Would PM Brown put two fingers up to precedent?
In the days after the General Election we said that putting money on Ed Balls at 4.6/1 to be the next Chancellor was a cost effective way of bettting on Gordon Brown to be the next Labour leader.
Our reasoning was that that only Balls, Brown’s long-serving advisor at the Treasury, could conceivably be Brown’s Chancellor. Only he would have the confidence of his boss and the odds on him becoming Chancellor were substantially better than those of Brown taking over from Tony Blair.
This call was savaged by many on the site who argued that it would be impossible for someone with as little parliamentary experience as Balls to be given such a top job so soon. I still think I’m right and other gamblers to do too.
Since that first post-General Election week in an admittedly very light market the move has been to Balls on the Next Chancellor Market and that price tag of 4.6/1 is now 1.8/1.
The move to Balls has been helped by the way he has applied himself as a back-bencher for which he is winning plaudits. It is also being helped by the fact that Tony Blair’s position as Leader looks more secure and there probably won’t be the early stepping aside that many were predicting. And every day that Blair stays Balls gets more parliamentary experience.
You can see Balls being given a ministerial position during 2006 and, of course it would be shocking for an MP with so little “experience” to be promoted so quickly. But NuLab is like that. The old ways don’t apply anymore.
And can anyone envisage Brown not choosing the man who has played such a huge part in his Chancellorship. And the 1.8/1 gives a far better return that the current 0.29/1 on Brown being the next Labour leader.