A look ahead to the year in politics
It can often be foolhardy to predict the year ahead in public, as one’s predictions can often look ridiculous by the end of the year – or if you’re lucky, extraordinarily prescient. With that in mind, a few thoughts on 2008, for the UK, USA, and the rest of the world.
My “long view” is that May 2010 will be the election date, and I’m predicting a Conservative majority, alongside a Tory endorsement by The Sun and some large swings in key marginal seats, especially in the South. Brown will fight the election, not having either been toppled or stepped down in the meantime. In 2008, I’m expecting the Tories to remain dominant in the opinion polls, with the Lib Dems staging a small recovery under Clegg. In a year’s time I predict Labour will be at least 10 points behind in the polls, and there must be a fair chance that the deficit gets into the teens. Anthony Wells says “I think Brown is finished”, and I don’t see any compelling reasons to disagree. The major UK election this year is the London Mayoral contest in May, and Boris could yet run Ken very close, but I’ll predict a final score of 52-48 to Livingstone.
A great deal is set to happen almost immediately, with Iowa voting today and New Hampshire next Tuesday, followed by a string of primaries ahead of “Super Duper Tuesday” in early February. My picks are as follows – Hillary to be the Democrat nominee, and for the GOP, Romney. Rudy’s “I’m not saying it’s flawed, but it’s untried” strategy will in the event not prove sufficient, and of the remaining candidates McCain may have the best chance of stopping Romney, but New Hampshire looks like a “must-win” for the Arizona senator. I think that the Republicans cannot be written off in the White House race, and if Clinton is the nominee, remember her high negatives.
The GOP remain outstanding value on Betfair at 2.7 (also 7/4 with Ladbrokes), so if the thought of a Republican successor to Bush makes you cringe, why not take out some “insurance” and back them on the markets? Romney to be next President at 11/1 with Bet 365 and Paddy Power looks tasty too. As a final thought on the US, I’d suggest you consider ignoring the UK media and concentrate on American sources. The British media is simply too Democrat-biased – and the pro-Democrat trend is also shown on Betfair, where of the two races, the GOP is more wide open, but lags the Democrats by 321K to 546K in amounts traded.
Pakistan will remain under heavy scrutiny, where the election has now been put back to 18th February. There’s a clutch of elections in March, in Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Zimbabwe. No prizes for tipping Medvedev and Mugabe as winners, although Spain could be close as Zapatero seeks a second term for the PSOE – there were some good Spanish posts on yesterday’s thread here (posts 2,12,15,19). Late spring will see the Irish referendum on the EU Treaty, where Sarkozy and Merkel will travel to Dublin to help Bertie Ahern win a “Yes” vote – could Ireland, the only public vote in the 27 EU countries, put a spanner in the Treaty? Finally, New Zealand will hold an election in the autumn, and the Nationals are currently comfortably ahead in the polls.
Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year and a successful year’s punting on the markets, the latest prices for which are here.
Paul Maggs “Double Carpet”
Mike Smithson returns tomorrow