LAB edge a notch up in the “most seats” betting but CON still very strong favourite

March 27th, 2015

The “debates” haven’t done either Ed or Dave any harm

There’s been a small recovery for LAB in the most seats betting over the past week and since last night’s C4/Sky “debate” that trend has continued.

But Labour has a very long way to go on the markets till it reaches parity with the Tories once again. The blues are expected to make progress during the campaign itself and that is reflected in the betting.

The spread markets were suspended overnight and I’ll update this when the post-debate prices are up.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


And the winner so far is – Update ICM calls it for Dave

March 26th, 2015

Jeremy Paxman proved why he’s the best in the business.

But I do wonder if Ed Miliband’s “Hell Yeah”when Paxman asked him if he was “tough enough to deal with the likes of Putin” maybe the most memorable event from the whole debates and interviews. Whether it is for good or ill, we will soon find out.

Though Paxman’s off mic comment at the end to Ed of “Are you all right, Ed?” could also be a big talking point.

Overall will it shift any votes?

I’ll update this when the polling comes out later on.



Let the debates begin

March 26th, 2015


Well the interviews at least.

You can watch the event live by clicking the youtube video below.


I think Ed will be perceived to be the winner from tonight’s events, because the old maxim of success equals performance minus expectation, and the expecation for Ed is probably lower than it is for David Cameron, especially after David Cameron’s successful performance at PMQs yesterday.

Will one or both of them have a surprise in store?

I expect the other  parties will say they Cameron and Miliband were losers, but I wonder what the reaction will be to Nigel Farage attending the event, he may be in the audience section.

I think this merely the hors d’oeuvre for next week’s seven way debate.

Dave is up first

As I understand it, there’s going to be at Guardian/ICM poll on Dave and Ed after 22:30, but YouGov aren’t doing one for the following reason.



By election preview 26th of March 2015

March 26th, 2015

Glenrothes West and Kinglassie on Fife (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 35, Scottish National Party 26, Liberal Democrats 10, Independents 4, Conservatives 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 5)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Scottish National Party: Brown 910 E, Walker 349, Grant 941 E (42%)
Labour: Craik 708 E, Campbell 1,424 E (41%)
Independents: Robertson 147, Taylor 192 (7%)
Scottish Pensioners Party: Dawson 271 (5%)
Conservative: Irvine 155 (3%)
Liberal Democrat: Adamson 83 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Green (UKIP), Jane Liston (Lib Dem), Alan Seath (Lab), Craig Walker (SNP), John Wheatley (Con)

Buckie on Moray (Ind defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Independents 10, Scottish National Party 10, Conservatives 3, Labour 3 (No Overall Control, Independents and Scottish National Party short by 4)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independent: McKay 648 E, MacKay 557 E (48%)
Scottish National Party: McDonald 967 E, McDonald 169 (45%)
Conservative: Gambles 179 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Norman Calder (Ind), Tim Eagle (Con), Sonya Warren (SNP)

Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath on Eilean Siar (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Independents 21, Scottish National Party 7, Labour 3 (Independent majority of 11)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independents: Taylor 93, MacLean 75, Beaton 212 E, Robertson 316 E (65%)
Labour: Campbell 204 E (19%)
Scottish National Party: Walker 177 (16%)
Candidates duly nominated: Roslyn MacPherson (SNP), Andrew Walker (Ind)

Armadale and Blackridge on West Lothian (SNP defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 16, Scottish National Party 15, Conservatives 1, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 1)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independent: Borrowman 2,541 E (57%)
Scottish National Party: Williamson 168, Hutton 861 E (23%)
Labour: Dixon 788 E (17%)
Conservative: Kerr 125 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ian Burgess (Con), Jenny Johnson (Green), Sarah King (SNP), Scott MacKay (Ind), Andrew McGuire (Lab)

Llantwit Major on the Vale of Glamorgan (Llantwit First defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 22, Conservatives 11, Plaid Cymru 6, Llantwit First 4, Independents 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 1

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Llantwit First: John 2,068 E, Hacker 1,603 E, Williams 1,490 E, Geary 1,327 E (57%)
Conservatives: Clifford 813, Austin 759, Downe 544, Grant 536 (23%)
Labour: Price 541, Beech 502, Batchelor 471, Denman 411 (17%)
Plaid Cymru: Stephens 269 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Wynford Bellin (Plaid), Tony Bennett (Con), Jack Hawkins (Lab), Mick Mason (Llantwit First)

Harry Hayfield


Marf on the big Commons story on the final day of the Parliament

March 26th, 2015

tombercowNEW (1)

Whoever’s idea it was it was a mistake

The basic fact is that you don’t launch moves like this unless you are going to win. I’ve never been a fan of Bercow but to use what amounted to procedural trickery flew in the face of the way the House operates.

What’s clear is that he emerges stronger from this failed attempt. He’s now there as long as he wants.

Surely the best thing would have been to have done this in the open winning support for an idea that Bercow himself had called for in the past.

I only wish I’d got on the Bercow will survive bets.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


A UKIP gain in Dudley N, where the Tories have had candidate troubles, might at 10-3 be a value bet

March 26th, 2015

Lord Ashcroft polls

This is one of UKIP’s best chances to take a LAB seat

We’ve talked a lot about the CON-UKIP battleground but not about the LAB-UKIP one. Certainly the focus of the purples has been on the former but that doesn’t mean there are not opportunities with the latter.

One place I’m hearing positive words about is the party’s campaign in Dudley North. I don’t know whether this is based on polling but I think that it might be.

Team Farage is very keen to make gains from LAB as well as CON and this, I am told, is one of their biggest hopes. Surprisingly my source was more dismissive about UKIP’s chances in Heywood and Middleton where the purples came very close to Labour in last October’s by-election.

The revelations at the weekend and subsequent removal of the Tory candidate are not the main reason why I think it might be a good bet. The campaign is said to be going well.

Looking at the chart above UKIP did very well in 2010 and that’s usually a good indicator.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If the Tories can keep their losses to LAB down to fewer than 38 then they should come out with most seats

March 26th, 2015

New cabinet (1)

How the fight is on a knife edge

Given the political and betting importance of which party wins most seats I’ve been looking at the maths to try to get a broad figure of what would be a CON victory on seats or a CON defeat. I’ve made several assumptions that clearly will impact on the equation.

In broad terms the gap between the main parties as we start the formal campaign is 46 seats. So if there was no Scottish problem Labour would need to make 23 gains from the Tories to get level. This is because each CON loss to LAB adds one to the red team’s total and reduces the the blue total by one.

Assumption 1: Both LAB & CON do equally well in picking up LD seats. This is supported by the Ashcroft constituency polling. In the actual election things could change but this is the best rule of thumb at the moment.

Assumption 2: LAB to lose three-quarters if its contingent of Scottish MPs to the SNP. There are currently 41. Assuming that the LAB-SNP swing is in the lower range of current polling this would mean 30/31 seats going.

Assumption 3: LAB to lose two fewer seats to other parties than CON. This is mainly the UKIP factor which is likely to hurt both major parties but more purple targets are currently CON held than LAB.

Assumption 4 The speaker to be re-elected in Buckingham and by the new parliament. If Bercow is back as an MP but not re-elected Speaker he is unlikely to support his former party.

Taking all this into account my best guess is that if CON can keep its net losses to LAB down to fewer than 38 seats it would be the biggest party in the new House of Commons. In vote share terms on a uniform swing this amounts to a CON-LAB swing of about 3%.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If Sky News is right a move to get rid of Bercow is sensational

March 25th, 2015