Conservatives lead Labour by 105 seats

For those of you who obsess over elections check out electoral calculus. Should there be a general election tomorrow the Conservatives would be returned with a majority of 18 and a lead of 105 seats over Labour according to the current poll (as of 30th April 2009). It would be interesting to see what the polls are like after the budget (if anyone has seen any please feel free to post).

Rumours circulating around Westminster suggest that if Labour doesn’t perform in the European and local government (England only) elections this June Gordon Brown’s position will become untenable causing a backbench revolt and a leadership challenge. Gordon will then have several options (below):1. Step down immediately
2. Do a John Major and threaten his backbenchers to go to the polls
3. Actually go to the polls
4. Face a brutal leadership challenge

There is no doubt in my mind that Gordon has the brains, but he lacks the ‘image’. The Labour government reflects the Conservative government of 1997, on the eve of an election and in the middle of economic difficulties.

This European election will be a referendum on the government and less about Europe – which poses series questions. The thing is is that the Conservatives are desperate to get into government and their promises and position on Europe will remain unchallenged as they will be Labour obsessed. The UKUP and Eurosceptics will become irrelevant and face a squeeze at the expense of the two main parties.

Is a coalition on the cards? I’m not so sure but would be interested to hear readers views. Certainly it is being talked about around Westminster but I would put my money on the Tories doing better than polls predict, particularly with 50 percent tax on the super rich. It is clear the Tories under Cameron have restored confidence within their grassroots voters, particularly business. But I’m no expert on the matter.

  • wise up, move on or bugger off

    Don’t know if enough Brits are interested in voting in June that will enable it to be classified as a referendum on the government. The election will be easy for Labour to portray as a victory – they’re so far behind the Tories in both the current opinion polls and in terms of European Parliament seats that things can’t really get in worse. I can just hear Pinocchio Mandelson now: “mid-term blues bla bla bla”.

    UKIP’s impact was played down at the last election and they romped into joint third. I think the Tories will actually lose out in this election to the Lib Dems.

    A coalition is more possible than it has been for manys an election – see today’s Clegg/Cameron love-in. Further, Lib Dems are committed to tax cuts for the poor, tax increases for the rich – while I’m not sure about specifics of the Tory’s tax plans for the former group, I do know that they’ve admitted that it’s unlikely that they’re going to abolish 50%. A coalition will depend on how much worse NuLab’s self-implosion gets.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Try this web site which is highly respected,

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/

    the forecast majority is 132 overall based on a weighted average of all the main polls over recent months.

    That ignores the actual lead in the marginals which is much higher. Obviously as the election approaches it may become much closer.

  • joeCanuck

    Seems to me that Andrew has trouble with two rs; reading and rithmetic.

  • LURIG

    Do people not remember what the Tories were like? This is change for the sake of change and the British electorate will reap what they sow. We will go back to the old right wing, big business, anti-European jingoism that they were reknowned for. Public services will take a big hit, the NHS especially will suffer and pensioners, schools and low earners will take the usual rap. The Tories will protect the rich and probably cut the minimum wage to suit their friends in that other anti-employee right wing organisation, the CBI. The Peace Process will also suffer as the Tories will resort to type and be driven by Trimble and the UUP. There may be trouble ahead………..

  • Joe

    Baffling that anyone without vested interests would actually vote for those swines.

  • wise up, move on or bugger off

    True, the peace process will probably take a bit of a hit. But I don’t think the Tories have any choice but to stick with 50% tax – they’ve admitted as much.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Interesting article.

    I can’t see a way out for Gordon and I think he’s holding on for as long as he can, waiting for some good news to recreate the feelgood factor which is his only hope for getting him to the other side of the next election. One advantage he does have is that Cameron is not quite as compelling as a fresh new face in the way Blair was.

    I am not sure about Gordon having brains. His leadership has been characterized by mishandling of major things, like the election that never was which demonstrated that fundamentally he is a man who is indecisive and fearful of the public. Then you have the 10p tax fiasco – who on earth had the idea that you could slap a load of tax onto low income earners without anybody noticing ? And the whole “iron chancellor” thing, which he traded on heavily up until now, is in tatters. He might be good as a number two, but fundamentally he just isn’t a front line operator.

    The Blair project is now clearly exposed as an exercise in short-termism. The cabinet is full of nobodies and yes-men all selected for their obedience and loyalty rather than their political nous or skill.

    LURIG:

    We will go back to the old right wing, big business, anti-European jingoism that they were reknowned for.

    And this differs from the current Labour government how, exactly ?

    Why would the arrival of the Tories damage the peace process ?

  • spartacus

    lurig, they are all the same. The only difference is that Zanu run up a bigger debt and give the money to the sort of people most of us don’t want to live next door to. The tories keep the debt lower and give it in tax cuts to a richer group of people most of us don’t want to live next door to. Ideally we should hang the lot of them, but my money is on getting rid of the present lot. I genuinely don’t believe the other lot are worse, but the present lot are bad.

  • Andrew,

    I haven’t seen this poll calculator and will watch it from now on.

    The UK Polling Report which has already been referred to by Frustrated Democrat (No 2) gives the weighted average as Con 44 Lab 27 Lib dem 18. UK Polling Report seems to give greater weight to the latest polls than the calculus.

    Another difference is that this new calculator considers that the boundary changes give the Conservatives an extra 10 seats (on the 2005 results) whereas other analysis that I have seen predict about 27 seats.

    It will be worth comparing these two calculators over a longer period.

    I dont think there is any chance of a hung parliament. Opinion polls indicate that there is a much greater swing in the Marginals as a result of resources and expertise put into campaigning in the Marginals by Lord Ashcroft and his team over the last 3 years.

    You can find a list of the primary target seats here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_targets_for_next_UK_election

    As the Times reported yesterday, so secure is the election victory that the Conservatives are actually contemplating putting resources into targeting seats which are harder to take than the marginals.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6188731.ece

    If Gordon Brown has already accepted the position, his decision should be focusing on a damage limitation exercise. I believe there is scope for him to limit the damage and I dont think he can if he waits until next year. His pretext could be that the speculation about the date of the election has got to the point where it is in the National interst to have an election.

    He could then plump for October. I think that is his best bet. He will certainly have others in his party urging him to call an election at about that time.

  • Andrew,

    Sorry, I forgot to point out that the calculator does not include the opinion polls taken in April.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Seymour, I think there is no limitation that can be done, things are as bad for Labour as they can be, and Gordon will lose any election he calls under the current circumstances by default.

    The only way he will win is if the circumstances change, and that’s why I think he will wait as long as possible so that this can happen, with the hope that the borrowed stimulus to kick in and a few green shoots of recovery to hopefully appear. At least then he has a fighting chance.

    I’m not sure I could stick another five years of that clumsy idiot in number 10, and my suspicion is that most people are fed up. What exactly has he got going for him ? Of course, the 1992 election reminds us that strange things do happen ..

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Seymour Major,

    there is only one thing that can now save Labour now – and that is EVENTS and El Gordo will probably/hopefully dive on his sword after the Euro elections. Labour would be mad to go in October with the current polls. For example a further deterioration of Sterling by 20% would make the Euro look like a safe haven and arguably best for Britain and would trigger World War 3 in the Tory party.

    The City and regulation may be Labour’s best bet -they should regulate the feck out of the crazies in the City to ensure no repetition of the current financial disaster – which lets face it the Tories probably would have made worse – and this may have the added benefit of forcing the Tories to fight a battle they would prefer to put off until after the election. This morning the ToryGraph is reporting trouble between Britain and Europe over financial regulation – El Gordo and Labour should get with the good guys in Europe.

    Lurig,
    I agree with you PoshBoyDC is making irresponsible noises towards Norn Iron and his link up with the UU (although damaging to Unionism at least in the short term electorally) shows poor judgement in aligning himself with a deply sectarian organisation.

    The wild men on the right of the Tory party still smarting after, being humiltiated by the IRA in the GFA (as they see it), will no doubt be up to no good if they get a chance and anyway Woodward has been excellent and his cajoling of the DUP forward over Police and Justice alone has earned him his salary.

  • Comrade and Sammy,

    What Brown really needs is for the Conservatives to make mistakes. Cameron is not letting that happen. He wont give a pronouncement on anything politically difficult. Brown is left boxing thin air. They know they are doomed. A party that cant think of any way to beat Cameron other than a strategem to smear them personally is a desperate move from a doomed party of Government.

    I dont agree that a recovery would save them or help them very much. Based on Darling’s projections for a recovery next year, unemployment, which is a lagging indicator, will not stop rising until after the latest date for the next general election. The Government will get no mileage even if there is a recovery before the election. In fact, Darling’s figures are open to question. His recovery predictions conflict with the IMF predictions of a slight contraction in the economy of 2010.

    Darling’s prediction of rapid growth in 2011 of 3.6%, which is also being seriously questioned would lead to a fall in unemployment but it is no good to Labour. that is far too far beyond the GE date.

    I just dont agree that there is anything Labour can do to win an election or any event that can save them.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    SM

    Recovery of any sort I agree wont save them but a Sterling crisis might.

    A proper economic debate on the merits of the Euro would not be possible within the Tory party given their ideooogical position – even IF it was right for Britain.

    The man on the street would go with the Euro arguement if he thought it would save his family from losing their home e.g. with soaring interest rates – the Tory diehards would probably not – and many would be content to retire to the country knowing they hade done the right thing – in 2 senses of the word – as the IMF rode to the rescue.

  • Sammy,

    “Recovery of any sort I agree wont save them but a Sterling crisis might”

    You have lost me there. How can a Sterling crisis be a good thing for Labour?

    Quite the opposite, I would have thought. Labour would be staring at a landslide defeat. The other thing you ought to know is that Brown himself is anti-euro.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    SM,

    If there was – in fact we may be in the middle of – a sterling crisis – then it could re-open the Euro debate. El Gordo goes after disastrous Euro elections and the Milly-Boy-Band or whatever the foreign sec. is called (or other) addressess the nation and says ‘difficult decisions blah-blah’ and it is in Britain’s interest to join the Euro.

    Cue the Tories would kick eight colours of shit out of each other – if we presume for a moment that joining the Euro was in Britian’s best interest – there would surely be some Tories (although probably a minority) – who would do what was best for the country and there would be all out war with the crazy-Tory-anti-europe-right-wing.

    Far fetched ? Well not as much as the effective ntionalisation of the big high street banks – and that has happened with the last 12 months.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Sammy

    The Conservatives will not split over Europe, they now have the discipline to win the next election, even Ken Clarke is on board.

    Labour have past the tipping point and there is no way back as the voters in the UK now distrust them and think they are imcompetent.

    Even the insidious OO will not deter them!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Frustrated Democrat,

    you bugger – you just risked starting me off again on my favourite hobbyhorse.

    I think they have just agreed to disagree on Europe (I may be wrong on that) because there is not currently a European issue to be resolved – a proper Euro debate would soon change that. There would be tweed and ermine flying all over the shop before you could say “I’m off to the Carlton for a stiff one”.

    But as a betting man – all the money is on the Tories – with Labour having as much chance of winning as the UU/Tory/FunnyParty/OO/Sectarian/Alliance in Norn Iron.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    past = passed

    Sammy

    Put your spare £’s/Euros on the CU’s to be the first pro UK party to pass the post, you should get decent long odds for that bet. Remember you heard it here first.

  • Driftwood

    FD
    I’ll be having a wee bet on that. The DUP live in a bubble – they do not realise how absurd were some of their statements last year and NI is crying out for a liberal, secular pro-union party. Hopefully REAL politics can begin to emerge in 2009.

  • Mirko

    Can you give us a brief synopsis of the difficulties facing the UK economy in 1997?

  • Dewi

    http://www.labourhome.org/story/2009/4/30/195058/246

    From Labourhome – previous loyalists I believe.

  • Good question Mirko,

    In 1997, the UK economy was doing very well. The similarity with the present Labour administration and the Conservative one in 1997 is that they are unpopular.

    There were also some sleaze stories around at that time. The similarities end there.

    John Major’s Government slumped in popularity as a result of being forced out of ERM and never recovered mainly because of continued in-fighting over europe and Labours re-branding and move to the middle ground of politics.

    In today’s battle, there are far fewer Labour politicians criticising their leader than when the conservatives were in power but there have been far more political mishandlings and mini scandals under Labour.

  • Further to my last comment, it is suggested in today’s Daily Telegraph that Labour is now losing its discipline, following the fiasco over the vote on Gurkhas.

    The article also makes comparisons between Major and Brown

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/5253591/Analysis-the-difference-between-John-Major-and-Gordon-Brown.html