Should Gord have risked it in December 2008?

Should Gord have risked it in December 2008?

Has Labour missed the optimal moment for an election?

The front page of the Independent is dominated by a single story – a comment by a “cabinet minister”, who is not named, about prospects for jobs in the new year.

Many of the big redundancies, the report goes, have been held over with companies having held back until after the holiday period. The public sector, according to the paper, is going to be hard hit as well “contradicting saloon-bar wisdom.”

He or she is quoted as saying that the UK faces an unemployment “bloodbath” with many tens of thousands of jobs axed in the public and private sectors.

For those who like to bet on politics and/or forecast electoral outcome the big question is which party will be the winner and the loser in such dire circumstances?

    Could it be, for instance, that we will look back at the late November/early December 2008 period and conclude that that was the time Gordon should have gone to the country?

Certainly the momentum was with Brown and Cameron was very much on the back foot. Labour had seen a spectacular recovery and the party could have got maximum leverage out of Brown’s role in the bank bail-outs before the serious job losses started to kick in. The question now is whether the polling trend will be sustained or are we going to see the Tories edge back to an election winning lead?

The view of punters is clear – in spite of the polling reverses the Tories are still hot favourites to win most seats and an overall majority.

If you want to bet against the prevailing view then you might do better to consider one of the constituency markets. Thus you can get 9/4 on Nick Palmer holding onto Broxtowe for Labour which is the same as the best price in the most seats markets. My guess is that Nick will do better than his party nationally in what is Tory Target Number 42.

Mike Smithson

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