Foreword: Please beware that I already asked about my angst over 'albeit that' on ELU.
Source: p 5 of 16, Where is housing heading?, by Dr Peter Williams. 2014 June

What we have seen in recent years is a degree of caution by ministers in both pronouncements and policy regarding homeownership, with the coalition clearly backing a two-horse policy of stimulating renting and owning albeit that, as housing moved higher up the political ladder, there has been a clear shift towards the latter.

Does this excerpt truly reveal what is the specific two-horse policy here? I'm confused because the latter seems to refer back to owning in stimulating renting and owning ? But then this alleged reference implies that stimulating was gapped as an ellipsis => stimulating renting and [stimulating] owning. In other words, the latter truly means [stimulating] owning.

Per contra, this excerpt concerns homeownership by the general UK public. A layperson can only rent or own; so nothing here resembles a horse race? Was two-horse used correctly and aptly here?

  • See also "hedging one's bets", "covering all bases", "straddling the fence", "talking out of both sides of one's mouth", "two-faced", "something for everyone", "stereotypical politician", "gatherers and sharers", "fair".
    – Jasper
    Mar 12, 2015 at 19:53
  • 1
    This would be spoken so: "backing a two-horse policy of stimulating renting ánd owning", rather than "renting 'n owning". 'Stimulating' has a dual object.
    – TimR
    Mar 12, 2015 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


'Backing a two-horse race' = betting on all possible outcomes.

As any gambler would know, that's no way to make money, as the bookie [turf accountant] will always want his profit margin.
So even though you 'win' whichever horse makes it past the post first, ultimately you are worse off.

You must log in to answer this question.