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Will Glenrothes be Gordon’s personal triumph?

October 27th, 2008



    Should you be taking the 7/4 on a Labour hold?

On the face of it the mathematics are on the SNP’s side in the Glenrothes by election which takes place a week on Thursday. Just three months ago the party took the Labour stronghold of Glasgow East with a 22.5% swing and on top that it holds the seat in Holyrood.

So the 14.3% Glenrothes swing target is much lower in comparison which is probably the reason that ever since the betting markets opened punters have seen Salmond’s party as the very clear favourites.

Yet things have changed dramatically in the UK and particularly the Scottish political environment since July – and this was reflected in yesterday’s YouGov poll of voting intentions north of the border. For Westminster this had these changes since a similar poll in the first part of September, LAB 38%(+6): SNP 29%(-5): CON 20%(+3): LD11%(-2). Labour’s 38% is only one point short of what they achieved in Scotland in the 2005 general election.

Labour’s current best price is 7/4 which to my mind offers great value for money and is where I’ve been putting my cash. The conventional bookie prices are currently better than Betfair and I’ve been trying to get as much on as the individual firms will allow me – this is a great bet

By all accounts Labour is running a highly effective campaign and is managing to exploit a big local issue – the SNP controlled council has had to impose a series of budget cuts. The Labour campaign has homed on the fact that, as Scotland on Sunday reports – a decision to increase charges for home care for carers and the disabled from £4 a week to a whopping £11 an hour.

It is such “foothold” issues that can have dramatic impacts on by election campaigns and over the next few days the party is throwing everything at the seat. The PB regular, Nick Palmer MP, is one of those who has been drafted in to help.

    The fact that Gordon Brown was allowed to be personally associated with the campaign by making a visit shows the confidence of his party’s campaigners on the ground. This would simply not have happened if they thought that defeat was as likely as the betting suggests. Glenrothes is being set up as Gordon’s personal triumph.

If Labour do hold on this will be presented as firm confirmation of Labour’s recovery.

Mike Smithson






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