Do you like the odd flutter? I don’t, but in this case I’m prepared to make an exception.
I bet that at least one leader of the three mainstream parties will lose his job before the next election. What odds will you give me?
Moreover, if I’m proved right, I’ll let my winnings ride on two out of the three consigned into what Ed’s role model Trotsky called the rubbish bin of history.
And, if you offer crazy odds to reflect the crazy audacity of such gambling, I’ll even go for three out of three.
Yes, that’s right. I think there’s a strong possibility than none of the three ‘leaders’ will contest the next election. And there’s an absolute certainty that none of them deserves to.
Before we go on to serious business, let’s just take Clegg out of this betting game. There’s every chance he won’t hold on to his parliamentary seat, never mind the party leadership.
If this were Japan, after his consistent record of failure capped by the current disaster, Nick would be presented with a sword on an ornate platter and told to disembowel himself.
In a more occidental context, any self-respecting leader of a self-respecting party would immediately resign, offering profuse apologies for his ineptitude. But we’re no longer blessed with self-respecting leaders. We’re cursed with spivs.
They go into politics not to gain power for the sake of doing some good for the country – they do so for self-aggrandisement. Power isn’t a means; it’s the end.
For as long as there’s a minuscule chance of hanging on, they’ll do so until their fingertips turn white – even if all around them, including their party, tumble into the abyss.
But Nick isn’t the only power-hungry spiv in his party. When the others finally cotton on that his affection for personal gain jeopardises their own ambitions, they’ll kick him out – so the first part of my bet is reasonably safe.
Then there’s Ed, and it says a lot about our thoroughly corrupted electorate that he’s even remotely considered as a possible PM. Not only that, but some respectable pollsters actually predict his victory, the stuff of nightmares for every thinking person.
Ed was a key member of the government that plunged Britain into every imaginable catastrophe, be it economical, social, international, demographic, military or cultural – you name it.
That by itself isn’t necessarily a disqualifying circumstance. After all, for old times’ sake we must believe that repentance brings redemption.
If Ed repudiated the criminal policies of which he was one of the key architects, along with the evil philosophy behind them, and explained how he’d do exactly the opposite if elected, there would be something to discuss.
But he’s doing nothing of the sort. Quite the opposite: he’s openly promising to push all the same disaster-making policies to their extreme. That means that the calamity he and his jolly friends perpetrated on the country in 1997-2010 will be infinitely worse if they get in again.
On the outside chance that the Tories manage to put together an effective campaign, even the slowest voters may get the message, although that’s one thing I’m not prepared to bet on. But if that were to happen, many power-hungry spivs in the Labour party will lose their seats, and there are signs that they’re beginning to dread this scenario.
If polls begin to show that voters have growing misgivings about Ed, much as they may cherish his wicked ideology, a clash between the leader and the nomenklatura will ensue. My bet would be on the latter.
That leaves my friend Dave, who raises grave doubts that he’s capable of spearheading the effective campaign I mentioned earlier.
In a few short years Dave has managed to alienate the core support of his party, including much of its parliamentary faction. Dave evidently isn’t bright enough to realise that for many Tories the word ‘conservative’ isn’t just a figure of speech.
One would have thought that the success of Ukip, mainly at a cost to the Tory cause, would point him in the right direction. But such a hope would be forlorn: Dave’s overriding ambition, besides personal power, is social acceptability in the better parts of London.
Holding or, God forbid, upholding conservative principles would make him a pariah there, placing him in a position of cultural outcast. That’s why he refuses even to consider a deal with what he doubtless regards as frankly proletarian Ukip – the Bolli crowd in Notting Hill won’t wear it.
This being his idée fixe, Dave is displaying worrying symptoms of incipient schizophrenia, one of which is refusing to acknowledge reality. “We’re the Conservative party,” he said. “We don’t do pacts or deals.”
Excuse me? In case you haven’t noticed, Dave, you govern in coalition with the LibDems. Doesn’t this constitute a pact and a deal? Of course it does.
What Dave means is that he’ll only do a deal acceptable to his Bolli-sipping friends – even if the core of his own party regards his deal partner with revulsion.
This again may present a problem with his party’s mandarins and other fruits. Some of them still possess enough residual sanity to realise that splitting the conservative vote (and Ukip will do just that) will probably put Ed into 10 Downing Street.
Quite apart from the disaster that’ll certainly befall the country, this would mean diminution of the mandarins’ own power, and that’s the only outcome our politicos, regardless of their party affiliation, will never accept.
Hence a clash between the nomenklatura and its head is also brewing in the Tory party. A few more polls like the one recently conducted by Lord Ashcroft (showing that Labour is on course to win the general election), and the conflict will come to a head.
The odds on all those power shifts happening are admittedly long. But they aren’t prohibitive, and I for one am willing to take my chances.