Tonight has done nothing to move the GE2019 betting

November 22nd, 2019

This was all about reassuring your own party’s supporters

I would guess that the vast majority of those who watched the QuestionTime Special had made up their minds about the election before the evening started. But it was an important programme and will almost certainly be the toughest questioning that any of the four will face before December 12th.

My view is that this format is better than a debate and for those complaining about a biased audience then who cares, Corbyn had his own rough time. Seeing how leaders perform under pressure is very illuminating.

Almost the universal views of LDs that I have seen are that they thought Swinson performed well in the most difficult of environments.

This is an outing that is tough for an incumbent PM and Johnson just about rose to the challenge. Whether he has said things that could be problematic later remains to seen.

Mike Smithson


Starting at 7pm the BBC QuestionTime special which sees four party leaders being grilled by the audience

November 22nd, 2019

The running order is:

7pm Corbyn
7.30pm Sturgeon
8pm Swinson
8.30pm Johnson

It was at a similar event ahead of GE2017 when I thought TMay lost her majority. It was her “There’s no magic money tree” response to the nurse who had not had a pay rise for several years.

I think tonight is going to be challenging for all four of them.

My guess is that the second hour will get the biggest audience.

Mike Smithson


Biden now back as favourite for the Democratic nomination

November 22nd, 2019

But this is more about Warren-Buttiegieg switching than a Biden Renaissance

The betdata.io chart tells the story of the fight for the Democratic nomination over the past few months and tracks the rise and fall of Elizabeth Warren. At one stage the Senator from Massachusetts was rated at more than a 50% chance on Betfair.

Her decline was triggered by a forensic attack on her by Mayor Pete in the October TV debate when he pressed on the funding for her free healthcare model. Since then it has all been downhill and she did nothing to recover the situation in the the latest debate on Wednesday night.

Then, on his 77th birthday, Joe Biden produced more gaffes but that did not seem to harm him. He didn’t move up in the betting it is just that Elizabeth Warren has dropped below.

Buttigieg has just risen and risen in response to good polling news from the early States. Another Iowa survey has him way ahead with Biden in fourth place. He also got a clear margin in the latest New Hampshire poll. These of course are the first two States to decide.

The big question mark over the prospects for the 37 year old from Indiana is that the national polls have still not caught up with the state ones and he is very much in fourth place. The view of many pundits is that should he do well in first two then he could establish such momentum that will take him through to Super Tuesday on March 3rd when because of the sheer number and size of the States holding primaries, the nomination issue could be largely resolved.

Mike Smithson


ALMOST THREE YEARS! We Have Simply Had Enough! Get Back To Work!

November 21st, 2019

A1 guest slot by The Green Machine
It’s been all three years (since January 2017) that the Northern Ireland government has been in their work place, why?

Well, first of all things haven’t been the same since the days of the Irish Chuckle Brothers (Martin McGuinness & Ian Paisley). It’s hard to believe that these two bitter rivals for around 30 years were very close friends in the end. They done more together than the public think. In 2014, Ian Paisley passed away the chuckle brother were sadly no longer.

Peter Robinson took over as leader of the D.U.P and he just didn’t have leadership skills require to do the job required. Peter wasn’t getting things easy in his personal (outside of politics) life as his wife Mary was caught having an affair with a younger guy. Peter Robinson didn’t last long and was eventually replaced by the Incumbent First Minister – Arlene Foster.

Arlene Foster, hate her or love her, is one of the top politicians in the country and is enriched with good leadership. Arlene & Martin were trying their best to get along but there was always a few obstacles, One being The I.R.A affected Arlene’s family during “The Troubles”. They got through it and the country seemed to be going in the right direction.

Martin McGuinness then passed away in January 2017 and that was the end of Stormont. There hasn’t been a Northern Irish government since that month. Again, I just don’t think Michelle O’Neill had the leadership skills required to do the job properly and I still don’t think she does. This could be down to inexperience as she hasn’t been working or been in her current role for a very long time.

Arlene & Michelle simply don’t see eye to eye. Arlene wanted to ban gay marriage / gay rights and Michelle wanted to approve it. Arlene wanted to abolish an Irish language act and again, Michelle wanted to approve that. There has been talks within the last couple of weeks to try and get Stormont back up and running but it probably won’t be the better side of the Election / Christmas!

The country is now in a worse position and that’s why S.F & D.U.P will probably lose seats at the December Election. Paramilitaries are basically allowed to do anything they wish and please and the is one many reasons why we need you guys back. The welfare system is practically finished and disabled / unable people are being harassed every couple of years. The suicide rate and homeless rates have increased dramatically.

Our message to every M.L.A and Politician in Northern Ireland is that you must and need to get back to work, not just the D.U.P and S.F, but all the parties and individuals matter (S.D.L.P, U.U.P, Alliance, Green Party, etc). my message to Julian Smith is that you should set a deadline and if they’re not back to work within the deadline, remove their healthy pay checks which THEY DON’T DESERVE!




Ipsos-MORI finds that more electors might tactically vote

November 21st, 2019

And GE2019 has the historically highest “important to me” rating

Mike Smithson


New constituency poll for LAB-held Great Grimsby looks dire for the incumbent

November 21st, 2019

Like all seat polls this has a very small sample (401) but the overall figures look promising for the Tories in one of its key northern targets and bad for LAB.

Looking at the detailed data LAB is currently retaining only 53% of its GE2017 share compared to GE2017.

If this is a reflection of what is happening in similar seats that’s very good news for the Tories.

One factor is that a largish slab of the GE2017 LAB vote there is still undecided. Another factor is the more of the LAB vote from last is going to the Brexit party. The fieldwork was carried out last week and so all before the Tuesday debate.

It should be said that single seat polls have not got a great reputation following the huge number that were carried out by Lord Ashcroft ahead of GE2015. The vast majority of those surveys took place well before the election. This time we have seen a raft of polls from Survation and Deltapoll that have carried out in October and this month so perhaps more relevant.

In comparative terms we are three weeks away from election day although postal voters in many seats are receiving their packs this week. Things can change.

On the betting markets you can still get the Tories 4/6 in Great Grimsby with some of the bookies. My guess is that that will tighten once news of this poll becomes more widely known.

We have yet to see a full national GB poll which was carried out after the Tuesday ITV debates.

Mike Smithson


The November WH2020 Democratic debate and another reminder that they do these things better in the country where Boris was born

November 21st, 2019

Biden makes another gaffe so situation normal

Overnight we have had the latest Democratic party debate as part of the prolonged process to determine who should fight against Donald Trump in the presidential election next November.

The event took place after a weekend that had seen new polling in Iowa and New Hampshire showing the 37 year old former Rhodes Scholar, Pete Buttiegieg, moving to clear leads in Iowa and New Hampshire – the first two states to decide. Their caucus and primary take place in early February.

TV debates between the contenders have been taking place every month since June and the events have caused big movements in the betting. Initially Kamala Harris leaped into the favourite slot after an effective attack on former VP Biden. But she was unable to sustain it the following month and has slipped very sharply in the betting.

The current favourite, Elizabeth Warren has slipped progessively since the summer while Buttiegieg has continued to rise.

Meanwhile two times White House failure, Jo Boden, continues to lead in the national polls and, as seen in the clip above, made another boastful claim about himself that simply was not true bringing derisory dismissals from at least two of the other contenders.

My 770/1 super longshot, Amy Klobuchar, had a good night and will hope for better post-debate poll ratings.

What’s impressive is how well the big US TV networks cover these – there’s lot that UK TV could learn.

Mike Smithson


Swinson’s Choice

November 20th, 2019

There is an ancient tradition in Britain of beating the bounds, where once a year, various members of the community walk the boundaries of their parish to fix its location and protect it from encroachment. In some cases, they would take boys and whip them, with the intent that such a traumatic event would be fixed in their memory.

The general elections of 2015 and 2017 were certainly traumatic events for the Liberal Democrats, and they clearly still weigh heavily on the party’s collective memory. The shadow of the decision to go into coalition hangs over their campaign even as they try and edge their way into a new era.

In the lead up to that 2010 General Election the Lib Dems were positioning themselves as open to a deal with either party, the sensible moderating force that could be a safe harbour for voters that were feeling disgruntled but not disgusted with the two largest parties. A realignment without a rejection. In April 2010 the Telegraph reported that “Nick Clegg had delivered his most outspoken attack on Gordon Brown, calling him ‘a desperate politician.’” Which in 2019 sounds practically friendly.

Nine and a half years on and Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats are singing a very different tune. The gloves are off and the knives are out and coated with vitriol. Boris Johnson is a serial liar, Jeremy Corbyn is a threat to the economy, both are utterly unfit to lead the country. In the event of a hung parliament she has ruled out supporting either of them. This campaign will be an exercise the creativity of her speechwriters as they hunt for new epithets to keep things fresh, and Swinson appears to relish being in the thick of the fight.

This leaves the JSLDs with few options open to them if there is a 2017 style election swing and a hung parliament is the outcome. Nick Clegg was faced with the choice of pursuing a Conservative coalition, a Labour-led rainbow alliance on a razor thin majority or allowing a Conservative minority government (and probably a hasty second election). The rest is recent, and for the Lib Dems painful, history.

That Swinson is attacking the leaders rather than their parties is a tactic aimed at attracting wavering voters rather than post-election positioning. Neither party is going to engage in the messy process of replacing a leader with a hung parliament. It’s hard to see how a climbdown is possible. Politics is a business that demands conflict and compromise in quick succession but there are limits even so.

If Jo Swinson is faced with a similar choice to Nick Clegg, she seems set to take the opposite path and refuse any deals and abstain through to a minority government or a new election. The alternative version history will play out with a separate set of pitfalls. Will allowing a Conservative minority government to take power leave them painted as Tory lackeys (as the Labour party will doubtless try to do). Will there be a new election and with it the task of dealing with questions of what the Lib Dems are realistically for if the (PR supporting) party is not interested in coalition.

We may learn what many suspected all along, that Clegg (and now Swinson) had no good options open to them.

Tomas Forsey

Tomas Forsey is a longstanding PBer who posts on PB as Corporeal and tweets as PBcorporeal