Could Michael Howard win by conceding that he will lose?

Could Michael Howard win by conceding that he will lose?


    Will the Tories’s new Campaign Chief adopt his winning Australian strategies?

The appointment of the Australian campaigning guru, Lynton Crosby, as the Conservative’s Election campaign director should cause all political gamblers to look closely at their General Election betting.

For Crosby was the strategist behind the remarkable campaign in 1996 when the Australian Liberal party pulled off a surprise victory in the General Election there by all but conceding that the party had no chance of beating the Government of the then Labour Prime Minister, Paul Keating.

Instead the Crosby campaign urged the voters to “send Keating a message”. Substitute “UK Conservative Party” for “Australian Liberal Party” and “Tony Blair” for “Paul Keating” and you might have the basis of an interesting General Election strategy.

    The circumstances are very similar. Nobody believes that the Tories have any hope of victory and Michael Howard simply does not sound credible when making any assertion that the party could form the next Government.

Yet there’s a big question mark in many people’s mind over Tony Blair and the mathematics are nothing like as good for Labour as received opinion in the “Westminster Village” would have it. It does not take that many voters to switch or abstain from voting Labour for all the thinking to be turned on its head. And if the polls are as wrong as the 6.6% overstatement of the Labour margin in 2001 then the contest could be very open. This followed a 3.5% overstatement in 1997 and the appalling polling performance of 1992 when not one survey predicted that the Tories were ahead – never mind Major’s eventual 8% margin.

Everybody is mesmerised by the 2001 General Election result that gave Labour so many more seats in terms of votes cast than in virtually any other General Election ever. The whole mood is determined by what happened on June 7 2001.

    What Crosby will do is help the Conservatives create a rhetoric that matches the public mood – and who knows – could 05/05/05 see a sensational result?

There’s been almost no movement in the General Election spread betting markets. These are the latest prices – remembering that Tony Blair needs 324 seats to secure a certain majority.

Sporting Index LAB 338-346: CON 202-210: LIBD 72-77
IG Index: LAB 338-346: CON 208-216: LIBD 70-75

In spite of Mr. Crosby’s arrival we do not see any value in selling or buying any of the parties. If you want to back the Tories there is no compelling reason why you should do it now rather than much nearer the date. Watch and wait.

The best bookmaker price on Labour winning most seats is 1/6. Risking £60 to win £10 is not a good value bet.


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