Pulpstar says the Tories look value at 13-8 in the Lewisham match bet

May 23rd, 2018

The by-election in Lewisham East is attracting a lot of attention on twitter for Labour’s woes in candidate selection, and also some unfortunate tweets by the CLP chair dug up by Owen Jones.

How much attention will the average voter there pay to this ? Very little is the runaway favourite – even if it has made front page news for the Daily Osborne. Nevertheless a thoroughly uncompetitive by-election (Labour will walk it easily) needs an angle, and so Labour woes it is.

Ladbrokes have gone 13-10 the Tories and 4-7 the yellow peril in a match bet (Note not for second although realistically it is almost inconceivable someone other than these parties will finish second). I’d venture these odds are the wrong way round or at least the Lib Dems should be bigger than Even money here.

Why ?

1a) The three most recent elections (2015, 2017, 2018 locals) have all produced Conservative victories over the Lib Dems. True the 2010 result did produce a 1900 margin for the Lib Dems over the Tories, but the blues finished only 13.1% of the yellows nationally in that one. Currently that ‘gap’ is more like 30% or so.   

1b) Looking at the most recent locals the Tories managed 13,840 votes compared to the Lib Dems 9,222. I’m not sure what, if anything has particularly changed since then – indeed the local election results were encouraging for the Lib Dems not a million miles from the seat in Muswell Hill. My point is these results on their own make the Tories favourite in a match bet.

2) Vauxhall – A bit of a strange choice to emphasise a point about Lewisham East one might think but in the 2017 GE May on a very Brexity pitch managed to finish 1029 votes behind the Lib Dems in another seat where Labour are absolubtely dominant. According to Hanretty, Lewisham East voted approximately 35% leave, as opposed to Vauxhall’s 17%. The remain pool (Which is a pool fished heavily by the Lib Dems) is considerably smaller here than there. And that was just under a year after Hoey appeared on a boat with Farage*

3)  The consistency of the Tory vote from 97 onward here. From 92 to 97 the Tory vote collapsed from 18,481 to 9,694 votes. However since then the scores attained:

9694; 7157; 7512; 9850; 9574; 10859 (Note this is the most recent)

would have beaten the Lib Dems in every contest bar 2010 (See point 1a). Incidentally the shear uniformity of these results is why they don’t have a cat’s chance in hell of winning and arguably you can make the Lib Dems second favourites for the seat.

But what about Richmond, Twickenham and Surbiton ? I’d argue these are very different places and contests. The incumbents here are Labour, not the Tories and this seat does not play nearly as much to the Lib Dem’s strengths – it is not an ultra remain seat, more diverse and not as middle class or rich as SW London to be blunt.

Of course there will be a good deal of local news that ‘Only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories here’ and that is probably true (The potential Lib Dem -> Labour switcher pool) is greater than the Tories immutable pool. The local Lib Dem campaigning machine may well be superior (I have no particular knowledge though) and certainly Vince Cable has a greater need to show he is competitive in this sort of seat than Theresa May does at the moment.

The Lib Dems may well do it, but for this particular match bet, bet against exceptionalism and take the 13-10 (At last check) on the Tories.


* My analysis indicates that AN Other Labour MP would have got over 40,000 votes in Vauxhall, so her massively pro Brexit views did affect her, but they were never going to lose her the seat. The ‘missing’ votes from Hoey’s should have been 40k pile to her actual one went to George Young.



A sign of LAB confidence in Lewisham East: Local party chief gets sacked days before the postals go out

May 22nd, 2018

Given that the outgoing MP, Heidi Alexander, secured 69% of the vote at GE2017 it has been very hard to predict anything other than a Labour hold. That was why, in the eyes of many, the party’s selection battle was the real fight.

That was completed on Saturday when the local party chose Lewisham’s, deputy mayor ahead of the Momentum backed candidate as well as the one supported by Unite – an outcome that’s been seen as a bit of a slap in the face for the Labour leader.

A key part in that outcome was played by Ian McKenzie, chairman of the Lewisham East constituency party, who, it turned out, had made a couple of sexist Tweets about Emily Thornberry two years ago.

McKenzie’s supporters say the Tweets had been dug out in a move to discredit him. He’s now been suspended.

Whatever the truth this is not the sort of publicity a party wants to attract at a crucial stage in a by-election. The LDs are throwing everything at getting a good result here and anything they can use to discredit Labour will be seen as helpful.

Ladbrokes make LAB a 1/50 favourite with the LDs t 20/1 and 100/1 on the Tories – betting odds, know doubt, that will be used by the yellows to make the case that only they can best Labour in he seat.

The Lib Dem effort has been focused on the LAB stance on Brexit suggesting that Team Corbyn is ignoring Remainers.

Mike Smithson


On the betting markets punters don’t buy the speculation that there’ll be a 2018 election

May 22nd, 2018


A vote this year is rated as just an 11% chance

At the weekend we saw reports in the media about the possibility of the huge divide in the Conservative over Brexit being of such a magnitude that an early, 2018, general election was the only way of ending it.

I thought the Sunday Times report was over-egged simply because Mrs. May was so scarred by her failure to retain the Tory majority last year that there were no circumstances in which she would take such a gamble again. The idea of her going into another campaign for which, as we saw, she was so psychologically unsuited to handle is hard to comprehend.

It is also hard to see another party leader being put in place this year for it is convenient for both sides within the party to leave her in the role until Brexit at the earliest. In any case the party’s processes make it difficult to oust her.

    Sure it only takes 48 CON MPs to write letters demanding a confidence vote of he parliamentary party for one to be triggered. But the other key number is that for her to lose that ballot requires 150+ CON MPs to vote against her and there isn’t that level of support.

On top of that there appears even within the parliamentary party to be a lack of appreciation of the Fixed Term Parliament Act and what is required to trigger an election.

The other factor that helps Mrs. May is that the Tories have established what is looking like a solid lead in the polls which diminishes the threat of Prime Minister Corbyn.

The Betfair exchange did see the odds on a 2018 election move to 15% but there was little to support it staying at the level and the price has slipped back.

Mike Smithson


Ken Livingstone, the ex-mayor who keeps talking about Hitler, quits the Labour party

May 21st, 2018


Of the last 22 published voting intention polls LAB has led in just one

May 21st, 2018

Now increasing CON leads have become the norm

The above table from Wikipedia shows the published national voting intention polls over the past three months.

What is very striking is how there are almost no surveys showing Corbyn’s party ahead at the moment. That compares with January when LAB led in six and was tied in two.

We are coming to a point in a parliament when oppositions need to be recording solid leads if they are to have any chance of forming a government after the next election.

    Too much of LAB thinking, it appears, is based on the hope that what happened last time will also occur next.

Maybe but maybe not. Three things are for sure – the Tories are going to run a better campaign than a year ago; Nick Timothy won’t be involved in the production of the manifesto, and the CON leader will appear in TV debates with the LAB one.

Also the campaign period, when Labour can expect equal coverage in the broadcast media, will be much shorter than the 7+ weeks of last year.

Mike Smithson


Polling boost for TMay as she takes a “best PM” lead amongst young voters for first time since GE2017

May 21st, 2018

Corbyn could be losing his advantages with the youth vote

The narrative that started following the shock general election result last June was that Corbyn and his party had managed tap into the youth vote who were turning out in greater numbers than at recent elections.

Much of this can be seen in looking at the age splits to leadership ratings and who would make the best prime minister findings from different pollsters since the election. Certainly up to now Labour and Corbyn have continued to attract the support of the young in greater numbers than the Conservatives.

But the detailed data from the Observer Opinium poll paints a very different picture. In every published survey since the election Opinium had found that the Labour leader had clear leads amongst the young segment to the “best PM” question when the options are TMay or Corbyn.

This had been narrowing, as can be seen in the chart, but Corbyn had retained a constant lead amongst the young until this latest one.

Now Theresa May is the top choice for the 18-34 year old segment with a lead of 4%. Quite why this should be is hard to say given that young voters are much more likely to be pro the EU and hostile to the referendum outcome.

It could be that Corbyn and his party are continuing to be damaged by the equivocation over Brexit and the ongoing difficulties in relation to antisemitism.

As we say with all polling analysis we need to look at further surveys before coming to firm conclusions but this is one to watch.

Mike Smithson


Not another one. Oh for God’s sake, honestly I can’t stand this. There’s too much politics going on at the moment.

May 20th, 2018

Today’s Sunday Times report

Conservative MPs are preparing for another snap general election as they fear the Brexit deadlock will become insurmountable for the prime minister.

Some have spoken to their local party associations asking to be readopted as prospective parliamentary candidates in readiness for an autumn election.

The back-bench MPs acted after meeting Theresa May last week for a private Brexit briefing as she tried to stop a row over Britain’s future customs relationship with the European Union tearing the party apart.

But far from being reassured by meeting the prime minister, they left Downing Street convinced that another election could be around the corner.

One Tory Brexiteer said he could not see how the government could “square the circle” and come up with a solution on Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU that would appease both sides of the warring party.

“It’s becoming clear there’s no compromise that will keep remainers such as Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve happy as well as the likes of myself and Jacob Rees-Mogg,” the MP said.

“The numbers are against us and if we face repeated defeats when the withdrawal bill returns to the Commons, the only alternative will be to kick over the table and trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, which will likely lead to another general election.

“After speaking with like-minded colleagues, I have raised this with my association chairman and asked them to get on with readopting me as the candidate in my seat in anticipation that we could go to the polls as early as the autumn. I am even preparing my first leaflet drop for the summer.”

Labour MPs are also discussing the prospect of an October poll. A Labour Party insider said: “I heard two separate reports from MPs who said they had heard Conservative MPs planning for an early election.”

This chimes in with my own long standing views that a 2018 election wouldn’t surprise me as Mrs May would struggle to reconcile her party as she and the party discover that Brexit isn’t as easy as some Brexiteers promised.

As a Tory and a patriot sadly I think far too many Tories are playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun, even if they don’t know it. The Sunday Times report ‘At least a dozen hardline Brexiteers think leaving the EU with no deal would be better, according to reports. They are expected to renew calls for the appointment of a “no deal” cabinet minister to show that Britain is prepared to walk away from the negotiations.’

Although I was struck by John Rentoul’s observation this morning that as Mrs May moves us to the softest of soft Brexits ‘The prime minister is boiling the Brexiteer frogs: the water is getting hotter and none of them has jumped out of the pan.’ Perhaps some of the Leavers have decided pragmatism is the only way when it comes to Brexit rather than risking Corbyn as Prime Minister.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that the polling of the Tories and Mrs May has improved since Mrs May has started talking about delivering a softer Brexit.

Several bookies are offering 6/1 on a 2018 election and Betfair’s latest price is a 7.6, this is a market I’m not going play any further at these prices.

As the headline of this piece is channelling Brenda from Bristol, I suspect the Tories will take a hit if they force another election on the country, so that’s why it probably won’t happen.



A 100/1 tip to be Theresa May’s successor

May 20th, 2018

My twin strategies when it comes to betting on Theresa May’s successor is to lay the favourite(s) and back long odds (cabinet) ministers who appear to have potential. The latter has proven a very successful approach with the likes of Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid who were tipped and backed at odds of 100/1 and 60/1.

So the latest addition to the latter list is Matt Hancock, who is currently 100/1 with Ladbrokes to succeed Mrs May. He’s proving to be a very competent minister, as exemplified by the decision this week to limit the stakes of FOBTs to £2.

He’s also certain to receive a good press because of his opposition to Leveson 2 which could have bankrupted newspapers with numerous vexatious complaints from people with politically driven agendas.

The other advantage that Hancock has is he is close to the Cameroon wing of the party who still have a substantial number in Parliament. Before becoming an MP Hancock served as George Osborne’s Chief of Staff so he knows how to work the party and its MPs.

The Cameroon wing of the party are also looking for a standard bearer since David Cameron stood down and Hancock’s views are very much in line with the only man to have won the Tories a majority in the last 26 years and counting.

Like Hunt and Javid, Hancock has all the potential to be a great trading bet, if the Tories are looking to jump a generation Hancock also fits that bill as he is yet to turn 40. A half competent cabinet minister with youth on their side really shouldn’t be a 100/1 chance to succeed Mrs May.


PS – Another Matt Hancock tip is the 20/1 Ladbrokes are offering on him to be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer.