Why I’m putting more money on him going this year?
Three news stories in the past couple of days have caused me to put more money on Tony Blair not surviving in the job until the end of the year.
First the reports that Lord Levy – Blair’s tennis partner, Middle East envoy and fundraiser – did not answer police questions after his arrest but repeatedly said “no comment” indicate, surely, that this is getting serious. If this goes to the next stage and a charge the Prime Minister would be very exposed.
Second the court appearance by Des Smith – the schools’ fundraiser – yesterday in which his lawyer spoke of “a well-established link” between the provision of financial support for specialist schools and preferment of honours. The hearing was on a driving charge and his solicitor was trying to explain the pressure that his client had been under. If this is what is being said on his behalf in open court what has he told the police inquiry?
Thirdly reports of Rory Bremner’s conversation with Blair while they were holidaying near each other in 1996. A Sunday Times report from last year picked up by Guido has “…..After a pleasant game with Blair and making a few jokes at the expense of John Major, then prime minister, Bremner raised a serious point. â€œI said, â€˜Weâ€™re laughing at John Major now, but if you get into power the boot will be on the other foot and youâ€™ll be on the receiving end.â€™ â€œBlair laughed rather nervously and said, â€˜Uh, um, how does Lord Bremner sound to you?â€™ â€ It was a joke, Bremner emphasises, â€œbut he was aware of patronage and bringing people within the circleâ€. If Blair was saying this to a comedian what has he said to other people over the past ten years?
In all betting you have to judge the odds you are being offered against your personal assessment of what is going to happen. I’m not predicting that Blair will go but I do believe that the chances of a departure in the final quarter of the year are higher than the price of 5/1 that I bet at overnight.