I am not a gambling man, but in the politicalbetting.com predictions for the year I have predicted that Nick Clegg (who was rather impressive on Question Time last week) will be the Lib Dem leader at the end of the year. This is partly down to Sir Menzies being so badly damaged by the impression on Dead Ringers (that satire is so effective on third and smaller parties suggests that some satirists aren’t doing their job effectively on the big two) and partly because I have difficulty in seeing where Campbell is postioning the party. I know spin is crucial in modern politics but I rather like my politicians to say what they mean and not chase the tabloid agenda.
There is an example today. The spin on the new policy on sentencing is that “Life will mean life” but my reading of the policy is that it is actually intended to enhance judicial discretion and do away with the mandatory life sentence. While the presentation is designed to appease the right wing press, the substance seems to be something I would support in actually encouraging non-custodial sentences and the removal of the mandatory life sentence. However, given the spin I am not sure that my understanding is accurate.
Elsewhere on the prediction front I am one of two punters that has predicted that Nicola Sturgeon will be Scottish first minister at the end of the year. For those of you who gamble this is worth consideration. While the bookmakers are accepting the SNP are likely to be the largest party after the election, the political situation in the north east of Scotland has passed some by. Alex Salmond is standing in Gordon, a safe Lib Dem seat, and while he is first on the Scot Nat list for north east Scotland, this is an area where historically the Nationalists over-perform in the constituencies and top-up seats are uncommon. This means that while the Nationalists are as the polls currently stand likely to be the largest party their deputy leader (as first on the list for Glasgow – where the Nationalists do pick up list member seats) is virtually guaranteed a place on the list if she fails to unseat Gordon “Crackerjack” Jackson. Ms Sturgeon is currently off the radar on political betting for first minister.