Could Gordon go the way of David and Charles?

Could Gordon go the way of David and Charles?


    Brown “next leader price” continues to ease

Until the start of October it looked almost certain that the party leader line-up for the next General Election would be David Davis, Charles Kennedy and Gordon Brown.

There was no specific betting market on this notion but Davis was a heavy odds-on favourite to take over from Michael Howard, Kennedy had seen off the doubters after a rather troubled party conference and the best price you could have got on Gordon Brown was 0.25/1. Since then, of course, all has changed.

The only time when this line-up seemed a possibility again was for a few hours one Tuesday morning in November when the Times splashed a Populus Poll showing that Tory supporters were backing Davis over Cameron by 50-37. Punters who took our advice got on Cameron at bargain prices.

Now there are a few jitters in the betting markets over the Gordon Brown succession. Tony Blair’s public backing of his Chancellor at the weekend should have settled the matter but his highlighting of David Miliband and Douglas Alexander took the edge off that endorsement.

On Saturday morning the best Gordon Brown price was 0.45/1. This morning that has eased to 0.54/1 – a considerable move.

A lot of this is tied up in the biggest current question in British politics – when will Blair go? A week ago you could have got 3.4/1 on the Prime Minister being in post in January 2008. That has now tightened to 2.4/1 – a huge movement in such a short space of time.

    For the longer it is perceived that Blair is going to stay the less punters will be confident that Brown will be his successor.

MY BETTING. As I reported on the site on November 30th I had place a big bet at just under 2/1 that Brown would not make it. I have now closed that position down at a nice profit. My view is still that Brown is not a certainty but I have been trying to release as much cash as possible to put on Ming Campbell for the Lib Dem leadership. The current 0.6/1 looks great value and winning bets should get paid on March 2nd.

Mike Smithson

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