A Guest slot by Jack W
(PBers in their quiet, contemplative moments will no doubt worry how a PB Titan spends his reflective moments after having polished his betting halo, plotting the next Jacobite Rising and single handedly erasing the balance of payments deficit by stint of fine pie exports alone. You need concern yourself no more.
For having been prevailed upon to lift the literary status of PB to Nobel literary standards it is clear that my every spare waking moment must be devoted to a series of occasional articles entitled “Against The Grain” – a political nail-bed and betting opportunities therin. For the first of these articles I’ve cast an eye on the putative chances of a short term Labour recovery.)
One of the clearest political moods of the past year has been the almost natural assumption that David Cameron will be the next tenant of 10 Downing Street assisted by a comfortable if not handsome majority in the Commons, perhaps even of landslide proprtions. This mood pervades the media, most political commentators and even, though to a lesser degree, the general public. It’s oft said we are in for a reprise of the 97 election but with the Conservatives in the driving seat. However are there any straws in the wind indicating that Labour might recover or are they just straw men for the falling.
Those looking for signs of an opening for a new Labour gambit can point to a slight improvement in some polls that indicate a post conference net improvement of a few points to Labour. However even this improvement looks fragile and the Conservative poll lead remains impressive if perhaps in the odd poll nudging toward hung parliament territory. Presently the overall story from the polls remains largely gloom laiden. Government supporters hoping for a historic closing of the polls are watching the sand of electoral time running out with little encouragement to be seen.
Is it possible that some initial Labour recovery is running under the main radar of the polls? Perhaps. The excellent result for Labour in the Glasgow NE by-election might be written off as a purely Scottish affair but post the Euro elections there have also been some decent results for Labour in some local by-elections. Are we seeing here a repeat in Labour terms of “Shy Conservative Voter Syndrome from years gone by?
It’s also noticable that “Dead Lettergate” had engendered a deal of sympathy for the Prime Minister some of it from unexpected quarters. Might this be another early sign that some in the media and more importantly the voters will cast a new eye over the Prime Minister.
Certainly there are some who believe that Conservative support is a mile wide and a inch deep and opportunites will arise to chip away at that support as the general election nears and voters cast a more discerning eye on the contenders. Of course the electorate may remain of their present view and contnue to reject Gordon Brown and Labour but at least an opening is there. Will Gordon squander the opportunity again?
The economy may also run slightly more in the governments favour than had been thought. Wednesdays unemployment figures were somewhat better than expected within the context of severe economic difficulties. If the voters are prepared to listen to Labour’s message that the Conservatives have misjudged the economic climate and the strategies required to bring about a sustained recovery, then they may decide to remain with nanny in troubled times as they did with John Major in 1992 – Cue Daily Mirror front page – If Cameron Wins Tomorrow Will The Last Person Leaving The Nation Please Turn The Lights Off
In the context of these musings are there any certainties and more importantly betting opportunities. For this Titan the prospect of Gordon leaving office before the general election of his own volition or indeed being forced out are now close to nil. Relatedly the election now looks set for May or June. The spread markets offer some opportunites if you believe Labour’s position is understated. My view is that a long term buy position looks more rewarding if you consider Labour has hit its floor. I do.
In conclusion I consider Labours position to be perilous but not quite yet completely lost. The door is slightly ajar but with the voters inclined to but not yet minded to shut it fully in Gordon’s face.
Jack W is the reigning PB Tipster Of The Year and claims to be 107 years old.