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Irish General Election 2020 : Results & Review (Part Two : G – L Constituencies)

Friday, February 14th, 2020

It has now been nearly a week since the Irish General Election took place on the 8th of February 2020 and we are still no further on to getting a Dáil government elected. It was pretty much a three way tie with Micheál Martin’s Fianna Fáil on 38 seats, Mary Lou McDonald’s Sinn Féin on 37 seats and Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael on 35 seats. Who is going to be the next Taoiseach and which parties will form the coalition? We simply don’t know but what do know is the elected T.D’s, but who were they? Find out here.

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Irish General Election 2020 : Results & Review (Part One : C & D Constituencies)

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

A general election never fails to excite or interest us and there was simply no inception here. The main talking points were Health, Homelessness & Housing (they must like or dislike the letter “H” in Ireland). Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael & Sinn Féin are the main three parties, but who will win and where did they go wrong? Find out below!
Carlow / Kilkenny (Quota = 12,274)
As expected Kathleen (Sinn Féin) got elected here, although I didn’t expect her to win. John McGuinness (Fianna Fáil) was the second candidate elected. The Green Party achieved the upset.
Result : Five Elected
Kathleen Funchion (S.F) 17,493 (1st Count)John Paul Phelan (F.G) 13,172 (Count 8)Jennifer Murnane O’Connor (F.F) 12,839 (Count 8)John McGuinness (F.F) 12,612 (Count 6)
Malcolm Noonan (G.P) 10,543 (Count 10, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Bobby Aylward (F.F) 9,985.

Cavan / Monaghan (Quota = 12,031)
The top three elected runners will either be elected in the first or second count. Who will get the last two remaining seats? this really is a lottery.

Result : Five Elected
Matt Carthy (S.F) 16,310 (1st Count)Pauline Tully (S.F) 13,457 (Count 2)Heather Humphreys (F.G) 12,808 (1st Count)Brendan Smith (F.F) 11,004 (Count 11, Final Count)
Niamh Smyth (F.F) 10,951 (Count 11, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) T.P O’Reilly (F.G) 8,646.
Clare (Quota = 11,900)I always thought Clare would be a pretty close battle and that there wouldn’t be anyone elected on the first few counts. It was fairly balanced between the top three parties. Michael McNamara (Ind) was the first across the line. Strangely enough, all four candidates were elected via the 10th and final count, but who were they?
Result : Four Elected
Michael McNamara (Ind) 12,205 (Count 10, Final Count)Violet-Anne Wynne (S.F) 11,903 (Count 10, Final Count)Cathal Crowe (F.F) 11,471 (Count 10, Final Count)Joe Carey (F.G) 11,345 (Count 10, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Timmy Dooley (F.F) 10,630.
Cork East (Quota = 10,909)
There was a candidate elected on the first count, but who was it?
Result : Four Elected
Pat Buckley (S.F) 12,587 (1st Count)Seán Sherlock (Lab) 11,237 (Count 8, Final Count)David Stanton (F.G) 10,309 (Count 8, Final Count)James O’Connor (F.F) 9,731 (Count 8, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Kevin O’Keeffe (F.F) 9,078.
Cork North Central (Quota = 10,356)
This was a tricky one to call but I knew Thomas Gould (S.F) would get a seat with ease. who followed him over the line?
Result : Four Elected
Thomas Gould (S.F) 13,811 (1st Count)Padraig O’Sullivan (F.F) 12,099 (Count 12)Colm Burke (F.G) 10,649 (Count 14, Final Count)Mick Barry (SOL-PBP) 9,396 (Count 14, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Kenneth O’Flynn (Ind) 7,280.
Cork North West (Quota = 11,593)
With only three seats up for grabs, can Aindrias & Michael Moynihan (not related) get a seat or will one of them lose out marginally?
Result : Three Elected
Michael Creed (F.G) 13,060 (Count 5, Final Count)Michael Moynihan (F.F) 11,240 (Count 5, Final Count)Aindrias Moynihan (F.F) 11,173 (Count 5, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Ciarán McCarthy (S.D) 8,588.
Cork South Central (Quota = 11,429)
I knew Simon Coveney (F.G), Micheál Martin (F.F) & Michael McGrath (F.F) would be elected here without many obstacles, although was it plain sailing or nail biting?
Result : Four Elected
Donnchadh O’Laoghaire (S.F) 14,057 (1st Count)Simon Coveney (F.G) 12,170 (Count 8, Final Count)Micheál Martin (F.F) 11,505 (Count 6)Michael McGrath (F.F) 10,809 (Count 8, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Lorna Bogue (G.P) 9,179.
Cork South West (Quota = 11,085)
Michael Collins (Ind) was a forgone conclusion in his beloved constituency, who would join him?

Result : Three Elected

Michael Collins (Ind) 11,712 (1st Count)Christopher O’Sullivan (F.F) 11,262 (Count 8, Final Count)Holly Cairns (S.D) 10,078 (Count 8, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Tim Lombard (F.G) 9,526.
Donegal (Quota : 12,909)
Pearse Doherty (S.F) was the biggest certainty of this election and as expected he was elected on the first count with flying colours. Thomas Pringle (Ind) was elected but as expected, it wasn’t straight forward. Unfortunately for Fianna Fáil, Pat “The Cope” Gallagher just missed out by 350 votes.
Result : Five Elected
Pearse Doherty (S.F) 21,044 (1st Count)Pádraig MacLochlainn (S.F) 13,891 (1st Count)Thomas Pringle (Ind) 12,245 (Count 9, Final Count)
Joe McHugh (Fine Gael) 12,104 (Count 9, Final Count)Charlie McConalogue (F.F) 11,432 (Count 9, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Pat “The Cope” Gallagher (F.F) 11,074.

Dublin Bay North (Quota = 11,935)
It was predicted that Denise Mitchell (S.F) would be elected here and that prediction lived up to the expectation. This constituency was fairly balanced between five parties. We knew the G.P vote would improve here but was it enough?

Result : Five Elected
Denise Mitchell (S.F) 21,344 (1st Count)
Richard Bruton (F.G) 13,367 (Count 10)Cian O’Callaghan (S.D) 12,438 (Count 14, Final Count)
Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin (LAB) 11,283 (Count 14, Final Count)
Seán Haughey (F.F) 10,955 (Count 14, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) David Healy (G.P) 8,527.

Dublin Bay South (Quota = 7,919)

Eamon Ryan (G.P) is a well liked Politician in this part of Ireland and he was expected to get elected without any problems.

Result : Four Elected

Eamon Ryan (G.P) 8,888 (1st Count)Chris Andrews (S.F)  8,797 (Count 8, Final Count)
Eoghan Murphy (F.G) 7,602 (Count 8, Final Count)Jim O’Callaghan (F.F) 7,158 (Count 8, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Kate O’Callaghan (F.G) 6,270.

Dublin Central (Quota = 6,288)

The Green Party are getting more popular in most parts of Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald (S.F) was home on the first count, of course.

Result : Four Elected

Mary Lou McDonald (S.F) 11,223 (1st Count)Neasa Hourigan (G.P) 6,551 (Count 9, Final Count)Paschal Donohoe (F.G) 6,126 (Count 9, Final Count)Gary Gannon (S.D) 5,718 (Count 9, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Christy Burke (Ind) 5,168.

Dublin Fingal (Quota = 10,574)

The two O’Brien’s (Joe from the G.P & Darragh from F.F) were safely elected but who followed them across the line? Again, this constituency was fairly balanced between five parties.
Result : Five Elected

Louise O’Reilly (S.F) 15,792 (1st Count)
Joe O’Brien (G.P) 10,720 (Count 8)
Darragh O’Brien (F.F) 10,652 (Count 8)
Alan Farrell (F.G) 10,577 (Count 11)
Duncan Smith (Lab) 8,340 (Count 12, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Dean Mulligan (I4C) 8,152.
Dublin Mid West (Quota = 9,091)
I expected Sinn Féin to get two of the four seats here and that’s what happened. Emer Higgins (F.G) was elected on the final count but I wasn’t expecting her to take as long.
Result : Four Elected
Eoin Ó’Broin (S.F) 11,842 (1st Count)Mark Ward (S.F) 9,808 (Count 2)Emer Higgins (F.G) 9,735 (Count 9, Final Count)Gino Kenny (Sol-PBP) 8,089 (Count 9, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) John Curran (F.F) 7,383.
Dublin North West (Quota = 8,097)

Of course, Dessie Ellis (S.F) was elected first in this constituency and as expected, there was no barriers for Róisín Shortall (S.D) in this election.
Result : Three Elected.
Dessie Ellis (S.F) 14,375 (1st Count)Róisín Shortall (S.D) 8,148 (Count 4)Paul McAuliffe (F.F) 7,403 (Count 6, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Conor Reddy (Sol-PBP) 6,308.
Dublin Rathdown (Quota = 10,601)
Both Fine Gael candidates would be elected here but it wasn’t straight forward. Who would get the first seat?
Result : Three Elected.
Catherine Martin (G.P) 11,444 (1st Count)Neale Richmond (F.G) 9,704 (Count 8, Final Count)Josepha Madigan (F.G) 8,677 (Count 8, Final Count)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Shea Brennan (F.F) 8,277.
Dublin South Central (Quota = 8,659)
Although Joan Collins (Ind) would have to wait until count 6 (final count) to be elected, she was a few hundred ahead of her nearest rival.
Result : Four Elected
Aengus Ó’Snodaigh (S.F) 17,015 (1st Count)Bríd Smith (Sol-PBP) 9,547 (Count 2)Patrick Costello (G.P) 8,582 (Count 6, Final Count)Joan Collins (Ind) 7,807 (Count 6, Final)
Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Catherine Byrne (F.G) 7,431.

Dublin South West (Quota = 11,261)
Seán Crowe (S.F) was the first candidate to be elected via the first count. Sol-PBP, Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael all had multiple runners here but unfortunately for them, they only got one each elected. Find out below who they were.

Result : Five Elected

Seán Crowe (S.F) 20,077 (1st Count)
Paul Murphy (Sol-PBP) 12,311 (Count 8)
Colm Brophy (F.G) 11,543 (Count 10)Francis Noel Duffy (G.P) 11,138 (Count 11, Final Count)
John Lahart (F.F) 10,974 (Count 11, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Katherine Zappone (Ind) 8,050.
Dublin West (Quota = 8,726)

The main four parties got one T.D each in this one. Leo Varadkar (F.G) was elected but it was far from straight forward.

Result : Four Elected

Paul Donnelly (S.F) 12,456 (1st Count)
Jack Chambers (F.F) 9,107 (Count 6, Final Count)Leo Varadkar (F.G) 8,763 (Count 5)Roderic O’Gorman (G.P) 8,260 (Count 6, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Ruth Coppinger (Sol-PBP) 7,580.

Dún Laoghaire (Quota = 12,459)

This was a wide open constituency, as expected. Sinn Féin polled awful here but that wasn’t a surprise. Fine Gael had three runners including two females and strangely enough they both have double barrel surnames. One of the two just missed out but who was it?

Result : Four Elected

Richard Boyd Barrett (Sol-PBP) 16,364 (Count 5)
Ossian Smyth (G.P) 12,510 (Count 6)
Jennifer Carroll MacNeill (F.G) 12,061 (Count 8, Final Count)Cormac Devlin (F.F) 11,071 (Count 8, Final Count)

Best Runner Up: (NOT Elected) Mary Mitchell O’Connor (F.G) 10,612.

REVIEW: Thank you to all the political fans who followed my insight and review before the election. This is a brief review of the outcome and results. Well done to all the elected T.D’s and commiserations to all the non-elected runners up.



Irish General Election 2020 : Predictions & Review, Part One

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Last week, Leo Varadkar called an early Dáil Election. Will his choice backfire or will he get another term? Find out below.

Michael Martin (Fianna Fáil) has been putting the pressure on few quite some time, Fine Gael only won by a handful of seats last time (2016 election) and Leo is now starting to feel the heat.

Leo has made a handful of school boy errors and according to the recent polls, Michael Martin should be elected as the new Taoiseach on 8th February 2020.

Politics is of course very interesting and exciting, the general public have the control to elect anyone from their constituency. So far, Eighteen (18) former TD’s have announced that they won’t be running including Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin) & Edna Kenny (Fine Gael).

Ireland is a country that in my opinion has more than enough Independent TD’s. There are only a few places up for grabs, but who’s going to get them?

I will be submitting my predictions in alphabetical order.

Carlow / Kilkenny (5 TD’s)

Bobby Aylward (Fianna Fail), John McGuinness (Fianna Fail), John Paul Phelan (Fine Gael) High, Pat Deering (Fine Gael) will be elected.

Jennifer Murnane-O’Connor (Fianna Fail), Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Fein), Malcolm Noonan (Green Party) & Patrick O’Neill (Fine Gael) will fight it out for the 5th spot.

Prediction: Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Fein) will get the 5th seat.

Cavan / Monaghan (5 TD’s).

Matt Carthy (Sinn Fein), Heather Humphries (Fine Gael), Brendan Smith (Fianna Fail) & Niamh Smyth (Fianna Fáil) are the front runners here.

T.P. O’Reilly (Fine Gael), Pauline Tully (Sinn Fein) & Robbie Gallagher (Fianna Fail) will be trying their best to get the last seat.

Prediction: T.P O’Reilly (Fine Gael).

Clare (4 TD’s)

Timmy Dooley (Fianna Fail), Cathal Crowe (Fianna Fail) & Pat Breen (Fine Gael) will be elected.

Joe Carey (Fine Gael), Michael McNamara (Ind), Martin Conway (Fine Gael) & Roisin Garvey (Green Party) are the front runners for the 4th and final seat.

Prediction: Roll a dice.

Cork East (4 TD’s)

Kevin O’Keeffe (Fianna Fail), David Stanton (Fine Gael) & Sean Sherlock (Labour Party) should be elected in Cork East.

Pat Buckley (Sinn Fein), James O’Connor (Fianna Fail), Pa O’Driscoll (Fine Gael) & Mary Linehan-Foley (Independent) are all hoping to gain the fourth seat.

Prediction: Pat Buckley (Sinn Fein).

Cork North Central (4 TD’s)

Colm Burke (Fine Gael), Padraig O Sullivan (Fianna Fail) & Thomas Gould (Sinn Fein) will win a seat.

The final seat will be between Mick Barry (Solidarity), Tony Fitzgerald (Fianna Fail), John Maher (Labour Party), Oliver Moran (Green Party) & Kenneth O Flynn (Ind).

Prediction: This is one of the toughest to select. One to watch.

Cork North West (3 TD’s)

Michael Creed (Fine Gael), Aindrias Moynihan (Fianna Fail) & Michael Moynihan (Fianna Fail) shouldn’t have too much to worry about.

Prediction: John Paul O’Shea (Fine Gael) has a very slim chance.

Cork South-Central (4 TD’s)

Micheal Martin (Fianna Fail), Michael McGrath (Fianna Fail) & Simon Coveney (Fine Gael) are foregone conclusions.

The final seat should be between Donnchadh O’Laoghaire (Sinn Fein) & Lorna Bogue (Green Party).

Prediction: Lorna Bogue (Green Party).

Cork South-West (3 TD’s)

This is one of the most open constituencies, All five of Michael Collins (Independent), Christopher O Sullivan (Fianna Fail), Tim Lombard (Fine Gael), Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (Fianna Fail) & Karen Coakley (Fine Gael) have a pretty good chance.

Prediction: Michael Collins (Independent) & Christopher O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil).

Donegal (5 TD’s)

Pearse Doherty (Sinn Fein), Charlie McConologue (Fianna Fail) & Joe McHugh (Fine Gael) will be elected in Donegal.

we’ll have a great contest here, it’ll be between Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail), Thomas Pringle (IND), Padraig MacLochlainn (Sinn Fein), Peter Casey (Ind) & John O Donnell (Ind). I think Pat “The Cope” Gallagher can squeeze through.

Prediction: Pat “The Cope” Gallagher & Thomas Pringle.

Dublin Bay North (5 TD’s)

Sean Haughey (Fianna Fail), Richard Bruton (Fine Gael), Aodhan O’Riordain (Labour) & David Healy (Green Party) should be elected bar miracles.

The 5th and final seat will be between Denise Mitchell (Sinn Fein), Cian O Callaghan (Social Democrats), Catherine Noone (Fine Gael), Deirdre Heney (Fianna Fail)

Prediction: Denise Mitchell (Sinn Fein) could take this by a low margin but I wouldn’t play at 4-11.

Dublin Bay South (4 TD’s)

These three should become a T.D in the election: Eamonn Ryan (Green Party), Jim O Callaghan (Fianna Fail) & Eoghan Murphy (Fine Gael).

Kate O’Connell (Fine Gael), Kevin Humphries (Labour Party) & Chris Andrews (Sinn Fein) will go head to head for the final place.

Prediction: Kevin Humphries (Labour).

Dublin Central (4 TD’s)

Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein), Paschal Donohoe (Fine Gael) & Mary Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail) will be elected here bar accidents.

The fourth and final seat will see Neasa Hourigan (Green Party) go up against Garry Gannon (Social Democrats) and Neasa should do enough to get over the line.

Prediction: Neasa Hourigan (Greens).

Dublin Fingal (5 TD’s)

These three people will get over the line: Darragh O’Brien (Fianna Fáil), Joe O’Brien (Green Party) & Duncan Smith (Labour Party).

The fourth and fifth seat will see two from Louise O Reilly (Sinn Féin), Alan Farrell (Fine Gael), Lorraine Clifford-Lee (Fianna Fáil), James Reilly (Fine Gael) & Dean Mulligan (Ind) get elected.

Prediction: Alan Farrell (Fine Gael) & James Reilly (Fine Gael).

Dublin Mid-West (4 TD’s)

Eoin O’Broin (Sinn Fein) & John Curran (Fianna Fail) will get elected with plenty in hand.

The remaining seats will be between: Emer Higgins (Fine Gael), Mark Ward (Sinn Fein), Gino Kenny (SBP), Paul Gogarty (Independent) & Catriona McClean (Fianna Fail).

Prediction: Gino Kenny (SBP) & Paul Gogarty (Independent).

Dublin North-West (3 TD’s)

Roisin Shortall (Social Democrats) & Paul McAuliffe (Fianna Fail) will be the first two over the line.

Seat Three: Dessie Ellis (Sinn Fein) vs Noel Rock (Fine Gael), Dessie should do enough to get elected.
Prediction: Dessie Ellis (Sinn Fein).

Dublin Rathdown (3 TD’s)

It’ll be unbelievable if Catherine Martin (Green Party) doesn’t get in.

Four way contest between Josepha Madigan (Fine Gael), Shane Ross (Independent), Shay Brennan (Fianna Fail) & Neale Richmond (Fine Gael) for the second and final seat.

Prediction: Josepha Madigan (Fine Gael) & Neale Richmond (Fine Gael). I can see Fine Gael getting two TD’s here.

Dublin South-Central (4 TD’s)

Aengus O’Snodaigh (Sinn Fein) should get a seat.

This one will be very close and is basically a lottery between Catherine Ardagh (Fianna Fail), Patrick Costello (Green Party), Joan Collins (Independents 4 Change), Catherine Byrne (Fine Gael), Brid Smith (Solidarity Before Profit) & Rebecca Moynihan (Labour)

Prediction: Catherine Ardagh (Fianna Fáil) & Patrick Costello (Greens).

Dublin South-West (5 TD’s)

Sean Crowe (Sinn Fein), Colm Brophy (Fine Gael) & John Lahart (Fianna Fail) will be elected in this one.

Francis Noel Duffy (Green Party), Katherine Zappone (Ind), Paul Murphy (RISE), Ciaran Ahern (Labour Party), Charlie O’Connor (Fianna Fail), Deirdre O Donovan (Fianna Fail) & Ellen O’Malley Dunlop (Fine Gael) will go toe to toe for the remaining two seats.

Prediction: None for this really close constituency.

Dublin West (4 TD’s)

Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael) & Jack Chambers (Fianna Fail) will enjoy a nice wage packet for at least another few years after this election.

Roderic O’Gorman (Green Party), Ruth Coppinger (Solidarity Before Profit), Paul Donnelly (Sinn Fein), Joan Burton (Labour) & Emer Currie (Fine Gael) are the other runners & with only two seats left, it’s going to be a mouth watering showdown. 

Prediction: Roderic O’Gorman (Greens).

Dun Laoghaire (4 TD’s)

Richard Boyd Barrett (SBP), Ossian Smyth (Green Party) & Mary Mitchell O’Connor (Fine Gael) should get elected.

Cormac Devlin (Fianna Fail), Jennifer Carroll MacNeill (Fine Gael), Mary Hanafin (Fianna Fail) & Barry Ward (Fine Gael) will battle is out for the last seat but this could come down to only a few votes.

Prediction: This will be very close.

That’s the end of part one, part two will be completed next weekend.



History of the Political Punter: Always Expect the Unexpected

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

The modern era of big, open, political betting began in 1963 when Ron Pollard of Ladbrokes offered odds on the Conservative leadership contest for the ordinary punter. It was a dismal start as the 5/4 favourite Rab Butler was beaten by the 16/1 shot Alec Douglas-Home.

In offering the market Pollard tapped into a long, often secret, history of political betting in Britain. In the 1920s, people on the stock exchange would bet on ‘majorities’ – what we now call spread betting – where seat totals would be calculated and traders would buy/sell above or below the line.

It proved popular, and in 1931, the bookmakers traded over £750,000 on the election. They had severely under-estimated the prospect of a Labour collapse when they set a line of 200 for a National Government majority. It ended up being a 469 seat margin. The losses of one punter led to a much-publicised court case when a trader refused to pay up, citing the Gaming Act as his defence. The Council of the Stock Exchange subsequently banned election gambling.

Small secret trades continued to take place and in 1945, bookmakers offered 5/1 on a Labour victory in the first election for a decade. Fortunately for them, few were enticed into backing Labour.

Five years later Labour were quoted at odds of 4/6 to win the election and there was much greater interest. It prompted The Economist to observe how ‘It is curious that in a nation devoted to gambling as the British, so little opportunity should nowadays be taken of a general election, the most sporting of all events’.

Punters would finally get their wish in the 1960s and at the 1964 election, William Hill followed Ladbrokes into the brave new world. In a newspaper advert, Hills claimed that ‘in response to public demand’ they would now offer odds on the result of the election. Labour won by just four seats and the 1-10 margin had been priced up at 14/1

Ever since betting has been a central part of the coverage of the election campaigns and has proved lucrative for shrewd politico’s. In 1970, the bookmakers and the pollsters misjudged the result.

Ladbrokes opened up on a Labour majority at 8/13 which was quickly backed into 1/12 as they took a poll lead. Events changed, the economy faltered and England were eliminated from the World Cup. The money came flooding in for Heath’s Tories and the Times reported that £5000 had been placed on them at 8/1. Heath confounded all by securing a majority for the Conservatives. Four years later however it was Harold Wilson who defied the odds. The Conservatives were seen as slight 4/7 favourites going into the ‘Who Governs?’ election but lost their majority.

The 1979 result was never in doubt and the Conservatives won after being priced up at 1/6 for victory. However, four years later, there was much better value to be had. Despite a commanding poll lead, the bookmakers opened up at an attractive 2/9 for the Conservatives to hold their majority.

In a sign of the growth of political betting, one punter staked £90,000 on the Conservatives to win and as the Sun noted, it seemed a big risk for little reward, especially when you consider that half of the profit would be ‘swallowed in betting tax’. It would prove to be one of the safest bets in political history.

The bookmakers expected Labour’s history to save them in their heartlands and offered a mouth-watering 28/1 on a Conservative victory by 97 seats or more. They subsequently ended up with a majority of 144 seats.

Surprisingly, by January 1987, many predicted that Labour could close the gap and the Tories were an attractive 4/9 to win the most seats. By the time the election campaign began, the Tories had been backed in to 1/7 to win a majority and they did in style.

After a decade of one sided contests, the 1992 general election was one of the closest in modern political history. Labour began the campaign as 8/11 favourites and with a week to go the money was still with them. Kinnock was expected to lead the biggest party at 2/5 but a hung parliament was priced in at 10/11.

The man who had made it all happen in the 1960s, Ron Pollard, was confident of a Labour victory. He layed a bet of £14,000 to a man from Stoke on Trent for the Tories to win an overall majority and told The Times that ‘he must be mad…but if he is right, he stands to win £142,000’. He then laid another £20,000 – the biggest bet of the election – at 11/4 on a Tory win. On the night, even the exit poll could not split the two but in the end, the Tories pulled off a major shock by winning a majority of 21.

The subsequent collapse of the Major Government from 1992 onwards led many to believe that Labour could return to office after eighteen years in the wilderness. Despite being mired by scandal and incompetence, you could still back the Tories to win an overall majority at 4/1 and a hung parliament was 10/3.

One enthusiastic Labour backer drew £25,000 from his building society account to back Labour at 1 / 4. Contrary to the myth that a landslide was inevitable, the initial seat total was priced at 367 seats for Labour to the Tories 242. Sellers of Tory seats had a great night when they chalked up just 165 MPs.

The most disciplined punter was the Durham taxi driver George Elliott. In 1983 he picked up a passenger who he thought ‘had something about him’. After a political discussion, he dashed to his local bookmakers to request a bet: that his new MP, Tony Blair, would one day become Prime Minister. 15 years later, Elliot picked up £5,000 in what must rank as the shrewdest £10 punt in political history.

Labour’s electoral dominance threatened to make the 2001 election another stalemate for punters. Tony Blair was the shortest odds-on favourite in UK political history at 1/40. Nobody expected the Tories to dent Labour’s majority. One bookmaker told BBC News: ‘If you want to bet on a Tory win, give us a call, if you want to back a Lib Dem win, we’ll send a cab.’

There was still money to be made, as firms offered 10/1 on a Labour majority of 160+. Despite the short odds, firms were stung by multiple six-figure bets on Labour. With such a large majority, it was as close to ‘buying money’ as one could ever hope to find.

Four years later, the bookmakers favoured Labour too heavily, offering 1/40 on a Labour win, despite polls showing the Tories within a 5pt margin at points in the campaign. To neutralise the risk, Paddy Power paid out on a Labour victory before a vote had been cast.

2010 would prove to be a much closer run contest. Bookmakers opened up at 8/15 on a Tory majority which had drifted from 1/3 just a few months earlier. The 6/4 on a Hung Parliament offered the best value of the campaign, which saw the Lib Dems odds shorten following ‘Clegg-Mania’.

2015 was another tight one with few expecting a majority for either side. One punter, who won £193,000, on the Scottish Referendum (from a £900,000 stake) invested a further £200,000 on a Hung Parliament at odds of 2/9. On the opposite side, one pensioner defied the polls and scooped £210,000 after he placed £20,000 on Cameron to win a majority.

Then in 2017, the Labour defied all the pre-election odds. Sporting Index began the campaign with the Tories in for 386 seats to Labour’s 164. The Tories opened up at 1/25 for a majority and quoted at 1 / 4 to win seats such as Great Grimsby. The election quickly unravelled for the Tories but with a week to go, you could still back a Hung Parliament at 7/1.

On election night – the markets failed to react to the exit poll – and then over-reacted. At 1:30 am Corbyn became the 6/4 favourite to become the next Prime Minister as it looked like May would not even be able to cobble together a deal with D.U.P.

As we approach the 2019 poll there will be many twists and tuns, wobbles and price shifts. If the electorate is as undecided as polls suggest, it could prove to be the most lucrative yet for those punters who can call it right. History, however, shows us that we should always expect the unexpected on election night.

Anthony Broxton

Anthony Broxton runs the Tides of History project on twitter and tweets as @labour_history


A Brexit Carol – how last time is shaping views of GE2019

Monday, November 11th, 2019

There is a ghost which is stalking this election in the media coverage, and it is the spirit of 2017. Everywhere one looks right leaning journalists are fretting and not quite believing the polls. The spirit of Election 2017 and a good ghost for Labour it is too – “Oh Jeremy Corbyn !”.

Everywhere one looks the written media is observing this election as a closish horse race “You can’t rely on labour leavers to not revert to type” twitter journalists type. “I’ve found Brexit party switchers in Workington and they are ALL from the Conservatives” rings Goodall. 2017, a haunted spirit of an election for the Conservatives hangs heavy in everyone’s mind where Corbyn seemingly did the impossible and reduced May’s seats.

I think this phantom haunts me too as this piece- which is based on an attempt to see objective truth and clarity through the murky and muddied polling light has me instinctively disbelieving my own conclusions. But yet it is there – now onto what those Will o the wisp polls, the best light to guide us but occasionally lead us into a murky betting grave are saying:

The simple polling evidence points to a Tory % of somewhere between 35 and 41% whilst Labour is between 25 and 30%. Regional polling suggests the Tories are losing votes in the south whilst gaining or at least holding steady in the north and midlands. Based on where the marginals lie that’s a deal you’d take at CCHQ. Candidates who have made any sort of questionable utterance on Twitter are being dealt with ruthlessly before media stories can gain traction – Anthony Calvert and Nick Conrad have been politically dealt with quickly and efficiently. They’ll certainly ship some seats in Scotland to a well revived SNP – but Sturgeon comes with her own unhelpful demands from Labour’s perspective…

The Lib Dems are seemingly doing well with individual southern constituency surveys in the south, but beware these do not have the greatest predictive powers – I note the Lib Dem candidate and John Redwood were both named in a Wokingham one commissioned which showed Redwood narrowly hanging on.

Now I’m not saying the Lib Dems aren’t doing well in the home stockbroker belt, they are – but the swings needed for them to capture these seats on a significant scale aren’t being borne out by the polling right now. The swings needed to take out Raab in Esher and Walton and Guildford are to put it mildly ‘large’ – far beyond Con Gain Bolsover in the East midlands as an example … It will be a good night for them just not as good as Jo’s forays into Kensington early on in the campaign might suggest.

The Labour vote, I think is where the narrative isn’t quite matching up to anecdata. It is plummeting not just in the Midlands and the north, but also interestingly central London. They appear to have become a remain party to leavers and a leave party to remainers. This is the opposite of and the biggest change to 2017 where they pulled the trick of appearing to be a leave party to leavers and a remain party to remainers.

Who will they swing to though ? The remainers look to have a ready home in the Lib Dems but the Labour leavers, well perhaps they will simply sit this one out. It’s hard to find an unenthused staying at home Labour voter as a journalist, and easy to find a vocal Con -> Brexit switcher. Add to this the anti-semitism rows, splits and ex Labour MPs urging a vote for Johnson and in short this looks like it could be a very bad night for Labour indeed. They are not dealing with questionable candidates anything like as well as the Tories, Sultana is still running in Coventry South last time I checked – a marked contrast to Broadland and Wakefield for the Tories.

The ghost of 2017 haunts everyone,  but with under a month to go till the election and a lifetime of not changing his spots behind him a macabre poltergeist of election future likely awaits Corbyn’s Labour.



Can anyone challenge the green and orange waves?

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

A guest slot by GreenMachine

A lot has happened since the 2017 election and the Northern Ireland Executive has been out of office for 3 years now, What will we see this in the election!?

First of all we’re going to start with the more obvious results.

Belfast West: S.F have held this seat since the 1980’s bar the 1992 election where the S.D.L.P won by several hundred votes. S.F regained control of Belfast West in 1997 (shortly after the Peace Process and have held it for 22 years and they will hold for at least another decade.

 PREDICTION = S.F will win with 60% + of the vote but their vote count might decrease specially if Gerry Carroll (People Before Profit) nominates himself to run.

West Tyrone: Here, we have another seat in which S.F have held for a long time, DUP should get to 10,000 + but it’ll be pretty straight forward to S.F and this will be their second easy win of the election!

PREDICTION = S.F will win very convincingly.

Newry & Armagh: Mickey Brady (S.F) is hugely popular and very well liked in this part of the country and there’s not too much to say other than he’ll be getting a very nice wage for at least another few years.

PREDICTION = Basically, It will be pointless for any other party to run / turn up. This is a foregone conclusion, S.F will steamroll this.

Mid Ulster: Francie Molloy has been around forever and is one of the most well liked politicians in the country and he seems to get better with every election.

PREDICTION = S.F with another easy win, No Contest.

East Antrim: Sammy Wilson has been an M.P for a very long time, he’s a senior and key member of the D.U.P and will storm home here once again.

PREDICTION = D.U.P to win very easily.

East Londonderry / East Derry: This is a D.U.P stronghold and I can’t see this going any other way.

PREDICTION = D.U.P will win this seat without doubt. S.F will finish second comfortably.

Lagan Valley: D.U.P have grown from strength to strength in Lagan Valley but I expect the growing is over, Alliance should do well this time around.

PREDICTION = D.U.P will hold this seat but will drop their vote count, Alliance should climb to second place and are worth £2-£3 at 20/1 with Paddy Power.

North Antrim: Ian Paisley Junior is a very controversial person. I’m not sure who the D.U.P will field this time but they will win.

PREDICTION = D.U.P with an easy hold.

Strangford: D.U.P seem to be getting stronger and stronger as the years go on in this beautiful part of the country, Alliance & U.U.P should increase their vote count.

PREDICTION = D.U.P will hold this seat, U.U.P & Alliance will fight for second place.

Upper Bann: D.U.P are the clear favourites but I don’t think they’re a 1-25 chance. Hate him or love him, John O’Dowd is one of the most prolific M.P’s in the country. I believe this will be closer than the betting suggest. The D.U.P, S.F & the U.U.P all have a genuine chance of gaining or winning.

PREDICTION = The D.U.P vote could swing to both Alliance & the U.U.P. This could give S.F a massive boost and they should close the gap dramatically. D.U.P will probably hold but I would play U.U.P & S.F at the very nice odds.

Hope your enjoying the article so far, now onto the much closer and interesting constituencies.

South Antrim: Alliance, the D.U.P and the U.U.P are all close in the betting but I don’t think Alliance are a true 3-1 shot, D.U.P should get over the line again

PREDICTION = The D.U.P @ 4-7 is a fair price.

North Down: Sylvia Hermon announced that she is stepping down, Happy retirement. The D.U.P & the U.U.P will probably fight it out. Powers betting is the D.U.P (1-3), Alliance (3-1) – not sure that’s right and the U.U.P (8-1). The majority of Sylvia Hermon’s votes will probably go to the U.U.P as she was a former member of that party. With Naomi Long winning the third and final European seat, the bookies are very tight with their odds and it probably won’t come to much or mean anything, Alliance will suffer more heavy defeats and green party should vastly improve their vote count here.

PREDICTION = There is betting on North Down with Powers and the D.U.P should achieve a gain here.

South Down: S.F & S.D.L.P will fight this out, The other parties have no chance. Chris Hazzard is a very good M.P and has done a fair amount for his constituencies.

PREDICTION = This will be close enough but Chris Hazzard should hold this with a 1000+ majority.

Belfast South: Claire Hanna (S.D.L.P), Paula Bradshaw (Alliance) & Emma Pengally (D.U.P) are among the top and most prestigious M.P’s in the country. Belfast South has always been a swings and roundabouts area in elections, The people change their vote and mind more than the weather and you just don’t know what’s going to happen this time around. In saying that, I don’t think Alliance are a true 7-2 shot and this will be between S.D.L.P and the D.U.P.

PREDICTION = With S.F and the Green Party absent, that’s almost 10,000 votes to go elsewhere, the majority of the green voters will vote for Claire and the S.F vote will be split. The green vote will probably take Claire Hanna over the line but I wouldn’t play at 2-9.

Belfast East: Naomi Long is returning from his short stay in Europe as an M.E.P and is running in her beloved colours of the Alliance Party. She has a huge fan base and following and is without doubt, one of the best M.P’s in the U.K (Not A Personal Opinion). She is a very passionate person and would try her best to help, Gavin Robinson won this seat in 2017 with a 8,500 majority meaning if Naomi was to win she’d need almost a 4,500 vote swing which to be honest I find it extremely difficult for this to happen.

PREDICTION = I think Gavin Robinson (D.U.P) will hold pretty handily in the end, 8-13 With Paddy Powers is very tempting indeed.

Belfast North: The moment of truth, the media can’t wait, I can’t wait and most importantly the voters and runners can’t wait, Nigel Dodds (D.U.P) couldn’t be anymore Pro – British and John Finucane (Sinn Fein) couldn’t be anymore Pro – Irish. This is not just a Nationalist vs Unionist election, this is a true battle, a true war and simply magnificent.

I expect Alliance to take some of the S.F vote and I’m hoping and expecting that Mal O’Hara (Green Party) will get to 1000+ votes – keep up the good work!

PREDICTION = This will probably be the closest battle in terms of vote count. I think Nigel Dodds will just get enough to get over the line, The prices (odds) with Powers are probably about right. This should be within 1000 votes either way. I wouldn’t lump on Dodds but I think he’s worth £15-£20.

Fermanagh & South Tyrone: The return and another series of Elliott vs Gildernew. You simply could not get much closer than this, excitement all around! Alliance will perhaps take some of the U.U.P vote but I think S.D.L.P voters will swing to S.F as S.D.L.P have no chance and would be a waste of a vote.

PREDICTION = I expect Gildernew to increase her vote and win by 1000+. I genuinely believe that 8-15 with Paddy Power is very generous.

Foyle: Wow, just WOW! You just can’t get any closer, Elisha won by around 150 votes last time out but in my opinion that was just a one off, this is a predominately S.D.L.P constituency / stronghold and I expect Colum Eastwood (S.D.L.P) to win this pretty handily with the help of the D.U.P voters who detest S.F.

PREDICTION = Colum Eastwood (S.D.L.P) will probably win with a 1000+ vote count. I think 4-6 with Powers is big value (NAP!)



“National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy” – a review

Sunday, October 6th, 2019


The book is an overview of “National Populism”, the umbrella term the authors use to describe a political stance of increasing electoral salience in Europe and North America, familiar to us as an explanation for Brexit and Trump. The authors are Roger Eatwell of Bath University and Matthew Goodwin of the University and Kent: both are experts in academic study of the right and all its flavours. The book is a summary of their academic studies, expanded into a medium-size book written in clear, if slightly plodding text readable by the everyman. This is its strength and its weakness, which I will describe later.


The book sets out its thesis: the National Populism stance is real, electorally salient, on the rise and isn’t going away any time soon. The book chapters itself into Myths, Promises, and the 4 D’s (Distrust, Destruction, Deprivation, De-alignment), and concludes with a view of the future.

It’s convincing (with some notable exceptions). It lists explanations proffered by non-populists – it’s temporary, it’s a reaction to 2008, it’s just angry racist white men, it’s close, just one more heave and it’ll go – and points out that actually, no: it’s been around for quite some time, it’s not racist per se, it’s diverse, prodemocratic and will be around for a while because the reasons are deep rooted.

It encapsulates these reasons with the clever catchphrase of the “4 D’s” for Distrust, Destruction, Deprivation and De-alignment: Distrust for the realisation that the rulers no longer reflect the ruled, Destruction for the feeling that a familiar way-of-life is under threat, (relative) Deprivation for uneven distribution of the fruits of capitalism, and De-alignment for the disconnect between the parties and the people, and then points out that these are longstanding issues. It then concludes with “Towards Post-Populism”, outlining predicted future development and the parties that will survive.


There’s nothing really wrong here: the argument makes sense, it proceeds from A to B to C to D, it can be used for predictions, the prose is readable and the only fault of the diagrams is the monochrome. It’s written by two people but it has a singular authorial voice, which I assume was assisted by their copy editor at Pelican, Linden Lawson. So it’s quite good and an important addition to the shelves. But there are bits and bobs that had me biting my lip and the cumulative effect drove me scatty.

Eatwell and Goodwin are academics writing a popular book and have to adjust to the different length and audience, and it shows. An academic paper is short and you have to justify every word. But this is a book (approx 350pages) and you have to fill the word-count somehow and…problem is, not everything they fill it with is good.

They sometimes use telepathy (inferring motives to actors without providing justification), they use current terms to describe historical positions (“The first parties to develop in the nineteenth century…supported economically liberal and socially conservative values” Well in 21st century terms yesss, but there were other things) and their world-view intrudes.

Mostly it’s just irritating. As we move from a European to an American mindset, we lose the concept of multiple parties and subdivisions, with its French Radicals, Polish National Conservatives, British Atlanticists and all the shades of gray, and replace it with a more reduced instruction set of “Liberals” and “Conservatives”. So in the text they have to flit between definitions of the word “liberal” – the “soppy lefty” sense, the “Orange Book Liberals” sense, the “liberal democracy” sense, and you find yourself having to reread bits to identify what they meant. It breaks the flow.

But sometimes the wheels come off. In one case they devote some time to demonstrating that National Populism isn’t Fascist. OK, that’s fair: as I have said on here repeatedly, it definitely isn’t – there’s no militarisation of society, no recusal of democracy, and it’s notably lacking in the Nazi tendency to antisemitism. So what’s the problem?

The problem is their choice of characteristics: they define fascism as one list (holistic nation, new men, authoritarian), define populist as another list (popular will, ordinary people, anti-elite), and point out that they are different. Fine….but. The differences aren’t as obvious or conclusive as they think – both a “holistic nation” and “popular will” describe a national gestalt, and both the Fascist “New Man” concept and the National Populist “plain man” concept reify human individuals into archetypal groups.

So I ended up less convinced than before, even though I knew going in that National Populists aren’t Fascists. The argument was important to make, but their failure to properly stick the landing bugged me.

And lastly and more humorously, the book has a tic that I’ve observed before with Matthew Goodwin and it gets me every single time. I’ve characterised him as a good analyst but a bad advocate, and his urge to advocate instead of simply describe sometimes intrudes.

In this case it manifests as superfluous intensifiers: issues are never just “issues” they’re “legitimate issues”, “concerns” are “legitimate concerns”, and they stand out like poles in the snow. You’re reading the text perfectly happy then he jumps out from behind a tree, yells “LEGITIMATE” in your ear, and jumps back: the Catchphrase From Hell. It throws you off…


So, where are we? I thought their description of present and recent events was convincing and I value their conclusions about the longevity and robustness of the stance. The events of 2019 uphold their 2018 prediction of a “populist-lite” party gaining votes, as Boris mutates the Conservatives to fit that niche and hence defeat the new Brexit Party.

So the book is genuinely valuable. But the padding, their view of the past, a restricted palette, Goodwin’s tic – LEGITIMATE!! – and the compromises required for a popular book do take the edge off. I don’t want to overegg the pudding and the standards for a popular book are different for an academic paper or a briefing paper. But the problems are self-inflicted and this book would be a lot better if it was shorter.


“National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy” is by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. The reviewed version is ISBN 9780241312001 and is published by Pelican Books 2018, in print and available new at £9.99 or free from your local library. Support your local library. Legitimately… 🙂


Endgame. The death of the referendum mandate draws near

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Leavers have an apparently compelling pair of arguments. Certainly, those arguments completely satisfy them. First, they argue that everyone agreed that the referendum result would be implemented. Secondly, they argue that the wording on the ballot paper was clear, and that all that is required is for Britain to leave the EU. So, what’s the hold-up?

It would be churlish to take issue with these arguments. So let me be that churl. For those two arguments are mutually contradictory. The first depends on an assumption that one has to look beyond the legal form. The second depends on an assumption that only the legal form matters. Now Brexiters from the Prime Minister down have been keen to have their cake and eat it, but this is a bit much. Some consistency is required.

There are two options. Either you take the view that only the legal form matters, in which case you have to accept that the referendum was advisory only. Or you take the view that you have to look in each case what was substantively being determined. You can’t pick and mix.

As a matter of practicality, it seems pretty clear to me that you have to look at the substance. So you can’t really argue that the referendum result was advisory only: everyone was expecting that whatever was decided was to be implemented.

So what was decided? The wording of the ballot paper is clearly very important to determining this. It is, however, fanciful to divorce that entirely from the campaign that led to it. Vote Leave set out a detailed prospectus of what the public could expect from Brexit, a prospectus that formed the basis of speech after speech. It denounced suggestions that Britain might not reach a deal and might experience disruption as Project Fear. Its position was summed up, as described in the tweet above, as “we hold all the cards”. Britain would be able to prepare, it would not rush and its access to the free trade area would obviously be unimpaired. 

These were not off-the-cuff remarks. Vote Leave’s papers took the same approach. It stated: “There is a free trade zone stretching all the way from Iceland to the Russian border.  We will still be part of it after we vote Leave.”  In the same document, it stated: “Taking back control is a careful change, not a sudden step – we will negotiate the terms of a new deal before we start any legal process to leave.” It gave a timetable: “It will be possible to negotiate a new settlement with the EU by the next general election in May 2020. Indeed, Vote Leave went as far as saying: “The best way to get a better deal for Britain and Europe is to vote to leave. This will force the politicians to renegotiate a new friendly deal.

By any measure, things have not turned out as Michael Gove or Vote Leave foretold. As October starts, no deal is in sight and the government is adamant that Britain should leave the EU by 31 October, deal or no deal, do or die. Note, we have not reached the target date of May 2020 mentioned in Vote Leave’s own literature. It is very hard to reconcile the assertion that taking back control would be a careful change, that the best way of getting a better deal was to vote to leave or that Britain would still be part of the free trade zone with no deal Brexit. This version of Leave does not remotely match the prospectus.

(You will note that Michael Gove has been in government since June 2017 and has at no point murmured any dissent from the path that the government has set on Brexit. So he can’t have been too unhappy with the approach the government took implementing the Leave project he presided over. Indeed, not even the most zealous Leavers started agitating about the course of negotiations until the summer of 2018. So the cry you occasionally hear now that it was about the execution of the negotiations is hard to give much credence.)

When a company floats on the Stock Exchange, the directors of the company to be floated are rightly subject to stringent requirements. They must issue a prospectus. The prospectus must contain the information necessary for investors to make an informed assessment of the assets and liabilities, financial position, profits and losses and prospects of the company, as well as the rights attaching to the securities being offered. This information must be presented in a way that is comprehensible and easy to analyse. If they fail to give an accurate picture, they can be subject to swingeing penalties.

If the same approach were taken to politicians, the Vote Leave crew would be bricking themselves. Optimistic claim after optimistic claim has turned out to be unsubstantiated. If the same failure in the verification process had taken place in a float, the directors would have been facing huge financial liability and potentially even a spell in chokey. I’m not at all clear why politicians are given greater leeway. The harm they can potentially do is even greater.

That’s all well and good but what is the remedy so far as we, the investors in the country’s future, are concerned? In law, when damage has been done by an untrue statement, the court does not attempt to compensate on the basis that the untrue statement was true. Rather, the aim of the court is to put the victim back in the position that he or she would have been in had they been given the correct information.

What would the nation’s decision have been in June 2016 if it had been given an honest prospectus by Vote Leave? You will find few takers for the idea that the country would have voted for a no-deal Brexit in June 2016. So the idea that the referendum substantially decided that the country was accepting the prospect of a no-deal Brexit can be dismissed.

What this means is that if a deal cannot be reached, the referendum’s mandate expires. That does not by itself give a mandate to revoke the Article 50 notice but it does mean that before Britain leaves on a no-deal basis, a fresh mandate is required from the public. There are two ways this can be achieved: through a general election or through a referendum. Take your pick, Leavers, because one of these is required as a matter of democracy.

Alastair Meeks