Daily Archives: May 5, 2010

Well, for my final £20 I was looking for a broader bet on seat numbers, vote share, or a majority. But most of these wagers seem to be pretty poor value, particularly given the uncertainty in this race.

So to crush the Pickard “tortoise”, I’ve picked out a few seats again based on conversations with some campaigners.

The first is a Tory win in Feltham & Heston. Alan Keen has had a rough time over expenses and he’s facing a two-pronged assault from the Tories and Lib Dems. The Tories are doing pretty well on the ground and the Lib Dem rise could actually work in their favour by splitting the Labour vote. I’ve put £10 down at 13/8 with Paddy Power. 

London: the key seats – The Guardian
EU warns on UK deficit – Politics Home
Lib Dems squezed on both sides – The Times
Nerd wars over the result – Chris Giles for FT Money Supply
He has his faults, but my God you have to admire GB depth and resilience – Alastair Campbell
Gordon’s fighting talk - Jon Craig on Sky
Labour jittery in Scotland - The Guardian
Why isn’t Dave 15 points ahead? - Norman Tebbit in The Telegraph

Jim Pickard

Two-thirds of Labour’s new candidates in the party’s 40 safest (empty) seats are women, suggesting an imminent influx of female MPs into the House of Commons, according to research by the FT. The news comes amid expectations that the new Parliament could have a record number of female MPs whatever the result. 

Jim Pickard

Peter Dul, the UKIP candidate in the prosperous south-west London seat of Richmond Park, has made an intriguing last minute bid to win votes. 

Jim Pickard

This is rather interesting given that Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, wife of the Lib Dem leader, works for DLA Piper. This is the firm’s view – as espoused by its public law expert Paul Stone today (in a press release).

A hallmark feature of a coalition government is the sheer time it can take to achieve consensus. From a legal point of view, this often results in laws being passed that are of high quality and well scrutinised, but unfortunately, are often watered down to the point of being anodyne as a result of endless rounds of review and compromise

Jim Pickard

Now in the home run and I’m consolidating my prudent approach to gambling (Alex = hare, Jim = tortoise) with my last two bets – both of which I believe are safe.

I’ve placed £20 at Ladbrokes on the BNP not winning a single seat. No pollster or political expert has suggested in the last month that the BNP have sufficient momentum in any constituency and I have no reason to doubt this. You may consider the 1/4 odds paltry but in financial markets a 25 per cent return over 48 hours would be considered rather impressive. 

Political geeks everywhere would do well to head over to FiveThirtyEight for a fascinating fracas over projecting seat totals in this election. At stake? Up to sixty seats and the future of the trusty old BBC Swingometer.

In the red corner is Nate Silver, a baseball stats expert whose made his name by routinely debunking very well paid US pollsters.

And in the blue corner is Robert Ford of the University of Manchester, fighting on behalf of the PoliticsHome forecasting model and the UK political science establishment. It’s no-holds barred.

The nub of the argument: is “uniform national swing” hypothesis fit for purpose? In their purest form, these traditional models assume the same change of vote in each seat, a simple calculation that has dominated our analysis of elections for more than a generation.  

Jim Pickard

Campbell comes out at full throttle for Gordon Brown on his blog today. 

Political scientist Dr Tim Bale of Sussex University says voters aren’t as scared of a hung parliament as the Tories would like, but also warns that Labour’s hopes of a swell in underlying support on election day are likely to be dashed. He goes on to examine poll reliability, the weather’s effect on turnover, and makes his own prediction

Paul Waugh has a fine example of some entertaining Lib Dem hypocrisy campaigning. But I think I can trump that leaflet with this highly creative edition of “Labour News”, which landed on my doormat in Oval. You’re not imagining things, the balaclava clad burglar is indeed carrying a Lib Dem swag bag. The tag line is that the “Lib Dems are ALWAYS soft on crime”. But aren’t they just stealing the election?

Jim Pickard

Even if Brown loses on Thursday night don’t expect him to walk straight away. I reported this morning that he may announce his departure – but that it would not take place until the autumn.

This was the strategy of Michael Howard in 2005 that led to a reasonably orderly succession in October of that year for the Tory party. 

Cuts won’t trigger social unrest – George Osborne, FT
Which pledge will Cameron break first? - Gideon Rachman, FT
Brown’s legacy: no more Labour majorities – Donald Macintyre, The Independent
Honest Nick and his Lib Dem stardust – Jonathan Freedland, Guardian
Cameron in danger of pulling Queen into politics – The Guardian
Even though there are no constitutional rules – Ruth Fox, The Guardian
How has your region changed since 2005? - Political Betting
Agent Ashdown’s dead letter drop – Paul Waugh