There are circumstances which would see Labour out of government. A collection of strikes running out of control, interest rates going up and people having their homes repossessed or a sudden drop in house prices, a big rise in unemployment. It could happen, but it is unlikely. Kellner’s other main policy in both the last two elections was to back the Liberal Democrats because he believed that with a quote in the low 40s the downside was minimal.


This is probably a typical example of a quote being marked down because the ‘team’ cannot possibly win the whole tournament, as it were. Yet just by doing better than the spread firms expect, they became a very profitable medium. Again, tactical voting was key to the success of the bet, as anti-Tory voters would back the Liberal Democrats, even if they would normally be solid Labour supporters. Other political situations occasionally arise where the spread firms are willing to make a market.


One is the increasingly frequent battle to be leader of the Tory party, the one rule for which is never to back the initial favourite who despite seeming to have the vote of the general public always falls foul of the Tory grandees. Backers of Michael Portillo in 2001 will know to their cost how so-called good things can be brought down to earth. The complex nature of the Tory leadership battle meant MPs would choose two candidates to be put before party members who would then make the final decision.