Ignore the post by-elections odds changes on Blair and Labour
After Labour losing its parliamentary seat in Leicester South to the Liberal Democrats but holding Birmingham Hodge Hill with a majority in hundreds rather than thousands smart punters should stick with Tony Blair even though the response of the markets has been against him and Labour. The William Hill price on Blair going before the General Election is down to 5/4 and Labour’s odds have lengthened.
They said he was doomed when he took the country into the war without UN sanction.
They said he was doomed after the the suicide of David Kelly – the Government’s weapons scientist.
They said he would be doomed after the Hutton Report.
There’ll be naysayers predicting doom after a week that has seen the Butler Report and now the by-election disasters.
For however things might look bleak for Tony Blair, they are far bleaker for Michael Howard. For the Tory by-election victory famine – that has gone on ever since rarified political amosphere of the Falklands War on June 3 1982 – continues and the main opposition party still finds it impossible to get some electoral traction even under its new leader.
Like Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s Tony Blair finds himself with a split opposition and can look to a substsantial General Election victory even if the Labour vote collapses by 10% and the party gets less than a third of the vote.
In spite of Tory efforts to talk up yesterday they did a little worse in terms of vote share loss than in Brent East last year but they were not squeezed very much. The Lib Dems did so well because so many Labour supporters switched.
Brent East by-election – change in Tory vote -2.1%
Leicester South – change in Tory vote –2.6%
Birmingham Hodge Hill – change in Tory vote -2.6%
If you want to bet on Labour and Blair – now might be the time to do it.
The only market where you shoud not back Blair is the one that he will be Prime Minister longer than Margeret Thatcher. Our concern is a betting one – it is crazy to lock up your money for such a long time.
Picture – easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~jjphoto/blair.jpg