Labour backers shrug off the Sedgemore defection

Labour backers shrug off the Sedgemore defection

    Labour price tightens to 1/25

In spite of the Brian Sedgemore defection to the Liberal Democrats political gamblers have continued to pile huge sums onto Labour for what they see as a certain return on it ending up as top party on May 5th. At the start of the formal campaign you could have got 1/12. Yesterday it was 1/20 and today it’s tightened to 1/25. This mean that a winning £100 bet would produce a return of just £4.

This market does not even require Tony Blair to secure a majority – all that has to happen is for Labour to get most seats so it’s no wonder that punters on Betfair and the main conventional have gone in with huge amounts.

These returns might be big enough for very high rollers wanting a sure return on big sums but this sort of betting is not attractive to those of more modest means. This is why the focus now is on marginal seats where people are using their local knowledge to try to make some money.

Quite what the Sedgemore defection and the general increase in the noise level on war related issues will have on the outcome is hard to say. The polling surveys of the next few days should be very interesting.

While there can be hardly anybody about who does not believe that Blair is home and dry there are a number of issues to be resolved. What will be the size of the majority? What percentage vote share does Labour need for its victory to be seen to be legitimate? Will the increasing focus on the lax postal voting arrangements and suggestions of fraud have an impact?

Mike Smithson

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