What price on these two for the axe?

What price on these two for the axe?


    It looks like there will be a Betfair “Who’s in – who’s out” market?

Further to the article yesterday on new Betfair markets it’s now looking likely that we will be able to trade very soon on who will be in and out of Gordon Brown’s first cabinet.

    And when we do what odds will be available on Ruth Kelly and Patricia Hewitt holding onto their places after their torrid times yesterday in the Commons?

The sketch writers in this morning’s papers set the scene brutally for the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Minister for Women and the Secretary of State for Health. This is Simon Hoggart in the Guardian:-

“Yesterday in parliament was all about brave women fighting to save their jobs when the clunking fist takes over in five weeks. Poor Ruth Kelly! She is famously a member of Opus Dei, the Catholic group. But who needs a barbed wire garter when you have to defend the humiliating climbdown on home information packs to the Commons? Self-flagellation is a waste of energy when you have sadistic Tories to do the thrashing for you…Earlier we heard from Patricia Hewitt, who we all assume is the outgoing health secretary. She was much less combative than Ruth Kelly. I was reminded of animals who know they are about to die and look for somewhere comfortable to lie down.”

Betfair’s thinking is to run the market simply on who is in the cabinet as set out on the 10 Downing Street website at a particular time on a specific date. Locking in individuals to specific posts, such as the current next Chancellor market, assumes that Brown will follow the same structures as Blair has had and could lead to definition problems.

Another series of long-term markets that is being examined is to replicate the Blair exit betting for each of the three party leaders – Campbell, Brown and Cameron. We would bet on the options of three month segments until January 1st 2011. This could be fascinating because would, say, Cameron, retain his job if the Tories fail at the next election? The same could be asked of all three.

  • Given what’s happened over the Blair exit date Betfair have consulted me about the precise wording. Should it be simply “When will David Cameron officially cease to be Leader of the Conservative Party?”. Can anybody see problems with that formulation? Please leave a comment below or email me.
  • Mike Smithson

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