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Tony Blair is in for a terrible “Super Thursday” on June 10 when the Euro. London and local elections take place. Our predictions are:-
Labour will get LESS THAN 28% of the vote that it got nationally in the Euro elections in 1999
The Tories will get MORE THAN 38% of the average national vote in the local elections on the same day
Labour will struggle to hold onto the London Mayoralty – even with Ken Livingstone as candidate.
These setbacks will affect the General Election market sentiment – Labour will fall and the Tories will rise. But don’t be tempted into betting on Michael Howard to win the General Election. The Tories need to win 7% more votes than Labour just to get equal on seats and be 10% ahead to win a majority. Our call is WAIT until after June 10 before backing Labour because the value will be better.
Current spread prices
This is broadly our current view of the next General Election with Labour being returned with an overall majority of 18 or so. We see no value either sell or buy in any of these prices. The Lib Dem spread might be interesting because the party is looking to win 80-90 seats. But how well they will they do against the rejuvenated Tories under Howard? This year’s local by-election results, usually a good indicator of LD performance, have not been as good as previous years. If you want to spread bet against Labour or for the Tories now is the time to do it because the prices will move.
A very close call but our hunch is that the hunger for a Kerry win is greater than the desire to keep George W. Bush in the White House. We need, however, a price of at least 2.35 to make it tempting. Four weeks ago three UK bookmakers were offering 2.5 when we said BACK. Now the best is 2.31 on a betting exchange. WAIT until the price moves. No UK markets yet on Kerry’s running mate but the US-directed Irish firm, Tradesports, has John Edwards at the equivalent of 4.
We are not convinced that Blair will go. We are not convinced that Kennedy will go. We do believe that there’s a better than evens chance that one of them will go before the General Election and a lay price under 2 in the party leaders market is just about good value. Tony Blair’s awful week has not affected the markets as much as you would expect although there’s been quite a lot of betting on the betting exchange market which is now much more liquid. The latest price on him still being Labour leader at the General Election is 1.53 so there’s no value. Meanwhile the price on Gordon Brown continues to fall and there’s been some support for Jack Straw following yesterday’s Independent on Sunday column by Alan Watkins with the title “If I were Tony Blair, I’d watch out for Jack Straw”. This might be worth a little punt at 23 – though don’t put your shirt on it.
The next big political betting event and our long-standing call that this is not the foregone conclusion that the markets think it is remains. The Sunday Times reports of the £75m of “secret deals” that had to be made on the Congestion charge will not help Ken. Expect more of these stories as we get nearer to June 10 and look for value on Steve Norris but cover yourself on Simon Hughes. William Hill’s 11 on Norris is the best political bet around. Alas William Hill has barred me from placing any more money in this market – but you can.
Although there is not a vacancy, just for the moment, two bookmakers , including Paddy Power, have now opened markets on who will be the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church. On the face of it this about religion not politics but the nature of the election, and the importance of the outcome, makes this process high politics indeed and the subject of much speculation. We’re advised that we might expect someone from the developing world. Francis Arinze (Nigeria) is said to have a big following and is a theological conservative. Two Latin American figures, Claudio Hummes (Brazil) and Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino (Cuba) are said to be in the running and have a lot of support. If it is to stay in Europe then Count Christoph von Schoenborn (Austria) is said to have the right qualifications. Although there is not much liquidity in the betting exchange markets yet Francis Arinze has moved in from 16 to 5.4 on Betfair. A bookmaker is offering 7 so that looks like the value bet. But we don’t like locking up money in a bet until we know when it will be settled. WAIT until there is an election.
Illustration – http://mirror.nst.pku.edu.cn/www.slac.stanford.edu/gen/pubinfo/com/shouting.gif