The Darling Brown stance on the economy is essentially cross-your-fingers. No growth package, no boost to the property market, nothing. They are kidding themselves if they think voters will return to them in times of trouble. The City is bracing itself, the credit crunch is about fear. Darling thinks he can bore the economy better…
Betfair have opened up a market on the LibDem Leadership -
Clegg is hot favourite at less than evens.
Huhne is 13/5
Steve Webb is 15/1
Ed Davey is 36/1
Charles Kennedy is 40/1
Julia Goldsworthy is 40/1
Vince Cable is 50/1
Incidentally, Guido covered all his “Tories to be the biggest party” bets at a profit last night. If Clegg wins he may enjoy a honeymoon at Cameron’s expense…
Labour MPs in marginal seats this weekend will be wondering what they have wrought. Three times Blair led them to victory, the latest poll shows that after just three months, Brown is a likely loser, along with their seats.
The Tories really should consider sending Tom Watson a bottle of champagne for his part in Blair’s downfall, particularly after he lost that £100 bet with Cameron…
The punters also reckon May 2009 is the favourite election date at 5/4 on. The most dramatic change is in the biggest party prices. Remember Guido’s crazy bet last month? Labour are 10/11 on and the Tories are neck and neck at 11/10 – in from 3/1. Lovely jubbly…
Oh well, Guido has taken quite a few quid off those betting on an early election and that “Tories to be the biggest party“ bet looks a lot better now.
Gordon’s judgement, to not simply squash the speculation, will be in question and his authority much reduced after this, Cameron called him on it without reservation. Dave didn’t flinch, Gordon just blinked…
*No longer will Guido use the macho sounding term Brownites, these are the Brownies. Compared to the Blairites, we really are dealing with the B-team.
Daniel himself has been saying for five months that there’ll be an election this year which he reckons means almost certainly there won’t be “as I’m the world’s worst forecaster”.
Dateline : 4 October
Over the last week or so Guido has been tracking the pundits predictions and will be updating this list (do add pundits names and predictions in the comments):
- Peter Riddell – “it will almost certainly be on November 1 or 8.”*
- Tim Montgomerie – is betting on an autumn election
- Iain Dale – thought Gordon might call it during Tory conference
- Nick Robinson tells us the preparations for an immediate election are real
- Team Cameron – we don’t know but “we are on battle stations”.
- Peter Riddell also ruled out a 2007 election last June.
- Adam Boulton – told Guido he didn’t think this autumn, but you never know.
- Mike Smithson – thinks Gordon will play it extra long, not before 2009.
- Fraser Nelson – can’t see why Gordon would want to shorten his reign.
- Benedict Brogan – not now, according to his Brownite sources.
- Steve Richards suspects Dave will be able to claim next week that he stopped the mighty Mr Brown from calling a November election.
- Michael White suspects not soon.
- Dizzy Thinks not now.
- Janet Daley wrote in July “I will stake my commentator’s credibility on the prediction that he will not do so, because I believe that his sense of his own political seriousness would make it inconceivable that he would cut and run before he has established his new dispensation and stamped his own objectives on government.”
Guido has been laying “before Dec 2007″ on Betfair if you think Guido is wrong. It has been known…
*Peter Riddell has been been in touch to say he has been quoted out of context and he hasn’t a clue when the election is going to be.
Last night the Tories took a seat off Labour in Sunderland, elsewhere in Dover there was a big double-digit percentage swing to Cameron, in marginals Labour lost votes. The Tories will also get a bounce from next week – despite the BBC trying desperately to develop a narrative of disillusionment and more defections – which should move the betting prices.
Why take the biggest party bet? Four reasons; Scotland and boundary changes are going to hurt Labour, thirdly the Ashcroft marginal machine is where the real battle is, not in Labour’s heartlands where traditional voters disillusioned by Blair can return to Labour without making a blind bit of difference. Finally, when politics re-starts for real in parliament, Gordon’s big-tent gimmicks will be forgotten in that adversarial atmosphere.
The Ashcroft marginal seats machine is purring away quietly, the SNP control Scotland and seem to be doing well and that will require Labour to divert resources to shore up their crumbling position. The Cameron project’s problems coming now mean they have plenty of time to recover and adjust their approach before the general election. Brown is spinning that the election is around the corner, it ain’t – Labour is bust financially.
Talking of of bust, boom to bust is the other factor. The U.S. economy is spluttering, the property market has some worrying signs, unemployment is as high as it was under Thatcher in 1979*, interest rates are up, inflation is up, government debt is prolific, mortgages payments are ballooning, home repossessions are astonishing and bankruptcies are at a record rate. Brown has not abolished the economic cycle.
So in six months the economic and political picture could, Guido is betting, look very different. Don’t bet against it.
*In 1979 unemployment was 1.4m, in 2007 unemployment is 1.7m, Source: Unemployment ONS Labour Force Survey.