When it comes to a flutter I like it to be on a live sports event . However I became rather engrossed in the 24 page General Election betting guide in the Racing Post last Thursday. I was amazed how many markets there were and to see hose football tipsters once advising you to buy Dumbarton’s corners on the spread bets , experts on why Burnley could go Conservative with the UKIP vote. . You can now bet on every constituency , the performance of every party , the overall majority and who will be the party leader after the election. It was not always thus according to Graham Thorpe of William Hill. His own company through its founder William Hill clashed with another titan of the betting industry Cyril Stein of Ladbrokes in the sixties on the morality of such betting , William Hill being against it as he said it influenced the voter. The situation is similar to the supporter of a team backing the opposition as he is regarded as lacking loyalty. Election betting became more popular and recently fortunes must have been made and bookies fingers burnt by the 3 victories of Corbyn, Trump and Brexit , none of which the polls not markets predicted. A double on Corbyn as leader ( 200-1) and Trump as President ( 150-1) would have earned you 30 grand on a a £i bet. Last election a Tory outright win was 6-1 and hung parliament odds on at polling day so the bookies are about as accurate as the pollsters.
The smart money is on a low turn out under 63% as the usualy happens where there has been an election recently, and the public do not seem engaged by the offerings . Although the Pargie tenner went on this , you can never be sure as both local Tory and Labour machines are well organised in getting their voters out. Labour now feels they have more of a chance than when the election was called as the Tory strong leadership factor has been undermined by the about turn on the dementia tax whilst Corbyn has been hitting the Tories hard on spending on public services. The sad conclusion is that he does not address indeed will contribute to the massive consumer indebtedness of the country ( £14b was spent on credit cards in April ) whilst Theresa May does not address the north/ south divide , London centric England that was such a factor in the Brexit victory.
By calling an election and putting both Theresa May at the front and the issue of strong leadership over Brexit at the heart you might have expected the Lib Dems to cash on Tory stayers . Not so. There is a new group,called releavers said to account for 15% of the 48% that voted stay who don’t want another referendum and are agreeably surprised that the economic meltdown has not occurred. Far from it. Also strongholds of traditional Lib Dem support in the West Country and Cornwall voted leave. To make matters more complicated the collapse of the UKIP vote may well be to Labour’s advantage in the north rather than The Tories. Added to this that Labour ‘s campaign has gone better and the Tories worse and the earlier talk of a landslide 2000 majority seeems unlikely.
The conclusion is that there no juicy bets around . I likedGbraham Thorpe’s story of the Sedgemore taxi driver who in 1983 was so impressed by his passenger , the newly elected MP, that he went straight to the bookies after depositing him and laid £10 at 500-1 that he would be a future Prime Minster. His name was Tony Blair.