Labour are at an all-time low, but the prices could improve

WHEN he walked off stage in Manchester last Thursday, having delivered his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, most people in the country were left believing that this time next year David Cameron will be prime minister. Indeed, Cameron is odds-on to be the next PM with most of the high street bookies, so you might be tempted to believe that there is no betting action to be had. But there are still spreads that might interest a punter. <br /><br />Bettors look for trends and betting on politics is not too far removed from having a wager on the cricket or football &ndash; those who study the formbook and know the teams are going to make more money. One of the most popular political punts is on predicted seats in the next parliament. Sporting Index&rsquo;s current estimation puts the Tories streets ahead with a spread of 358-363 seats, compared to beleaguered Labour&rsquo;s 200-205. <br /><br />Extrabet go the same for Cameron and co but are slightly less expectant of the current ruling party, offering 199-204. Meanwhile, perennial makeweights Liberal Democrats&rsquo; Sporting Index spread is 49-52 and 50-53 with Extrabet.<br /><strong><br />WILL HE, WON&rsquo;T HE?</strong><br />So, after more than a decade and three terms in charge, where did it all start to go wrong for the reds? Tony Blair&rsquo;s will-he, won&rsquo;t-he protracted departure saw the party&rsquo;s seat spreads slip well under the 300-mark at the turn of 2007 before recovering to 283-288 with Sporting Index as Tony Blair handed over the reins in late <br />June, and then to a peak of 335-340 before Northern Rock went bust that September. <br /><br />As the fall-out from the collapsed financial institution gathered pace, Labour&rsquo;s seats spread headed south, and the trend was set. By the time the Crewe and Glasgow by-elections came and went last year the Cameron-led ascendency saw the Conservatives soar to a 2008-spread-high of 355-360 in autumn, with Labour slumping to 222-227 at the time.<br /><br /><strong>EXPENSES SCANDAL<br /></strong>Little has improved since. While the Tories hardly kept their noses clean in the expenses scandal, they maintained a healthy lead over their rivals. Save for a few small peaks, a stable decline can be observed in Labour&rsquo;s seats predictions to their present spread just above 200. <br /><br />Sporting Index&rsquo;s &ldquo;Brown and Out&rdquo; market looks at just how long Labour have to recover. Today is the Scot&rsquo;s 838th as premier and they offer a spread of day 1,000-1,010 to be his last in charge in this current term &ndash; suggesting an April trip to the polls for the nation. <br /><br />Compare this current situation to the 400-plus seats that they won under Blair in back-to-back landslides either side of the millennium and for Labour once again &ndash; albeit in markedly different circumstances &ndash; you might predict that things can only get better.