Although the profits were ensured weeks ago via a series of cover bets, today’s confirmation of Jeremy Corbyn as the next Labour leader was nevertheless a particularly satisfying moment. A vindication of my early tip, at which stage Corbyn was the unconsidered 24/1 outsider. A devastating blow for the credibility of the Westminster Village talking heads that dominate our mainstream political coverage.
Lest we forget, the newspapers and channels reporting Corbyn on a loop tonight almost universally dismissed Corbyn as a no-hoper. Indeed, if there’s a betting lesson to be learnt from the Labour contest, it’s to ignore media predictions, especially if they emanate from Rupert Murdoch’s empire. When the contest was in it’s early stages and the betting markets quiet, speculation from the Murdoch stable drove Dan Jarvis into second-favourite, before an even stronger move on Liz Kendall. The former ruled out a run within hours of the first gamble, Kendall finished last on 4%.
So we should be wary when watching the new media saga, over whether Corbyn can manage his own, divided party, let alone win an election in five years. The pundits who so comprehensively failed to predict this result, or the social media revolution that inspired Labour’s new followers, could be just as badly wrong about the aftermath.
Of course, there is a realistic chance that Corbyn will resign or be forced out mid-term by MPs who’ve never supported him. However they are not about to move against him immediately – the overwhelming scale of victory secured his legitimacy – and Labour’s poll rating is unlikely to collapse even further. We have time to weigh up the new situation before striking any substantial new bets, especially regarding the next election.
Nevertheless, I am looking ahead already to the next Labour leadership contest, whenever it is to happen. Betfair’s Next Labour Leader market has just gone up and I have a few longshot names in mind, but am waiting to see the composition of Corbyn’s cabinet before getting involved. I’ll reveal more soon!