail to keep pace with inflation.  Only Greeks, Italians and Austrians have a bleaker outlook according to the OECD.  At the same time the NHS will be in a state of unending crisis caused by underfunding and schools will be cutting teachers and increasing class sizes because of budget cuts. Nothing in the Tory manifesto offers to changes that.

These key facts give the lie to Conservative claims to have created a “strong economy”. The claim is pure fiction. The reality is that after seven years with the Tories in charge the British economy is weak and shaky.

According to OBR forecasts we are in the middle of a catastrophic decade for earnings says Torsten Bell Director of the Resolution Foundation and formerly Ed Miliband’s policy chief. It’s the worst squeeze in over two centuries.   “History teaches us two things, says Bell. “First, that Prime Ministers do not normally choose elections at times like this, and second that when an election happens anyway, the incumbent government gets a kicking rather than the increased majority the current polls imply.”

Against that back drop of Tory failure I expect Labour to highlight how the plans to get the economy growing through investment in infrastructure and skills is the way to create prosperity and security for British families.

Labour have also to decide shortly who to send along to the BBC TV  debate on Wednesday where Theresa May ’s stand-in will be Home Secretary Amber Rudd. For me there is no contest about who should stand at the Labour podium in the 7-way debate. It should be Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary who has been spearheading Labour campaign against school budget cuts. She is a gutsy performer who will be well able to expose the shaky economy and what she calls the “weak and wobbly” Prime Minister.

It’s not just Labour who think May has failed to live up to her self-styled “strong and stable” leadership. The “dementia tax” debacle has raised questions the Prime Minister’s fitness for the job of negotiating Brexit, according to a quartet of pundits whose columns will have made for unpleasant reading in CCHQ — Phil Collins and Rachel Sylvester of the Times, The FT’s Janan Ganesh  and the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson .

Collins says her replies on social care were “ weak and untruthful and Mrs May was exposed as not being quite the woman advertised. She has been rumbled as not very good and there is no turning back from that.

Sylvester “the debacle reveals the shortcomings of the prime minister’s controlling and occasionally paranoid approach to power .. it does not bode well difficult Brexit negotiations that will require flexibility and empathy as well as determination.”

Ganesh “The complex work of EU exit starts in June … the question is no longer what this government stands for but whether it is any good. Or at least whether it is good enough, given the work ahead.”

Nelson “Her shambolic U-turn over the so-called ‘dementia tax’ has given everyone cause to doubt whether she is as ‘strong and stable’ as she says she is. In fact, she can look indecisive and a bit dozy.”

Nelson’s article is headlined “Could Theresa May blow this election? The answer is probably not according to the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush.He reckons the Tory’s falling poll lead is believable – but May still has her “purple fire wall” — the 2015 Ukip voters who switched to the Tories in this year’s local elections.

May is undoubtedly having a bad campaign but unless the ex-Kippers desert her, Labour supporters can expect that watching the TV exit poll on June 8th is likely to be every bit as painful as it was in 2015.

Don Brind


A Labour view of the party’s looming electoral disaster

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Don Brind looks at landslides past

I have a soft spot for Lib Dem peer Dick Taverne even though I cut my teeth as a Labour Party press officer trying to end his political career.

His letter to the Guardian this week struck a chord. “Mrs May is riding high, apparently heading for a general election triumph, idolised by the tabloids for defying those beastly Europeans who seek to do Britain down. Today’s winners often end up as tomorrow’s losers,”

Taverne has always been a strong Europhile and fell out with his local party in 1973 when he supported the Tories in voting for entry to the Common Market. His resignation to fight a by election saw me drafted in by Transport House.

I failed to stop him romping to victory in the by election but my contribution to his demise was the suggestion to local party chairman Leo Beckett that they would do better with a woman candidate. I recommended a Transport House colleague Margaret Jackson who went on to defeat Taverne in the second of the 1974 General Elections. Margaret married Leo and as Mrs Beckett ascended briefly to the leadership of the party and Briatin’s first woman Foreign Secretary.

Taverne descended into relative obscurity and waited until 1996 to get his peerage. We are all now on the same side of the Europe argument. I was very taken by his four examples of Prime Ministers whose triumphs turned sour.

• “In 1902 Salisbury delivered a Tory landslide with the Liberal opposition deeply divided in the aftermath of the Boer war. Four years later saw an all-time record anti-Conservative landslide.

• “Chamberlain was a hero when he came back from appeasing Hitler in 1938 and proclaimed “Peace for our time”. The few dissidents led by Churchill were denounced as warmongers. Then Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia.

• “In 1956 Eden launched the Suez war with strong nationalist support. It proved a disaster and soon his reputation lay in tatters.

• “In 2003 the invasion of Iraq led to a widespread outbreak of patriotic fervour – but destroyed public trust in one of Britain’s most successful and popular recent prime ministers.”

Another cautionary example is offered by my old journalist mate Denis McShane, former Labour MP and minister for Europe writing in Prospect  He dubs Theresa May’s philosophy “Rectory Toryism” which he argues looks like a return to the 1960s, “when state control of society and economy was at its apogee.” It was also the era of Harold Wilson who led Labour to a landslide in 1966.

McShane suggest this election “ may turn out to be curiously similar to that of 1966, in which Harold Wilson obtained a large majority. Worryingly for Theresa May, his government only lasted four years and Wilson lost the next election, after becoming not the master of events, but their prisoner.”

Neither Taverne nor McShane mention 1992 but to me there are echoes of John Major’s short-lived triumph. As Tim Montgomerie observed on Conservative Home some years ago,  “John Major presented the party unashamedly as the low tax party. The Tory campaign relentlessly attacked Labour … Major picked a combative party chairman. Chris Patten (who) fought against Labour with rottweiler determination.” Remind you of anyone? Lynton Crosby?

Less than six months after amassing a record 14 million votes Major saw his government implode on Black Wednesday, never to recover.

The obvious point about Taverne McShane and myself is that we all fear the worst – we believe the polls and expect Team Theresa to get their landslide.

That said, I am hoping London may buck the trend. Having done some door knocking at the weekend I am cautiously sanguine about the prospects for the re-election of the charismatic Rosena Allin Khan in Tooting. And according to a friend of the redoubtable Joan Ryan Labour in Enfield North have been buoyed by a recent council by election. Labour matched the Tories in increasing their votes by around 13 per cent as the Green and UKIP voters collapsed.

Green switchers may be less easy to detect than UKIP switchers but they could be important. In 2015 there were a group of seats where the shift of a small number of Green voters would have deprived the Tories of a gain: (Tory majority in bold) Gower 27 1161; Derby N 41 1618; Croydon C 165 1454; Bury N 378 1141; Morley&Outwood 422 1264; Plymouth S&D 523 3401; Brighton Kempton 690 3187; Weaver Vale 806 1183; Telford 730 930

If Labour are to spring any surprises on June 8th they will probably come from this list.

Don Brind


Emily Thornberry lures Sir Michael Fallon into possibly the greatest ambush since the battle of Lake Trasimene

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Note: This video contains language NSFW from Emily Thornberry that maybe offend more delicate PBers.

This morning Sir Michael Fallon managed to achieve something that I thought was very unlikely, he managed to come off worse in a discussion about defence/security with a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, The Telegraph report

Emily Thornberry has accused Sir Michael Fallon of talking “bollocks” after he claimed she wanted to renegotiate the future of the Falkland Islands.

The pair clashed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show as the Defence Secretary said the shadow foreign secretary had left the door open to a Labour government negotiating with Argentina over the sovereignty of the islands.

Sir Michael also said that Jeremy Corbyn had shown “quite open support for the IRA” as he hit back after being accused by Ms Thorberry of having visited Syria to “celebrate” the re-election of Bashar al-Assad in the 2000s.

To make the Tories look bad and hypocritical on security and defence the day The Sunday Times ran an article which said ‘Jeremy Corbyn was arrested in 1986 taking part in a protest by IRA sympathisers to “show solidarity” with accused terrorists including the Brighton bomber’ is one hell of an achievement by Emily Thornberry, I’m not sure many others in the shadow cabinet could have managed it, it is remarkable what Labour can achieve with a bit of research and a credible messenger, something the Corbynistas should remember.

It should be remembered Sir Michael Fallon isn’t some naïve popinjay, he’s the man who at the last general election managed to deliver an effective message that Ed Miliband was a risk to national security because ‘Ed Miliband will stab UK in the back just as he did to his brother David.’ Whilst this an undoubtedly a great victory for Emily Thornberry, like the battle of Lake Trasimene the winning side won the battle but not the war.

Bet365 have Emily Thornberry at 28/1 to be next Labour leader, if you’re not already on her on at higher odds, this might make a decent trading bet, because I suspect if Labour are well and truly shellacked next month, the nominations threshold will reduce in absolute numbers, and Corbyn might well stand down and back someone who is loyal to him, Emily Thornberry might just be that candidate. Labour members might also be keen on electing their first female leader whilst the Tories are on their second female Prime Minister.



Backing Labour to win the popular vote on June 8th

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

A 5% return in less than four weeks?

William Hill have a market up on who will win the popular vote without the Tories. With the SNP standing in only Scotland, then finishing second  in the popular vote is impossible unless turnout somehow craters in the rest of the United Kindgom, so that’s not an option. UKIP winning this bet is very unlikely given they are standing 254 fewer candidates than Labour and in some polls are down to 3%. Others such as the Greens, Plaid, or the other parties are also very unlikely given the lack of candidates they have standing.

If you think the Lib Dems think are going to win this bet you might find better value in the constituency markets, but given the  state of the national polling, where in some Labour are polling four times the Lib Dems share, and Tim Farron’s lacklustre performances, epitomised by the farrago over gay sex being a sin, I’m not keen on backing the Lib Dems winning here.

You might be able to find better odds by backing Labour in safe seats, for example Leeds East where Labour has a majority of 12,533,  is a 1/9 return were Labour to win it on June 8th. But then in the past week it has been said the Tories have been targeting Leeds East, which is Labour’s 77th safest seat.

My two predictions for this election will render UNS redundant, and the definition of a safe Labour seat will be radically redefined after June the 8th, so that’s why I’m backing this William Hill bet rather than going down the individual constituency markets, but I will understand if others go for the opposite approach to me, or why they will swerve this bet entirely, as this effectively a bet on Jeremy Corbyn not being as dire as some fear he might be.