Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Will the Labour leadership result be leaked early?

We're just three days away from an announcement that should see Jeremy Corbyn become leader of the official opposition (a sentence that I never thought I'd write).  But could we be in for a (depressing) surprise?  If so, the first sign may come from movements in the betting odds.  As you know, I think the idea that betting markets are better predictors than opinion polls is utterly ludicrous - during both the general election and the Labour leadership campaign to date, the markets have followed the polls, and have sometimes lagged quite a way behind.  But one scenario in which the markets can be superior is when someone literally knows the result already - for example, the odds moved dramatically in Menzies Campbell's favour just before he was announced as Liberal Democrat leader in 2006. 

The result of the Labour deputy leadership contest in 2007 was leaked to the broadcasters a few minutes early, apparently courtesy of an insider adjusting his tie in a particular way, or something of the sort.  Having got used to leaks, it was a bit disconcerting to get to the point in 2010 when the Labour leadership result was being read out, and we still didn't have any inkling of who had won.  Nick Robinson of course made a prize idiot of himself (not, alas, for the last time) by self-indulgently interrupting the BBC coverage to predict that David Miliband had won.  That must be a contender for the worst political prediction of all-time - it's one thing getting the result wrong a few days, hours or even minutes in advance, but to get it wrong while it's actually being read out takes a very special kind of talent.  Still, in the light of later events, I suppose we should just be grateful he didn't rewrite the history of his prediction by means of selective editing and a cynical voiceover that he "could have phrased better".

I suspect I'm not alone among SNP supporters in the sense that my head is telling me that an Andy Burnham victory would be best for us, but my heart is making it impossible for me not to want Corbyn to win and consign the New Labour abomination to the dustbin of history.  If I was a Labour member/registered supporter, I'd have voted 1) Corbyn, 2) Burnham, 3) Cooper, 4) Kendall.  A few weeks ago I'd have given Cooper my second preference, but for reasons only she can explain, she's since positioned herself clearly to the right of Burnham, leading to the recruitment of Dan Hodges as her Number 1 fan.

Apologies that I never got round to fleshing out the previous post about the EU poll.  The moment has probably passed now!


  1. Sod Labour, Yes is ahead in the new TNS poll!

    47% Yes / 42% No / 11% DK.

    1. Ok, six months of YES ahead, at 55% and I will say "Go for it!".

  2. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 9, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    If Corbyn wins Labour will spilt and we can wait out for the varous reformations of
    Ex Labour members. What is left will be the Tories, Tartan Tories, Sinn Fein, UDP and Welsh Labour. All right wing middle class elitist. Actually I feel sorry for any old Labour that fought the class struggle and handed over power to the pretenders that detest the