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Will today be Gordon’s Eastbourne?

May 22nd, 2008

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    Could an appalling result start a chain reaction?

On October 18th 1990 a by-election took place in the Sussex seaside resort of Eastbourne to fill the vacancy caused by the the death of Ian Gow, the previous MP and close friend of Margaret Thatcher who had been murdered by the Provisional IRA. The result, as seen above, was a massive swing to the Liberal Democrats.

The result, reproduced from Wikipedia above, particularly in view of the circumstances of the by-election, set off a chain of events throughout the Conservative party and little more than a month later Margaret Thatcher’s reign was over.

    Could the same happen after Crewe and Nantwich? Could an appalling outcome cause a similar reaction within the Labour party and lead to more pressure on its leadership?

Everything, of course, depends on the scale of the defeat – if that indeed is what happens today and here the polls might be helping Gordon. For if Labour does better than what ICM and ComRes are suggesting then it could be seen as almost a victory. Whatever, the polling numbers have raised the bar for David Cameron.

There is consolation for Gordon in the nature of the Labour movement which is nothing like as ruthless as the Conservative party. For Gordon was given the leadership last year on a plate even though eighteen months of polling numbers suggested that he would make Labour less electable – not more.

We should know the result in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

  • The current betting price on the Tories is 0.03/1. So a £100 bet would produce profits of just £3 – or the equivalent of what a higher rate taxpayer would get for locking up a similar sum in Northern Rock for ten months. Betting winnings, of course, are tax-free.
  • Gordon’s departure date betting is here.
  • The market on the line-up of general election leaders is here. I have been betting on this for some time that the only one left will be Cameron.
  • Mike Smithson






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