John Smith Died Today

How would things be different if he had lived?

In 1994 Guido was sat at his desk in a dealing room when word of John Smith’s heart attack reached the old LIFFE futures exchange trading pits before the newswires. Guido immediately called Stuart Wheeler’s bookmaking firm who offered a Cabinet Reshuffle Bet which, although the Tories were in government, included John Smith as a way of betting on Labour miraculously getting into government. Guido bet against John Smith the maximum they would take. A minute later Guido called the bookies again and did the same again this time at worse odds. The bookie said “you know if John Smith becomes PM you stand to lose £2,000”. Guido said yes, but could he put some more money on. The bookie hesitantly said “okay” and took another bet. Minutes later the news of his death was on the newswires. Guido called all his Labour voting friends to commiserate. One burst into tears and was in no way mollified when Guido offered to buy her a drink out of his winnings.

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John McDonnell tells the Gallery/Lobby lunch what the priest told him to do…

‘He persuaded me to do this. He said you need to soften your image. So do Mumsnet and do this…. I’m trying to soften my image.’


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