Fringe Box



Opinion: How To Make a Million – It’s Foolproof!

Published on: 16 May, 2017
Updated on: 19 May, 2017

By Martin Giles

Would you like to make a million quid?

All you need is a spare £200 million, the ability to place a bet and a bookies prepared to take an almost certain large loss.

Bookmakers William Hill, Bettfair and Paddy Power are all offering an odds on bet of 1/200 (that’s £1 for every £200 bet) for a Conservative election victory on June 8th. A .5% instant return seems like money for nothing. Some banks offer little more for a whole year’s investment. And is there anyone who thinks a Tory win is not about as certain as the sun coming up tomorrow?

It is hard to imagine what calumny Anne Milton or the Conservatives would have to commit to produce the kind of swing necessary for any of her opponents to win. She had a 22,000 majority last time. Her party hierarchy agrees and Guildford Conservatives are more likely to be deployed to the marginals than waste time campaigning here.

In some ways this might be surprising. There have been many noises from the green belt activists that voters, in their hundreds, would turn their back on the Tories over the Local Plan proposals. Certainly the high number of comments, 39,000 received last year on the draft plan, much higher than other boroughs, indicates feelings are running high and among those who could normally be relied on to vote Conservative too.

Then there is the Brexit factor. This has been described as the “Brexit election” and the prime minister has herself emphasised that she called the election to get a strong mandate on the issue.

But Guildford voted Remain. Will all the Remain voters now happily vote Conservative?

And say that you were not happy to vote Conservative, who would you vote for?

The Liberal Democrats (William Hill odds 25/1) are the keenest to rerun the EU referendum but if a poll is to be believed a considerable chunk of the 48% who voted Remain now think we should get on with Brexit.

Labour (quoted at 100/1) has always been a minority sport in Guildford, although Richard Wilson, its 2015 candidate, did manage to garner 6,500 votes and beat UKIP into fourth place. But he has since cut up his Labour Party membership card in despair, after the election of Jeremy Corbyn.

The Green Party seems keener to position itself on the left of the political spectrum than it is to push environmental policies, so it is unlikely to attract any wavering, green inclined, Tories and talk of it standing down here under a “progressive pact” seems to have evaporated.

Meanwhile, UKIP is not even fielding a candidate here this time so most of its 4,700 2015 votes will almost certainly go to support the Conservatives. Other than abstain what else can its supporters do?

Interestingly, UKIP supporters can still show their support at the bookies if not the ballot box. William Hill is offering the same 100/1 odds for a UKIP victory as a Labour one. It needs to pay attention but, barring miracles, a bet on either would be equally wasted.

Another bookies, Bet365, has obviously done a little more homework. Its odds for a Tory win are 1/500 and 40/1 for the Lib Dems, 100/1 Labour and 125/1 Greens.

The full list of candidates is shown below:

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