Political specialists I talked to told me that they had it on good authority that the election would happen. I don’t have the necessary bottle to be a big-time gambler, but I do like a bet and I know that over a period of time the most profitable wagers I have ever struck were when I deliberately decided to go against prevailing opinion and media pressure.

 

The hints, and no one seemed quite sure where they were coming from, became more and more strident. Money began to be placed on an election before the end of the year, and as the speculation and media spin took hold, so the odds tumbled to the point where it was possible to get odds of up to 11/4 that there would be no election. I sat and watched and listened, and, of course, distributed the odds to the media.

 

The strategy has paid off big time on three recent separate occasions, each of which demonstrate how this – well, it isn’t a system, but almost a philosophy – works. Towards the end of 2007, hints began to emerge that the new prime minister, Gordon Brown, was strongly tempted to hold a snap general election to endorse his position.