Will this be the year for the Nottingham High boys?

Will this be the year for the Nottingham High boys?

Is the school providing the 2009 betting movers?

After the last thread on Ken Clarke’s possible return to a front-bench position it’s quite striking to note how many of the potential 2009 political betting “movers” were all educated at the same school – Nottingham High.

Yesterday I put £50 on another ex-pupil, Ed Balls, at 16/1 in Ladbroke’s Chancellor on New Year’s Eve 2009 market. Clearly Darling looks set to stay the course but in the current economic storm then the chances of a move here must be high.

And Balls, of course, played a key role supporting Brown at the treasury in the period up to him becoming an MP in 2005. The two are said to be very close and if it is a case of “move over Darling” then surely Balls is in with a big chance, That 16/1 looks tasty.

Also in the running on the Ladbrokes market is Ken Clarke himself at 28/1. To win three things need to happen: a 2009 general election; a victory for the Tories; and for Cameron to have moved Osborne on. I’m not so sure that these pre-conditions can be met.

But Clarke’s return, if that is indeed what happens, could provide what political gamblers all love – a Westminster by-election in his Rushcliffe seat. For if Clarke is going to shadow Peter Mandelson then how is he going to do it effectively in the commons – Mandy is now, of course, a Lord. An elevation to the upper house for Ken with the consequential vacancy could possibly be on the cards.

Another possible 2009 by-election could involve our third prominent Nottingham High old boy – Geoff Hoon. He’s being strongly tipped as Britain’s next EU commissioner and if that happens there would be a by-election in his Ashfield seat. This would not be the first time that Ashfield has had to have an election because its sitting MP has taken a Brussels job. In 1977 the Tories pulled off a big victory there. Could the same repeat itself in 2009?

With a swing the size of what happened in Crewe & Nantwich in May 2008 that could be just possible. But my sense is that after Glenrothes the Labour by-election machine is in a better state and this might not be as easy.

A final ex-Nottingham High boy who is in the betting is Ed Davey. He’s down with William Hill’s as the 7/1 third favourite to succeed Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader.

  • Our cartoon, yet another good one, is by Marf – of LondonSketchbook.com.
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