Back Balls for Chancellor to cover yourself on Brown getting it
“My favourite website is the curiously influential politicalbetting.com (influential because I’m quite convinced it played a part in Cameron’s capture of the Tory leadership). Anyway, it chirpily suggested only days ago that anyone who fancies an outside bet should think about popping a few quid on Alan Johnson as the next Labour leader. His very attractive price, via the high street bookmakers (not the online ones), was then 18/1. But hurry while odds last – you’ll be lucky to find him at that price now…”
Those who’ve been tempted might consider covering their investment by betting on Gordon Brown’s former adviser and now Treasury Minister, Ed Balls, to succeed him at 11 Downing Street should the Chancellor become Labour leader.
It was no surprise that the rookie MP – he only arrived a year ago – got preferment in Tony Blair’s re-shuffle because from the day he was elected he looked as though he was heading for the Chancellor’s job. Balls has played such a close part in determining UK economic policy in recent years that it is hard to see Brown giving the job to anybody else if he does achieve his ambition of becoming Prime Minister.
And we’ve been saying for nearly a year that a bet on Balls for Chancellor is a cost effective way of profiting from a Brown victory. Currently there’s a Brown price of just 0.36/1 as next Labour leader. In the “Next Chancellor” market Balls is at 2.6/1.
So if you did get on Alan Johnson at a good price then covering your stake with a Balls bet might be a smart move.
Meanwhile respected Labour figures are preparing the ground for a contested leadership election. Last night on BBC2’s Newsnight Frank Field said he believed Home Secretary John Reid would “certainly” be among those to challenge for the job.
My view is that Reid would do quite well but Johnson, who successfully fought for the leadership of the communication workers to become one of the youngest ever General Secretaries of a major union would do better. Unlike any of the other possible contenders, including Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson has a track record in this form of election. He’s also built up a good reputation as a minister.
The best Johnson price is currently 10/1 with Reid at 14.5/1.