Betting on politics: will we run out of milk?

Aside from the more serious bets, bookies are now offering odds on which household items will be out of stock after Brexit. Matthew Partridge reports.


Will supermarkets run out?
(Image credit: 2007 Getty Images)

Paddy Power has opened the year by offering a flurry of Brexit-related bets. Some of these are serious, such as whether Article 50 will be extended beyond the end of March. In this case you can get even odds (50%) on the deadline being extended, and 8/11 (57.9%) on it not being extended. Paddy Power is also offering evens (50%) on a live TV leaders' debate on Brexit taking place before the start of April. They are also offering 1/10 on next week's meaningful vote being rejected by the Commons.

Some of Paddy 's offerings are more towards the novelty end of the spectrum (or at least we hope so). So, if you believe that the process will result in a crisis with shortages of basic goods then Paddy allows you to bet on the first items to be officially rationed by the government. As you'd expect, the favourites are fuel at 15/2 (11.7%), milk at 11/1 (8.3%) and bread at 16/1. You can also bet on a national shortage of gin (55/1), champagne (125/1), prosecco (125/1) and even Mars chocolate bars (150/1).

Personally, I'm not tempted by any of the above offerings. I also think that the 1/10 on the Commons rejecting the withdrawal agreement in a vote next week is probably a bit too short. Instead, I'd recommend Ladbrokes's 1/3 (25%) offering on Theresa May still being prime minister by 1 April. While she might possibly announce her intention to step down if Brexit is agreed, it would still take several weeks for the Conservatives to elect her successor.

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Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri