Monday, February 21, 2011

Five Constituency Bets. Because We Might As Well Have the Craic

An Spailpín Fánach is enjoying Ivan Yates' constituency betting tips on Betfair almost as much as he's enjoying the statesmanship of our politicians, who surely put Periclean Athens in the ha'penny place.

Ivan is very much the insiders' insider, of course, while An Spailpín Fánach considers himself more of an outsiders' outsider, despite having never dispensed advice to the Minister for Finance in his kitchen, and being in the habit of putting his money where his (very big) mouth is.

Here, then, in ascending order of price, are An Spailpín's hugely unscientific bets to give you a bit of interest on Friday. Might be best to calibrate your stake according to price, by the way. No point in taking a complete bath. And these aren't necessarily endorsements, either, before someone takes the head off me. An Spailpín's dream of a United Federation of Planets, as outlined in Star Trek, burns brightly still.

Luke "Ming" Flanagan, Independent/New Vision. Roscommon-South Leitrim. 10/11.
Luke Flanagan is the nap of the meeting, for two reasons. Firstly, the electoral circumstances are made to order for a protest vote, and the electorate of Roscommon South-Leitrim will search long and hard to find a candidate less like those that have gone before than the Emperor.

Secondly, what people who have never met him may underestimate about Luke Flanagan is that the man is a consummate politican. He is supremely gifted in the political arts and, to borrow a favourite phrase of my father, if you burned Ming for a fool you'd have wise ashes. How else could he poster all of his constituency? War Rocket Ajax has been dispatched. Deal with it.

Maria Corrigan, Fianna Fáil. Dublin South. 10/11.
Media darling Senator Shane Ross is favourite to get the fifth seat here, but An Spailpín has heard that resentment towards George Lee still festers among the leafy suburbs. This will hurt Fine Gael's chances for a third seat, Alan Shatter and Olivia Mitchell being shoe-ins, but it will also hurt Senator Ross, who is nothing if not George Lee lite. The Fianna Fáil vote has to go somewhere, and Senator Corrigan is a reasonable bet for enough of it to remain in house to wash her ashore in fifth place. There are very few sisters running in the election, and that might stand to her in this particular constituency too.

Therese Ruane, Sinn Féin. Mayo. 2/1.
An Spailpín is a long time in exile from that earthly paradise that is the County Mayo, but my God, four Fine Gael seats out of five is a lot to ask. It would require vote management of the highest calibre for even the Free Beer Party to win four seats in an Irish five-seater, and it's doubly difficult in a constituency with as much ground to cover as Mayo.

The fifth seat will be down to transfers, which are a lottery, plain and simple. Getting 80% of the transfers on the ninth count is no good if you've been eliminated on the eighth. Again, as with Dublin South, the FF vote has to go somewhere and Sinn Féin is the natural destination for a disillusioned Fianna Fáil voter in the West. The two candidate strategy is risky, as it's assuming that policy will be more important than geography when either Ms Ruane or Ms Conway-Walsh is eliminated, thus arguing against a two candidate strategy in the first place, but how and ever. Ms Ruane will get more votes outside Castlebar than Mr Kilcoyne, the independent, and she gets the shilling on that basis.

John Gormley, Green Party. Dublin South-East. 3/1.
Ivan Yates assures us it'll be two Fine Gael, two Labour in Dublin South-East, but An Spailpín Fánach cannot get it out of his head that John Gormley's defence of his patch against the curly black smoke of that nasty incinerator won't stand to him.

It was hard not to pity Gormley on the Frontline leaders' debate last Monday. He seemed the most rational and thoughful of the five of them, but he's like one of those Japanese soldiers on a pacific island who fought on forty years after the Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima. He's worth a punt at threes, God love him.

Gerry Kilrane, Fianna Fáil. Roscommon-South Leitrim. 10/1.
This is the longshot punt of the card, but my goodness, could it really be true that county Leitrim could be without a TD for two consecutive Dála? An Spailpín can't come to terms with that, irrespective of party. Ivan didn't even mention Gerry Kilrane's name in his review of Roscommon-South Leitrim, and seems to believe that Martin Kenny is the only Leitrim candidate on the slate.

An Spailpín believes that Gerry Kilrane, despite the Fianna Fáil downturn, is more voter-friendly than Martin Kenny in Roscommon and can bubble up to the third seat on Kenny and Connaughton tranfers. It's a longshot, but that's why you get tens. You get nothin' for nothin' in this mean old world.