I got on at 20/1 – the same as my first C&A LD bet
Smarkets have just opened their market on the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election and the initial odds are very similar to the start of betting Chesham and Amersham in May. I have had a punt on Labour at 20/1 which is the same as my first at Chesham.
Quite simply this the best opportunity about at the moment for Labour to do anything that could stall the Boris bandwagon. During earlier Tory governments under Thatcher after the Falklands war and Major the Tories had enormous trouble defending by-elections against Labour and the LDs and the Tory record was dire. Even though the LDs are languishing in the polls they showed what was possible in C&A.
Starmer has got to seize this opportunity and claim what would be an enormous symbolic scalp – taking the former seat of Ted Heath. A victory would transform his leadership.
The party was mobilised in the summer and it retained Batley and Spen. The leader has to approach the coming battle with even greater intensity.
It is important that a candidate is selected as soon as possible so campaigning can begin before the official campaign starts. Will Labour do it? I don’t know and I have nothing like the same confidence as I had with the LDs at C&A.
As I always say bets are not predictions but assessments of value. Does Labour have a better than 5% chance of pulling this off?