No rush to bet on an early departure
The above chart shows the implied probability of Tony Blair surviving for another 21 months and is based on best betting prices.
It shows that there has been just a small dip linked to the Education Bill but the market impact is nothing like what it was in the aftermath of last November’s terror bill defeat.
Clearly having to rely on Tory support to get a main policy bill through its second reading is not good but, as far as punters are concerned, it hardly changes the view on when Blair will be leaving.
For nobody ever got rich underestimating Tony Blair’s ability to survive.
There have been several occasions in the past three years when all the speculation was that he was going soon and those that bet against him lost money. It will be recalled that in the days after last May’s General Election the price on a 2005 departure dropped to evens.
For almost all of the period from the Iraq War to Cameron’s election of Tory leader the polls have shown that Labour would do better under Gordon Brown than him yet apart from in the days after last November’s first Commons defeat his position has looked strong.
Unless there is an unforeseen mishap on the education bill, and as Andrew Grice in the Independent states the Tory leader is “playing a blinder on this”, the next “Blair career event” is likely to be the local election day in May. There’ve been forecasts of big party losses which could prompt a move. Don’t bet on it.
The current price on Blair lasting until the end of next year is 2.8/1. That starts to look interesting but it is perhaps worth waiting until after next week’s Budget statement from Gordon Brown.