The UK continues to tip towards the Tories…

If David Cameron is as good as his poll rating it looks to me as though he’s set not just to sneak in front of the other parties, but to romp home in next year’s election. But unlike 1997, this will be a largely joyless first term to go along with a fairly joyless recovery (it’s estimated that up to 80% of Civil Servants vote for parties other than the Conservatives, not to mention the problems some senior appointees who may not go without a Dannett like fight). For all the talk of the electoral hole the Tories are sitting in this piece in the Observer on Sunday makes clear the real benefit that Michael Howard delivered his successor in 2005: “100 “supermarginal” seats where its MPs are holding on with majorities of less than 2,000″. A 100 seat majority would be pretty convincing. And from Conference until May, with the opinion war won, the Tories are now concentrating on building a mandate to do some pretty tough things (“we are going to be the most unpopular government for years” – according to the latest briefing line). So long as Gordon Brown remains the politically undead pilot of the Labour party (though Tory silence on his handling of last October’s acute global crisis in market capitalism is eloquent testimony as to how they’ve managed to shift the political debate away from an obvious weakness – inexperience – to their obvious strength – not being the Government), it is hard to see how Labour pull out of this particular political nose dive.

It’s doubtful that under these circumstances UKIP will be in any position to save them, regardless of what any Cabinet minister has to say on the matter… The current political dynamic is blowing full in Labour’s face. We are getting towards the end of a four year investment process (Ashcroft marginal millions and 100 Cameron Direct events, many of them with the limited aim of building strength in winnable areas)… If the Tories cannot win big out of this, then Labour will have pulled something very big (and at this stage, very implausible).

Labour’s best hope? According to John Harris: “a rising sense of frustration and disappointment about what any supposed triumph for the Tories will lack.” Hmmm… Just don’t bet the farm on it John…

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  • DC
  • Mick Fealty

    That’s a squeeze on the Lib Dems DC, it does not suggest a closing of the gap bet the Labour and the Tories. I don’t have to hand a list of the Con-LibDem marginals, but if this flat-lining during the conference season were to be repeated in a GE campaign, there is rich pickings for the Tories in the south and south west… that I suspect will be more than offset by any gains Labour makes in the north… In fact I suspect the LibDems will be seen as a viable protest in some parts of Britain and too soft in others, where a Tory landslide could be seen as a licence to ‘get the problem sorted’…

  • Latest You Gov poll is predicting Wales returning 12 Conservative MPs:
    http://tinyurl.com/yjot45z

    That would kinda knock the “English/London Conservative Party” jibes on the head…

  • Mick Fealty

    Absolutely oneill.

    Without looking at the Welsh situation, I can’t comment directly on that. But I’m not certain the change Cameron is bringing to his party (just in terms of who they will be, as much as where they will be from) has been sufficiently clocked by local commentators and politicos alike.

    I remember talking to Dominic Grieve a few years back about the shock he experienced coming back to a Commons utterly unrecognisable to the one that he’d left in 1997… Only this time the effect will likely be doubled by the number of old stagers on his own team Cameron’s pressing out of the door because of the expenses scandal…

  • Brit

    I reckon they’ll get a workable majority of 30-40 plus but well shy of the 100 mark. And then lose the next election as they are blamed for the long term and ongoing effects of the recession.

  • Guest

    Today; Cameron has welcomed the candidate that has been chosen in South West Norfolk and goes on to defend the party’s right to adjust procedures to ensure the best candidates are put in place in the time available.
    He insists the final choice is left to constituencies.

  • Drumlins Rock

    still over 5 months to go, long long time, when was the last time a government pushed it to the wire before calling an election? I though for a while Gordon might just have pull off enough of an economic recovery to stand a chance next year, but last weeks news and the chance more hiccups will come likely scupper that, it is Camerons to loose now, but it dosnt take much to land in hung parliment teratory.
    I think he is playing an excellent game so far, he has been careful not to hype things up too much with the very real risk of peaking too soon, his conference speech was proof of that, he has put quite a bit of capital into the Britih and Unionist image, its not tokenism and i think alot of the party might not have caught it on yet as he has kept it quite low key but expect it to take centre stage come the election, the NI candidates are not just tokenism its central to his whole scheme even if Scotland Wales and the North are his main targets.

  • Mick Fealty

    Guest,

    There’s a good piece I read recently saying the open primary idea is subverting the party’s all women shortlists… Where open primaries are offered they are going for men…

    They are certainly opening up to innovation, but I’m not sure what out of this period will prove transitory and what residual…

  • Guest

    Mick,
    My view on this is largely the “there is no Tammany Hall problem in Britain so why try to solve it” view.There is also the question of funding and the resulting squeeze on independents and smaller parties,aswell as the contradiction that invariably the candidates are pre-grouped in any case.(your example being all women shortlists).If a party is to put forward candidates that are to represent a parties beliefs then I think that should be left to the party to decide.The people then decide.

  • DC, that is more the ebbing of the brief post conference boost for the LibDems.

    I think that polls have to be considered in the light of actual votes in election day. Labour only got 3% more than the Tories last time out but many talked as if the Tories had had a disastrous campaign. The upside of the BNP as an option for a portion of Labour’s traditional working class support is that it denies the Tories the benefit of the swing of those votes. If the BNP got 3/4% on election day, that could deny the Tories the chance to break the 40% barrier and leave a significant working majority in some doubt. My understanding is that the rule of thumb is that to counter the boost that Labour gets from the current constituency boundaries and regional seat allocation that they need to be 5% to get the same number of MP, so that Tories on 38% with Labour on 33% could leave them neck and neck. In truth the FPTP system makes such prediction rather hard though.

  • Seymour Major

    The Guardian article relating to the UKIP influence on marginal seats is interesting but what hits you right between the eyes is the realisation that UKIPs threatening presence is a massive factor in Gordon Brown’s decision not to hold a General Election until Lisbon. This is very ironic.