What are we to make of the “Blair going” market moves?
The implied probability, based on best betting prices, of Tony Blair leaving by the end of this year – within six weeks – has started rising again following the big surge last week after the 90-day detention defeat. The chart maps how punters have being viewing Blair’s possible imminent departure
Meanwhile the bookmakers, William Hill, have reported taking string of bets from punters who believe an announcement that Tony Blair is about to stand down is imminent. After accepting, amongst others, a bet of Â£1000 at odds of 10/1 for Blair to step down before the end of this year, Hills cut the odds to 13/2, but then received another bet of Â£500 at those odds from a Nottingham punter, followed by another client wanting to open an account to place precisely the same bet.
“At the same time we had people ringing us up, placing smaller bets, then telling us that they had been told that a significant announcement about Mr Blair’s future was imminent’ said a Hill’s spokesman.
This morning the Independent ran a story that the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, was calling for Brown to take over the leadership unopposed.
We are not convinced by the rumour. And even if it was true a process would have to be set up to select a new leader and it is hard to see how that could be truncated within the six weeks between now and New Year’s Eve. This would point to a change-over in the first quarter of 2006 – not of it all being resolved this year.
I think we are going to have to get used to stories like this.