WE’RE heading for another General Election on Thursday night and politics fan Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) picks out two bets he likes.
General Election | 8th June 2017
Fewer things have made pollsters, predictors and punters more foolish than political betting in recent years. These are uncertain times and that’s certainly been the case in politics.
First came the fairly close race for Scottish independence in 2014 when Yes came from miles back to hit 45% on the day. The year after, the Tories won a surprise shock majority in the General Election and Labour were near wiped out in Scotland as the SNP mopped up the post-referendum votes.
Then of course there was last year. Firstly, despite never really getting any shorter than 2/1 throughout the campaign, the Leave vote won in the European Union referendum. It wasn’t something that many people predicted.
The odds on Donald Trump becoming President Of The USA were as big as 250/1 18-24 months before the 2016 Elections. Trump ran a controversial but hugely effective campaign to prove his many many doubters wrong by moving into the Oval Office.
Both his win and a Leave vote were written off on the night of the polls and both were pushed out to around the 10/1 mark early into the counts. Crazy times! Will we see another incredible logic-defying chapter written on Thursday night?
That possibility looked highly unlikely a month ago with the Conservative Party miles clear in the polls and the Labour Party continually looking inept.
Since then though, ineptitude has fallen on the sitting Prime Minister as Theresa May has blundered her way through this campaign.
The former Home Secretary has performed a number of U-turns, never looked convincing in tough interviews and seems unable to connect with the public.
In contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is striking a chord, producing popular policies and closing the polls even in the face of two terrorist attacks damaging the country’s morale and increasing fear.
Corbyn’s many hurdles
Can he do it? I still think he has some massive hurdles to overcome. So many in fact I’ll just list them: the recent terror attacks and the fear of change, the impending Brexit negotiations and the fear of change, the fact his political party have turned their back on him, his radical political past, unfavourable boundary changes, Labour’s total collapse in Scotland and the Shy Tory effect that usually always underestimates the Conservatives’s performance in polls.
Is Britain ready to believe in a man like Jeremy Corbyn? I’m just not sure. However I think he can emerge with credit on Thursday and I’ll back his party to accrue between 200 and 249 seats at 13/8 with Coral.
Labour come into this election defending 229 seats. The possibility of them losing up to third of those was a realistic one at the start of this campaign, but their resurgence in the polls and public chatter have made 200+ a definite possibility for Corbyn.
Even in the dark days of Michael Foot in 1983, Labour never dipped below 200 seats and indeed you have to go back to the 1930’s to find the last time this happened.
Hope up north
Another positive for Corbyn’s party is that they may be able to pick up seats in Scotland and this is another angle I’ll look to exploit.
Labour have just one seat in their former heartland and their haemorrhaging of 40 of them in 2015 was for me the story of that election.
Things can only get better? Surely eh! While no one is D:Ream’ing of a massive recovery in Scotland you’d like to think gains can be made.
The Scottish Labour Party is a bit of a shambles but many Scots will have kinship with Corbyn. His left of centre policies are probably more popular up there than down south and I’ve no doubt people like him in my homeland.
This poses problems for the SNP. The ruling party in Scotland for the last 10 years, they had a dream night in 2015 picking up a massive 56 of the 59 Scottish seats. The only way is down now surely?
Sturgeon’s bad call?
Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for a post-Brexit second independence referendum doesn’t seem to have went down too well with a nation fed up of big decisions and referendums and it may have backfired.
The Conservatives have been making steady progress in Scotland as we saw in the Local Elections and their stance north of the border has been very much an anti-independence one. There’s been no Theresa May to upset their momentum in Scotland and they should make decent gains on Thursday from their current one seat.
Finally, going back to Labour. I think a lot of Scots will vote for Corbyn even though they’re SNP at heart. With the SNP 55 seats clear these people won’t envisage they’ll do too much damage to Sturgeon if they help Corbyn and potentially damage the Tories nationwide.
It’s for this reason I’ll back Under 46.5 seats for the SNP at odds of 5/6 with Bet365. The decade long momentum of the nationalists may take a wee bit of damage on Thursday night.