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Politics Betting: Tory bid to woo young voters looks doomed

Can Theresa May's Tories woo young voters?
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From the Tories attempts to win over young voters to Emily Thornberry's rise and the decline of Angela Merkel, Max Liu rounds up the week in politics and the latest odds...

"The current favourite is to be next Labour leader is Emily Thornberry [7.0] whose willingness to work with Corbyn coupled with her popularity among the party's New Labour wing makes her a decent bet."

Last week, it looked like Philip Hammond faced mission impossible with his budget. The Chancellor's delivery was fine, as he made self-effacing jokes to dispel the tension, and he's probably ensured that he will stay in his job for the short term. On the other hand, Hammon is accused by opponents of offering short term fixes to the NHS and making tweaks to housing policy that will at best improve the situation a little for young people trying to get on the housing ladder and, at worst, make things worse by inadvertently causing a rise in property prices.

A YouGov poll taken in response to the budget shows only one in three Britons believes that Hammond's decision to abolish stamp duty on properties under £300,000 will make property more affordable. At the general election in June, age was arguably the biggest dividing line, with 62% of under-40s voting Labour, compared to just 23% for the Tories. The elderly have long been loyal to the Tories but the party are now fearful that, when those voters die off, the Tories could be locked out of power.

So Hammond and Theresa May are trying to find ways of appealing to voters under the age of 45. But YouGov's poll indicates that it will take more than token policies - like the abolition of stamp duty and introduction of a "millennials railcard" - to persuade the young to vote Tory. They like the authenticity and energy of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour and, although it's true that people's politics shift as they, the Tories' inability to reach out to the young is one reason why Labour [1.97] are favourites to win the next general election.

Thornberry the new favourite to be next Labour leader

Hammond's budget wisecracks were nowhere near as amusing as watching BBC Two's documentary Labour: The Summer that Changed Everything which captured anti-Corbyn Labour MPs' bewildered reactions to the election night exit poll in June.

Of the MPs featured, Stephen Kinnock came across as a venal Alan Partridge-like opportunist with neither the affability nor the integrity of his father, former-Labour leader Neil Kinnock. The scene when Kinnock junior had to be told not speak to journalists by his wife, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the ex-Prime Minister of Denmark, was priceless. Prior to the election, Kinnock Junior reportedly had leadership ambitions but he's out to [50.0] in Betfair's Next Labour leader market.

The current favourite is Emily Thornberry [7.0] whose willingness to work with Corbyn coupled with her popularity among the party's New Labour wing makes her a decent bet. Thornberry has had a very good year, as one of the stars of Labour's general election campaign and has got the beating of Boris Johnson in her role as Shadow Foreign Secretary. Startling to think that, as this interview reminds us, her career look to be all but over three years ago.

Anything can happen in turbulent times - as Angela Merkel knows

Above and beyond, Hammond's budget announcements was the bleak long term outlook for the British economy, with downgraded growth predictions from the Office of Budget Responsibility indicating that the UK is likely to be considerably poorer than expected in the next few years.

Frankly, grappling with such warnings is way above this column's pay-grade. But suffice to say that in turbulent times anything can happen and there could be wild fluctuations in odds. In recent years, the centre has failed to hold in America, France, Britain and, this week, even in Germany, which had been the rock of stability at the heart of the European Union.

Angela Merkel is [1.05] to be next Chancellor, after negotiations to form a governing coalition broke down last Sunday, but her power is diminished by events this autumn - first, the election result, in which she won fewer votes than expected, and now the difficulties of forming a new coalition.

It looks like the SPD will work in coalition again with Merkel. Their leader, Martin Schulz, previously ruled out the possibility but he's reportedly prepared to act in the national interest - and some hefty policy concessions, you'd think - which is why a CDU/CSU + SPD is the new favourite in the Next Government market.


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