Don’t gamble

TALK of shifting sands in the opinion polls is as good excuse as any to stroll down to the bookmakers and look in the window once more. Remember, gambling is bad. Keep the money and buy your mum some flowers instead. Or something.

But. But. But. A quick check out of curiosity at the Ladbrokes odds shows that Ed Fordham still has his nose in front with the bookmakers in Hampstead and Kilburn, the price at midnight last night was quoted at 5/4. But it’s a close run thing. Chris Philp is a very close second on odds of 7/4. Glenda hasn’t made much progress at 5/2, and, look, there’s a new name: 25-1 Tamsin Omond, the independent. I’m not sure what you do if you want to bet on Beatrix Campbell, the Green.

Perhaps more interesting at this stage (Fordham has been the narrow favourite at Ladbrokes for a while, no new news here) is what is going on in Islington South and what looks like more good news for the Lib Dems. If you take the bookies as a barometer, the suggestion here is that Bridget Fox is now in pole position to take the scalp of Labour’s Emily Thornberry. What is significant about Fox’s advance is that if she wins – and as expected, the General election and the local elections are held on the same day – the same wave of support that takes her to Parliament should be enough to keep the Lib Dems in power at Islington Town Hall. There are important wards in the south of that borough which will not only decide who gets to the Commons, but also who is residence in leader Terry Stacy’s lovely Town Hall office after May.

2 Comments on Don’t gamble

  1. Richard Watts // March 9, 2010 at 10:49 am //

    Ladbrokes essentially base their constituency odds on a uniform national swing, which doesn’t take into account local circumstances e.g. Labour gernerally doing better in London and the Lib Dem vote in Islington splitting to both Labour and the Tories we’ve seen at the 2006 council elections, 2008 London elections (when the Lib Dems finished fourth behind Tories and Greens on the GLA ballot) and the 2009 Euro elections.

    I’ve been reccomending the Islington South bet to friends for months and have £50 down myself – it seems rude not to take advantage of Ladbrokes’ generosity.

  2. zeitgeistlondon // March 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm //

    And so we see the “LibDems came third in London” rubbish argument trotted out yet again…it’s getting quite boring – Labour really ought to realise that their message just isn’t getting through – the public just are not as stupid as Labour takes them for!

    If all that’s true, where are all the Tory councilors in Islington, if they are doing so well? Oh no, of course, there aren’t any. That’s how popular they are around here!

    The fact is that the Tories came a DISTANT THIRD in this constituency at the last general election with just 14% of the vote, and they have NO councillors, even at the last local election where the LibDems did badly. So where is this “swing to the Tories” that Labour keeps baging on about? It doesn’t exist in Islington South.

    If you are seriously suggesting that they will move from 14% to second place in this constituency, I will happily take your money on them coming second at 100-1!

    I have no idea how Ladbrokes calculate their odds, but it would be quite naive to assume its simply based on a uniform national swing. They’d be bankrupt if they did that. What I DO know is that they have expert odds setters and actuaries who take into account all sorts of factors, including the public mood in various constituencies.

    With Betfair, on the other hand, the odds cannot be said to be “calculated” by anyone other than the punters – it is a betting exchange, with backers and layers offering and taking prices, just like the stock market does with shares. The weight of money for or against any bet therefore affects the price.

    On Betfair, the LibDems are at 1.45, Labour at 2.84 and the Tories a distant third on 50.

    You can’t argue with that.

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