Friday, September 24, 2010

David Miliband Preparing for Defeat

This morning the Guardian is reporting that Jim Murphy, one of David Miliband’s two campaign managers, attended a meeting with members of the Ed Milband camp to map out how they would handle Saturday’s leadership result in the event of Red Ed winning. The Telegraph saysThe overture is being seen as a signal that the elder Mr Miliband, long regarded as the front-runner in the race to succeed Gordon Brown, is bracing himself for defeat.”

Bookmakers overnight saw a big move onto Ed Miliband, some suspect that any deep pocketed operation to manipulate betting markets on behalf of David Miliband to keep his odds low has come to an end now that voting has closed. The odds are now more accurately reflecting the closeness seen by the pollsters. Mike Smithson over at PoliticalBetting.com is calling it for Ed and predicts that the brothers will soon be at evens or Ed will go favourite before the result is known on Saturday…

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Counting Begins

The campaigning is over, the counting has begun. For political punters like Guido there is a fascinating divergence between the punters and the pollsters, YouGov is calling it narrowly for Red Ed, the punters reckon it will be David Miliband. Why?

Guido has heard various theories:

  • YouGov got the weighting wrong for the union affiliates – being peddled by some Mili-D supporters.
  • YouGov / LeftFootForward have analysed the distribution of second preferences incorrectly – something Guido has questioned.
  • Someone is deliberately manipulating the betting markets on behalf of Mili-D to influence the MP/MEPs’ votes – they want to back a winner for careerist reasons – they can be influenced by the publicly available odds.

We’ll find out in two days…

Paddy Power and William Hill are no longer taking bets fearing something might leak. The latest prices from Political Smarkets* are:

David

Ed

Next Labour Leader :

64%

34%

MP/MEPs’ Favourite :

89%

35%

Member’s Favourite :

67%

36%

Union affiliate’s Favourite :

11%

93%

In the humiliation stakes punters still reckon that despite Guido’s never-ending support, Ed Balls is still the favourite to to be eliminated in the first round. Guido thinks he might not come last and is a seller at 41%.

*These are implied probabilities, when they add up to over 100% it is called the “over-round”, the bigger the over-round the less efficient the market is, for an explanation see here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nervousness in David Miliband’s Camp

After reading endless tips from Mike Smithson on PoliticalBetting.com to back Ed Miliband, Guido switched his bets on Friday. David Miliband’s implied probability of victory had already dropped from 75% to 65% by the time Guido shifted his money from one brother to the other. He is at the time of writing given a 59% chance of winning the leadership (40% for Ed Miliband). Given it is too close to call that could narrow to 50% / 50% soon. Both camps are of course claiming their internal polling numbers point to victory.

In the humiliation stakes punters reckon that despite Guido’s never-ending support, Ed Balls is still the favourite to to be eliminated in the first round. His odds on avoiding humiliation have improved, dropping from a 62% certainty down to a still not good 41%, with Diane Abbott on 35% and Burnham given 30% a chance of going out first. If you are reading this Sally Bercow, and still think Balls is going to win the leadership, a £5 bet will win you £1000.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pollsters Backing Ed V Punters Backing David

Someone is going to get a shock based on these Sunday Times/YouGov polling results. With two weeks to go until the results are known and voting already taking place it is, all are agreed, going to be close. Punters are predicting a win for David Miliband whilst pollsters YouGov are predicting a narrow win for Ed Miliband.  Admittedly the punters could change their positions on this news, but as things stand currently they are ignoring the pollster overall.


Guido is sticking with his money on David Miliband to beat his brother Ed because he disagrees with the YouGov / LeftFootForward analysis of how the second preference votes will break. It will be close undoubtedly and there does seem to have been a shift in the union affiliates section of the electoral college and Guido has taken money off David to win that section (Ed is now 60% favourite to win the union members vote). David Miliband is still overall favourite to win the leadership, the MEP/MPs votes and the members votes. Guido can only think that the switch in union affiliates to Ed is a result of Union bosses’ endorsements sent out with ballot papers.

UPDATE : Ed Balls remains favourite to be eliminated in the first round. Oh dear…

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Coulson Cleared

Well not quite, but Channel 4 News have certainly put The Guardian in a tricky spot. The paper’s strategy is to drip out one former Screws hack every day to keep the story alive, but it seems that they are grasping at straws already:

“Paul McMullan told the Guardian newspaper this morning that David Cameron’s communications chief “would certainly be well aware that the practice was pretty widespread,” but Channel 4 News has learnt from the former features executive that he left the paper in 2001, two years before Mr Coulson became its chief.”

Investigatory journalism at its finest…

UPDATE : Latest betting prices from Political Smarkets – Will Andy Coulson leave? Yes 43% / No 70%.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No Vacancy on Downing Street

Officially there is no vacancy. Officially Andy Coulson has the full support of the PM and the government machine. Officially he isn’t going anywhere. Unofficially last night was quite the flurry of activity.

He may not be going anywhere just yet, but the longer the BBC, Guardian and the Labour Party keep screaming, the more they wound Coulson as he becomes the story. The damage  is not just jeopardising his current job, but any future high earners he could move on to. So the feelers are going out and seem to centre on three key names…

There may not be an official vacancy, but that isn’t stopping Boris’s spinner and former BBC man Guto Harri putting his ear to the ground. he had been rumoured to be in talks with Welsh language channel S4C about their vacant CEO position, Guido hears that Welsh speaking Harri told them that if Coulson’s job became available he wouldn’t be in the running for the channel no one watches. Though some are worried where that would leave Boris with a re-election battle looming.

Another BBC man, James Lansdale, is also said to have given a nod of the head. This Old Etonian would slip easily into the Cameron circle and is greatly respected by his colleagues. Not that there is a vacancy of course.

Another name in the fray is, as ever, Ben Brogan. His Cameroon contacts are exemplary and second to none. Interestingly Mandrake, in Brogan’s own paper, was keen to keep him out of the runners and riders suggesting instead that Buckingham Palace’s Simon Walker is in the offing rather than their Deputy Editor. They also suggest George Pascoe-Watson, who is by all accounts happy with his new well-rewarded gig at Portland. Guido’s money is still on Coulson.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Aussie Election Neck and Neck

Labor PM Julia Gillard is refusing to concede defeat tonight, she is trying to woo Independents and “fight to form a government”. “The people have spoken” she told supporters earlier, quoting Bill Clinton, she said, “it was going to take some time to work out what they’ve said”.

UK bookmakers had Labor as hot favourites, Guido just now got a few quid on the Coalition opposition winning at 35%. Well worth a punt…

UPDATE 21.30 : Coalition now given a 75% of removing Julia Gillard, it’ll all come down to how the independents go.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

UKIP Leadership Race

The race has begun to succeed Lord Pearson as leader of UKIP. He has amused political observers with his candid honesty. Not a strategy for success in politics.

Nigel Farage is favourite, though one wonders if he is really up for it given his health. He hasn’t said he will run for sure, yet punters still make him the runaway favourite. The rest of the likely runners include Christopher Monckton, the leading global warming sceptic and former adviser to Maggie. David Campbell Bannerman is a policy guy, former Tory SpAd and latterly a spinner before getting elected as an MEP.

Gerard Batten is another MEP and former London mayoral candidate, Spanish Marta Andreasen is the EU auditor turned UKIP MEP.

Guido has put a few quid on Monckton on the grounds that the outsider has fewer internal UKIP enemies and UKIPpers do like exotic characters…

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To AV or not AV? |This is the Question:

“Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the ‘alternative vote’ system instead of the current ‘first past the post’ system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?”

Bit wordy, and the legislation may yet be blocked by Labour and Tory backbenchers and the Nats.

Currently punters give AV a 64% chance of passing…

Punters versus Wonks

It is fair to say that London Labour’s activists and wonkish elite are by and large behind Ed Miliband, unless they are ideological Blairites (like the Progress crowd) or careerist greasy pole climbers like most MPs, in which case they are behind David Miliband. The headbanging Tory hating activists go for Balls and lefties back Abbott with Burnham picking up a Northern token vote.

Supporters of Ed Miliband are adamant, despite polls showing David has more than twice as much support among Labour supporters, that he will win on second preferences.  Will Straw at LeftFootForward has even built a predictive model that forecasts Ed scraping through. Yet punters persist in making David Miliband the runaway favourite. Are the punters or the wonks right?

Guido accepts that Ed will probably win the union’s endorsements, though the Fabian’s Sunda Katawala argues that doesn’t necessarily mean he will win the votes of union members. Punters agree with Will and give Ed a 60% chance of winning the union votes.

Guido and punters make David the 80% favourite to win the MP/MEPs vote.  Will forecasts it will be closer than that but accepts that David will win this part of the electoral college.

It is over the membership vote that Will’s model and punters differ dramatically. Based on a non-representative, self-selecting poll of LabourList’s readers (DM 34.9% EM 30.8%), he predicts that the second preferences from the more left-wing candidates will switch to Ed and he will thus beat his older brother. The argument being that since Ed is positioned to the left of David, second preferences won’t tack right to the most centrist candidate. This is delusional.

Not all the voters will see the candidates in such finely calibrated positions on the centre-to-left spectrum, much of the electorate will vote on character and personality. Apart from Diane Abbott the policy positions of the candidates are in reality very closely bunched and Ed Balls’ new found tactical leftism is transparently risible.  Experience shows that second preferences tend to break in correlation with first preferences. The correlation isn’t perfect, but nor is it so weak as to be insignificant. Yet Labour sympathisers in the media and even more objective pundits like Toby Young believe Ed will come through.

So if it will be decided by the membership vote, is the LabourList poll accurate? It is unlikely that a self-selecting web poll will be. YouGov actually put Balls ahead of Ed Miliband but behind David with Labour voters (and another private poll by Survation put Diane Abbot within 5% of Ed among union members).  With the polling confusion Guido puts little reliance on the sampling and absent of clear polling evidence Guido opts to “follow the money”. David Miliband has raised more money than all the rest and he has the weight of  punter’s money backing him. It will be close, but Guido suspects Ed will lose to his big brother.


Seen Elsewhere

The School That Proves Michael Gove Was Right | Toby Young
Full Jenkin/Beckett/Straw Letter to PM | Politics Home
The ‘Buckingham Bonaparte’ is Cornered | Speccie
Coalition: The Movie | Indy
Lefties Moan About Messina Working For Cameron | MSNBC
Karen Danczuk V Louise Mensch: Round 48 | Sun
Jack Straw Slams Bercow | Sky News
Putin Shuts Down Red Square McDonalds | Telegraph
Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times


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Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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