Is it worth betting on Brown taking over a lot earlier?
The extraordinary situation that could see Gordon winning the Labour leadership by default this afternoon but having to wait until the end of June before taking over has already led to calls that the change-over should happen now.
This is the front page editorial in the Independent this morning and the message could not be clearer. Brown is the winner – what’s the point of Blair struggling on for the next few weeks when he will be an even bigger lame duck than he is already?
No doubt this will be the first of many calls and Tony’s plan announced only a week ago to move on after attending his last summit meetings at the end of June might not be feasible.
In its leader the Indy argues: “It serves the interests of no one for Mr Blair to delay…Blair’s supporters will no doubt argue their man must stay on over the coming weeks to put the final seal on his political legacy. But nothing that Mr Blair can accomplish between now and the end of June will change history’s verdict on his premiership. Moreover, we cannot allow the country’s future to be held hostage by the self-indulgence of one man. In truth, there has been too much of that already.”
Team Brown have shown themselves to be completely ruthless in pursuit of the top job and you certainly would not put it past them putting the pressure on Blair.
Maybe the plan to prevent a challenge by locking in so many Labour MPs for Gordon was designed so that there would be an overwhelming case for Blair to get out quickly.
One cost effective way that you can bet on this happening is by “selling” the length of Blair’s third term on the Spreadfair spreadbetting market. I’ve just put a little bit on at the 111 weeks level – week one being defined as that which started on May 9th 2005. I stand to lose at most maybe one week but could conceivably gain five.
Unlike Betfair the firm has an unambiguous definition of the timing – “the market will be settled on his actual final day as Prime Minister”
It may, of course, be Blair’s intention already to make such a move in the event of a Brown walk-over. Even without that the Indy’s sentiment this morning is surely going to be echoed elsewhere and there could be one final humiliation in store for Labour’s three-times election winner.