If you believe in the betting markets as the best predictor of an event or scenario, then we might as well wrap up the London Mayoral vote now.
According to the Betfair Exchange, Sadiq Khan is a 1.08 chance to serve another term in the job, and as we know it’s very rare that such short odds favourites fail – indeed, it’s rarer than the proverbial rocking horse excrement.
Of the near £1.2 million that has been matched so far, more than 25% has been matched on a single candidate – and, amazingly, it’s not Khan.
That honour goes to Brian Rose, an independent candidate that operates the London Real media platform. Previous guests on his YouTube channel include David Icke, and Rose himself is a vocal believer that Covid-19 is a conspiracy.
Most curious is the betting activity on Rose on the Exchange. More than £350,000 has been matched on him, and his price has shifted from 32.00 to as low as 2.90, and then back out to 47.00 and back in to 10.00.
That is bizarre flip-flopping, so is Brian Rose set to achieve the most audacious political bid in UK history, or is he simply betting on himself to make him look like a more viable candidate?
Who is Brian Rose?
American born and now residing in the capital, Brian Rose is a former banker turned media presenter, vlogger and podcaster.
He turned his back on a career in finance when he founded London Real, a YouTube channel with more than two million subscribers. Fairly anarchic and anti-government, London Real has welcomed Icke and a number of other conspiracy theorists onto the airwaves.
I am announcing my plans to become your next Mayor of London.
I want to lead this incredible city in a new direction.
I promise to work tirelessly to make London a world-class city once again.
I am confident that together, we will accomplish our mission.
Brian Rose pic.twitter.com/etIo1OGwBi
— London Real (@LondonRealTV) October 13, 2020
A number of the channel’s videos have been deleted by YouTube, including assertions from Icke that Covid-19 and the installation of 5G networks are somehow linked.
More mystery surrounds the roughly £750,000 that Rose has raised in donations from his ‘London Real Army’. Of that, some £200,000 has been earmarked for interviews, with the host claiming that it cost more than £40,000 simply to stream his last chat with Icke. While not being an expert on such matters, that sounds like an extraordinary overspend, and some critics wonder if Rose is using the investment to power his political bid.
Despite his controversial subject matter and rather loose purse strings, Rose’s campaigning for the London mayorship has been fairly conventional – economy, education and healthcare are at the centre of his focus, although he has found time to declare his belief that the response to the coronavirus pandemic has been ‘disproportionate’. And then he speaks of science-based decision-making, which is surely a contradiction of terms.
Rose, and six staff, were fined £200 each for breaking coronavirus protocol when filming promotional material in the capital, and that shows the contempt he has for conforming to any rules that might be apposite to his beliefs – interesting for an individual who wants to prosper in a democratic vote.
Is Rose Betting on Himself?
Without any real proof, it would be hard to make a case that Brian Rose and his team are betting on him to win the London Mayor vote.
But the wild price swings suggest that there are more punters wanting to lay him – essentially meaning they don’t think he will win – than back him. Indeed, if you at both sides of the book there is a lot more money available to back than lay, which would suggest that savvy punters and possibly even the bookies themselves are intimating that Rose simply does not have a chance of winning the vote.
According to the polls, the candidates from the four mainstream political parties make up 95% of the vote – at best, Rose will win 5% of the remainder, and even that seems unlikely. So why is he 19.00 to win on Betfair? Remember, the man himself has used the betting odds to make himself appear more legitimate as a candidate, posting live prices on his social media feed.
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And so the only possible solution is that he, or his loyal but small band of followers, are throwing their hard-earned money down the drain….unless, well, he achieves the most outrageous political coup of all time.
When is the London Mayoral Election?
As things stand, Londoners will go to the polls on May 6 to decide who they want as their mayor.
All of the main parties are represented and there are stacks of independent candidates too – some satirical, some clearly needing more fresh air during lockdown.
Delayed a year due to the pandemic, the hope is that the vote will go ahead as scheduled this time around depending on restrictions, although the possibility of a pure postal vote has been mentioned as the worse case scenario.