Who Should You Bet On In The Leadership Battles?

David Cameron, Nigel Farage Ed Miliband Nick Clegg

The media’s fury at the election results spoiling their schedules means the leadership contests are likely to be front and center, but which of the hopefuls should you be betting on?

As the polls closed and the results rolled in no one was more surprised that David Cameron’s Conservative party who found far from merely picking up the most seats in the inevitably hung parliament (one in which no one has a majority), they were actually winning enough to form a government on their own. All the pollster’s predictions turning out to be not just false, but as divergent from reality as the average fairy tale.

Three Elections From One

• Labour looks for a new leader
• Lib Dems do ditto
• Tories in similar boat

The media, who had wound themselves up into a furious flap about the constitutional crisis that might result from the various mathematical possibilities, had all been ready to move into high-gear speculation about coalition composition, just waiting to pounce on the weakened political classes with their gotcha questions about partnerships between parties in parliament all of whom had claimed they wouldn’t even countenance working with another party of any ilk.

The result was a massive disappointment for the media, unlike those who’d taken advantage of US gambling laws to back a Tory majority, who had given the bookies a bloody nose over the entire debacle to the tune of several million pounds, and their dismay at having had to throw out several days worth of speculative dross as the coalition negotiations dribbled on for a week or so was almost palpable. They’d been denied their fun, and the media hate that.

This then is why rather than letting the general election fall into the past and allowing the Conservatives to continue their rule for the rich at the expense of the poor, the default state of all conservative ideologies the world over, the news media have instead turned one election into several. The hydra of British politics had been beheaded, with more numerous elections growing in its place as the losers all scramble to find a leader and speculation mounts over who’ll next lead the Conservatives.

The Hydra Of British Politics

It’s hard to explain just how wrong the other two large political parties in the UK, Labour and the Liberal Democrats had got it. The disastrous results having culled many big name players from the roster as they lost their seats in scenes of political carnage. The shadow front bench, serving government ministers and even party leaders were kicked to the curb as the electorate in their constituencies rejected them, voting someone else to take their place in the Westminster village.

Whilst not the most dramatic failure to win in political history (Neil Kinnock still retains that award) the results in South Thanet did leave Nigel Farage, firebrand leader of the right-wingnuts UKIP, without a seat in parliament and having to keep his word to resign as party leader should he not win a seat. His resignation was thus a bit of a foregone conclusion, he’d really left himself no room to maneuver, however we had forgotten just what a one man band UKIP is.

Three days later he was back as leader having been “persuaded” by those in his party to retake the reigns, which the media were delighted to see kicked off some bitter infighting within UKIP, their economic spokesman, Patrick O’Flynn accusing Nigel of turning the party into a “personality cult”, which you have to hope you heard right, and of being a “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” man. Gambling news coverage of this was more interesting than another earthquake in Nepal the media served all this up with relish.

Nigel Farage on Question Time 2015May14
But whilst Nigel Farage went on Question Time to defend himself and his position, trying to move beyond this before he gets into the battle for the EU membership referendum David Cameron has promised, the other political parties were all at sea. Even the Conservatives weren’t immune as many noted Dave had already said he wasn’t going to serve our another full parliament. New leaders wanted, must have political clout, new approach preferred, Nigel Farage need not apply.

Take Me To Your Leader

Having been assaulted on election night the Liberal Democrats slunk away licking their gaping wounds with barely a notable name left in the house. Their leader Nick Clegg resigned instantly despite having retained his seat, and it says much for just how damaged the Lib Dems now are that thus far only two names have thrown their hat into the ring to lead them; Tim Farron and Norman Lamb – neither of whom anyone has heard of. In an election that was supposed to see the rise of smaller parties, the Liberal Democrats actually managed to go the other way and become one.

Meanwhile the Labour Party, having taken a kicking they weren’t expecting at the ballot box, Ed Miliband, perhaps now forever to be thought of as “the wrong brother” stepped down as party leader leaving the way open for someone capable of winning an easy election victory (something he failed at) to take over. Bet365 have quickly sized up the runners and riders on this one and at the moment it’s Chuka Umunna in the lead on 7/4, with Andy Burnham close at 9/4, Yvette Cooper hanging on at 4/1 and Lis Kendall at 13/2.

Labour have said they won’t be rushing their leadership contest, which means behind the scenes they’re still wiping the panic puke off the seating, but you can expect to see the front runners trying to keep themselves in front of the cameras in the next few months. Interestingly the same can be said of some of the new government. With a thin majority Cameron’s position is not one to be envied, he’ll have to pander to a lot of loonies on his own backbenchers to push through his agenda, but he’s already claimed he’s leaving, so who next for the Conservatives?

The ghastly right-winger disguised as a Muppet that is Boris Johnson seems favorite at 11/5, which would depress me more if Theresa May, evil in sensible shoes, weren’t just behind him at 5/1, and making it all worse in third is George Osborne at 6/1, a man who constantly wears the expression of someone resisting the urge to ask “Who are all these poor people and who said they could look at me?”. If you like to bet on sports in the UK on Bet365 and the like this will be the battle for you, because it’s going to get vicious and the media, so wronged on election night, are going to love it.

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