Archive for the 'EU matters' Category


The Scottish IndyRef totally dominates current political betting activity with virtually no interest in the May 22 Euros

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Do punters think that May 22 is not very important?

One of the great things about the Betfair exchange is the amount of data that’s available on each of its markets.

The chart above is of the total amount of matched bets in £ on the current live UK election markets. As can be seen both the GE 2015 markets, which have been up for nearly four years, attract a lot of interest but not on the scale of the September 18th referendum in Scotland when the nation’s future will be decided.

If the Indy Ref polling continues to get closer I can see the total amounts bet jumping into the millions making it, by far, the biggest political betting event outside the general election and the White House race.

This really does suggest that the people of Scotland, where I am at the moment, are taking a huge interest in September’s vote. Their future is at stake.

    What I find really surprising is the comparative lack of interest in the May 22nd Euro elections. Given that there’s a possibility that the purples could come out on top I’d have expected to see much more betting interest.

There are, of course, many other places to bet but we don’t get information like that published and constantly updated by Betfair. Inthe past these numbers have proved to be a good pointer to overall betting interest.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY. The next Dirty Dicks (opposite Liverpool Street station in London) gathering will be at 6.30pm on Friday May 2. An event for Yorkshire and the north is planned for Ilkley on Monday July 7th

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


This looks like a smart move from the EU ahead of the May elections

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The change comes into force at the end of 2015.


EU referendum poll blow for Farage only hours before the TV clash with Clegg

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014


Don’t bet on a Tory Euro-win unless you expect a Blue landslide in 2015

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Governments rarely win interim elections

William Hague was not a very successful leader of the opposition.  Against Blair’s prolonged political honeymoon, Hague’s Conservatives were regularly so far behind in the polls as to be out of sight.  Not only did they fail to gain a single seat during the parliament but they actually went backwards, losing Romsey to the Lib Dems.

However, in the midst of that constant popular battering, he did manage one significant victory: the Conservatives won the 1999 Euro-election.  At the time, Labour was regularly 20-25 points ahead in the Westminster polling, scoring above 50% most of the time and occasionally topping 55%.  Was this because the Conservatives were particularly good at that particular election format?  In small part, yes: the huge constituencies turn the differential turnout which at Westminster is an advantage for Labour into a drawback for them.

The main reason though is that if you wanted to design an election where the public can give the political establishment a good kicking, you would produce something very much like the Euros.  Few really care about the outcome; few know who the candidates are, who the MEPs were, what they achieved or what they’re promising; the public has a much longer list of minor parties to choose from (one of which specifically exists to stick two fingers up at the EU); and under PR, tactical voting considerations don’t apply to anything like the same extent.

Consequently, it’s unsurprising that no party in government has won one since 1984, when the contests were in single-member constituencies and when there were virtually no minor parties standing.  Last time, Labour finished third with UKIP and the main opposition party taking the top two spots.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised at the equivalent outcome in May, with the Tories in third and the Lib Dems fighting for fourth at best.  The majority of local elections (where turnout should be relatively higher) being in the big cities this year should help Labour too.

There’s been quite a bit of speculation here in recent months as to whether the Conservatives are value at 10/1 to win the election (and even odds that long are no longer available).  I simply cannot see it.  Although Labour’s Westminster lead has been cut since last year, it’s still steadily in mid-figures.  Why would the Conservatives suddenly perform better – or Labour that much worse – when there is so little at stake, when voters can express their displeasure of the day without risking Ed Balls at the Treasury, when UKIP can be expected to perform much better than their Westminster polling, and when the simultaneous local elections should benefit Labour?  Similarly, there is no incentive whatsoever for the LD-Lab switchers to return in 2014; quite the opposite.

Unless we think that the minor parties will disproportionately take votes from Labour, there’s no realistic route for the Blues to finish on top.  It’s not quite inconceivable: the Greens do draw from the left and UKIP has made much play about attracting ex-Labour voters.  Yet most UKIP support in the Westminster polls has still come from the Tories.  Will the additional share the Purples are likely to take in May be so very different?

What we can say is that if Cameron did pull off a win as PM – something Blair never managed – it would both place tremendous pressure on Miliband and burst UKIP’s bubble.  It’s surely difficult to see either government party performing worse at the polls next year than this.  Indeed, every natural political dynamic would imply that a Con victory in May should point to a healthy overall majority in 2015.  And reverse-engineering that logic, if we don’t expect the Conservatives to make substantial gains next year, we shouldn’t expect them to win in this one.

David Herdson


Remember the 1999 Euros: Tony Blair’s LAB was 32 pc ahead in the GE VI polls but trailed Hague’s CON by 8pts on the day

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

General election polls not good indicators for EP election

What we mustn’t forget as we approach the May Euro elections is that this is not a national vote where LAB has prospered since the introduction of the party list voting system.

The chart shows the CON deficit in the main Westminster polls from April 1999 and compares them with what happened a few weeks when the nation decided on who should represent it at the European parliament.

    The issue, of course, is that the driver of the apparent electoral bias to LAB in general elections works against it in the Euro Election system.

In the former the red team is hugely efficient and votes don’t generally pile up where it doesn’t matter – in the party’s heartlands or Tory strongholds.

For the Euros things are so different and all the votes in each electoral region have value in determining how many MEPs each party gets allocated.

If the Tories can contain the UKIP threat then they might, just, surprise us. As I’ve mentioned before I’m on them to win most votes at 10/1.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Ed Miliband’s “No EU Referendum” move might be less of a gamble than it looks

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

What could have potency is “being denied a vote”

We are now just ten weeks away from the Euro Elections and today sees Ed Miliband make a speech in which, effectively, he rules out offering an referendum on whether the UK should stay IN or OUT.

This creates a clear dividing line with David Cameron and reinforces the Tory line that the only sure way of getting a referendum is by going blue.

Yesterday YouGov published its monthly EU referendum tracker which showed only for the second time that IN was ahead of OUT – a finding that got much wider coverage in the international media than in the UK. Looking at the detail the percentage wanting OUT remained the same. What changed was a 5% uplift in the STAY number from the don’t knows and won’t votes.

If YouGov is reading the public mood correctly then Miliband’s move has fewer risks for LAB than might have appeared. For all the pressure for a referendum has come from those who want out not those who want to remain.

    Until now almost all the pointers have been that the outcome of the vote would be OUT. If that appears not to be the case then it might take the edge of their enthusiasm for a referendum.

The finding could also help Nick Clegg who has positioned the LDs as the party of IN and, of course, he’s due to have his public debates with Nigel Farage. Maybe the niche market that Clegg was aiming for is larger than we think.

Where today’s announcement by the LAB leader could be risky is that it could be portrayed as wanting to deny giving voters a choice. That might have salience.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Why May’s Euro elections could be more challenging for UKIP than 2004 or 2009

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Much greater scrutiny

The purples still waiting for their Paul Sykes donation


Latest EU referendum polling suggests that the outcome would be far from a foregone conclusion

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Four CON voters in 10 currently say they’d vote to stay

It is a long time since I’ve looked at EU referendum polling and today’s numbers from YouGov rather surprised me. The gap between EXIT and STAY is getting closer and the party splits are not quite as you’d imagine.

Of course there is no referendum on the agenda at the moment and I doubt whether Ed Miliband will promise one in the fifteen months that remain until GE2015.

If we do end up with a continuation of the current coalition then it is pretty clear that the only way that a deal could be done is if the Lib Dems agreed to Cameron’s referendum plan. My guess is that they would.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 35 most influential over 50s on Twitter