The UK General Election is now well and truly over, and the decimation of the Labour Party has now sunk in with even its most ardent supporters. What has become abundantly clear is that this is the end of the line for Jeremy Corbyn and his shadow cabinet, and they must choose a new leader soon.
In case you missed it, Labour suffered its worst election defeat since the 1930s. While pundits are still arguing about the causes of that, I’m not going to focus on any of that here. Instead, I’m going to focus on what’s next. Who will be the next Labour leader, and how can you and I profit from it?
Betting on politics is interesting because, if you’re reasonably clued in, you can make good returns. I’ll walk you through who the potential new Labour leaders are, what they stand for, and what odds the bookmakers are giving for them.
Labour Party Leadership Contest: The Candidates
In this section, I’ll tell you about the four main candidates on the final ballot. These politicians come from radically different political backgrounds. Some are centrists with a slight left-leaning stance, while others are out-and-out socialists who want to radically alter the economic system of the UK. Let’s take them one by one.
The current favourite to lead the Labour Party previously stated that he had zero interest in doing so. However, these days, it’s not much of a surprise when a politician changes their mind on an issue, especially when there’s something in it for them.
Sir Keir Starmer is seen by many as the reasonable voice in the Labour Party. He has the credentials. He’s a highly-qualified human rights lawyer and has been a sitting MP since 2015. That record of defending human rights will certainly win him over with moderate Labour voters.
However, Starmer has one potentially fatal flaw — he was an outspoken supporter of the “Remain” cause during the Brexit referendum, and many believe the Labour Party’s soft position on Brexit is what led to their recent electoral downfall.
Currently, bookmakers like William Hill have Starmer as a 4/11 favourite to win the leadership contest.
Many in the left-wing of the Labour Party believe that Rebecca Long-Bailey is Corbyn’s natural successor, that being the person who will continue his movement. She proudly boasts of being a “socialist with a capital S” and wants to radically transform Britain’s economy.
Long-Bailey certainly has the credentials to appeal to working-class voters. Born to Irish parents, her father was a docker and trade union representative. After holding a series of jobs, such as working in a pawn shop and in a post office, she qualified as a solicitor and won her seat as an MP in the 2015 election.
One of her specialisms is in NHS contracts and NHS estates, and this will appeal to those who are concerned about what will happen to the NHS if Britain signs a free trade deal with the United States. In fact, Long-Bailey claims that it was exposure to plans to dismantle the NHS which led her to join the Labour Party in 2007.
Currently, William Hill gives her odds of 7/2 to win, while Betfair has her priced at 4/1 to scoop the leadership position.
Lisa Nandy can certainly make at least one credible claim, she has put in the grunt work to be where she is today. She may have been a relatively unknown figure until recently, but Nandy has been working for years in the background on many causes, which are close to the core values of Labour supporters.
Nandy worked as a researcher for the homeless charity Centrepoint for two years. She then went on to work as an adviser at The Children’s Society, specialising in issues which young refugees face. She was elected as MP for Wigan in 2010.
Since homelessness is one of the key issues facing the UK right now, this will certainly gives Nandy credibility in the leadership race. Will it be enough to see off Starmer and Long-Bailey, though?
British bookies don’t think it’s likely. Both William Hill and Betfair give her 11/2 odds to be the next Labour leader.
The longest-serving MP in the leadership election, Thornberry has a long track record of serving the party. The daughter of a teacher and a UN Assistant Secretary-General, she was elected MP for Islington South and Finsbury in 2005 and has served since.
As well as holding many different positions under both Ed Milliband and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Thornberry has been a particularly strong advocate for environmental causes. This will no doubt win her support for those who are concerned about climate change, fracking, and industrial pollution.
However, Thornberry also has some controversy in her past. She once had to resign from her position as Shadow Attorney General after sending a Tweet which many criticized as “snobby.” This is not a great tactic for winning over working-class voters who feel alienated by political elites in Westminster.
Bookmakers don’t give Thornberry much of a chance of winning the leadership position. William Hill has her priced at 80/1, and Betfair gives her slightly more favourable 50/1 odds.
Factors That Will Play Into the Election
Labour leaders are picked by party members and affiliated supporters such as trade unions. Each person gets one vote, and all votes are weighted equally. The OMOV system — an acronym for “One Member, One Vote” — will decide this election.
Now that the final four are on the ballot, what factors will influence who becomes the next leader?
Recent Electoral Defeat
There’s no denying it the last election was a slaughter. It was the worst election for Labour in almost 100 years.
While Corbyn’s acolytes claim that Brexit was the issue and that it was a mistake to move to a “Second Referendum” stance, others have interpreted the result as a clear rejection of Corbyn’s socialist policies and have argued that a move back towards the centre is needed.
People thinking along these lines will favour Keir Starmer. He’s seen as a “Blairite” by many on the hard left, but Blair did win three elections. So, even if some don’t like it, this may well be the direction the party takes going forward.
Socialism and Left Politics
However, there’s another side to this story. Jeremy Corbyn did grow the Labour Party to record membership, and despite his defeat, more people did vote for Labour than in any election since Blair’s first 1997 win.
This data plays to the argument that it wasn’t the policies that caused the defeat, but the party’s Brexit stance.
Clearly, millions of voters were inspired to join the party and come out and vote in near-record numbers. However, the defining issue of the time was getting Brexit done, and the popular support for Corbyn’s socialist policies wasn’t enough to overcome that.
This train of thought will favour Long-Bailey. She is the natural Corbynite in the group of contenders, an outspoken socialist who promises radical change. Many argue that will lead to a 2025 election catastrophe, but it’s difficult to argue with the previously mentioned point that under Corbyn, Labour grew to be the largest political party in Western Europe.
If Labour elects Starmer, many of the members who joined under Corbyn will desert the party and may never return. There is even chatter about a new party to represent their views.
The Trade Unions
Many Labour members are part of one trade union or another. From firemen to bakers and musicians, from teachers to general workers, Labour voters tend to stick together. Trade unions like UNITE have a lot of clout in the Labour Party.
Lots of people will decide how to vote based on what their unions tell them. UNITE has backed Long-Bailey in this election, and with its 1.2 million members, it holds considerable influence.
There’s no doubt that most trade unions will back the strongest socialist in the lineup, Long-Bailey. In what many see as a battle between her and a more establishment Keir Starmer, the choice will be an easy one.
So, which political bets should you make? I can’t tell you exactly what to do, but I know what I’m doing. I’m placing a £20 wager on Long-Bailey, and I’ll bet £50 on Starmer, too.
At current odds, if Long-Bailey wins, I’ll make money. And if Starmer wins, I’ll lose a minuscule amount of money and will hedge most of my wager on Long-Bailey. Essentially, I’m hoping that she pulls off a surprise win and I profit. I don’t know for sure that I’ll win, but Starmer does have problems which make me believe that these odds are overestimating his chances of success.
There’s always a chance that one of the other candidates will win, but I’m confident enough to make this bet. If I’m wrong, so be it. That’s the nature of gambling, isn’t it? Good luck, whatever wager you decide to place.
Based out of London, I began freelance writing for the UK section of GamblingSites.org in October of 2019. Having worked in the gambling industry for over 10 years, I now have the pleasure of adding this site to my list of accomplishments as a casino writer. ...
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