Britain's bookmakers have been taken by surprise after the new Labour leader unexpectedly received a standing ovation for his maiden speech at the Labour Conference in Manchester.
In an official statement, a spokesman for BetFair said nobody had seen this coming. 'Who would have thought a maiden speech would get a standing ovation, at an emotionally charged standing ovation festival,' he said.
On reflection, said William Hill's Graeme Sharp, conditions might have been in Miliband's favour. 'Maybe when they took all the chairs out of the conference centre, we should have shortened the odds,' he said. He admitted that his tick tack men had failed to report back intelligence that may have shortened the odds further. But they had failed to notice that the front twelve rows of the conference were given over to a lobby group known as Haemerhoid Sufferers Against The Cuts.
A tip off that the new labour leader might mention World War 2, the national health service and tory cuts might have indicated that a standing ovation was on the cards. As indeed, would early use of the phrase 'when my parents came to this country', which is a crowd pleaser even at Tory conferences.
'That's what great about politics,' said a spokesman, 'it's so unpredictable.'