Were you a Brown buyer or seller a year ago today?

Were you a Brown buyer or seller a year ago today?


What can we learn from the betting and polls of September 2007

Exactly a year ago – on September 22nd 2007 – Labour, like today was in conference in Manchester and all the talk was about the “coming election”. There were even suggestions that Brown might announce something in his speech – like this year taking place on the Tuesday.

There was lots of excitement on the betting markets and I clipped the above from the Spreadfair spread betting exchange and published it here. Betting prices are always a good indicator of how serious observers are thinking and even at that moment when the polls were pointing to a big Labour majority punters were being much more cautious. The buy level above was three seats short of a Labour overall majority.

In the three days that followed things moved fast – a post Brown speech YouGov poll on Channel 4 suggested a doubt digit Labour lead. I was convinced that even if there wasn’t going to be an early election Labour look set for a fourth term and made what turned out to me my most costly spread bet of the past year – I “bought” at 332 seats.

In the build up to conference during September Brown had totally dominated the news agenda. Every single day at least one massive new government initiative was announced and where relevant, they were focussed on marginal seats. One of the papers was keeping a daily tally of how much government money was being spent.

Thus for Bedford, Tory target number 67 and where I live, there was a carefully choreographed announcement about the massive cash injection into the urgently-needed upgrade of the Thameslink route. Other marginals had similar announcements and there were general things like the national bus pass scheme allowing pensioners free travel everywhere and CrossRail.

Just look at this from UKPolling Report.


Gord’s aim was to so demoralise the Tories that there’d have a terrible conference and the pressure would really be put on Cameron’s leadership – a great back-cloth for the start of an election campaign. This was a mega mistake. For all the talk of an early election did was to bring the Tories together and they had a remarkably convivial gathering in Blackpool. They may not have been happy with their leader but in the face of such a threat they had to come together.

    And isn’t this what is happening in Manchester this week with Labour? Unity – or at least appearing to be unified – is central to any party which is why Gordon will get an amazing reception tomorrow

(I managed to get out of my Labour buy bet at about 320 seat but it cost me a lot of money. If I had stayed in that punt would have cost me nearly £10,000 for Labour are currently down at about 230 seats)

Mike Smithson

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