Is it time to re-visit the Hill’s market?
It’s almost hard to credit the total change that we’ve seen in UK politics in the past few weeks but less than a month ago many PBers, including me got bets on at 7/4 on the market from William Hill Politics that Brown would be the first of the main party leaders to be out.
Then the favourite was Nick Clegg with David Cameron the long-shot. Now prices have shifted a fair bit and this afternoon it is Gordon who is the 4/5 favourite with Clegg at 7/4 and Cameron having moved out to 4/1.
Such is the power of the opinion polls on the career prospects of political leaders. The question is whether, even at this latest price, Brown is still a good bet?
Given the total collapse of Brown Bounce II and the ongoing recession then it’s hard to argue that Brown should not be the favourite. Cameron looks even more secure and Clegg’s position is hardly precarious. So Brown it has to be.
What is hard is trying to work out what would bring this about. We saw last summer how Labour’s rules make it very difficult for a challenge. We even had the spate of resignations in the aftermath of Glasgow East but that had no impact.
My own theory is that the man Gordon should watch is Peter Mandelson – his great political friend until that fateful day in May 1994 when he chose to back Blair for the leadership instead.
Mandelson’s overwhelmingly loyalty is to the movement itself and if he starts to think that Labour’s chance are being impeded under the current leadership then he, surely, will be the one to act.
Of course the most likely event that will precipitate a leadership change is a general election defeat – and that is looking increasingly likely.