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The Tuesday PB Nighthawks

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

click here Last night PB made an appeal for help funding the site during the lockdown which has had a dramatic impact on the site’s two main revenue sources – display advertising and affiliate income. The response has been really good with more than 150 PBers making contributions.

click Can I just say thank you to everyone who has responded which has been far in excess of what we hoped for. Interestingly the majority of responses have been from people who do not make comments and include one or two well-known figures in public life that I did not realise followed the site.

Mike Smithson

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What sort of fool would have predicted the politics of 2020 in 2010? Me.

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

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Andy Welsh Flickr

Time for the reckoning on my long-term calls

go to site At the start of the decade, I asked what politics in the UK would look like ten years hence. That time has now arrived, so let’s look at how I did and, beyond that, how anyone could have done.

Cheapest Tramadol Online Uk Predicting a few weeks ahead can be a hazardous business; predicting a decade into the future would be foolhardy in the extreme which is probably why observant readers will notice that I dodged my own question and made very few predictions as such. I listed problems, challenges and opportunities; history and precedent to similar situations that the country was in in 2010; and then said nothing specific.

go to link However, the main prediction I did make – that the party structure could well undergo a convulsion – was right: by 2016, the SNP had replaced Labour as the main party of Scotland (indeed, they dominate it to a greater degree than Labour ever did – Labour never won an outright majority at Holyrood or more than 95% of Westminster seats), UKIP overtook the Lib Dems as the third-best supported party for several years before fading to irrelevance, the Lib Dems themselves fell from sixty-three MPs at the start of the decade to eight after the 2015 election, from where they’ve barely recovered bar flattering to deceive this summer just gone. Both the Tories, who fell to fifth and a single-figures share of the vote in this years’ EP election, and Labour, who explored new lows for a main opposition, also flirted with disaster but ultimately came through in one piece despite near-unprecedented numbers of defections, splits and expulsions this year alone.

Tramadol Legal To Order Online But how much of that has been down to chance and how much was predictable? As mentioned in the 2010 article, the stresses within the system were plain for anyone to see. Whether a government took a lead in cutting back on spending or whether they were forced into it by the markets was for them to choose but either way the result would have been that the public would have to get used to less – and that could only but have consequences.

source site Less foreseeable was the coalition government that did so much to advance UKIP and the Greens at the expense of the Conservatives and Lib Dems. Indeed, even as the election night results came in, few foresaw a full-blown coalition resulting. Likewise, few would have seen the SNP performing so spectacularly well across the decade. Against a Conservative government in Westminster and an SNP one in Holyrood, the natural assumption was that Labour would retake control in Scotland in 2011 (indeed, that was precisely what the polls were showing in early 2011). That, however, would have been to predict solely on the great tides of history – the swing of the pendulum – and would have ignored the qualitative difference the candidates for First Minister; a factor which proved crucial once campaigning started. Later on in the decade, when the party leaders would have been unknown to someone at the start of 2010, the great tides would have been all the analyst had to work on; for an election within eighteen months, he or she could have been more specific. I should have been more specific; the data to analyse was there. (Oddly, for once the Tory leader at the end of the decade was someone who might well have been the favourite to hold the post ten years hence in 2010 but precious few other office-holders; Nicola Sturgeon is arguably the only significant other.)

see Ironically, UKIP’s advance against Labour was more predictable: by 2010, Labour’s socially conservative working class core vote was clearly becoming estranged from the middle class university educated progressives dominating the party and its thinking. That swing didn’t occur until after UKIP had already eaten into a share of the Conservative vote but it was always a strong possibility.

see The domino effect of all these effects and outcomes, which fed on each other, rapidly becomes far too complex to game years ahead, even without the inevitability of unknowable events being thrown into the mix. We could have foreseen that Europe would continue to cause the Conservatives difficulty but who could have known that there’d be a migrant/refugee crisis across Europe from the Middle East at the same time as the UK would hold a referendum on EU membership?

go here What’s notable by its omission is Brexit – though arguably I speculated on change of that sort of nature in the penultimate paragraph of the article, in that the change and the issue that have dominated politics for the second half of the decade came not particularly from pressures within the party system but from outside it. It’s true that there was a split within the Tory Party on Europe but it was one of long-standing which had always been managed; what prompted the referendum pledge was the rise of UKIP’s support.

Tramadol 50Mg Buy Online Uk Even so, looking back, it’s remarkable that the word itself wasn’t coined until 2012 and yet only three years later the government was legislating to provide for a clear route to enable Brexit to happen, even if it was a route that the government itself was opposed to.

Tramadol For Sale Cheap Similarly, while the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 ended up confirming the status quo, it nonetheless placed that status quo under threats not seen for many decades – and ones which clearly haven’t yet been anything like resolved. Returning to the party system, was the accuracy of the prediction of convulsions in the party structure down more to luck than judgement? I don’t think so. The precise mechanisms might have been impossible to anticipate but the parallels with previous times of turmoil combined with the discipline expected of MPs, the centralisation of campaigning and the already high levels of public dissatisfaction with the establishment parties all pointed in the same direction.

see url Still, Brexit and (non-)Scottish independence could well be small beer compared with what the 2020s is likely to throw at us.

David Herdson

go here p.s. On a more recent note, my predictions for 2019 turned out reasonably well. I missed that parliament would force Brexit extensions on the government (and in so doing, create space for a change of Tory leader and PM before Brexit occurred), which threw out the timescales but the inherent logic and dynamics more or less played out otherwise.

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The Conservative Party is pursuing profoundly un-conservative policies. So I’ve left it.

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

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Ideology with no concern for consequences or convention is the business of revolutionaries I have today resigned my membership of the Conservative Party after 24 years. While that’s a moment of some sadness for me, it’s of trivial importance on any wider scale. What isn’t trivially important is the set of changes which the Party’s undergone in the last few years and especially the last few weeks because these will have an immense impact on the country, one way or another, and are changes that no true conservative party would be advocating.

Cheapest Tramadol Overnight Foremost is inevitably Brexit. Unlike some who’ve left the Party recently, I am not opposed to Britain leaving the EU. I did vote Remain in 2016 and don’t regret that decision but the country chose Leave and that decision should be respected.

Mastercard Tramadol What is not necessary is the obsession with either the arbitrary deadline of 31 October, or the clear desire among many in the Party to leave with no deal. The latter would be deeply damaging to the economy and community cohesion, while the former makes it an all but certain outcome as there wouldn’t time to deliver anything else, even if the conditions for re-opening talks weren’t designed as if to be rejected. Tramadol Hcl 50 Mg Purchase In truth, Brexit has become for the Conservatives what nationalisation is for the Corbynite Labour Party: an end in itself, to be achieved irrespective of cost and with any practical benefits as an incidental bonus. It is a revolutionary ideology unworthy of the Conservative Party, not least because it fails to consider the likely counter-productive political and social consequences of delivering Brexit in such harsh manner.

Order Tramadol Online Usa Over the last 20 years, the effective policy of the Party has gone from keeping open the option to join the Euro (1997/2001 manifestoes), through to leaving the EU without a deal. This is the measure of the shift in policy and the reason why it is now unattractive to many natural supporters of a pragmatic political party interested in pro-business policies and cautious about unnecessary radical change. The source of this new-found enthusiasm for these grossly disruptive policies is not hard to pinpoint. While I accept that Boris Johnson himself is by instinct a fairly liberal Conservative – though these instincts are far too easily overridden by his ambition and cynical embrace of populism – he has surrounded himself both in cabinet and in his Number 10 staff by people drawn disproportionately from the right of the Party, presumably because of their willingness to endorse his Brexit policy. This not only reduces the quality and capacity of the government – how many, including Johnson himself, have previously failed in ministerial office? – but sends a clear signal that the Conservatives are not the broad church they have traditionally aspired to be.

go site In particular, the appointment of Dominic Cummings is an indication that good, stable government is not valued: he will inevitably cause conflict and chaos and destroy much more than he can create. His appointment is what a PM with a 150-majority who wants to fight a civil war would do, not one who needs every vote. Cummings might argue that it is better to undertake a revolution than to undergo one. I would argue it’s better not to have a revolution at all: they invariably end up eating their sponsors, as well as many others. The suggestion yesterday that the PM could simply sit out the two weeks after losing a Vote of No Confidence, and bed-block in this manner to trigger a general election and so deliver Brexit by default – even if another government could be formed from within the existing House – is grotesque. It’s one of the most striking examples yet of how little this government values the conventions of politics that keep debate within sensible bounds and ensures wide buy-in to the legitimacy of the system. We ignore these conventions at our peril: once broken, they no longer protect anyone.

The third main reason I cannot actively support this government is its irresponsible attitude to fiscal prudence. The Cameron governments did great work in healing the economic damage caused by the excesses of Gordon Brown, in eliminating the real-terms budget deficit while preventing recession and in overseeing considerable growth in employment. These achievements are now likely to be undone by the uncontrolled promises made for additional spending or new tax cuts. There are certainly many valid candidates for increased spending but those decisions have to be taken sustainably (which again argues for a controlled Brexit).

Politically, these commitments completely undermine the Party’s arguments and actions of the last decade and are not only irresponsible in themselves but will inevitably give cover to Labour to make their own unfunded promises. Labour will no doubt also take the opportunity to claim (wrongly) that the reversal of policy also proves their assertion that the austerity programme was the result of an ideological desire to cut rather than a pragmatic need to sort the nation’s finances out. The largesse is both unconservative and un-Conservative.

The changes in the Conservative Party’s policies and attitudes have left me politically homeless. Labour under Corbyn remains a serious threat to the country, while I cannot support the Lib Dems when they reject the referendum result. I know I am not alone in my dilemma and there are others on the centre-right who feel much the same. Where our votes will go in the end, I can’t say: I suppose it will depend to a large extent on whether any party bothers to court us.

David Herdson

Order Tramadol 100Mg Online Conservative Party member (1995-2019)
Councillor, Bradford MDC (1999-2003)
Chairman, Shipley Conservative Association (2011-13)
Chairman, Wakefield District Conservative Association (2016-18)


Biden drops to second place in California while his lead’s down to just 4 in New Hampshire

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Another American White House race is starting to dominate political betting which is a  reminder of just how how long PB has been going.  WH2020 contest will be the fifth such race that PB has covered and, indeed, it was the battle for the Democratic nomination in 2004 that first prompted me to create the site.

Even though the first states to decide on Democratic and GOP nomination won’t be for nearly six months the debates have started and the incumbent’s latest racist comments have just made the Democrats more determined to make the right choice.

While 76 old Joe Biden has been enjoying leads of up to 15% in the national Democratic nomination polling he’s facing a much tighter contest, if the latest surveys are to be believed, in the first round of states where primaries will be held.

A new Quinnipiac University poll of the biggest state of all with the most delegates at stake, California, has  Harris on 23% ahead of Biden on 21% with Bernie Sanders  and Elizabeth Warren  at 18% and 16% respectively.

Overnight there have been two New New Hampshire polls one of them which has Biden the 4% ahead and the other 5%. In each poll in second place is the Massachusetts senator, Elizabeth Warren.

What is striking  is the gap between the early state polling and the national polls where former vice president continues to enjoy double-digit Leeds almost across the board.

These are the details of the latest polls from the New Hampshire,

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Biden 24, Warren 19, Sanders 19, Harris 9, Buttigieg 10, Yang 1, O’Rourke 2, Booker 2, Klobuchar 0, Williamson 1, Gillibrand 1, Gabbard 1, Delaney 1

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Biden 21, Warren 17, Sanders 10, Harris 18, Buttigieg 12, Yang 5, O’Rourke 0, Booker 1, Klobuchar 3, Williamson 2, Gillibrand 1, Gabbard 1, Delaney 1

On Betfair Harris on 30% and Warren 20% are both ahead of Biden.

Mike Smithson



The Saturday evening open thread

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Video – The highlights of the greatest comeback since Lazarus

Tonight’s Champions League final and Mike’s holiday means PB isn’t going to edited in the usual way this weekend, so it’ll feature open threads like this and threads written well in advance.

So if any major does happen this weekend, I’m not ignoring I’ll eventually cover it.

If we get any polls this weekend it’ll be interesting to see if they match the pattern of YouGov with the Lib Dems first, if they do, I’m sure Nigel Farage will continue to cry like a baby and moan about Fake Polling by the same pollsters who overstated the Brexit party in the Euros last week are trying to do his party down.

No wonder Farage and Trump get on so well, they love to whip up fake grievances, they are two cheeks of the same arse, to paraphrase another Brexit party supporter.


PS – For my fellow Liverpool fans, were we to lose tonight to Tottenham Hotspur look on the bright side, Piers Morgan, will have a worse night than us. I’m sure the lifelong Arsenal fan will really enjoy Tottenham winning the European Cup/Champions League before his beloved Arsenal. 


For Politicalbetting’s 15th anniversary today – a special cartoon from Marf

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Exactly 15 years ago today PB was launched

Today PB celebrates it’s 15th birthday,  making it, I’d suggest, just about the longest surviving major political blog in the UK.

We were up and operational before Guido, Conservative Home, Labour list and many of the other major political sites that we are familiar with today. I cannot recall a site that existed before we did that is still active.

When PB was launched on March 23rd 2004 Tony Blair still had another General Election to win, Michael Howard was leader of the Conservative Party and Charles Kennedy the Lib Dem leader. UKIP was starting to make rumbles but not that great.

It was just about a year after the Iraq War which continued to dominate US politics. In the US George W Bush was seeking to win a second term and the Democrats were trying to choose a candidate they hoped would be able to unseat him.

In the UK the big betting election was the 2004 London mayoral race when Ken Livingstone, this time as a Labour candidate and not an independent as in 2000, was seeking to retain the job. I had taken the view, wrongly as it turned out, that Ken would struggle harder to attract crossover votes from other parties as a Labour candidate rather than as an independent as in first election 4 years earlier.

A few weeks before the site was launched the odds-on favourite for the WH2004 Democratic nomination, was the former governor of Vermont Howard Dean. At the time my day job was taking me to Vermont every few months and had got to know the head of a college there who knew Dean and who shared my passion for electoral analysis. He told me in unequivocal terms that Howard Dean would “blow himself up” at some point and would never make it. Given that Dean was odds-on favourite this was a good and potentially profitable insight.

At the time Betfair had a forum section where people could discuss specific markets and I took a bold stand and announced that a good bet was that Dean would not win the nomination. When he did indeed “blow himself up” after failing to win the Iowa caucuses my reputation soared within that small community.

A prominent Democratic contender was John Kerry while at the same time someone called Kerry was doing very well in one of the TV talent shows on which there was betting. Followers of the latter on the Betfair forums would burst into our discussions and make it extremely difficult. It was repeated interjections on the night of one of the primaries that that made me decide that what we needed was our own space away from Betfair. My son, Robert, suggested I registered the site name Politicalbetting.Com. He has continued to handle the not inconsiderable task of managing the technical side ever since.

We launched on March 23rd 2004 with a site logos that had been designed by my daughter in law Lucille. Early promotion was on the Betfair forums and within a very short time we started to build an audience. Right from the start we got good response and lively discussions were sparked off. I think that we hit a chord because we were looking and speculating about political outcomes with the added dimension that we would back our views up with cash.

Amongst the early participants who are still with us today were Sean Fear, David Herdson and Nick Palmer then MP for Broxtowe.

At the end of 2007 I took early retirement and since then my “job” has been PB. The site has been greatly helped by a TSE, my deputy, and a team of really excellent contributors who are providing political commentary and insights not seen in the MSM. Thanks to all of them.

Thanks also to all of you who visit often several time a day and take part in the discussion forums. You make the site what it is today.

  • Thanks to Marf, who first produced a cartoon for the site in 2008, for creating the above especially for this day.

    Mike Smithson

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    Christmas Day on PB wouldn’t be Christmas without the StJohn Christmas Crossword (est 2007)

    Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

    Renewing a great tradition

    One of the great traditions on PB has been the StJohn Christmas Crossword. The has been published on most Christmas days on the site since 2007. Its creator, StJohn, is one of quite a group of PBers who have been coming here almost since the site’s foundation in 2004. This is his 2018 offering. Enjoy.

    Across clues

    1 Restructuring of Israeli trio in government (11)

    7 Half the Chancellor’s responsibility is growth (3)

    9 Become less temporal, say, as a leaver (5,4)

    10 Politician with a female’s point of view (5)

    11 Kind of TV broadcaster to send back (7)

    12 English newspaper breaking stories of sinister people (7)

    13 Labour’s leader is a right one! (5)

    15 Liberal in speech and far-reaching (9)

    17 Wife left Prime Minister for a Duke (9)

    19 Majestic drink from the East (5)

    20 Lewis Hamilton ultimately hooked up with a film star (7)

    22 Revolutionary broadcaster pursues wrong turn (7)

    24 Former Foreign Secretary’s an excellent runner (5)

    25 Screen close up of an unclear Brexit? (9)

    27 It’s sticky when report into President has no case (3)

    28 Political strategist upset Bevan in Number Ten’s reshuffle (5,6)

    Down Clues

    1 Party animal (3)

    2 How Aitken’s accommodation once was costly? (5)

    3 Perhaps Transport Minister might lead this? (7)

    4 The French voters rioting over old President (9)

    5 One possible Brexit outcome is the best (5)

    6 A means to stir up opposition supporter (4,3)

    7 Leaving about ten, it’s chilly outside (9)

    8 Politician generating headlines effortlessly on vacation (5,6)

    11 Member of “The Shadows” trained to be a bandit? (5,6)

    14 Spinning image right about former Prime Minister (5,4)

    16 Narrow line assumed by Rees-Mogg (9)

    18 Out of habit people are mad about God (7)

    19 Right honourable David Davies heads a constituency (7)

    21 Lord Leon Brittan’s first exchange (5)

    23 Society, by abandoning Labour leader, shows contempt (5)

    26 Cook and Brown (3)


    Off to Westminster to give evidence before the House of Lords Committee that’s looking at political polling

    Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

    This morning alongside Matthew Shaddick (Shadsy) of Ladbrokes I’ll be giving evidence before the Lords Committee that’s investigating political polling particularly in view of what happened at GE17.

    Our part of the session is due to start at 1145.

    We’ve been told that the hearing will be shown live on

    I’m a blogger and a Tweeter and have never done anything quite like this before. To say I’m a bag of nerves is an understatement. I found myself waking in the middle of the night downloading onto my phone all the data I could possibly have to refer to.

    It will be good sitting alongside Matthew whom I’ve known for a long time. We last did a PR event together a year ago in Brussels for MEPs but that was all informal and certainly wasn’t being recorded.

    If I get asked whether I think betting odds are a better guide to political outcomes then polls I’ll give my standard response. People bet on politics to try to make a bit of money not to provide an alternative prediction model. In any case the betting on GE2017 prior to 10pm on June 8th was as accurate as the final polls.

    Mike Smithson