Blears motors up betting ranks

November 3, 2006

Hazel Blears’ entry – apparently – into the Deputy Leader election has shaken up the betting odds again.  William Hill have rejigged their prices, with Blears tumbling from 50/1 to 7/1 pretty much over night.  Said the excited Will Hills spokesman:

“For a couple of hours this morning it was carnage on the trading floor with punters piling on the 50/1. Ms Blears has been backed down to less than a fifth of the price she was twenty four hours ago and we are monitoring the situation very carefully”.

Blears’ rocket up the price list to 5th favourite has masked Jon Cruddas’ sneaky move into 2nd favourite at 9/2 – behind Benn’s 7/2.  From a starting point of 125/1, he has pushed past Johnson, Reid, Hain and Harman to get into second.  Not bad going – especially if you got money down at the start!


The influence of political betting

October 21, 2006

According to notes left on a Westminster photocopier this week, the Times’ political editor only agreed to this big story on the emergence of Jon Cruddas being written after being told that Hills had brought the odds on the Dagenham MP in from 125/1 to 8/1.  It wasn’t the “soundings” that some took from the Treasury, or conversations with MPs, that made the Times see Cruddas as serious, it was odds from the local bookies. 

So it was with interest that we read Mike Smithson’s article at this morning (hat-tip to HenryG).  Following a long chat with Tony Dubbins, deputy general secretary of Amicus, Smithson told his avid readers to back Cruddas with all the cash they can lay their hands on:

Naturally we talked a lot about the Labour leadership and it would be wrong for me to write about what was a private conversation. All I can say is that my first action on getting home last night was to put as much as the bookmakers would allow me on Jon Cruddas for the Deputy’s job. You can still get 8/1. Take it.

The Daily has already put its entire petty cash pot on Cruddas, but that’s not much: the editorinchief only lets us have £5 a week for tea and biscuits.

Cruddas picking up early momentum

October 17, 2006

There’s a very interesting piece in the Times on the Labour Deputy Leadership contest. It seems that Cruddas is picking up the early momentum in a contest.

The Times reports that:

Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham, will steal a march on his rivals tomorrow, opening his campaign at Dagenham and Redbridge football club. His first public parliamentary backers are Jon Trickett, chairman of the Compass group of MPs, and David Crausby, chairman of the Amicus group of trade union MPs.

He is opening campaign headquarters at Waterloo and has hired two workers, who are about to head off to Washington for a week to learn tips about internet and community campaigning from Democrats.

Having jumped from a 125/1 outsider (damn I wish I’d got those odds), to 8/1 (still a very generous price, we think) he seems to be the rising star in the contest. Especially important is the support of the Chair of the Compass Group, and more importantly the Amicus Group of MPs.

David Crausby’s backing would appear to show support from Amicus at a high level within the union.  Amicus are the UK’s most powerful political operator among the trade unions. In itself, this shows Cruddas to be a serious candidate.

The article also suggests that Cruddas has realised the potential of US netroots-style campaigning.  He has not done much of this so far, so the jury is out – but sending staff to the States to learn the lessons of 2004 and the midterms is a start.

Opinion:  The credible but grassroots-led campaign that Jon is promising is exactly what the Labour Party needs to renew itself in government. It is vital that we recognise the party needs a breath of fresh air to revive it. We at The Daily see Jon’s campaign as a huge opportunity, not just to have the real debate we need about where we go next, but to win for progressives within the party. That is why we are endorsing Jon Cruddas for the deputy leadership.

Cruddas: “The status quo is not an option”

October 13, 2006

Labour Home has had an early look at an interview, to be published in Tribune today, with Jon Cruddas.  Amusingly, the article says that Blair PPS Keith Hill called out “ah the chosen one” as he wandered past the interview in Parliament’s Portcullis House.  Team Cruddas will hardly be happy about that after the Brownites had their backs put up by speculative reports of a Reid/Cruddas alliance, possibly by journos desperate to justify their hotel bar bills with some kind of story from the last night at conference. 

Cruddas repeats his case for the deputy leader working full time for the party, without also having a government job.  He says, “I don’t think you can do that if you are working 70 hours a week on a portfolio. I know that makes people uncomfortable who simply want to be Deputy Prime Minister”. 

He also has a pop at those people in the party who are pushing Cameron-style primaries through virtual “supporter networks” as a replacement for ordinary members: “You might as well hand the party, lock, stock and barrel, to Phillip Gould and the focus groups. It is symptomatic of the way the party is failing to renew itself”.

Also of interest – well, of interest to those currently obsessed with US politics anyway – is his support for Howard Dean’s strategy for rebuilding the Democrats:

“Howard Dean takes over the chair of the Democratic National Committee and he develops a 50-state strategy. It is exactly what the Republicans did after Watergate. We have to rebuild Labour as a living, breathing party across the landscape.  If you go to east London, west Yorkshire or parts of the Black Country and you look at anti-fascist campaigns, or Canary Wharf and living wage issues, you see lots of young people involved in popular front-style politics. There is a really vibrant alternative politics out there, which is off the radar of the political elites.”

When he first announced, lots of people – including some at The Daily – thought that Cruddas standing was of interest because the policy debate would get interesting. 

However, some thought it was a bit of a kite-flying exercise, and that he wasn’t serious about winning.  He uses the end of the interview to answer that directly: “I wouldn’t go into this half-cocked. I have been surprised by the amount of support we have got already.”

That’s enough quotes from an article, and you can read the whole piece by clicking on the link above. 

Paddy Power open deputy leadership market

October 10, 2006

Paddy Power have now joined William Hill in offering an online market for betting on Labour’s deputy leadership race.

You can pick up Jon Cruddas at 16s but otherwise Will Hill looks better value on the whole, or you can place phone bets with Ladbrokes – odds from last time we checked here. is calling for a Betfair market on the deputy leadership and you can email them at if you want to add your name to the clamour.

Take me out to the ballgame

October 4, 2006

Yesterday saw the first night of the baseball post-season playoffs – the last month of the baseball calender where the best of baseball’s two leagues battle it out to see who can make it to the World Series (cue jokes about not being the world etc.)

Yankees star closer, Mariano Rivera
This year could be a good one for the New York Yankees, having looked really good towards the end of the season. They’ve underperformed for the last few years and even seen the trusty eighty-something year curse on their rival Red Sox broken as the Bostonians won the World Championship in 2004.

Boston aren’t in this year’s play offs, having gotten rid of half of their star-studded Championship team, so we won’t have to suffer endless references to the plucky underdogs of the Red Sox. It grates when they are still one of the biggest sports teams in the world.

The eight teams that have made it through are:

New York Yankees – should do well having come good second half of the season.
Detriot Tigers – usually average team, made the early running but faded towards the end of the season
Oakland A’s – a solid team who could do well if their form holds up – suspect pitching towards the end of the rotation
Minisota Twins – Came from behind to win the American League Central Division, just pipping the Tigers
St Louis Cardenals – Did well in a pretty average division. Can’t see them going all the way.
San Diego Padres – Didn’t really shine in the National League West, won division tied with the Dodgers
LA Dodgers – Who could want the Dodgers to win since they moved out of Brooklyn?
New York Mets – Surely the big hope of the National League. The Mets have been a form team all season and picked up 97 wins in the season, equalling the yankees for the highest number of wins in the year.

A subway series of Mets vs Yankees in the World Series would be great for baseball and would make for a perfect match up.

Our tips….? The Yanks have to be favourites, but that will be reflected in their odds, so perhaps the smart money will go on the Mets.

New deputy leadership odds

October 2, 2006

William Hill have just re-opened their online market for betting on the Labour deputy leadership election.

With odds rapidly shifting, the betting market is turning in to more of a rollercoaster ride than the race itself, which suggests that this is one game where an informed punter will know more than the bookies.

The new odds are:

Benn 11/4
Hain 3/1
Johnson 7/2
Cruddas 8/1
Jowell 9/1
Straw 12/1
Harman 14/1
Blears 50/1

There are also various other bizarre names in there, such as Miliband at 10/1, but he’s said he won’t run and we believe him. 

Benn as favourite looks very wrong, and he’s still a 10/1 outsider at Ladbrokes. Cruddas is making steady progress, leapfrogging Harman and Straw. You heard that here first.  

The bookies seem to have swallowed Hain’s spin and he looks over-rated, while Johnson has slipped slightly. For one of only four people who have actually declared an interest, Harman is on pretty long odds and must be worried about a Jowell bid, which could end with neither getting the 44 names. However, it’s probably an unlikely scenario, whatever Will Hill think.