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Betting on the future of Scotland — Parris vs. Massie

12 February 2014

How would you bet on the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum? With Ladbrokes offering odds of 1/5 on a ‘No’ vote, its a much better return than any savings account. But should writers put a wager on something they can possibly influence? Matthew Parris discussed how he might bet with Alex Massie on our podcast last week — a conversation that has stuck in his mind. This was what Parris says on the matter in his Times column today (£):

‘Something came over me. Last Wednesday, in the middle of a debate about Scottish independence with Alex Massie, a Scottish columnist who writes for The Spectator and The Times, I was asked how I’d bet on the result of the September referendum. Obviously, I said, I’d bet on a No to independence. I went further: I’d take a bet on that outcome at odds of one to seven, I said, meaning that I’d get £8 back for every £7 staked. In that case, retorted Mr Massie, I’d better get online fast, because odds nearly twice as good were available.

‘So I did. I bet a substantial sum. Having just closed a small savings account (Virgin Money had reduced the interest rate yet again, to almost nothing) and now being offered odds of two to nine, I calculated that I would get an untaxed return of almost 20 per cent on my savings. My hands shook at the keyboard. I felt incredibly sinful. I could hear my late grandmother tut-tutting. But I placed the bet.

‘Should journalists have undeclared interests in outcomes on which they might comment? One cannot feel that Scotland’s pencil is poised over the ballot slip as the nation awaits Parris’s advice; but still, if ever I write on the subject again, I shall declare this bet. Anyway I, don’t suppose there’s the least risk I’ll lose . . . is there? Surely not?

‘Did I hear you mutter something, Grandma? Oh dear, the slightest of doubts clouds my imagination . . .’

Listen below to Alex Massie discussing why Alex Salmond is set to be the victor in the Scottish referendum with Matthew Parris, as well as tips for betting on the outcome:

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Show comments
  • Paul Bethune

    Old tory boy Payne believes he has an insight in to the mind of the average Scot, hilarious! You sir are about as far removed from the mind of the average Scot as the rest of your old boys club.

    Since when did you have any authority to declare what Scots will vote, when was the last time you bloody lived here! When was the last time you sat in a Scottish pub, took part in Scottish community debate or attended any Scottish independence forum outside of your London circle?

    Media hacks like you have nothing but a visceral of contempt for a movement you have no affiliation to – you’re blind to your own ignorance and don’t have a scooby of what political aspirations the majority of Scots want. You were against devolution you fool, and you think you know which way the wind blows now!?!

  • Pootles

    The Presbyterian heart of Scotland (well, that part of Scotland that does have a Presbyterian heart) quails. What would Knox say?

    • SimonToo

      Don’t worry about Knox. She is sticking firmly to the USA.

      • Pootles

        Arf! Anyway, she would have been far too old for the other Knox.

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