The Jeremy Corbyn saga continues
Following the biggest ever year in political betting history, dominated by Brexit and Donald Trump, there is plenty of scope for world-changing drama in 2017. As discussed below, there are three major European elections with profound implications for the continent. However in terms of providing betting activity throughout the whole year, the biggest markets of 2017 are equally likely to concern a party whom virtually nobody believes has a chance of winning power.
Like centre-left parties everywhere, Labour are in crisis, with truly dismal poll numbers and deeply divided. For a party with little to say regarding nationalism, Brexit and it’s fallout is a disaster. Perhaps most damagingly, Jeremy Corbyn will never receive neutral coverage from an overwhelmingly hostile media. Every little mistake and electoral setback is magnified, with arch-enemies given frequent airtime to attack the Labour leader.
The first of those setbacks may arrive early, at the Copeland by-election – a seat which Labour has held for over 80 years, yet is regarded as merely 36% likely to win by Betfair punters. There are rumours of many more resignations from Labour MPs who see little future in parliament, triggering a series of by-elections – each presented as a referendum on Corbyn.
While none of that means he will necessarily be removed as party leader – his mandate from two elections is enormous – it will mean endless speculation and therefore betting activity. Besides Copeland and any additional by-election, the two markets to watch are Corbyn To Go Before The Next Election? and Next Labour Leader. In the latter, front-runners Keir Starmer and Clive Lewis are likely to shorten up further. These rising stars are among a small number who are capable of uniting the party and both now have front-line roles with lots of media exposure.
Will there be an election in 2017?
Since 2010, the date of the next general election has been laid down by law, thus ruining a staple of political betting. In the old days, it was great sport for media and punters to try and read the mind of the PM, predicting when they would go to the country. When Gordon Brown famously bottled an early election against David Cameron in 2007, vast amounts were matched on Betfair and a huge gamble foiled.