The Clinton price moves to a record high on Betfair

October 10th, 2016


Could November 8th still produce a surprise?

I’m currently in the red on the next president market. I moved into Trump in late July, saw a big increase in his price, and then failed to cash in before the first debate which, of course, changed the whole narrative.

Before it Hillary was starting to sink with one swing state after another seeming to go out of her hands. Then came that first debate and Trump flunked it.

The next dramatic movement came following the “pussygate” tape and the decisions by dozens of leading Republicans to distance themselves from the nominee.

Perhaps the most significant figure to have made such a statement was ex-POW and 2008 nominee John McCain who earlier in the primary campaign had been the target of a biting attack. Trump, it will be recalled, said of McCain“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

That ex-POW McCain could come to terms with this and publicly support Trump’s nomination was an important validation following the convention and helped other figures to follow suit. His move away has had the opposite effect.

My reading is that Trump’s performance last night has stopped any move however unlikely, to get him off the ticket.

This latest debate also exposed further Clinton’s vulnerabilities as a candidate.

Polling day is four weeks tomorrow and there’s plenty of time for something else to happen.

Mike Smithson


For your evening’s entertainment the wonderful Fascinating Aida sing “So Sorry Scotland”

October 10th, 2016


New ICM poll finds LAB 17% behind overall with the 75+ group splitting 70-7% for the Tories

October 10th, 2016

So far no sign that Corbyn’s re-election is restoring LAB’s fortunes

If LAB was hoping that the end of its leadership contest with Corbyn continuing was going to restore its fortunes then there’s no sign of it yet. The latest Guardian ICM poll is out and has an overall split of:

CON 43%: LAB 26%: LD 8%: UKIP 11%: GRN 6%

It is the massive age differences that are very striking as can be seen in the chart above. LAB leads in one segment the 18-24 who are, of course, the group least likely to vote. Amongst the 75%+ group Corbyn’s party is on just 7%.

Corbyn always claims that his mandate comes from the members. Fine if that is what he wants to believe. But he has to lead his party in a way that shows that LAB can make inroads into the Tory position and so so there is zero indication that he’s doing that.

Mike Smithson


YouGov has Clinton winning the debate by 47% to 42%

October 10th, 2016

But there was sizeable gender divide

CNN’s poll gave it to Clinton by bigger margin

The WH2016 betting barely moved


Corporeal on the GOP and project Dump Trump

October 9th, 2016

The Trump movement, like its spiritual precursor the Tea Party, has always felt like a wave the Republican party establishment has decided to try and ride because they were scared to stand up to it. After losing the 2012 presidential election the RNC commissioned the Growth and Opportunity Project Report (link here) to assess their defeat and map a course for the future.

If that report ever made it inside of Trump Tower it certainly didn’t get read, the recommendations on engaging with non-white communities, reach out to women, and even the focus on getting staff in the field could hardly be further from the Donald’s campaign style. His campaign staff has been notable for the lack of involvement from veterans of recent campaigns. In short Trump’s candidacy has been something between a shotgun wedding and a hostage crisis.

How the GOP establishment ended up in this situation will no doubt be a major part of their next autopsy, whether public or not (and at first glance it seems, but what it means for the here and now is that the Republican establishment has not only not been invested in Trump, they’ve been blinking hard begging for an escape and Trump’s latest set of controversial comments (this time historical rather than current) has given them the excuse. It’s hard to keep up with the list of Republicans tripping over each other to distance themselves from the Donald. Reports suggest that the RNC is diverting funding away from Trump into Senate and House race in the hope of limiting the election to a defeat instead of a massacre.

It’s hard to credit the idea that after everything else Trump has said in the course of the campaign that this is finally too much, even if it triggered what is probably the most surprising moment of the campaign, Donald Trump apologising for something he said. What has almost certainly triggered this is the collapse of Trump’s victory chances, now sitting at 18.8% on 538’s polls-only forecast having collapsed from 44% on the 27th of September and 33.3% on the 2nd of October.

Now the ship is sinking the rats have discovered their principles.



Joff Wild says keep an eye on Keir

October 9th, 2016


If the Holborn and St Pancras MP is not the first to leave the shadow cabinet, his new Brexit role makes him a decent outside bet in the Labour leadership stakes, writes Joff Wild

With Tory ministers briefing against each other as they fall out over Brexit and the Trump campaign seemingly on the verge of implosion in the US, the recent Corbyn Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle has, understandably, not grabbed many of the headlines. But it is noteworthy, nonetheless.

Emboldened by his recent convincing re-election, Corbyn – who yesterday was speaking at an event organised by the Socialist Workers Party, much to the chagrin of some of his media supporters – has put together the front bench team he believes will take the battle to the Tories and defeat them. So, alongside the IRA-apologist shadow Chancellor and the white van man-trashing shadow foreign secretary – who both kept their briefs – in came a Mao-apologist as shadow home secretary and an anti-Trident campaigner in the shadow defence role; the latter replacing Clive Lewis, who had the temerity to suggest supporting party policy at the Labour conference.

Some may say that these appointments reflect the views of a man who is totally incapable of leaving his comfort zone and who is utterly removed from the realities of British politics, but I could not possibly comment. All I would say is that they are the choices Corbyn has made; they were not forced on him, they are entirely his responsibility. He has the people he wants sitting by his side. That this has precipitated another falling out with the parliamentary party and a possible mass exodus from the whips office is by the by – Jeremy has his team and an extra NEC seat, and that is what matters.

In the great scheme of things, the make-up of an opposition frontbench that no-one seriously believes has a chance of ever replacing the government is no great shakes; and that may explain why – as yet – there do not seem to be any betting opportunities on who may be first to leave the shadow cabinet. What’s more, given Corbyn’s lack of support-base in the PLP his room for manoeuvre in terms of hiring and firing is severely limited: if he were to sack a shadow frontbencher, it’s not clear there would be anyone available to fill the gap. But if an exit book is to be put together, there is a stand-out candidate for the favourite’s slot.

It would be fair to say that the one Corbyn appointment last week which attracted praise from across the Labour party was Keir Starmer’s as the shadow Brexit minister. As a QC and a former director of public prosecutions, the MP for Holborn and St Pancras (the constituency in which I was born and raised) is well-qualified to offer forensic examination of the government’s plans for leaving the European Union.

In taking Brexit away from Emily Thornberry, Corbyn showed an unexpected and welcome ability to put the good of the country first. Alongside Hillary Benn, who is expected to chair the Commons Brexit select committee, Starmer could form a formidable team to provide a voice for the many millions of Remain voters who are currently watching, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, as debate inside the Conservative party begins to boil down to just how hard Brexit should be.

However, I used the word “could” advisedly; for there are plenty of reasons to believe that somewhere down the line Corbyn or McDonnell will do something that flies directly in the face of what Starmer is seeking to achieve. As anyone who followed the leadership election will know, a string of ex-shadow cabinet ministers told the same, depressing story about how they were undermined by the leader’s office or by the shadow Chancellor; about how policy was made without consultation, about a total lack of communication and about the complete dysfunctionality of the decision-making process. That is not going to change – Corbyn and McDonnell are what they are.

What’s more, neither the Labour leader nor the shadow Chancellor give any impression of being remotely interested in the UK remaining part of the single market; while for many years they were avowed Euro-sceptics who saw the EU as a right-wing, business-friendly institution that stood in the way of the implementation of socialist policies at the national level. While claiming to have changed their minds about EU membership, their low-key presences during the referendum campaign told a different story, as did their undermining of Labour’s Remain strategy. And who can forget that just hours after the referendum result became known Corbyn was live on national television calling for Article 50 to be invoked immediately?

Now, it could be that Corbyn and McDonnell are right about the EU, but that is not the point here. Instead, it is that their views are very different to Starmer’s and their history shows that they have a persistent habit of developing policy and making pronouncements without consulting colleagues. I suggest that probably sooner rather than later this is bound to happen on Brexit. If it does, Starmer is strong enough in his constituency party – where is very well liked – to have the confidence to walk away. He is not someone who need fear reselection; while, a few adjustments aside, Holborn & St Pancras is unaffected by the boundary review.

With Brexit so high profile, views so opposed and passions around it so intense, I don’t see how a confrontation – accidental or otherwise – between the Labour leadership and the shadow Brexit minister can be avoided; so once the odds appear, my money will be on Starmer to be the first to leave the shadow cabinet.

But there is an alternative scenario. Corbyn and McDonnell could shock me and pursue a collegiate approach. They could give Keir Starmer the space and the authority he will require to develop a strong, credible Labour line. Who knows, Starmer may find enough Tories agreeing with him to force the government into making concessions to get its plans through the Commons. If that happens, with Brexit set to dominate all political discourse for the foreseeable future, we will be seeing a lot of the media-friendly Starmer over the coming few years. That will raise his profile considerably – both inside Labour and in the country generally. Should he enjoy a level of success, that will do him no harm at all.

I believe that the next Labour leader will be a woman, but with Stan James currently offering 20-1 I will be putting a few speculative quid on Starmer, too – I might just win; that is, if I have not already collected my winnings on his shadow cabinet departure.

Joff Wild



Taking the 20/1 on Philip Hammond being the first to leave the cabinet

October 9th, 2016

A few days ago The Sun reported that

A MAJOR Cabinet split on Brexit is brewing over whether to sever all links with the EU on customs controls, The Sun can reveal.

One of Theresa May’s top table team has even predicted there will be resignations from it over the tinderbox issue.

Whether to push for Britain to stay in the EU’s customs union is shaping up to be the biggest dilemma for the PM’s Brexit negotiating strategy.

The formal union – an element of the single market – sees goods pass between member states without any checks, delays or tariffs.

On the “hard Brexit” fringe of the Cabinet, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is pushing for a clean break from the customs union to give the UK the maximum ability to strike trade deals elsewhere in the world.

But he is pitted against Chancellor Philip Hammond and, increasingly, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, The Sun has been told.

Both Tory heavyweights have serious fears over the extra costs that delays and tariffs will inflict on British businesses and jobs.

One Cabinet minister told The Sun: “In my view, there is no way Liam and Philip can ever agree on this.

“They are ideologically too far apart, and one of them will end up walking.”

Today’s Sunday Telegraph follows on from that Sun story

A new cabinet split over the handling of Brexit has emerged as ministers privately attacked each other over how to approach EU negotiations.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has been blamed for talking down Britain’s hopes of getting a good deal and attacked for his “relentless pessimism”.

One cabinet colleague went as far saying that Mr Hammond, who voted to stay in the EU, should “watch his back” and could lose his job.

However friends of Mr Hammond are furious with the “nonsense and garbage” that Eurosceptics have said about the strength of Britain’s hand in talks.

“The obligation is on the Brexit leaders to now tell the British public some hard truths,” a Treasury figure said.

Iff (hard) Brexit is the economic disaster some fear it will be, I can foresee the circumstances where Philip Hammond resigns, who would want that on your CV? It would be better if history remembers you as the Chancellor who resigned warning about the looming disaster.

It should also be remembered that the Tories do have a history for very messy splits when it comes to trade deals and tariffs, so Hammond maybe forced out by the hard Brexiteers even if he doesn’t quit, especially if Philip Hammond really does think he himself as unsackable, in politics, as was in Ancient Greek, nemesis has a tendency to follow hubris.

Ladbrokes are offering a market on the first minister to leave the cabinet, Philip Hammond was 25/1 the other day, he’s now 20/1 and still think that is value, though I am content with the 10/1 I placed in August on Liam Fox being first to leave the cabinet as he is currently 3/1 in this market.




As we move to the crucial second Trump-Clinton debate the live Betfair betting odds

October 8th, 2016

Given the uncertainties about Trump punters should read the bookie market rules

This is for the £56m next President market on Betfair:-

“Who will be elected to be the next President of the United States of America as a result of the 2016 presidential election?

This market will be turned in-play at the stated time on the day of the election. Thereafter the market will not be actively managed. Customers are entirely responsible for their bets at all times.

This market will be settled according to the candidate that has the most projected Electoral College votes won at the 2016 presidential election. Any subsequent events such as a ‘faithless elector’ will have no effect on the settlement of this market. In the event that no Presidential candidate receives a majority of the projected Electoral College votes, this market will be settled on the person chosen as President in accordance with the procedures set out by the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

This market will be void if an election does not take place in 2016. If more than one election takes place in 2016, then this market will apply to the first election that is held.

If there is any material change to the established role or any ambiguity as to who occupies the position, then Betfair may determine, using its reasonable discretion, how to settle the market based on all the information available to it at the relevant time. Betfair reserves the right to wait for further official announcements before the market is settled..”