Poker and Politics

Gordon Brown and David Cameron

Gordon Brown and David Cameron

The General Election in the UK has just taken place and it is going to be a hung parliament which means that no one party can govern outright. This is very unusual as it means that to have a government you need to have 50% of the seats. So now the horse trading begin and it will resemble a poker game in which a three way pot was split between two of the players but squeezing the third player.

In this scenario the third player squeezed has to be Nick Clegg the Liberal and Democrat leader. The lucky player is the present Prime Minister and Labour leader Gordon Brown, who looked down and out when the flop happened, but, managed to split the pot on the river with the Conservative leader David Cameron.

Nick Clegg flopped top pair but David Cameron also flopped top pair with a good kicker. He should have made a ‘questioning bet’ not big enough to look like a over bet, but big enough to drive out any potential drawing players – in this case Gordon Brown – and keep it to two players in which he would be winning due to the kicking. In fact David Cameron checked, Nick Clegg made a flat bet this was called and Nick Clegg went on to lose to the straight draw.

Poker and politics can be dirty business. The plans by the Conservatives were to get radical parties such as the British National Party to split the working class vote. The Liberal Democrats wanted to squeeze the traditional progressive vote by having a fresh faced wunderkind as leader. The Labour tried to scare the voters with tales of massive cuts and money going to the rich friends and family of the Conservatives. All the time the Labour party have hidden that they will have to make cuts, maybe on at the size that the Greeks are making as of now.

So in the next few days Gordon Brown who was never elected as leader, survived a massive recession and numerous coup attempts is now in the position to form a government if he can persuade the Liberal Democrats and other smaller parties to support him. Obviously he has a carrot for those and its primarily electoral reform and scrapping the ‘first past the post’ system.

The reason why David Cameron will probably not form the next government is that he has ruled out electoral reform, because, he thought he would glide to power on the anti-Brown wave of support. This is like a chip leader watching his chip stack melt away just so he could get into the money by default. So the moral of this tale is that when playing poker and you have your opponent on the ropes, never let them get a chance to get back in the game – take them out when you can.