Is his “automatic succession” still a near certainty?
Yesterday’s little Commons concession over the operation of Gordon Brown’s tax credit system is a timely reminder of what a dangerous a position the Chancellor of the Exchequer holds.
For although he has had a fairly charmed life until now you cannot assume that things will continue to go well for the politician who gave up his chances of becoming Labour leader at that famous dinner at the Granita restaurant all those years ago. Is Gordon Brown the certainty that the 0.27/1 betting price tag suggests or is there now a case to look for opportunities to bet against him?
Or put it another way does the price of 100/28 represent good value on Brown NOT being the next Labour leader?
We have said many times here that we do not like these very long-term markets where you could be locking up your money for months or even years. An exception could be made here because the main Labour leadership market is on the Betfair betting exchange where you can back and lay and where, if you have predicted trends correctly and prices move in the direction that you forecast, then you can get your stake out. Sadly there is very little liqudity on this market at the moment.
So much of Brown’s future is tied up with the timing of Tony Blair’s departure. When it looked as though he would be out within months, or certainly next year, the price on the Gordon Brown was even tighter – at 1/5. Now we know there will not be a UK referendum on the EU Constitution and the Prime Minister has discovered a new crusade on the reform of EU finances an early change looks much less likely.
And the longer that Gordon Brown has to wait the greater the chances of something going wrong.
Will Gordon Brown, when the time to choose does come, still be seen by fellow MPs, Labour’s membership and the trade unions as the overwhelming obvious choice to take the party to a fourth successive General Election victory? There’s enough uncertainty about to make that 100/28 price tag look tempting. The only problem is that there are so few Brown backers about on Betfair that the most you can get on is about Â£5.
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