How certain is a Labour 1/12 bet?

How certain is a Labour 1/12 bet?

Even though the polls are tightening and only the pollsters that carry out their surveys by telephone are showing Labour leads is Tony Blair’s party still such a certainy to win most seats that the price of 1/12 represents good value for money? Or to put it like a journalist asked me yesterday – would I advise switching funds from the building society to get a return of more than 8% in just four weeks?

Are there circumstances where Labour could be runners-up in the race for seats?

The electoral arithmatic might not work as favourably as what some are describing as a freak result in 2001 when Labour’s supercharged performance in its marginals led them to a bigger victory than the swing suggested. But still the fundementals remain – Labour seats are smaller than Tory or Lib Dems ones because they have seen more population loss since the last boundary review.

Disproportionate gains from 2001 might lead to disproportionate losses this time with the greater anti-Government mood taking away many of the factors of 2001.

The Scottish boundary changes have taken away ten Labour seats but the small seat anamoly remains in Wales

Over-statement in the polls of Labour’s position, a characteristic of UK politics for half a century, might still be there and Labour current standing might be too optimistic. But that over-statement did not happen in the seats that mattered in 2001.

Lib Dem waverers who enthusiastically voted for Tony Blair to keep the Tories out last time might not be as motivated. Do enough of them dislike Tony Blair for the war that they are prepared to risk a Michael Howard victory?

Low turnout by Labour supporters – a significant factor according to almost all the polls – could lead to seat losses.

All told we think that the potential profit of £8.34 on a bet of £100 is not worth the risk of Labour not being top of seats.

Mike Smithson

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