So far in the electoral campaign I have read both in the Rust and elsewhere much on policies and personalities but little on what I believe to be the most reliable predictors of all, the bookies. So the editor asked me to take off my green jacket and put a towel over my head to enlighten readers on the betting state of play.
At the moment a hung parliament is 1-6, a Conservative majority 5-1 and Labour one 16-1. David Cameron is 8-15 to be the Prime Minister after the election, Ed Milliband 5-4. The seats’ benchmarks are Tory 285-287 , Labour 269-273, Lib Dem 25-26 , SNP 43, UKIP 4.5. Nothing so far to attract the Pargiter tenner, though I have a feeling that UKIP will not do that well and may only retain Thanet. I also believe that while there will be a meltdown of the Labour vote in West Scotland, in rural constituencies the socialist vote will be firmer and that 43 for the SNP is optimistic.
Harold Wilson, who won as many elections as Tony Blair, knew a thing or two about the day itself. It is said he tried to stop the screening of a popular tv show to ensure that after work late Labour voters turned out. Weather too, he thought, was crucial.
The problems with the polls are that voters may well say one thing to a pollster but do another in the privacy of the box.
At the moment the Tory swing, based on the adage “always keep a hold on nurse for fear of getting some thing worse”, is yet to happen though clearly David Cameron is on message from Lynton Crosby to reiterate “don’t go back, stick with our balanced plan” at every opportunity. As the election draws nearer he may move to distil fear of a hung parliament and accommodation of Labour and SNP, which in turn might influence the wavering Tory/UKIP voter. Here he is helped by the confident stridency of the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon. The media view, who love a new personality, was that she was the star of the seven-sided debate but she may have played into Tory hands as much as Nigel Farage, whose views would have have pleased existing voters but not attracted new ones.
So I am afraid to disappoint my readers but at the moment it’s all too imprecise to call or bet and I will be concentrating more on the Masters where wet weather is predicted, Northern Ireland rain which Rory will like, but I’m still confident that my Carolina boy, big-hitter Dustin Johnson, will be wearing that green jacket come Sunday night.