Author Archives: Mike Smithson

Smithson’s view: How can the Lib Dems exploit the Tory “Thatcher tendency”?

At a party just before I left for France on holiday I got talking to a group of articulate men in their early forties who all knew each other from their university days when they had been prominent in Tory student politics.

You would have thought they would have been happy and upbeat about their party’s current prospects. Not so. Almost to a man they thought it had been hijacked by a leadership which had put winning above all other considerations. What was the point of victory unless it would herald the sort of policies that they said had been so …

Posted in Op-eds | 27 Comments

Smithson’s view: So what’s the betting on Henley?

Sometimes I get criticism from Lib Dem activists over the way I operate my site,, and the usual complaint is that I am not operating it in the interests of the party.

Well, I don’t run it to further the Lib Dems or any other faction. It’s moved to its position as the UK’s most-read political website (four times the page down-loads of Iain Dale) because it seeks to provide a dispassionate information service and discussion platform for those who like forecasting and betting on political outcomes.

Occasionally party campaigners have found it useful to …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Smithson’s view: Will there be more rubbish from the BBC on May 1st?

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Smithson’s view: Why I won’t bet on the Lib Dems any more

At about 6pm in the evening on election day in 2005 I got a text from a Cowley Street staffer who gave upbeat reports about a number of key seats. It was promising and all the specific seats turned out to be spot on. But I made the terrible mistake of extrapolating this into an overall national picture that was much better than actually happened.

The result was that I placed what proved to be the most costly political bet of my life. This involved ‘buying’ Lib Dem seats on the spread-betting markets for several hundred pounds a point. The ‘buy’ level was at 67 seats my hope was that I would get my stake back multiplied by the number of MPs the party go in excess of 67.

Alas it was not to be. The party came in at 62 seats so my loss was the difference between that number and 67 multiplied by my stake. Ouch.

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Smithson’s view: A Hung Parliament? – Don’t bet on it

I asked a professional gambler recently – someone who made a decent tax-free living from his betting – if he could offer me some tips that I could follow. One of his suggestions, which he said had proved to be a sure-fire consistent money-earner, was to bet against the draw in cricket test matches.

He brought up a pile of statistics on his lap-top to show that the odds you can usually get on this option are better than the chances of it happening. The reason was simple – cricket punters have a long-standing record of over-estimating the chances of …

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

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