ODDS-ON: Leadership Race At The Bookies
I have to confess my greatest betting triumph was when Greece won Euro 2004. I won something like £70 on the Greeks improbable triumph. So, I cannot, sadly, open this piece with tales of my great political betting powers and indeed I have a theory about gambling and the UKIP leadership. You see, I actually think that the bookmakers don’t really know the market at all and I doubt the punters do either.
This indeed would explain why Peter Whittle and Anne Marie Waters have throughout the face been first and second favourites respectively. It would also explain the tightening of odds for Jane Collins and Henry Bolton over the last couple of weeks. Both have enjoyed some time in the media spotlight; Jane for the launch of UKIP United and Henry variously for his altercations over the candidacy of Ms Waters and comments made in the media.
Jane and Henry seem to have the greatest range of price. Jane is 6/1 with Bet 365 and a couple of others but further out at 8/1 with Coral and a few others. Henry is out at 9/1 with Bet 365 and in at 6/1 with BetFred. I personally think there is some value with Henry at 9/1. John Rees Evans who did come in as tight as 6/1 at one point also offers definite value at 12/1. David Kurten can be found hovering around the 8-12/1 mark. All are agreed that Aidan Powlesland is a rank outsider at 100/1. Indeed, somewhat humiliatingly, Ladbrooks have yet to take a single bet on him.
So, how much can we read into this? Firstly, we can be at least assured we are at least providing something of a spectacle for the betting public. Matthew Shaddick writing on the political betting tour de force that is Political Betting calls the race “probably one of the most open and unpredictable party leader elections I can remember.” Matthew doesn’t hold with the popular wisdom that Peter Whittle is streets ahead;
Peter Whittle looks a very shaky front-runner. Once as short as 2/5, he’s now 6/4 and not that many people seem interested in risking any cash on him at the moment.. Probably the best known in party circles coming into this election, he hasn’t been overly impressive in the media appearances that I have seen.
He thinks that Anne Marie Waters could be favourite before long due to the number of candidates and the fact that the winner may well win with under 30% of the vote.
Only time will tell now. However, as I have said before this is one race that it is virtually impossible to call.
UPDATE Anne Marie Waters is the new favourite.
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