Should you be betting on an early Brown departure?

Should you be betting on an early Brown departure?


    What do we think of Jackie Ashley’s analysis?

In her Monday Guardian column this morning Jackie Ashley speculates over what could happen if Brown loses the key vote on the abolition of the 10% tax rate.

She writes: “Let us be quite clear. If the rebellion over the 10p tax rate abolition continues to gather pace and the rebels hold their nerve, they can get rid of Gordon Brown as early as next week. The Tories, it seems, will line up with an amendment from Labour’s Frank Field to insist on a compensation package for those who will be worse off under the new tax rates. If Labour lost that vote, it would be all up for the prime minister.

It would be curtains because of the issue itself. Brown’s selling point as a politician has always been his concern for the poor. To fight and lose a key vote about taking hundreds of pounds of extra cash from more than 5 million of the poorest voters would be too big a humiliation to survive….

….Labour is doing so badly in the polls that quite a lot of backbenchers, and even ministers, are saying behind their hands: “Good thing too, let’s call that bluff and have a change of leader while we can.” Some are dropping their hands and saying it openly..”

Click on the panel to read the full article. I have not seen any other commentator express it so clearly and in such terms. Jackie Ashley, it should be said, was for years one of Gordon’s most vocal supporters in the national press.

A fortnight ago I speculated over the chances of Brown not being there at the general election and suggested that a good market to bet on was the Betfair “party leaders at the general election”. Here you are offered options based on the line-up of leaders last July when, of course, Ming was still leading the Lib Dems and the price of “Cameron only” was about 5/1. There’s very little liquidity there but this has now tightened to 2/1.


The other possible betting option is on the date of Brown’s departure where it is broken down into three month segments until 2011. As I write the price on Q2 2008 is 5/1.


Mike Smithson

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