At what price does the risk become too great?
My final bet on Brown to succeed Tony was last Sunday when I got a price of 0.08/1. This means for my Â£200 stake I’ll make a profit of just Â£16 should, as seems almost certain now, he takes over at Number 10 at the end of June.
With Blair’s announcement now over with and the only possible challengers, Meacher and McDonnell, arguing amongst themselves over who should fly the flag for the left, we could be in a situation next week when Brown is the only nominee.
So is there still value putting as much as you can on at current price levels which are hovering between 0.02/1 and 0.03/1? What are the risks – could something still go wrong for the Chancellor?
The answer is almost certainly not although there are three elements to consider.
The Polls. Even if there was a series of devastating poll findings in the next few days Labour has collectively made up its mind that it wants Gordon. If the polls were going to change thinking within the movement it would not have got to this stage.
Brown’s health. This might sound harsh but a major risk element for punters putting big money on is that something untoward could happen to him. Brown is 57 next birthday and is three years older than the average male life expectancy in parts of inner Glasgow. But in spite of the constant nail biting Brown looks healthy and energetic and certainly has a much better life-style than inner city Glasgow men.
Bad publicity. Another risk element for punters might be some unforeseen bad publicity which is of such a magnitude that Brown feels that he has to pull out. It’s hard to imagine what this could be and if there was really anything that negative then surely it would have come out already?
So in totality it does look pretty certain but risk the return-ratio is such that it’s probably worth waiting until the final few days even if that means the price tightening to 0.01/1.
Mike Smithson – author of “The Political Punter“