How long before the David & Gordon show?

How long before the David & Gordon show?

    Brown’s price tightens after “hatred bill” defeats

Whenever Tony Blair seems to be having a bad time of it punters flock to bet on Gordon Brown as his successor. For the main consideration in this market is not whether the Chancellor will make it to Number 10 but how quickly it will happen.

Punters like to bet on something knowing it’s going to be resolved within a reasonable time-scale because the last thing they want is to lock their stake up for, maybe, years at very tight odds-on prices.

    So as soon as there is a sniff that Blair is under pressure the money goes on Brown.

At the weekend the betting exchange price was at 0.5/1. This morning after the “hatred” bill defeats and Cameron’s taunts about the PM not making a division that the Government lost by by one vote the best you can get is 0.4/1.

With the prospect of further problems for Tony Blair in the coming Education bill vote the Brown for Labour leader price might tighten even further.

    But nobody ever got rich underestimating Tony Blair.

For several years there has been regular money to be made betting against the notion of an imminent Blair departure. In the aftermath of the David Kelly affair and the Hutton inquiry in 2003 you could get ridiculous prices on an early exit.

During one difficult weekend on a personal level for Blair in May 2004 the price on him leading the party at the last General Election eased to above evens. In the aftermath of May 5th you could only get evens on a 2005 handover.

The Education Bill looks problematical but Blair, surely, has the ability to focus this in such a way that it will embarrass David Cameron, whose offer of Tory support is a challenge?

As political spectator I want the David-Gordon show to start as soon as possible. This is the contest that will dominate the next few years in British politics and it will be fascinating watching the two new leaders fight it out.

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Mike Smithson

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