The pleasures of political betting

The pleasures of political betting

£20 notes.jpg

    May 4th 2005 – eight hours to the off

At just after 11pm on the night before the May 2005 General Election a retired solicitor and a staunch Methodist who is strongly opposed to gambling knocked on my door clutching £500 in twenty pound notes in his hand. Could I, he asked, put a bet on for him?

He explained that for the past three weeks he had been doing a daily 220 mile round trip to help the Liberal Democrats in the North Norfolk constituency where the prominent blogger, and then owner of the Politcos bookstore, Iain Dale had been running a high profile campaign to try to recapture the seat lost by the Conservatives four years earlier.

“But Patrick”, I replied, “gambling is against your religion and you have never put a bet on in your life”.

“Yes I have been thinking about that,” was his response, “but it is only a gamble if there is an element of risk involved. We are going to hold on to the seat by shed load of votes tomorrow and it would be wrong for me not to make a little money on it”.

My friend did get his winnings, I made a bit on the seat as well and, Iain Dale went on to develop a successful writing and broadcasting career.

About today. I am in hospital for a “procedure” and this thread introduction is “one I prepared earlier”. Hopefully back to normal tomorrow.

Mike Smithson

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