Is May 5th a certainty?

Is May 5th a certainty?

    Is this snap election talk just that – talk?

With the betting exchange, Betfair, opening a new market on whether or not the General Election will be on the widely forcast date of May 5 there’s renewed specualation this morning that a snap election might be in the offiing.

This has been fuelled by Alastair Campbell making a quiet return to full-time return to politics. According to a report in the Scotsman Mr Campbell’s daily attendance at Labour’s new campaign HQ in London, along with increasing input from another architect of New Labour, Peter Mandelson, suggests Mr Blair has reconstructed his “dream team” earlier than most observers were expecting. The heightened preparations for the election are fuelling the hopes of some Labour MPs that the Mr Blair will go to the country before the 5 May date many have pencilled in for the poll.

We should get a clear pointer in a matter of days rather than weeks. In an astute article in the Independent in December Michael Brown argued that the timing of the budget could be very significant – and we should know the date of that quite soon.

This was from the piece: Budgets are usually held in the second or third week of March. This would not be possible if Parliament had already been dissolved. But if there is a budget on 2 March (notice of this would be given some weeks ahead), be on your guard for an announcement, immediately afterwards, of an election on 31 March. Remember that, in 1992, John Major dissolved Parliament 48 hours after an early March budget. I do not expect this to happen. However, if it does, you read it here first.

On the main Betfair “Election Date” market the price on it being held between April and June is 1/12. But the new market is specifically on whether or not it will be on May 5th. As of the time of writing just £40 had been matched and there are no interesting prices either side.

THANK YOU to those taking part in the discussions for lowering the temperature of the debates. This is going to be much more challenging as we get closer to the date, May 5th or not, and let’s try to keep this as a site where people of all allegiances are involved.

From a personal perspective I am currently changing jobs and have arranged my leaving and start dates so that I will be able to devote myself full-time to Politicalbetting during the election campaign – provided it is on May 5th! As well as more comprehensive articles this will allow me to moderate actively in a way that I do not have the time to do at the moment – but it is far better if we are self-policing.

Mike Smithson

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