Is the school providing the 2009 betting movers?
After the last thread on Ken Clarke’s possible return to a front-bench position it’s quite striking to note how many of the potential 2009 political betting “movers” were all educated at the same school – Nottingham High.
Yesterday I put Â£50 on another ex-pupil, Ed Balls, at 16/1 in Ladbroke’s Chancellor on New Year’s Eve 2009 market. Clearly Darling looks set to stay the course but in the current economic storm then the chances of a move here must be high.
And Balls, of course, played a key role supporting Brown at the treasury in the period up to him becoming an MP in 2005. The two are said to be very close and if it is a case of “move over Darling” then surely Balls is in with a big chance, That 16/1 looks tasty.
Also in the running on the Ladbrokes market is Ken Clarke himself at 28/1. To win three things need to happen: a 2009 general election; a victory for the Tories; and for Cameron to have moved Osborne on. I’m not so sure that these pre-conditions can be met.
But Clarke’s return, if that is indeed what happens, could provide what political gamblers all love – a Westminster by-election in his Rushcliffe seat. For if Clarke is going to shadow Peter Mandelson then how is he going to do it effectively in the commons – Mandy is now, of course, a Lord. An elevation to the upper house for Ken with the consequential vacancy could possibly be on the cards.
Another possible 2009 by-election could involve our third prominent Nottingham High old boy – Geoff Hoon. He’s being strongly tipped as Britain’s next EU commissioner and if that happens there would be a by-election in his Ashfield seat. This would not be the first time that Ashfield has had to have an election because its sitting MP has taken a Brussels job. In 1977 the Tories pulled off a big victory there. Could the same repeat itself in 2009?
With a swing the size of what happened in Crewe & Nantwich in May 2008 that could be just possible. But my sense is that after Glenrothes the Labour by-election machine is in a better state and this might not be as easy.
A final ex-Nottingham High boy who is in the betting is Ed Davey. He’s down with William Hill’s as the 7/1 third favourite to succeed Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader.