A couple of political betting tips – good odds on the Lib Dems to get mauled

This post was written by Reuben Bard-Rosenberg on March 3, 2010
Posted Under: Uncategorized

Well this morning I was on betfair politics zone. For those unfarmiliar with betfair, its an ingenious system in which you lay bets against fellow punters. If you reckon, say, that Man U will win the league, your money will be matched up with someone who reckons they won’t. The odds you get go up and down with supply and demand. Watching the trends is interesting in itself.

So anyway I thought I might try and pick out a couple of bets  worth making. This morning I put £15 on the lib dems to get 40-44 seats at odds of around 9-1 – so that’s £125 profit if i’m right. This might strike you as overly pessimistic but let me explain my reasoning. In 1997 the Lib Dems won 46 seats with 16.8 per cent of the vote. In 2001 they made it to 52 seats with 18.3 per cent, and to 62 seats in 2005 with a whopping 22% of the vote.

Now there are various reasons for think they will get mauled – and mauled back down to 1997  levels or further. Most obviously the polls predict a big swing against the lib dems. This time they are polling at 17%, 5 per cent lower than last time. Meanwhile certain conditions that allowed the Lib Dems to rise above their station no longer apply. In 2005 they got a big anti-war vote. Nowadays we are out of Iraq, while the Libs have taken no distinctive stand on Afghanistan. Perhaps more importantly they have far less breathing space to the right. Back in 2001 and 2005 the Tories were lead by men who – in both style and substance – were very much on the nasty reactionary end of the party. Understandably they were able to pick up lots of votes from “tories with jumpers”, and others who , while not of the left  identified with modern urban sensibilities.

Equally the chips are really down in this election. In places like Cambridge – where they grabbed a seat last time – they seemed to get the vote of those who treated voting as an exercize in political self expression, or a parade of their moral conscience, rather than a practical attempt to determine the future. You know, those self indulgent tossers who opine, with great moral gravity, “I couldn’t possibly vote labour”. With a change of government on the cards – and at a time when politics will really save people or fuck people – I expect people to really, actually vote for who might form the next government – i.e. Labour or the Tories.

Finally their is the Lib Dem leadership factor: even with a body composed mostly of alcohol, Charles Kennedy was a thousand times more charismatic than Nick Clegg. For a brief moment it seemed he would really improve the profile of the Lib Dems and of gingers, before the fatally boring Nick Clegg caused both to crash back down.

And now  for another little tip: if you are a green and you like to vote for your team, the odds on Caroline Lucas are pretty decent. Last time I checked you could bet on her at about 2.3 – so a £20 stake would get you £46 quid plus your original stake back.

So, fellow bloggers, what are your tips?

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Reader Comments

Kennedy wasn’t just more charismatic than Clegg – his politics were better, and I think that’s Clegg’s main problem, he is politically facile in a way that Kennedy wasn’t.

Written By jim jepps on March 3rd, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

Wouldn’t be quite so sure about your tip. The Liberal Democrats are famously (infamously?) good at hanging onto seats that they would be expected to lose according to national swings.

Only an anecdotal case, I realise, but Sarah Teather’s by-election victory in 2003 was in an area (mine!) with a very high number of Muslims and middle class liberals at the height of the Iraq War controversey and on the back of a high-profile defection by a prominent local Tory councillor to the libdems. She managed to increase her majority in 2005.

I also can’t see them losing the student vote, to be honest. For an awful lot of people under 24 or so the Iraq War and top-up fees are their pet political issues. Students were the driving force behind many of their 2005 gains (Cardiff Central and Cambridge spring to mind, but also Bristol West, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham?)

The figures I saw relatively recently also showed that, now, labour supporters are far more likely to vote tactically for libdems to keep out the tories than libdems for labour: this will help them somewhat in holding onto libdem/tory marginals.

I’m in no doubt that they’ll lose seats, but there’ll certainly be plenty of seats that they manage to surprise everyone by hanging onto, and may well be surprisingly resilient overall.

Written By Alex on March 3rd, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

It will be interesting to see but my impression is that the change of course on tuition fees seems to have damaged the LDs among students quite a bit.

Written By jim jepps on March 3rd, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

My first ever foray into betting, which I fully expect to be an unmitigated disaster.

I think the odds for a Tory majority were quite long at 1.65. This is because I believe the analysis of the coming election that says that there’ll be an almost complete tactical unwind for Labour, together with disproportionate Labour-Tory swings in marginal seats. Labour’s natural advantage in the coming election is not so great as people think it will be, alas!

I also think it likely there will shortly be renewed betting market confidence in a Tory majority, so I hope to be able to lay against the same bet at shorter odds, guaranteeing a profit.

I’m double hedged though: even if my prediction about being able to lay against is wrong, I have a bet that delivers me either a profit or else a lack of Tory Government. Win/win.

Written By Alex on March 3rd, 2010 @ 11:02 pm
Mark Anthony

‘You know, those self indulgent tossers opine, with great moral gravity, “I couldn’t possible vote labour”.’

Excuse me? How does not wanting to throw my weight behind a warmongering, reactionary, indeed conservative party make me a self indulgent tosser? Democracy is all about the scheming, utilitarian value of it all now?

For shame.

Written By Mark Anthony on March 4th, 2010 @ 9:22 am

The Lib Dems often make good constituency MPs, and tend to do much better than the national average in seats that they currently hold.

There’s also the televised devates – Nick Clegg is being put up on a pedestal as a viable prime minister, and he’ll be able to stand there looking mature and sensible while Brown and Cameron tear strips off each other.

Against that, the polls don’t look good for them in places like the South West where the Tories could come back strongly now they’re so close to government. Equally there’s the obvious third party squeeze – with the outcome likely to be close, dissatisfied Labour/Tory voters probably won’t go over to the Lib Dems in great numbers for fear of letting the other lot in (I really hope this doesn’t reverse the encouraging-looking figures for the Greens as the election gets closer).

I’d say that with an eightfold return (your odds look like they were just over 9 on betfair, which is actually about 8/1) your flutter on a Lib Dem collapse looks a decent bet.

Personally I reckon the odds for a Conservative win(1.66) and a hung parliament (2.98) are the wrong way round. I don’t think the Tory lead in the marginals is as big as everyone is suggesting, certainly not big enough to achieve the big swing that they need.

I’m still tempted to put the (proverbial) house on a Cameron majority however. I won’t be too disappointed if I’m wrong, and if I’m right I’ll be able to fuck off out of the country for a bit, while the dough-faced cunt gets on with wrecking it.

Written By housecarl81 on March 4th, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

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