This past fortnight has been good for some of this column’s tips, but not for others. Ralph Northam, whom we tipped in August (Issue 858), was elected governor of Virginia last week. The narrowing of the polls in the run-up to the vote left me worried that Ed Gillespie’s aggressive campaign would enable the Republican candidate to win a surprise victory.
However, in the end, Northam won comfortably. Indeed, the scale of the Democratic victory suggests that they should be odds-on to capture the House of Representatives in next year’s mid-term election (Issue 849).
Meanwhile, Kirstjen Nielsen is making progress in her quest to be the new secretary of homeland security. Having received the blessing of an important committee vote, she now has to have her nomination confirmed by the Senate. This should happen within the next fortnight, so my bet on the current homeland secretary, Elaine Duke, being the next person to leave Trump’s cabinet (Issue 868) looks set to pay off.
Boris Johnson, meanwhile, seems to have severely damaged his career with his gaffe about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and his ham-fisted reaction to the fallout. His job hangs in the balance (Issue 867) and his ambitions to be the next Tory leader (Issue 865) and PM (Issue 846) are on life support.
I notice that you can get 1.63 (61.3%) at Smarkets.com on Theresa May not being the Tory leader at the next election. Given her unpopularity, the Conservatives would be mad to have her as their leader; in any case, it seems to me that she hasn’t got the stomach for another fight. I expect her to be gone by the time Brexit takes place in March 2019. There is an outside chance that the government could collapse, forcing an election, but this seems unlikely to me, so I’d recommend that you take this bet.