Monday, October 24, 2005


On 30th September, using bookie tips from (see the novelty betting section at ) I suggested that Bush would chose Ben Barnanke as the next Federal Reserve Chairman, replacing Alan Greenspan, who will end his eighteen year tenure in January 2006. Not only did I predict this, I also predicted that Cardinal Ratzinger would be the Pope even before the conclave began. So what next...

Well, there is the leadership of the British conservative party, which is a race between David Davis (old hand, thug) and David Cameron (the Blair of the centre right). The vote is amongst all of the members of the party - yes, democracy has broken out in the Tory party - and the winner will be David Cameron. Paddpower are offering 1-12 on Cameron and 11-1 on Davis, so that's pretty clear.

Then there is the question of who will succeed Chirac as President of France (yes, he cant go on for ever). The two front runners at this stage are Dominique de Villipen (currently Prime Minister, despite never having been elected to anything and formerly the French Minister at the UN during the security council votes on Iraq) and Nicolas Sarkozy - odds on favourite. He is currently the Minister of the Interior in France and very popular. de Villipen is aloof and aristocratic - wheras Sarkozy is a man of the people. He will win. (Interestingly, last week when Chancellor Merkel of Germany visited France she saw both Chirac and Sarkozy).

The succession talk in France gained new momentum after Chirac had a stroke recently, which left him with impaired vision (nothing new for a President of France - in fact, I thought it was a requirement for the position). Formally, the election is in 2007 and Chirac could in fact be a candidate.

One other bet you may want to consider, when Gordon Brown succeeds Tony Blair in the UK, who will be his Deputy ? The money is currently going on David Blunkett, but my read is that his star is falling and only if Brown replaces Blair soon will this fly. Better to bet on Jack Straw as a steadier pair of hands. Straw has been Foreign Secretary for some time, but before that he was Home Secretary. Brown also has a tendency to be politically correct (its a shame, but there it is) and could feel that he would gain votes if he chose a woman - so watch carefully the career of Harriet Harman. Interestingly, I worked closely with Straw when he was President of the National Union of Students (NUS) and I was President of the Welsh Students Union. Then I worked with Harriet when she was with National Council of Civil Liberties and I was involved with a network organization in Wales. Peter Hain (who was at a small dinner party with Queen Juliana and ten other people including me) is also a runner here. My money's on Jack Straw.

Enough of the future..

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