We don’t like writing too much about political spread betting. It is part of the offering of course, and the Labour Party leadership is really crying out for some commentary. We think it’s massively overbought on one candidate.
David Miliband is hot favourite to get the Labour crown. There are a lot of heavyweights lined up behind him and the wind seems to be at his back. However where as Blair readily struck the Labour Party as clearly a man who could appeal to the Conservative waverers, and Brown could at least impress as a man who would brook no opposition, Miliband is an incredibly unimpressive figure – and this should show in any leadership process.
The problem about Party leadership elections is that they always look inevitable after the event. Of course the Cameron moment had come, but in fact David Davis was the favourite until the hustings at conference. Of course Michael Howard and Gordon Brown would be unopposed when they stood, but this was not a sure thing at the time. Suvivorship bias is a curse of party elections as most people really do not care sufficiently who takes over.
And Miliband is, as we have said, curiously uninspiring. Like Gordon Brown he has no real record of standing in competitive elections, his path to the top has been smoothed by family connections (his father was a prominent Marxist intellectual, active in Labour Party circles) and with very little feel for the man or woman outside the Westminster bubble. He may be a Blairite, but he is no Blair.
We don’t have any recommendations on who to bet on. We would have recommended a punt on Jon Cruddas, but a lot of inside money has got there first. Ed Balls is probably oversold, as his connections in the party are solid and he’s got the Brown machine behind him. Ed Miliband may be a bit, well, meh, but the left like him. Harriet Harman may be persuaded out of retirement, but we wouldn’t put the milk money on her. The Labour Party is not full of talent at the moment, but it does have people who have a better claim to representing core Labour voters or appealing to middle England.