Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Labour MPs urge Alan Johnson to challenge for the leadership

Monday, October 6th, 2014

This morning the Telegraph reports

Labour MPs in despair at Ed Miliband’s weak leadership are planning renewed efforts to tempt Alan Johnson into challenging for leader before the election.

It is understood a cohort of MPs believe Mr Johnson is the only person who can win Labour a majority next May and want to push for a leadership switch with his backing.

The rebels hope to convince him to stand if disaffection grows over the coming months while also building up enough support inside the party to convince Mr Miliband to stand aside.

To be honest, I can’t see it happening, there’s only two pollsters reporting Tory leads, and they are in the 1-2% range. This morning’s Populus shows Labour on course for a comfortable majority.

But the key thing for me is that if Labour didn’t ditch Gordon Brown when they polled 15.7% in a nationwide election, or when the polls showed the Tories were on course for 300 plus majority, then they won’t ditch Ed Miliband when he’s leading with most pollsters.

The most interesting thing from that article is this, which shows Alan Johnson doesn’t lack self confidence

The former Home Secretary privately accepts if he had successfully challenged Gordon Brown in the run-up to the 2010 election Labour would currently be in power, according to one source.

So rather than put your money on the 50/1  on Alan Johnson to be the next Labour leader, stick your money on the 14/1 as next Mayor of London (hat tip Peter from Putney)



Rochester and Strood: The betting begins with UKIP the odds-on favourite

Sunday, September 28th, 2014


My initial thinking is to back the Tories and Labour, based on the following tweets last night, and well Labour could come through the middle.

Hopefully other bookies will open markets on this by election.




LAB’s strategy in Heywood and Middleton is blindingly obvious: Talk up UKIP threat to get tactical anti-UKIP votes

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

And you know what? They’ll probably succeed

Suddenly the Heywood and Middleton by-election two weeks from today is not looking like the foregone conclusion that it appeared when the vacancy was created following the death of the popular MP Jim Dobbin.

In the past couple of days there have been are a wave of stories about the possibility of UKIP taking the hitherto rock solid LAB seat. This is from last night’s Manchester Evening News:-

“Labour figures are now genuinely worried Ukip could win the Heywood and Middleton by-election a fortnight tomorrow, we understand.

The anti-EU party has already promised to give them a shock on October 9 – but Labour insiders now fear Ukip could actually take it….. they were worried at how close their main rivals could come, but several told the M.E.N there is a real possibility they could actually lose to Mr Bickley. One said the pro-Ukip sentiment on the doorstep is palpable and that some colleagues are ‘terrified’ they could lose.

Certainly the high BNP share there in 2010 together with recent good local elections performances for UKIP are very positive indicators for Farage’s party.

For me the interesting thing is that it is LAB that is now raising the expectations about UKIP and an indication how Miliband’s party will deal with the Farage threat at GE2015.

The first audience for this is the party itself. They need to get activists engaged. But there’s a second audience – the 23% who voted LD there at GE2010 and the 27% who voted Tory. The LAB strategy seems to be designed to attract anti-UKIP tactical votes.

For as Ipsos-MORI reported earlier in the week Farage’s party is seen as the one that’s least liked and is most disliked.

    What better way could there be of defending the seat than by galvanising anti-kippers of all colours to impede the “purple peril” than by suggesting that it could win?

Both Bet365 and Ladbrokes make LAB a 2/9 shot.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Ed’s big day – But is the big news of the day just outside of Manchester?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

His speech from last year

Ed’s last two party conference speeches have dominated the political landscape, two years ago it was the One Nation speech, last year it was the energy price freeze speech. Both speeches saw a temporary uplift in his personal ratings. This year, given that this is his last speech to conference before the general election, I’m expecting a major announcement, my own hunch, based purely on my feelings, is that we’re going to get something to do with the railways.

How will the betting markets react to his speech? Here is the current betfair odds for the next General Election.

Over to you Mr Miliband.

But the interesting political news of the morning is to do with the Heywood & Middleton by-election, Will UKIP achieve the double on October the 9th?



Why I’ve taken the 6/1 on Alistair Carmichael to be the next to leave the cabinet

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

In the summer, there were stories that Jo Swinson will replace Alistair Carmichael as Scottish Secretary following the independence referendum regardless of the result.  During the last weeks of the indyref campaign, there were stories that Carmichael would resign immediately in the event of a Yes, which pushed his price out to as low as 1/3 last week.

Given he was 1/3  and 5/6 at various stages last week, I thought the 5/6 was value, with the stories in the summer he would make room for Jo Swinson, so I’ve taken advantage of the 6/1, I expect this price won’t last long.

Note, Paddy Power’s ruling on what constitutes as next minister out. “Applies to the next person to be confirmed to have left the coalition cabinet by any means other than coalition reshuffle. Reshuffle = more than one minister leaving on one date. Cabinet is as ‘List Of Cabinet Ministers’ on PP decision final.”

So if there is a wider reshuffle at the same time, this bet won’t be a winner, but I think he will be the only Lib Dem casualty, and the Tory reshuffle back in July was scheduled to be the last Tory reshuffle before the General Election, it makes the bet attractive in my opinion.

The Paddy Power market is available here



Interview with the punter who bet 900k on no winning the Indyref

Monday, September 22nd, 2014


If you click the play button above, you’ll be able to listen to the interview.

Here’s a link to an article accompanying the interview.

I always find it fascinating listening to the reasons and strategies why other people bet the way they do, because if they’re successful, it is will be wise to replicate their approach in the future, if they’re not successful, you know what not to do. Although most of us were betting on a more modest level of stakes. I also found his background and his motivations interesting as well.


Note, Nick Palmer and I holding a meet up in Manchester, Tuesday night at 7 pm. The plan is to meet up at the Atrium by Bridge Street which is located on 74 Princess Street. If you are planning to attend, please drop an email to, if you have any questions about the meet, please drop an email to the same email address.


Do as I have done and re-invest some of your IndyRef winnings on Mayor Dorothy in Watford

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

PaddyPower’s 5/2 is a great bet

One election result from Friday that barely got reported was the selection by the Watford Lib Dems of Mayor Dorothy Thornhill as candidate for the general election.

This is something that I had been anticipating and over the months and have built up what is my biggest GE2015 betting position on her with a best price of 11/2.

Dorothy Thornhill is a remarkable figure in the town who on the disastrous May 2014 elections day for her party was returned for the fourth time as elected Mayor. Watford is one of the 18 English local authorities which after local referenda have this system of local government.

To give you an idea of Dorothy’s appeal her first round vote share of 45.9% was the precisely the same as what she achieved on general election day in 2010. Check out her electoral record here. Although the parliamentary seat is not quite contiguous with the local authority area it mostly is there.

The May 2014 Ashcroft constituency poll pointed to this being a tight contest with just five points separating the three main parties. At the time of that poll the Lib Dems had not selected their candidate.

General elections are not, of course, mayoral elections and different consideration probably apply. But voters are not selecting a party or a prime minister but an individual to be their champion at Westminster. Watford looks set to be what will be a very rare result on May 7th 2015 – a Lib Dem gain. I rate Dorothy’s chances at better than evens.

PaddyPower have her at 5/2. That won’t last long.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Four final polls published, two more to come, and it looks as though NO might have just edged it

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Certainly that’s how punters are seeing it

Yesterday the other bit of Betfair, the one that operates like a traditional bookie with the firm fixing the odds, announced that it was paying out on NO winning bets. This part of the firm accounts for a very small slice of its business and serious punters don’t go near. That they only had to fork out a “six figure sum” says a lot.

For just look at the betting panel above and shape of what now looks set to be a record for a British political betting event. The scale and interest has been enormous.

    I’m still nervous about the outcome. The split of 52-48 from the online surveys from Survation, ICM and Opinium look pretty tight and if YES does manage an effective GOTV (Get Out The Vote) operation tomorrow then who knows?

The problem with all last night’s polls is that they are online and maybe are not fully representative of the electorate as a whole. Most firms struggle to reach the young and so often we see their views scaled up by quite big proportions because the pollsters fail to pick up sample targets. You’ve got to have certain engagement in the political process to be in a position where you are filling in an internet survey.

If turnout is going to be as high as some are predicting then those voting tomorrow could including large numbers for whom the process is a novel experience. The Ds, Es and the 16-24s who might not be fully represented on online panels.

Against that the events of this week might just have galvanised the more marginal NO voter to turnout.

Whatever in betting terms I am a winner tomorrow having “traded” for the past few months so I take several hundred pounds whichever way it goes. I’m going to keep it that way – this still could be a YES victory or NO could win with a double digit lead.

  • NOTE that the fourth final poll was the one last week from TNS showing 1% lead
  • Mike Smithson

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